Respiratory syncytial virus-induced airway hyperresponsiveness is independent of IL-13 compared with that induced by allergen

Jung Won Park, Christian Taube, Eun Seok Yang, Anthony Joetham, Annette Balhorn, Katsuyuki Takeda, Nobuaki Miyahara, Azzeddine Dakhama, Debra D. Donaldson, Erwin W. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: IL-13 is a central mediator of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), but its role in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-induced AHR is not defined. The combination of allergen exposure and RSV infection is known to increase AHR and lung inflammation, but whether IL-13 regulates this increase is similarly not known. Objective: Our objective was to determine the role of RSV infection and IL-13 on airway responsiveness and lung inflammation on sensitized and challenged mice. Methods: Using a murine model of RSV infection and allergen exposure, we examined the role of IL-13 in the development of AHR and lung inflammation in IL-13 knockout mice, as well as using a potent IL-13 inhibitor (IL-13i). Mice were sensitized and challenged to allergen, and 6 days after the last challenge, they were infected with RSV. IL-13 was inhibited using an IL-13 receptor α2-human IgG fusion protein. AHR to inhaled methacholine was measured 6 days after infection, as was bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung inflammatory and cytokine responses. Results: RSV-induced AHR was unaffected by the IL-13i, despite prevention of goblet cell hyperplasia. Similar results were seen in IL-13-deficient mice. In sensitized and challenged mice, RSV infection significantly increased AHR, and after IL-13i treatment, AHR was significantly reduced, but to the levels seen in RSV-infected mice alone. Conclusions: These results indicate that despite some similarities, the mechanisms leading to AHR induced by RSV are different from those that follow allergen sensitization and challenge. Because IL-13 inhibition is effective in preventing the increases in AHR and mucus production in sensitized and challenged mice infected with RSV, IL-13i could play an important role in preventing the consequences of viral infection in patients with allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1087
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway hyperresponsiveness
  • IL-13
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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