University of Oulu

Makrinioti H, Bush A, Gern J, Johnston SL, Papadopoulos N, Feleszko W, Camargo CA Jr., Hasegawa K and Jartti T (2021) The Role of Interferons in Driving Susceptibility to Asthma Following Bronchiolitis: Controversies and Research Gaps. Front. Immunol. 12:761660. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.761660

The role of interferons in driving susceptibility to asthma following bronchiolitis : controversies and research gaps

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Author: Makrinioti, Heidi1,2; Bush, Andrew2,3; Gern, James4;
Organizations: 1West Middlesex University Hospital, Chelsea, and Westminster Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
2Imperial Centre for Paediatrics and Child Health, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
3National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
4Department of Paediatrics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, WI, United States
5Allergy Department, 2nd Paediatric Clinic, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
6Division of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
7Department of Paediatric Pneumology and Allergy, The Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
8Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
9Department of Paediatrics, Turku University Hospital and Turku University, Turku, Finland
10Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
11Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-03-02


Bronchiolitis is the most common cause of hospitalization in infancy and is associated with a higher risk for the development of childhood asthma. However, not all children hospitalized with bronchiolitis will develop asthma. The mechanisms underlying asthma development following bronchiolitis hospitalization are complex. Immune responses to respiratory viruses may underlie both bronchiolitis severity and long-term sequela (such as asthma). Interferons (IFNs) are important components of innate immune responses to respiratory viruses and could influence both asthma development and asthma exacerbations. However, the nature of the relationship between interferon production and wheezing illnesses is controversial. For example, low peripheral blood IFN responses at birth have been linked with recurrent wheeze and asthma development. In contrast, there is evidence that severe illnesses (e.g., hospitalization for bronchiolitis) are associated with increased IFN responses during acute infection (bronchiolitis hospitalization) and a higher risk for subsequent asthma diagnosis. Furthermore, mechanistic studies suggest that bronchial epithelial cells from asthmatic children have impaired IFN responses to respiratory viruses, which may enable increased viral replication followed by exaggerated secondary IFN responses. This review aims to discuss controversies around the role of IFNs as drivers of susceptibility to asthma development following bronchiolitis hospitalization. Past evidence from both mechanistic and cohort studies are discussed. We will highlight knowledge gaps that can inform future research study design.

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Series: Frontiers in immunology
ISSN: 1664-3224
ISSN-E: 1664-3224
ISSN-L: 1664-3224
Volume: 12
Article number: 761660
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.761660
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Copyright information: Copyright © 2021 Makrinioti, Bush, Gern, Johnston, Papadopoulos, Feleszko, Camargo, Hasegawa and Jartti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.