Asthma is considered a Th2 cell–associated disorder. Despite this, both the Th1 cell–associated cytokine IFN-γ and airway neutrophilia have been implicated in severe asthma. To investigate the relative contributions of different immune system components to the pathogenesis of asthma, we previously developed a model that exhibits several features of severe asthma in humans, including airway neutrophilia and increased lung IFN-γ. In the present studies, we tested the hypothesis that IFN-γ regulates mast cell function in our model of chronic asthma. Engraftment of mast cell–deficient KitW-sh/W-sh mice, which develop markedly attenuated features of disease, with wild-type mast cells restored disease pathology in this model of chronic asthma. However, disease pathology was not fully restored by engraftment with either IFN-γ receptor 1–null (Ifngr1–/–) or Fcε receptor 1γ–null (Fcer1g–/–) mast cells. Additional analysis, including gene array studies, showed that mast cell expression of IFN-γR contributed to the development of many FcεRIγ-dependent and some FcεRIγ-independent features of disease in our model, including airway hyperresponsiveness, neutrophilic and eosinophilic inflammation, airway remodeling, and lung expression of several cytokines, chemokines, and markers of an alternatively activated macrophage response. These findings identify a previously unsuspected IFN-γ/mast cell axis in the pathology of chronic allergic inflammation of the airways in mice.
Mang Yu, Michael R. Eckart, Alexander A. Morgan, Kaori Mukai, Atul J. Butte, Mindy Tsai, Stephen J. Galli
Atopic asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that has taken on epidemic proportions in the industrialized world. The increase in asthma rates has been linked epidemiologically to the rapid disappearance of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial pathogen that persistently colonizes the human stomach, from Western societies. In this study, we have utilized mouse models of allergic airway disease induced by ovalbumin or house dust mite allergen to experimentally examine a possible inverse correlation between H. pylori and asthma. H. pylori infection efficiently protected mice from airway hyperresponsiveness, tissue inflammation, and goblet cell metaplasia, which are hallmarks of asthma, and prevented allergen-induced pulmonary and bronchoalveolar infiltration with eosinophils, Th2 cells, and Th17 cells. Protection against asthma was most robust in mice infected neonatally and was abrogated by antibiotic eradication of H. pylori. Asthma protection was further associated with impaired maturation of lung-infiltrating dendritic cells and the accumulation of highly suppressive Tregs in the lungs. Systemic Treg depletion abolished asthma protection; conversely, the adoptive transfer of purified Treg populations was sufficient to transfer protection from infected donor mice to uninfected recipients. Our results thus provide experimental evidence for a beneficial effect of H. pylori colonization on the development of allergen-induced asthma.
Isabelle C. Arnold, Nina Dehzad, Sebastian Reuter, Helen Martin, Burkhard Becher, Christian Taube, Anne Müller
Macrophages are critical players in both innate and adaptive immunity. While the exogenous signaling events leading to the terminal differentiation of macrophages from monocytes have been studied extensively, the underlying intracellular transcriptional mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we report that the homeobox transcription factor VentX plays a pivotal role in human macrophage terminal differentiation and proinflammatory function. Our study showed that VentX expression was upregulated upon human primary monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation induced by cytokines such as M-CSF, GM-CSF, and IL-3. Moreover, ablation of VentX expression in primary monocytes profoundly impaired their differentiation to macrophages, and ectopic expression of VentX in a myeloid progenitor cell line triggered its differentiation with prominent macrophage features. Further analysis revealed that VentX was pivotal for the proinflammatory response of terminally differentiated macrophages. Mechanistically, VentX was found to control expression of proteins key to macrophage differentiation and activation, including M-CSF receptor. Importantly, preliminary analysis of gene expression in leukocytes from patients with autoimmune diseases revealed a strong correlation between levels of VentX and those of proinflammatory cytokines. Our results provide mechanistic insight into the crucial roles of VentX in macrophage differentiation and proinflammatory activation and suggest that dysregulation of VentX may play a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.
Xiaoming Wu, Hong Gao, Weixiong Ke, Roger W. Giese, Zhenglun Zhu
B cells play a central role in immune system function. Deregulation of normal B cell maturation can lead to the development of autoimmune syndromes as well as B cell malignancies. Elucidation of the molecular features of normal B cell development is important for the development of new target therapies for autoimmune diseases and B cell malignancies. Employing B cell–specific conditional knockout mice, we have demonstrated here that the transcription factor leukemia/lymphoma-related factor (LRF) forms an obligate dimer in B cells and regulates mature B cell lineage fate and humoral immune responses via distinctive mechanisms. Moreover, LRF inactivation in transformed B cells attenuated their growth rate. These studies identify what we believe to be a new key factor for mature B cell development and provide a rationale for targeting LRF dimers for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and B cell malignancies.
