Previous studies with a murine model have shown that immunization with cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) emulsified in complete Freund adjuvant (CFA) induces two populations of anticryptococcal reactive CD4+ T cells. One population (TDH cells) transfers anticryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), and the other population (Tamp cells) amplifies the anticryptococcal DTH response of given to recipient mice at the time of immunization of the recipient. Treatment of mice with cyclosporin A (CsA) ablates the induction of Tamp cells but not TDH cells. The present study focused on assessing the cytokines produced by spleen cells taken from CsA-treated and control (solvent-treated) mice at days 1, 2, 4, and 6 after immunization. Supernatants from the spleen cells cultured in vitro for 24 or 48 h in medium alone or with CneF, concanavalin A, or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus calcium ionophore were assessed for the presence of interleukin-2 (IL-2), gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), IL-4, IL-5, and tumor necrosis factor. Spleen cells from CneF-CFA-treated mice produced IL-2 and IFN-gamma, but not IL-4 or IL-5, constitutively and in response to CneF, indicating that CneF-CFA induces a Th1 response. Tumor necrosis factor was not produced. Anticryptococcal TDH cells developed in spleens in which there were low levels of IFN-gamma and IL-2 (CsA-treated, immunized mice), whereas anticryptococcal Tamp cells along with TDH cells matured in spleens in which production of IFN-gamma and IL-2 was high (solvent-treated, immunized mice). The data also suggest that IL-2 and IFN-gamma produced by Tamp cells early after adoptive transfer are influential in the development of the amplified anticryptococcal DTH response that has been observed in Tamp cell-recipient mice.
Cell-mediated immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans can be detected by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to a culture filtrate antigen of C. neoformans. Recently, we have identified a population of cells in spleens of mice immunized with cryptococcal antigen that, when transferred to recipient mice at the time of immunization, amplifies the anticryptococcal DTH response. If the cell donor mice are treated with cyclosporin A during induction of the anticryptococcal DTH response, the amplifier cells are not induced, whereas the cells which transfer DTH (TDH cells) are induced. The purpose of this study was to characterize the amplifier cells with respect to their surface and functional properties and, in so doing, determine whether or not the amplifier cells are analogous to long-lived memory cells. We demonstrated that the amplifier cells were nylon-wool-nonadherent, antigen-specific, CD4 (L3T4+ Lyt-2-) T lymphocytes which appear in the spleens of mice 5 days postimmunization with cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen in complete Freund adjuvant. The amplifier T (Tamp) cells are not considered to be memory cells because they are relatively short-lived, being present 14 but not 18 days after the stimulating immunization. Moreover, the amplified anticryptococcal DTH response does not fulfill the criteria of the typical secondary immune (anamnestic) response in that the amplified response does not appear early relative to the appearance of the primary anticryptococcal DTH response, and it does not persist longer than the primary DTH response. We speculate that Tamp cells are not long-lived memory cells but rather act in a T-helper cell capacity to amplify the anticryptococcal DTH response.
Cell-mediated immunity is an important host resistance mechanism against Cryptococcus neoformans, the etiological agent of cryptococcosis. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that the anticryptococcal cell-mediated immune response as measured by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) is down-regulated by a cascade of antigen-specific T suppressor (Ts) cells. Recently, we have identified a population of CD4 T cells that up-regulate the anticryptococcal DTH response (Tamp cells). The Tamp cells are found in the spleens of donor mice at 6 days after immunization with cryptococcal antigen, and they amplify the anticryptococcal DTH response when transferred to syngeneic recipients at the time of immunization of the recipients. In this study, we determined the effects of C. neoformans-specific Ts cells on the induction of the Tamp cells in the Tamp cell-donor mice and on the induction and expression of the amplified anticryptococcal DTH response in the Tamp cell-recipient mice. When cryptococcal-specific Ts1 cells were given at the time of immunization of the Tamp cell-donor mice, induction of Tamp cells was inhibited. In contrast, when Ts1 cells were given at the time of adoptive transfer of Tamp cells, the recipients displayed amplified DTH responses, indicating that Ts1 cells do not affect the Tamp cells' function once the Tamp cells have been produced. C. neoformans-specific Ts2 cells given at the time of either immunization or footpad challenge of the Tamp cell-recipient mice did not alter, to any measurable extent, the amplified DTH response. These results indicate that in addition to amplifying the anticryptococcal DTH response, Tamp cells may protect the anticryptococcal TDH cells from suppression by C. neoformans-specific Ts cells, much like contrasuppressor cells do in other systems. However, further characterization of the Tamp cells revealed that they are not adherent to Viscia villosa lectin, indicating that the anticryptococcal Tamp cells do not have this characteristic in common with contrasuppressor cells of other antigen systems.
