The mechanisms underlying the profound suppression of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) accompanying measles are unclear. Interleukin-12 (IL-12), derived principally from monocytes and macrophages, is critical for the generation of CMI. Measles virus (MV) infection of primary human monocytes specifically down-regulated IL-12 production. Cross-linking of CD46, a complement regulatory protein that is the cellular receptor for MV, with antibody or with the complement activation product C3b similarly inhibited monocyte IL-12 production, providing a plausible mechanism for MV-induced immunosuppression. CD46 provides a regulatory link between the complement system and cellular immune responses.
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