Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Programmed death-1 impairs secondary effector lung CD8⁺ T cells during respiratory virus reinfection.

PMID 25339663


Reinfections with respiratory viruses are common and cause significant clinical illness, yet precise mechanisms governing this susceptibility are ill defined. Lung Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells (T(CD8)) are impaired during acute viral lower respiratory infection by the inhibitory receptor programmed death-1 (PD-1). To determine whether PD-1 contributes to recurrent infection, we first established a model of reinfection by challenging B cell-deficient mice with human metapneumovirus (HMPV) several weeks after primary infection, and found that HMPV replicated to high titers in the lungs. A robust secondary effector lung TCD8 response was generated during reinfection, but these cells were more impaired and more highly expressed the inhibitory receptors PD-1, LAG-3, and 2B4 than primary T(CD8). In vitro blockade demonstrated that PD-1 was the dominant inhibitory receptor early after reinfection. In vivo therapeutic PD-1 blockade during HMPV reinfection restored lung T(CD8) effector functions (i.e., degranulation and cytokine production) and enhanced viral clearance. PD-1 also limited the protective efficacy of HMPV epitope-specific peptide vaccination and impaired lung T(CD8) during heterotypic influenza virus challenge infection. Our results indicate that PD-1 signaling may contribute to respiratory virus reinfection and evasion of vaccine-elicited immune responses. These results have important implications for the design of effective vaccines against respiratory viruses.