17β-Estradiol (E2) treatment limits the pathology associated with pulmonary diseases caused by pathogens, allergens, and asthma, partly by reducing the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. To test the hypothesis that E2 protects against influenza A virus (IAV) infection by altering the recruitment and activity of innate immune cells and T cells, chemokine concentrations were measured and innate and adaptive immune cells were enumerated from the lungs of E2- and placebotreated ovariectomized female C57BL/6 mice following infection. Females treated with E2 experienced less morbidity but had similar lung virus titers to placebo-treated females. Females treated with E2 had lower induction of CCL2 but higher CCL3 and CXCL1 responses in their lungs than placebo-treated females. Pulmonary recruitment of neutrophils, NK cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells was increased following infection, but only neutrophil numbers were greater in E2-treated than placebotreated females. Neutrophils enhance the responses of influenza virus-specific CD8 T cells to promote virus clearance and improve the outcome of infection. Total numbers of virus-specific CD8 T cells were not altered by treatment with E2, but the proportion of gamma interferon (IFN-γ)- and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)-producing, virus-specific CD8 T cells was increased. Neutrophil depletion in E2-treated females increased morbidity, reduced pulmonary production of chemoattractants for neutrophils, and reduced IFN-γ production by virus-specific CD8 T cells. Neutrophils mediate both inflammation and tissue repair during IAV infection and are regulated by E2 to improve the outcome of influenza in females.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science