dsRNA, as genomic fragment, replicative intermediate, or stem and loop structure in cells infected by viruses, can act to signal the immune system of the presence of viral infections. Although most viral infections are associated with strong Th1 immune responses, Th2-type responses have also been observed. In this study, we characterize the effects of dsRNA on the induction of Th2 responses in human lymphocytes. We report that in addition to the well-known Th1-inducing capabilities of dsRNA, treatment of human lymphocytes with low concentrations of dsRNA (0.1-1 μg/ml) leads to the expression of the prototypic Th2 cytokine IL-4. This induction was accompanied with the concentration-dependent activation of NF-κB and NF-AT2 but not NF-AT1. In addition, dsRNA can directly activate an IL-4 promoter-driven chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene in transiently transfected Jurkat cells. These results are the first demonstration of a non-TCR-associated activator of NF-AT in human cells and suggest that dsRNA directly influences IL-4 gene expression through its effect on NF-AT activation. Our data provide support for the idea that dsRNA at low concentrations in vivo may induce a Th2-dominant response that is not optimal for protective immunity to the virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy