Alcohol-use disorders (AUD) persist in the United States and are heavily associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory viral infections. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in particular has received attention as a viral pathogen commonly detected in children and immune-compromised populations (elderly, asthmatics), yet more recently was recognized as an important viral pathogen in young adults. Our study evaluated the exacerbation of RSV-associated illness in mice that chronically consumed alcohol for 6 weeks prior to infection. Prior studies showed that lung viral titers remained elevated in these animals, leading to a hypothesis that T-cell activation and immune specificity were deficient in controlling viral spread and replication in the lungs. Herein, we confirm a reduction in RSV-specific IFNγ production by CD8 T cells and a depolarization of Th1 (CD4+IFNγ+) and Th2 (CD4+IL-4+) T cells at day 5 after RSV infection. Furthermore, over the course of viral infection (day 1 to day 7 after RSV infection), we detected a delayed influx of neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages, and lymphocytes into the lungs. Taken together, the data show that both the early and late adaptive immunity to RSV infection are altered by chronic ethanol consumption. Future studies will determine the interactions between the innate and adaptive immune systems to delineate therapeutic targets for individuals with AUD often hospitalized by respiratory infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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