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1.  TSLP promotes IL-3-independent basophil hematopoiesis and type 2 inflammation 
Nature  2011;477(7363):229-233.
CD4+ T helper type 2 (Th2) cells characterized by their expression of IL-4, IL-5, IL-9 and IL-13 are required for immunity to helminth parasites1 and promote the pathological inflammation associated with asthma and allergic diseases2. Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the cytokine thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are associated with the development of multiple allergic disorders in humans, suggesting that TSLP is a critical regulator of allergic diseases3-6. Supporting genetic analyses, exaggerated TSLP production is associated with asthma, atopic dermatitis and food allergies in patients, and studies in murine systems demonstrated that TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine-mediated immunity and inflammation5, 7-12. However, the mechanisms through which TSLP promotes Th2 cytokine responses remain poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that TSLP promotes systemic basophilia, that disruption of TSLP-TSLPR interactions results in defective basophil responses and that TSLPR-sufficient basophils can restore Th2 cell-dependent immunity in vivo. TSLP acted directly on bone marrow- resident progenitors to selectively promote basophil responses. Critically, TSLP could elicit basophil responses in both IL-3-sufficient and IL-3-deficient environments and genome-wide transcriptional profiling and functional analyses identified heterogeneity between TSLP-elicited versus IL-3-elicited basophils. Further, activated human basophils expressed the TSLPR and basophils isolated from eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) patients were heterogeneous. Collectively, these studies identify previously unrecognized heterogeneity within the basophil cell lineage and indicate that expression of TSLP may influence susceptibility to multiple allergic diseases by regulating basophil hematopoiesis and eliciting a population of functionally distinct basophils that promote Th2 cytokine-mediated inflammation.
doi:10.1038/nature10329
PMCID: PMC3263308  PMID: 21841801
TSLP; Th2 cytokine responses; innate immunity; basophils; hematopoiesis
2.  TSLP, OX40L, and IL-25 in Allergic Responses 
Summary
Allergic diseases are often triggered by environmental allergens that induce dominant type2 immune responses, characterized by the infiltrated TH2 lymphocytes, eosinophils, and elevated TH2 cytokines. In addition to TH2 type immune responses, epithelial stress and injury linked to tissue remodelling are often observed, suggesting that epithelial cells may play important role in regulating allergic responses. Dendritic cells (DCs), the professional antigen-presenting cells with the capabilities of sampling allergens, are considered as the key player on instructing TH2 immune responses. Whether inflamed epithelium can regulate innate immunity, such as macrophages and DCs, which in turns instruct adaptive immunity has long been hypothesized. Studies of TSLP (thymic stromal lymphopoietin), an epithelial cells-derived cytokine, that can strongly activate DCs, provide important evidences that the epithelial barrier can trigger allergic diseases by regulating immune responses. The finding that OX40/OX40L interactions are the molecular trigger responsible for the induction and maintenance of TH2 responses by TSLP-activated DCs provides a plausible molecular explanation for TSLP-mediated allergy. Recent progresses in characterizing the proinflammatory IL-17 cytokine family have added an additional layer of complexity on the regulation of allergic inflammation. TSLP-DCs can induce a robust expansion of TH2 memory cells and strengthen functional attributes by upregulating their surface expression of IL-17RB (IL-25R), the receptor for cytokine IL-17E (IL-25), a distinct member of IL-17 cytokine family. IL-17E (also know as IL-25) produced by epithelial cells, and other innate cells, such as eosinphils, basophils, and mast cells, are shown to regulate adaptive immunity by enhancing TH2 cytokine productions. These exciting findings expand our knowledge of the complex immunological cascades that result in allergic inflammation and may provide novel therapeutic approaches for the treatments of allergic diseases.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2009.03241.x
PMCID: PMC2744577  PMID: 19400908
3.  Use of Humanised Rat Basophilic Leukaemia Cell Line RS-ATL8 for the Assessment of Allergenicity of Schistosoma mansoni Proteins 
Background
Parasite-specific IgE is thought to correlate with protection against Schistosoma mansoni infection or re-infection. Only a few molecular targets of the IgE response in S. mansoni infection have been characterised. A better insight into the basic mechanisms of anti-parasite immunity could be gained from a genome-wide characterisation of such S. mansoni allergens. This would have repercussions on our understanding of allergy and the development of safe and efficacious vaccinations against helminthic parasites.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A complete medium- to high-throughput amenable workflow, including important quality controls, is described, which enables the rapid translation of S. mansoni proteins using wheat germ lysate and subsequent assessment of potential allergenicity with a humanised Rat Basophilic Leukemia (RBL) reporter cell line. Cell-free translation is completed within 90 minutes, generating sufficient amounts of parasitic protein for rapid screening of allergenicity without any need for purification. Antigenic integrity is demonstrated using Western Blotting. After overnight incubation with infected individuals' serum, the RS-ATL8 reporter cell line is challenged with the complete wheat germ translation mixture and Luciferase activity measured, reporting cellular activation by the suspected allergen. The suitability of this system for characterization of novel S. mansoni allergens is demonstrated using well characterised plant and parasitic allergens such as Par j 2, SmTAL-1 and the IgE binding factor IPSE/alpha-1, expressed in wheat germ lysates and/or E. coli. SmTAL-1, but not SmTAL2 (used as a negative control), was able to activate the basophil reporter cell line.
