Authors: Thomas BJ, Porritt RA, Hertzog PJ, Bardin PG

PMID: 25417801 PMCID: PMC5384105 DOI: 10.1038/srep07176


Glucocorticosteroids (GCS) are used on a daily basis to reduce airway inflammation in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This treatment is usually escalated during acute disease exacerbations, events often associated with virus infections. We examined the impact of GCS on anti-viral defences and virus replication and assessed supplementary interferon (IFN) treatment. Here, we report that treatment of primary human airway cells in vitro with GCS prior to rhinovirus (RV) or influenza A virus (IAV) infection significantly reduces the expression of innate anti-viral genes and increases viral replication. Mice given intranasal treatment with GCS prior to IAV infection developed more severe disease associated with amplified virus replication and elevated inflammation in the airways. Adjuvant IFN treatment markedly reduced GCS-amplified infections in human airway cells and in mouse lung. This study demonstrates that GCS cause an extrinsic compromise in anti-viral defences, enhancing respiratory virus infections and provides a rationale for adjuvant IFN treatment.

Keywords: glucocorticosteriods, respiratory, adjuvant interferon, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

More on: MATH+

More on: Glucocorticoids