Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory tract disease in infants, aged adults, and immunosuppressed patients. The only approved medicines for RSV disease are administration of prophylatic antibodies or treatment with a synthetic nucleoside. Both approaches are expensive and the latter is not without risk and of controversial benefit. The present investigation studied whether pharmaceutical or biologic compounds based upon chemokines might be useful in preventing RSV disease. Of interest was RANTES/CCL5, which inhibits infection by HIV strains that use chemokine receptor (CCR)-5 as co-receptor. Herein, we report that prior or simultaneous treatment of HEp-2 cells with recombinant human CCL5 provides dose-dependent inhibition of infection with RSV. Other recombinant chemokines (MIP-1alpha/CCL3, MIP-1beta/CCL4, MCP-2/CCL8, eotaxin/CCL11, MIP-1delta/CCL15, stromal cell derived factor (SDF)-1alpha/CXCL12) were not inhibitory. The data suggested that CCL5 might inhibit infection by blocking fusion (F) protein-epithelial cell interactions. Infections by mutant RSV strains deleted of small hydrophobic and/or attachment proteins and only expressing F protein in the envelope were inhibited by prior treatment with CCL5 or a biologically inactive N-terminally modified met-CCL5. Inhibition was also observed when virus adsorption and treatment with CCL5 were performed at 4 degrees C. Flow cytometry further revealed that epithelial cells were positive for CCR3, but not CCR1 or CCR5. Thus, novel mimetics of CCL5 may be useful prophylatic agents to prevent respiratory tract disease caused by RSV.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.