GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date

December 2002

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Department

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Program in Immunology and Virology

Subjects

Immunologic Memory; Immunity, Mucosal; Vaccinia virus; Antigens, CD8; CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes; Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; Academic Dissertations

Abstract

Each individual experiences many sequential infections throughout the lifetime. An increasing body of work indicates that prior exposure to unrelated pathogens can greatly alter the disease course during a later infection. This can be a consequence of a phenomenon known as heterologous immunity. Most viruses invade the host through the mucosa of a variety of organs and tissues. Using the intranasal mucosal route of infection, the thesis focused on studying modulation of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific memory CD8 T cells upon respiratory vaccinia virus (VV) infection and the role of these memory CD8 T cells in heterologous immunity against VV and altered immunopathology in the lung.

The VV infection had a profound impact on memory T cells specific for LCMV. The impact included the up-regulation of CD69 expression on LCMV-specific CD8 memory T cells and the activation of their in vivo IFN-γ production and cytotoxic function. Some of these antigen-specific memory T cells selectively expanded in number, resulting in modulation of the original LCMV-specific T cell repertoire. In addition, there was a selective organ-dependent redistribution of these LCMV-specific memory T cell populations in secondary lymphoid tissue (the mediastinal lymph node and spleen) and the non-lymphoid peripheral (the lung) organs. The presence of these LCMV-specific memory T cells correlated with IFN-γ-dependent enhanced VV clearance, decreased mortality and marked changes in lung immunopathology. Thus, the participation of pre-existing memory T cells specific for unrelated agents can alter the dynamics of mucosal immunity. This is associated with an altered disease course in response to a pathogen.

The roles for T cell cross-reactivity and cytokines in the modulation of memory CD8 T cells during heterologous memory CD8 T cell-mediated immunity and immunopathology were investigated. Upon VV challenge, there were preferential expansions of several LCMV-specific memory CD8 T cell populations. This selectivity suggested that cross-reactive responses played a role in this expansion. Moreover, a VV peptide, partially homologous to LCMV NP 205, stimulated LCMV-NP205 specific CD8 T cells, suggesting that NP205 may be a cross-reactive epitope. Poly I:C treatment of LCMV-immune mice resulted in a transient increase but no repertoire alteration of LCMV-epitope-specific CD8 T cells. These T cells did not produce IFN-γ in vivo. These results imply that poly I:C, presumably through its induced cytokines, was assisting in initial recruitment of LCMV-specific memory CD8 T cells in a nonspecific manner. VV challenge of LCMV-immune IL-12KO mice resulted in activation and slightly decreased accumulation of LCMV-specific CD8 T cells. Moreover, there was a dramatic reduction of in vivo IFN-γ production by LCMV-specific IL-12KO CD8 T cells in the lung. I interpreted this to mean that IL-12 was important to augment IFN-γ production by memory CD8 T cells upon TCR engagement by antigens and to induce further accumulation of activated memory CD8 T cells during the heterologous viral infection.

This thesis also systematically examined what effect the sequence of two heterologous virus challenges had on viral clearance, early cytokine profiles and immunopathology in the lung after infecting mice immune to one virus with another unrelated viruses. Four unrelated viruses, [LCMV, VV, influenza A virus or murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV)], were used. There were many common changes observed in the acute response to VV as a consequence of prior immunity to any of three viruses, LCMV, MCMV or influenza A virus. These included the enhanced clearance of VV in the lung, associated with enhanced TH1 type responses with increased IFN-γ and suppressed pro-inflammatory responses. However, immunity to the three different viruses resulted in unique pathologies in the VV-infected lungs, but with one common feature, the substitution of lymphocytic and chronic mononuclear infiltrates for the usual acute polymorphonuclear response seen in non-immune mice. Immunity to influenza A virus appeared to influence the outcome of subsequent acute infections with any of the three viruses, VV, LCMV and MCMV. Most notably, influenza A virus-immunity protected against VV but it actually enhanced LCMV and MCMV titers. This enhanced MCMV replication was associated with enhanced TH1 type response and pro-inflammatory cytokine responses. Immunity to influenza A virus appeared to dramatically enhance the mild lymphocytic and chronic mononuclear response usually observed during acute infection with either LCMV or MCMV in non-immune mice, but LCMV infection and MCM infection of influenza A virus-immune mice each had its own unique features. Thus, the specific sequence of virus infections controls the outcome of disease.

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