The immune response in measles: Virus control, clearance and protective immunity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Measles is an acute systemic viral infection with immune system interactions that play essential roles in multiple stages of infection and disease. Measles virus (MeV) infection does not induce type 1 interferons, but leads to production of cytokines and chemokines associated with nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) signaling and activation of the NACHT, LRR and PYD domains-containing protein (NLRP3) inflammasome. This restricted response allows extensive virus replication and spread during a clinically silent latent period of 10-14 days. The first appearance of the disease is a 2-3 day prodrome of fever, runny nose, cough, and conjunctivitis that is followed by a characteristic maculopapular rash that spreads from the face and trunk to the extremities. The rash is a manifestation of the MeV-specific type 1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell adaptive immune response with lymphocyte infiltration into tissue sites of MeV replication and coincides with clearance of infectious virus. However, clearance of viral RNA from blood and tissues occurs over weeks to months after resolution of the rash and is associated with a period of immunosuppression. However, during viral RNA clearance, MeV-specific antibody also matures in type and avidity and T cell functions evolve from type 1 to type 2 and 17 responses that promote B cell development. Recovery is associated with sustained levels of neutralizing antibody and life-long protective immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number282
JournalViruses
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2016

Keywords

  • Antibody maturation
  • Inflammasome
  • Rash
  • Viral RNA persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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