The specific features of the developing T cell compartment of the neonatal lung are a determinant of respiratory syncytial virus immunopathogenesis
Blandina Oliveira Esteves,
Marco P Alves
Posted 14 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.14.250829
Posted 14 Aug 2020
The human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of severe lower respiratory tract infections in infants, possibly due to the specific features of the immature neonatal pulmonary immune system. Using the newborn lamb, a classical model of human lung development and a state-of-the-art model of RSV infection, we aimed to explore the role of cell-mediated immunity in RSV disease during early life. Remarkably, in healthy conditions, the developing T cell compartment of the neonatal lung showed major differences to that seen in the mature adult lung. The most striking observation being a high baseline frequency of bronchoalveolar IL-4-producing CD4 and CD8 T cells, which declined progressively over developmental age. RSV infection exacerbated this pro-type 2 environment in the bronchoalveolar space, rather than inducing a type 2 response per se. Moreover, regulatory T cell suppressive functions occurred very early to dampen this pro-type 2 environment, rather than shutting them down afterwards, while γδ T cells dropped and failed to produce IL-17. Importantly, RSV disease severity was related to the magnitude of those unconventional bronchoalveolar T cell responses. These findings provide novel insights in the mechanisms of RSV immunopathogenesis in early life, and constitute a major step for the understanding of RSV disease severity. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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