Background Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection may influence the development of recurrent wheezing and atopy, but the mechanisms are unclear.
Objective The purpose was to evaluate serum concentrations of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), CD14, IgE, IL-5 and IFN-γ in children 6–10 years after an RSV infection and their correlation with subsequent asthma and atopy.
Methods Fifty-one subjects admitted to hospital for RSV infection during the first year of life and controls matched for birth date and sex underwent clinical examinations including lung function, skin prick and blood tests.
Results The RSV subjects had significantly higher serum concentrations of IFN-γ and sICAM-1 than the controls (for IFN-γ 224.9 pg/mL (standard deviation (SD) 271.3) vs. 187.1 pg/mL (372.9), difference 37.8 pg/mL, 95% confidence interval (CI) −90.3 to 166.0, P=0.05; for sICAM-1 170.2 ng/mL (SD 63) vs. 147.8 ng/mL (SD 57), difference 22.4 ng/mL, 95% CI −1.4 to 46.1, P=0.04). The RSV subjects with asthma had significantly higher concentrations of IFN-γ than the controls with asthma, and the RSV subjects with wheezing during the previous 12 months had significantly higher concentrations of both IFN-γ and sICAM-1 than the controls with wheezing.
Conclusions Children hospitalized for RSV infection in infancy still differ in IFN-γ and sICAM-1 production 6–10 years after the infection. The data suggest that the pathomechanism of asthma and wheezing after an early RSV infection may be different from that of children without an early RSV infection.