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J Virol. 2018 Feb 26;92(6). pii: e01517-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01517-17. Print 2018 Mar 15.

Interleukin-10 Modulation of Virus Clearance and Disease in Mice with Alphaviral Encephalomyelitis.

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W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Alphaviruses are an important cause of mosquito-borne outbreaks of arthritis, rash, and encephalomyelitis. Previous studies in mice with a virulent strain (neuroadapted SINV [NSV]) of the alphavirus Sindbis virus (SINV) identified a role for Th17 cells and regulation by interleukin-10 (IL-10) in the pathogenesis of fatal encephalomyelitis (K. A. Kulcsar, V. K. Baxter, I. P. Greene, and D. E. Griffin, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:16053-16058, 2014, To determine the role of virus virulence in generation of immune responses, we analyzed the modulatory effects of IL-10 on disease severity, virus clearance, and the CD4+ T cell response to infection with a recombinant strain of SINV of intermediate virulence (TE12). The absence of IL-10 during TE12 infection led to longer morbidity, more weight loss, higher mortality, and slower viral clearance than in wild-type mice. More severe disease and impaired virus clearance in IL-10-/- mice were associated with more Th1 cells, fewer Th2 cells, innate lymphoid type 2 cells, regulatory cells, and B cells, and delayed production of antiviral antibody in the central nervous system (CNS) without an effect on Th17 cells. Therefore, IL-10 deficiency led to more severe disease in TE12-infected mice by increasing Th1 cells and by hampering development of the local B cell responses necessary for rapid production of antiviral antibody and virus clearance from the CNS. In addition, the shift from Th17 to Th1 responses with decreased virus virulence indicates that the effects of IL-10 deficiency on immunopathologic responses in the CNS during alphavirus infection are influenced by virus strain.IMPORTANCE Alphaviruses cause mosquito-borne outbreaks of encephalomyelitis, but determinants of outcome are incompletely understood. We analyzed the effects of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 on disease severity and virus clearance after infection with an alphavirus strain of intermediate virulence. The absence of IL-10 led to longer illness, more weight loss, more death, and slower viral clearance than in mice that produced IL-10. IL-10 influenced development of disease-causing T cells and entry into the brain of B cells producing antiviral antibody. The Th1 pathogenic cell subtype that developed in IL-10-deficient mice infected with a less virulent virus was distinct from the Th17 subtype that developed in response to a more virulent virus, indicating a role for virus strain in determining the immune response. Slow production of antibody in the nervous system led to delayed virus clearance. Therefore, both the virus strain and the host response to infection are important determinants of outcome.


B cells in brain; CD4+ T cells; IL-10; Sindbis virus; Th1 cells; antibody in brain; central nervous system infections; encephalitis; mice

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