Effects of human respiratory syncytial virus, metapneumovirus, parainfluenza virus 3 and influenza virus on CD4+ T cell activation by dendritic cells

Cyril le Nouën, Philippa Hillyer, Shirin Munir, Christine C. Winter, Thomas McCarty, Alexander Bukreyev, Peter L. Collins, Ronald L. Rabin, Ursula J. Buchholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), and to a lesser extent human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3), re-infect symptomatically throughout life without antigenic change, suggestive of incomplete immunity. One causative factor is thought to be viral interference with dendritic cell (DC)-mediated stimulation of CD4+ T cells. Methodology, Principal Findings: We infected human monocyte-derived DC with purified HRSV, HMPV, HPIV3, or influenza A virus (IAV) and compared their ability to induce activation and proliferation of autologous CD4+ T cells in vitro. IAV was included because symptomatic re-infection without antigenic change is less frequent, suggesting that immune protection is more complete and durable. We examined virus-specific memory responses and superantigen-induced responses by multiparameter flow cytometry. Live virus was more stimulatory than inactivated virus in inducing DC-mediated proliferation of virus-specific memory CD4+ T cells, suggesting a lack of strong suppression by live virus. There were trends of increasing proliferation in the order: HMPV<HRSV<HPIV3<IAV, and greater production of interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α by proliferating cells in response to IAV, but differences were not significant. Exposure of DC to HRSV, HPIV3, or IAV reduced CD4+ T cell proliferation in response to secondary stimulus with superantigen, but the effect was transitory and greatest for IAV. T cell cytokine production was similar, with no evidence of Th2 or Th17 skewing. Conclusions, Significance: Understanding the basis for the ability of HRSV in particular to symptomatically re-infect without significant antigenic change is of considerable interest. The present results show that these common respiratory viruses are similar in their ability to induce DC to activate CD4+ T cells. Thus, the results do not support the common model in which viral suppression of CD4+ T cell activation and proliferation by HRSV, HMPV, and HPIV3 is a major factor in the difference in re-infectability compared to IAV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere15017
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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