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Controlling viral immuno-inflammatory lesions by modulating aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling.

PLoS pathogens (2011-12-17)
Tamara Veiga-Parga, Amol Suryawanshi, Barry T Rouse
ABSTRACT

Ocular herpes simplex virus infection can cause a blinding CD4⁺ T cell orchestrated immuno-inflammatory lesion in the cornea called Stromal Keratitis (SK). A key to controlling the severity of SK lesions is to suppress the activity of T cells that orchestrate lesions and enhance the representation of regulatory cells that inhibit effector cell function. In this report we show that a single administration of TCDD (2, 3, 7, 8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), a non-physiological ligand for the AhR receptor, was an effective means of reducing the severity of SK lesions. It acted by causing apoptosis of Foxp3⁻ CD4⁺ T cells but had no effect on Foxp3⁺ CD4⁺ Tregs. TCDD also decreased the proliferation of Foxp3⁻ CD4⁺ T cells. The consequence was an increase in the ratio of Tregs to T effectors which likely accounted for the reduced inflammatory responses. In addition, in vitro studies revealed that TCDD addition to anti-CD3/CD28 stimulated naïve CD4⁺ T cells caused a significant induction of Tregs, but inhibited the differentiation of Th1 and Th17 cells. Since a single TCDD administration given after the disease process had been initiated generated long lasting anti-inflammatory effects, the approach holds promise as a therapeutic means of controlling virus induced inflammatory lesions.

MATERIALS
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