Airway surface liquid has innate antiviral activity that is reduced in cystic fibrosis

Abigail R. Berkebile, Jennifer A. Bartlett, Mahmoud Abou Alaiwa, Steven M. Varga, Ultan Power, Paul B. McCray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
236 Downloads (Pure)


While chronic bacterial infections and inflammation are associated with progressive lung disease in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, much less is known regarding the contributions of respiratory viral infections to this process. Clinical studies suggest that antiviral host defenses may be compromised in individuals with CF, and CF airway epithelia exhibit impaired antiviral responses in vitro. Here, we used the CF pig model to test the hypothesis that the antiviral activity of respiratory secretions is reduced in CF. We developed an in vitro assay to measure the innate antiviral activity present in airway surface liquid (ASL) from CF and non-CF pigs. We found that tracheal and nasal ASL from newborn non-CF pigs exhibited dose-dependent inhibitory activity against several enveloped and encapsidated viruses including Sendai virus (SeV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A, and adenovirus. Importantly, we found that the anti-SeV activity of nasal ASL from newborn CF pigs was significantly diminished relative to non-CF littermate controls. This diminution of extracellular antiviral defenses appears to be driven, at least in part, by the differences in pH between CF and non-CF ASL. These data highlight the novel antiviral properties of native airway secretions, and suggest the possibility that defects in extracellular antiviral defenses contribute to CF pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-111
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Airway surface liquid has innate antiviral activity that is reduced in cystic fibrosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this