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Enhanced resistance in STAT6-deficient mice to infection with ectromelia virus

The National Academy of Sciences
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  • Biological Sciences
  • Medicine


We inoculated BALB/c mice deficient in STAT6 (STAT6−/−) and their wild-type (wt) littermates (STAT6+/+) with the natural mouse pathogen, ectromelia virus (EV). STAT6−/− mice exhibited increased resistance to generalized infection with EV when compared with STAT6+/+ mice. In the spleens and lymph nodes of STAT6−/− mice, T helper 1 (Th1) cytokines were induced at earlier time points and at higher levels postinfection when compared with those in STAT6+/+ mice. Elevated levels of NO were evident in plasma and splenocyte cultures of EV-infected STAT6−/− mice in comparison with STAT6+/+ mice. The induction of high levels of Th1 cytokines in the mutant mice correlated with a strong natural killer cell response. We demonstrate in genetically susceptible BALB/c mice that the STAT6 locus is critical for progression of EV infection. Furthermore, in the absence of this transcription factor, the immune system defaults toward a protective Th1-like response, conferring pronounced resistance to EV infection and disease progression.

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