The costimulatory signal provided to T cells through CTLA-4-ligand interactions is required for T cell activation resulting in increased interleukin 2 (IL-2) production in vitro, but its role in the production of IL-4 and other cytokines is unclear and few in vivo studies have been performed to confirm results of in vitro experiments. We have examined the in vivo effects of blocking CTLA-4 ligands on the T helper cell 2 (Th2)-associated mucosal immune response that follows oral infection of mice with the nematode parasite, Heligmosomoides polygyrus. CTLA-4Ig administration inhibited H. polygyrus-induced increases in mesenteric lymph node (MLN) B cell major histocompatibility complex class II expression and size and T cell- derived IL-4 gene expression. In addition, CTLA-4 immunoglobulin (Ig) partially blocked increased IL-3, IL-5, and IL-9 cytokine gene expression in Peyer's patch (PP) and MLN 8 d after primary inoculation of mice with the parasite. Increases in the number of IL-4- but not IL- 5-secreting cells were also inhibited by CTLA-4Ig. H. polygyrus-induced elevations in serum IgE levels but not blood eosinophils, were markedly inhibited by CTLA-4Ig. These results suggest that stimulation of CD28 and/or CTLA-4 is required for T cell priming leading to IL-4 cytokine production, B cell activation, and IgE secretion during a Th2-like, mucosal immune response to a nematode parasite.
Functional interactions between T and B lymphocytes are necessary for optimal activation of an immune response. Recently, the T lymphocyte receptor CD28 was shown to bind the B7 counter-receptor on activated B lymphocytes, and subsequently to costimulate interleukin 2 production and T cell proliferation. CTLA-4 is a predicted membrane receptor from cytotoxic T cells that is homologous to CD28 and whose gene maps to the same chromosomal band as the gene for CD28. It is not known, however, if CD28 and CTLA-4 also share functional properties. To investigate functional properties of CTLA-4, we have produced a soluble genetic fusion between the extracellular domain of CTLA-4 and an immunoglobulin C gamma chain. Here, we show that the fusion protein encoded by this construct, CTLA4Ig, bound specifically to B7-transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells and to lymphoblastoid cells. CTLA4Ig also immunoprecipitated B7 from cell surface 125I-labeled extracts of these cells. The avidity of 125I-labeled B7Ig fusion protein for immobilized CTLA4Ig was estimated (Kd approximately 12 nM). Finally, we show that CTLA4Ig was a potent inhibitor of in vitro immune responses dependent upon cellular interactions between T and B lymphocytes. These findings provide direct evidence that, like its structural homologue CD28, CTLA- 4 is able to bind the B7 counter-receptor on activated B cells. Lymphocyte interactions involving the B7 counter-receptor are functionally important for alloantigen responses in vitro.
BACKGROUND: T lymphocytes infiltrating airways during the allergic immune response play a fundamental role in recruiting other specialized cells, such as eosinophils, by secreting interleukin 5 (IL-5), and promoting local and systemic IgE synthesis by producing IL-4. Whether these presumed allergen-specific T cells are of mucosal or systemic origin is still a matter of conjecture. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Immunophenotype, IL-4 production, and in vitro proliferative response to specific or unrelated allergens were analyzed in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid lymphocyte suspensions obtained from untreated patients with allergic asthma. Healthy subjects and patients affected by pulmonary sarcoidosis, a granulomatous lung disease characterized by infiltrating Th1 CD4+ lymphocytes, served as controls. RESULTS: The proportions of gamma delta T lymphocytes, mostly CD4+ or CD4- (-)CD8-, was higher in asthmatic subjects than in controls (p < 0.05). Most BAL gamma delta CD4+ lymphocytes of asthmatic patients displayed the T cell receptor (TCR)-gamma delta V delta 1 chain. While CD30 antigen coexpression on the surface of BAL alpha beta(+) T lymphocytes was low (ranging from 5 to 12%), about half of pulmonary gamma delta T cells coexpressed it. These cells produced IL-4 and negligible amounts of interferon-gamma (IFN gamma), and proliferated in vitro in response to purified specific but not unrelated allergens. In contrast, control or sarcoidosis gamma delta T cells never displayed the CD30 surface molecule or produced significant quantities of IL-4. CONCLUSIONS: These findings not only confirm our previous hypothesis that the allergen-specific Th2-type lymphocytes found in the lungs of asthmatic patients are gamma delta T cells belonging to airway mucosal immunocytes, but also strongly support the notion that asthma is a local rather than a systemic disease.
