Rhinovirus Species–Specific Antibodies Differentially Reflect Clinical Outcomes in Health and Asthma

Spyridon Megremis, Katarzyna Niespodziana, Clarissa Cabauatan, Paraskevi Xepapadaki, Marek L. Kowalski, Tuomas Jartti, Claus Bachert, Susetta Finotto, Peter West, Sofia Stamataki, Anna Lewandowska-Polak, Heikki Lukkarinen, Nan Zhang, Theodor Zimmermann, Frank Stolz, Angela Neubauer, Mu ̈beccel Akdis, Evangelos Andreakos, Rudolf Valenta, and Nikolaos G. Papadopoulos


Rationale: Rhinoviruses (RVs) are major triggers of common cold and acute asthma exacerbations. RV species A, B, and C may have distinct clinical impact; however, little is known regarding RV species–specific antibody responses in health and asthma.

Objectives: To describe and compare total and RV species–specific antibody levels in healthy children and children with asthma, away from an acute event.

Methods: Serum samples from 163 preschool children with mild to moderate asthma and 72 healthy control subjects from the multinational Predicta cohort were analyzed using the recently developed PreDicta RV antibody chip.

Measurements and Main Results: RV antibody levels varied, with RV-C and RV-A being higher than RV-B in both groups. Compared with control subjects, asthma was characterized by significantly higher levels of antibodies to RV-A and RV-C, but not RV-B. RV antibody levels positively correlated with the number of common colds over the previous year in healthy children, and wheeze episodes in children with asthma. Antibody levels also positively correlated with asthma severity but not with current asthma control.

Conclusions: The variable humoral response to RV species in both groups suggests a differential infectivity pattern between RV species. In healthy preschoolers, RV antibodies accumulate with colds. In asthma, RV-A and RV-C antibodies are much higher and further increase with disease severity and wheeze episodes. Higher antibody levels in asthma may be caused by a compromised innate immune response, leading to increased exposure of the adaptive immune response to the virus. Importantly, there is no apparent protection with increasing levels of antibodies.

Full text article (Eng.)