Altered T-bet dominance in IFN-γ-decoupled CD4+ T cells with attenuated cytokine storm and preserved memory in influenza

Avijit Dutta, Shi Chuen Miaw, Jhang Sian Yu, Tse Ching Chen, Chun Yen Lin, Yung Chang Lin, Chia Shiang Chang, Yueh Chia He, Sheng Hao Chuang, Ming I. Yen, Ching Tai Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


Cytokine storm has been postulated as one of the major causes of mortality in patients with severe respiratory viral infections such as influenza. With the help of an influenza Ag-specific mouse experimental system, we report that CD4+ T cells contribute effector cytokines leading to lung inflammation in acute influenza. Although virus can no longer be detected from tissues 14 d postinfection, virus-derived Ag continues to drive a CD4 + T cell response after viral clearance. Ag-specific CD4+ T cells proliferate and evolve into memory CD4+ T cells efficiently, but the production of effector cytokines is seriously hampered during this phase. This decoupling of proliferation and effector cytokine production doesn't appear in conjunction with increased suppression by regulatory T cells or decreased induction of transcription factors. Rather, GATA-3 and ROR-γt levels are elevated when compared with cells that have effector cytokine production. T-bet dominance over GATA-3 and ROR-γt decreases with the disarmament of effector cytokine production. Importantly, upon reinfection, these decoupled cells produce elevated levels of IFN-γ and were effective in virus eradication. These results provide a mechanism through altered T-bet dominance to dampen the cytokine storm without impeding the generation of memory T cells in influenza virus infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4205-4214
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 04 2013


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