T-cell responses against rhinovirus species A and C in asthmatic and healthy children

Cibele M. Gaido, Caitlyn Granland, Ingrid A. Laing, Peter N.Le Souëf, Wayne R. Thomas, Andrew J. Currie, Belinda J. Hales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Infections by rhinovirus (RV) species A and C are the most common causes of exacerbations of asthma and a major cause of exacerbations of other acute and chronic respiratory diseases. Infections by both species are prevalent in pre-school and school-aged children and, particularly for RV-C, can cause severe symptoms and a need for hospitalization. While associations between RV infection and asthma are well established, the adaptive immune-mechanisms by which RV infections influence asthma exacerbations are yet to be defined. Objective: The aim of this study was to characterize and compare T-cell responses between RV-A and RV-C and to test the hypothesis that T-cell responses would differ between asthmatic children and healthy controls. Methods: A multi-parameter flow cytometry assay was used to characterize the in vitro recall T-cell response against RV-A and RV-C in PBMCs from children with acute asthma (n = 22) and controls (n = 26). The responses were induced by pools of peptides containing species-specific VP1 epitopes of RV-A and RV-C. Results: Regardless of children's clinical status, all children that responded to the in vitro stimulation (>90%) had a similar magnitude of CD4+ T-cell responses to RV-A and RV-C. However, asthmatic children had a significantly lower number of circulating regulatory T cells (Tregs), and healthy controls had significantly more Tregs induced by RV-A than RV-C. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: The comparable recall memory T-cell responses in asthmatic and control children to both RV-A and RV-C show that differences in the antibody and inflammatory responses previously described are likely to be due to regulation, with a demonstrated candidate being reduced regulatory T-cells. The reduced Treg numbers demonstrated here could explain the asthmatic's inability to appropriately control immunopathological responses to RV infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalImmunity Inflammation and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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