Immune cells predict outcome of West Nile virus infection

October 12, 2009

Infection with West Nile virus (WNV) causes no symptoms in most people. However, it can cause fever, meningitis, and/or encephalitis. What determines the outcome of infection with WNV in different people has not been determined.

But now, Philip Norris and colleagues, at the Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, have found that levels of known as Tregs (immune cells that suppress the function of other immune cells) in the blood of a human or mouse infected with WNV predict whether the person or mouse will have symptoms of infection.

In the study, analysis of blood donated by 32 individuals acutely infected with WNV indicated that the frequency of Tregs increased substantially following infection. However, those individuals that were asymptomatic had higher levels of Tregs than those that exhibited symptoms of infection. Similar observations were made in mice infected with WNV.

Consistent with a role for Tregs in controlling the symptoms of WNV infection, mice lacking Tregs were more susceptible to lethal infection with WNV than control . The authors therefore conclude that higher levels of Tregs in the after infection with WNV protect against severe disease in individuals with a fully functioning immune system.

More information: View this article at: www.jci.org/articles/view/39387?key=0068356243797a433f5d

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Artificial beta cells

December 8, 2016

Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach.

Key regulator of bone development identified

December 8, 2016

Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes—a condition known as brachydactyly. The discovery was made by researchers at Penn State ...

Researchers question lifelong immunity to toxoplasmosis

December 8, 2016

Medical students are taught that once infected with Toxoplasma gondii—the "cat parasite"—then you're protected from reinfection for the rest of your life. This dogma should be questioned, argue researchers in an Opinion ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.