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Open Access Research article

Infection- and procedure-dependent effects on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in mice

Matthias Preusse14, Mohamed A Tantawy1, Frank Klawonn2, Klaus Schughart3 and Frank Pessler14*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Experimental Infection Research, TWINCORE Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, Hannover 30625, Germany

2 Department of Cellular Proteomics, Bioinformatics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, Braunschweig 38124, Germany

3 Department of Infection Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, Braunschweig 38124, Germany

4 Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, Braunschweig 38124, Germany

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BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:293  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-293

Published: 17 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Investigating the host response in the early stage of influenza A virus (IAV) infection is of considerable interest. However, it is conceivable that effects due to the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure might introduce artifacts. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of anesthesia and/or intranasal infection on transcription of selected pulmonary mRNAs in two inbred mouse strains with differential susceptibility to IAV infection.

Results

DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice were evaluated in a time course experiment in which lung tissue was sampled after 6, 12, 18, 24, 48 and 120 h. After anesthesia with ketamine and xylazine, a suspension of mouse-adapted IAV strain PR8_Mun in 20 μl sterile buffer, or 20 μl sterile buffer only, was instilled intranasally. The mice receiving anesthesia and PBS only were designated the “mock treatment” group. Pulmonary expression of 10 host mRNAs (Fos, Retnla, Irg1, Il6, Il1b, Cxcl10, Stat1, Ifng, Ifnl2, and Mx1) and viral hemagglutinin (HA) mRNA were determined at the designated time points. As expected, weight loss and viral replication were greater in the DBA/2J strain (which is more susceptible to IAV infection). Four mRNAs (Retnla, Irg1, Il6, and Cxcl10) were procedure-dependently regulated in DBA/2J mice between 6 and 24 h, and two (Retnla and Il6) in C57BL/6J mice, although to a lesser extent. All 10 mRNAs rose after infection, but one (Fos) only in DBA/2J mice. These infection-dependent effects could be separated from procedure-dependent effects beginning around 12 h in DBA/2J and 18 h in C57BL/6J mice. The interferon-related mRNAs Stat1, Ifng, Infl2, and Mx1 were unaffected by mock treatment in either mouse strain. Mx1 and Infl2 correlated best with HA mRNA expression (r = 0.97 and 0.93, respectively, in DBA/2J).

Conclusions

These results demonstrate effects of the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure on pulmonary gene expression, which are detectable between approximately 6 and 24 h post procedure and vary in intensity and temporal evolution depending on the mouse strain used. Mock infection controls should be included in all studies on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of infection with IAV and, likely, other respiratory pathogens.

Keywords:
Anesthesia; Gene expression; Influenza virus; Interferon; Interferon lambda; Intranasal infection; Mouse model