Individuals with atopic dermatitis immunized with the small pox vaccine, vaccinia virus (VV), are susceptible to eczema vaccinatum (EV), a potentially fatal disseminated infection. Dysfunction of Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)-positive regulatory T cells (Treg) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. To test whether Treg deficiency predisposes to EV, we percutaneously VV infected FoxP3-deficient (FoxP3KO) mice, which completely lack FoxP3+ Treg. These animals generated both fewer VV-specific. CD8 + effector T cells and IFN-γ-producing CD8+ T cells than controls, had higher viral loads, and exhibited abnormal Th2-polarized responses to the virus. To focus on the consequences of Treg deficiency confined to the skin, we generated mixed CCR4KO FoxP3KO bone marrow (CCR4/FoxP3) chimeras in which skin, but not other tissues or central lymphoid organs, lack Treg. Like FoxP3KO mice, the chimeras had impaired VV-specific effector T cell responses and higher viral loads. Skin cytokine expression was significantly altered in infected chimeras compared with controls. Levels of the antiviral cytokines, type I and II IFNs and IL-12, were reduced, whereas expression of the proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6, IL-10, TGF-β, and IL-23, was increased. Importantly, infection of CCR4/FoxP3 chimeras by a noncutaneous route (i.p.) induced immune responses comparable to controls. Our findings implicate allergic skin inflammation resulting from local Treg deficiency in the pathogenesis of EV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy