Interleukin-12p40 modulates human metapneumovirus-induced pulmonary disease in an acute mouse model of infection

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The mechanisms that regulate the host immune response induced by human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a newly-recognized member of the Paramyxoviridae family, are largely unknown. Cytokines play an important role in modulating inflammatory responses during viral infections. IL-12p40, a known important mediator in limiting lung inflammation, is induced by hMPV and its production is sustained after the resolution phase of infection suggesting that this cytokine plays a role in the immune response against hMPV. In this work, we demonstrated that in mice deficient in IL-12p40, hMPV infection induced an exacerbated pulmonary inflammatory response and mucus production, altered cytokine response, and decreased lung function. However, hMPV infection in these mice does not have an effect on viral replication. These results identify an important regulatory role of IL-12p40 in hMPV infection.

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PloS one

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