Conclusion/Significance
This method offers an accessible way for assessment of potential allergenicity of anti-helminthic vaccine candidates and is suitable for medium- to high-throughput studies using infected individual sera. It is also suitable for the study of the basis of allergenicity of helminthic proteins.
Author Summary
Infection with parasitic helminths is characterised by a marked elevation of total and parasite-specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE). It is widely believed that this IgE response has evolved to protect hosts against large metazoan parasites. Such a protective function has been well characterised in particular against members of the genus Schistosoma. However, with a few notable exceptions, the molecular targets of the IgE response and the downstream immunological mechanisms leading to host protection are not well understood. The molecular targets of a specific IgE response are by definition called allergens. While almost 3,000 different allergens, contained in e.g. plant pollen or seeds, moulds or animal materials, have been characterised at the molecular level, and are listed and described in databases such as the Allergome database (www.allergome.org), only a few dozen allergens have been characterised in parasitic helminths. A more detailed understanding of the molecular targets of the anti-helminth IgE response can not only be expected to further our basic understanding of protective immune responses and allergy in general–such knowledge can also be expected to have important repercussions on the production of safe and effective anti-helminthic vaccines. This research describes a novel approach suitable for genome-wide functional identification of allergens in S. mansoni and other parasites, paving the way for the identification of the Schistosoma allergome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003124
PMCID: PMC4177753  PMID: 25254513
4.  Schistosoma mansoni-Mediated Suppression of Allergic Airway Inflammation Requires Patency and Foxp3+ Treg Cells 
The continual rise of asthma in industrialised countries stands in strong contrast to the situation in developing lands. According to the modified Hygiene Hypothesis, helminths play a major role in suppressing bystander immune responses to allergens, and both epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that the tropical parasitic trematode Schistosoma mansoni elicits such effects. The focus of this study was to investigate which developmental stages of schistosome infection confer suppression of allergic airway inflammation (AAI) using ovalbumin (OVA) as a model allergen. Moreover, we assessed the functional role and localization of infection-induced CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) in mediating such suppressive effects. Therefore, AAI was elicited using OVA/adjuvant sensitizations with subsequent OVA aerosolic challenge and was induced during various stages of infection, as well as after successful anti-helminthic treatment with praziquantel. The role of Treg was determined by specifically depleting Treg in a genetically modified mouse model (DEREG) during schistosome infection. Alterations in AAI were determined by cell infiltration levels into the bronchial system, OVA-specific IgE and Th2 type responses, airway hyper-sensitivity and lung pathology. Our results demonstrate that schistosome infection leads to a suppression of OVA-induced AAI when mice are challenged during the patent phase of infection: production of eggs by fecund female worms. Moreover, this ameliorating effect does not persist after anti-helminthic treatment, and depletion of Treg reverts suppression, resulting in aggravated AAI responses. This is most likely due to a delayed reconstitution of Treg in infected-depleted animals which have strong ongoing immune responses. In summary, we conclude that schistosome-mediated suppression of AAI requires the presence of viable eggs and infection-driven Treg cells. These data provide evidence that helminth derived products could be incorporated into treatment strategies that specifically target suppression of immune responses in AAI by inducing Treg cells.
Author Summary
Infections with schistosomes, such as S. mansoni, S. japonicum and S. haematobium, are considered a major public health concern. Morbidity arises through granulomatous responses to eggs that become trapped in infected tissues. Interestingly, schistosomes belong to the group of helminths that have been shown to reduce allergy or autoimmunity. Indeed, the evidence provided by epidemiological surveys and experimental animal models has been so overwhelming that such helminths are now included in the Hygiene Hypothesis. However, since helminths provoke immunological responses that are similar to those seen in allergy (increased eosinophilia and IgE) it is suggested that additional mechanisms dampen such allergic responses. Helminth-induced regulatory T cells (Treg) are considered a component of these modulatory networks. Using an allergic airway inflammation model, we have elucidated that schistosome-mediated protection requires patency, that is, active egg production from fecund female worms. In addition, protection was shown to be mediated by infection-induced Treg. Interestingly, in endemic countries it is usually individuals with strong patent infections that show reduced allergic prevalence. Thus, further research into the immunomodulatory capacity of schistosome-egg derived factors may elucidate novel drug candidates or enhance treatment strategies to reduce allergic responses on the cellular level.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002379
PMCID: PMC3744427  PMID: 23967364
5.  Signal transduction around thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) in atopic asthma 
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), a novel interleukin-7-like cytokine, triggers dendritic cell-mediated inflammatory responses ultimately executed by T helper cells of the Th2 subtype. TSLP emerged as a central player in the development of allergic symptoms, especially in the airways, and is a prime regulatory cytokine at the interface of virus- or antigen-exposed epithelial cells and dendritic cells (DCs). DCs activated by epithelium-derived TSLP can promote naïve CD4+ T cells to adopt a Th2 phenotype, which in turn recruite eosinophilic and basophilic granulocytes as well as mast cells into the airway mucosa. These different cells secrete inflammatory cytokines and chemokines operative in inducing an allergic inflammation and atopic asthma. TSLP is, thus, involved in the control of both an innate and an adaptive immune response. Since TSLP links contact of allergen with the airway epithelium to the onset and maintainance of the asthmatic syndrome, defining the signal transduction underlying TSLP expression and function is of profound interest for a better understandimg of the disease and for the development of new therapeutics.
