It remains largely unknown which factors determine the clinical outcome of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) infections. The aim of the present study was to analyse whether exposure to bacterial pathogens can influence HMPV infections. From 57 children, serum samples and colonization data for Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae were collected at 1.5, 6, 14 and 24months of age. Seroconversion rates to HMPV were determined and related to bacterial carriage. Frequent nasopharyngeal carriage (≥2 times in the first 2years of life) of S. pneumoniae, but not of the other three pathogens, was associated with increased seroconversion rates of infants to HMPV at the age of 2 years (frequently vs. less exposed, 93% vs. 59%; p<0.05). Subsequently, the susceptibility of well-differentiated normal human bronchial epithelial cells (wd-NHBE) pre-incubated with bacterial pathogens to in vitro HMPV infection was evaluated. Pre-incubation of wd-NHBE with S. pneumoniae resulted in increased susceptibility to infection with HMPV-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), as determined by enumeration of EGFP-positive cells. This was not the case for cells pre-incubated with H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis on S. aureus. We conclude that exposure to S. pneumoniae can modulate HMPV infection. © 2011 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection

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Keywords Bacterial and viral interaction, Human metapneumovirus (HMPV), Pathogenesis, Respiratory infection, Streptococcus pneumoniae
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Journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Verkaik, N.J, Nguyen, D.T, de Vogel, C.P, Moll, H.A, Verbrugh, H.A, Jaddoe, V.W.V, … de Swart, R.L. (2011). Streptococcus pneumoniae exposure is associated with human metapneumovirus seroconversion and increased susceptibility to in vitro HMPV infection. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 17(12), 1840–1844. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03480.x