Toll-Like Receptor-2/6 and Toll-Like Receptor-9 Agonists Suppress Viral Replication but Not Airway Hyperreactivity in Guinea Pigs

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Respiratory virus infections cause airway hyperreactivity (AHR). Preventative strategies for virus-induced AHR remain limited. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been suggested as a therapeutic target because of their central role in triggering antiviral immune responses. Previous studies showed that concurrent treatment with TLR2/6 and TLR9 agonists reduced lethality and the microbial burden in murine models of bacterial and viral pneumonia. This study investigated the effects of TLR2/6 and TLR9 agonist pretreatment on parainfluenza virus pneumonia and virus-induced AHR in guinea pigsin vivo. Synthetic TLR2/6 lipopeptide agonist Pam2CSK4 and Class C oligodeoxynucleotide TLR9 agonist ODN2395, administered in combination 24 hours before virus infection, significantly reduced viral replication in the lung. Despite a fivefold reduction in viral titers, concurrent TLR2/6 and TLR9 agonist pretreatment did not prevent virus-induced AHR or virus-induced inhibitory M2 muscarinic receptor dysfunction. Interestingly, the TLR agonists independently caused non-M2-dependent AHR. These data confirm the therapeutic antiviral potential of TLR agonists, while suggesting that virus inhibition may be insufficient to prevent virus-induced airway pathophysiology. Furthermore, TLR agonists independently cause AHR, albeit through a distinctly different mechanism from that of parainfluenza virus.

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