Cryptococcosis, an increasingly important opportunistic infection caused by the encapsulated yeast-like organism Cryptococcus neoformans, is limited by an anticryptococcal cell-mediated immune (CMI) response. Gaining a thorough understanding of the complex anticryptococcal CMI response is essential for developing means of controlling infections with C. neoformans. The murine cryptococcosis model utilizing footpad swelling to cryptococcal antigen (delayed-type hypersensitivity [DTH]) has proven to be a valuable tool for studying the induction and regulation of the anticryptococcal CMI response, but this technique has limitations with regard to evaluating the role of the final effector cells recruited by an ongoing CMI response. The purpose of this study was to assess the types of cells and cytokines induced into the site of cryptococcal antigen deposition in C. neoformans-infected and -immunized mice compared with those for control mice. We used a gelatin sponge implant model to examine the cells and cytokines present at the site of an anticryptococcal DTH response. Sponges implanted in infected mice and injected with cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) 24 h before assessment had significantly increased numbers of infiltrating leukocytes compared with saline-injected sponges in the same animals. Exaggerated influxes of neutrophils and mononuclear cells were the major contributors to the increase in total numbers of cells in the DTH-reactive sponges. The numbers of CD4+ and LFA-1+ cells were found to be significantly increased in the CneF-injected sponges of infected and immunized mice over the numbers in control sponges. The numbers of large granular lymphocytes were also increased in DTH-reactive sponges compared with control sponges. Gamma interferon, interleukin 2 (IL-2), and IL-5 are clearly relevant cytokines in the anticryptococcal CMI response, since they were produced in greater amounts in the CneF-injected sponges from C. neoformans-infected and -immunized mice than in control sponges. IL-4 was not associated with the expression of DTH to cryptococcal antigen. The gelatin sponge model is an excellent tool for studying cells and cytokines involved in specific CMI responses.
To assess the effects of cryptococcal antigen-induced immunosuppression on a Cryptococcus neoformans infection, CBA/J mice were injected intravenously with saline or suppressive doses of cryptococcal antigen (CneF) at weekly intervals and were then infected with viable C. neoformans cells. By the second week after infection, the cryptococcal antigen-injected mice had suppressed anticryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses compared with the responses of the saline-treated, infected control mice. In addition, the immunosuppressed mice had higher numbers of cryptococcal CFU cultured from their lungs, livers, spleens, lymph nodes, and brains than did the control animals. A direct correlation of suppression of the anticryptococcal DTH response and reduced clearance of cryptococci from tissues was also observed after mice were given a single intravenous injection of CneF and infected. To determine whether or not the cryptococcal antigen was specifically reducing the clearance of C. neoformans or had a more generalized effect, mice were injected with saline or suppressive doses of CneF, infected with Listeria monocytogenes, and then followed daily for 7 days for the clearance of L. monocytogenes from spleens and on day 7 for DTH reactivity to Listeria antigen. There were no differences between the saline- and CneF-treated mice with respect to anti-Listeria DTH responses or clearance of L. monocytogenes from spleens, indicating that CneF was not altering natural resistance mechanisms responsible for early clearance of L. monocytogenes, nor was the CneF influencing the induction of the acquired immune response which was responsible for the late clearance of the bacteria. Together, these data indicate that the specific suppression of this cell-mediated immune response induced by cryptococcal antigen reduces the ability of the animals to eliminate the homologous organism (C. neoformans) but not a heterologous infectious agent, such as L. monocytogenes.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a frequent opportunistic infectious agent in patients with decreased T-lymphocyte-mediated immune function, including those with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Cyclosporin A (CsA), a potent inhibitor of T-lymphocyte function, was administered subcutaneously to mice to study the pathogenesis of C. neoformans infections in the setting of impaired T-cell function. Surprisingly, survival was prolonged indefinitely in animals that received immunosuppressive doses of CsA following either intratracheal or intravenous inoculations of C. neoformans. Furthermore, following intratracheal inoculation, mice treated with CsA cleared C. neoformans from their lungs more rapidly than did control mice. CsA directly inhibited the growth of C. neoformans when it was added to cultures in vitro at concentrations comparable to the blood levels achieved in experimental mice. Thus, CsA inhibited both in vitro and in vivo growth of C. neoformans. While these results must be extended to studies in humans, these data suggest that patients who now receive CsA-immunosuppressive therapy may be fortuitously protected against infections with C. neoformans. Furthermore, research into cyclosporin derivatives may yield compounds with less immunosuppressive properties and enhanced antifungal activity.
