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Keywords:

  • Asthma;
  • chemokines;
  • interleukins;
  • viral lung infection

Background

Respiratory viral infections can induce different cytokine/chemokine profiles in lung tissues and have a significant influence on patients with asthma. There is little information about the systemic cytokine status in viral respiratory-infected asthmatic patients compared with non-asthmatic patients.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to determine changes in circulating cytokines (IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-5) and chemokines (MCP1: monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and RANTES: regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted) in patients with an asthmatic versus a non-asthmatic background with respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus or adenovirus respiratory infection. In addition, human monocyte cultures were incubated with respiratory viruses to determine the cytokine/chemokine profiles.

Patients/Methods

Patients with asthmatic (n = 34) and non-asthmatic (n = 18) history and respiratory infections with respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus were studied. Healthy individuals with similar age and sex (n = 10) were used as controls. Cytokine/chemokine content in blood and culture supernatants was determined by ELISA. Monocytes were isolated by Hystopaque gradient and cocultured with each of the above-mentioned viruses.

Results

Similar increased cytokine concentrations were observed in asthmatic and non-asthmatic patients. However, higher concentrations of chemokines were observed in asthmatic patients. Virus-infected monocyte cultures showed similar cytokine/chemokine profiles to those observed in the patients.

Conclusions

Circulating cytokine profiles induced by acute viral lung infection were not related to asthmatic status, except for chemokines that were already increased in the asthmatic status. Monocytes could play an important role in the increased circulating concentration of cytokines found during respiratory viral infections.