Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 11 » Issue 1

α1-Antitrypsin reduces rhinovirus infection in primary human airway epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke

Authors Berman R, Jiang D, Wu Q, Chu HW

Received 3 February 2016

Accepted for publication 16 March 2016

Published 10 June 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 1279—1286


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Reena Berman, Di Jiang, Qun Wu, Hong Wei Chu

Department of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO, USA

Abstract: Human rhinovirus (HRV) infections target airway epithelium and are the leading cause of acute exacerbations of COPD. Cigarette smoke (CS) increases the severity of viral infections, but there is no effective therapy for HRV infection. We determined whether α1-antitrypsin (A1AT) reduces HRV-16 infection in CS-exposed primary human airway epithelial cells. Brushed bronchial epithelial cells from normal subjects and patients diagnosed with COPD were cultured at air–liquid interface to induce mucociliary differentiation. These cells were treated with A1AT or bovine serum albumin for 2 hours and then exposed to air or whole cigarette smoke (WCS) with or without HRV-16 (5×104 50% Tissue Culture Infective Dose [TCID50]/transwell) infection for 24 hours. WCS exposure significantly increased viral load by an average of fivefold and decreased the expression of antiviral genes interferon-λ1, OAS1, and MX1. When A1AT was added to WCS-exposed cells, viral load significantly decreased by an average of 29-fold. HRV-16 infection significantly increased HRV-16 receptor intercellular adhesion molecule-1 messenger RNA expression in air-exposed cells, which was decreased by A1AT. A1AT-mediated reduction of viral load was not accompanied by increased epithelial antiviral gene expression or by inhibiting the activity of 3C protease involved in viral replication or maturation. Our findings demonstrate that A1AT treatment prevents a WCS-induced increase in viral load and for the first time suggest a therapeutic effect of A1AT on HRV infection.

Keywords: α1-antitrypsin, rhinovirus, COPD, cigarette smoke, ICAM-1

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]