Elevated levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) E are associated with bronchial asthma, a disease characterized by eosinophilic inflammation of the airways. Activation of antigen-specific T helper (Th) 2 cells in the lung with the subsequent release of interleukin (IL) 4 and IL-5 is believed to play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease. In this study, we have used a non-anaphylactogenic anti-mouse-IgE antibody to investigate the relationship between IgE, airway eosinophil infiltration, and the production of Th2 cytokines. Immunization of mice with house dust mite antigen increased serum levels of IgE and IgG. Antigen challenge of immunized but not control mice induced an infiltration of eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage associated with the production of IL-4 and IL-5 from lung purified Thy1.2+ cells activated through the CD3-T cell receptor complex. Administration of the anti-IgE monoclonal antibody (mAb) 6h before antigen challenge neutralized serum IgE but not IgG and inhibited the recruitment of eosinophils into the lungs and the production of IL-4 and IL-5 but not interferon gamma. Studies performed using an anti-CD23 mAb, CD23 deficient and mast cell deficient mice suggest that anti-IgE mAb suppresses eosinophil infiltration and Th2 cytokine production by inhibiting IgE-CD23-facilitated antigen presentation to T cells. Our results demonstrate that IgE-dependent mechanisms are important in the induction of a Th2 immune response and the subsequent infiltration of eosinophils into the airways. Neutralization of IgE, for example, non- anaphylactogenic anti-IgE mAbs may provide a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of allergic airway disease.
CTLA-4 is an essential negative regulator of T cell immune responses whose mechanism of action is the subject of debate. CTLA-4 also shares two ligands (CD80 and CD86) with a stimulatory receptor, CD28. Here we show that CTLA-4 can capture its ligands from opposing cells by a process of trans-endocytosis. Following removal, these costimulatory ligands are degraded inside CTLA-4-expressing cells resulting in impaired costimulation via CD28. Acquisition of CD86 from antigen presenting cells is stimulated by TCR engagement and observed in vitro and in vivo. These data reveal a mechanism of immune regulation whereby CTLA-4 acts as an effector molecule to inhibit CD28 costimulation by the cell-extrinsic depletion of ligands, accounting for many of the known features of the CD28-CTLA-4 system.
CTLA-4; CD86; T cell; dendritic cell; suppression
Reversible airway hyperreactivity underlies the pathophysiology of asthma, yet the precise mediators of the response remain unclear. Human studies have correlated aberrant activation of T helper (Th) 2-like effector systems in the airways with disease. A murine model of airway hyperreactivity in response to acetylcholine was established using mice immunized with ovalbumin and challenged with aerosolized antigen. No airway hyperractivity occurred in severe combined immunodeficient mice. Identically immunized BALB/c mice developed an influx of cells, with a predominance of eosinophils and CD4+ T cells, into the lungs and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at the time that substantial changes in airway pressure and resistance were quantitated. Challenged animals developed marked increases in Th2 cytokine production, eosinophil influx, and serum immunoglobulin E levels. Neutralization of interleukin (IL) 4 using monoclonal antibodies administered during the period of systemic immunization abrogated airway hyperractivity but had little effect on the influx of eosinophils. Administration of anti-IL-4 only during the period of the aerosol challenge did not affect the subsequent response to acetylcholine. Finally, administration of anti- IL-5 antibodies at levels that suppressed eosinophils to < 1% of recruited cells had no effect on the subsequent airway responses. BALB/c mice had significantly greater airway responses than C57BL/6 mice, consistent with enhanced IL-4 responses to antigen in BALB/c mice. Taken together, these data implicate IL-4 generated during the period of lymphocyte priming with antigen in establishing the cascade of responses required to generate airway hyperractivity to inhaled antigen. No role for IL-5 or eosinophils could be demonstrated.
