Natural reinfection with respiratory syncytial virus does not boost virus-specific T-cell immunity

Louis Bont, Jorien Versteegh, Wendy T.N. Swelsen, Cobi J. Heijnen, Annemieke Kavelaars, Frank Brus, Jos M.Th Draaisma, Martha Pekelharing-Berghuis, Ronnie A.A.M. Van Diemen-Steenvoorde, Jan L.L. Kimpen

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83 Citaten (Scopus)


To determine the role of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-specific cell-mediated immunity during natural reinfection, we investigated whether RSV-specific T-cell responses protect against reinfection and, subsequently, whether reinfection boosts virus-specific memory. In a cohort of 55 infants who were hospitalized for RSV bronchiolitis, RSV-specific lymphoproliferative responses in the peripheral blood were measured at three time-points: on admission, 4 wk after admission, and 1 y later, after the second winter season. Memory was defined as a stimulation index (SI) >2. During the second winter season, nasal secretions were collected in every case of a runny nose. Reinfection was diagnosed if immunofluorescence or PCR was positive for RSV. Virus-specific memory was found in one child on admission for primary RSV infection, whereas 4 wk later 44 infants (80%) had memory. Reinfection with RSV was found in 23 infants (43%) during the second winter season. After the second season, memory was found in 20 infants (38%). No differences in SI after the second winter season were found between infants with and without reinfection (2.3 versus 2.1). However, a highly significant correlation was found between SI measured 4 wk after primary RSV infection and SI after the second winter season (r = 0.40, p = 0.001). In conclusion, RSV-specific T-cell responses did not provide protection against reinfection. Moreover, reinfection did not boost RSV-specific T-cell proliferation. To explain both findings, it is hypothesized that RSV-specific T cells fail to expand in vivo upon reinfection.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)363-367
Aantal pagina's5
TijdschriftPediatric Research
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusGepubliceerd - sep. 2002
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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