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Antibodies play a greater role than immune cells in heterologous protection against secondary dengue virus infection in a mouse model.

Abstract

The four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV1-4) are causative agents of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Previous DENV infection is a risk factor for DHF/DSS during subsequent infection by a different serotype. Nonetheless, most primary and secondary DENV infections are asymptomatic. To investigate the possible mechanisms of immune protection in vivo, 129/Pas mice lacking IFN-alpha/beta and -gamma receptors (AG129) were used to model secondary infection using both DENV1-DENV2 and DENV2-DENV4 sequences. At intervals between sequential infections of 4 to 52 weeks, protection against secondary heterologous DENV infection was observed. Passive transfer of DENV-immune serum was protective against replication of heterologous challenge virus in all tissues tested, whereas adoptive transfer of DENV-immune cells significantly protected mice from replication of the challenge virus only when a lower inoculum was administered. These findings are relevant for understanding both natural and vaccine-induced immunity to DENV.

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