Pivotal Role of Antibody and Subsidiary Contribution of CD8+ T Cells to Recovery from Infection in a Murine Model of Japanese Encephalitis




Larena, Maximilian
Regner, Matthias
Lee, Eva
Lobigs, Mario

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American Society for Microbiology


The immunological correlates for recovery from primary Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection in humans and experimental animals remain poorly defined. To investigate the relative importance of the adaptive immune responses, we have established a mouse model for Japanese encephalitis in which a low-dose virus inoculum was administered into the footpads of adult C57BL/6 mice. In this model, ~60% of the mice developed a fatal encephalitis and a virus burden in the central nervous system (CNS). Using mice lacking B cells (μMT-/- mice) and immune B cell transfer to wild-type mice, we show a critically important role for humoral immunity in preventing virus spread to the CNS. T cell help played an essential part in the maintenance of an effective antibody response necessary to combat the infection, since mice lacking major histocompatibility complex class II showed truncated IgM and blunted IgG responses and uniformly high lethality. JEV infection resulted in extensive CD8+ T cell activation, judged by upregulation of surface markers CD69 and CD25 and cytokine production after stimulation with a JEV NS4B protein-derived H-2Db-binding peptide and trafficking of virus-immune CD8+ T cells into the CNS. However, no significant effect of CD8+ T cells on the survival phenotype was found, which was corroborated in knockout mice lacking key effector molecules (Fas receptor, perforin, or granzymes) of cytolytic pathways triggered by T lymphocytes. Accordingly, CD8+ T cells are mostly dispensable for recovery from infection with JEV. This finding highlights the conflicting role that CD8+T cells play in the pathogenesis of JEV and closely related encephalitic flaviviruses such as West Nile virus.



Keywords: CD69 antigen; Fas antigen; granzyme; immunoglobulin G; immunoglobulin M; interleukin 2 receptor alpha; major histocompatibility antigen class 2; perforin; animal cell; animal experiment; animal model; animal tissue; antibody response; article; B lymphocyt



Journal of Virology


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