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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2007;142(1):1-10. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Modulation of the immune system by human rhinoviruses.

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Institute of Immunology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Human rhinoviruses (HRV) are the major cause of the common cold, one of the most frequent infectious diseases in humans. Though HRV infections of the upper respiratory tract are usually rather harmless, there is increasing evidence that HRV sets the stage for more dangerous pathogens, elicits asthmatic exacerbations, severe diseases in the lower respiratory tract and even autoimmunity. The pathogenic mechanisms of HRV infections leading to such complications are still poorly understood. It is a common strategy of pathogens to manipulate our immune system in order to evade an efficient immune response. A major characteristic of HRV is a high degree of species specificity. Thus, analyzing the potential immune evasion mechanisms used by HRV will be helpful for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the common cold and may contribute to a better understanding of the human immune system as well. In this review we want to illuminate what is known about potential immune escape mechanisms used by HRV and discuss how such disturbances might lead to a suppressed and dysregulated immune competence in man.

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