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© 2018, The Author(s). Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is the most frequent cause of hospitalization in infants and young children worldwide. Although mucosal RSV vaccines can reduce RSV disease burden, little is known about mucosal immune response capabilities in children. Neonatal or adult mice were infected with RSV; a subset of neonatal mice received interferon alpha (IFN-α) (intranasal) prior to RSV infection. B cells, B cell activating factor (BAFF) and IgA were measured by flow cytometry. RSV specific IgA was measured in nasal washes. Nasal associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) and lungs were stained for BAFF and IgA. Herein, we show in a mouse model of RSV infection that IFN-α plays a dual role as an antiviral and immune modulator and age-related differences in IgA production upon RSV infection can be overcome by IFN-α administration. IFN-α administration before RSV infection in neonatal mice increased RSV-specific IgA production in the nasal mucosa and induced expression of the B-cell activating factor BAFF in NALT. These findings are important, as mucosal antibodies at the infection site, and not serum antibodies, have been shown to protect human adults from experimental RSV infection.

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Scientific Reports