CTLA4 ligands are important costimulatory molecules because soluble CTLA4Ig blocks the induction of T cell responses and induces T cell tolerance. As CTLA4 immunoglobulin (CTLA4Ig) binds B7 when the latter is expressed on fibroblasts, it was widely assumed that CTLA4Ig blocks T cell costimulation by blocking the function of B7. Here we show that the major costimulatory ligand bound by CTLA4Ig (which we term CTLA4 ligand A) on antigen-presenting cells are not encoded by the B7 gene. CTLA4 ligand A also differs from B7 in cellular distribution and in the respective levels of expression. Both B7 and CTLA4 ligand A are critically involved in T cell costimulation.
A single dose of CTLA4Ig, an inhibitor of CD28-mediated T cell costimulation, given 2 days after transplantation induces specific unresponsiveness to alloantigens in vivo. However, the mechanisms responsible are unknown. Using pigeon cytochrome c as a model Ag, we monitored the effect of CTLA4Ig on the fate of Ag-reactive T cells in normal mice and on pigeon cytochrome c-specific TCR transgenic cells adoptively transferred into congenic mice. CTLA4Ig significantly inhibits immunization with pigeon cytochrome c. In particular, ELISA and ELISPOT assays indicate an 80 to 90% reduction in Th1 (i.e., IL-2 and IFN-γ) cytokine production and in the numbers of cytokine-producing cells. Interestingly, despite this profound reduction in cytokine-producing cells, Ag-reactive T cells expand in CTLA4Ig-treated animals, although the degree of expansion is reduced by 50% compared with that in control Ig-treated animals. Thus, loss of Th1 cytokine production in CTLA4Ig-treated animals is not fully explained by the decreased expansion of Ag-specific T cells. These results suggest two mechanisms of action for CTLA4Ig in vivo: inhibition of expansion of Ag-reactive cells and induction of anergy in the residual population.
Interleukin (IL)-9 is a pleiotropic cytokine secreted by T helper (Th)2 cells and has been proposed as a candidate gene for asthma and allergy. We have used mice genetically deficient in IL-9 to determine the role of this cytokine in the pathophysiologic features of the allergic pulmonary response–airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and eosinophilia. We have demonstrated that IL-9 is not required for the development of a robust Th2 response to allergen in sensitized mice. IL-9 knockout mice developed a similar degree of eosinophilic inflammation and AHR to their wild-type littermates. Goblet cell hyperplasia and immunoglobulin (Ig) E production were also unaffected by the lack of IL-9. Moreover, levels of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 were comparable between wild-type and knockout mice. These findings indicate that IL-9 is not obligatory for the development of eosinophilia and AHR, and imply that other Th2 cytokines can act in a compensatory fashion.
Th2 cytokines; asthma; airway hyperreactivity; eosinophilia; mucus
Primary T cell proliferative responses to TCR ligation plus CD28 costimulation are surprisingly heterogeneous. Many cells that enter G1 fail to progress further through the cell cycle, and some of these cells subsequently fail to divide upon restimulation, even in the presence of IL-2. Such IL-2–refractory anergy is distinct from the IL-2–reversible anergy induced by TCR occupancy in the absence of CD28 costimulation. Here, we focus on the contributions of cell cycle progression and costimulatory (CD28/CTLA-4) signals in the regulation of anergy. We show that CD28 costimulation is not sufficient for anergy avoidance and that activated T cells must progress through the cell cycle in order to escape anergy. Induction of this “division-arrest” form of anergy requires CTLA-4 signaling during the primary response. Also, cell division per se is not sufficient for anergy avoidance: the few T cells that undergo multiple rounds of cell division during overt CD28 costimulatory blockade do not escape the ultimate induction of clonal anergy. Anergy avoidance by primary T cells is thus a multistep process: in order to participate in a productive immune response, an individual T cell activated through its antigen receptor must receive CD28 costimulation and progress through the cell cycle. Anergy may be induced either through a combination of CTLA-4 signaling and the failure of cell cycle progression, or through a proliferation-independent mechanism in which TCR ligation occurs in the absence of CD28.
It is well established that B7-CD28/CTLA4 interactions play an important role in the induction of T helper cells for T-dependent antibody responses. However, targeted mutation of CD28 does not significantly affect production of IgG and activation of CD4 T helper cells in response to infections by some viruses and nematode parasites. To test whether the CD28-independent induction of Ig class switches requires costimulation by the heat-stable antigen (HSA), we compared T helper cell induction and antibody response in mice deficient for either HSA, CD28, or both genes. We found that after immunization with KLH-DNP, mice deficient for both CD28 and HSA lack DNP-specific IgA and all subtypes of IgG. This deficiency corresponds to a reduced number of effector helper T cells that rapidly produce IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-γ after in vitro stimulation with carrier antigen KLH. In contrast, priming of T helper cells and Ig class switch are normal in mice deficient with either HSA or CD28 alone. IgM responses are not affected by any of these targeted mutations. These results demonstrate that CD28-independent induction of T helper cells and Ig class-switches requires costimulation by the HSA.
Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection and ovalbumin-induced allergic lung pathology are highly interleukin (IL)-4/IL-13 dependent, but the contributions of IL-4/IL-13 from adaptive (T helper [Th]2 cells) and innate (eosinophil, basophils, and mast cells) immune cells remain unknown. Although required for immunoglobulin (Ig)E induction, IL-4/IL-13 from Th2 cells was not required for worm expulsion, tissue inflammation, or airway hyperreactivity. In contrast, innate hematopoietic cell–derived IL-4/IL-13 was dispensable for Th2 cell differentiation in lymph nodes but required for effector cell recruitment and tissue responses. Eosinophils were not required for primary immune responses. Thus, components of type 2 immunity mediated by IL-4/IL-13 are partitioned between T cell–dependent IgE and an innate non-eosinophil tissue component, suggesting new strategies for interventions in allergic immunity.
Signal transducers and activators of transcription 6 (STAT6) is essential for interleukin 4–mediated responses, including class switching to IgE and induction of type 2 T helper cells. To investigate the role of STAT6 in allergic asthma in vivo, we developed a murine model of allergen-induced airway inflammation. Repeated exposure of actively immunized C57BL/6 mice to ovalbumin (OVA) aerosol increased the level of serum IgE, the number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and airway reactivity. Histological analysis revealed peribronchial inflammation with pulmonary eosinophilia in OVA-treated mice. In STAT6-deficient (STAT6−/−) C57BL/6 mice treated in the same fashion, there were no eosinophilia in BAL and significantly less peribronchial inflammation than in wild-type mice. Moreover STAT6−/− mice had much less airway reactivity than wild-type mice. These findings suggest that STAT6 plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced airway inflammation.
Allergic asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia, and may be mediated by T helper (Th) lymphocytes expressing a Th2 cytokine pattern. Interleukin (IL) 12 suppresses the expression of Th2 cytokines and their associated responses, including eosinophilia, serum immunoglobulin E, and mucosal mastocytosis. We have previously shown in a murine model that antigen- induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia are CD4+ T cell dependent. We used this model to determine the ability of IL-12 to prevent antigen-induced increases in airway hyperresponsiveness, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) eosinophils, and lung Th2 cytokine expression. Sensitized A/J mice developed airway hyperresponsiveness and increased numbers of BAL eosinophils and other inflammatory cells after single or repeated intratracheal challenges with sheep red blood cell antigen. Pulmonary mRNA and protein levels of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 were increased after antigen challenge. Administration of IL-12 (1 microgram/d x 5 d) at the time of a single antigen challenge abolished the airway hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary eosinophilia and promoted an increase in interferon (IFN) gamma and decreases in IL-4 and IL-5 expression. The effects of IL-12 were partially dependent on IFN-gamma, because concurrent treatment with IL-12 and anti-IFN-gamma monoclonal antibody partially reversed the inhibition of airway hyperresponsiveness and eosinophilia by IL-12. Treatment of mice with IL-12 at the time of a second antigen challenge also prevented airway hyperresponsiveness and significantly reduced numbers of BAL inflammatory cells, reflecting the ability of IL-12 to inhibit responses associated with ongoing antigen-induced pulmonary inflammation. These data show that antigen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation can be blocked by IL-12, which suppresses Th2 cytokine expression. Local administration of IL-12 may provide a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of pulmonary allergic disorders such as atopic asthma.
The CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4) shows selectivity for the recruitment of memory T cell subsets, including those of the T helper cell type 2 (Th2) phenotype. In humans, CCR4+ T cells are recruited to the asthmatic lung in response to allergen challenge; however, the contribution of this pathway to allergic disease remains uncertain. We therefore investigated the role of CCR4 in allergic airways inflammation in the guinea pig. Blockade of CCR4 with a specific antibody resulted in only minor changes in numbers of CCR4+ Th cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of allergen-challenged guinea pigs and failed to inhibit the generation of eotaxin/CC chemokine ligand (CCL)11 or macrophage-derived chemokine/CCL22 or the recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes to the lung. These data suggest that although CCR4 was originally proposed as a marker of Th2 status, antigen-specific Th2 cells are recruited to the lung predominantly by other pathways. This study casts doubts on the validity of CCR4 as a therapeutic target in the treatment of asthma.
T lymphocytes; chemokines; allergy
Allergic asthmatic responses in the airway are associated with airway hyperreactivity, eosinophil accumulation in the lung, and cytokine production by allergen-specific, T helper cell type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes. Here, we show that in a cockroach antigen (CA) model of allergic pulmonary inflammation, the chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-3α is expressed in the lung within hours of allergen challenge. To determine the biologic relevance of this expression, mice lacking CCR6, the only known receptor for MIP-3α, were studied for their response to CA. CCR6-deficient mice were immunized to the same extent as their wild-type counterparts, as judged by cytokine production in antigen-challenged lymphocytes. However, compared with CA-challenged wild-type mice, challenged CCR6-deficient mice had reduced airway resistance, fewer eosinophils around the airway, lower levels of interleukin 5 in the lung, and reduced serum levels of immunoglobulin E. Together, these data demonstrate that MIP-3α and CCR6 function in allergic pulmonary responses and suggest that these molecules might represent novel therapeutic targets for treatment of asthma.
CCR6; MIP-3α; chemokine; asthma; lung
Eosinophils are traditionally thought to form part of the innate immune response against parasitic helminths acting through the release of cytotoxic granule proteins. However, they are also a central feature in asthma. From their development in the bone marrow to their recruitment to the lung via chemokines and cytokines, they form an important component of the inflammatory milieu observed in the asthmatic lung following allergen challenge. A wealth of studies has been performed in both patients with asthma and in mouse models of allergic pulmonary inflammation to delineate the role of eosinophils in the allergic response. Although the long-standing association between eosinophils and the induction of airway hyper-responsiveness remains controversial, recent studies have shown that eosinophils may also promote airway remodelling. In addition, emerging evidence suggests that the eosinophil may also serve to modulate the immune response. Here we review the highly co-ordinated nature of eosinophil development and trafficking and the evolution of the eosinophil as a multi-factoral leukocyte with diverse functions in asthma.
Eosinophil; asthma; airway hyper-responsiveness; remodelling
Mast cells are the main effector cells of immediate hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis. Their role in the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is controversial and based on indirect evidence. To address these issues, mast cell–deficient mice (W/W v) and their congenic littermates were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) by intraperitoneal injection and subsequently challenged with OVA via the airways. Comparison of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels in the serum and numbers of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid or lung digests showed no differences between the two groups of mice. Further, measurements of airway resistance and dynamic compliance at baseline and after inhalation of methacholine were similar. These data indicate that mast cells or IgE–mast cell activation is not required for the development of eosinophilic inflammation and AHR in mice sensitized to allergen via the intraperitoneal route and challenged via the airways.
Deficient suppression of T cell responses to allergen by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells has been observed in patients with allergic disease. Our current experiments used a mouse model of airway inflammation to examine the suppressive activity of allergen-specific CD4+CD25+ T cells in vivo. Transfer of ovalbumin (OVA) peptide–specific CD4+CD25+ T cells to OVA-sensitized mice reduced airway hyperreactivity (AHR), recruitment of eosinophils, and T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine expression in the lung after allergen challenge. This suppression was dependent on interleukin (IL) 10 because increased lung expression of IL-10 was detected after transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells, and regulation was reversed by anti–IL-10R antibody. However, suppression of AHR, airway inflammation, and increased expression of IL-10 were still observed when CD4+CD25+ T cells from IL-10 gene–deficient mice were transferred. Intracellular cytokine staining confirmed that transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells induced IL-10 expression in recipient CD4+ T cells, but no increase in IL-10 expression was detected in airway macrophages, dendritic cells, or B cells. These data suggest that CD4+CD25+ T cells can suppress the Th2 cell–driven response to allergen in vivo by an IL-10–dependent mechanism but that IL-10 production by the regulatory T cells themselves is not required for such suppression.
