Apr 18, 2020

Immune modulation to improve survival of respiratory virus infections in mice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. WaliScott E Evans


Viral pneumonia remains a global health threat requiring novel treatment strategies, as strikingly exemplified in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic of 2019-2020. We have reported that mice treated with a combination of inhaled Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2/6 and TLR 9 agonists (Pam2-ODN) to stimulate innate immunity are broadly protected against respiratory pathogens, but the mechanisms underlying this protection remain incompletely elucidated. Here, we show in a lethal paramyxovirus model that Pam2-ODN-enhanced survival is associated with robust virus inactivation by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which occurs prior to internalization by lung epithelial cells. However, we also found that mortality in sham-treated mice temporally corresponded with CD8+ T cell-enriched lung inflammation that peaks on days 11-12 after viral challenge, when the viral burden has waned to a scarcely detectable level. Pam2-ODN treatment blocked this injurious inflammation by reducing the viral burden, and alternatively, depleting CD8+ T cells 8 days after viral challenge also decreased mortality. These findings reveal opportunities for targeted immunomodulation to protect susceptible individuals against the morbidity and mortality of respiratory viral infections.

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