Cockroach exposure is a major risk factor for the development of asthma; however, the early immune events induced by cockroach leading to the Th2 response are not fully understood. Exposure of naïve mice to German cockroach (GC) feces (frass) was sufficient to induce dendritic cell (DC) recruiting and activating chemokines C-C motif ligand 20, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α into the airways. This corresponded with an increase in myeloid DCs (mDCs) in the airways as well as increased expression of CD80 and CD86 on the mDCs. Plasmacytoid DCs in the lung were unchanged. Levels of IL-5, IL-17A and IL-6 cytokines in whole lung cultures were significantly increased 18 h following GC frass exposure demonstrating the early development of a mixed Th2/Th17 response. In addition, GC frass stimulated the production of IL-23, IL-6 and IL-12p70 from bone marrow-derived mDCs. Adoptive transfer of GC frass-pulsed mDCs induced airway reactivity, airway inflammation as well as eosinophilia and induced a strong Th2/Th17 response in the lung. MyD88-deficient bone marrow-derived mDCs did not respond to GC frass treatment, suggesting a functional Toll-like receptor pathway was important to induce the Th2/Th17 response. Together, our data show that GC frass activated the innate immune response to augment DC recruitment and activation of mDCs which promoted robust T cell-skewing cytokines and ultimately drive the development of airway inflammation.
Chemokines; Cytokines; Immune response; Pathogen associated-molecular patterns; Toll-like receptor; Dendritic cell; Airway inflammation; Cockroach
Exaggerated levels of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) are present in persons with asthma, but the role(s) of VEGF in normal and asthmatic lungs has not been defined. We generated lung-targeted VEGF165 transgenic mice and evaluated the role of VEGF in T-helper type 2 cell (TH2)-mediated inflammation. In these mice, VEGF induced, through IL-13–dependent and –independent pathways, an asthma-like phenotype with inflammation, parenchymal and vascular remodeling, edema, mucus metaplasia, myocyte hyperplasia and airway hyper-responsiveness. VEGF also enhanced respiratory antigen sensitization and TH2 inflammation and increased the number of activated DC2 dendritic cells. In antigen-induced inflammation, VEGF was produced by epithelial cells and preferentially by TH2 versus TH1 cells. In this setting, it had a critical role in TH2 inflammation, cytokine production and physiologic dysregulation. Thus, VEGF is a mediator of vascular and extravascular remodeling and inflammation that enhances antigen sensitization and is crucial in adaptive TH2 inflammation. VEGF regulation may be therapeutic in asthma and other TH2 disorders.
Maladaptive, Th2-polarized inflammatory responses are integral to the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. As regulators of T cell activation, dendritic cells (DCs) are important mediators of allergic asthma, yet the precise signals which render endogenous DCs “pro-asthmatic”, and the extent to which these signals are regulated by the pulmonary environment and host genetics, remains unclear. Comparative phenotypic and functional analysis of pulmonary DC populations in mice susceptible (A/J), or resistant (C3H) to experimental asthma, revealed that susceptibility to airway hyperresponsiveness is associated with preferential myeloid DC (mDC) allergen uptake, and production of Th17-skewing cytokines (IL-6, IL-23), whereas resistance is associated with increased allergen uptake by plasmacytoid DCs. Surprisingly, adoptive transfer of syngeneic HDM-pulsed bone marrow derived mDCs (BMDCs) to the lungs of C3H mice markedly enhanced lung IL-17A production, and rendered them susceptible to allergen-driven airway hyperresponsiveness. Characterization of these BMDCs revealed levels of antigen uptake, and Th17 promoting cytokine production similar to that observed in pulmonary mDCs from susceptible A/J mice. Collectively these data demonstrate that the lung environment present in asthma-resistant mice promotes robust pDC allergen uptake, activation, and limits Th17-skewing cytokine production responsible for driving pathologic T cell responses central to the development of allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness.