Cell-mediated immunity is the major protective mechanism against Cryptococcus neoformans. Delayed swelling reactions, i.e., delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), in response to an intradermal injection of specific antigen are used as a means of detecting a cell-mediated immune (CMI) response to the antigen. We have found previously that the presence of an anticryptococcal DTH response in mice is not always indicative of protection against a cryptococcal infection. Using one immunogen that induces a protective anticryptococcal CMI response and one that induces a nonprotective response, we have shown that mice immunized with the protective immunogen undergo a classical DTH response characterized by mononuclear cell and neutrophil infiltrates and the presence of gamma interferon and NO. In contrast, immunization with the nonprotective immunogen results in an influx of primarily neutrophils and production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) at the DTH reaction site. Even when the anticryptococcal DTH response was augmented by blocking the down-regulator, CTLA-4 (CD152), on T cells in the mice given the nonprotective immunogen, the main leukocyte population infiltrating the DTH reaction site is the neutrophil. Although TNF-α is increased at the DTH reaction site in mice immunized with the nonprotective immunogen, it is unlikely that TNF-α activates the neutrophils, because the density of TNF receptors on the neutrophils is reduced below control levels. Uncoupling of DTH reactivity and protection has been demonstrated in other infectious-disease models; however, the mechanisms differ from our model. These findings stress the importance of defining the cascade of events occurring in response to various immunogens and establishing the relationships between protection and DTH reactions.
Cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) have been shown to be essential in acquired protection against Cryptococcus neoformans. Induction of a protective anticryptococcal CMI response includes increases in dendritic cells (DC) and activated CD4+ T cells in draining lymph nodes (DLN). During the expression phase, activated CD4+ T cells accumulate at a peripheral site where cryptococcal antigen is injected, resulting in a classical delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction. Induction of a nonprotective anticryptococcal CMI response results in no significant increases in the numbers of DC or activated CD4+ T cells in DLN. This study focuses on examining the role of TNF-α in induction of protective and nonprotective anticryptococcal CMI responses. We found that neutralization of TNF-α at the time of immunization with the protective immunogen (i) reduces the numbers of Langerhans cells, myeloid and lymphoid DC, and activated CD4+ T cells in DLN and (ii) diminishes the total numbers of cells, the numbers of activated CD4+ T cells, and amount of gamma interferon at the DTH reaction site. Although TNF-α neutralization during induction of the nonprotective CMI response had little effect on cellular and cytokine parameters measured, it did cause a reduction in footpad swelling when mice received challenge in the footpad. Our findings show that TNF-α functions during induction of the protective CMI response by influencing the accumulation of all three DC subsets into DLN. Without antigen stimulated DC in DLN, activated CD4+ T cells are not induced and thus not available for the expression phase of the CMI response.
Mice immunized with two different cryptococcal antigen preparations, one a soluble culture filtrate antigen (CneF) in complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) and the other heat-killed Cryptococcus neoformans cells (HKC), develop two different profiles of activated T cells. CneF-CFA induces CD4+ T cells responsible for delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactivity and for amplification of the anticryptococcal DTH response, whereas HKC induce CD4+ and CD8+ T cells involved in anticryptococcal DTH reactivity and activated T cells which directly kill C. neoformans cells. The main purpose of this study was to assess the level of protection afforded by each of the two different T-cell profiles against challenge with viable C. neoformans cells, thereby identifying which activated T-cell profile provides better protection. CBA/J mice immunized with CneF-CFA had significantly better protective responses, based on better clearance of C. neoformans from tissues, on longer survival times, and on fewer and smaller lesions in the brain, than HKC-immunized mice or control mice similarly infected with C. neoformans. Both immunization protocols induced an anticryptococcal DTH response, but neither induced serum antibodies to glucuronoxylmannan, so the protection observed in the CneF-CFA immunized mice was due to the activated T-cell profile induced by that protocol. HKC-immunized mice, which displayed no greater protection than controls, did not have the amplifier cells. Based on our findings, we propose that the protective anticryptococcal T cells are the CD4+ T cells which have been shown to be responsible for DTH reactivity and/or the CD4+ T cells which amplify the DTH response and which have been previously shown to produce high levels of gamma interferon and interleukin 2. Our results imply that there are protective and nonprotective cell-mediated immune responses and highlight the complexity of the immune response to C. neoformans antigens.
Cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses defined by delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactivity to cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) can be either protective or nonprotective against an infection with Cryptococcus neoformans. The protective and nonprotective anticryptococcal DTH responses are induced by different immunogens and have differing activated-T-cell profiles. This study examined the effects of blockade of the interaction between cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and its ligands B7-1 (CD80) and B7-2 (CD86) on the anticryptococcal DTH responses and protection. We found that CTLA-4 blockade at the time of immunization with the immunogen that induces the protective response, CneF, in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) or the immunogen that induces the nonprotective response, heat-killed cryptococcal cells (HKC), enhanced anticryptococcal DTH reactivity. In contrast, blocking CTLA-4 after the immune response was induced failed to enhance responses. Blockade of CTLA-4 in an infection model resulted in earlier development of the anticryptococcal CMI response than in control mice. Concomitant with increases in DTH reactivity in mice treated with anti-CTLA-4 Fab fragments at the time of immunization, there were decreases in cryptococcal CFU in lungs, spleens, and brains compared to controls. Blockade of CTLA-4 resulted in long-term protection, as measured by significantly increased survival times, only in mice given the protective immunogen, CneF-CFA. Anti-CTLA-4 treatment did not shift the response induced by the nonprotective immunogen, HKC, to a long-term protective one. Our data indicate that blockade of CTLA-4 interactions with its ligands may be useful in enhancing host defenses against C. neoformans.
Effects of both positive and negative regulatory T cells on cellular infiltration and cytokine production during the expression phase of the anticryptococcal immune response were examined. Tamp cells, which are induced by cryptococcal antigen, significantly amplify the anticryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity response, whereas a cascade of T suppressor (Ts) cells inhibits the response and decreases the clearance of Cryptococcus neoformans during an infection. By using the gelatin sponge implantation model, we found that Tamp cells do not stimulate a significant increase in cellular infiltration into the sponges in response to cryptococcal antigen compared with that into delayed-type hypersensitivity-reactive sponges in immune control mice. However, Tamp cells do stimulate significant increases in the production of gamma interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in the antigen-injected sponges over the level of the representative cytokine in antigen-injected sponges from the immune control mice. Likewise, Ts1 cells, induced with cryptococcal antigen, do not significantly affect antigen-induced cellular infiltration into sponges in immune mice. In contrast, decreased levels of gamma interferon and IL-2 are observed in antigen-injected sponges from Ts1-cell-recipient, immunized mice compared with those of the positive immune controls. The presence of either Tamp or Ts1 cells in immunized mice stimulates increased production of IL-5 but not IL-4 over that of the positive immune controls.
We have previously developed micelles of methoxy poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(ε-caprolactone) as vehicles for the solubilization and delivery of cyclosporine A (CsA). These micelles were able to reduce the renal uptake and nephrotoxicity of CsA. The purpose of the current study was to test the efficacy of polymeric micellar formulation of CsA (PM-CsA) in suppressing immune responses by either T cells or dendritic cells (DCs). The performance of PM-CsA was compared to that of the commercially available formulation of CsA (Sandimmune®). Our results demonstrate that PM-CsA could exert a potent immunosuppressive effect similar to that of Sandimmune® both in vitro and in vivo. Both formulations inhibited phenotypic maturation of DCs and impaired their allostimulatory capacity. Furthermore, both PM-CsA and Sandimmune® have shown similar dose-dependent inhibition of in vitro T cell proliferative responses. A similar pattern was observed in the in vivo study, where T cells isolated from both PM-CsA-treated and Sandimmune®-treated mice have shown impairment in their proliferative response and IFN-γ production at similar levels. These results highlight the potential of polymeric micelles to serve as efficient vehicles for the delivery of CsA.
