Differences in the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-induced lower respiratory disease in infants have been attributed to multiple environmental and genetic factors. To identify the genetic factor(s) influencing RSV susceptibility, we examined RSV infection in eight inbred mouse strains. Lung RSV titers differed significantly between mouse strains: the RSV titers were 15-fold higher in AKR/J (permissive) mice compared with C57BL/6J (resistant) mice at 4 days after inoculation. This strain-specific difference in RSV titers suggested that susceptibility to RSV infection was attributable to genetic differences between strains. To examine the mode of inheritance of RSV susceptibility, F1 and backcross (F1 x AKR/J) progeny were infected and RSV titers determined. RSV titers in the F1 progeny were similar to those found in the resistant (C57BL/6J) parent, suggesting resistance was inherited as a dominant trait. The distribution of RSV titers in backcross progeny were discordant with that predicted for a single gene effect, suggesting susceptibility was influenced by more than one gene. These data suggest that RSV susceptibility is a multigenic trait that should be amenable to resolution by genomic analysis.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.