What is it about?

The mechanisms of disease during orthohantavirus infections are thought to be related to an excessive immune response towards the virus. This paper reports an increase of free immunoglobulin (Ig) light chains (FLCs), components required to make complete Ig molecules (antibodies), in the blood and urine of acute hantavirus disease. In addition, our results show that hantaviruses can infect and activate B cells to produce both FLCs and whole Igs. FLC levels positively correlated with markers of acute kidney injury, which suggests that an aberrant antibody response might play a role in the pathogenesis of orthohantavirus infections.

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Why is it important?

The source of the disease severity in Orthohantavirus infections is still unclear. Our findings suggests acute kidney injury could be linked to increased levels of circulating FLC, produced by activated B cells as a response to the viral infection.

Perspectives

I hope this article opens the door to more research being done on B cell activation during viral infections similar to hantavirus, that present with vascular leakage and fever. More specifically, we need more data in diseases such as dengue fever and the possible role of FLCs during disease progression.

Luz E Cabrera
Helsingin Yliopisto

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This page is a summary of: Hantavirus infection-induced B cell activation elevates free light chains levels in circulation, PLoS Pathogens, August 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009843.
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