doi:10.1186/1478-811X-6-5
PMCID: PMC2531181  PMID: 18724870
6.  Functions of Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin in Immunity and Disease 
Immunologic Research  2012;52(3):211-223.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin 7 (IL-7)-like cytokine expressed mainly by epithelial cells. Current studies provide compelling evidence that TSLP is capable of activating dendritic cells (DCs) to promote T helper (Th) 2 immune responses. TSLP has also been shown to directly promote Th2 differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cell, and activate natural killer T (NKT) cells, basophils and other innate immune cells at the initial stage of inflammation. In addition, TSLP affects B cell maturation and activation, and can also influence regulatory T (Treg) cell differentiation and development. TSLP-induced Th2 responses are associated with the pathogenesis of allergic inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis (AD), asthma and rhinitis. Based on recent findings in humans and mouse models, TSLP might also be involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and progression of cancer. In this review, we will summarize our current understanding of the biology of TSLP, and highlight the important issues for future investigations.
doi:10.1007/s12026-012-8264-z
PMCID: PMC3350568  PMID: 22274860
TSLP; allergy; Th2; cancer; inflammation
7.  IL-25 elicits a multi-potent progenitor cell population that promotes Th2 cytokine responses 
Nature  2010;464(7293):1362-1366.
CD4pos T helper (Th) 2 cells secrete interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13 and are required for immunity to gastrointestinal helminth infections1. However, Th2 cells also promote chronic inflammation associated with asthma and allergic disorders2. The non-hematopoietic cell-derived cytokines thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), IL-33 and IL-25 (IL-17E) have been implicated in inducing Th2 cell-dependent inflammation at mucosal sites3-6, but how these cytokines influence innate immune responses remains poorly defined. Here we show that IL-25, a member of the IL-17 cytokine family, promotes the accumulation of a lineage negative (Linneg) multi-potent progenitor (MPP) cell population in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that promotes Th2 cytokine responses. The IL-25-elicited cell population, termed MPPtype2 cells, was defined by expression of Sca-1 and intermediate expression of c-kit (c-kitint) and exhibited multi-potent capacity, giving rise to cells of monocyte/macrophage and granulocyte lineages both in vitro and in vivo. Progeny of MPPtype2 cells were competent antigen presenting cells and adoptive transfer of MPPtype2 cells could promote Th2 cytokine responses and confer protective immunity to helminth infection in normally susceptible Il17e-/- mice. The ability of IL-25 to induce the emergence of an MPPtype2 cell population identifies a link between the IL-17 cytokine family and extramedullary hematopoiesis and suggests a previously unrecognized innate immune pathway that promotes Th2 cytokine responses at mucosal sites.
doi:10.1038/nature08901
PMCID: PMC2861732  PMID: 20200520
IL-25 (IL-17E); Th2 cytokine responses; innate immunity; multi-potent progenitor; extramedullary hematopoiesis
8.  Sensing the outside world: TSLP regulates barrier immunity 
Nature immunology  2010;11(4):289-293.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an interleukin 7 (IL-7)-like cytokine originally characterized by its ability to promote the activation of B cells and dendritic cells (DCs). Subsequent studies have shown that TSLP promotes T helper type 2 (TH2) cell responses associated with immunity to some helminth parasites and the pathogenesis of many inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis and asthma. This review will focus on recent findings indicating that in addition to influencing B cell and DC function, TSLP can promote TH2 cytokine–associated inflammation by directly promoting the effector functions of CD4+ TH2 cells, basophils and other granulocyte populations while simultaneously limiting the expression of DC-derived proinflammatory cytokines and promoting regulatory T cell responses in peripheral tissues.
