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Pediatr Res. 2007 Apr;61(4):398-403.

RSV mediates Pseudomonas aeruginosa binding to cystic fibrosis and normal epithelial cells.

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Cystic Fibrosis Centre and Department of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands.


Cystic fibrosis lung disease typically has a course of exacerbations and remissions, suggesting that external factors like viral infections can influence this course. Clinical data suggest synergism between respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. We studied the influence of RSV infection on adherence of P. aeruginosa to IB3-1, HEp-2, and A549 epithelial cell monolayers in vitro. RSV infection of epithelial cells as well as simultaneous addition of RSV and P. aeruginosa to noninfected cells both strongly enhanced the pseudomonal adherence to epithelial cells. The increased adherence varied from 1.2- to 8.2-fold in case of previous RSV infection, and from 1.7- to 16.1-fold in case of simultaneous addition. We observed direct binding of RSV to P. aeruginosa, and blocking of RSV with heparin eliminated the effect on increased adherence. This suggests that RSV possibly acts as a coupling agent between P. aeruginosa and epithelial cells. In conclusion, RSV enhances P. aeruginosa infection of respiratory epithelial cells. It suggests a role of specific viral-bacterial interactions in exacerbations of CF lung disease, which could have important implications on prevention and treatment.

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