Nagisa Sakurai, Manami Maeda, Sung-Uk Lee, Yuichi Ishikawa, Min Li, John C. Williams, Lisheng Wang, Leila Su, Mai Suzuki, Toshiki I. Saito, Shigeru Chiba, Stefano Casola, Hideo Yagita, Julie Teruya-Feldstein, Shinobu Tsuzuki, Ravi Bhatia, Takahiro Maeda
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) and macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) are 2 similar diseases characterized by a cytokine storm, overwhelming inflammation, multiorgan dysfunction, and death. Animal models of HLH suggest that disease is driven by IFN-γ produced by CD8+ lymphocytes stimulated by persistent antigen exposure. In these models and patients with “primary” HLH, the antigen persists due to genetic defects, resulting in ineffective cytotoxic responses by CD8+ T cells and poor pathogen clearance. However, infectious triggers are often not identified in patients with MAS, and some patients with HLH or MAS lack defects in cytotoxic T cell killing. Herein, we show that repeated stimulation of TLR9 produced an HLH/MAS-like syndrome on a normal genetic background, without exogenous antigen. Like previous HLH models, TLR9-induced MAS was IFN-γ dependent; however, unlike other models, disease did not require lymphocytes. We further showed that IL-10 played a protective role in this model and that blocking IL-10 signaling led to the development of hemophagocytosis. IL-10 may therefore be an important target for the development of effective therapeutics for MAS. Our data provide insight into MAS-like syndromes in patients with inflammatory diseases in which there is chronic innate immune activation but no genetic defects in cytotoxic cell function.
Edward M. Behrens, Scott W. Canna, Katharine Slade, Sheila Rao, Portia A. Kreiger, Michele Paessler, Taku Kambayashi, Gary A. Koretzky
Current tuberculosis (TB) vaccine strategies are largely aimed at activating conventional T cell responses to mycobacterial protein antigens. However, the lipid-rich cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) is essential for pathogenicity and provides targets for unconventional T cell recognition. Group 1 CD1–restricted T cells recognize mycobacterial lipids, but their function in human TB is unclear and their ability to establish memory is unknown. Here, we characterized T cells specific for mycolic acid (MA), the predominant mycobacterial cell wall lipid and key virulence factor, in patients with active TB infection. MA-specific T cells were predominant in TB patients at diagnosis, but were absent in uninfected bacillus Calmette-Guérin–vaccinated (BCG-vaccinated) controls. These T cells were CD1b restricted, detectable in blood and disease sites, produced both IFN-γ and IL-2, and exhibited effector and central memory phenotypes. MA-specific responses contracted markedly with declining pathogen burden and, in patients followed longitudinally, exhibited recall expansion upon antigen reencounter in vitro long after successful treatment, indicative of lipid-specific immunological memory. T cell recognition of MA is therefore a significant component of the acute adaptive and memory immune response in TB, suggesting that mycobacterial lipids may be promising targets for improved TB vaccines.
Damien J. Montamat-Sicotte, Kerry A. Millington, Carrie R. Willcox, Suzie Hingley-Wilson, Sarah Hackforth, John Innes, Onn Min Kon, David A. Lammas, David E. Minnikin, Gurdyal S. Besra, Benjamin E. Willcox, Ajit Lalvani
In chronic viral infections, CD8+ T cells become functionally deficient and display multiple molecular alterations. In contrast, only little is known of self- and tumor-specific CD8+ T cells from mice and humans. Here we determined molecular profiles of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells from melanoma patients. In peripheral blood from patients vaccinated with CpG and the melanoma antigen Melan-A/MART-1 peptide, we found functional effector T cell populations, with only small but nevertheless significant differences in T cells specific for persistent herpesviruses (EBV and CMV). In contrast, Melan-A/MART-1–specific T cells isolated from metastases from patients with melanoma expressed a large variety of genes associated with T cell exhaustion. The identified exhaustion profile revealed extended molecular alterations. Our data demonstrate a remarkable coexistence of effector cells in circulation and exhausted cells in the tumor environment. Functional T cell impairment is mediated by inhibitory receptors and further molecular pathways, which represent potential targets for cancer therapy.
