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UNLABELLED: The aim of this study was to assess whether prematurely born infants have a genetic predisposition to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection-related respiratory morbidity. One hundred and forty-six infants born at less than 36 weeks of gestation were prospectively followed. Nasopharygeal aspirates were obtained on every occasion the infants had a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) regardless of need for admission. DNA was tested for 11 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Chronic respiratory morbidity was assessed using respiratory health-related questionnaires, parent-completed diary cards at a corrected age of 1 year and review of hospital notes. Lung function was measured at a post menstrual age (PMA) of 36 weeks and corrected age of 1 year. A SNP in ADAM33 was associated with an increased risk of developing RSV LRTIs, but not with significant differences in 36-week PMA lung function results. SNPs in several genes were associated with increased chronic respiratory morbidity (interleukin 10 (IL10), nitric oxide synthase 2A (NOS2A), surfactant protein C (SFTPC), matrix metalloproteinase 16 (MMP16) and vitamin D receptor (VDR)) and reduced lung function at 1 year (MMP16, NOS2A, SFTPC and VDR) in infants who had had RSV LRTIs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that prematurely born infants may have a genetic predisposition to RSV LRTIs and subsequent respiratory morbidity which is independent of premorbid lung function.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Pediatr

Publication Date





905 - 912


Cohort Studies, DNA, Viral, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Lung, Male, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Prospective Studies, Respiratory Function Tests, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human, Respiratory Tract Infections