Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29881380
Front Immunol 2018;9:1084
Enhanced susceptibility to bacterial infection in the days following an acute virus infection such as flu is a major clinical problem. Mouse models have provided major advances in understanding viral-bacterial superinfections, yet interactions of the anti-viral and anti-bacterial responses remain elusive. Here, we have exploited the transparency of zebrafish to study how viral infections can pave the way for bacterial co-infections. We have set up a zebrafish model of sequential viral and bacterial infection, using sublethal doses of Sindbis virus and bacteria. This virus induces a strong type I interferons (IFN) response, while the bacterium induces a strong IL1β and TNFα-mediated inflammatory response. We found that virus-infected zebrafish larvae showed an increased susceptibility to bacterial infection. This resulted in the death with concomitant higher bacterial burden of the co-infected fish compared to the ones infected with bacteria only. By contrast, infecting with bacteria first and virus second did not lead to increased mortality or microbial burden. By high-resolution live imaging, we showed that neutrophil survival was impaired in Sindbis-then- co-infected fish. The two types of cytokine responses were strongly induced in co-infected fish. In addition to type I IFN, expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 was induced by viral infection before bacterial superinfection. Collectively, these observations suggest the zebrafish larva as a useful animal model to address mechanisms underlying increased bacterial susceptibility upon viral infection.