How does rhinovirus cause the common cold cough

Published on Jan 1, 2016in BMJ Open Respiratory Research
· DOI :10.1136/BMJRESP-2015-000118
Samantha K. Atkinson2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Hull York Medical School),
Laura R. Sadofsky12
Estimated H-index: 12
(Hull York Medical School),
Alyn H. Morice29
Estimated H-index: 29
(Hull York Medical School)
Cough is a protective reflex to prevent aspiration and can be triggered by a multitude of stimuli. The commonest form of cough is caused by upper respiratory tract infection and has no benefit to the host. The virus hijacks this natural defence mechanism in order to propagate itself through the population. Despite the resolution of the majority of cold symptoms within 2 weeks, cough can persist for some time thereafter. Unfortunately, the mechanism of infectious cough brought on by pathogenic viruses, such as human rhinovirus, during colds, remains elusive despite the extensive work that has been undertaken. For socioeconomic reasons, it is imperative we identify the mechanism of cough. There are several theories which have been proposed as the causative mechanism of cough in rhinovirus infection, encompassing a range of different processes. Those of which hold most promise are physical disruption of the epithelial lining, excess mucus production and an inflammatory response to rhinovirus infection which may be excessive. And finally, neuronal modulation, the most convincing hypothesis, is thought to potentiate cough long after the original stimulus has been cleared. All these hypotheses will be briefly covered in the following sections.
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