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Genetic predisposition of RSV infection-related respiratory morbidity in preterm infants

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Simon B Drysdale, Michael Prendergast, Mireia Alcazar, Theresa Wilson, Melvyn Smith, Mark Zuckerman, Simon Broughton, Gerrard F Rafferty, Sebastian L Johnston, Hennie M Hodemaekers, Riny Janssen, Louis Bont, Anne Greenough

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number7
PublishedJul 2014

King's Authors


The aim of this study was to assess whether prematurely born infants have a genetic predisposition to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection-related respiratory morbidity. One hundred and forty-six infants born at less than 36 weeks of gestation were prospectively followed. Nasopharygeal aspirates were obtained on every occasion the infants had a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) regardless of need for admission. DNA was tested for 11 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Chronic respiratory morbidity was assessed using respiratory health-related questionnaires, parent-completed diary cards at a corrected age of 1 year and review of hospital notes. Lung function was measured at a post menstrual age (PMA) of 36 weeks and corrected age of 1 year. A SNP in ADAM33 was associated with an increased risk of developing RSV LRTIs, but not with significant differences in 36-week PMA lung function results. SNPs in several genes were associated with increased chronic respiratory morbidity (interleukin 10 (IL10), nitric oxide synthase 2A (NOS2A), surfactant protein C (SFTPC), matrix metalloproteinase 16 (MMP16) and vitamin D receptor (VDR)) and reduced lung function at 1 year (MMP16, NOS2A, SFTPC and VDR) in infants who had had RSV LRTIs. Conclusions: Our results suggest that prematurely born infants may have a genetic predisposition to RSV LRTIs and subsequent respiratory morbidity which is independent of premorbid lung function.

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