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Immunology - Infectious Diseases - Microbiology - Pediatrics and Child Health

Stimulation of Immature Lung Macrophages with Intranasal Interferon Gamma in a Novel Neonatal Mouse Model of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection
Published: Friday, July 06, 2012
Author: Kerry M. Empey et al.

by Kerry M. Empey, Jacob G. Orend, R. Stokes Peebles, Loreto Egaña, Karen A. Norris, Tim D. Oury, Jay K. Kolls

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and viral death in infants. Reduced CD8 T-cells and negligible interferon gamma (IFN?) in the airway are associated with severe infant RSV disease, yet there is an abundance of alveolar macrophages (AM) and neutrophils. However, it is unclear, based on our current understanding of macrophage functional heterogeneity, if immature AM improve viral clearance or contribute to inflammation and airway obstruction in the IFN?-deficient neonatal lung environment. The aim of the current study was to define the age-dependent AM phenotype during neonatal RSV infection and investigate their differentiation to classically activated macrophages (CAM) using i.n. IFN? in the context of improving viral clearance. Neonatal and adult BALB/cJ mice were infected with 1×106 plaque forming units (PFU)/gram (g) RSV line 19 and their AM responses compared. Adult mice showed a rapid and robust CAM response, indicated by increases in major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II), CD86, CCR7, and a reduction in mannose receptor (MR). Neonatal mice showed a delayed and reduced CAM response, likely due to undetectable IFN? production. Intranasal (i.n.) treatment with recombinant mouse IFN? (rIFN?) increased the expression of CAM markers on neonatal AM, reduced viral lung titers, and improved weight gain compared to untreated controls with no detectable increase in CD4 or CD8 T-cell infiltration. In vitro infection of J774A.1 macrophages with RSV induced an alternatively activated macrophage (AAM) phenotype however, when macrophages were first primed with IFN?, a CAM phenotype was induced and RSV spread to adjacent Hep-2 cells was reduced. These studies demonstrate that the neonatal AM response to RSV infection is abundant and immature, but can be exogenously stimulated to express the antimicrobial phenotype, CAM, with i.n. rIFN?.