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West Nile virus-infected human dendritic cells fail to fully activate invariant natural killer T cells

West Nile virus-infected human dendritic cells fail to fully activate invariant natural killer T cells

Clinical and Experimental Immunology 186(2): 214-226

ISSN/ISBN: 0009-9104

PMID: 27513522

DOI: 10.1111/cei.12850

West Nile virus (WNV) infection is a mosquito-borne zoonosis with increasing prevalence in the United States. WNV infection begins in the skin, and the virus replicates initially in keratinocytes and dendritic cells (DCs). In the skin and cutaneous lymph nodes, infected DCs are likely to interact with invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTs). Bidirectional interactions between DCs and iNKTs amplify the innate immune response to viral infections, thus controlling viral load and regulating adaptive immunity. iNKTs are stimulated by CD1d-bound lipid antigens or activated indirectly by inflammatory cytokines. We exposed human monocyte-derived DCs to WNV Kunjin and determined their ability to activate isolated blood iNKTs. DCs became infected as judged by synthesis of viral mRNA and Envelope and NS-1 proteins, but did not undergo significant apoptosis. Infected DCs up-regulated the co-stimulatory molecules CD86 and CD40, but showed decreased expression of CD1d. WNV infection induced DC secretion of type I interferon (IFN), but no or minimal interleukin (IL)-12, IL-23, IL-18 or IL-10. Unexpectedly, we found that the WNV-infected DCs stimulated human iNKTs to up-regulate CD69 and produce low amounts of IL-10, but not proinflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ or tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Both CD1d and IFNAR blockade partially abrogated this iNKT response, suggesting involvement of a T cell receptor (TCR)-CD1d interaction and type I interferon receptor (IFNAR) signalling. Thus, WNV infection interferes with DC-iNKT interactions by preventing the production of proinflammatory cytokines. iNKTs may be a source of IL-10 observed in human flavivirus infections and initiate an anti-inflammatory innate response that limits adaptive immunity and immune pathology upon WNV infection.

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