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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Influence of viral infection on the development of nasal hypersensitivity


Yoshitaka Okamoto, Department of Otolaryngology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


Background The underlying relationship between viral infections and allergic diseases of the upper respiratory tract has not been well clarified.

Methods In order to clarify the relationship between viral infection and nasal hypersensitivity, mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) and then infected intranasally with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), after which their nasal sensitivity to histamine or antigen was examined.

Results Non-sensitized mice showed transient mild nasal hypersensitivity following nasal administration of histamine after intranasal RSV inoculation. In mice sensitized with OVA, RSV infection significantly exaggerated their nasal hypersensitivity to histamine and OVA. Treatment of these mice with a neurokinin (NK)-1/NK-2 receptor antagonist, but not with anti-IL-5 antibodies, reduced their hypersensitivity. The infiltration of nasal mucosa with eosinophils was temporarily associated with accelerated rate of RSV elimination in these animals.

Conclusion RSV infection induced transient nasal hypersensitivity. Several mechanisms, including impairment of nasal epithelial cells are thought to mediate this effect. In allergen-sensitized mice, RSV inoculation strongly enhanced nasal hypersensitivity.

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