Depletion of CD4 and CD8 T Cells Reduces Acute Disease and Is Not Associated with Hearing Loss in ML29-Infected STAT1-/- Mice

Biomedicines. 2022 Sep 29;10(10):2433. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10102433.


Lassa virus (LASV) is a zoonotic virus endemic to western Africa that can cause a potentially lethal and hemorrhagic disease, Lassa fever (LF). Survivors suffer a myriad of sequelae, most notably sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), the mechanism of which remains unclear. Unfortunately, studies aiming to identify the mechanism of these sequelae are limited due to the biosafety level 4 (BSL4) requirements of LASV itself. ML29, a reassortant virus proposed as an experimental vaccine candidate against LASV, is potentially an ideal surrogate model of LF in STAT1-/- mice due to similar phenotype in these animals. We intended to better characterize ML29 pathogenesis and potential sequelae in this animal model. Our results indicate that while both CD4 and CD8 T cells are responsible for acute disease in ML29 infection, ML29 induces significant hearing loss in a mechanism independent of either CD4 or CD8 T cells. We believe that this model could provide valuable information for viral-associated hearing loss in general.

Keywords: Lassa fever; Lassa virus; ML29; STAT1-/- mice; arenavirus; sensorineural hearing loss model.