cyclosporine A; dendritic cells; polymeric micelles; T cells
The purpose of this study was to establish a model of delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction in the ear skin of large animals such as adult Yucatan pigs, which may aid in evaluating the efficacy of therapeutic modalities of newly developed anti-inflammatory drugs. The pigs were sensitized with oxazolone, re-challenged with the same irritant six days later, and dosed with either vehicle or with cyclosporine A (CsA) before and after challenge. CsA reduced the redness, inhibited the accumulation of ear fluid and inflammatory cells, as well as the release of the inflammatory mediators. Further, CsA inhibited the proliferation of T cells collected from the spleens or PBMCs of CsA-treated pigs when these cells were stimulated in vitro with PMA plus Ionomycin. These results indicate that pig skin can be used to evaluate modalities for the purpose of developing drugs that may be used to treat DTH in humans.
delayed type hypersensitivity; pigs; cyclosporine A; C-reactive protein; phorbol myristate acetate; ionomycin; chemokines; cytokines
Early inflammatory responses, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses, and cytokine profiles were studied in mice infected by the pulmonary route with either a highly virulent isolate (NU-2) or a weakly virulent isolate (184A) of Cryptococcus neoformans. After infection, NU-2 remained in the lungs and the capsule became more pronounced during the first 24 h, whereas 184A induced an immediate inflammatory reaction and was rapidly cleared from the lungs. Cryptococcal antigen (GXM) appeared in sera early after infection with NU-2 and increased over the entire observation period. There was no detectable GXM in sera from 184A-infected mice. Both C. neoformans isolates induced anticryptococcal cell-mediated immune responses, but the responses had different profiles. DTH in NU-2-infected mice appeared at day 15 after infection and waned by day 21, whereas DTH in 184A-infected mice was present by day 5 and continued to increase. T helper 1 (Th1) cytokines (interleukin 2 [IL-2] and gamma interferon) were made by spleen cells early after infection with either isolate. NU-2-infected mice lost their ability to produce these cytokines, but 184A-infected mice retained it. IL-4, a Th2 cytokine, was not detected in infected mice. The regulatory cytokine IL-10 was made by spleen cells early but not later after infection with the highly virulent isolate and was not produced by spleen cells from 184A-infected mice. IL-10-deficient mice survived an NU-2 infection significantly longer than wild-type mice, suggesting that IL-10 is important in down-regulating the protective immune response. The induction of anergy appears to be responsible for the inability of NU-2-infected mice to control a C. neoformans infection.
The widely used immunosuppressant cyclosporine A (CSA) blocks nuclear translocation of the transcription factor, NF-AT (nuclear factor of activated T cells), preventing its activity. mRNA for several NF-AT isoforms has been shown to exist in cells outside of the immune system, suggesting a possible mechanism for side effects associated with CSA treatment. In this study, we demonstrate that CSA inhibits biochemical and morphological differentiation of skeletal muscle cells while having a minimal effect on proliferation. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with CSA inhibits muscle regeneration after induced trauma in mice. These results suggest a role for NF-AT–mediated transcription outside of the immune system. In subsequent experiments, we examined the activation and cellular localization of NF-AT in skeletal muscle cells in vitro. Known pharmacological inducers of NF-AT in lymphoid cells also stimulate transcription from an NF-AT–responsive reporter gene in muscle cells. Three isoforms of NF-AT (NF-ATp, c, and 4/x/c3) are present in the cytoplasm of muscle cells at all stages of myogenesis tested. However, each isoform undergoes calcium-induced nuclear translocation from the cytoplasm at specific stages of muscle differentiation, suggesting specificity among NF-AT isoforms in gene regulation. Strikingly, one isoform (NF-ATc) can preferentially translocate to a subset of nuclei within a single multinucleated myotube. These results demonstrate that skeletal muscle cells express functionally active NF-AT proteins and that the nuclear translocation of individual NF-AT isoforms, which is essential for the ability to coordinate gene expression, is influenced markedly by the differentiation state of the muscle cell.