Deficient suppression of T cell responses to allergen by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells has been observed in patients with allergic disease. Our current experiments used a mouse model of airway inflammation to examine the suppressive activity of allergen-specific CD4+CD25+ T cells in vivo. Transfer of ovalbumin (OVA) peptide-specific CD4+CD25+ T cells to OVA-sensitized mice reduced airway hyperreactivity (AHR), recruitment of eosinophils, and T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokine expression in the lung after allergen challenge. This suppression was dependent on interleukin (IL) 10 because increased lung expression of IL-10 was detected after transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells, and regulation was reversed by anti-IL-10R antibody. However, suppression of AHR, airway inflammation, and increased expression of IL-10 were still observed when CD4+CD25+ T cells from IL-10 gene-deficient mice were transferred. Intracellular cytokine staining confirmed that transfer of CD4+CD25+ T cells induced IL-10 expression in recipient CD4+ T cells, but no increase in IL-10 expression was detected in airway macrophages, dendritic cells, or B cells. These data suggest that CD4+CD25+ T cells can suppress the Th2 cell-driven response to allergen in vivo by an IL-10-dependent mechanism but that IL-10 production by the regulatory T cells themselves is not required for such suppression.
BACKGROUND: Bronchial challenge with allergen causes a specific form of airways inflammation consisting of an influx of neutrophils, eosinophils, and T cells. Because the relevance of the challenge model to clinical asthma is uncertain, the cellular changes that occur in the lungs of asthmatic subjects during natural seasonal allergen exposure were investigated. METHODS: Seventeen grass pollen sensitive asthmatic subjects with previously reported seasonal exacerbations of asthma kept records of symptoms and underwent fibreoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and endobronchial biopsy before and during the peak of the grass pollen season. The BAL cells were analysed for differential cell counts and by flow cytometry for T cell subsets and surface activation markers. The biopsy samples were processed into glycol methacrylate resin and immunohistochemical analysis was performed for mast cells, activated eosinophils, T cells and interleukin 4 (IL-4), a cytokine with a pivotal role in allergen-induced inflammation. RESULTS: In the pollen season there was an increase in T lymphocyte activation in the BAL fluid as identified by increased expression of interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R). In the submucosa these changes were paralleled by an increase in CD4+ T cells. By contrast, the numbers of metachromatic cells in BAL fluid staining with toluidine blue were reduced, possibly because of degranulation following allergen stimulation. In keeping with mast cell activation, the number of mucosal mast cells staining for secreted IL-4 increased during the season. In comparison with the period shortly before the onset of the season, all but two subjects experienced an asthma exacerbation which followed the rise in pollen counts but, compared with the period preceding the first bronchoscopic examination, asthma symptoms were not increased during the pollen season. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that natural allergen exposure, leading to a clinical exacerbation of asthma, may induce an inflammatory response involving T cells, mast cells and eosinophils. The relationship between allergen exposure, cellular infiltration and activation, and clinical symptoms appears to be complex, with factors other than allergen also contributing to asthmatic activity.
The current paradigm surrounding allergen-mediated T helper type 2 (Th2) immune responses in the lung suggests an almost hegemonic role for T cells. Our studies propose an alternative hypothesis implicating eosinophils in the regulation of pulmonary T cell responses. In particular, ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized/challenged mice devoid of eosinophils (the transgenic line PHIL) have reduced airway levels of Th2 cytokines relative to the OVA-treated wild type that correlated with a reduced ability to recruit effector T cells to the lung. Adoptive transfer of Th2-polarized OVA-specific transgenic T cells (OT-II) alone into OVA-challenged PHIL recipient mice failed to restore Th2 cytokines, airway histopathologies, and, most importantly, the recruitment of pulmonary effector T cells. In contrast, the combined transfer of OT-II cells and eosinophils into PHIL mice resulted in the accumulation of effector T cells and a concomitant increase in both airway Th2 immune responses and histopathologies. Moreover, we show that eosinophils elicit the expression of the Th2 chemokines thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine/CCL17 and macrophage-derived chemokine/CCL22 in the lung after allergen challenge, and blockade of these chemokines inhibited the recruitment of effector T cells. In summary, the data suggest that pulmonary eosinophils are required for the localized recruitment of effector T cells.
