Research teams at the Emory Vaccine Center, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Mahidol University of Thailand recently conducted a study on the role of CD8 T immune cells in combating dengue virus infection.
The study involved a number of dengue-infected children in India. The researchers noticed that CD8 T cells expanded massively in dengue patients, often reaching levels seen in Ebola virus cases. This expansion was noticeably similar in dengue-infected children from different parts of the world.
While CD8 T cells fight the virus by killing infected cells, they also tend to release a large amount of inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-g. If all the CD8 T cells produced inflammatory cytokines, patients would suffer from a type of dangerous cytokine influx that is typically seen in Ebola virus disease. However, the study revealed that CD8 T cells kept the cytokine production under control while retaining the ability to kill virus-infected cells.
According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Anmol Chandele, knowing how to maintain the balance between the infection while inhibiting inflammation will be a critical component in developing more effective vaccines and therapeutics for fighting dengue fever.
Funding for the study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and India’s Department of Biotechnology. Findings were published in the most recent issue in the Journal of Virology.