Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are the predominant cause of the common cold. Although this disease is per se rather harmless, HRV infection is considered to set the stage for more dangerous pathogens in vivo. Here we demonstrate that HRV-14, a member of the major group HRV family, can efficiently inhibit antigen-induced T-cell proliferation and T-cell responses to allogeneic monocytes. HRV-14 triggered a significant downregulation of MHC class II molecules on monocytes. Moreover, supernatants from monocytes cultured in the presence of HRV-14 strongly reduced the allogeneic T-cell stimulatory property of untreated monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (md-DCs), whereas Epstein Barr virus–transformed B-lymphoblastoid cells were not sensitive. Analysis of the supernatant revealed that HRV-14 induced the production of significant amounts of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. The important T-cell stimulatory cytokine IL-12 or the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β or TNF-α were not detected or were only minimally detected. Finally, monocytes pretreated with HRV-14 were greatly inhibited in their production of IL-12 upon stimulation with IFN-γ/LPS. These observations suggest that altered cytokine production in mononuclear phagocytes upon interaction with HRV downmodulates appropriate immune responses during the viral infection.
Johannes Stöckl, Helga Vetr, Otto Majdic, Gerhard Zlabinger, Ernst Kuechler, Walter Knapp