Reduced frequencies of myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cell (DC) subsets (mDCs and pDCs, respectively) have been observed in the peripheral blood of HIV-1-infected individuals throughout the course of disease. Accumulation of DCs in lymph nodes (LNs) may partly account for the decreased numbers observed in blood, but increased DC death may also be a contributing factor. We used multiparameter flow cytometry to evaluate pro- and antiapoptotic markers in blood mDCs and pDCs from untreated HIV-1-infected donors, from a subset of infected donors before and after receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), and from uninfected control donors. Blood mDCs, but not pDCs, from untreated HIV-1-infected donors expressed lower levels of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 than DCs from uninfected donors. A subset of HIV-1-infected donors had elevated frequencies of proapoptotic caspase-3+ blood mDCs, and positive correlations were observed between caspase-3+ mDC frequencies and plasma viral load and CD8+ T-cell activation levels. Caspase-3+ mDC frequencies, but not mDC Bcl-2 expression, were reduced with viral suppression on ART. Apoptosis markers on DCs in blood and LN samples from a cohort of untreated, HIV-1-infected donors with chronic disease were also evaluated. LN mDCs displayed higher levels of Bcl-2 and lower caspase-3+ frequencies than did matched blood mDCs. Conversely, LN pDCs expressed lower Bcl-2 levels than their blood counterparts. In summary, blood mDCs from untreated HIV-1-infected subjects displayed a proapoptotic profile that was partially reversed with viral suppression, suggesting that DC death may be a factor contributing to blood DC depletion in the setting of chronic, untreated HIV disease.
To determine the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) and myeloid dendritic cells (mDC) in priming effector T cells to induce allergy, and to evaluate the effect of immunostimulatory sequences (ISS, TLR9 agonist) on dendritic cells.
Cultured mDC and pDC with/without ISS were injected intratracheally into sensitized Balb/C mice. Mice were sacrificed, and then pulmonary function tests, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), cell counts, and cytokine levels were evaluated. Migration of dendritic cells was also evaluated after ISS administration.
In mice injected with mDC, airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil counts, and Th2 cytokine levels in BAL increased with increasing numbers of mDC injected. However, in mice injected with pDC, none of these changed, suggesting poor priming of T cells by pDC. In addition, mDC pulsed with ISS inhibited asthmatic reactions, and ISS administration inhibited migration of DC to the lung.
We suggest that pDC played a limited role in priming T cells in this asthma model and that mDC played a major role in inducing asthma. In addition, ISS inhibited migration of DC to the lung.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cell; myeloid dendritic cell; allergy; immunostimulatory sequence; TLR9; migration
The role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC), the major producers of alpha interferon upon viral infection, in the nasal mucosa is largely unknown. Here we examined the presence of PDC together with myeloid dendritic cells (MDC) in the nasal epithelia of healthy individuals, of asymptomatic patients with chronic nasal allergy, of patients undergoing steroid therapy, and of patients with infectious rhinitis or rhinosinusitis. Considerable numbers of PDC and MDC could be detected in the nasal epithelium. Furthermore, we demonstrate the expression of SDF-1, the major chemoattractant for PDC, in the nasal epithelium. PDC levels were significantly lower for patients with allergies than for healthy individuals. Interestingly, PDC and MDC were almost absent from patients who received treatment with glucocorticoids, while very high numbers of PDC were found for patients with recent upper respiratory tract infections. Our results demonstrate for the first time a quantitative analysis of PDC and MDC in the healthy nasal epithelium and in nasal epithelia from patients with different pathological conditions. With the identification of PDC, the major target cell for CpG DNA or immunostimulatory RNA, in the nasal epithelium, this study forms the basis for a local nasal application of such oligonucleotides for the treatment of viral infection and allergy.
