Research Article

Neural-endocrine mechanisms of respiratory syncytial virus-associated asthma in a rat model

Published: August 24, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (3) : 2780-2789 DOI: 10.4238/2012.August.24.3

Abstract

We examined the underlying neural-endocrine mechanisms of asthma associated with respiratory syncytial virus infection. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control group, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) group, and anti-nerve growth factor (NGF) IgG group. An RSV infection model was established by nasal drip once a week. In the anti-NGF antibody intervention group, each rat was given an intraperitoneal injection of anti-NGF IgG 3 h before RSV infection. Optical microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used to observe the structural changes in adrenal medulla cells. Changes in adrenaline and norepinephrine in serum were detected by ELISA. NGF expression was assayed by immunohistochemistry. Expression differences in synaptophysin mRNA were detected by RT-PCR. Transmission electron microscopy displayed widened adrenal medulla intercellular spaces, reduced chromaffin particle concentration, and increased mitochondria in the RSV infection group. At the same time, NGF expression was increased in the RSV infection group significantly. In addition, the adrenaline concentration was significantly decreased compared with the control and anti-NGF antibody groups. Synaptophysin mRNA expression was significantly increased in the RSV infection and anti-NGF antibody groups. However, compared with the RSV infection group, synaptophysin mRNA expression was significantly decreased in the anti-NGF antibody group. We conclude that RSV infection could induce adrenal medulla cell differentiation to nerve cells by over-expression of NGF, resulting in the decreased endocrine function found in asthma progression.

We examined the underlying neural-endocrine mechanisms of asthma associated with respiratory syncytial virus infection. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into control group, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) group, and anti-nerve growth factor (NGF) IgG group. An RSV infection model was established by nasal drip once a week. In the anti-NGF antibody intervention group, each rat was given an intraperitoneal injection of anti-NGF IgG 3 h before RSV infection. Optical microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used to observe the structural changes in adrenal medulla cells. Changes in adrenaline and norepinephrine in serum were detected by ELISA. NGF expression was assayed by immunohistochemistry. Expression differences in synaptophysin mRNA were detected by RT-PCR. Transmission electron microscopy displayed widened adrenal medulla intercellular spaces, reduced chromaffin particle concentration, and increased mitochondria in the RSV infection group. At the same time, NGF expression was increased in the RSV infection group significantly. In addition, the adrenaline concentration was significantly decreased compared with the control and anti-NGF antibody groups. Synaptophysin mRNA expression was significantly increased in the RSV infection and anti-NGF antibody groups. However, compared with the RSV infection group, synaptophysin mRNA expression was significantly decreased in the anti-NGF antibody group. We conclude that RSV infection could induce adrenal medulla cell differentiation to nerve cells by over-expression of NGF, resulting in the decreased endocrine function found in asthma progression.