Perforin-mediated cytotoxicity is important for controlling viral infections, but also for limiting immune reactions. Failure of this cytotoxic pathway leads to hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a life-threatening disorder of uncontrolled T-cell and macrophage activation. We studied susceptibility to HLH in 2 mouse strains (souris and beige J) and a cohort of patients with partial defects in perforin secretion resulting from different mutations in the LYST gene. Although both strains lacked NK-cell cytotoxicity, only souris mice developed all clinical and histopathologic signs of HLH after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. The 2 strains showed subtle differences in CTL cytotoxicity in vitro that had a large impact on virus control in vivo. Whereas beige J CTLs eliminated lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection, souris CTLs failed to control the virus, which was associated with the development of HLH. In LYST-mutant patients with Chediak-Higashi syndrome, CTL cytotoxicity was reduced in patients with early-onset HLH, whereas it was retained in patients who later or never developed HLH. Thus, the risk of HLH development is set by a threshold that is determined by subtle differences in CTL cytotoxicity. Differences in the cytotoxic capacity of CTLs may be predictive for the risk of Chediak-Higashi syndrome patients to develop HLH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology