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Murine gammaherpesvirus-68 expands, but does not activate, CD11b+ gr-1+ splenocytes in vivo

Daniel A Nelson, Vinita S Chauhan, Melanie D Tolbert and Kenneth L Bost*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC, 28223, USA

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Journal of Inflammation 2012, 9:14  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-9-14

Published: 16 April 2012



Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (HV-68) is an efficient pathogen, capable of infecting and establishing lifelong latency in rodents. While many studies have demonstrated the ability of this viral infection to modulate immune responses, a unifying mechanism for HV-68-induced subversion of a protective host response remains elusive. We questioned whether infection with HV-68 could expand a population of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) as one mechanism for altering protective immunity.


Mice were infected with HV-68, with viral latency being established in these animals. At varying times post-infection, cells were isolated for detection of viral genomes, phenotyping of myeloid cell populations, and ex vivo analysis of suppressor activity of myeloid cells.


CD11b + Gr-1+ myeloid cells accumulated in the spleens, but not the bone marrow, of HV-68 infected mice. These cells were predominantly Gr-1+ Ly-6 G+, and could be found to contain viral genomes. Increased levels of serum S100A8/A9 produced during viral infection were consistent with the expansion of these CD11b + Gr-1+ myeloid cells. Despite their expansion, these cells exhibited no increased arginase 1 or iNOS activity, and did not have the ability to suppress anti-CD3 antibody activated T lymphocyte responses.


We concluded that HV-68 infection was capable of expanding a population of myeloid cells which were phenotypically similar to MDSC. However these cells were not sufficiently activated during the establishment of viral latency to actively suppress T cell responses.

Myeloid derived suppressor cells; Gammaherpesvirus