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J Virol. 2007 Feb;81(3):1241-50. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

CXCR3-dependent recruitment of antigen-specific T lymphocytes to the liver during murine cytomegalovirus infection.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


Innate inflammatory events promoting antiviral defense in the liver against murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection have been characterized. However, the mechanisms that regulate the selective recruitment of inflammatory T lymphocytes to the liver during MCMV infection have not been defined. The studies presented here demonstrate the expression of monokine induced by gamma interferon (IFN-gamma; Mig/CXCL9) and IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10 (IP-10/CXCL10) in liver leukocytes and correlate their production with the infiltration of MCMV-specific CD8 T cells into the liver. Antibody-mediated neutralization of CXCL9 and CXCL10 and studies using mice deficient in CXCR3, the primary known receptor for these chemokines, revealed that CXCR3-dependent mechanisms promote the infiltration of virus-specific CD8 T cells into the liver during acute infection with MCMV. Furthermore, CXCR3 functions augmented the hepatic accumulation of CD8 T-cell IFN-gamma responses to MCMV. Evaluation of protective functions demonstrated enhanced pathology that overlapped with transient increases in virus titers in CXCR3-deficient mice. However, ultimate viral clearance and survival were not compromised. Thus, CXCR3-mediated signals support the accumulation of MCMV-specific CD8 T cells that contribute to, but are not exclusively required for, protective responses in a virus-infected tissue site.

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