In immunocompromised patients, parainfluenza virus (PIV) infections have an increased potential to spread to the lower respiratory tract (LRT), resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Understanding the immunologic defects that facilitate viral spread to the LRT will help in developing better management protocols. In this study, we immunosuppressed mice with dexamethasone and/or cyclophosphamide then monitored the spread of viral infection into the LRT by using a noninvasive bioluminescence imaging system and a reporter Sendai virus (murine PIV type 1). Our results show that immunosuppression led to delayed viral clearance and increased viral loads in the lungs. After cessation of cyclophosphamide treatment, viral clearance occurred before the generation of Sendai-specific antibody responses and coincided with rebounds in neutrophils, T lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. Neutrophil suppression using anti-Ly6G antibody had no effect on infection clearance, NK-cell suppression using anti-NK antibody delayed clearance, and T-cell suppression using anti-CD3 antibody resulted in no clearance (chronic infection). Therapeutic use of hematopoietic growth factors G-CSF and GM-CSF had no effect on clearance of infection. In contrast, treatment with Sendai virus—specific polysera or a monoclonal antibody limited viral spread into the lungs and accelerated clearance. Overall, noninvasive bioluminescence was shown to be a useful tool to study respiratory viral progression, revealing roles for NK and T cells, but not neutrophils, in Sendai virus clearance after treatment with dexamethasone and cyclophosphamide. Virus-specific antibodies appear to have therapeutic potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology