Phenotypic and Kinetic Changes of Myeloid Lineage Cells in Innate Response to Chikungunya Infection in Cynomolgus Macaques

Viral Immunol. 2022 Apr;35(3):192-199. doi: 10.1089/vim.2021.0171. Epub 2022 Mar 25.


Chikungunya (CHIKV) is an emerging worldwide viral threat. The immune response to infection can lead to protection and convalescence or result in long-term sequelae such as arthritis. Early innate immune events during acute infection have been characterized for some cell types, but more must be elucidated with respect to cellular responses of monocytes and other myeloid lineage cells. In addition to their roles in protection and inflammation resolution, monocytes and macrophages are sites for viral replication and may also act as viral reservoirs. These cells are also found in joints postinfection, possibly playing a role in long-term CHIKV-induced pathology. We examined kinetic and phenotypic changes in myeloid lineage cells, including monocytes, in cynomolgus macaques early after experimental infection with CHIKV. We found increased proliferation of monocytes and decreased proliferation of myeloid dendritic cells early during infection, with an accompanying decrease in absolute numbers of both cell types, as well as a simultaneous increase in plasmacytoid dendritic cell number. An increase in CD16 and CD14 was seen along with a decrease in monocyte Human Leukocyte Antigen-DR isotype expression within 3 days of infection, potentially indicating monocyte deactivation. A transient decrease in T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells correlated with lymphocytopenia observed during human infections with CHIKV. CD4+ T cell proliferation decreased in blood, indicating relocation of cells to effector sites. These data indicate CHIKV influences proliferation rates and kinetics of myeloid lineage cells early during infection and may prove useful in development of therapeutics and evaluation of infection-induced pathogenesis.

Keywords: chikungunya; myeloid cell; nonhuman primates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Chikungunya Fever* / complications
  • Kinetics
  • Macaca
  • Monocytes