It is known that aging decreases natural resistance to viral diseases due to dysfunctional innate and adaptive immune responses, but the nature of these dysfunctions, particularly in regard to innate immunity, is not well understood. We have previously shown that C57BL/6J (B6) mice lose their natural resistance to footpad infection with ectromelia virus (ECTV) due to impaired maturation and recruitment of natural killer (NK) cells to the draining popliteal lymph node (dLN). More recently, we have also shown that in young B6 mice infected with ECTV, the recruitment of NK cells is dependent on a complex cascade whereby migratory dendritic cells (mDCs) traffic from the skin to the dLN, where they produce CCL2 and CCL7 to recruit inflammatory monocytes (iMOs). In the dLN, mDCs also upregulate NKG2D ligands to induce interferon gamma (IFN-γ) expression by group 1 innate lymphoid cells (G1-ILCs), mostly NK in cells but also some ILC1. In response to the IFN-γ, the incoming uninfected iMOs secret CXCL9 to recruit the critical NK cells. Here, we show that in aged B6 mice, the trafficking of mDCs to the dLN in response to ECTV is decreased, resulting in impaired IFN-γ expression by G1-ILCs, reduced accumulation of iMOs, and attenuated CXCL9 production by iMOs, which likely contributes to decrease in NK cell recruitment. Together, these data indicate that defects in the mDC response to viral infection during aging result in a reduced innate immune response in the dLN and contribute to increased susceptibility to viral disease in the aged.
Stotesbury, Colby; Wong, Eric B; Tang, Lingjuan; Montoya, Brian; Knudson, Cory J; Melo-Silva, Carolina R; and Sigal, Luis J, "Defective early innate immune response to ectromelia virus in the draining lymph nodes of aged mice due to impaired dendritic cell accumulation." (2020). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 118.
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