Progress in defining the role of RSV in allergy and asthma: From clinical observations to animal models

W. V. Kalina, Laurel J Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an RNA virus in the family Paramyxoviridae, causes respiratory disease in humans. A closely related bovine RSV is responsible for a remarkably similar disease syndrome in young cattle. Severe RSV disease is characterized by bronchiolitis. The impact of RSV on human health is demonstrated annually when infants are admitted to the hospital in large numbers. Nearly every child will have been infected with RSV by the age of 3 years. While the disease is most severe in young infants and elderly people, it can re-infect adults causing mild upper respiratory tract disease throughout life. In addition, there is growing evidence that RSV infection may also predispose some children to the development of asthma. This is based on the observation that children who wheeze with RSV-induced bronchiolitis are more likely to develop into allergic asthmatics. Recent studies describe attempts to create an RSV induced asthma model in mice and other species; these have shown some degree of success. Such reports of case studies and animal models have suggested a wide range of factors possibly contributing to RSV induced asthma, these include timing of RSV infection with respect to allergen exposure, prior allergic sensitization, environmental conditions, exposure to endotoxin, and the genetic background of the person or animal. Herein, we primarily focus on the influence of RSV infection and inhalation of extraneous substances (such as allergens or endotoxin) on development of allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Developmental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Asthma TH2 atopic disease
  • IgE cells
  • RSV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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