Intracerebral infection of susceptible strains of mice, e.g. SJL/J, with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) leads to a persistent CNS infection accompanied by development of a chronic-progressive inflammatory CNS autoimmune demyelinating disease which is clinically and pathologically similar to human multiple sclerosis. In contrast, resistant strains of mice, e.g. C57BL/6 (B6), effectively clear TMEV from the CNS and do not develop demyelinating disease. Although CD8+ T cells are crucial for viral clearance in B6 mice, SJL mice also mount potent CD8+ T cell responses against virus, thus the reason for the viral persistence in the CNS in these mice is unclear. Here, we examined innate anti-viral responses of CNS-resident astrocytes as a potential determinant of viral persistence and disease susceptibility. We demonstrate that B6 astrocytes produce significantly higher levels of cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules in response to TMEV infection, or stimulation with IFN-γ and TNF-α or poly I:C than SJL mice. In addition, TMEV more effectively induces MHC I molecules on B6 astrocytes than SJL, corresponding with an increased ability to activate TMEV-specific CD8+ T cells directly ex vivo. These results suggest that enhanced anti-viral responses of B6 astrocytes contribute to the ability of these mice to clear TMEV from the CNS and therefore to their resistance to the development of autoimmune demyelinating disease.
- Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
- Disease susceptibility
- Multiple sclerosis
- Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas