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1.  Delayed Sequelae of Neonatal Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Are Dependent on Cells of the Innate Immune System 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(1):604-611.
Infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in neonatal mice leads to exacerbated disease if mice are reinfected with the same virus as adults. Both T cells and the host major histocompatibility complex genotype contribute to this phenomenon, but the part played by innate immunity has not been defined. Since macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells play key roles in regulating inflammation during RSV infection of adult mice, we studied the role of these cells in exacerbated inflammation following neonatal RSV sensitization/adult reinfection. Compared to mice undergoing primary infection as adults, neonatally sensitized mice showed enhanced airway fluid levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), alpha interferon (IFN-α), CXCL1 (keratinocyte chemoattractant/KC), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) at 12 to 24 h after reinfection and IL-4, IL-5, IFN-γ, and CCL11 (eotaxin) at day 4 after reinfection. Weight loss during reinfection was accompanied by an initial influx of NK cells and granulocytes into the airways and lungs, followed by T cells. NK cell depletion during reinfection attenuated weight loss but did not alter T cell responses. Depletion of alveolar macrophages with inhaled clodronate liposomes reduced both NK and T cell numbers and attenuated weight loss. These findings indicate a hitherto unappreciated role for the innate immune response in governing the pathogenic recall responses to RSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3911760  PMID: 24173217
2.  T cell exhaustion due to persistent antigen: Quantity not quality? 
European journal of immunology  2012;42(9):2285-2289.
T cell exhaustion is characterized by failure to respond to a persistent antigen and is a hallmark of chronic infections and cancer. In this issue, Ritcher et al. examine the importance of the amount of persistent antigen versus the cell type presenting it to induce CD8 T cell exhaustion and the consequences for host survival during chronic viral infection.
PMCID: PMC3684559  PMID: 22949327
3.  Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Are Productively Infected And Activated Through TLR-7 Early After Arenavirus Infection 
Cell host & microbe  2012;11(6):617-630.
The antiviral response is largely mediated by dendritic cells (DC), including conventional (c) DCs that function as antigen presenting cells and plasmacytoid (p) DCs that produce Type I interferons, making them an attractive target for viruses. We find that the Old-world arenaviruses lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus clone 13 (LCMV Cl13) and Lassa virus bind pDCs to a greater extent than cDCs. Consistently, LCMV Cl13 targets pDCs early after in vivo infection of its natural murine host and establishes a productive and robust replication cycle. pDCs co-produce type I interferons and pro-inflammatory cytokines, with the former being induced in both infected and uninfected pDCs, demonstrating a dissociation from intrinsic virus replication. TLR7 globally mediates pDC responses, limits pDC viral load and promotes rapid innate and adaptive immune cell activation. These early events likely help dictate the outcome of infections with arenaviruses and other DC-replicating viruses and shed light on potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC3377983  PMID: 22704622
dendritic cell; plasmacytoid dendritic cells; type I interferon; interleukin-12; innate; toll like receptor-7; lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV); Lassa Fever virus (LASV); arenavirus; chronic viral infection
4.  Preexposure to CpG Protects against the Delayed Effects of Neonatal Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(19):10456-10461.
Severe respiratory viral infection in early life is associated with recurrent wheeze and asthma in later childhood. Neonatal immune responses tend to be skewed toward T helper 2 (Th2) responses, which may contribute to the development of a pathogenic recall response to respiratory infection. Since neonatal Th2 skewing can be modified by stimulation with Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, we investigated the effect of exposure to CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (TLR9 ligands) prior to neonatal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in mice. CpG preexposure was protective against enhanced disease during secondary adult RSV challenge, with a reduction in viral load and an increase in Th1 responses. A similar Th1 switch and reduction in disease were observed if CpG was administered in the interval between neonatal infection and challenge. In neonates, CpG pretreatment led to a transient increase in expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) and CD80 on CD11c-positive cells and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production by NK cells after RSV infection, suggesting that the protective effects may be mediated by antigen-presenting cells (APC) and NK cells. We conclude that the adverse effects of early-life respiratory viral infection on later lung health might be mitigated by conditions that promote TLR activation in the infant lung.
PMCID: PMC3457284  PMID: 22811525
5.  Late Interleukin-6 escalates T follicular helper cell responses and controls a chronic viral infection# 
Science (New York, N.y.)  2011;334(6057):825-829.
Multiple inhibitory molecules create a profoundly immunuosuppressive environment during chronic viral infections in humans and mice. Therefore, eliciting effective immunity in this context represents a challenge. Here we report that during a murine chronic viral infection, interleukin-6 (IL-6) was produced by irradiation resistant cells in a biphasic manner, with late IL-6 being absolutely essential for viral control. The underlying mechanism involved IL-6 signaling on virus-specific CD4 T cells that caused up-regulation of the transcription factor Bcl6 and enhanced T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses at late, but not early, stages of chronic viral infection. This resulted in escalation of germinal center reactions and improved antibody responses. Our results uncover an antiviral strategy that helps to safely resolve a persistent infection in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3388900  PMID: 21960530
6.  RSV-Induced Bronchial Epithelial Cell PD-L1 Expression Inhibits CD8+ T Cell Nonspecific Antiviral Activity 
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of bronchiolitis in infants. It is also responsible for high morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Programmed death ligands (PD-Ls) on antigen-presenting cells interact with receptors on T cells to regulate immune responses. The programmed death receptor-ligand 1/programmed death receptor 1 (PD-L1-PD-1) pathway is inhibitory in chronic viral infections, but its role in acute viral infections is unclear. We hypothesized that bronchial epithelial cell (BEC) expression of PD-Ls would inhibit local effector CD8+ T cell function. We report that RSV infection of primary human BECs strongly induces PD-L1 expression. In a co-culture system of BECs with purified CD8+ T cells, we demonstrated that RSV-infected BECs increased CD8+ T cell activation, proliferation, and antiviral function. Blocking PD-L1 on RSV-infected BECs co-cultured with CD8+ T cells enhanced CD8+ T cell IFN-γ, IL-2, and granzyme B production. It also decreased the virus load of the BECs. Based on our findings, we believe therapeutic strategies that target the PD-L1-PD-1 pathway might increase antiviral immune responses to RSV and other acute virus infections.
PMCID: PMC3086441  PMID: 21148500
7.  CD25+ Natural Regulatory T Cells Are Critical in Limiting Innate and Adaptive Immunity and Resolving Disease following Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(17):8790-8798.
Regulatory CD4+ T cells have been shown to be important in limiting immune responses, but their role in respiratory viral infections has received little attention. Here we observed that following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, CD4+ Foxp3+ CD25+ natural regulatory T-cell numbers increased in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, lung, mediastinal lymph nodes, and spleen. The depletion of CD25+ natural regulatory T cells prior to RSV infection led to enhanced weight loss with delayed recovery that was surprisingly accompanied by increased numbers of activated natural killer cells in the lung and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid on day 8 postinfection. Increased numbers of neutrophils were also detected within the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and correlated with elevated levels of myeloperoxidase as well as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and gamma interferon (IFN-γ). CD25+ natural regulatory T-cell depletion also led to enhanced numbers of proinflammatory T cells producing IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in the lung. Despite these increases in inflammatory responses and disease severity, the viral load was unaltered. This work highlights a critical role for natural regulatory T cells in regulating the adaptive and innate immune responses during the later stages of lung viral infections.
PMCID: PMC2919030  PMID: 20573822
8.  Delivery of Cytokines by Recombinant Virus in Early Life Alters the Immune Response to Adult Lung Infection▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(10):5294-5302.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the main cause of bronchiolitis, the major cause of hospitalization of infants. An ideal RSV vaccine would be effective for neonates, but the immune responses of infants differ markedly from those of adults, often showing a bias toward T-helper 2 (Th2) responses and reduced gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production. We previously developed recombinant RSV vectors expressing IFN-γ and interleukin-4 (IL-4) that allow us to explore the role of these key Th1 and Th2 cytokines during infection. The aim of the current study was to explore whether an immunomodulation of infant responses could enhance protection. The expression of IFN-γ by a recombinant RSV vector (RSV/IFN-γ) attenuated primary viral replication in newborn mice without affecting the development of specific antibody or T-cell responses. Upon challenge, RSV/IFN-γ mice were protected from the exacerbated disease observed for mice primed with wild-type RSV; however, antiviral immunity was not enhanced. Conversely, the expression of IL-4 by recombinant RSV did not affect virus replication in neonates but greatly enhanced Th2 immune responses upon challenge without affecting weight loss. These studies demonstrate that it is possible to manipulate infant immune responses by using cytokine-expressing recombinant viruses and that neonatal deficiency in IFN-γ responses may lead to enhanced disease during secondary infection.
