γδ T Cells Contribute to the Outcome of Murine Fulminant Viral Hepatitis via Effector Cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ
The mechanisms involved in virus-induced severe hepatitis have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the role of gamma delta T cell receptors (γδ) T cells in the pathogenesis of fulminant viral hepatitis (FVH) induced by murine hepatitis virus strain 3 (MHV-3). The model of FVH was established by intraperitoneal injection of MHV-3 into Balb/cJ mice. The survival days of mice, and the serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were examined. The proportions of γδ T cells in blood, spleen and liver, and cytokines secreted by hepatic γδ T cells were analyzed by flow cytometry. The function of hepatic γδ T cells was examined by cytotoxicity assay. Balb/cJ mice died in 3 to 6 days post MHV-3 infection, with severe hepatic necrosis and significant augmentation of serum ALT and AST levels. The proportions of γδ T cells in blood, spleen and liver were significantly increased post MHV-3 infection, while those of the early activating molecule CD69-expressing γδ T cells and productions of cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) increased remarkably in the liver. These highly activated liver γδ T cells were cytotoxic to MHV-3-infected hepatocytes in vitro and this effect of liver γδ T cells against hepatocytes might involve the TNF-α and IFN-γ pathway. These results demonstrated that γδ T cells might contribute to the pathogenesis of MHV-3-induced FVH through the effector cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ.
Key wordsfulminant viral hepatitis murine hepatitis virus strain 3 gamma delta T cell receptors T cells tumor necrosis factor-α interferon-γ
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