Although there is evidence for distinct roles of myeloid dendritic cells (DCs [mDCs]) and plasmacytoid pre-DCs (pDCs) in regulating T cell–mediated adaptive immunity, the concept of functional DC subsets has been questioned because of the lack of a molecular mechanism to explain these differences. In this study, we provide direct evidence that maturing mDCs and pDCs express different sets of molecules for T cell priming. Although both maturing mDCs and pDCs upregulate the expression of CD80 and CD86, only pDCs upregulate the expression of inducible costimulator ligand (ICOS-L) and maintain high expression levels upon differentiation into mature DCs. High ICOS-L expression endows maturing pDCs with the ability to induce the differentiation of naive CD4 T cells to produce interleukin-10 (IL-10) but not the T helper (Th)2 cytokines IL-4, -5, and -13. These IL-10–producing T cells are T regulatory cells, and their generation by ICOS-L is independent of pDC-driven Th1 and Th2 differentiation, although, in the later condition, some contribution from endogenous IL-4 cannot be completely ruled out. Thus, in contrast to mDCs, pDCs are poised to express ICOS-L upon maturation, which leads to the generation of IL-10–producing T regulatory cells. Our findings demonstrate that mDC and pDCs are intrinsically different in the expression of costimulatory molecules that drive distinct types of T cell responses.
Placental Plasmodium falciparum infection affects birth outcomes and sensitizes fetal lymphocytes to parasite antigens. We assessed the influence of maternal P. falciparum infection on fetal myeloid dendritic cells (mDC) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), analyzing the cord blood of offspring of Gabonese mothers with different infection histories. Cord blood from newborns of mothers with malarial infection at delivery had significantly more mDC than that from nonexposed newborns (P = 0.028) but mDC and pDC HLA-DR expression was unrelated to maternal infection history. Independently of these findings, cord blood mDC and pDC numbers declined significantly as a function of increasing maternal age (P = 0.029 and P = 0.033, respectively). The inducible antigen-specific interleukin-10-producing regulatory-type T-cell population that we have previously detected in cord blood of newborns with prolonged in utero exposure to P. falciparum may directly reflect the altered DC numbers in such neonates, while the maintenance of cord blood DC HLA-DR expression contrasts with that of DC from P. falciparum malaria patients.
Dendritic cells (DCs) play a crucial role in the immune responses against infections by sensing microbial invasion through toll-like receptors (TLRs). In humans, two distinct DC subsets, CD11c− plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) and CD11c+ myeloid DCs (MDCs), have been identified and can respond to different TLR ligands, depending on the differential expression of cognate TLRs. In this study, we have examined the effect of TLR-7 ligands on human DC subsets. Both subsets expressed TLR-7 and could respond to TLR-7 ligands, which enhanced the survival of the subsets and upregulated the surface expression of costimulatory molecules such as CD40, CD80, and CD86. However, the cytokine induction pattern was distinct in that PDCs and MDCs produced interferon (IFN)-α and interleukin (IL)-12, respectively. In response to TLR-7 ligands, the Th1 cell supporting ability of both DC subsets was enhanced, depending on the cytokines the respective subsets produced. This study demonstrates that TLR-7 exerts its biological effect in a DC subset-specific manner.
immunity; cytokines; imidazoquinolines; pathogen-associated molecular patterns; Th cell responses
Non-human primates such as Chinese rhesus macaques (Ch Rhs) provide good animal models for research on human infectious diseases. Similar to humans, there are two principal subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) in the peripheral blood of Ch Rhs: myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). In this study, two-color fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analyses were used to identify the main DC subsets, namely CD1c+ mDCs and pDCs from Ch Rhs. Then, the apoptosis and immunophenotype changes of DCs subsets were first described during the acute phase of SIVmac239 infection. Both the DCs subsets showed decreased CD4 expression and enhanced CCR5 expression; in particular, those of pDCs significantly changed at most time points. Interestingly, the plasma viral loads were negatively correlated with CD4 expression, but were positively correlated with CCR5 expression of pDCs. During this period, both CD1c+ mDCs and pDCs were activated by enhancing expressions of co-stimulatory molecules, accompanied with increase in CCR7. Either CD80 or CD86 expressed on CD1c+ mDCs and pDCs was positively correlated with the plasma viral loads. Our analysis demonstrates that the pDCs were more prone to apoptosis after infection during the acute phase of SIVmac239 infection, which may be due to their high expressions of CD4 and CCR5. Both DCs subsets activated through elevating the expression of co-stimulatory molecules, which was beneficial in controlling the replication of SIV. However, a mere broad immune activation initiated by activated DCs may lead to tragic AIDS progression.
