Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human Metapneumovirus (hMPV), viruses belonging to the family Paramyxoviridae, are the most important causes of lower respiratory tract infection in young children. Infections with RSV and hMPV are clinically indistinguishable, and both RSV and hMPV infection have been associated with aberrant adaptive immune responses. Myeloid Dendritic cells (mDCs) play a pivotal role in shaping adaptive immune responses during infection; however, few studies have examined how interactions of RSV and hMPV with individual mDC subsets (BDCA-1+ and BDCA-3+ mDCs) affect the outcome of anti-viral responses. To determine whether RSV and hMPV induce virus-specific responses from each subset, we examined co-stimulatory molecules and cytokines expressed by BDCA-1+ and BDCA-3+ mDCs isolated from peripheral blood after infection with hMPV and RSV, and examined their ability to stimulate T cell proliferation and differentiation. Our data show that RSV and hMPV induce virus-specific and subset-specific patterns of co-stimulatory molecule and cytokine expression. RSV, but not hMPV, impaired the capacity of infected mDCs to stimulate T cell proliferation. Whereas hMPV-infected BDCA-1+ and BDCA-3+ mDCs induced expansion of Th17 cells, in response to RSV, BDCA-1+ mDCs induced expansion of Th1 cells and BDCA-3+ mDCs induced expansion of Th2 cells and Tregs. These results demonstrate a virus-specific and subset-specific effect of RSV and hMPV infection on mDC function, suggesting that these viruses may induce different adaptive immune responses.
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