doi:10.1038/ni.1852
PMCID: PMC2924817  PMID: 20300138
9.  TSLP-dependent basophils promote TH2 cytokine responses following intestinal helminth infection1 
CD4+ T helper type 2 (TH2) cytokine responses promote the development of allergic inflammation and are critical for immunity to parasitic helminth infection. Recent studies highlighted that basophils can promote TH2 cytokine-mediated inflammation and that phenotypic and functional heterogeneity exists between classical IL-3-elicited basophils versus TSLP-elicited basophils. However, whether distinct basophil populations develop following helminth infection, and their relative contributions to anti-helminth immune responses remain to be defined. Following Trichinella spiralis infection of mice, we show that basophil responses are rapidly induced in multiple tissue compartments, including intestinal-draining lymph nodes. Trichinella-induced basophil responses were IL-3-IL-3R-independent but critically dependent on TSLP-TSLPR interactions. Selective depletion of basophils following Trichinella infection impaired infection-induced CD4+ TH2 cytokine responses, suggesting that TSLP-dependent basophils augment TH2 cytokine responses following helminth infection. The identification and functional classification of TSLP-dependent basophils in a helminth infection model, coupled with their recently-described role in promoting atopic dermatitis, suggests these cells may be a critical population in promoting TH2 cytokine-associated inflammation in a variety of inflammatory or infectious settings. Collectively, these data suggest that the TSLP-basophil pathway may represent a new target in the design of therapeutic intervention strategies to promote or limit TH2 cytokine-dependent immunity and inflammation.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1200691
PMCID: PMC3478488  PMID: 23024277
10.  TSLP-dependent basophils promote TH2 cytokine responses following intestinal helminth infection1 
CD4+ T helper type 2 (TH2) cytokine responses promote the development of allergic inflammation and are critical for immunity to parasitic helminth infection. Recent studies highlighted that basophils can promote TH2 cytokine-mediated inflammation and that phenotypic and functional heterogeneity exists between classical IL-3-elicited basophils versus TSLP-elicited basophils. However, whether distinct basophil populations develop following helminth infection, and their relative contributions to anti-helminth immune responses remain to be defined. Following Trichinella spiralis infection of mice, we show that basophil responses are rapidly induced in multiple tissue compartments, including intestinal-draining lymph nodes. Trichinella-induced basophil responses were IL-3-IL-3R-independent but critically dependent on TSLP-TSLPR interactions. Selective depletion of basophils following Trichinella infection impaired infection-induced CD4+ TH2 cytokine responses, suggesting that TSLP-dependent basophils augment TH2 cytokine responses following helminth infection. The identification and functional classification of TSLP-dependent basophils in a helminth infection model, coupled with their recently-described role in promoting atopic dermatitis, suggests these cells may be a critical population in promoting TH2 cytokine-associated inflammation in a variety of inflammatory or infectious settings. Collectively, these data suggest that the TSLP-basophil pathway may represent a new target in the design of therapeutic intervention strategies to promote or limit TH2 cytokine-dependent immunity and inflammation.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1200691
PMCID: PMC3478488  PMID: 23024277
11.  T Helper Cell Type 2 Cytokine–Mediated Comitogenic Responses and Ccr3 Expression during Differentiation of Human Mast Cells in Vitro 
Mast cells (MCs) arise in situ from circulating stem cell factor (SCF)-dependent committed progenitors (PrMCs) and accumulate at sites of allergic mucosal inflammation. We hypothesized that human (h)PrMCs and their mature counterparts might share overlapping patterns of chemokine and cytokine receptor utilization with eosinophils, basophils, and T helper type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes for their homing and allergy-associated hyperplasia. We have characterized committed hPrMCs and fully mature hMCs derived in vitro from cord blood for their functional responses to chemokine and cytokine agonists germane to allergic inflammation and for their maturation-related expression of the corresponding receptors. After 4 wk of culture in the presence of recombinant stem cell factor (SCF), interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-10, the cells were characterized as hPrMCs based upon their uniform surface expression of c-kit and CD13, low-level expression of Fc∈RIα, absence of CD14 and CD16 expression, and immunoreactivity for MC chymase in >80%, and about half were immunoreactive for tryptase and metachromatic with toluidine blue. By week 9, the cells had matured into hMCs, identified by higher levels of c-kit, continued expression of CD13 and low-level Fc∈RIα, uniform toluidine blue metachromasia, and uniform immunoreactivity for both tryptase and chymase. The 4-wk-old hPrMCs expressed four chemokine receptors (CXCR2, CCR3, CXCR4, and CCR5). Each receptor mediated transient rapid calcium fluxes in response to its respective ligand. Both recombinant human eotaxin and stromal cell–derived factor 1α elicited chemotaxis of hPrMCs. Only CCR3 was retained on the mature 9-wk-old hMCs from among these chemokine receptors, and hMCs responded to eotaxin with a sustained calcium flux but without chemotaxis. The Th2 cytokines IL-3, IL-5, IL-6, IL-9, and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor each augmented the SCF-dependent proliferation of hPrMCs and hMCs. In contrast, the prototypical Th1 cytokine, interferon γ, suppressed SCF-driven proliferation of both hPrMCs and hMCs. Thus, throughout their development in vitro, hMCs obey SCF-dependent, cytokine-driven mitogenic responses that reflect a Th2-type polarization characteristic of allergy and asthma. Furthermore, committed hPrMCs have a unique profile of chemokine receptor expression from among reported hematopoietic cells, including CCR3, which is shared with the other cells central to allergic inflammation (eosinophils, basophils, and Th2 lymphocytes).
PMCID: PMC2195573  PMID: 10432289
chemokines; asthma; HIV; calcium flux; stem cell factor
12.  Major histocompatibility complex class II-dependent basophil-CD4+ T cell interactions promote TH2 cytokine-dependent immunity 
Nature immunology  2009;10(7):697-705.
