Herpes simplex virus-infected human fibroblasts are resistant to and inhibit cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We examined the ability of human anti-herpes simplex virus (HSV) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) to lyse autologous human fibroblasts infected with HSV. In contrast to HSV-infected human Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B cells (LCL), which were lysed by HLA-restricted anti-HSV CTL, autologous fibroblasts infected with HSV were resistant to lysis. This resistance was not due to a lack of infectivity or production of HSV proteins since greater than 90% of the cells were infected and expressed abundant levels of viral proteins. HSV-infected human fibroblasts were also tested for susceptibility to lysis by alloantigen-specific CTL. Although allogeneic LCL and uninfected allogeneic fibroblasts were killed, human fibroblasts infected with HSV demonstrated a time-dependent resistance to lysis by alloantigen-specific CTL. HSV-infected human fibroblasts were not resistant to all forms of cell-mediated cytotoxicity since they were sensitive to antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Although one may suspect that the resistance of HSV-infected human fibroblasts to anti-HSV CTL and alloantigen-specific CTL-mediated lysis was due to a lack of major histocompatibility complex expression, Confer et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87:3609-3613, 1990) previously demonstrated that incubation of human natural killer and lymphokine-activated killer cells with monolayers of human fibroblasts infected with HSV "disarmed" the killers in that they were unable to lyse sensitive target cells. We extend their results and show that incubation of anti-HSV CTL or alloantigen-specific CTL with uninfected fibroblasts did not affect their lytic activity, whereas CTL incubated with HSV-infected fibroblasts for 2 to 6 h rendered the CTL incapable of lysing their normally sensitive target cells. Indeed, human fibroblasts infected for merely 2 h with HSV were able to profoundly inhibit the cytotoxic activity of alloantigen-specific CTL. Thus, HSV-infected human fibroblasts are not inherently resistant to lysis by anti-HSV CTL or alloantigen-specific CTL, but rather contact of CTL with HSV-infected fibroblasts resulted in inactivation of the CTL. The inactivation of CTL appears to be HSV specific since incubation of alloantigen-specific CTL in sandwich assays with fibroblasts infected with HSV type 1 (HSV-1) or HSV-2 resulted in inactivation, whereas incubation of CTL with fibroblasts infected with adenovirus or vaccinia virus had no effect. Further, although incubation of alloantigen-specific CTL in sandwich assays with HSV-infected fibroblasts resulted in inhibition of CTL activity, exposure of CTL in Transwell cultures to cell-free supernatant from HSV-infected fibroblasts did not mediate this inhibitory effect.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

publication date

  • November 1992