Multiple Immune Factors Are Involved in Controlling Acute and Chronic Chikungunya Virus Infection
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The recent epidemic of the arthritogenic alphavirus, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has prompted a quest to understand the correlates of protection against virus and disease in order to inform development of new interventions. Herein we highlight the propensity of CHIKV infections to persist long term, both as persistent, steady-state, viraemias in multiple B cell deficient mouse strains, and as persistent RNA (including negative-strand RNA) in wild-type mice. The knockout mouse studies provided evidence for a role for T cells (but not NK cells) in viraemia suppression, and confirmed the role of T cells in arthritis promotion, with vaccine-induced T cells also shown to be arthritogenic in the absence of antibody responses. However, MHC class II-restricted T cells were not required for production of anti-viral IgG2c responses post CHIKV infection. The antiviral cytokines, TNF and IFNc, were persistently elevated in persistently infected B and T cell deficient mice, with adoptive transfer of anti-CHIKV antibodies unable to clear permanently the viraemia from these, or B cell deficient, mice. The NOD background increased viraemia and promoted arthritis, with B, T and NK deficient NOD mice showing high-levels of persistent viraemia and ultimately succumbing to encephalitic disease. In wild-type mice persistent CHIKV RNA and negative strand RNA (detected for up to 100 days post infection) was associated with persistence of cellular infiltrates, CHIKV antigen and stimulation of IFNa/b and T cell responses. These studies highlight that, secondary to antibodies, several factors are involved in virus control, and suggest that chronic arthritic disease is a consequence of persistent, replicating and transcriptionally active CHIKV RNA.
PL o S Neglected Tropical Diseases (Online)
© 2014 Poo et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CCAL. (http://www.plos.org/journals/license.html)
Immunology not elsewhere classified