Dendritic cells can prime naïve CD4+ T cells, however we demonstrate that DC-mediated priming is insufficient for the development of TH2 cell-dependent immunity. We identify basophils as a dominant cell population that coexpressed MHC class II and Il4 message following helminth infection. Basophilia was promoted by thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and depletion of basophils impaired immunity to helminth infection. In vitro, basophils promoted antigen-specific CD4+ T cell proliferation and IL-4 production and transfer of basophils augmented the expansion of helminth-responsive CD4+ T cells in vivo. Collectively, these studies suggest that MHC class II-dependent interactions between basophils and CD4+ T cells promote TH2 cytokine responses and immunity against helminth infection.
doi:10.1038/ni.1740
PMCID: PMC2711559  PMID: 19465906
Th2 cells; basophils; MHC class II; helminth infection
13.  On the hunt for helminths: Innate immune cells in the recognition and response to helminth parasites 
Cellular microbiology  2008;10(9):1757-1764.
The generation of protective immunity to helminth parasites is critically dependent upon the development of a CD4 T helper type 2 cytokine response. However, the host-parasite interactions responsible for initiating this response are poorly understood. This review will discuss recent advances in our understanding of how helminth-derived products are recognized by innate immune cells. Specifically, interactions between helminth excretory/secretory products and host Toll-like receptors and lectins will be discussed as well as the putative functions of helminth proteases and chitin in activating and recruiting innate immune cells. In addition, the functional significance of pattern recognition by epithelial cells, granulocytes, dendritic cells, and macrophages including expression of alarmins, thymic stromal lymphopoetin (TSLP), interleukin (IL)-25, IL-33, and Notch ligands in the development of adaptive anti-parasite Th2 cytokine responses and the future research challenges in this area will be examined.
doi:10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01174.x
PMCID: PMC2683372  PMID: 18505479
14.  OX40/OX40 Ligand Interactions in T-Cell Regulation and Asthma 
Chest  2012;141(2):494-499.
The OX40 receptor is preferentially expressed by T cells, and its cognate ligand OX40L is primarily expressed by antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells following activation by thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). TSLP is released by the bronchial epithelium, airway smooth muscle, and some inflammatory cells in response to numerous insults such as allergens, viruses, and physical damage. OX40L is a costimulatory molecule that plays a sentinel role in the adaptive immune response by promoting T helper (Th) 2 polarization of naive T cells within the lymph node. These polarized T cells produce Th2 cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, which have been implicated particularly in allergic eosinophilic asthma. Animal models have positioned both TSLP and OX40/OX40L as critical in the development of airway inflammation and hyperreactivity. In human disease, there is good evidence that TSLP is upregulated in asthma, but there are limited data to demonstrate overexpression of OX40 or OX40L in disease. Targeting the OX40/OX40L axis or TSLP presents a novel therapeutic strategy that has the potential of modifying the disease process and, therefore, impacting on its natural history. Whether this approach can demonstrate efficacy in established disease rather than at disease onset is unknown. Biologic therapies directed toward OX40/OX40L are in early phases of development, and results from these studies are eagerly awaited.
doi:10.1378/chest.11-1730
PMCID: PMC3277294  PMID: 22315115
15.  Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Attenuates the Development of Atherosclerosis in ApoE−/− Mice 
Background
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine with multiple effects on the body. For one thing, TSLP induces Th2 immunoreaction and facilitates allergic reaction; for another, it promotes the differentiation of naturally occurring CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (nTregs) and maintains immune tolerance. However, the exact role of TSLP in atherosclerosis remains unknown.
Methods and Results
In vitro, we examined the phenotype of TSLP‐conditioned bone marrow dendritic cells (TSLP‐DCs) of apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE−/−) mice and their capacity to induce the differentiation of Tregs. Our results indicated that TSLP‐DCs obtained the characteristics of tolerogenic dendritic cells and increased a generation of CD4+ latency‐associated peptide (LAP)+ Tregs and nTregs when cocultured with naive T cells. In addition, the functional relevance of TSLP and TSLP‐DCs in the development of atherosclerosis was also determined. Interestingly, we found that TSLP was almost absent in cardiovascular tissue of ApoE−/− mice, and TSLP administration increased the levels of antioxidized low‐density lipoprotein IgM and IgG1, but decreased the levels of IgG2a in plasma. Furthermore, mice treated with TSLP and TSLP‐DCs developed significantly fewer (32.6% and 28.2%, respectively) atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic root compared with controls, along with increased numbers of CD4+LAP+ Tregs and nTregs in the spleen and decreased inflammation in the aorta, which could be abrogated by anti‐TGF‐β antibody.
Conclusions
Our results revealed a protective role for TSLP in atherosclerosis that is possibly mediated by reestablishing a tolerogenic immune response, which may represent a novel possibility for treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000391
PMCID: PMC3835250  PMID: 23985377
atherosclerosis; CD4+LAP+ Tregs; TGF‐β; tolerogenic dendritic cells; TSLP
16.  TSLP directly impairs pulmonary Treg function: association with aberrant tolerogenic immunity in asthmatic airway 
Background
Even though thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been implicated in the development of allergic inflammation, its influence on immune tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells (Treg) have not been explored. We aimed to dissect the influence of TSLP on immunosuppressive activities of Treg and its potential consequences in human allergic asthma.
