The role of systemic cell-mediated immunity (CMI) as a host defense mechanism in the vagina is poorly understood. Using a murine pseudoestrus model of experimental vaginal candidiasis, we previously found that animals given a vaginal inoculum of viable Candida albicans blastoconidia acquired a persistent vaginal infection and developed Candida-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. The present study was designed to characterize the peripheral CMI reactivity generated from the vaginal infection in mice and to determine whether pseudoestrus is a prerequisite for the induction of peripheral CMI reactivity. Mice treated or not treated with estrogen and given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans blastoconidia were examined for 4 weeks for their vaginal Candida burden and peripheral CMI reactivity, including DTH responsiveness and in vitro Th1 (interleukin-2 [IL-2], gamma interferon [IFN-gamma]/Th2 (IL-4, IL-10)-type lymphokine production in response to Candida antigens. Results showed that although mice not treated with estrogen before being given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans blastoconidia developed only a short-lived vaginal infection and harbored significantly fewer Candida CFU in the vagina compared with those given estrogen and then infected; DTH reactivity was equivalent in both groups. In vitro measurement of CMI reactivity further showed that lymph node cells from both estrogen- and non-estrogen-treated infected mice produced elevated levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma in response to Candida antigens during the 4 weeks after vaginal inoculation. In contrast, lymph node cells from the same vaginally infected mice showed no IL-10 production and only small elevations of IL-4 during week 4 of infection. These results suggest that mice with experimental vaginal candidiasis develop predominantly Th1-type Candida-specific peripheral CMI reactivity and that similar patterns of Th1-type reactivity occur in mice regardless of the persistence of infection and the estrogen status of the infected mice.
It has been postulated that systemic cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is an important host defense factor against recurrent vaginal infections caused by Candida albicans. Using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis, we have previously shown that mice inoculated vaginally with C. albicans acquire a persistent vaginal infection and develop Candida-specific Th1-type systemic CMI. In the present study, experimental vaginitis was monitored in the presence of preinduced systemic Candida-specific CMI. Mice immunized systemically with C. albicans culture filtrate antigens (CaCF) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) had Th1-type reactivity similar to that of vaginally infected mice. CaCF given to mice intravenously induced Candida-specific suppressor T (Ts) cells. Mice preimmunized with CaCF-CFA and given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans had positive delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactivity from the time of vaginal inoculation through 4 weeks. Conversely, mice infected in the presence of Ts cells had significantly reduced DTH responses throughout the 4-week period in comparison with naive infected mice. However, the presence of Th1-type Candida-specific DTH cells or Ts cells, either induced in mice prior to vaginal inoculation or adoptively transferred at the time of inoculation, had no effect on the vaginal Candida burden through 4 weeks of infection. A similar lack of effects was obtained in animals with lower Candida population levels resulting from a reduction in or absence of exogenous estrogen. These results suggest that systemic Th1-type CMI demonstrable with CaCF is unrelated to protective events at the level of the vaginal mucosa.
Women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis often demonstrate a down-regulation of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) to Candida albicans detected by a lack of cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) to Candida antigens. However, the role of systemic CMI as a host defense mechanism against recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is not well understood, in part because of the lack of a well-defined murine model of vaginal candidiasis. The present study was undertaken to determine: (i) whether soluble Candida culture filtrate antigens (CaCF) could be used to induce and detect Candida-specific CMI in mice and (ii) whether these antigens would be useful in detecting systemic CMI in mice given an experimental Candida vaginal infection. To this end, mice were immunized subcutaneously with CaCF in complete Freund's adjuvant, and within 7 days they developed Candida-specific DTH reactivity detected by footpad swelling (increase in footpad thickness, 0.36 mm) 24 h after footpad challenge with CaCF. Adoptive transfer studies showed that the DTH responsiveness was elicited by CD4+ DTH T cells. In mice given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans blastoconidia (5 x 10(5)), footpad challenge with CaCF resulted in positive DTH responses (0.24 mm) as early as 1 week, responses similar to immunization in 2 to 3 weeks (0.33 mm), and sustained low levels of DTH reactivity (0.15 mm) through 10 weeks of vaginal infection. Vaginal lavage cultures revealed that peak vaginal Candida burden occurred 1 week post-vaginal inoculation (10(5) CFU) and declined 16-fold by week 10. These results provide evidence that Candida-specific systemic CMI is generated and can be detected longitudinally in mice with Candida vaginitis by a multiantigen preparation of Candida organisms which both initiates and detects Candida-specific CMI.
