Concomitant infection of murine CMV (MCMV), an opportunistic respiratory pathogen, altered Th1/Th2 cytokine expression, decreased bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid eosinophilia, and increased mucus production in a murine model of OVA-induced allergic airway disease. Although no change in the total number of leukocytes infiltrating the lung was observed between challenged and MCMV/challenged mice, the cellular profile differed dramatically. After 10 days of OVA-aerosol challenge, eosinophils comprised 64% of the total leukocyte population in BAL fluid from challenged mice compared with 11% in MCMV/challenged mice. Lymphocytes increased from 11% in challenged mice to 30% in MCMV/challenged mice, and this increase corresponded with an increase in the ratio of CD8+ to CD4+TCRαβ lymphocytes. The decline in BAL fluid eosinophilia was associated with a change in local Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles. Enhanced levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 were detected in lung tissue from challenged mice by RNase protection assays. In contrast, MCMV/challenged mice transiently expressed elevated levels of IFN-γ and IL-10 mRNAs, as well as decreased levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 mRNAs. Elevated levels of IFN-γ and reduced levels of IL-5 were also demonstrated in BAL fluid from MCMV/challenged mice. Histological evaluation of lung sections revealed extensive mucus plugging and epithelial cell hypertrophy/hyperplasia only in MCMV/challenged mice. Interestingly, the development of airway hyperresponsiveness was observed in challenged mice, not MCMV/challenged mice. Thus, MCMV infection can modulate allergic airway inflammation, and these findings suggest that enhanced mucus production may occur independently of BAL fluid eosinophilia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy