Different cytokine profile and eosinophil activation are involved in rhinovirus- and RS virus-induced acute exacerbation of childhood wheezing

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Feb;22(1 Pt 2):e87-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.01026.x.


Because little information is available on eosinophil activation and cytokine response in virus-induced wheezing, we attempted to detect respiratory viruses and measure eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), and 27 types of cytokines/chemokines in both serum and nasal secretions from children with wheezing. This study was an observational, case-control investigation of 267 subjects, who were visited and/or hospitalized with acute respiratory symptoms (with wheezing: men, 115; women, 59; mean/median age, 3.6/3.0 years) or who were visited for regular physical examination and treatment (non-symptomatic wheezing: men, 48; women, 31; mean/median, 5.0/4.7 years), and 14 control subjects (controls: men, 9; women, 5; mean/median, 3.6/3.7 years). We detected viruses in nasal secretions from 174 patients with acute exacerbations of wheezing using antigen detection kits or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, followed by direct DNA sequencing analysis. We measured peripheral eosinophil counts, and serum concentrations of ECP and 27 cytokines/chemokines using a multiplex bead-based assay in patients with wheezing or non-symptomatic wheezing. We also examined nasal ECP and 27 cytokines/chemokines in patients with wheezing. Of 174 samples from wheezing exacerbations, rhinovirus was detected in 59; respiratory syncytial (RS) virus in 44; enterovirus in 17; other viruses in 19; and no viruses in 35. Serum concentrations of ECP, IL-5, IL-6, IL-1ra, and IP-10 were significantly elevated in rhinovirus-induced wheezing compared with non-symptomatic wheezing. Similarly, serum ECP, IL-5, and IP-10 were significantly higher in rhinovirus-induced wheezing than in controls. On the other hand, IL-1ra and IP-10, but not ECP and IL-5 were significantly higher in RS virus-induced wheezing than in controls. Furthermore, only IL-5 was significantly elevated in the rhinovirus group compared with the RS virus group in both serum and nasal secretions. Different cytokine profile and eosinophil activation might be involved in rhinovirus- and RS virus-induced acute exacerbation of childhood wheezing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Common Cold / complications*
  • Common Cold / diagnosis
  • Common Cold / immunology
  • Common Cold / virology
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Eosinophil Cationic Protein / blood
  • Eosinophil Cationic Protein / metabolism
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / complications*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / genetics
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / immunology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Rhinovirus / genetics
  • Rhinovirus / immunology
  • Rhinovirus / isolation & purification*


  • Cytokines
  • Eosinophil Cationic Protein