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J Clin Virol. 2020 Feb;123:104258. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2019.104258. Epub 2019 Dec 31.

Neutrophil-endothelial interactions in respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis: An understudied aspect with a potential for prediction of severity of disease.

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Academic Pediatric Center Suriname, Academic Hospital Paramaribo, Paramaribo, Suriname. Electronic address:
Department of Microbiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Pediatrics, Tergooi Hospitals, Blaricum, The Netherlands.
Department of Critical Care, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) causes significant morbidity and mortality among young infants worldwide. It is currently widely accepted that neutrophil influx into the airways is a hallmark of the pathophysiology. However, the exact mechanism of neutrophil migration from the vasculature into the alveolar space in RSV LRTI has received little attention. Data shows that endothelial cells become activated upon RSV infection, driving a 'pro-adhesive state' for circulating neutrophils with upregulation of endothelial intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). During RSV LRTI different subsets of immature and mature neutrophils are present in the bloodstream, that upregulate integrins lymphocyte-function associated antigen (LFA)-1 and macrophage (Mac)-1, serving as ICAM-1 ligands. An alveolar gradient of interleukin-8 may serve as a potent chemoattractant for circulating neutrophils. Neutrophils from lung aspirates of RSV-infected infants show further signs of inflammatory and migratory activation, while soluble endothelial cell adhesion molecules (sCAMs), such as sICAM-1, have become measurable in the systemic circulation. Whether these mechanisms are solely responsible for neutrophil migration into the alveolar space remains under debate. However, data indicate that the currently postulated neutrophil influx into the lungs should rather be regarded as a neutrophil efflux from the vasculature, involving substantial neutrophil-endothelial interactions. Molecular patterns of these interactions may be clinically useful to predict outcomes of RSV LRTI and deserve further study.


Bronchiolitis; Neutrophils; Pro-inflammatory endothelial activation; Respiratory syncytial virus


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