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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8734504, 13 pages
Review Article

Pulmonary Susceptibility of Neonates to Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection: A Problem of Innate Immunity?

VIM, INRA, Université Paris-Saclay, Jouy-en-Josas, France

Correspondence should be addressed to Delphyne Descamps

Received 28 July 2017; Accepted 9 October 2017; Published 9 November 2017

Academic Editor: Elias Said

Copyright © 2017 Carole Drajac et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common and highly contagious viral agent responsible for acute lower respiratory infection in infants. This pathology characterized by mucus hypersecretion and a disturbed T cell immune response is one of the major causes of infant hospitalization for severe bronchiolitis. Although different risk factors are associated with acute RSV bronchiolitis, the immunological factors contributing to the susceptibility of RSV infection in infants are not clearly elucidated. Epidemiological studies have established that the age at initial infection plays a central role in the severity of the disease. Thus, neonatal susceptibility is intrinsically linked to the immunological characteristics of the young pulmonary mucosa. Early life is a critical period for the lung development with the first expositions to external environmental stimuli and microbiota colonization. Furthermore, neonates display a lung immune system that profoundly differs to those from adults, with the predominance of type 2 immune cells. In this review, we discuss the latest information about the lung immune environment in the early period of life at a steady state and upon RSV infection and how we can modulate neonatal susceptibility to RSV infection.