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Immune Genes Upregulated After Infection with Cold Virus

Genes include chemokines, signaling molecules and antivirals

FRIDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Genes involved in the immune response are upregulated after infection with the virus that causes the common cold, including chemokines, signaling molecules and antiviral genes, researchers report in the Nov. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

David Proud, Ph.D., from the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 35 individuals to receive either inoculation with human rhinovirus-16 or a sham inoculation (17 infected and 18 controls).

The researchers found significant changes in the expression of 11,887 gene transcripts representing 6,530 genes in nasal scrapings taken two days after rhinovirus infection, including upregulation of chemokines, signaling molecules, interferon-responsive genes and antiviral genes. The expression of the antiviral gene viperin was also higher in rhinovirus-infected subjects and in rhinovirus-infected cells, and reducing viperin expression increased rhinovirus replication in cells.

"Rhinovirus infection significantly alters the expression of many genes associated with the immune response, including chemokines and antivirals," Proud and colleagues conclude. "The data obtained provide insights into the host response to rhinovirus infection and identify potential novel targets for further evaluation."

The study was funded by grants from Procter & Gamble and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Several of the study co-authors disclosed financial ties to Procter & Gamble.

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