Hantavirus infection-induced B cell activation elevates free light chains levels in circulation

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Hepojoki , J , Cabrera , L E , Hepojoki , S , Bellomo , C , Kareinen , L , Andersson , L C , Vaheri , A , Mäkelä , S , Mustonen , J , Vapalahti , O , Martinez , V & Strandin , T 2021 , ' Hantavirus infection-induced B cell activation elevates free light chains levels in circulation ' , PLoS Pathogens , vol. 17 , no. 8 , 1009843 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009843

Title: Hantavirus infection-induced B cell activation elevates free light chains levels in circulation
Author: Hepojoki, Jussi; Cabrera, Luz E.; Hepojoki, Satu; Bellomo, Carla; Kareinen, Lauri; Andersson, Leif C.; Vaheri, Antti; Mäkelä, Satu; Mustonen, Jukka; Vapalahti, Olli; Martinez, Valeria; Strandin, Tomas
Contributor organization: Helsinki One Health (HOH)
Viral Zoonosis Research Unit
Department of Virology
Klaus Hedman / Principal Investigator
Veterinary Biosciences
Department of Pathology
Veterinary Microbiology and Epidemiology
Olli Pekka Vapalahti / Principal Investigator
Date: 2021-08
Language: eng
Number of pages: 21
Belongs to series: PLoS Pathogens
ISSN: 1553-7366
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009843
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333712
Abstract: In humans, orthohantaviruses can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). An earlier study reported that acute Andes virus HPS caused a massive and transient elevation in the number of circulating plasmablasts with specificity towards both viral and host antigens suggestive of polyclonal B cell activation. Immunoglobulins (Igs), produced by different B cell populations, comprise heavy and light chains; however, a certain amount of free light chains (FLCs) is constantly present in serum. Upregulation of FLCs, especially clonal species, associates with renal pathogenesis by fibril or deposit formations affecting the glomeruli, induction of epithelial cell disorders, or cast formation in the tubular network. We report that acute orthohantavirus infection increases the level of Ig FLCs in serum of both HFRS and HPS patients, and that the increase correlates with the severity of acute kidney injury in HFRS. The fact that the kappa to lambda FLC ratio in the sera of HFRS and HPS patients remained within the normal range suggests polyclonal B cell activation rather than proliferation of a single B cell clone. HFRS patients demonstrated increased urinary excretion of FLCs, and we found plasma cell infiltration in archival patient kidney biopsies that we speculate to contribute to the observed FLC excreta. Analysis of hospitalized HFRS patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed elevated plasmablast levels, a fraction of which stained positive for Puumala virus antigen. Furthermore, B cells isolated from healthy donors were susceptible to Puumala virus in vitro, and the virus infection induced increased production of Igs and FLCs. The findings propose that hantaviruses directly activate B cells, and that the ensuing intense production of polyclonal Igs and FLCs may contribute to acute hantavirus infection-associated pathological findings. Author summary Orthohantaviruses are globally spread zoonotic pathogens, which can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) with significant burden to human health. The pathogenesis mechanisms of orthohantavirus-caused diseases are not known in detail; however, excessive immune response towards the virus with concomitant pathological effects against host tissues appears to be a contributing factor. Here we report an increase of free immunoglobulin (Ig) light chains (FLCs), components required to make complete Ig molecules, in blood of acute HFRS and HPS. Samples collected during acute HFRS demonstrated increased FLCs levels in the urine and blood of patients hospitalized due the disease. Furthermore, the FLC levels positively correlated with markers of acute kidney injury. In addition, our results show that orthohantaviruses can infect and activate B cells to produce FLCs as well as whole Igs, which provides a mechanistic explanation of the increased FLC levels in patients. Taken together, our results suggest that aberrant antibody responses might play a role in the pathogenesis of orthantavirus infections.
11832 Microbiology and virology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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