Amplified rhinovirus colds in atopic subjects

Clin Exp Allergy. 1994 May;24(5):457-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1994.tb00934.x.


Evidence suggests that atopic individuals may be predisposed to more severe rhinoviral colds coupled to a worsening of existing airway disease than those with asthma. The role of atopy and IgE levels, as well as their relationship to clinical disease expression have not been defined. We hypothesized that an allergic diathesis modulates rhinoviral colds and have initiated studies of normal, atopic and asthmatic subjects employing experimental rhinoviral infection, with measurements of symptom scores, viral shedding and cultures, albumin in nasal washes and serological responses. Twenty-two subjects (11 normal, 5 atopic, 6 atopic and asthmatic) participated and were inoculated with human rhinovirus serotype 16 (HRV 16). Measurements of neutralizing antibody and viral culture were performed at screening, pre-inoculation, during the cold and at 8-10 weeks convalescence. Daily symptoms were noted, nasal washes done, IgE measured and atopy was diagnosed by skin tests. Seventeen volunteers developed clinical colds as assessed by symptom scores, virus shedding was demonstrated (with positive culture) in all subjects and a fourfold or higher seroconversion occurred in 11/22. Neutralizing HRV antibody developed unexpectedly in 10 subjects between screening and inoculation and the presence of absence of this pre-inoculation antibody determined subsequent severity of colds in normal but not in atopic subjects. Atopic antibody positive individuals developed severe clinical colds that were independent of preinoculation antibody in contrast to normal subjects who developed mild colds in the presence of a neutralizing antibody (P = 0.01). Both atopic and normal antibody negative subjects developed severe colds.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Common Cold / immunology*
  • Common Cold / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / microbiology
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / microbiology
  • Rhinovirus / immunology
  • Rhinovirus / physiology
  • Virus Cultivation
  • Virus Shedding


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin E