Induction of T helper 3 regulatory cells by dendritic cells infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus

Erika Silva-Campa, Lilian Flores-Mendoza, Mónica Reséndiz, Araceli Pinelli-Saavedra, Verónica Mata-Haro, Waithaka Mwangi, Jesús Hernández
Virology 2009 May 10, 387 (2): 373-9
Delayed development of virus-specific immune response has been observed in pigs infected with the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). Several studies support the hypothesis that the PRRSV is capable of modulating porcine immune system, but the mechanisms involved are yet to be defined. In this study, we evaluated the induction of T regulatory cells by PRRSV-infected dendritic cells (DCs). Our results showed that PRRSV-infected DCs significantly increased Foxp3(+)CD25(+) T cells, an effect that was reversible by IFN-alpha treatment, and this outcome was reproducible using two distinct PRRSV strains. Analysis of the expressed cytokines suggested that the induction of Foxp3(+)CD25(+) T cells is dependent on TGF-beta but not IL-10. In addition, a significant up-regulation of Foxp3 mRNA, but not TBX21 or GATA3, was detected. Importantly, our results showed that the induced Foxp3(+)CD25(+) T cells were able to suppress the proliferation of PHA-stimulated PBMCs. The T cells induced by the PRRSV-infected DCs fit the Foxp3(+)CD25(+) T helper 3 (Th3) regulatory cell phenotype described in the literature. The induction of this cell phenotype depended, at least in part, on PRRSV viability because IFN-alpha treatment or virus inactivation reversed these effects. In conclusion, this data supports the hypothesis that the PRRSV succeeds to establish and replicate in porcine cells early post-infection, in part, by inducing Th3 regulatory cells as a mechanism of modulating the porcine immune system.

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