Methods
In vitro culture system was utilized to study the effects of TSLP on human Treg. The functional competency of pulmonary Treg from a cohort of 15 allergic asthmatic, 15 healthy control, and 15 non-allergic asthmatic subjects was also evaluated by suppression assays and flow cytometric analysis.
Results
Activated pulmonary Treg expressed TSLP-R and responded to TSLP-mediated activation of STAT5. TSLP directly and selectively impaired IL-10 production of Treg and inhibited their suppressive activity. In human allergic asthma, pulmonary Treg exhibited a significant decrease in suppressive activity and IL-10 production compared to healthy control and non-allergic asthmatic counterparts. These functional alterations were associated with elevated TSLP expression in bronchoaveolar lavage fluid (BAL) of allergic asthmatic subjects. Furthermore, allergic asthmatic BAL could suppress IL-10 production by healthy control pulmonary Treg in a TSLP-dependent manner.
Conclusions
These results provide the first evidences for a direct role of TSLP in the regulation of suppressive activities of Treg. TSLP mediated inhibition of Treg function might present a novel pathologic mechanism to dampen tolerogenic immune responses in inflamed asthmatic airway.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-6-4
PMCID: PMC3161393  PMID: 20230634
17.  Embryonic Trophoblasts Induce Decidual Regulatory T Cell Differentiation and Maternal–Fetal Tolerance through Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Instructing Dendritic Cells 
Physiological pregnancy requires the maternal immune system to recognize and tolerate embryonic Ags. Although multiple mechanisms have been proposed, it is not yet clear how the fetus evades the maternal immune system. In this article, we demonstrate that trophoblast-derived thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) instructs decidual CD11c+ dendritic cells (dDCs)with increased costimulatory molecules; MHC class II; and Th2/3-type, but not Th1-type, cytokines. TSLP-activated dDCs induce proliferation and differentiation of decidual CD4+CD25− T cells into CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) through TGF-β1. TSLP-activated dDC–induced Tregs display immunosuppressive features and express Th2-type cytokines. In addition, decidual CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ Tregs promote invasiveness and HLA-G expression of trophoblasts, resulting in preferential production of Th2 cytokines and reduced cytotoxicity in decidual CD56brightCD16− NK cells. Of interest, decreased TSLP expression and reduced numbers of Tregs were observed at the maternal–fetal interface during miscarriage. Our study identifies a novel feedback loop between embryo-derived trophoblasts and maternal decidual leukocytes, which induces a tolerogenic immune response to ensure a successful pregnancy.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1203425
PMCID: PMC3918863  PMID: 24453244
18.  IL-4 Derived from Non-T Cells Induces Basophil- and IL-3-independent Th2 Immune Responses 
Immune Network  2013;13(6):249-256.
How Th2 immunity develops in vivo remains obscure. Basophils have been considered key innate cells producing IL-4, a cytokine essential for Th2 immunity. Increasing evidence suggests that basophils are dispensable for the initiation of Th2 immunity. In this study, we revisited the role of basophils in Th2 immune responses induced by various types of adjuvants. Mice deficient in IL-3 or IL-3 receptor, in which basophil lymph node recruitment is completely abolished, fully developed wild type level Th2 CD4 T cell responses in response to parasite antigen or papain immunization. Similar finding was also observed in mice where basophils are inducibly ablated. Interestingly, IL-4-derived from non-T cells appeared to be critical for the generation of IL-4-producing CD4 T cells. Other Th2 promoting factors including IL-25 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) were dispensable. Therefore, our results suggest that IL-3- and basophil-independent in vivo Th2 immunity develops with the help of non-T cell-derived IL-4, offering an additional mechanism by which Th2 type immune responses arise in vivo.
doi:10.4110/in.2013.13.6.249
PMCID: PMC3875783  PMID: 24385943
Basophils; Papain; Parasites; Th2 immunity
19.  Thymic stromal lymphopoietin 
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is an epithelial cell derived cytokine expressed in skin, gut, lungs and thymus. TSLP signals via TSLPR, a heterodimer of the IL-7 receptor alpha chain (IL-7Rα) and the TSLP receptor chain (TSLPR), which is closely related to the common receptor-γ chain (γc), expressed on a wide range of cell types in the adptaive and innate immune system. TSLP exerts profound influence on the polarization of dendritic cells (DCs) to drive T helper (Th) 2 cytokine production. It also directly promotes T cell proliferation in response to T cell receptor (TCR) activation, and Th2 cytokine production. TSLP also supports B cell expansion and differentiation. TSLP further amplifies Th2 cytokine production by mast cells and NKT cells. These properties confer on TSLP a critical role in driving Th2 mediated inflammation. This role is supported by the finding that TSLP expression is up-regulated in keratinocytes of atopic dermatitis (AD) skin lesions and in bronchial epithelial cells in asthma.
doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05128.x
PMCID: PMC2895428  PMID: 20146705
20.  Helminth Allergens, Parasite-Specific IgE, and Its Protective Role in Human Immunity 
The Th2 immune response, culminating in eosinophilia and IgE production, is not only characteristic of allergy but also of infection by parasitic worms (helminths). Anti-parasite IgE has been associated with immunity against a range of helminth infections and many believe that IgE and its receptors evolved to help counter metazoan parasites. Allergens (IgE-antigens) are present in only a small minority of protein families and known IgE targets in helminths belong to these same families (e.g., EF-hand proteins, tropomyosin, and PR-1 proteins). During some helminth infection, especially with the well adapted hookworm, the Th2 response is moderated by parasite-expressed molecules. This has been associated with reduced allergy in helminth endemic areas and worm infection or products have been proposed as treatments for allergic conditions. However, some infections (especially Ascaris) are associated with increased allergy and this has been linked to cross-reactivity between worm proteins (e.g., tropomyosins) and highly similar molecules in dust-mites and insects. The overlap between allergy and helminth infection is best illustrated in Anisakis simplex, a nematode that when consumed in under-cooked fish can be both an infective helminth and a food allergen. Nearly 20 molecular allergens have been isolated from this species, including tropomyosin (Ani s 3) and the EF-hand protein, Ani s troponin. In this review, we highlight aspects of the biology and biochemistry of helminths that may have influenced the evolution of the IgE response. We compare dominant IgE-antigens in worms with clinically important environmental allergens and suggest that arrays of such molecules will provide important information on anti-worm immunity as well as allergy.
doi:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00061
PMCID: PMC3924148  PMID: 24592267
helminth; allergen; Schistosoma mansoni; protective role; IgE
21.  TSLP promotes influenza-specific CD8+ T-cell responses by augmenting local inflammatory dendritic cell function 
Mucosal Immunology  2012;6(1):83-92.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a mucosal tissue-associated cytokine that has been widely studied in the context of T helper type 2 (Th2)-driven inflammatory disorders. Although TSLP is also produced upon viral infection in vitro, the role of TSLP in antiviral immunity is unknown. In this study we report a novel role for TSLP in promoting viral clearance and virus-specific CD8+ T-cell responses during influenza A infection. Comparing the immune responses of wild-type and TSLP receptor (TSLPR)-deficient mice, we show that TSLP was required for the expansion and activation of virus-specific effector CD8+ T cells in the lung, but not the lymph node. The mechanism involved TSLPR signaling on newly recruited CD11b+ inflammatory dendritic cells (DCs) that acted to enhance interleukin-15 production and expression of the costimulatory molecule CD70. Taken together, these data highlight the pleiotropic activities of TSLP and provide evidence for its beneficial role in antiviral immunity.
doi:10.1038/mi.2012.50
PMCID: PMC3534170  PMID: 22806096
22.  TSLP Promotes Induction of Th2 Differentiation but Is Not Necessary during Established Allergen-Induced Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56433.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) has been implicated in the development of allergic inflammation by promoting Th2-type responses and has become a potential therapeutic target. Using in vitro T cell differentiation cultures we were able to validate that TSLP played a more critical role in the early development of Th2 immune responses with less significant enhancement of already developed Th2 responses. Adoptive transfer of naive DO11.10 ovalbumin-specific T cells followed by airway exposure to ovalbumin showed an early impairment of Th2 immune response in TSLP−/− mice compared to wild type mice during the development of a Th2 response. In contrast, transfer of already differentiated Th2 cells into TSLP−/− mice did not change lung pathology or Th2 cytokine production upon ovalbumin challenge compared to transfer into wild type mice. An allergen-induced Th2 airway model demonstrated that there was only a difference in gob5 expression (a mucus-associated gene) between wild type and TSLP−/− mice. Furthermore, when allergic animals with established disease were treated with a neutralizing anti-TSLP antibody there was no change in airway hyperreponsiveness (AHR) or Th2 cytokine production compared to the control antibody treated animals, whereas a change in gob5 gene expression was also observed similar to the TSLP−/− mouse studies. In contrast, when animals were treated with anti-TSLP during the initial stages of allergen sensitization there was a significant change in Th2 cytokines during the final allergen challenge. Collectively, these studies suggest that in mice TSLP has an important role during the early development of Th2 immune responses, whereas its role at later stages of allergic disease may not be as critical for maintaining the Th2-driven allergic disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056433
PMCID: PMC3577905  PMID: 23437132
23.  Oesophagostomum dentatum Extract Modulates T Cell-Dependent Immune Responses to Bystander Antigens and Prevents the Development of Allergy in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67544.
