Interferon lambda signals in maternal tissues to exert protective and pathologic effects in a gestational-stage dependent manner [article]

Rebecca L. Casazza, Drake T Philip, Helen M. Lazear
2022 bioRxiv   pre-print
Interferon lambda (IFN-λ, type III IFN) is constitutively secreted from human placental cells in culture and reduces Zika virus (ZIKV) transplacental transmission in mice. However, the roles of IFN-λ during healthy pregnancy and in restricting congenital infection remain unclear. Here we used mice lacking the IFN-λ receptor (Ifnlr1-/-) to generate pregnancies lacking either maternal or fetal IFN-λ responsiveness and found that the antiviral effect of IFN-λ resulted from signaling exclusively in
more » ... maternal tissues. This protective effect depended on gestational stage, as infection earlier in pregnancy (E7 rather than E9) resulted in enhanced transplacental transmission of ZIKV. In Ifnar1-/- dams, which sustain robust ZIKV infection, maternal IFN-λ signaling caused fetal resorption and intrauterine growth restriction. Pregnancy pathology elicited by poly(I:C) treatment also was mediated by maternal IFN-λ signaling, specifically in maternal leukocytes, and also occurred in a gestational stage-dependent manner. These findings identify an unexpected effect of IFN-λ signaling specifically in maternal (rather than placental or fetal) tissues, which is distinct from the pathogenic effects of IFN-αβ (type I IFN) during pregnancy. These results highlight the complexity of immune signaling at the maternal-fetal interface, where disparate outcomes can result from signaling at different gestational stages.
doi:10.1101/2022.01.04.475019 fatcat:xodfi3252jfwxo5q7vmmig5mwa