Amplified rhinovirus colds in atopic subjects

P. G. Bardin, D. J. Fraenkel, G. Sanderson, M. Dorward, L. C.K. Lau, S. L. Johnston, S. T. Holgate

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Abstract

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 or 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. This differential response was matched by nasal wash albumin levels which were significantly increased (P = 0.01) during the cold in atopic (but not in normal) volunteers with pre-inoculation antibody. Levels of IgE were not correlated with severity of clinical disease or viral shedding. Our studies of HRV disease in atopic subjects suggest heightened susceptibility to the detrimental effects of colds; additional studies are needed to clarify the relevant mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 1994
Externally publishedYes

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