One third of the human population is currently infected by one or more species of parasitic helminths. Certain helminths establish long-term chronic infections resulting in a modulation of the host’s immune system with attenuated responsiveness to “bystander” antigens such as allergens or vaccines. In this study we investigated whether parasite-derived products suppress the development of allergic inflammation in a mouse model. We show that extract derived from adult male Oesophagostomum dentatum (eMOD) induced Th2 and regulatory responses in BALB/c mice. Stimulation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells induced production of regulatory cytokines IL-10 and TGF-beta. In a mouse model of birch pollen allergy, co-administration of eMOD with sensitizing allergen Bet v 1 markedly reduced the production of allergen-specific antibodies in serum as well as IgE-dependent basophil degranulation. Furthermore, eMOD prevented the development of airway inflammation, as demonstrated by attenuation of bronchoalveolar lavages eosinophil influx, peribronchial inflammatory infiltrate, and mucus secretion in lungs and IL-4 and IL-5 levels in lung cell cultures. Reduced secretion of Th2-related cytokines by birch pollen-re-stimulated splenocytes and mesenteric lymph node cells was observed in eMOD-treated/sensitized and challenged mice in comparison to sensitized and challenged controls. The suppressive effects of eMOD were heat-stable. Immunization with model antigens in the presence of eMOD reduced production of antibodies to thymus-dependent but not to thymus-independent antigen, suggesting that suppression of the immune responses by eMOD was mediated by interference with antigen presenting cell or T helper cell function but did not directly suppress B cell function. In conclusion, we have shown that eMOD possesses immunomodulatory properties and that heat-stable factors in eMOD are responsible for the dramatic suppression of allergic responses in a mouse model of type I allergy. The identification and characterization of parasite-derived immune-modulating molecules might have potential for designing novel prophylactic/therapeutic strategies for immune-mediated diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067544
PMCID: PMC3699627  PMID: 23844022
24.  Nematode-Induced Interference with Vaccination Efficacy Targets Follicular T Helper Cell Induction and Is Preserved after Termination of Infection 
One-third of the human population is infected with parasitic worms. To avoid being eliminated, these parasites actively dampen the immune response of their hosts. This immune modulation also suppresses immune responses to third-party antigens such as vaccines. Here, we used Litomosoides sigmodontis-infected BALB/c mice to analyse nematode-induced interference with vaccination. Chronic nematode infection led to complete suppression of the humoral response to thymus-dependent vaccination. Thereby the numbers of antigen-specific B cells as well as the serum immunoglobulin (Ig) G titres were reduced. TH2-associated IgG1 and TH1-associated IgG2 responses were both suppressed. Thus, nematode infection did not bias responses towards a TH2 response, but interfered with Ig responses in general. We provide evidence that this suppression indirectly targeted B cells via accessory T cells as number and frequency of vaccine-induced follicular B helper T cells were reduced. Moreover, vaccination using model antigens that stimulate Ig response independently of T helper cells was functional in nematode-infected mice. Using depletion experiments, we show that CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells did not mediate the suppression of Ig response during chronic nematode infection. Suppression was induced by fourth stage larvae, immature adults and mature adults, and increased with the duration of the infection. By contrast, isolated microfilariae increased IgG2a responses to vaccination. This pro-inflammatory effect of microfilariae was overruled by the simultaneous presence of adults. Strikingly, a reduced humoral response was still observed if vaccination was performed more than 16 weeks after termination of L. sigmodontis infection. In summary, our results suggest that vaccination may not only fail in helminth-infected individuals, but also in individuals with a history of previous helminth infections.
Author Summary
Parasitic worms, called helminths, infect one-third of the world population. Despite exposure to their host's immune system many helminths establish chronic infections and survive several years within their host. They avoid elimination by dampening the immune response of their hosts. This immune suppression also affects immune responses to third-party antigens such as vaccines. Indeed, accumulating evidence suggests that helminth-infected humans display impaired responses to vaccination. Thus, anthelminthic treatment before vaccination is discussed. Here, we use helminth-infected mice to analyse kinetics and mechanism of helminth-induced interference with vaccination efficacy more precisely. We show that chronic helminth infection completely suppressed antibody responses to a model vaccine. Thereby helminths suppressed the antibody-producing B cells indirectly via suppression of accessory T helper cells. The suppression was more pronounced at later time points of infection and still observed in mice that had terminated the helminth infection for more than 16 weeks. In summary, our results suggest that vaccination may not only fail in helminth-infected individuals, but also in individuals with a history of previous helminth infections. Thus, our report highlights the importance to develop vaccination strategies that are functional despite concurrent helminth infection rather than deworming humans before vaccination.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003170
PMCID: PMC4177885  PMID: 25255463
25.  TSLP conditions the lung immune environment for the generation of pathogenic innate and antigen-specific adaptive immune responses1 
Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TSLP) is crucial for the development of atopic diseases in humans and mice. Mice that express a lung-specific TSLP transgene (SPC-TSLP) develop a spontaneous and progressive asthma-like disease, suggesting that TSLP expression alone was sufficient for disease development. Here we show that, in fact, TSLP alone only causes a weak innate response that is insufficient for development of full airway inflammatory disease. Complete disease development requires both TSLP and antigenic stimulation. These data suggest that the spontaneous lung inflammation observed in SPC-TSLP mice reflects a TSLP-driven predisposition towards the development of aberrant responses against innocuous environmental antigens. This provides evidence that TSLP may act directly to induce susceptibility to the inappropriate allergic responses that characterize atopy and asthma. We additionally show that disease development requires CD4 T cells but not B cells. Further, we reveal a TSLP-driven innate response involving mucus overproduction and goblet cell metaplasia. Taken together, these data suggest a multi-faceted model of TSLP-mediated airway inflammation, with an initial activation of resident innate immune cells, followed by activation of the adaptive immune system and full disease development. This study provides new insight into the unique features of the asthma pathology contributed by the innate and adaptive immune responses in response to TSLP stimulation.
PMCID: PMC3195412  PMID: 19155513
Cytokines; Allergy; Inflammation; Lung

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