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Immunology - Respiratory Medicine

Budesonide and Formoterol Reduce Early Innate Anti-Viral Immune Responses In Vitro
Published: Friday, November 18, 2011
Author: Janet M. Davies et al.

by Janet M. Davies, Melanie L. Carroll, Hongzhuo Li, Alisa M. Poh, Darren Kirkegard, Michelle Towers, John W. Upham

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disease in which respiratory viral infections frequently trigger exacerbations. Current treatment of asthma with combinations of inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta2 agonists improves asthma control and reduces exacerbations but what impact this might have on innate anti-viral immunity is unclear. We investigated the in vitro effects of asthma drugs on innate anti-viral immunity. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy and asthmatic donors were cultured for 24 hours with the Toll-like receptor 7 agonist, imiquimod, or rhinovirus 16 (RV16) in the presence of budesonide and/or formoterol. Production of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of anti-viral intracellular signalling molecules were measured by ELISA and RT-PCR respectively. In PBMC from healthy donors, budesonide alone inhibited IP-10 and IL-6 production induced by imiquimod in a concentration-dependent manner and the degree of inhibition was amplified when budesonide and formoterol were used in combination. Formoterol alone had little effect on these parameters, except at high concentrations (10-6 M) when IL-6 production increased. In RV16 stimulated PBMC, the combination of budesonide and formoterol inhibited IFNa and IP-10 production in asthmatic as well as healthy donors. Combination of budesonide and formoterol also inhibited RV16-stimulated expression of the type I IFN induced genes myxovirus protein A and 2', 5' oligoadenylate synthetise. Notably, RV16 stimulated lower levels of type Myxovirus A and oligoadenylate synthase in PBMC of asthmatics than control donors. These in vitro studies demonstrate that combinations of drugs commonly used in asthma therapy inhibit both early pro-inflammatory cytokines and key aspects of the type I IFN pathway. These findings suggest that budesonide and formoterol curtail excessive inflammation induced by rhinovirus infections in patients with asthma, but whether this inhibits viral clearance in vivo remains to be determined.