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, caused by Candida albicans, is a significant problem in women of childbearing age. Although cell-mediated immunity (CMI) due to T cells and cytokines is the predominant host defense mechanism against C. albicans at mucosal tissue sites, host defense mechanisms against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa are poorly understood. Based on an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis, our data suggest that systemic CMI is ineffective against C. albicans vaginal infections. Thus, we have postulated that local immune mechanisms are critical for protection against infection. In the present study, the kinetic production of chemokines normally associated with the chemotaxis of T cells, macrophages (RANTES, MIP-1α, MCP-1), and polymorphonuclear neutrophils (MIP-2) was examined following intravaginal inoculation of C. albicans in estrogen-treated or untreated mice. Results showed significant increases in MCP-1 protein and mRNA in vaginal tissue of infected mice as early as 2 and 4 days postinoculation, respectively, that continued through a 21-day observation period, irrespective of estrogen status. No significant changes were observed with RANTES, MIP-1α, or MIP-2, although relatively high constitutive levels of RANTES mRNA and MIP-2 protein were observed. Furthermore, intravaginal immunoneutralization of MCP-1 with anti-MCP-1 antibodies resulted in a significant increase in vaginal fungal burden early during infection, suggesting that MCP-1 plays some role in reducing the fungal burden during vaginal infection. However, the lack of changes in leukocyte profiles in vaginal lavage fluids collected from infected versus uninfected mice suggests that MCP-1 functions to control vaginal C. albicans titers in a manner independent of cellular chemotactic activity.
The etiology of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in otherwise healthy women of child-bearing age remains an enigma. To date, results from both clinical studies and a murine model of vaginal candidiasis indicate that Candida vaginitis can occur in the presence of Candida-specific Th1-type cell-mediated immunity expressed in the peripheral circulation. The present study was designed to determine the role of circulating CD4 and CD8 cells in primary and secondary vaginal infections with Candida albicans. Vaginal fungal burden, Candida-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), and lymph node cell Th1/Th2 cytokine production were monitored in CD4 and/or CD8 cell-depleted mice during persistent primary vaginal infections and secondary vaginal infections against which partial protection was observed. Treatment of mice with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 antibodies resulted in 90% or greater depletion of the respective cell populations. Mice depleted of CD4 cells had significantly reduced Candida-specific DTH and lymph node cell Th1-type cytokine production during a primary vaginal infection, as well as reduced anamnestic DTH during a secondary vaginal infection. In contrast, mice depleted of CD8 cells showed only reduced gamma interferon production during a primary infection; no alterations in DTH were observed. Despite reductions in DTH and cytokine production, however, CD4 and/or CD8 cell depletion had no effect on vaginal C. albicans burden in mice after a primary or secondary vaginal inoculation. Taken together, these results suggest that while circulating CD4 and CD8 cells contribute to systemic Candida-specific cell-mediated immunity in vaginally infected mice, neither CD4 nor CD8 circulating T cells appear to provide significant host defenses against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa.
Studies with an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis suggest that local cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is more important than systemic CMI for protection against vaginitis. The present study, however, showed that, compared to uninfected mice, little to no change in the percentage or types of vaginal T cells occurred during a primary vaginal infection or during a secondary vaginal infection where partial protection was observed. Furthermore, depletion of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) had no effect on infection in the presence or absence of pseudoestrus. These results indicate a lack of demonstrable effects by systemic CMI or PMN against vaginitis and suggest that if local T cells are important, they are functioning without showing significant increases in numbers within the vaginal mucosa during infection.
Although Th1-type cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is the predominant host defense mechanism against mucosal Candida albicans infection, CMI against a vaginal C. albicans infection in mice is limited at the vaginal mucosa despite a strong Candida-specific Th1-type response in the draining lymph nodes. In contrast, Th1-type CMI is highly effective against an experimental Chlamydia trachomatis genital tract infection. This study demonstrated through two independent designs that a concurrent Candida and Chlamydia infection could not accelerate or modulate the anti-Candida CMI response. Together, these results suggest that host responses to these genital tract infections are independent and not influenced by the presence of the other.
