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Nasopharyngeal gene expression, a novel approach to study the course of respiratory syncytial virus infection

Nasopharyngeal gene expression, a novel approach to study the course of respiratory syncytial virus infection

Eur Respir J. 2015 Mar;45(3):718-25. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00085614. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

Corné H van den Kieboom, Inge ML Ahout, Aldert Zomer, Kim H Brand, Ronald de Groot, Gerben Ferwerda, Marien I de Jonge

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes mild infections in the vast majority of children. However, in some cases, it causes severe disease, such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Development of severe RSV infection is determined by the host response. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to identify biomarkers associated with severe RSV infection. To identify biomarkers, nasopharyngeal gene expression was profiled by microarray studies, resulting in the selection of five genes: ubiquitin D, tetraspanin 8, mucin 13, β-microseminoprotein and chemokine ligand 7. These genes were validated by real-time quantitative PCR in an independent validation cohort, which confirmed significant differences in gene expression between mildly and severely infected and between recovery and acute patients. Nasopharyngeal aspirate samples are regularly taken when a viral respiratory tract infection is suspected. In this article, we describe a method to discriminate between mild and severe RSV infection based on differential host gene expression. The combination of pathogen detection and host gene expression analysis in nasopharyngeal aspirates will significantly improve the diagnosis and prognosis of respiratory tract infections.

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