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Infants with attenuated type III IFN (IFN-λ) responses are at increased risk of severe lower respiratory tract infection (sLRI). The IL-28Rα-chain and IL-10Rβ-chain form a heterodimeric receptor complex, necessary for IFN-λ signaling. Therefore, to better understand the immunopathogenic mechanisms through which an IFN-λlo microenvironment predisposes to a sLRI, we inoculated neonatal wild-type and IL-28R-deficient (IL-28R-/- ) mice with pneumonia virus of mice, a rodent-specific pneumovirus. Infected IL-28R-/- neonates displayed an early, pronounced, and persistent neutrophilia that was associated with enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, NETosis, and mucus hypersecretion. Targeted deletion of the IL-28R in neutrophils was sufficient to increase neutrophil activation, ROS production, NET formation, and mucus production in the airways. Inhibition of protein-arginine deiminase type 4 (PAD4), a regulator of NETosis, had no effect on myeloperoxidase expression, citrullinated histones, and the magnitude of the inflammatory response in the lungs of infected IL-28R-/- mice. In contrast, inhibition of ROS production decreased NET formation, cellular inflammation, and mucus hypersecretion. These data suggest that IFN-λ signaling in neutrophils dampens ROS-induced NETosis, limiting the magnitude of the inflammatory response and mucus production. Therapeutics that promote IFN-λ signaling may confer protection against sLRI.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

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