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, 10:127

First Online: 01 November 2013Received: 13 May 2013Accepted: 29 October 2013


BackgroundIn many virus infections natural killer NK cells are critical for the rapid containment of virus replication. Polymorphisms in NK cell receptors as well as viral escape from NK cell responses are associated with pathogenesis and viral loads in HIV-infected individuals, emphasizing their importance in retroviral immunity. In contrast, NK cells of LCMV-infected mice dampened virus-specific T cell responses resulting in impaired virus control. Thus, the exact role of NK cells during different phases of viral infections remains elusive. In this study we characterized the NK cell response at different time points of an acute retroviral infection by using the Friend retrovirus FV mouse model.

FindingsDepletion of NK1.1 cells during the initial phase of FV infection 3 to 4 days post infection resulted in increased viral loads, which correlated with enhanced target cell killing and elevated NK cell effector functions. At days 7 to 15 post infection, NK and NKT cells did not contribute to anti-retroviral immunity. In the transition phase between acute and chronic infection 30 days post infection, NK and NKT cells exhibited an inhibitory role and their depletion resulted in reduced viral loads and significantly improved FV-specific CD8 T cell responses.

ConclusionsOur results demonstrate an opposed activity of NK cells during retroviral infection. They were protective in the initial phase of infection, when adaptive T cell responses were not yet detectable, but were dispensable for viral immunity after T cell expansion. At later time points they exhibited regulatory functions in inhibiting virus-specific CD8 T cell responses.

KeywordsNK cells Friend retrovirus Effector T cells Regulatory function Viral control Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1742-4690-10-127 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Elisabeth Littwitz - Sandra Francois - Ulf Dittmer - Kathrin Gibbert

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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