Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection of dendritic cells interferes with TLR-induced IL-12/IL-23 cytokine production in an IL-10 independent manner

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HighlightsThe IL-12 family of cytokines are important in supporting T cell immune responses.We demonstrate that TLR activation was negatively affected by viral infection.We monitored proteins affected by the infection that regulate cytokine expression.Dendritic cells produce IL-12 and IL-23 in response to viral and bacterial infection and these cytokines are responsible for successful pathogen clearance. How sequential viral and bacterial infections affect the production of IL-12 and IL-23 is currently not known. Our study demonstrates that in dendritic cells infected with Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), TLR activation with bacterial PAMPs resulted in reduced IL-12 and IL-23 expression compared to non-infected cells. Furthermore, expression of other proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-α and IL-6, were not inhibited under these conditions. We discovered that TLR-induced phosphorylation of p38 was significantly inhibited in LCMV-infected cells. We detected enhanced expression of suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS)-3 and IL-10. Yet, neutralizing IL-10 did not restore IL-12/IL-23 expression. Taken together, these results show that virus infection interferes with the magnitude of TLR-mediated inflammatory responses by repressing specific cytokine expression.

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