Background: There have been no previous studies on the effect of anesthetic agents on rhinovirus (RV) infection, which is the most common pathogen of the common cold in human airway epithelial cells. We investigated the effects of propofol and etomidate on the airway epithelial cells infected with RV. Methods: RV-infected A549 cells were treated with propofol and etomidate for 24 hours. On the third day of infection, cells and supernatant were collected to measure the intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression, viral titer and the amount of cytokine. The extents of the viral replication were expressed as viral titers by 50% tissue culture infection dose (TCID50). Results: The ICAM-1 expression of the groups treated with propofol 1, 10, 100μM vs etomidate 1, 5, 25μM were 15.6 ± 4.2, 16.4 ± 3.7, 14.1 ± 4.7% vs 16.8 ± 5.7, 16.4 ± 5.3, 17.2 ± 4.5%, but there were not significantly different among subgroups. Productions of cytokines were increased after RV-infection, but there were not significantly different among the propofol and etomidate treated subgroups. The viral titers of the groups treated with propofol and etomidate were not significantly different among subgroups either. Conclusions: Propofol and etomidate had no effect on the replication of RV and the cytokine release after RV infection in human airway epithelial cells.
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