Background: Measles virus infection may progress to a chronic obstructive process including bronchiolitis obliterans (BO). This study investigates pulmonary cellular profiles and interleukin (IL)-8 levels in patients with BO following the measles.
Methods: BAL fluid was obtained from 12 children with BO who had a history of measles pneumonia during an outbreak in 2000 and 2001. BAL cell counts and differentials were compared to control patients as well as BAL IL-8 levels, which were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Immunohistochemical staining of BAL cells and three open-lung biopsy specimens were also analyzed for T-cell surface markers CD3, CD4, and CD8.
Results: BAL cellular profiles were characterized by a significantly increased percentage of neutrophils in the measles BO group (median, 16.0%) compared to the control group (2.3%) [p < 0.01]. BAL IL-8 levels were also markedly increased in the measles BO group (mean ± SD, 418.6 ± 286.0 pg/mL) compared to the control group (92.8 ± 126.7 pg/mL) [p < 0.01]. BAL IL-8 levels correlated significantly with neutrophil percentages in both the measles BO group (r = 0.86, p = 0.000) and the control group (r = 0.79, p = 0.007). The lymphocyte subsets were characterized by a significantly increased number of CD8+ cells, resulting in a decreased CD4/CD8 ratio in the BAL and the biopsy specimens.
Conclusion: These results suggest that pulmonary neutrophils and IL-8, along with CD8+ T lymphocytes may play an important role in the pathogenesis of BO after measles virus infection.