Bone marrow transplantation alters lung antigen-presenting cells to promote TH17 response and the development of pneumonitis and fibrosis following gammaherpesvirus infection

Mucosal Immunol. 2016 May;9(3):610-20. doi: 10.1038/mi.2015.85. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) efficacy is limited by numerous pulmonary complications. We developed a model of syngeneic bone marrow transplantion (BMT) followed by infection with murine gamma herpesvirus-68 that results in pneumonitis and fibrosis and mimics human "noninfectious" HSCT complications. BMT mice experience increased early lytic replication, but establish viral latency by 21 days post infection. CD4 T cells in BMT mice are skewed toward interleukin (IL)-17A rather than interferon (IFN)-γ production. Transplantation of bone marrow from Il-17a(-/-) donors or treatment with anti-IL-17A neutralization antibodies at late stages attenuates pneumonitis and fibrosis in infected BMT mice, suggesting that hematopoietic-derived IL-17A is essential for development of pathology. IL-17A directly influences activation and extracellular matrix production by lung mesenchymal cells. Lung CD11c+ cells of BMT mice secrete more transforming growth factor beta-β1, and pro-TH17 mRNAs for IL-23 and IL-6, and less TH1-promoting cytokine mRNA for IFN-γ but slightly more IL-12 mRNA in response to viral infection. Adoptive transfer of non-BMT lung CD11c-enriched cells restores robust TH1 response and suppresses aberrant TH17 response in BMT mice to improve lung pathology. Our data suggest that "noninfectious" HSCT lung complications may reflect preceding viral infections and demonstrate that IL-17A neutralization may offer therapeutic advantage even after disease onset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / administration & dosage
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / genetics
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Rhadinovirus / physiology*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Th17 Cells / virology
  • Virus Latency
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Interleukin-17