APC dysfunction has been postulated to mediate some of the parasite-specific T cell unresponsiveness seen in patent filarial infection. We have shown that live microfilariae of Brugia malayi induce caspase-dependent apoptosis in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) in vitro. This study addresses whether apoptosis observed in vitro extends to patent filarial infections in humans and is reflected in the number of circulating myeloid DCs (mDCs; CD11c−CD123lo) in peripheral blood of infected microfilaremic individuals. Utilizing flow cytometry to identify DC subpopulations (mDCs and plasmacytoid DCs [pDCs]) based on expression of CD11c and CD123, we found a significant increase in numbers of circulating mDCs (CD11c+CD123lo) in filaria-infected individuals compared with uninfected controls from the same filaria-endemic region of Mali. Total numbers of pDCs, monocytes, and lymphocytes did not differ between the two groups. To investigate potential causes of differences in mDC numbers between the two groups, we assessed chemokine receptor expression on mDCs. Our data indicate that filaria-infected individuals had a lower percentage of circulating CCR1+ mDCs and a higher percentage of circulating CCR5+ mDCs and pDCs. Finally, live microfilariae of B. malayi were able to downregulate cell-surface expression of CCR1 on monocyte-derived DCs and diminish their calcium flux in response to stimulation by a CCR1 ligand. These findings suggest that microfilaria are capable of altering mDC migration through downregulation of expression of some chemokine receptors and their signaling functions. These observations have major implications for regulation of immune responses to these long-lived parasites.
Dendritic cells (DCs) play a pivotal role in generating protective host immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Few studies have addressed DC function in the context of active tuberculosis (TB), largely due to technical constraints in obtaining adequate numbers of DC from sick patients. We quantitated peripheral blood myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in the whole blood of patients with active TB and show that blood from patients with pleural TB was characterized by high circulating levels of mDCs. We also developed and optimized a novel whole-blood assay to study mDC production of the Th1-promoting cytokine interleukin 12 (IL-12) and upregulation of the maturation marker CCR7 after incubation with mycobacteria. We found that pleural TB was associated with increased IL-12 production and CCR7 expression compared to lung parenchymal disease. Our findings suggest important differences in innate immunity between patients with different forms of active TB, and this may contribute to the differences in natural history observed between the two groups.
Gene expression in murine dendritic cells (DCs) infected with green fluorescent protein-expressing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium BRD509 was studied by mRNA differential display. Infected DCs were sorted from uninfected cells by flow cytometry. The mRNA expression patterns of infected and uninfected cells revealed a number of differentially expressed transcripts, which included the macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC). Up-regulation of MDC transcription in infected DCs was confirmed by Northern blotting, and the kinetics of MDC expression was examined by real-time reverse transcription-PCR, with which 31- and 150-fold increases were detected at 2 and 6 h postinfection, respectively. The increased release by DCs of MDC into culture media was detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The biological activity of MDC was investigated in in vitro and in vivo assays. In vitro, supernatants from S. enterica serovar Typhimurium-infected DCs were chemoattractive to T cells, and neutralization of MDC in these supernatants inhibited T-cell migration. Passive transfer of anti-MDC antibody to mice infected with BRD509 revealed that neither growth of the bacterium nor resistance of the mice to reinfection was affected and that in vivo inhibition of MDC did not affect T-cell responses, as measured by the gamma interferon ELISPOT method 3 days after challenge infection.
Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (mDCs, pDC) are crucial to the immune system, detecting microorganisms and linking the innate and adaptive immunity. pDC are present in small quantities in tissues that are in contact with the external environment; mainly the skin, the inner lining of the nose, lungs, stomach and intestines. They produce large amounts of IFN-α after stimulation and are pivotal for the induction of antiviral responses. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are known to be more susceptible to viral infections. We have demonstrated that exposure of mDC to cigarette smoke extract (CSE) leads to the release of chemokines, however, not much is known about the role of pDC in COPD. In this study, we addressed several key questions with respect to the mechanism of action of CSE on human pDC in an in vitro model. Human pDCs were isolated from normal healthy volunteers and subjected to fresh CSE and the levels of IL-8, TNF-α, IP-10, IL-6, IL-1, IL-12 and IL-10 and IFN-α were studied by both ELISA and real time PCR methods. We observed that CSE augmented the production of IL-8 and suppressed the release of TNF-α, IL-6 and IFN-α. Moreover, CSE suppressed PI3K/Akt signalling in pDC. In conclusion, our data indicate that CSE has both the potential to diminish anti-viral immunity by downregulating the release of IFN-α and other pro-inflammatory cytokines while, at the same time, augmenting the pathogenesis of COPD via an IL-8 induced recruitment of neutrophils.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) have both stimulatory and regulatory effects on T cells. pDCs are a major CNS-infiltrating DC population during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), but unlike myeloid DCs (mDC) have a minor role in T cell activation and epitope spreading. We show that depletion of pDCs during either the acute or relapse phases of EAE resulted in exacerbation of disease severity. pDC depletion significantly enhanced CNS but not peripheral CD4+ T cell activation, as well as IL-17 and IFN-γ production. Moreover, CNS pDCs suppressed CNS mDC-driven production of IL-17, IFN-γ and IL-10 in an IDO-independent manner. The data demonstrate that pDCs play a critical regulatory role in negatively regulating pathogenic CNS CD4+ T cell responses highlighting a new role for pDCs in inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease; T lymphocytes; dendritic cells; T cell activation; antigen presentation; immunoregulation
Rationale: Dendritic cells (DCs) have not been well studied in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), yet their integral role in activating and differentiating T cells makes them potential participants in COPD pathogenesis.
Objectives: To determine the expression of maturation molecules by individual DC subsets in relationship to COPD stage and to expression of the acute activation marker CD69 by lung CD4+ T cells.
Methods: We nonenzymatically released lung leukocytes from human surgical specimens (n = 42) and used flow cytometry to identify three DC subsets (mDC1, mDC2, and pDC) and to measure their expression of three costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80 and CD86) and of CD83, the definitive marker of DC maturation. Spearman nonparametric correlation analysis was used to identify significant correlations between expression of DC maturation molecules and COPD severity.
Measurements and Main Results: Expression of CD40 by mDC1 and mDC2 and of CD86 by mDC2 was high regardless of GOLD stage, but CD80 and CD83 on these two DC subsets increased with disease progression. pDC also showed significant increases in expression of CD40 and CD80. Expression of all but one of the DC molecules that increased with COPD severity also correlated with CD69 expression on lung CD4+ T cells from the same patients, with the exception of CD83 on mDC2.
Conclusions: This cross-sectional study implies that COPD progression is associated with significant increases in costimulatory molecule expression by multiple lung DC subsets. Interactions with lung DCs may contribute to the immunophenotype of CD4+ T cells in advanced COPD.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00281229).
human; flow cytometry; B70 costimulatory molecules; CD69 antigen; CD4+; T lymphocytes
Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells that play a crucial role in the initiation and modulation of immune responses. Human circulating blood DCs are divided into two major subsets: myeloid DCs (mDCs); and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). Furthermore, mDCs are subdivided into two subsets: Th1-promoting mDCs (mDC1s); and Th2-promoting mDCs (mDC2s). Although CD1a, CD1c, and CD141 are generally used for classifying mDC subsets, their adequacy as a specific marker remains unclear. We performed this study to compare circulating mDC, pDC, mDC1, and mDC2 subsets between Th1- and Th2-mediated diseases using CD1a and CD141, and to analyze the adequacy of CD1a and CD141 as a marker for mDC1s and mDC2s, respectively.
Thirty patients with sarcoidosis, 23 patients with atopic diseases, such as atopic bronchial asthma, and 23 healthy subjects as controls were enrolled in this study. Peripheral blood DC subsets were analyzed with flow cytometry according to expressions of CD11c, CD123, CD1a, and CD141. For functional analysis, we measured interleukin (IL) 12p40 levels produced by the sorted mDC subsets.
