Pulmonary Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2 Cellular Expression and Distribution After Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Parainfluenza Virus Infection
Prostaglandins (PGs) play an important role in pulmonary physiology and various pathophysiological processes following infection. The initial step in the biosynthesis of PGs is regulated by two distinct cyclooxygenase enzymes, cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2. The goal of this study was to investigate the pulmonary cellular localization and distribution of COX-1 and COX-2 in a neonatal lamb model following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza virus 3 (PI3) infection, organisms that also cause significant respiratory disease in children. No significant differences were seen in pulmonary COX-1 expression at various microanatomical locations following RSV or PI3 infection compared to controls. In contrast, COX-2 was upregulated following RSV and PI3 infection. Strong expression was restricted to bronchial and bronchiolar epithelial cells and macrophages, while minimal expression was present in the same microanatomical locations in the uninfected lungs. Other microanatomical locations in both the controls and the infected lungs lacked expression. This work suggests that during RSV or PI3 infection: (1) COX-1 cellular expression is not altered, (2) COX-2 cellular expression is upregulated in airway bronchiolar and bronchial epithelial cells and macrophages, (3) respiratory epithelium along with macrophages are important microanatomical compartments regulating the host inflammatory response during viral infection, and (4) COX-2 may be a potential target for RSV and PI3 therapy.