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Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia

versión impresa ISSN 0873-2159


MENDES, J Pinto. The role of infection in asthma. Rev Port Pneumol [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.5, pp.647-675. ISSN 0873-2159.

This paper reviews the impact of infections on the onset and clinical course of bronchial asthma. A just emphasis is given to the role viral infections, particularly rhinovirus infections, play in exacerbations, and that played by respiratory syncytial virus, suspected of triggering the asthmatic syndrome. The mechanisms of the immune response to virus attacks are explained, highlighting the asthmatic and allergic patient’s weakened response, particularly in the perinatal period. Further stressed is a potentiating effect of viral aggression on the allergic response. The hygiene hypothesis and its lack of scientific consistency is detailed, at least as far as the role it seeks to confer on an unproven antagonism of the Th1 and Th2 lymphocyte responses. The current importance of research not into bacteria, but into bacterial products, including endotoxins, on the modulation of asthma and allergy is noted. Studies which, along these lines, show anenvironmental impact on genetic secretion in the phenotype are underlined. Also discussed in passing are several mechanisms which go towards explaining neutrophilic asthma - for many a contradiction, given eosinophilia’s stranglehold on asthmatic inflammation.

Palabras clave : Asthma and infection; asthma and virus; endotoxins.

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