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Title: Follicular dendritic cell disruption as a novel mechanism of virus-induced immunosuppression
Author: Melzi, Eleonora
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 4663
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2017
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Arboviruses (Arthropod-borne viruses) cause acute diseases that are increasingly affecting both human and animal health. Currently, there is a critical lack of understanding about the nature of arbovirus-host interactions in the lymph nodes (LNs), the place where the adaptive immune response is initiated and shaped. In this study, we used bluetongue virus (BTV) and its natural sheep host, to characterise the early events of an arbovirus infection with particular focus on the LNs. Our findings reveal a previously uncharacterized mechanism used by an arbovirus to manipulate host immunity. This study shows that BTV, similarly to other antigens delivered through the skin, is transported rapidly via the lymph to the peripheral lymph nodes. Here, BTV infects and disrupts the stromal network of marginal reticular cells and follicular dendritic cells composing the scaffolding of the follicular area. These cells contribute to antigen presentation and affinity maturation of B-cells for the production of antibodies. Consequently, we observed a loss of germinal centre structure, which hinders B-cell proliferation. This process results in a delayed production of high affinity and virus neutralizing antibodies that is directly related to the virulence of the BTV strain used and the severity of disease. Moreover the humoral immune response to a different antigen is also hampered in BTV-infected animals. Our data show that an arbovirus can evade the host antiviral responses by inducing an acute immunosuppression. Although transient, this immunosuppression occurs at the critical early stages of infection when a delayed host humoral immune response likely affects virus systemic dissemination and the clinical outcome of disease.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR180 Immunology ; QR355 Virology