Lukas Baitsch, Petra Baumgaertner, Estelle Devêvre, Sunil K. Raghav, Amandine Legat, Leticia Barba, Sébastien Wieckowski, Hanifa Bouzourene, Bart Deplancke, Pedro Romero, Nathalie Rufer, Daniel E. Speiser
Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) often suffer from food allergy and develop flares upon skin contact with food allergens. However, it is unclear whether T cells sensitized to allergens in the gut promote this skin inflammation. To address this question, we orally immunized WT mice and mice lacking the skin-homing chemokine receptor Ccr4 (Ccr4–/– mice) with OVA and then challenged them epicutaneously with antigen. Allergic skin inflammation developed in the WT mice but not in the mutants and was characterized by epidermal thickening, dermal infiltration by eosinophils and CD4+ T cells, and upregulation of Th2 cytokines. T cells purified from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) of orally immunized WT mice transferred allergic skin inflammation to naive recipients cutaneously challenged with antigen, but this effect was lost in T cells purified from Ccr4–/– mice. In addition, the ability of adoptively transferred OVA-activated T cells to home to the skin following cutaneous OVA challenge was ablated in mice that lacked lymph nodes. These results indicate that cutaneous exposure to food antigens can reprogram gut-homing effector T cells in LNs to express skin-homing receptors, eliciting skin lesions upon food allergen contact in orally sensitized AD patients.
Michiko K. Oyoshi, Abdallah Elkhal, Jordan E. Scott, Marc-Andre Wurbel, Jason L. Hornick, James J. Campbell, Raif S. Geha
The human lung T cell compartment contains many CD8+ T cells specific for respiratory viruses, suggesting that the lung is protected from recurring respiratory infections by a resident T cell pool. The entry site for respiratory viruses is the epithelium, in which a subset of lung CD8+ T cells expressing CD103 (αE integrin) resides. Here, we determined the specificity and function of CD103+CD8+ T cells in protecting human lung against viral infection. Mononuclear cells were isolated from human blood and lung resection samples. Variable numbers of CD103+CD8+ T cells were retrieved from the lung tissue. Interestingly, expression of CD103 was seen only in lung CD8+ T cells specific for influenza but not in those specific for EBV or CMV. CD103+ and influenza-reactive cells preferentially expressed NKG2A, an inhibitor of CD8+ T cell cytotoxic function. In contrast to CD103–CD8+ T cells, most CD103+CD8+ cells did not contain perforin or granzyme B. However, they could quickly upregulate these cytotoxic mediators when exposed to a type I IFN milieu or via contact with their specific antigen. This mechanism may provide a rapid and efficient response to influenza infection, without inducing cytotoxic damage to the delicate epithelial barrier.
Berber Piet, Godelieve J. de Bree, Barbara S. Smids-Dierdorp, Chris M. van der Loos, Ester B.M. Remmerswaal, Jan H. von der Thüsen, Jan M.W. van Haarst, Jan P. Eerenberg, Anja ten Brinke, Wim van der Bij, Wim Timens, René A.W. van Lier, René E. Jonkers
The success of a non-live vaccine requires improved formulation and adjuvant selection to generate robust T cell immunity following immunization. Here, using protein linked to a TLR7/8 agonist (conjugate vaccine), we investigated the functional properties of vaccine formulation, the cytokines, and the DC subsets required to induce protective multifunctional T cell immunity in vivo. The conjugate vaccine required aggregation of the protein to elicit potent Th1 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. Remarkably, the conjugate vaccine, through aggregation of the protein and activation of TLR7 in vivo, led to an influx of migratory DCs to the LN and increased antigen uptake by several resident and migratory DC subsets, with the latter effect strongly influenced by vaccine-induced type I IFN. Ex vivo migratory CD8–DEC205+CD103–CD326– langerin-negative dermal DCs were as potent in cross-presenting antigen to naive CD8+ T cells as CD11c+CD8+ DCs. Moreover, these cells also influenced Th1 CD4+ T cell priming. In summary, we propose a model in which broad-based T cell–mediated responses upon vaccination can be maximized by codelivery of aggregated protein and TLR7/8 agonist, which together promote optimal antigen acquisition and presentation by multiple DC subsets in the context of critical proinflammatory cytokines.
Kathrin Kastenmüller, Ulrike Wille-Reece, Ross W.B. Lindsay, Lauren R. Trager, Patricia A. Darrah, Barbara J. Flynn, Maria R. Becker, Mark C. Udey, Björn E. Clausen, Botond Z. Igyarto, Daniel H. Kaplan, Wolfgang Kastenmüller, Ronald N. Germain, Robert A. Seder