Document Type


Publication Date



Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes significant morbidity and mortality in infants worldwide. Severe RSV infections in infants cause bronchiolitis, wheeze, and/or cough and significantly increase the risk for developing asthma. RSV pathogenesis is thought to be due to a Th2-type immune response initiated in response to RSV infection, specifically in the infant. Using a neonatal mouse system as an appropriate model for human infants, we sought to determine whether local inhibition of IL-4Rα expression during primary RSV infection in the neonate would prevent Th2-skewed responses to secondary RSV infection and improve longterm pulmonary function. To reduce IL-4Rα expression, antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) specific for IL-4Rα were administered intranasally to neonatal mice at the time of primary infection. Mice were initially infected with RSV at 1 wk of age and were reinfected at 6 wk of age. Administration of IL-4Rα ASOs during primary RSV infection in neonatal mice abolished the pulmonary dysfunction normally observed following reinfection in the adult. This ablation of pulmonary dysfunction correlated with a persistent rebalancing of the Th cell compartment with decreased Th2 responses (i.e., reduced goblet cell hyperplasia, Th2 cells, and cytokine secretion) and increased Th1 responses (i.e., elevated Th1 cell numbers and type I Abs and cytokines). Our data support our hypothesis that a reduction in the Th2 immune response during primary infection in neonates prevents Th2-mediated pulmonary pathology initially and upon reinfection and further suggest that vaccine strategies incorporating IL-4Rα ASOs may be of significant benefit to infants. Copyright © 2010 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Immunology

First Page


Last Page