PMCID: PMC2863826  PMID: 20200251
9.  Interleukin 18 Coexpression during Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Results in Enhanced Disease Mediated by Natural Killer Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(8):4073-4082.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes bronchiolitis, the main cause of infantile hospitalization. Immunity against reinfection is poor, and there is great interest in boosting vaccine responses using live vectors expressing host cytokines. We therefore constructed a recombinant RSV expressing murine interleukin 18 (RSV/IL-18), a cytokine capable of inducing strong antiviral immune responses. In vitro RSV/IL-18 replicated at wild-type levels and produced soluble IL-18. In naïve BALB/c mice, RSV/IL-18 infection significantly increased both IL-18 mRNA and protein and attenuated the peak viral load 3-fold. Despite a reduced viral load, RSV/IL-18 infection caused a biphasic weight loss at days 2 and 6 postinfection that was not seen in wild-type infection. Day 2 disease was associated with enhanced pulmonary natural killer (NK) cell numbers and activity and was prevented by NK cell depletion during infection; day 6 disease was correlated with CD8 T-cell recruitment and was enhanced by NK cell depletion. IL-18 expression during priming also enhanced RSV-specific antibody responses and T-cell responses on secondary RSV infection. Therefore, while IL-18 boosted antiviral immunity and reduced the viral load, its coexpression worsened disease. This is the first recombinant RSV with this property, and these are the first studies to demonstrate that NK cells can induce pathology during pulmonary viral infections.
PMCID: PMC2849516  PMID: 20130064
10.  Alveolar Macrophages Are a Major Determinant of Early Responses to Viral Lung Infection but Do Not Influence Subsequent Disease Development▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(9):4441-4448.
Macrophages are abundant in the lower respiratory tract. They play a central role in the innate response to infection but may also modulate excessive inflammation. Both macrophages and ciliated epithelial cells respond to infection by releasing soluble mediators, leading to the recruitment of innate and adaptive effector cells. To study the role of lung macrophages in acute respiratory viral infection, we depleted them by the inhalation of clodronate liposomes in an established mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease. Infection caused an immediate local release of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, peaking on day 1, which was virtually abolished by clodronate liposome treatment. Macrophage depletion inhibited the activation (days 1 to 2) and recruitment (day 4) of natural killer (NK) cells and enhanced peak viral load in the lung (day 4). However, macrophage depletion did not affect the recruitment of activated CD4 or CD8 T cells, weight loss, or virus-induced changes in lung function. Therefore, lung macrophages play a central role in the early responses to viral infection but have remarkably little effect on the adaptive response occurring at the time of peak disease severity.
PMCID: PMC2293049  PMID: 18287232
11.  The Role of T Cells in the Enhancement of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Severity during Adult Reinfection of Neonatally Sensitized Mice▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(8):4115-4124.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of infantile bronchiolitis and hospitalization. Severe RSV disease is associated with the development of wheezing in later life. In a mouse model of the delayed effects of RSV, the age at primary infection determines responses to reinfection in adulthood. During primary RSV infection, neonatal BALB/c mice developed only mild disease and recruited CD8 cells that were defective in gamma interferon production. Secondary reinfection of neonatally primed mice caused enhanced inflammation and profuse lung T-cell recruitment. CD4 cell depletion during secondary RSV challenge attenuated disease (measured by weight loss); depletion of CD8 cells also markedly attenuated disease severity but enhanced lung eosinophilia, and depletion of both CD4 and CD8 cells together completely abrogated weight loss. Depletion of CD8 (but not CD4) cells during primary neonatal infection was protective against weight loss during adult challenge. Therefore, T cells, in particular CD8 T cells, play a central role in the outcome of neonatal infection by enhancing disease during secondary challenge. These findings demonstrate a crucial role for T cells in the regulation of immune responses after neonatal infection.
PMCID: PMC2293007  PMID: 18272579
12.  Virally Delivered Cytokines Alter the Immune Response to Future Lung Infections▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(23):13105-13111.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of infant morbidity and mortality worldwide and is increasingly recognized to have a role in the development and exacerbation of chronic lung diseases. There is no effective vaccine, and we reasoned that it might be possible to skew the immune system towards beneficial nonpathogenic responses by selectively priming protective T-cell subsets. We therefore tested recombinant RSV (rRSV) candidates expressing prototypic murine Th1 (gamma interferon [IFN-γ]) or Th2 (interleukin-4 [IL-4]) cytokines, with detailed monitoring of responses to subsequent infections with RSV or (as a control) influenza A virus. Although priming with either recombinant vector reduced viral load during RSV challenge, enhanced weight loss and enhanced pulmonary influx of RSV-specific CD8+ T cells were observed after challenge in mice primed with rRSV/IFN-γ. By contrast, rRSV/IL-4-primed mice were protected against weight loss during secondary challenge but showed airway eosinophilia. When rRSV/IL-4-primed mice were challenged with influenza virus, weight loss was attenuated but was again accompanied by marked airway eosinophilia. Thus, immunization directed toward enhancement of Th1 responses reduces viral load but is not necessarily protective against disease. Counter to expectation, Th2-biased responses were more beneficial but also influenced the pathological effects of heterologous viral challenge.
PMCID: PMC2169117  PMID: 17855518

Results 1-12 (12)