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J Virol. 2008 Sep;82(18):8956-64. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01118-08. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Tumor necrosis factor alpha protects against lethal West Nile virus infection by promoting trafficking of mononuclear leukocytes into the central nervous system.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, Box 8051, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic flavivirus that has emerged globally as a significant cause of viral encephalitis in humans, especially in immunocompromised individuals. Previous studies have shown essential protective roles for antiviral cytokines (e.g., alpha interferon [IFN-alpha] and IFN-gamma) against WNV in mice. However, studies using cell culture offer conflicting answers regarding whether tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) has an anti-WNV function. To test the biological significance of TNF-alpha against WNV in vivo, experiments were performed with TNF receptor-1 (TNF-R1)-deficient and TNF-alpha-depleted C57BL/6 mice. TNF-R1(-/-) mice had enhanced mortality and decreased survival time after WNV infection compared to congenic wild-type mice. Consistent with this, administration of a neutralizing anti-TNF-alpha monoclonal antibody also decreased survival after WNV infection. Relatively small differences in viral burdens in peripheral tissues of TNF-R1(-/-) mice were observed, and this occurrence correlated with a modest antiviral effect of TNF-alpha on primary macrophages but not dendritic cells. In contrast, the viral titers detected in the central nervous systems of TNF-R1(-/-) mice were significantly increased compared to those of wild-type mice, although TNF-alpha did not have a direct antiviral effect in primary neuron cultures. Whereas no defect in priming of adaptive B- and T-cell responses in TNF-R1(-/-) mice was observed, there were significant reductions in accumulations of CD8+ T cells and macrophages in the brain. Our data are most consistent with a model in which interaction of TNF-alpha with TNF-R1 protects against WNV infection by regulating migration of protective inflammatory cells into the brain during acute infection.

PMID:
18632856
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2546880
Free PMC Article

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