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J Virol. 2007 Apr;81(8):3740-8. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Association of gamma interferon and interleukin-17 production in intestinal CD4+ T cells with protection against rotavirus shedding in mice intranasally immunized with VP6 and the adjuvant LT(R192G).

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229, and Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Mucosal immunization of mice with chimeric, Escherichia coli-expressed VP6, the protein that comprises the intermediate capsid layer of the rotavirus particle, together with attenuated E. coli heat-labile toxin LT(R192G) as an adjuvant, reduces fecal shedding of rotavirus antigen by >95% after murine rotavirus challenge, and the only lymphocytes required for protection are CD4+ T cells. Because these cells produce cytokines with antiviral properties, the cytokines whose expression is upregulated in intestinal memory CD4+ T cells immediately after rotavirus challenge of VP6/LT(R192G)-immunized mice may be directly or indirectly responsible for the rapid suppression of rotavirus shedding. This study was designed to identify which cytokines are significantly upregulated in intestinal effector sites and secondary lymphoid tissues of intranasally immunized BALB/c mice after challenge with murine rotavirus strain EDIM. Initially, this was done by using microarray analysis to quantify mRNAs for 96 murine common cytokines. With this procedure, the synthesis of mRNAs for gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-17 (IL-17) was found to be temporarily upregulated in intestinal lymphoid cells of VP6/LT(R192G)-immunized mice at 12 h after rotavirus challenge. These cytokines were also produced in CD4+ T cells obtained from intestinal sites specific to VP6/LT(R192G)-immunized mice after in vitro exposure to VP6 as determined by intracellular cytokine staining and secretion of cytokines. Although genetically modified mice that lack receptors for either IFN-gamma or IL-17 remained protected after immunization, these results provide suggestive evidence that these cytokines may play direct or indirect roles in protection against rotavirus after mucosal immunization of mice with VP6/LT(R192G).

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