Infectivity of GII.4 human norovirus does not differ between T-B-NK+ severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and non-SCID gnotobiotic pigs, implicating the role of NK cells in mediation of human norovirus infection.
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide. It is unclear which arm of the immune system regulates resistance to HuNoV infection. Thus, we studied the pathogenesis of human norovirus (HuNoV) in T-B-NK+ Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) gnotobiotic pigs to investigate the role of innate (especially, natural killer (NK) cells) immunity in HuNoV infection. Forty SCID and non-SCID pigs were randomly grouped: 1) SCID+HuNoV (n = 12); 2) non-SCID+HuNoV (n = 14); 3) SCID mock-inoculated (n = 6); and 4) non-SCID mock-inoculated (n = 8). Pigs (8-14-day-old) were inoculated orally with GII.4 HuNoV strain HS292 (mean 9.1 log10 genomic equivalents/pig) or mock. Daily fecal consistency and fecal viral RNA shedding, and histopathology (at euthanasia) were evaluated. Frequencies of blood and ileal T, B, and NK cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, and a NK cell cytotoxicity assay was performed at post-inoculation day (PID) 8. Unlike the increased infectivity of HuNoV observed previously in T-B-NK- SCID pigs (Lei et al., 2016. Sci. Rep. 6, 25,222), there was no significant difference in frequency of pigs with diarrhea and diarrhea days between T-B-NK+ SCID+HuNoV and non-SCID+HuNoV groups. Cumulative fecal HuNoV RNA shedding at PIDs 1-8, PIDs 9-27, and PIDs 1-27 also did not differ statistically. These observations coincided with the presence of NK cells and NK cell cytotoxicity in the ileum and blood of the SCID pigs. Based on our observations, innate immunity, including NK cell activity, may be critical to mediate or reduce HuNoV infection in T-B-NK+ SCID pigs, and potentially in immunocompetent patients.
Annamalai, T; Lu, Z; Jung, K; Langel, SN; Tuggle, CK; Dekkers, JCM; Waide, EH; Kandasamy, S; Saif, LJ
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