Role of deficient type III interferon-lambda production in asthma exacerbations

Nat Med. 2006 Sep;12(9):1023-6. doi: 10.1038/nm1462. Epub 2006 Aug 13.


Rhinoviruses are the major cause of asthma exacerbations, and asthmatics have increased susceptibility to rhinovirus and risk of invasive bacterial infections. Here we show deficient induction of interferon-lambdas by rhinovirus in asthmatic primary bronchial epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages, which was highly correlated with severity of rhinovirus-induced asthma exacerbation and virus load in experimentally infected human volunteers. Induction by lipopolysaccharide in asthmatic macrophages was also deficient and correlated with exacerbation severity. These results identify previously unknown mechanisms of susceptibility to infection in asthma and suggest new approaches to prevention and/or treatment of asthma exacerbations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Picornaviridae Infections / complications*
  • Rhinovirus / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • interferon-lambda, human
  • Interleukins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Interferons