Persistent humoral immune responses in the CNS limit recovery of reactivated murine cytomegalovirus

Manohar B. Mutnal, Shuxian Hu, James R Lokensgard

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19 Scopus citations


Background: Experimental infection of the mouse brain with murine CMV (MCMV) elicits neuroimmune responses that terminate acute infection while simultaneously preventing extensive bystander damage. Previous studies have determined that CD8 + T lymphocytes are required to restrict acute, productive MCMV infection within the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, we investigated the contribution of humoral immune responses in control of MCMV brain infection. Methodology/Principal Findings: Utilizing our MCMV brain infection model, we investigated B-lymphocyte-lineage cells and assessed their role in controlling the recovery of reactivated virus from latently infected brain tissue. Brain infiltrating leukocytes were first phenotyped using markers indicative of B-lymphocytes and plasma cells. Results obtained during these studies showed a steady increase in the recruitment of B-lymphocyte-lineage cells into the brain throughout the time-course of viral infection. Further, MCMV-specific antibody secreting cells (ASC) were detected within the infiltrating leukocyte population using an ELISPOT assay. Immunohistochemical studies of brain sections revealed co-localization of CD138 + cells with either IgG or IgM. Additional immunohistochemical staining for MCMV early antigen 1 (E1, m112-113), a reported marker of viral latency in neurons, confirmed its expression in the brain during latent infection. Finally, using B-cell deficient (Jh -/-) mice we demonstrated that B-lymphocytes control recovery of reactivated virus from latently-infected brain tissue. A significantly higher rate of reactivated virus was recovered from the brains of Jh -/- mice when compared to Wt animals. Conclusion: Taken together, these results demonstrate that MCMV infection triggers accumulation and persistence of B-lymphocyte-lineage cells within the brain, which produce antibodies and play a significant role in controlling reactivated virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere33143
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 6 2012


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