Immune cells predict outcome of West Nile virus infection

Oct 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/3938… 0068356243797a433f5d

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Smartphone experiment tracks whether our life story is written in our gut bacteria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GARP makes the difference

Jun 15, 2009

Scientists from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany and the Medical School Hannover, Germany have succeeded in treating immune cells in a way that enables them to inhibit unwanted immune reactions ...

Recommended for you

Monitoring the rise and fall of the microbiome

4 hours ago

Trillions of bacteria live in each person's digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood.

Antioxidant biomaterial promotes healing

12 hours ago

When a foreign material like a medical device or surgical implant is put inside the human body, the body always responds. According to Northwestern University's Guillermo Ameer, most of the time, that response can be negative ...

Immune response may cause harm in brain injuries, disorders

14 hours ago

Could the body's own immune system play a role in memory impairment and cognitive dysfunction associated with conditions like chronic epilepsy, Alzheimer's dementia and concussions? Cleveland Clinic researchers believe so, ...

User comments : 0