Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Pulmonary Infection in Humanized Mice Induces Human Anti-RSV Immune Responses and Pathology.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract disease, which causes high rates of morbidity and mortality in infants and the elderly. Models of human RSV pulmonary disease are needed to better understand RSV pathogenesis and to assess the efficacy of RSV vaccines. We assessed the RSV-specific human innate, humoral, and cellular immune responses in humanized mice (mice with a human immune system [HIS mice]) with functional human CD4(+) T and B cells. These mice were generated by introduction of HLA class II genes, various human cytokines, and human B cell activation factor into immunodeficient NOD scid gamma (NSG) mice by the use of an adeno-associated virus vector, followed by engraftment of human hematopoietic stem cells. During the first 3 days of infection, HIS mice lost more weight and cleared RSV faster than NSG mice. Human chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (CCL3) and human interleukin-1β (IL-1β) expression was detected in the RSV-infected HIS mice. The pathological features induced by RSV infection in HIS mice included peribronchiolar inflammation, neutrophil predominance in the bronchioalveolar lavage fluid, and enhanced airway mucus production. Human anti-RSV IgG and RSV-neutralizing antibodies were detected in serum and human anti-RSV mucosal IgA was detected in bronchioalveolar lavage fluid for up to 6 weeks. RSV infection induced an RSV-specific human gamma interferon response in HIS mouse splenocytes. These results indicate that human immune cells can induce features of RSV lung disease, including mucus hyperplasia, in murine lungs and that HIS mice can be used to elicit human anti-RSV humoral and cellular immunity.
Infections with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common and can cause severe lung disease in infants and the elderly. The lack of a suitable animal model with disease features similar to those in humans has hampered efforts to predict the efficacy of novel anti-RSV therapies and vaccines for use in humans. A murine model consisting of mice with a human immune system (HIS mice) could be useful for assessment of RSV disease and anti-RSV responses specific to humans. This study investigates an HIS mouse model to imitate human RSV disease and immune responses. We found that RSV lung infection in HIS mice results in an RSV-specific pathology that mimics RSV disease in humans and induces human anti-RSV immune responses. This model could be useful for better understanding of human RSV disease and for the development of RSV therapies.
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