Chikungunya virus exposure partially cross-protects against mayaro virus infection in mice

Marcilio Jorge Fumagalli, William Marciel de Souza, Luiza Antunes de Castro-Jorge, Renan Villanova Homem de Carvalho, Ítalo de Araújo Castro, Luiz Gustavo Nogueira de Almeida, Silvio Roberto Consonni, Dario Simões Zamboni, Luiz Tadeu Moraes Figueiredo

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16 Scopus citations


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Mayaro virus (MAYV) are closely related members of the Semliki Forest virus antigenic complex classified as belonging to the genus Alphavirus of the family Togaviridae. These viruses cause human disease, with sudden fever and joint inflammation that can persist for long periods. CHIKV is the causative agent of large outbreaks worldwide, and MAYV infection represents a growing public health concern in Latin America, causing sporadic cases and geographically limited outbreaks. Considering the relationship between CHIKV and MAYV, the present study aimed to evaluate if preexisting CHIKV immunity protects against MAYV infection. Immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice were intraperitoneally infected with CHIKV and, 4 weeks later, they were infected with MAYV in their hind paw. We observed that the preexistence of CHIKV immunity conferred partial cross-protection against secondary MAYV infection, reducing disease severity, tissue viral load, and histopathological scores. Interestingly, CHIKV antibodies from humans and mice showed low cross-neutralization to MAYV, but neutralizing activity significantly increased after secondary infection. Furthermore, depletion of adaptive immune cells (CD41 T, CD81 T, and CD191 B cells) did not alter the cross-protection phenotype, suggesting that distinct cell subsets or a combination of adaptive immune cells stimulated by CHIKV are responsible for the partial cross-protection against MAYV. The reduction of proinflammatory cytokines, such as interferon gamma (IFN-g), in animals secondarily infected by MAYV, suggests a role for innate immunity in cross-protection. Our findings shed light on how preexisting immunity to arthritogenic alphaviruses may affect secondary infection, which may further develop relevant influence in disease outcome and viral transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01122-21
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Society for Microbiology.


  • Cellular response
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Cross-protection
  • Humoral response
  • Immune response
  • Mayaro virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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