Journal of virology

T cells are not required for pathogenesis in the Syrian hamster model of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

PMID 21775442


Andes virus (ANDV) is associated with a lethal vascular leak syndrome in humans termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). In hamsters, ANDV causes a respiratory distress syndrome closely resembling human HPS. The mechanism for the massive vascular leakage associated with HPS is poorly understood; however, T cell immunopathology has been implicated on the basis of circumstantial and corollary evidence. Here, we show that following ANDV challenge, hamster T cell activation corresponds with the onset of disease. However, treatment with cyclophosphamide or specific T cell depletion does not impact the course of disease or alter the number of surviving animals, despite significant reductions in T cell number. These data demonstrate, for the first time, that T cells are not required for hantavirus pathogenesis in the hamster model of human HPS. Depletion of T cells from Syrian hamsters did not significantly influence early events in disease progression. Moreover, these data argue for a mechanism of hantavirus-induced vascular permeability that does not involve T cell immunopathology.