Comparison of Rhinovirus Antibody Titers in Children with Asthma Exacerbations and Species-Specific Rhinovirus Infection
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Background: Asthma exacerbations are associated with human rhinovirus (HRV) infections, and more severe exacerbations are associated with HRV-C. We have previously shown that the HRV-C–specific antibody response is low in healthy adult sera and that most of the antibody to HRV-C is cross-reactive with HRV-A. Objectives: To compare the antibody response to each HRV species in asthmatic and nonasthmatic children in whom the type of HRV infection was known. Methods: Total and specific IgG1 binding to HRV viral capsid protein antigens of HRV-A, -B, and -C were tested in the plasma from nonasthmatic children (n = 47) and children presenting to the emergency department with asthma exacerbations (n = 96). HRV, found in most of the children at the time of their exacerbation (72%), was analyzed using molecular typing. Results: Asthmatic children had higher antibody responses to HRV. The titers specific to HRV-A, and to a lesser extent HRV-B, were higher than in nonasthmatic controls. The species-specific responses to HRV-C were markedly lower than titers to HRV-A and HRV-B in both asthmatic and nonasthmatic children (P < .001). The titers both at presentation and after convalescence were not associated with the HRV genotype detected during the exacerbation. Conclusions: The higher total anti-HRV antibody titers of asthmatic children and their higher anti–HRV-A and -B titers show their development of a heightened antiviral immune response. The low species-specific HRV-C titers found in all groups, even when the virus was found, point to a different and possibly less efficacious immune response to this species.
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