• T Cell Immune Response in Persistent Infection of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV)

      Ou, Rong; Georgia Cancer Center (2004-07)
      The m urine LCMV system provides a ciassic model to study the mechanism of immunological tolerance, an efficient strategy used by virus to establish a persistent infection by selective down-regulation of virus-specific T lymphocytes. High viral burden in the onset o f infection drives responding cells into functional unresposiveness (anergy) that can, be followed by their physical elimination. In this study, the downregulation o f the virus-specific CD8^-T-ceil response was studied during a persistent infection o f adult mice, with particular emphasis on the contribution of the interferon response in promoting host defense, or perforin-, Fas/FasL-, or TN FR l-m ediated cytolysis in regulating T-cell homeostasis. Since LCMV infects a broad range o f host tissues, the functional properties o f virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infection were also evaluated. Infection of mice deficient in receptor for type I (IFN-a/p), type II (IFN-y), or both type I and II IFNs with LCMV isolates that vary in their capacity to induce T-celi exhaustion, revealed a critical role for IFN -a/p in restricting LCMV spread at the onset o f infection while IFN-y has impact on effector cells. The production o f IF N -a/p and/or IFN-y critically regulates the virus-host balance during the acute phase o f infection, such that a high viral burden drives responding cells into different programs o f exhaustion. Infection o f mice deficient in perferin, FasL or TNFRl with the Docile or Aggressive strains of LCMV revealed comparable kinetics of expansion and functional inactivation o f virusspecific C D ^ T cells in the early phase o f Infection in C57BL/6 controls. However, the data underscore a critical role for these molecules in the persistence o f the virus-specific CD8"‘-T-ceil population once it has become anergic. Study o f the functional properties of virus-specific CD8'^ T cells in different tissues during LCMV infections showed that a centra! role for the viral load in lymphoid tissue in the induction and maintenance of clonal exhaustion. The data strongly suggest that CD8^ T ceils may be differentially regulated in the environments o f lymphoid versus nonlymphoid tissues, and the pattern of T cell exhaustion observed with mice is likely a common feature o f the immune response during chronic infections in humans.