The sarcoidosis group showed decreased total DC (P < 0.05) and mDC counts (P < 0.05) compared to controls. The atopy group showed decreased CD1a+mDC count (P < 0.05), and increased CD1a-mDC count (P < 0.05) compared to controls. CD141+mDC count in the atopy group was higher than controls (P < 0.05). Sorted CD1a+mDCs produced higher levels of IL-12p40 than CD1a-mDCs (P = 0.025) and CD141+mDCs (P = 0.018).
We conclude that decreased count of CD1a+mDC and increased count of CD141+mDC may reflect the Th2-skewed immunity in atopic diseases. The results of IL-12 levels produced by the sorted mDC subsets suggested the adequacy of CD1a and CD141 as a marker for mDC1 and mDC2, respectively, in vivo.
Dendritic cells; Peripheral blood; Sarcoidosis; Myeloid DC (mDC); CD1a; CD141
HIV infection is characterized by ineffective anti-viral T-cell responses and impaired dendritic cell (DC) functions, including response to Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) ligands. Because TLR responsiveness may affect a host's response to virus, we examined TLR ligand induced Myeloid and Plasmacytoid DC (MDC and PDC) activation of naïve T-cells in HIV+ subjects.
Freshly purified MDC and PDC obtained from HIV+ subjects and healthy controls were cultured in the presence and absence of TLR ligands (poly I∶C or R-848). We evaluated indices of maturation/activation (CD83, CD86, and HLA-DR expression), cytokine secretion (IFN-alpha and IL-6), and ability to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells to secrete IFN-gamma and IL-2.
MDC from HIV+ subjects had increased spontaneous IL-6 production and increased CD83 and CD86 expression when compared to MDC of controls. MDC IL-6 expression was associated with plasma HIV level. At the same time, poly I∶C induced HLA-DR up-regulation on MDC was reduced in HIV+ persons when compared to controls. The latter finding was associated with impaired ability of MDC from HIV+ subjects to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells. PDC from HIV+ persons had increased spontaneous and TLR ligand induced IL-6 expression, and increased HLA-DR expression at baseline. The latter was associated with an intact ability of HIV PDC to activate allogeneic naïve CD4 T-cells.
These results have implications for the ability of the HIV+ host to form innate and adaptive responses to HIV and other pathogens.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulator of vascular angiogenesis, permeability, and remodeling that also plays important roles in wound healing and tissue cytoprotection. To begin to define the roles of VEGF in diseases like asthma and COPD, we characterized the effects of lung-targeted transgenic VEGF165 and defined the innate immune pathways that regulate VEGF tissue responses. The former studies demonstrated that VEGF plays an important role in Th2 inflammation because, in addition to stimulating angiogenesis and edema, VEGF induced eosinophilic inflammation, mucus metaplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, myocyte hyperplasia, dendritic cell activation, and airways hyperresponsiveness via IL-13–dependent and -independent mechanisms. VEGF was also produced at sites of aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation, and VEGF receptor blockade ameliorated adaptive Th2 inflammation and Th2 cytokine elaboration. The latter studies demonstrated that activation of the RIG-like helicase (RLH) innate immune pathway using viral pathogen–associated molecular patterns such as Poly(I:C) or viruses ameliorated VEGF-induced tissue responses. In accord with these findings, Poly(I:C)-induced RLH activation also abrogated aeroallergen-induced Th2 inflammation. When viewed in combination, these studies suggest that VEGF excess can contribute to the pathogenesis of Th2 inflammatory disorders such as asthma and that abrogation of VEGF signaling via RLH activation can contribute to the pathogenesis of viral disorders such as virus-induced COPD exacerbations. They also suggest that RLH activation may be a useful therapeutic strategy in asthma and related disorders.
asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; virus; RIG-like helicase; mitochondrial antiviral signaling molecule
Rationale: Epidemiologic studies have shown that exacerbation of asthma is modulated by environmental endotoxin. High levels of endotoxin are associated with asthma symptoms and the current use of asthma medication. However, the underlying mechanisms by which endotoxin modulates asthma are not completely understood.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to test whether endotoxin enhances the response of individuals with allergic asthma to allergen, and to determine if this interaction is associated with increased numbers of antigen-presenting cells in the airways.
