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Open Access Characterization of Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus) Eosinophils, Including Their Response to Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

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Eosinophils have been postulated to play a protective role against infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), increase the severity of allergic asthma during respiratory viral infection, and drive vaccine-enhanced disease. To address these questions in the cotton rat model of RSV infection, we characterized cotton rat eosinophils by electron microscopy as well as by bronchoalveolar lavage and histology of lung sections. Using these methods, we demonstrated that eosinophils comprise approximately half of all cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids from cotton rats. The function of these cells was comparable to that of eosinophils of other species. Ex vivo, eosinophils stimulated with calcium ionophores secreted eosinophil peroxidase. In vivo, treatment with house dust mite antigen increased eosinophil numbers in lung. Infection with Staphylococcus aureus lead to a marked increase in neutrophils without an increase in eosinophils, and eosinophil numbers were not influenced by infection with influenza virus or measles virus. Similarly, infection with RSV did not result in an increase in eosinophils. Lastly, RSV infection did not increase eosinophil recruitment into the lung after challenge with house dust mite antigen, but it did increase eosinophil recruitment into the lungs of cotton rats previously immunized with formalin-inactivated RSV vaccine, thus contributing to vaccine-enhanced disease.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 2: Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Comparative Pathology and Mouse Phenotyping Shared Resource, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 3: Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: February 1, 2018

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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