Medical Professional Publications

Research Now: Why Doesn’t Immune Memory Protect Against RSV Infection?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major health concern. RSV infects nearly all children by age 2; it is the most frequent cause for hospitalization of infants.  A vaccine is not available. Dr. Rebecca Ortiz, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Emilio Flano, principal investigator in the Center for Vaccines and Immunity, is trying to understand the mechanisms of T cell immunity to RSV in young children and adults. T cells are thought to have a major role during RSV infection but the precise mechanisms by which T cells protect or contribute to disease during RSV infection are not understood. Our preliminary studies have shown that interferon responses to RSV are low.  Interferons protect cells against viruses and are key regulators of optimal T cell function.  This may explain why immune memory to RSV is not protective.

Select citations
Ioannidis I, McNally B, Willette M, Peeples ME, Chaussabel D, Durbin JE, Ramilo O, Mejias A, Flaño E. 2012 Plasticity and virus-specificity of the airway epithelial cell immune response during respiratory viral infection. Journal of Virology 86:5422-5436

Jewell NA, Gitiban N, Mertz SE, Akter P, Stokes Peebles Jr, R,  Bakaletz LO, Durbin RK, Flaño E, Durbin JE. 2007 Differential type I IFN induction by respiratory viruses in vivo. Journal of Virology 81:9790-9800.

Aeffner F, Bratasz A, Flaño E, Powell KA, Davis IC. Post-Infection A77-1726 treatment improves cardiopulmonary function in H1N1 influenza-infected mice. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2012 Jun 7. [Epub ahead of print]

Contact: Emilio Flano

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