Background: IL-13 is a central mediator of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), but its role in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-induced AHR is not defined. The combination of allergen exposure and RSV infection is known to increase AHR and lung inflammation, but whether IL-13 regulates this increase is similarly not known. Objective: Our objective was to determine the role of RSV infection and IL-13 on airway responsiveness and lung inflammation on sensitized and challenged mice. Methods: Using a murine model of RSV infection and allergen exposure, we examined the role of IL-13 in the development of AHR and lung inflammation in IL-13 knockout mice, as well as using a potent IL-13 inhibitor (IL-13i). Mice were sensitized and challenged to allergen, and 6 days after the last challenge, they were infected with RSV. IL-13 was inhibited using an IL-13 receptor α2-human IgG fusion protein. AHR to inhaled methacholine was measured 6 days after infection, as was bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung inflammatory and cytokine responses. Results: RSV-induced AHR was unaffected by the IL-13i, despite prevention of goblet cell hyperplasia. Similar results were seen in IL-13-deficient mice. In sensitized and challenged mice, RSV infection significantly increased AHR, and after IL-13i treatment, AHR was significantly reduced, but to the levels seen in RSV-infected mice alone. Conclusions: These results indicate that despite some similarities, the mechanisms leading to AHR induced by RSV are different from those that follow allergen sensitization and challenge. Because IL-13 inhibition is effective in preventing the increases in AHR and mucus production in sensitized and challenged mice infected with RSV, IL-13i could play an important role in preventing the consequences of viral infection in patients with allergic asthma.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by NIH grants HL-61005, HL-36577, and EPA grant R825702.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy