Ameliorating Effect of Dietary Xylitol on Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (hRSV) Infection

Biol Pharm Bull. 2016;39(4):540-6. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b15-00773.


Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants. The lack of proper prophylactics and therapeutics for controlling hRSV infection has been of great concern worldwide. Xylitol is a well-known sugar substitute and its effect against bacteria in the oral cavity is well known. However, little is known of its effect on viral infections. In this study, the effect of dietary xylitol on hRSV infection was investigated in a mouse model for the first time. Mice received xylitol for 14 d prior to virus challenge and for a further 3 d post challenge. Significantly larger reductions in lung virus titers were observed in the mice receiving xylitol than in the controls receiving phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). In addition, fewer CD3(+) and CD3(+)CD8(+) lymphocytes, whose numbers reflect inflammatory status, were recruited in the mice receiving xylitol. These results indicate that dietary xylitol can ameliorate hRSV infections and reduce inflammation-associated immune responses to hRSV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / virology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Panax
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Xylitol / pharmacology
  • Xylitol / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Xylitol