Human Rhinovirus Infection Enhances the Th2 Environment in Allergic and Non-allergic Patients with Chronic Rhinosinusitis

Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 May;14(2):217-224. doi: 10.21053/ceo.2020.00444. Epub 2020 Sep 11.


Objectives: This study was conducted to determine whether patients with allergic rhinitis might be more susceptible to human rhinovirus (HRV) infection and whether the effects of infection on the elicited immune responses are different in allergic and non-allergic patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

Methods: Uncinate process tissues were obtained from 61 CRS patients (of whom 39 had allergies and 22 did not) and were infected with HRV-16 using an air-liquid interface organ culture system. The expression levels of programmed cell death-ligand (PD-L)1, PD-L2, intracellular adhesion molecule 1, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-10 were evaluated in the infected nasal mucosa.

Results: The HRV infection rates were not significantly different between the allergy (74.4%) and non-allergy (72.7%) groups. In the allergy group, the expression of PD-L1 (P=0.013) and IL-10 (P=0.040) was significantly elevated in the HRV-infected tissues, and there was a strong correlation between PD-L1 and IL-10 (r=0.868, P<0.001). In contrast, infected tissues from the non-allergy group displayed increased levels of IL-4 (P=0.039), IL-5 (P=0.023), and IFN-γ (P=0.031), as well as an increased IL-4/IFN-γ ratio, after HRV infection (P=0.043).

Conclusion: This study showed that HRV infection rates were similar in the nasal mucosa of patients with CRS regardless of the presence of allergic rhinitis. HRV infection enhanced the Th2 environment by modulating PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression levels in allergic mucosa and by increasing the IL-4/IFN-γ ratio in non-allergic mucosa.

Keywords: Allergic Rhinitis; B7-H1 Antigen; Respiratory Tract Infection; Rhinovirus; Sinusitis.