Relationship of upper and lower airway cytokines to outcome of experimental rhinovirus infection

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 Dec;162(6):2226-31. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.162.6.2003019.


To test the hypothesis that rhinovirus (RV)-induced immune responses influence the outcome of RV infections, we inoculated 22 subjects with allergic rhinitis or asthma with RV16. Nasal secretions and induced sputum were repeatedly sampled over the next 14 d. RV16 infection increased nasal granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and interleukin (IL)-8, which was accompanied by neutrophilia in blood and nasal secretions. Nasal G-CSF correlated closely with increased blood neutrophils (r(s) = 0.69, p < 0.005), whereas nasal neutrophils correlated with both G-CSF (r(s) = 0.87, p < 0.001) and IL-8 (r(s) = 0.75, p < 0.001). Although similar relationships were present in sputum, changes in sputum neutrophils and G-CSF with RV16 infection were relatively modest. In addition, virus-induced changes in the sputum interferon-gamma-to-IL-5 messenger RNA ratio were inversely related to both peak cold symptoms (r(s) = -0.60, p < 0.005) and the time to viral clearance (undetectable picornavirus RNA). These results indicate that airway IL-8 and G-CSF are closely associated with virus-induced neutrophilic inflammation during an experimental RV infection in atopic volunteers. In addition, the balance of airway T-helper cell type 1 (Th1)- and Th2-like cytokines induced by RV infection may help determine the clinical outcome of common cold infections, raising the possibility that the individual subject's immune response, rather than atopic status per se, is important in this regard.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Base Sequence
  • Bronchi / immunology*
  • Common Cold / immunology*
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Nose / immunology*
  • Patient Selection
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology
  • Rhinovirus*
  • Sputum / chemistry
  • Time Factors


  • Cytokines