Cell-mediated immunity by Th1-type CD4+ T cells is the predominant host defense mechanism against mucosal candidiasis. However, studies using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis have demonstrated little to no change in resident vaginal T cells during infection and no systemic T-cell infiltration despite the presence of Candida-specific systemic Th1-type responses in infected mice. The present study was designed to further investigate these observations by characterizing T-cell activation and cell adhesion molecule expression during primary and secondary C. albicans vaginal infections. While flow cytometry analysis of activation markers showed some evidence for activation of CD3+ draining lymph node and/or vaginal lymphocytes during both primary and secondary vaginal Candida infection, CD3+ cells expressing the homing receptors and integrins α4β7, αM290β7, and α4β1 in draining lymph nodes of mice with primary and secondary infections were reduced compared to results for uninfected mice. At the local level, few vaginal lymphocytes expressed integrins, with only minor changes observed during both primary and secondary infections. On the other hand, immunohistochemical analysis of vaginal cell adhesion molecule expression showed increases in mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression during both primary and secondary infections. Altogether, these data suggest that although the vaginal tissue is permissive to cellular infiltration during a vaginal Candida infection, the reduced numbers of systemic cells expressing the reciprocal cellular adhesion molecules may preempt cellular infiltration, thereby limiting Candida-specific T-cell responses against infection.
Protective host defense mechanisms against vaginal Candida albicans infections are poorly understood. Although cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is the predominant host defense mechanism against most mucosal Candida infections, the role of CMI against vaginal candidiasis is uncertain, both in humans and in an experimental mouse model. The role of humoral immunity is equally unclear. While clinical observations suggest a minimal role for antibodies against vaginal candidiasis, an experimental rat model has provided evidence for a protective role for Candida-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies. Additionally, Candida vaccination-induced IgM and IgG3 antibodies are protective in a mouse model of vaginitis. In the present study, the role of infection-induced humoral immunity in protection against experimental vaginal candidiasis was evaluated through the quantification of Candida-specific IgA, IgG, and IgM antibodies in serum and vaginal lavage fluids of mice with primary and secondary (partially protected) infection. In naïve mice, total, but not Candida-specific, antibodies were detected in serum and lavage fluids, consistent with lack of yeast colonization in mice. In infected mice, Candida-specific IgA and IgG antibodies were induced in serum with anamnestic responses to secondary infection. In lavage fluid, while Candida-specific antibodies were detectable, concentrations were extremely low with no anamnestic responses in mice with secondary infection. The incorporation of alternative protocols—including infections in a different strain of mice, prolongation of primary infection prior to secondary challenge, use of different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay capture antigens, and concentration of lavage fluid—did not enhance local Candida-specific antibody production or detection. Additionally, antibodies were not removed from lavage fluids by being bound to Candida during infection. Together, these data suggest that antibodies are not readily present in vaginal secretions of infected mice and thus have a limited natural protective role against infection.
Studies to date with CBA/J mice suggest a limited role for systemic cell-mediated immunity (CMI) against vaginal Candida albicans infections. The results of the present study show that preinduced Candida-specific systemic CMI was equally nonprotective against C. albicans vaginal infections in mice with high (BALB/cJ), low (DBA/2), or intermediate (CBA/J) resistance to C. albicans infections. Similarly, the locally acquired partial protection against a second C. albicans vaginal infection was equally observed with BALB/cJ, DBA/2, and CBA/J mice. These results indicate that observations made previously with CBA/J mice were not murine strain specific and provide additional support for the hypothesis that systemic CMI does not represent a dominant host defense mechanism at the vaginal mucosa.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) caused by the commensal organism Candida albicans remains a significant problem among women of childbearing age, with protection against and susceptibility to infection still poorly understood. While cell-mediated immunity by CD4+ Th1-type cells is protective against most forms of mucosal candidiasis, no protective role for adaptive immunity has been identified against VVC. This is postulated to be due to immunoregulation that prohibits a more profound Candida-specific CD4+ T-cell response against infection. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in the induction phase of the immune response as a means to understand the initiation of the immunoregulatory events. Immunostaining of DCs in sectioned murine lymph nodes draining the vagina revealed a profound cellular reorganization with DCs becoming concentrated in the T-cell zone throughout the course of experimental vaginal Candida infection consistent with cell-mediated immune responsiveness. However, analysis of draining lymph node DC subsets revealed a predominance of immunoregulation-associated CD11c+ B220+ plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) under both uninfected and infected conditions. Staining of vaginal DCs showed the presence of both DEC-205+ and pDCs, with extension of dendrites into the vaginal lumen of infected mice in close contact with Candida. Flow cytometric analysis of draining lymph node DC costimulatory molecules and activation markers from infected mice indicated a lack of upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class II, CD80, CD86, and CD40 during infection, consistent with a tolerizing condition. Together, the results suggest that DCs are involved in the immunoregulatory events manifested during a vaginal Candida infection and potentially through the action of pDCs.
