Comprehensive analyses of host, viral, and immune factors associated with severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in adults have not been performed.
Adults with RSV infection identified in both outpatient and inpatient settings were evaluated. Upper and lower respiratory tract virus load, duration of virus shedding, select mucosal chemokine and cytokine levels, humoral and mucosal immunoglobulin responses, and systemic T-cell responses were measured.
A total of 111 RSV-infected adults (61 outpatients and 50 hospitalized patients) were evaluated. Hospitalized subjects shed virus in nasal secretions at higher titers and for longer durations than less ill outpatients, had greater mucosal interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels throughout infection, and had higher macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α) levels early in infection. Persons >64 years old and those with more severe disease had a higher frequency of activated T cells in the blood than younger, less ill subjects at infection. Multivariate analysis found that the presence of underlying medical conditions, female sex, increased mucosal IL-6 level, and longer duration of virus shedding were associated with severe disease. Older age and increased nasal MIP-1α levels were of borderline statistical significance.
Multiple factors, but not older age, are independently associated with severe RSV infection in adults. The presence of underlying medical conditions had the greatest influence on disease severity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important cause of infantile bronchiolitis and a major pathogen in elderly and immunosuppressed persons. Although RSV shows limited antigenic diversity, repeated infections occur throughout life. Vaccine development has been delayed by poor immunogenicity, production issues and the fear of causing enhanced disease. T cells assist in viral clearance, but immune regulation serves to limit these responses and to prevent the exaggerated inflammatory response to RSV infection seen in children with bronchiolitis. Severe RSV disease can therefore be regarded as a dysregulated response to an otherwise trivial infection. Further insights into the role of T cells (including Th17) are needed to enable the rational design of safe, effective vaccines and novel treatments.
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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of viral lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under the age of 5. Studies examining RSV infection in susceptible BALB/c mice indicate that both CD4 and CD8 T cells not only contribute to viral clearance but also facilitate RSV-induced disease. However, efforts to understand the mechanisms by which RSV-specific T cells mediate disease following acute RSV infection have been hampered by the lack of defined RSV-specific T cell epitopes. Using an overlapping peptide library spanning each of the RSV-derived proteins, intracellular cytokine staining for gamma interferon was utilized to identify novel RSV-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell epitopes. Five novel CD8 T cell epitopes were revealed within the RSV fusion (F) protein and glycoprotein (G). In addition, five previously unidentified CD4 T cell epitopes were discovered, including epitopes in the phosphoprotein (P), polymerase protein (L), M2-1 protein, and nucleoprotein (N). Though the initial CD4 T cell epitopes were 15 amino acids in length, synthesis of longer peptides increased the frequency of responding CD4 T cells. Our results indicate that CD4 T cell epitopes that are 17 amino acids in length result in more optimal CD4 T cell stimulation than the commonly used 15-mer peptides.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infection in children. T cells play a critical role in clearing an acute RSV infection, as well as contributing to RSV-induced disease. Here we examined the breadth of the RSV-specific T cell response, using for the first time an overlapping peptide library spanning the entire viral genome. We identified 5 new CD4 and 5 new CD8 T cell epitopes, including a CD8 T cell epitope within the G protein that was previously believed not to elicit a CD8 T cell response. Importantly, we also demonstrated that the use of longer, 17-mer peptides elicits a higher frequency of responding CD4 T cells than the more commonly used 15-mer peptides. Our results demonstrate the breadth of the CD4 and CD8 T cell response to RSV and demonstrate the importance of using longer peptides when stimulating CD4 T cell responses.
Journal of Virology 12/2013; 88(6). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02139-13 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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