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J Virol. 2000 Jun;74(12):5460-9.

Dose-dependent changes in influenza virus-infected dendritic cells result in increased allogeneic T-cell proliferation at low, but not high, doses of virus.

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  • 1Center for Immunization Research, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


During the acute phase of infection with influenza A virus, the degree of lymphopenia correlates with severity of disease. Factors that contribute to T-cell activation during influenza virus infection may contribute to this observation. Since the immune response is initiated when dendritic cells (DC) interact with T cells, we have established an in vitro system to examine the effects of influenza virus infection on DC function. Our results show that allogeneic T-cell proliferation was dependent on the dose of A/PR/8/34 used to infect DC, with enhanced responses at low, but not high, multiplicities of infection. The lack of enhancement at high virus doses was not primarily due to the increased rate of DC apoptosis, but required viral replication and neuraminidase (NA) activity. Clusters that formed between DC or between DC and T cells were also dependent on the viral dose. This change in cellular interaction may oppose T-cell proliferation in response to DC infected with high doses of PR8, since the increased contact between DC resulted in the exclusion of T cells. The enhanced alloreactive T-cell response was restored by neutralization of transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1). It is likely that NA present on viral particles released from DC infected with high doses of PR8 activates TGF-beta1. Future studies will determine the mechanism by which TGF-beta1 modifies the in vitro T-cell response and address the contribution of this cytokine to the lymphopenia observed in severe disease.

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