Activation of the immune coagulation system has been implicated in the pathogenesis of liver injury following infection of inbred mice with murine hepatitis virus strain 3 (MHV-3). Following MHV-3 infection, macrophages isolated from MHV-3-susceptible and -semisusceptible inbred strains of mice express increased procoagulant activity (PCA), whereas macrophages from resistant strains express no increase in PCA over basal levels. The PCA induced by MHV-3 is a prothrombinase, encoded by the gene Fgl-2, which encodes a fibrinogen-like protein (musfiblp). In this study, MHV-3-resistant A/J mice treated with methylprednisolone prior to infection with MHV-3 developed elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase in serum and died within 10 days of infection, with histological findings of fulminant hepatitis. In vitro, macrophages isolated from A/J mice and pretreated with methylprednisolone produced a marked increase in functional PCA following infection with MHV-3. The PCA was shown to be a prothrombinase by its ability to cleave 125I-prothrombin. Northern blot analysis of RNA transcripts from these macrophages demonstrated increased transcription of the Fgl-2 gene relative to that in macrophages which had not been pretreated with methylprednisolone prior to MHV-3 infection. Methylprednisolone pretreatment of MHV-3-infected macrophages stabilized the Fgl-2 mRNA. Thus, loss of resistance to MHV-3 secondary to methylprednisolone therapy is associated with increased transcription and stability of Fgl-2 mRNA resulting in expression of the Fgl-2 gene product, musfiblp. These results provide further insight into mechanisms of PCA regulation in response to MHV-3 infection in inbred strains of mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science