Individual Variation in Antiviral Response Present at Birth

Differences in innate immune response may predict susceptibility to respiratory illness during first year

FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Congenital variations in innate immunity, which are detectable at birth, might predict an infant's susceptibility to acute respiratory tract illness during the first year of life, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Kaharu Sumino, M.D., M.P.H., from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues studied 82 inner-city children with at least one parent with allergy or asthma. At 24 hours after inoculation with respiratory syncytial virus, cord blood monocytes were cultured and assessed for IFNG and CCL5 mRNA production. The frequency of acute respiratory tract illness was monitored at three-month intervals, and at the time of illness during the first year, nasal lavage samples were analyzed.

The researchers found that 88 percent of subjects were reported to have respiratory tract infections, and respiratory tract viruses were identified in 74 percent of symptomatic children. A wide range of antiviral responses were recorded in cord blood monocytes. In response to respiratory syncytial virus infection of monocytes, a decrease in production of IFNG, but not CCL5, mRNA correlated with a significant increase in the frequency of upper respiratory tract infections as well as the prevalence of ear and sinus infections, pneumonias, and respiratory-related hospitalizations.

"Individual variations in the innate immune response to respiratory tract viruses are detectable even at birth, and these differences predict the susceptibility to acute respiratory tract illness during the first year of life," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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