Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Manipulating Glucose Metabolism during Different Stages of Viral Pathogenesis Can Have either Detrimental or Beneficial Effects.

PMID 28768727


This report deals with physiological changes and their implication following ocular infection with HSV. This infection usually results in a blinding inflammatory reaction in the cornea, orchestrated mainly by proinflammatory CD4 T cells and constrained in severity by regulatory T cells. In the present report, we make the unexpected finding that blood glucose levels change significantly during the course of infection. Whereas levels remained normal during the early phase of infection when the virus was actively replicating in the cornea, they increased around 2-fold during the time when inflammatory responses to the virus was occurring. We could show that glucose levels influenced the extent of induction of the inflammatory T cell subset in vitro that mainly drives lesions, but not regulatory T cells. Additionally, if glucose utilization was limited in vivo as a consequence of therapy in the inflammatory phase with the drug 2-deoxy-glucose (2DG), lesions were diminished compared with untreated infected controls. In addition, lesions in 2DG-treated animals contained less proinflammatory effectors. Glucose metabolism also influenced the acute phase of infection when the replicating virus was present in the eye. Thus, therapy with 2DG to limit glucose utilization caused mice to become susceptible to the lethal effects of HSV infection, with the virus spreading to the brain causing encephalitis. Taken together, our results indicate that glucose metabolism changed during the course of HSV infection and that modulating glucose levels can influence the outcome of infection, being detrimental or beneficial according to the stage of viral pathogenesis.