The use of cyclosporine A (CsA) is limited by its severe nephrotoxicity that includes reversible vasoconstrictor effects and proximal tubule cell injury, the latter associated whith chronic kidney disease progression. The mechanisms of CsA-induced tubular injury, mainly on the S3 segment, have not been completely elucidated. Kidney androgen-regulated protein (KAP) is exclusively expressed in kidney proximal tubule cells, interacts with the CsA-binding protein cyclophilin B and its expression diminishes in kidneys of CsA-treated mice. Since we reported that KAP protects against CsA toxicity in cultured proximal tubule cells, we hypothesized that low KAP levels found in kidneys of CsA-treated mice might correlate with proximal tubule cell injury. To test this hypothesis, we used KAP Tg mice developed in our laboratory and showed that these mice are more resistant to CsA-induced tubular injury than control littermates. Furthermore, we found that calpain, which was activated by CsA in cell cultures and kidney, is involved in KAP degradation and observed that phosphorylation of serine and threonine residues found in KAP PEST sequences by protein kinase CK2 enhances KAP degradation by calpain. Moreover, we also observed that CK2 inhibition protected against CsA-induced cytotoxicity. These findings point to a novel mechanism for CsA-induced kidney toxicity that might be useful in developing therapeutic strategies aimed at preventing tubular cell damage while maintaining the immunosuppressive effects of CsA.
Cyclosporin A (CsA) mainly exerts its immunosuppressive action by selectively inhibiting Ca2+/calcineurin-dependent gene transcription in lymphoid cells. A model explaining the tissue-specific effect of this drug on gene expression has not been established to date, since none of the known intracellular targets of CsA (e.g., cyclophilins, calcineurin, and NF-AT) is lymphoid cell specific. To investigate this issue, we performed a detailed comparative analysis of the promoter regulating the two-signal-dependent (Ca2+ ionophore plus phorbol myristate acetate [PMA]), CsA-sensitive expression of EGR3 in T cells and the one-signal-dependent (PMA), CsA-insensitive expression of EGR3 in fibroblasts. As a result, we identified a 27-bp promoter element functionally interacting with transcription factors NF-ATp and NF-ATc that is crucial for the CsA-sensitive expression of the EGR3 gene in T cells. In contrast, the same element was without function in fibroblasts, and other, CsA-insensitive promoter regions were found to be responsible for EGR3 gene expression in these cells. The inactivity of the 27-bp element in fibroblasts was apparently due to insufficient expression levels of NF-ATp, since overexpression of NF-ATp, but not NF-ATc, restored the two-signal phenotype and CsA sensitivity of EGR3 promoter induction in these cells. The differential usage of an NF-AT binding site explains the selective effect of CsA on EGR3 gene expression in T cells versus fibroblasts and may represent one of the basic mechanisms underlying the tissue specificity of CsA.
The immunosuppressant FK506 (tacrolimus) is an antifungal natural product macrolide that suppresses the immune system by blocking T-cell activation. In complex with the intracellular protein FKBP12, FK506 inhibits calcineurin, a Ca(2+)-calmodulin-dependent serine-threonine protein phosphatase. We recently reported that growth of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is resistant to FK506 at 24 degrees C but sensitive at 37 degrees C and that calcineurin, the target of FKBP12-FK506, is required for growth at 37 degrees C in vitro and pathogenicity in vivo. These findings identify calcineurin as a potential antifungal drug target. In previous studies the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A (CsA) was effective against murine pulmonary infections but exacerbated cryptococcal meningitis in rabbits and mice, likely because CsA does not cross the blood-brain barrier. Although we find that FK506 penetrates the CNS, FK506 also exacerbates cryptococcal meningitis in rabbits. Thus, FK506 immunosuppression outweighs antifungal action in vivo. Like FK506, the nonimmunosuppressive FK506 analog L-685,818 is toxic to C. neoformans in vitro at 37 degrees C but not at 24 degrees C, and FK506-resistant mutants are resistant to L-685,818, indicating a similar mechanism of action. Fluconazole-resistant C. neoformans clinical isolates were also found to be susceptible to both FK506 and L-685,818. Our findings identify calcineurin as a novel antifungal drug target and suggest the nonimmunosuppressive FK506 analog L-685,818 or other congeners warrant further consideration as antifungal drugs for C. neoformans.
