Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of virus infections can be induced by subneutralizing concentrations of specific antibodies. We recently demonstrated ADE in human monocytes infected with enterovirus 71 (EV71). The current study was designed to extend these observations by determining the effect of ADE on the pathogenesis of EV71 infection in newborn mice. We compared the clinical manifestations, mortality, virus titer, histopathology, and serum levels of cytokines and chemokines in newborn mice pretreated with subneutralizing antibodies to EV71 or normal mouse IgG with and without virus. Seven-day-old ICR mice were pretreated with a wide range of mouse anti-EV71 IgG 24 h prior to intraperitoneal injection of EV71. Mice were protected from infection by neutralizing doses of anti-EV71 IgG ranging from 6.43 × 10-1 to 329.6 μg/ml. Subneutralizing doses ranging from 2.01 × 10-2 to 3.21 × 10-1 μg/ml were found to significantly increase 14-day mortality compared to virus alone. The ADE effect was not evident at lower doses. Histopathological examination of mice given a subneutralizing dose of 8.04 × 10-2 μg/ml revealed extensive neuronal and muscular damage compared to untreated infected controls. Higher serum levels of interferon (IFN)-γ and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 were noted in mice pretreated with subneutralizing doses than untreated infected controls. These findings support the concept that subneutralizing antibodies directed enhance EV71 induce ADE in newborn mice.
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