Prenatal exposure to RSV season influences first-year risk of RSV lower respiratory illness and RSV-specific immune responses assessed at birth

Raffaella Nenna, Debra A. Stern, Tara F. Carr, Amber Spangenberg, Anne L. Wright, Fernando D. Martinez, Marilyn Halonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Maternal-to-fetal transmission of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been shown to occur but whether late prenatal exposure to RSV season influences offspring postnatal RSV-lower respiratory illness (LRI) risk in early life or RSV immune status at birth is unclear. In this study, the duration of third trimester RSV season exposure was determined for 1,094 newborns of the Tucson Children’s Respiratory Study (TCRS) and found to show an inverse relation to risk for first RSV-LRI in the first year. Cord blood anti-RSV antibody is related to third trimester RSV season exposure but not to first year RSV-LRI risk. In a separate birth cohort (the Infant Immune Study), supernatants from cord blood mononuclear cells stimulated with the recall antigen, UV-inactivated RSV, were assayed for IFN-γ and IL-4. The frequency of detectable IFN-γ (but not IL-4) was increased for those with at least 2 mo of third trimester RSV season exposure, suggestive of a fetal immune response to RSV. IMPORTANCE Our study found that duration of third trimester exposure to RSV season related inversely to subsequent risk of postnatal RSV-LRI in the first year, thus implicating this exposure as an important factor in reducing risk of postnatal RSV-LRIs, a risk reduction that appears to be independent of maternally transferred anti-RSV antibody level. The increase in frequency of detectable IFN-γ and not IL-4 in response to UV-inactivated RSV in cord blood immune cells for infants with greater third trimester exposure to RSV season is suggestive of a Type-1 immune response to RSV occurring in utero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of virology
Volume97
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • IFN-γ
  • cord blood mononuclear cells
  • lower respiratory illness
  • maternal anti-RSV antibody
  • prenatal
  • respiratory syncytial virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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