Perinatal respiratory infections and long term consequences

Luciana Indinnimeo, Valentina De Vittori


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important pathogen in the etiology of respiratory infections in early life. 50% of children are affected by RSV within the first year of age, and almost all children become infected within two years. Numerous retrospective and prospective studies linking RSV and chronic respiratory morbidity show that RSV bronchiolitis in infancy is followed by recurrent wheezing after the acute episod. According to some authors a greater risk of wheezing in children with a history of RSV bronchiolitis would be limited to childhood, while according to others this risk would be extended into adolescence and adulthood. To explain the relationship between RSV infection and the development of bronchial asthma or the clinical pathogenetic patterns related to a state of bronchial hyperreactivity, it has been suggested that RSV may cause alterations in the response of the immune system (immunogenic hypothesis), activating directly mast cells and basophils and changing the pattern of differentiation of immune cells present in the bronchial tree as receptors and inflammatory cytokines. It was also suggested that RSV infection can cause bronchial hyperreactivity altering nervous airway modulation, acting on nerve fibers present in the airways (neurogenic hypothesis).
The benefits of passive immunoprophylaxis with palivizumab, which seems to represent an effective approach in reducing the sequelae of RSV infection in the short- and long-term period, strengthen the implementation of prevention programs with this drug, as recommended by the national guidelines of the Italian Society of Neonatology.


Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Neonatology and Satellite Meetings · Cagliari (Italy) · October 26th-31st, 2015 · From the womb to the adult
Guest Editors: Vassilios Fanos (Cagliari, Italy), Michele Mussap (Genoa, Italy), Antonio Del Vecchio (Bari, Italy), Bo Sun (Shanghai, China), Dorret I. Boomsma (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Gavino Faa (Cagliari, Italy), Antonio Giordano (Philadelphia, USA)


respiratory syncytial virus; bronchiolitis; immune reactivity; lung; long term consequences; palivizumab

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