T-2 toxin impairment of enteric reovirus clearance in the mouse associated with suppressed immunoglobulin and IFN-γ responses

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Trichothecenes are exquisitely toxic to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and leukocytes and thus are likely to impair gut immunity. The purpose of this research was to test the hypothesis that the Type A trichothecene T-2 toxin interferes with the gut mucosal immune response to enteric reovirus infection. Mice were exposed i.p. first to 1.75 mg/kg bw T-2 and then 2 h later with 3 × 107 plaque-forming units of reovirus serotype 1, strain Lang (T1/L). As compared to vehicle-treated control, T-2-treated mice had dramatically elevated intestinal plaque-forming viral titers after 5 days and failed to completely clear the virus from intestine by 10 days. Levels of reovirus λ2 core spike (L2 gene) RNA in feces in T-2-treated mice were significantly higher at 1, 3, 5, and 7 days than controls. T-2 potentiated L2 mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner with as little as 50 μg/kg of the toxin having a potentiative effect. T-2 exposure transiently suppressed induction of reovirus-specific IgA in feces (6 and 8 days) as well as specific IgA and IgG2a in serum (5 days). This suppression corresponded to decreased secretion of reovirus-specific IgA and IgG2a in Peyer's patch (PP) and lamina propria fragment cultures prepared 5 days after infection. T-2 suppressed IFN-γ responses in PP to reovirus at 3 and 7 days as compared to infected controls whereas IL-2 mRNA concentrations were unaffected. PP IL-6 mRNA levels were increased 2-fold 2 h after T-2 treatment, but no differences between infected T-2-exposed and infected vehicle-treated mice were detectable over the next 7 days. Overall, the results suggest that T-2 toxin increased both the extent of GI tract reovirus infection and fecal shedding which corresponded to both suppressed immunoglobulin and IFN-γ responses.

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