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posted on 30.08.2021, 05:22 authored by Malgorzata Krzyzowska, Andrzej Kowalczyk, Katarzyna Skulska, Karolina Thörn, Kristina Eriksson

The Fas/FasL pathway plays a key role in immune homeostasis and immune surveillance. In the central nervous system (CNS) Fas/FasL is involved in axonal outgrowth and adult neurogenesis. However, little is known about the role of the Fas/FasL pathway in herpes encephalitis. In this study, we used a neuropathogenic clinical strain of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) to explore infection-induced inflammation and immune responses in the mouse brain and the role of Fas/FasL in antiviral CNS immunity. HSV-1 CNS infection induced the infiltration of Fas- FasL-bearing monocytes and T cells in the brain and also to an up-regulation of Fas and FasL expression on resident astrocytes and microglia within infected sites. Upon infection, Fas- and FasL-deficient mice (lpr and gld) were partially protected from encephalitis with a decreased morbidity and mortality compared to WT mice. Fas/FasL deficiency promoted cell-mediated immunity within the CNS. Fas receptor stimulation abrogated HSV-1 induced activation and inflammatory reactions in microglia from WT mice, while lack of Fas or FasL led to a more pronounced activation of monocytes and microglia and also to an enhanced differentiation of these cells into a pro-inflammatory M1 phenotype. Furthermore, the specific immune system was more efficient in Fas- and FasL-deficient mice with significantly higher numbers of infiltrating HSV-1-specific cytotoxic T cells in the brain. Our data indicate that the Fas/FasL pathway leads to excessive neuroinflammation during HSV-1 infection, which is associated with a diminished anti-viral response and an excessive neuroinflammation.

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