Rhinovirus infection induced more severe bronchial mucosal neutrophil monocyte and macrophage infiltration in patients with asthma compared with patients without asthma, according to study results.

Researchers studied 10 patients with atopic asthma (mean age, 23 years; eight women) and 15 adults without asthma (mean age, 27 years; seven women) and used immunohistochemistry to determine phenotypes of inflammatory cells infiltrating the bronchial mucosa before and after experimental rhinovirus infection.

Rhinovirus infection significantly increased the epithelial (P=.005) and subepithelial (P=.017) neutrophils in patients with asthma at day 4 compared with baseline. In the patients with asthma (P=.009) and without asthma (P=.018), rhinovirus infection significantly increased subepithelial CD68+ macrophages. When comparing cohorts, patients with asthma had more subepithelial CD68+ cells (P=.021).

There was a positive association between virus load and the number of CD45+, CD68+ and CD20+ cells, neutrophils and eosinophils at day 4.