• Foxp3+ regulatory T cells control persistence of viral CNS infection.

      Reuter, Dajana; Sparwasser, Tim; Hünig, Thomas; Schneider-Schaulies, Jürgen; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 3-7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2012)
      We earlier established a model of a persistent viral CNS infection using two week old immunologically normal (genetically unmodified) mice and recombinant measles virus (MV). Using this model infection we investigated the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) as regulators of the immune response in the brain, and assessed whether the persistent CNS infection can be modulated by manipulation of Tregs in the periphery. CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) Tregs were expanded or depleted during the persistent phase of the CNS infection, and the consequences for the virus-specific immune response and the extent of persistent infection were analyzed. Virus-specific CD8(+) T cells predominantly recognising the H-2D(b)-presented viral hemagglutinin epitope MV-H(22-30) (RIVINREHL) were quantified in the brain by pentamer staining. Expansion of Tregs after intraperitoneal (i.p.) application of the superagonistic anti-CD28 antibody D665 inducing transient immunosuppression caused increased virus replication and spread in the CNS. In contrast, depletion of Tregs using diphtheria toxin (DT) in DEREG (depletion of regulatory T cells)-mice induced an increase of virus-specific CD8(+) effector T cells in the brain and caused a reduction of the persistent infection. These data indicate that manipulation of Tregs in the periphery can be utilized to regulate virus persistence in the CNS.