SOCS1/3 Expression Levels in HSV-1-Infected, Cytokine-Polarized and -Unpolarized Macrophages

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Macrophage subtypes are characterized as proinflammatory (M1) or immunomodulatory and tissue remodeling (M2). Since macrophages play a pivotal role in controlling Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) replication, effects of HSV-1 by 24 h of infection were determined in murine J774A.1 macrophages unpolarized (M0) or polarized to either an M1 or M2 phenotype. Morphology, cell viability, and expression of CD14 (co-receptor for lipopolysaccharide), CD86 (B7.2-immune co-stimulatory molecule), and suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS1 and SOCS3) were determined. M1 macrophages were flattened and vacuolated, while M2 cells appeared elongated with a few vacuoles. Compared with unpolarized M0 cells, M1 cells showed a 31% decrease in viability, a 2-fold increase in the number of CD14+-CD86+ cells, no change in SOCS1 expression, and an 11-fold decrease in SOCS3 expression. M2 cells exhibited a 9% decrease in viability, a 26.0% decrease in the number of CD14+-CD86+ cells, and no change in SOCS1/SOCS3 expression levels compared with M0 cells. After HSV-1 infection, all phenotypes appeared rounded, cell viabilities decreased as did numbers of M1 cells expressing CD14 and CD86. At 24 h after infection, M0 control and M2 cells showed greater virus yield than did the M1 cells, presumably reflecting the loss of viable M1 cells. SOCS1 expression was predominant in uninfected M1-polarized cells and in virus-infected control (M0) cells. SOCS1/SOCS3 expression ratio was 7:1 in uninfected M1 macrophages and approached 1:1 in M1 cells at 24 h after infection with HSV-1. In contrast, little differences were seen in SOCS1/SOCS3 expression ratios in uninfected M2-polarized cells or virus-infected M2 cells. These observations suggest that SOCS1/SOCS3 expression ratios can be used to characterize HSV-1-infected and uninfected macrophages.