We have shown previously that human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8)-infected dendritic cells (DCs) undergo incomplete maturation and have a defective antigen-presenting function. Here, we examined the effects of HHV-8 infection on cytokine production, which is critical to the function of DCs. We detected expression of interleukin (IL)-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1, MIP-1, RANTES and IL-12p40 from 2 to 6 h post-infection, and these peaked by 15–24 h. Expression of these factors decreased 24–48 h post-infection, with the exception of TNF- which remained high throughout the entire 72 h. Interestingly, while IL-12p40 expression increased post-infection, bioactive IL-12p70 was not detected in the supernatants. These results suggest an intentional skewing of cytokine production in HHV-8-infected DCs towards induction of a Th2 response.


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