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Mast cell products and high levels of type 2 cytokines are associated with severe dengue disease. Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) are type-2 cytokine-producing cells that are activated by epithelial cytokines and mast cell-derived lipid mediators. Through ex vivo RNAseq analysis, we observed that ILC2 are activated during acute dengue viral infection, and show an impaired type I-IFN signature in severe disease. We observed that circulating ILC2 are permissive for dengue virus infection in vivo and in vitro, particularly when activated through prostaglandin D2 (PGD2). ILC2 underwent productive dengue virus infection, which was inhibited through CRTH2 antagonism. Furthermore, exogenous IFN-β induced expression of type I-IFN responsive anti-viral genes by ILC2. PGD2 downregulated type I-IFN responsive gene and protein expression; and urinary prostaglandin D2 metabolite levels were elevated in severe dengue. Moreover, supernatants from activated ILC2 enhanced monocyte infection in a GM-CSF and mannan-dependent manner. Our results indicate that dengue virus co-opts an innate type 2 environment to escape early type I-IFN control and facilitate viral dissemination. PGD2 downregulates type I-IFN induced anti-viral responses in ILC2. CRTH2 antagonism may be a therapeutic strategy for dengue-associated disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Communications biology

Publication Date





MRC Human Immunology Unit, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Lymphocytes, Humans, Dengue Virus, Prostaglandins, Cytokines, Virus Replication, Immunity, Innate, Severe Dengue