The earliest contact between antigen and the innate immune system is thought to direct the subsequent antigen-specific T cell response. We hypothesized that cells of the innate immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells, NK1.1+ T cells (NKT cells), and γ/δ T cells, may regulate the development of allergic airway disease. We demonstrate here that depletion of NK1.1+ cells (NK cells and NKT cells) before immunization inhibits pulmonary eosinophil and CD3+ T cell infiltration as well as increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-12 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in a murine model of allergic asthma. Moreover, systemic allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)E and IgG2a levels and the number of IL-4 and interferon γ–producing splenic cells were diminished in mice depleted of NK1.1+ cells before the priming regime. Depletion of NK1.1+ cells during the challenge period only did not influence pulmonary eosinophilic inflammation. CD1d1 mutant mice, deficient in NKT cells but with normal NK cells, developed lung tissue eosinophilia and allergen-specific IgE levels not different from those observed in wild-type mice. Mice deficient in γ/δ T cells showed a mild attenuation of lung tissue eosinophilia in this model. Taken together, these findings suggest a critical role of NK cells, but not of NKT cells, for the development of allergen-induced airway inflammation, and that this effect of NK cells is exerted during the immunization. If translatable to humans, these data suggest that NK cells may be critically important for deciding whether allergic eosinophilic airway disease will develop. These observations are also compatible with a pathogenic role for the increased NK cell activity observed in human asthma.
natural killer cells; NK1.1+ T cells; γ/δ T cells; eosinophils; allergic asthma
Virus infections of the lung are thought to predispose individuals to asthma, a disease characterized by eosinophil infiltration of the airways. CD8+ T cells are an important part of the host response to virus infection, however, they have no reported role in eosinophil recruitment. We developed a mouse model of virus peptide-stimulated CD8+ T cell immune responses in the lung. We found that bystander CD4+ T helper cell type 2 immune responses to ovalbumin switched the virus peptide-specific CD8+ T cells in the lung to interleukin (IL) 5 production. Furthermore, when such IL-5-producing CD8 T cells were challenged via the airways with virus peptide, a significant eosinophil infiltration was induced. In vitro studies indicated that IL-4 could switch the virus-specific CD8+ T cells to IL-5 production. These results could explain the link between virus infection and acute exacerbation of asthma and, perhaps more importantly, they indicate an IL-4-dependent mechanism that would impair CD8+ T cell responses and delay viral clearance from the host.
Allograft rejection is a T cell-dependent process. Productive T cell activation by antigen requires antigen engagement of the T cell receptor as well as costimulatory signals delivered through other T cell surface molecules such as CD28. Engagement of CD28 by its natural ligand B7 can be blocked using a soluble recombinant fusion protein, CTLA4Ig. Administration of CTLA4Ig blocks antigen-specific immune responses in vitro and in vivo, and we have shown that treatment of rats with a 7-d course of CTLA4Ig at the time of transplantation leads to prolonged survival of cardiac allografts (median 30 d), although most grafts are eventually rejected. Here, we have explored additional strategies employing CTLA4Ig in order to achieve long-term allograft survival. Our data indicate that donor-specific transfusion (DST) plus CTLA4Ig can provide effective antigen-specific immunosuppression. When DST is administered at the time of transplantation followed by a single dose of CTLA4Ig 2 d later, all animals had long-term graft survival (> 60 d). These animals had delayed responses to donor-type skin transplants, compared with normal rejection responses to third-party skin transplants. Furthermore, donor-matched second cardiac allografts were well tolerated with minimal histologic evidence of rejection. These data indicate that peritransplant use of DST followed by subsequent treatment with CTLA4Ig can induce prolonged, often indefinite, cardiac allograft acceptance. These results may be clinically applicable for cadaveric organ and tissue transplantation in humans.