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) is a prevalent opportunistic mucosal infection, caused predominantly by Candida albicans, which affects a significant number of otherwise healthy women of childbearing age. Since there are no known exogenous predisposing factors to explain the incidence of symptomatic vaginitis in most women with idiopathic RVVC, it has been postulated that these particular women suffer from an immunological abnormality that prediposes them to RVVC. Because of the increased incidence of mucosal candidiasis in individuals with depressed cell-mediated immunity (CMI), defects in CMI are viewed as a possible explanation for RVVC. In this review, we attempt to place into perspective the accumulated information regarding the immunopathogenesis of RVVC, as well as to provide new immunological perspectives and hypotheses regarding potential immunological deficiencies that may predispose to RVVC and potentially other mucosal infections by the same organism. The results of both clinical studies and studies in an animal model of experimental vaginitis suggest that systemic CMI may not be the predominant host defense mechanism against C. albicans vaginal infections. Rather, locally acquired mucosal immunity, distinct from that in the peripheral circulation, is now under consideration as an important host defense at the vaginal mucosa, as well as the notion that changes in local CMI mechanism(s) may predispose to RVVC.
Candida albicans is the causative agent of acute and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), a common mucosal infection affecting significant numbers of women in their reproductive years. While any murine host protective role for cell-mediated immunity (CMI), humoral immunity, and innate resistance by neutrophils against the vaginal infection appear negligible, significant in vitro growth inhibition of Candida species by vaginal and oral epithelial cell-enriched cells has been observed. Both oral and vaginal epithelial cell anti-Candida activity has a strict requirement for cell contact to C. albicans with no role for soluble factors, and oral epithelial cells inhibit C. albicans through a cell surface carbohydrate moiety. The present study further evaluated the inhibitory mechanisms by murine vaginal epithelial cells and the fate of C. albicans by oral and vaginal epithelial cells. Similar to human oral cells, anti-Candida activity produced by murine vaginal epithelial cells is unaffected by enzymatic cleavage of cell surface proteins and lipids but sensitive to periodic acid cleavage of surface carbohydrates. Analysis of specific membrane carbohydrate moieties, however, showed no role for sulfated polysaccharides, sialic acid residues, or glucose and mannose-containing carbohydrates, also similar to oral cells. Staining for live and dead Candida in the coculture with fluorescein diacetate (FDA) and propidium iodide (PI), respectively, showed a clear predominance of live organisms, suggesting a static rather than cidal action. Together, the results suggest that oral and vaginal epithelial cells retard or arrest the growth rather than kill C. albicans through an as-yet-unidentified carbohydrate moiety in a noninflammatory manner.
