Research press release


Nature Medicine

Viral infection in newborns promotes asthma



Anuradha Rayたちは、母乳で育てて喘息から守られている新生仔マウスを呼吸器多核体ウイルスに繰り返し感染させると、この防御効果がなくなり、後年喘息を発症しやすくなることを発見した。ウイルス感染が肺の炎症応答を誘発し、これが制御性T細胞とよばれる防御免疫細胞の機能を損なう。すると、これらの細胞が炎症性メディエーターを生産し、アレルギー反応を促進する。

Recurrent viral infections during the early years of life cripple a protective immune mechanism in mice and increase the risk of asthma, according to a study published online in Nature Medicine. The identification of this pathway aids our understanding of how environmental triggers may increase the risk of immune disorders in adulthood.

Though recurrent viral infections early in people’s life increase their risk of developing asthma, newborns can be protected from developing allergies through proteins transferred in breast milk. In fact, previous studies have shown that exposure of nursing mice to low doses of allergens protects the newborns from asthma.

Anuradha Ray and colleagues found that breastfed newborn mice protected from asthma, which were repeatedly infected with respiratory syncytial virus no longer exhibited this protective effect and were susceptible to asthma later in life. The virus induces an inflammatory response in the lung that impairs the function of protective immune cells termed regulatory T cells. In turn, these cells produce inflammatory mediators that promote allergic responses.

doi: 10.1038/nm.2896


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