Diesel exposure increases susceptibility of primary human nasal epithelial cells to rhinovirus infection.

Müller, Loretta; Usemann, Jakob; Alves, Marco P.; Latzin, Philipp (2021). Diesel exposure increases susceptibility of primary human nasal epithelial cells to rhinovirus infection. Physiological reports, 9(18), e14994. Wiley 10.14814/phy2.14994

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Nasal epithelial cells (NECs) are among the first cells to be exposed to air pollutants and respiratory viruses. Although it is known that air pollution exposure and rhinovirus infections increase the risk for asthma development independently, it is unclear how these risk factors interact on a cellular level. Therefore, we aimed to investigate how exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM) modifies the response of primary NECs to rhinovirus (RV) infection in vitro. Exposure of re-differentiated, primary NECs (49 healthy children [0-7 years], 12 adults) to DPM modified the mRNA expression of viral cell-surface receptors, pattern recognition receptors, and pro-inflammatory response (also protein levels). After exposure to DPM, we additionally infected the NECs with RV-1b and RV-16. Viral loads (assessed by titration assays) were significantly higher in DPM-exposed compared with non-exposed NECs. Exposure to DPM prior to RV infection resulted in a significant upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (mRNA and protein level) and β-defensins mRNA, and significant downregulation of pattern recognition receptors mRNA and CXCL10 (mRNA and protein levels). There was no difference between all outcomes of NECs from children and adults. We can conclude that exposure to DPM prior to RV infection increases viral loads by downregulation of viral defense receptors and upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our findings indicate a strong interaction between air pollution and the antiviral response to RV infection in NECs. We provide mechanistic evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to RV infection.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Pneumologie (Pädiatrie)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Virology and Immunology

UniBE Contributor:

Müller, Loretta Lina; Alves, Marco and Latzin, Philipp


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Pamela Schumacher

Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2021 08:39

Last Modified:

18 Nov 2021 08:39

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

adults air pollution air-liquid-interface cell culture children respiratory infection





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