Aryl hydrocarbon receptor activation alters immune cell populations in the lung and bone marrow during coronavirus infection.

Publication date: Jan 30, 2024

Respiratory viral infections are one of the major causes of illness and death worldwide. Symptoms associated with respiratory infections can range from mild to severe, and there is limited understanding of why there is large variation in severity. Environmental exposures are a potential causative factor. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is an environment sensing molecule expressed in all immune cells. While there is considerable evidence that AHR signaling influences immune responses to other immune challenges, including respiratory pathogens, less is known about the impact of AHR signaling on immune responses during coronavirus (CoV) infection. In this study, we report that AHR activation significantly altered immune cells in the lungs and bone marrow of mice infected with a mouse coronavirus. AHR activation transiently reduced the frequency of multiple cells in the mononuclear phagocyte system, including monocytes, interstitial macrophages, and dendritic cells in the lung. In the bone marrow, AHR activation altered myelopoiesis, as evidenced by a reduction in granulocyte-monocyte progenitor cells and an increased frequency of myeloid-biased progenitor cells. Moreover, AHR activation significantly affected multiple stages of the megakaryocyte lineage. Overall, these findings indicate that AHR activation modulates multiple aspects of the immune response to a CoV infection. Given the significant burden of respiratory viruses on human health, understanding how environmental exposures shape immune responses to infection advances our knowledge of factors that contribute to variability in disease severity and provides insight into novel approaches to prevent or treat disease.

Concepts Keywords
Bone emergency hematopoiesis
Coronavirus environmental exposure
Hydrocarbon myeloid cells
Myeloid Respiratory virus infection


Type Source Name
disease IDO cell
disease MESH coronavirus infection
disease MESH viral infections
disease MESH causes
disease MESH death
disease MESH respiratory infections
disease MESH infection
disease VO report
disease VO frequency
disease IDO immune response
disease VO Viruses
disease MESH emergency

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