Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hemorrhagic Fevers Can Be Caused by Body’s Antiviral Interferon Response

05.06.2014

Hemorrhagic fevers caused by Lassa, dengue and other viruses affect more than one million people annually and are often fatal, yet scientists have never understood why only some virus-infected people come down with the disease and others do not.

But now, virologists and immunologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a major clue to the mystery of “hemorrhagic fever” syndromes. In findings reported this week in an Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team showed that Interferon Type I (IFN-I) immune proteins are key drivers of a viral syndrome in mice that closely mimics these human hemorrhagic fevers.

“Blocking IFN-I signaling in certain genetic mouse strains completely prevented disease signs such as vascular leakage leading to death,” said TSRI Associate Professor of Immunology Roberto Baccala, who, with TSRI Professor Michael Oldstone, led this study.

While IFN-I proteins traditionally have been considered essential for an effective antiviral response and are still used to treat some chronic viral infections, the new study suggests that these proteins sometimes do much more harm than good—and that blocking them, or specific biological pathways they activate, might be a good therapeutic strategy against hemorrhagic fevers.

Striking Impact

The discovery arose from the team’s recent research with the New Zealand Black (NZB) mouse, an inbred laboratory strain whose overactive immune system leads, in midlife, to an autoimmune condition resembling lupus. Curious to see how a viral infection in early life would affect the mice, the team injected a group of the animals with a much-studied mouse virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV).

The parental LCMV Armstrong (Clone 53b) caused no symptoms and was quickly cleared by the NZB mice. But a variant (clone 13) that is efficient at infecting cells and causing a persistent infection—yet still causes only mild disease in most other mouse strains—had a strikingly different impact, showing serious signs of illness. Seven to eight days after infection, all the NZB mice that been injected with clone 13 had died.

Further examination revealed leaky blood vessels, fluid and immune virus-specific T cell infiltration into the lungs, decreased platelet counts and other pathological signs reminiscent of human hemorrhagic fevers.

As the scientists knew, LCMV is a member of the family of viruses that includes Lassa virus, which causes one of world’s most common hemorrhagic fevers—with a high fatality rate—in a subset of infected patients. “Lassa virus and LCMV infect the same cell type via the same cell-surface receptor,” Baccala said. Lassa virus infects hundreds of thousands of individuals annually, culminating in more than 20,000 deaths per year.

Most people infected with Lassa virus experience only mild illness, yet about 20 percent develop the hemorrhagic syndrome. Dengue virus manifests similarly, causing a hemorrhagic syndrome in only a subset of patients. The pathology seen in the LCMV clone 13-infected NZB mice suggested that they could serve as useful models of these human hemorrhagic syndromes, providing clues to how they develop and therapeutic stop-points for their treatment.

A New Target

Baccala and his colleagues soon found evidence that the hyperactivity of the NZB mouse antiviral CD8 cytotoxic T cell response is chiefly to blame for its fatal hemorrhagic disease. The researchers observed powerful CD8+ T cells in higher than normal numbers in affected NZB mouse tissues and a greater number of immune-stimulating molecules on the CD8+ cells’ surfaces. This CD8+ T cell overreaction damaged the endothelial cells that line pulmonary blood vessels, causing them to become leaky, which in turn led to the fatal buildup of fluid in the lungs.

IFN-I proteins historically have been known as the chief mobilizers of the protective antiviral response. When Baccala and his colleagues blocked IFN-I signaling, up to a day after infection, the CD8+ T cell response was virtually absent, and levels of clone 13 LCMV rose sharply in the NZB mice. Under these conditions, the mice showed no sign of disease and seemed able to tolerate the high viral load indefinitely—implying that the virus itself is virtually harmless when it doesn’t prompt an immune reaction.

“We are now working to determine whether we can target IFN-I itself to treat such conditions or whether we need to target the more specific signals, downstream of IFN-I, that cause pathology,” said Baccala.

In addition to Baccala and Oldstone, the co-authors of the study, “Type I interferon is a therapeutic target for virus-induced lethal vascular damage,” were Megan J. Welch, Rosana Gonzalez-Quintial, Kevin B. Walsh, John R. Teijaro, Anthony Nguyen, Cherie T. Ng, Brian Martin Sullivan, Alessandro Zarpellon, Zaverio M. Ruggeri, Juan Carlos de la Torre and Argyrios N. Theofilopoulos, all of TSRI. For more information on the paper, see http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/05/29/1408148111.abstract

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants AI099699, AI009484, CA127535, AR53228, AI077719 and HL42846).

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

For information:
Office of Communications
Tel: 858-784-2666
Fax: 858-784-8136
press@scripps.edu

Mika Ono | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/2014/20140604baccala.html

Further reports about: CD8+ Interferon LCMV Scripps TSRI antiviral hemorrhagic immune lungs proteins vascular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

Im Focus: Energy-saving minicomputers for the ‘Internet of Things’

The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging

05.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>