Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes serious global human disease and mortality. Skin immune cells are an important component of initial DENV infection and systemic spread. Here, we show that mast cells are a target of DENV in human skin and that DENV infection of skin mast cells induces degranulation and alters cytokine and growth factor expression profiles. Importantly, to our knowledge, we also demonstrate for the first time that DENV localizes within secretory granules in infected skin mast cells. In addition, DENV within extracellular granules was infectious in vitro and in vivo, trafficking through lymph to draining lymph nodes in mice. We demonstrate an important role for human skin mast cells in DENV infection and identify a novel mechanism for systemic spread of DENV infection from the initial peripheral mosquito injection site.
The online version of this article contains supplemental material.
- Received May 17, 2016.
- Accepted October 4, 2016.
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.