Patients taking immunosuppressive drugs, like cyclosporine A (CsA), that inhibit calcineurin are highly susceptible to disseminated fungal infections, although it is unclear how these drugs suppress resistance to these opportunistic pathogens. We show that in a mouse model of disseminated Candida albicans infection, CsA-induced susceptibility to fungal infection maps to the innate immune system. To further define the cell types targeted by CsA, we generated mice with a conditional deletion of calcineurin B (CnB) in neutrophils. These mice displayed markedly decreased resistance to infection with C. albicans, and both CnB-deficient and CsA-treated neutrophils showed a defect in the ex vivo killing of C. albicans. In response to the fungal-derived pathogen-associated molecular pattern zymosan, neutrophils lacking CnB displayed impaired up-regulation of genes (IL-10, Cox2, Egr1, and Egr2) regulated by nuclear factor of activated T cells, the best characterized CnB substrate. This activity was Myd88 independent and was reproduced by stimulation with the β(1,3) glucan curdlan, indicating that dectin-1, rather than toll-like receptors, is the upstream activator of calcineurin. Our results suggest that disseminated fungal infections seen in CsA-treated patients are not just a general consequence of systemic suppression of adaptive immunity but are, rather, a result of the specific blockade of evolutionarily conserved innate pathways for fungal resistance.
Cyclosporine (CsA) is an immunosuppressive and antimicrobial drug which, in complex with cyclophilin A, inhibits the protein phosphatase calcineurin. We recently found that Cryptococcus neoformans growth is resistant to CsA at 24°C but sensitive at 37°C and that calcineurin is required for growth at 37°C and pathogenicity. Here CsA analogs were screened for toxicity against C. neoformans in vitro. In most cases, antifungal activity was correlated with cyclophilin A binding in vitro and inhibition of the mixed-lymphocyte reaction and interleukin 2 production in cell culture. Two unusual nonimmunosuppressive CsA derivatives, (γ-OH) MeLeu4-Cs (211-810) and D-Sar (α-SMe)3 Val2-DH-Cs (209-825), which are also toxic to C. neoformans were identified. These CsA analogs inhibit C. neoformans via fungal cyclophilin A and calcineurin homologs. Our findings identify calcineurin as a novel antifungal drug target and suggest nonimmunosuppressive CsA analogs warrant investigation as antifungal agents.
Hypoalbuminemia occurs frequently in renal transplant recipients immediately after renal transplantation. We studied the regulation of hepatic albumin synthesis by cyclosporin A (CsA) in Huh7 cells.
Huh7 cells were incubated with various concentrations of CsA for 4, 8, 16, and 24 hours. Albumin was measured in Huh7 cell-conditioned medium by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot. Albumin mRNA expression was analyzed by Northern blotting in CsA-treated cells.
CsA (10-7-10-4 M) inhibited albumin synthesis in Huh7 cells in a dose- dependent manner. A Western blot analysis for albumin in the conditioned medium released from CsA-treated (10-7-10-5 M) cells also showed significant inhibition of albumin synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. Vehicle (olive oil) did not affect albumin synthesis. In contrast, a Northern blot analysis revealed no inhibition of albumin mRNA expression by CsA at any time point from 1-24 hours, indicating that the inhibition of albumin synthesis occurred at the translational level.
Our results suggest that inhibition of hepatic albumin synthesis by high dose CsA contributes to the hypoalbuminemia in renal transplant recipients.
Cyclosporin A; Albumins; Kidney transplantation; Hypoalbuminemia
Cell-mediated immunity is an important aspect of host resistance against Cryptococcus neoformans. Using a CBA/J murine model, we demonstrated that injection of cryptococcal antigen (CneF) at dosages sufficient to stimulate the antigenemia observed in cryptococcosis patients induces specific T-cell-mediated suppression of the cryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity response. The purpose of this study was to establish whether Lyt 1+, first-order T-suppressor (Ts1) cells block the induction of T cells responsible for delayed-type hypersensitivity (TDH cells) or whether they function by inducing Lyt 2+, efferent suppressor (Ts2) cells. In one set of experiments, suppression was observed when Ts1 cells were adoptively transferred to recipient animals the day before, the day of, or the day after immunization; however, when Ts1 cells were transferred after TDH cells were present, no suppression occurred. In other experiments, putative TDH cells from lymph nodes (LN) or spleens were adoptively transferred from mice after immunization or after a suppressive dose of CneF or adoptive transfer of Ts1 cells and immunization. Delayed-type hypersensitivity could not be transferred with LN or spleen cells from mice receiving the suppressive dose of CneF or the Ts1 cells, even when the LN or spleen cells were treated with anti-Lyt 2.1 antibody and complement to remove any Ts2 cells. Delayed-type hypersensitivity was readily transferred with LN or spleen cells from immunized mice whether the cells were or were not treated with anti-Lyt 2 and complement. Furthermore, the cells in the tolerized LN cell pools responsible for suppression of TDH cell induction were Lyt 1+ 2-, I-J+ cells, which is the phenotype of the Ts1 cells. Taken together, these data indicate that Ts1 cells inhibit the induction of TDH cells. This finding, coupled with the previous demonstration that Ts1 cells or a Ts1 cell-derived soluble factor (TsF1) induces Ts2 cells, establishes that the cryptococcal Ts1 cells are bifunctional in the suppressive pathway.
