Monocyte IL-10 production during respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis is associated with recurrent wheezing in a one-year follow-up study

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 May;161(5):1518-23. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.161.5.9904078.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis is associated with subsequent recurrent wheezing episodes. To determine whether cytokine responses during infection can be of predictive value for the development of recurrent wheezing, we performed a follow-up study in 50 hospitalized children with RSV bronchiolitis. Monocyte and lymphocyte cytokine responses in vitro were studied during the acute phase of disease, and again during the convalescent phase, 3 to 4 wk later. Monocyte cytokine responses, including interleukin-10 (IL-10), were measured in whole blood cultures, stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma (LPS + IFN-gamma). In addition, T-cell cytokine responses, including IFN-gamma and IL-4 production, were measured in whole-blood cultures stimulated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) or alphaCD2 + alphaCD28. Cytokine responses were analyzed in relation to the development of recurrent episodes of wheezing, documented by parents in a diary during a 1-yr follow-up period. IL-10 responses during the acute phase of RSV bronchiolitis were comparable to those in healthy control subjects. During the convalescent phase, IL-10 responses were significantly increased in patients as compared with those in healthy control subjects (p < 0.001). At follow-up, 27 children (58%) had recurrent episodes of wheezing. IL-10 levels, measured during the convalescent phase, were significantly higher in patients who developed recurrent wheezing during the year after RSV bronchiolitis than in patients without recurrent episodes of wheezing (p = 0.006). Moreover, IL-10 responses during the convalescent phase correlated significantly with the number of wheezing episodes (r = 0.42, n = 46, p = 0.004). Interestingly, no association was found between IFN-gamma responses, IL-4 responses, or IFNgamma/IL-4 ratios and recurrent wheezing. We conclude that monocyte IL-10 responses in vitro upon stimulation with nonspecific stimuli may have predictive value for the development of recurrent wheezing after RSV bronchiolitis. Moreover, our results indicate that not only allergen-driven Th2 cytokine responses can lead to asthmatic symptoms but also virus-induced changes in cytokine responses may result in asthmatic symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / complications
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Convalescence
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma