Respiratory syncytial virus differentially activates murine myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the primary cause of bronchiolitis in young children. Upon infection both T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokines are produced. Because RSV-induced Th2 responses have been associated with severe immunopathology and aggravation of allergic reactions, the regulation of the immune response following RSV infection is crucial. In this study we examined the influence of RSV on the activation and function of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs). RSV induced the expression of maturation markers on myeloid DCs (mDCs) in vitro. The mDCs stimulated with RSV and ovalbumin (OVA) enhanced proliferation of OVA-specific T cells, which produced both Th1 and Th2 cytokines. In contrast to mDCs, RSV did not induce the expression of maturation markers on plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), not did it enhance the proliferation of OVA-specific T cells that were cocultured with pDCs. However, RSV stimulated the production of interferon-α (IFN-α) by pDCs. Our findings indicate a clear difference in the functional activation of DC subsets. RSV-stimulated mDCs may have immunostimulatory effects on both Th1 and Th2 responses, while RSV-stimulated pDCs have direct antiviral activity through the release of IFN-α.