Interferon gamma (IFNγ) has complex immunomodulatory and antiviral properties. While IFNγ is detected in the airways in response to infection with the pneumovirus pathogen, pneumonia virus of mice (PVM; Family Paramyxoviridae), its role in promoting disease has not been fully explored. Here, we evaluate PVM infection in IFNγ-/- mice. Although the IFNγ gene-deletion has no impact on weight loss, survival or virus kinetics, expression of IFNβ, IFNλ2/3 and IFN-stimulated 2-5' oligoadenylate synthetases was significantly diminished compared to wild-type counterparts. Furthermore, PVM infection in IFNγ-/- mice promoted prominent inflammation, including eosinophil and neutrophil infiltration into the airways and lung parenchyma, observed several days after peak virus titer. Potential mechanisms include over-production of chemoattractant and eosinophil-active cytokines (CXCL1, CCL11, CCL3 and IL5) in PVM-infected IFNγ-/- mice; likewise, IFNγ actively antagonized IL5-dependent eosinophil survival ex vivo. Our results may have clinical implications for pneumovirus infection in individuals with IFNγ signaling defects.
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