Author(s): Mejas A, ChvezBueno S, Gmez AM, Somers C, Estripeaut D,
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Abstract Several studies have described a clear association between respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract infection in infancy and the subsequent development of persistent wheezing in children. Using the mouse model we demonstrated that RSV induces long-term airway disease characterized by chronic airway inflammation and airway hyperreactivity (AHR). The RSV murine model offers great advantages to study the immunopathogenesis of RSV-induced long-term airway disease. Mice can be challenged with aerosolized methylcholine to determine the presence of AHR. We can apply the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay (RT-PCR) to detect RSV RNA in the respiratory tract and we can perform lung gene expression analysis to further characterize the chronic changes induced by RSV infection. Compared with sham-inoculated controls, RSV-infected mice developed chronic airway disease characterized by AHR and persistent airway inflammation. Forty-two days after RSV infection, a time point when RSV could no longer be isolated, RT-PCR demonstrated, quite unexpectedly, the presence of RSV RNA in the lower respiratory tract of mice. The presence of genomic RNA persisted for months after inoculation. Furthermore, preliminary studies also demonstrated that on day 42 there were a number of genes differentially expressed in RSV-infected mice compared with controls. RSV-infected mice with persistent AHR exhibited presence of abnormal chronic inflammatory changes, altered gene expression profiles, and persistence of RSV RNA, which may contribute to long-term airway disease induced by RSV. Future studies are needed to define the significance of persistent RSV RNA in the mouse model, and its potential role in the pathogenesis of RSV-induced persistent wheezing in children.
This article was published in Pediatr Infect Dis J
and referenced in Virology & Mycology