Journal of virology 2017 09 06() pii 10.1128/JVI.00678-17
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) persistently infects 40% to 100% of the human population worldwide. Experimental and clinical evidence indicates that humoral immunity to HCMV plays an important role in restricting virus dissemination and protecting the infected host from disease. Specific immunoglobulin preparations from pooled plasma of adults selected for high titers of HCMV antibodies, have been used for prevention of CMV disease in transplant recipients and pregnant women. Even though incubation of HCMV particles with these preparations leads to neutralization of the viral infectivity, it is still unclear whether the antibody-treated HCMV particles (here defined as HCMV-Ab) enter into the cells and modulate anti-viral immune responses. Here we demonstrate that HCMV-Ab did enter macrophages. HCMV-Ab did not initiate the expression of immediate early antigens (IEAs) in macrophages, but they induced an antiviral state and rendered the cells less susceptible to HCMV infection upon challenge. Resistance against HCMV infection seemed to be due to the activation of intrinsic restriction factors and was independent of interferons. In contrast to actively infected cells, autologous NK cells did not degranulate against HCMV-Ab treated macrophages suggesting that these cells may not become eliminated by innate effector cells. Interestingly, HCMV-Ab treated macrophages stimulated the proliferation of autologous adaptive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Our findings not only expand the current knowledge on virus-antibody immunity, but may also be relevant for future vaccination strategies.IMPORTANCE Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a common herpesvirus, establishes benign but persistent infections in immunocompetent hosts. However, in subjects with an immature or dysfunctional immune system, HCMV is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Passive immunization has been used in different clinical settings with variable clinical results. Intravenous hyperimmune globulin preparations (IVIg) are obtained from pooled adult human plasma selected for high anti-CMV antibody titers. While HCMV neutralization can be shown in vitro using different systems, data are lacking regarding the cross influence of IVIg administration on the cellular immune responses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of IVIg on distinct components of the immune response against HCMV, including antigen presentation by macrophages, degranulation of innate Natural Killer cells, and proliferation of adaptive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.