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Local interleukin-10 production during respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis is associated with post-bronchiolitis wheeze

Annemieke Schuurhof12, Riny Janssen1, Hanneke de Groot12, Hennie M Hodemaekers1, Arja de Klerk1, Jan LL Kimpen2 and Louis Bont2*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory for Health Protection Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Postbak 12 GBO, P.O.BOX 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

2 Department of Pediatrics, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center, Lundlaan 6, 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Respiratory Research 2011, 12:121  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-121

Published: 12 September 2011



Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in infants. Following RSV bronchiolitis, 50% of children develop post-bronchiolitis wheeze (PBW). Animal studies have suggested that interleukin (IL)-10 plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of RSV bronchiolitis and subsequent airway hyperresponsiveness. Previously, we showed that ex vivo monocyte IL-10 production is a predictor of PBW. Additionally, heterozygosity of the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1800872 in the IL10 promoter region was associated with protection against RSV bronchiolitis.


This study aimed to determine the in vivo role of IL-10 in RSV pathogenesis and recurrent wheeze in a new cohort of 235 infants hospitalized for RSV bronchiolitis. IL-10 levels in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) were measured at the time of hospitalization and the IL10 SNP rs1800872 genotype was determined. Follow-up data were available for 185 children (79%).


Local IL-10 levels during RSV infection turned out to be higher in infants that later developed physician diagnosed PBW as compared to infants without PBW in the first year after RSV infection (958 vs 692 pg/ml, p = 0.02). The IL10 promoter SNP rs1800872 was not associated with IL-10 concentration in NPAs.


The relationship between high local IL-10 levels during the initial RSV infection and physician diagnosed PBW provides further evidence of the importance of the IL-10 response during RSV bronchiolitis.

interleukin-10; lower respiratory tract infection; respiratory syncytial virus; wheeze