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      Role of viral respiratory infections in asthma and asthma exacerbations

      review-article

      , Prof, MD a , * , , MD a , b , , MD a , b

      Lancet (London, England)

      Elsevier Ltd.

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          Summary

          Viral respiratory tract infections are common and usually selflimited illnesses. For patients at risk of asthma, or with existing asthma, viral respiratory tract infections can have a profound effect on the expression of disease or loss of control. New evidence has shown that wheezing episodes early in life due to human rhinoviruses are a major risk factor for the later diagnosis of asthma at age 6 years. For those with existing asthma, exacerbations are a major cause of morbidity, can need acute care, and can, albeit rarely, result in death. Viral respiratory tract infections, predominantly those caused by human rhinoviruses, are associated with asthma exacerbations. There is also evidence that deficiencies in antiviral activity and the integrity of the airway epithelial barrier could make individuals with asthma more likely to have severe viral respiratory infections of the lower airway, and thus increase the risk of exacerbation. In view of the effect of respiratory viruses on many aspects of asthma, efforts to understand the mechanisms and risk factors by which these airway infections cause changes in airway pathophysiology are a first step towards improved treatment.

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          Most cited references 68

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          Community study of role of viral infections in exacerbations of asthma in 9-11 year old children.

          To study the association between upper and lower respiratory viral infections and acute exacerbations of asthma in schoolchildren in the community. Community based 13 month longitudinal study using diary card respiratory symptom and peak expiratory flow monitoring to allow early sampling for viruses. 108 Children aged 9-11 years who had reported wheeze or cough, or both, in a questionnaire. Southampton and surrounding community. Upper and lower respiratory viral infections detected by polymerase chain reaction or conventional methods, reported exacerbations of asthma, computer identified episodes of respiratory tract symptoms or peak flow reductions. Viruses were detected in 80% of reported episodes of reduced peak expiratory flow, 80% of reported episodes of wheeze, and in 85% of reported episodes of upper respiratory symptoms, cough, wheeze, and a fall in peak expiratory flow. The median duration of reported falls in peak expiratory flow was 14 days, and the median maximum fall in peak expiratory flow was 81 l/min. The most commonly identified virus type was rhinovirus. This study supports the hypothesis that upper respiratory viral infections are associated with 80-85% of asthma exacerbations in school age children.
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            Wheezing rhinovirus illnesses in early life predict asthma development in high-risk children.

            Virus-induced wheezing episodes in infancy often precede the development of asthma. Whether infections with specific viral pathogens confer differential future asthma risk is incompletely understood. To define the relationship between specific viral illnesses and early childhood asthma development. A total of 259 children were followed prospectively from birth to 6 years of age. The etiology and timing of specific viral wheezing respiratory illnesses during early childhood were assessed using nasal lavage, culture, and multiplex reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The relationships of these virus-specific wheezing illnesses and other risk factors to the development of asthma were analyzed. Viral etiologies were identified in 90% of wheezing illnesses. From birth to age 3 years, wheezing with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (odds ratio [OR], 2.6), rhinovirus (RV) (OR, 9.8), or both RV and RSV (OR , 10) was associated with increased asthma risk at age 6 years. In Year 1, both RV wheezing (OR, 2.8) and aeroallergen sensitization (OR, 3.6) independently increased asthma risk at age 6 years. By age 3 years, wheezing with RV (OR, 25.6) was more strongly associated with asthma at age 6 years than aeroallergen sensitization (OR, 3.4). Nearly 90% (26 of 30) of children who wheezed with RV in Year 3 had asthma at 6 years of age. Among outpatient viral wheezing illnesses in infancy and early childhood, those caused by RV infections are the most significant predictors of the subsequent development of asthma at age 6 years in a high-risk birth cohort.
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              Asthmatic bronchial epithelial cells have a deficient innate immune response to infection with rhinovirus

              Rhinoviruses are the major trigger of acute asthma exacerbations and asthmatic subjects are more susceptible to these infections. To investigate the underlying mechanisms of this increased susceptibility, we examined virus replication and innate responses to rhinovirus (RV)-16 infection of primary bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatic and healthy control subjects. Viral RNA expression and late virus release into supernatant was increased 50- and 7-fold, respectively in asthmatic cells compared with healthy controls. Virus infection induced late cell lysis in asthmatic cells but not in normal cells. Examination of the early cellular response to infection revealed impairment of virus induced caspase 3/7 activity and of apoptotic responses in the asthmatic cultures. Inhibition of apoptosis in normal cultures resulted in enhanced viral yield, comparable to that seen in infected asthmatic cultures. Examination of early innate immune responses revealed profound impairment of virus-induced interferon-β mRNA expression in asthmatic cultures and they produced >2.5 times less interferon-β protein. In infected asthmatic cells, exogenous interferon-β induced apoptosis and reduced virus replication, demonstrating a causal link between deficient interferon-β, impaired apoptosis and increased virus replication. These data suggest a novel use for type I interferons in the treatment or prevention of virus-induced asthma exacerbations.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Lancet
                Lancet
                Lancet (London, England)
                Elsevier Ltd.
                0140-6736
                1474-547X
                2 September 2010
                4-10 September 2010
                2 September 2010
                : 376
                : 9743
                : 826-834
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
                [b ]Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Prof William W Busse, University of Wisconsin Hospital, K4/910 CSC, MC 9988, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792, USA wwb@ 123456medicine.wisc.edu
                Article
                S0140-6736(10)61380-3
                10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61380-3
                2972660
                20816549
                262c9552-8c6c-47f9-8a69-0f0ab18e2cc1
                Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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