Cyclosporin A (CsA) is an immunosuppressive drug that inhibits the activity of transcription factors of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) family, interfering with the induction of cytokines and other inducible genes required for the immune response. Here we show that CsA inhibits migration of primary endothelial cells and angiogenesis induced by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); this effect appears to be mediated through the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2, the transcription of which is activated by VEGF in primary endothelial cells. Consistent with this, we show that the induction of Cox-2 gene expression by VEGF requires NFAT activation. Most important, the CsA-mediated inhibition of angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo was comparable to the Cox-2 inhibitor NS-398, and reversed by prostaglandin E2. Furthermore, the in vivo corneal angiogenesis induced by VEGF, but not by basic fibroblast growth factor, was selectively inhibited in mice treated with CsA systemically. These findings involve NFAT in the regulation of Cox-2 in endothelial cells, point to a role for this transcription factor in angiogenesis, and may provide a novel mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of CsA in angiogenesis-related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
NFAT; cyclosporin A; VEGF; cyclooxygenase; angiogenesis
Using a cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) in a murine model, we have demonstrated previously that a cascade of Cryptococcus neoformans-specific suppressor T cells and soluble factors function in suppressing the cryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response. In addition, we have successfully hybridized the C. neoformans-specific, first-order T-suppressor (Ts1) cell and have established that the culture supernatant (hTsF1) from this hybridoma induces second-order T-suppressor (Ts2) cells in vivo. Here we report the in vitro induction of expression-phase suppressor cells. The suppressor cells were induced by culturing nylon wool-nonadherent splenic cells from naive mice with hTsF1 in the absence of CneF. Nylon wool-nonadherent splenic cells similarly cultured with supernatants from the BW5147 thymoma cells, the fusion partners of the hybridoma, did not significantly suppress the cryptococcal DTH response. The suppressor cells were designated Ts2 cells based on their similarities in function, specificity, and phenotype, i.e. L3T4-, Lyt-2+, and I-J+, to the in vivo-induced Ts2 cells. By employing the in vitro culture technique, we demonstrated that the precursors of the functional Ts2 cells were L3T4- Lyt-1-2+ I-J- cells. The induction of Ts2 cells was not associated with [3H]thymidine incorporation; therefore, we concluded that hTsF1 induces the Lyt-2+ I-J- cells to differentiate into Lyt-2+ I-J+ functional Ts2 cells without a significant amount of proliferation. From the results of this study, a better understanding of the processes involved in the regulation of the DTH response to CneF was achieved. The in vitro culture technique will allow for further detailed studies of the interactions between the various cell populations and the Ts1 cell-derived soluble factor during the induction of Ts2 cells.
The effect of increasing doses of cyclosporin A (CsA) given to mice infected intravenously with Mycobacterium bovis BCG was investigated. Development of both tuberculin hypersensitivity and acquired antituberculous resistance was suppressed in a dose-responsive manner. Daily dosages at 100 mg/kg of body weight prevented any reduction in the BCG counts within the lungs, liver, or spleen. This effect was associated with lowered nonspecific resistance to a Listeria monocytogenes challenge and a decline in specific protective immunity adoptively transferred to naive recipients. CsA treatment had no effect on antilisterial activity by activated macrophages or on the antituberculous immunity expressed by specific memory T cells. CsA treatment inhibited the ability of BCG-vaccinated mice to produce gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) after a secondary stimulation with live BCG or with lipopolysaccharide. Spleen cells from BCG-infected mice which were exposed to daily treatment with CsA showed reduced IFN-gamma production in response to purified protein derivative or concanavalin A stimulation, suggesting that the immunosuppressive effect of CsA on BCG-infected mice was expressed by inhibiting the development of effector T cells responsible for the production of IFN-gamma.