Methods: Seventeen subjects with mild allergic asthma underwent segmental challenge with allergen, endotoxin, and the combination of both in three different lung segments via bronchoscopy. The cellular influx including monocytes, myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs), and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), as well as the level of cytokines, were assessed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained 24 hours after segmental challenge. Monocytes, mDCs, and pDCs were isolated and their capacity to induce T cell proliferation was determined.
Measurements and Main Results: Endotoxin enhanced the cellular response to allergen. The combination of allergen and endotoxin resulted in increased numbers of total cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and mDCs, as well as increased levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, IL-1α, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor–α in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid compared with allergen alone. Isolated mDCs but not pDCs induced a strong T cell proliferation in vitro.
Conclusions: Endotoxin augments the allergic inflammation in the lungs of individuals with asthma, and induces an enhanced influx of monocytes and functionally active antigen-presenting mDCs into the respiratory tract.
dendritic cells; monocytes; bronchoalveolar lavage; endobronchial allergen challenge; mixed lymphocyte culture test
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that stimulates new blood vessel formation, is an important survival factor for endothelial cells. Although overexpressed VEGF in the lung induces pulmonary edema with increased lung vascular permeability, the role of VEGF in the development of acute lung injury remains to be determined.
To evaluate the role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury, we first evaluated the effects of exogenous VEGF and VEGF blockade using monoclonal antibody on LPS-induced lung injury in mice. Using the lung specimens, we performed TUNEL staining to detect apoptotic cells and immunostaining to evaluate the expression of apoptosis-associated molecules, including caspase-3, Bax, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), and cytochrome C. As a parameter of endothelial permeability, we measured the albumin transferred across human pulmonary artery endothelial cell (HPAEC) monolayers cultured on porous filters with various concentrations of VEGF. The effect of VEGF on apoptosis HPAECs was also examined by TUNEL staining and active caspase-3 immunoassay.
Exogenous VEGF significantly decreased LPS-induced extravascular albumin leakage and edema formation. Treatment with anti-VEGF antibody significantly enhanced lung edema formation and neutrophil emigration after intratracheal LPS administration, whereas extravascular albumin leakage was not significantly changed by VEGF blockade. In lung pathology, pretreatment with VEGF significantly decreased the numbers of TUNEL positive cells and those with positive immunostaining of the pro-apoptotic molecules examined. VEGF attenuated the increases in the permeability of the HPAEC monolayer and the apoptosis of HPAECs induced by TNF-α and LPS. In addition, VEGF significantly reduced the levels of TNF-α- and LPS-induced active caspase-3 in HPAEC lysates.
These results suggest that VEGF suppresses the apoptosis induced by inflammatory stimuli and functions as a protective factor against acute lung injury.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are reported to be functionally deficient during chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Differing results have been reported on direct effects of intact replicative-form HCV on DC function. To better understand the effect of HCV on DC function, we treated freshly purified human myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) with HCV JFH1. We found that HCV upregulated mDC maturation marker (CD83, CD86, and CD40) expression and did not inhibit Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) ligand [poly(I:C)]-induced mDC maturation, a finding consistent with the phenotype of DCs from HCV-infected subjects. At the same time, HCV JFH1 inhibited the ability of poly(I:C)-treated mDCs to activate naive CD4 T cells. In contrast, although there was no direct effect of virus on pDC maturation, HCV JFH1 inhibited TLR7 ligand (R848)-induced pDC CD40 expression, and this was associated with impaired ability to activate naive CD4 T cells. Parallel experiments with recombinant HCV proteins indicated HCV core protein may be responsible for a portion of the activity. Furthermore, HCV-mediated mDC maturation was dependent upon CD81-E2 interaction and, in part, TLR2. Using UV-treated HCV, we show that HCV-mediated mDC and pDC maturation is virus replication independent and, using strand specific PCR, we found no evidence for HCV replication within DCs. Because these effects of HCV on DC subset maturation and function in part recapitulate direct ex vivo analysis of DCs in chronic HCV infection, the mechanisms described here likely account for a portion of the DC subset defects observed in vivo.
