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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2012;157(1):21-30. doi: 10.1159/000324676. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Effect of respiratory syncytial virus infection on plasmacytoid dendritic cell regulation of allergic airway inflammation.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Japan.



Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can infect myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) and regulate their function in the development of allergy. It has been widely reported that plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) play a critical role in antiviral innate immunity. In contrast, not much is known about the role of pDCs in the interaction between allergy and viral infection. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of RSV infection on pDC function in the regulation of allergic airway inflammation in a murine model of Dermatophagoides farinae-sensitized allergic asthma.


Splenic pDCs isolated from D. farinae-sensitized donor mice were infected with live RSV ex vivo. Subsequently, these pDCs were inoculated into the airways of D. farinae-sensitized recipient mice. Lung pathology, lung tissue cytokine profiles, the number of regulatory T cells (T(reg)) and mDCs as well as the effects of IL-10 neutralization in the lung tissue of recipient mice were determined.


Intranasal inoculation of D. farinae-sensitized pDCs significantly inhibited the development of allergic airway inflammation and both Th1 and Th2 immunity. Live RSV infection of these pDCs prior to inoculation interfered with their inhibitory effects through decreasing T(reg) and IL-10 and increasing mDCs.


In asthmatic airways, pDCs mediate tolerance to inhaled allergens through the regulation of T(reg), IL-10 and mDCs. RSV infection of pDCs potentially inhibits their immunotolerogenic effects and thus exacerbates allergic airway inflammation.

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