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Recent Publication

Pre-existing neutralizing antibodies prevent CD8 T cell-mediated immunopathology following respiratory syncytial virus infection


Despite being a leading cause of severe respiratory disease, there remains no licensed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. Neutralizing antibodies reduce the severity of RSV-associated disease, but are not sufficient for preventing reinfection. In contrast, the role of memory CD8 T cells in protecting against a secondary RSV infection is less established. We recently demonstrated that high-magnitude memory CD8 T cells efficiently reduced lung viral titers following RSV infection, but induced fatal immunopathology that was mediated by IFN-γ. To evaluate the ability of RSV-specific neutralizing antibodies to prevent memory CD8 T cell-mediated immunopathology, mice with high-magnitude memory CD8 T cell responses were treated with neutralizing antibodies prior to RSV challenge. Neutralizing antibody treatment significantly reduced morbidity and prevented mortality following RSV challenge compared with IgG-treated controls. Neutralizing antibody treatment restricted early virus replication, which caused a substantial reduction in memory CD8 T cell activation and IFN-γ production, directly resulting in survival. In contrast, therapeutic neutralizing antibody administration did not impact morbidity, mortality, or IFN-γ levels, despite significantly reducing lung viral titers. Therefore, only pre-existing neutralizing antibodies prevent memory CD8 T cell-mediated immunopathology following RSV infection. Overall, our results have important implications for the development of future RSV vaccines.

  • Schmidt M, Meyerholz D, Varga S