Virus infection-associated bone marrow B cell depletion and impairment of humoral immunity to heterologous infection mediated by TNF-alpha/LTalpha.
Borrow P., Hou S., Gloster S., Ashton M., Hyland L.
We previously showed that influenza virus infection of mice induces a depletion of bone marrow B lineage cells due to apoptosis of early B cells mediated by a mechanism involving TNF-alpha/LTalpha. Here we demonstrate that this effect is also observed with acute lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection and resulted in a deficiency of both splenic transitional B cells and mature follicular B cells. To determine whether there was an associated impairment of humoral immunity, we infected mice with LCMV and 10 days later at the peak of the B cell depletion, inoculated them with influenza virus. We found that influenza virus-specific antibody titers were dramatically reduced in mice recovering from LCMV infection compared to those in mice infected with influenza virus alone. Further, we showed that there was no reduction of the influenza virus-specific antibody response in LCMV-infected TNF-alpha/LTalpha-deficient mice, suggesting that TNF-alpha/LTalpha-mediated effects on bone marrow and/or peripheral lymphocytes were responsible for the observed impairment in humoral immunity. These results show that the TNF-alpha/LTalpha production induced following infection with diverse viruses has detrimental effects on early B cells in the bone marrow, and may be among the factors that lead to the severely compromised humoral immunity observed to subsequent heterologous infections.