Natural killer (NK) cells are sentinel components of the innate response to pathogens, but the cell types, pathogen recognition receptors, and cytokines required for their activation in vivo are poorly defined. Here, we investigated the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), myeloid DCs (mDCs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and of NK cell stimulatory cytokines for the induction of an NK cell response to the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. In vitro, pDCs did not endocytose Leishmania promastigotes but nevertheless released interferon (IFN)-α/β and interleukin (IL)-12 in a TLR9-dependent manner. mDCs rapidly internalized Leishmania and, in the presence of TLR9, produced IL-12, but not IFN-α/β. Depletion of pDCs did not impair the activation of NK cells in L. infantum–infected mice. In contrast, L. infantum–induced NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-γ production were abolished in mDC-depleted mice. The same phenotype was observed in TLR9−/− mice, which lacked IL-12 expression by mDCs, and in IL-12−/− mice, whereas IFN-α/β receptor−/− mice showed only a minor reduction of NK cell IFN-γ expression. This study provides the first direct evidence that mDCs are essential for eliciting NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-γ release in vivo and demonstrates that TLR9, mDCs, and IL-12 are functionally linked to the activation of NK cells in visceral leishmaniasis.
Human thymus contains major dendritic cell (DC) subsets, myeloid DCs (mDCs), and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). We previously showed that mDCs, educated by thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) produced by the epithelial cells of the Hassall’s corpuscles, induced differentiation of CD4+CD25− thymocytes into Forkhead Box P3+ (FOXP3+) regulatory T cells (TR) within the medulla of human thymus. In this study, we show that pDCs expressed the TSLP receptor and IL-7 receptor a complexes upon activation and became responsive to TSLP. TSLP-activated human pDCs secrete macrophage-derived chemokine CCL-22 and thymus- and activation-regulated chemokine CCL-17 but not Th1- or Th2-polarizing cytokines. TSLP-activated pDCs induced the generation of FOXP3+ TR from CD4+CD8−CD25− thymocytes, which could be strongly inhibited by Th1-polarizing cytokine IL-12 or Th2-polarizing cytokine IL-4. Interestingly, the FOXP3+ TR induced by the TSLP-pDCs expressed more IL-10 but less TGF-b than that induced by the TSLP-mDCs. These data suggest that TSLP expressed by thymic epithelial cells can activate mDCs and pDCs to positively select the FOXP3+ TR with different cytokine production potential in human thymus. The inability of TSLP to induce DC maturation without producing Th1- or Th2-polarizing cytokines may provide a thymic niche for TR development.
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease characterized by a seemingly exaggerated immune response against a difficult to discern antigen. Dendritic cells (DCs) are pivotal antigen presenting cells thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis. Paradoxically, decreased DC immune reactivity was reported in blood samples from pulmonary sarcoidosis patients. However, functional data on lung DCs in sarcoidosis are lacking. We hypothesized that at the site of disease DCs are mature, immunocompetent and involved in granuloma formation.
We analyzed myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) and blood from newly diagnosed, untreated pulmonary sarcoidosis patients and healthy controls using 9-color flowcytometry. DCs, isolated from BAL using flowcytometric sorting (mDCs) or cultured from monocytes (mo-DCs), were functionally assessed in a mixed leukocyte reaction with naïve allogeneic CD4+ T cells. Using Immunohistochemistry, location and activation status of CD11c+DCs was assessed in mucosal airway biopsies.
mDCs in BAL, but not in blood, from sarcoidosis patients were increased in number when compared with mDCs from healthy controls. mDCs purified from BAL of sarcoidosis patients induced T cell proliferation and differentiation and did not show diminished immune reactivity. Mo-DCs from patients induced increased TNFα release in co-cultures with naïve allogeneic CD4+ T cells. Finally, immunohistochemical analyses revealed increased numbers of mature CD86+ DCs in granuloma-containing airway mucosal biopsies from sarcoidosis patients.
Taken together, these finding implicate increased local DC activation in granuloma formation or maintenance in pulmonary sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis; Dendritic cells; Bronchoalveolar lavage; Granuloma; TNFα