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Enterovirus A71 Infection Activates Human Immune Responses and Induces Pathological Changes in Humanized Mice.


ABSTRACT: Since the discovery of enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) half a century ago, it has been recognized as the cause of large-scale outbreaks of hand-foot-and-mouth disease worldwide, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, causing great concern for public health and economic burdens. Detailed mechanisms on the modulation of immune responses after EV-A71 infection have not been fully known, and the lack of appropriate models hinders the development of promising vaccines and drugs. In the present study, NOD-scid IL2R?-/- (NSG) mice with a human immune system (humanized mice) at the age of 4 weeks were found to be susceptible to a human isolate of EV-A71 infection. After infection, humanized mice displayed limb weakness, which is similar to the clinical features found in some of the EV-A71-infected patients. Histopathological examination indicated the presence of vacuolation, gliosis, or meningomyelitis in brain stem and spinal cord, which were accompanied by high viral loads detected in these organs. The numbers of activated human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were upregulated after EV-A71 infection, and EV-A71-specific human T cell responses were found. Furthermore, the secretion of several proinflammatory cytokines, such as human gamma interferon (IFN-?), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and IL-17A, was elevated in the EV-A71-infected humanized mice. Taken together, our results suggested that the humanized mouse model permits insights into the human immune responses and the pathogenesis of EV-A71 infection, which may provide a platform for the evaluation of anti-EV-A71 drug candidates in the future.IMPORTANCE Despite causing self-limited hand-food-and-mouth disease in younger children, EV-A71 is consistently associated with severe forms of neurological complications and pulmonary edema. Nevertheless, only limited vaccines and drugs have been developed over the years, which is possibly due to a lack of models that can more accurately recapitulate human specificity, since human is the only natural host for wild-type EV-A71 infection. Our humanized mouse model not only mimics histological symptoms in patients but also allows us to investigate the function of the human immune system during infection. It was found that human T cell responses were activated, accompanied by an increase in the production of proinflammatory cytokines in EV-A71-infected humanized mice, which might contribute to the exacerbation of disease pathogenesis. Collectively, this model allows us to delineate the modulation of human immune responses during EV-A71 infection and may provide a platform to evaluate anti-EV-A71 drug candidates in the future.

SUBMITTER: Ke Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6340035 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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