Viral immunosuppression: Not just a game of hide and go seek

02/22/04

When facing an immune response, viruses can either attempt to elude them or confront them. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role in bringing forth the immune response by stimulating T cells. In the March 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Noemi Sevilla and colleagues from the Scripps Research Institute demonstrate that a lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) strain can suppress immune responses by targeting both the development and activation of DCs. Ironically, the release of type I interferon in response to LCMV infection, which normally contributes to the immune response, actually helped block DC development. This new mechanism provides us with a new perspective regarding therapeutic strategies associated with immunosuppression.

In an accompanying commentary, Marco Colonna from Washington University discusses the paradoxical role of type 1 interferon in the immune suppression following LCMV infection and the novel way in which this virus not only eludes specific immune surveillance, but actively suppresses the immune response.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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