The protective roles of different lymphocyte subsets were investigated in a rat vaginal candidiasis model by adoptive transfer of vaginal lymphocytes (VL) or sorted, purified CD3+ T cells, CD4+ or CD8+ T cells, or CD3− CD5+ B cells from the vaginas of naïve or immune rats following three rounds of Candida albicans infection. The adoptive transfer of total VL from nonimmune animals did not alter the course of vaginal candidiasis of the recipient rats. In contrast, the animals receiving total VL or CD3+ T cells from immune rats showed a highly significant acceleration of fungus clearance compared with animals which received nonimmune VL. The animals with vaginal CD3− CD5+ B cells transferred from immune rats also had fewer Candida CFU than the controls, but fungal clearance was significantly retarded with respect to the animals administered immune T cells. Sorted, purified CD4+ and CD8+ vaginal T cells from immune rats were also adoptively transferred to naïve animals. Although both populations were seen to accelerate the clearance of the fungus from the vagina, CD4+ T cells were much more effective than CD8+ T cells. Overall, there was no difference between the antifungal effects of immune vaginal CD4+ T cells and those achievable with the transfer of whole, immune VL. Histological observations of the vaginal tissues of rats with adoptively transferred immune T cells demonstrated a remarkable accumulation of lymphocytes in the subepithelial lamina propria and also infiltrating the mucosal epithelium. These results strongly suggest that distinct vaginal lymphocyte subsets participate in the adaptive anti-Candida immunity at the vaginal level, with the vaginal CD4+ T cells probably playing a major role.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is an opportunistic mucosal infection caused by Candida albicans that affects large numbers of otherwise healthy women of childbearing age. Acute episodes of VVC often occur during pregnancy and during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when levels of progesterone and estrogen are elevated. Although estrogen-dependent experimental rodent models of C. albicans vaginal infection are used for many applications, the role of reproductive hormones and/or their limits in the acquisition of vaginal candidiasis remain unclear. This study examined the effects of estrogen and progesterone on several aspects of an experimental infection together with relative cell-mediated immune responses. Results showed that while decreasing estrogen concentrations eventually influenced infection-induced vaginal titers of C. albicans and rates of infection in inoculated animals, the experimental infection could not be achieved in mice treated with various concentrations of progesterone alone. Furthermore, progesterone had no effect on (i) the induction and persistence of the infection in the presence of estrogen, (ii) delayed-type hypersensitivity in primary-infected mice, or (iii) the partial protection from a secondary vaginal infection under pseudoestrus conditions. Other results with estrogen showed that a persistent infection could be established with a wide range of C. albicans inocula under supraphysiologic and near-physiologic (at estrus) concentrations of estrogen and that vaginal fungus titers or rates of infection were similar if pseudoestrus was initiated several days before or after inoculation. However, the pseudoestrus state had to be maintained for the infection to persist. Finally, estrogen was found to reduce the ability of vaginal epithelial cells to inhibit the growth of C. albicans. These results suggest that estrogen, but not progesterone, is an important factor in hormone-associated susceptibility to C. albicans vaginitis.
Oropharyngeal and vaginal candidiases are the most common forms of mucosal fungal infections and are primarily caused by Candida albicans, a dimorphic fungal commensal organism of the gastrointestinal and lower female reproductive tracts. Clinical and experimental observations suggest that local immunity is important in host defense against candidiasis. Accordingly, cytokines and chemokines are present at the oral and vaginal mucosa during C. albicans infections. Since mucosal epithelial cells produce a variety of cytokines and chemokines in response to microorganisms and since C. albicans is closely associated with mucosal epithelial cells as a commensal, we sought to identify cytokines and/or chemokines produced by primary oral and vaginal epithelial cells and cell lines in response to C. albicans. The results showed that proinflammatory cytokines were produced by oral and/or vaginal epithelial cells at various levels constitutively with considerable interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and tumor necrosis factor alpha, but not IL-6, produced in response to C. albicans. In contrast, Th1-type (IL-12 and gamma interferon) and Th2-type-immunoregulatory (IL-10 and transforming growth factor β) cytokines and the chemokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and IL-8 were produced in low to undetectable concentrations with little additional production in response to C. albicans. Taken together, these results indicate that cytokines and chemokines are variably produced by oral and vaginal epithelial cells constitutively, as well as in response to C. albicans, and are predominated by proinflammatory cytokines.
The results from both clinical studies of women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis and a murine model of experimental vaginitis indicate that systemic cell-mediated immunity may not represent a dominant host defense mechanism against vaginal infections by Candida albicans. Recent experimental evidence indicates the presence of local vaginal immune reactivity against C. albicans. The present study was designed to examine T-lymphocyte subpopulations in the vaginal mucosae of naive CBA/J mice. Vaginal lymphocytes (VL) were isolated by collagenase digestion of whole vaginal tissues. Cell populations were identified by flow cytometry, and the results were compared with those for both lymph node cells (LNC) and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). The results of flow cytometry showed that 45% +/- 10% of lymphocytes in the vaginal mucosa are CD3+ compared with 75% +/- 5% in LNC and 50% +/- 5% in PBL. The majority (85%) of CD3+ VL are CD4+ and express the alpha/beta T-cell receptor (TCR), similar to the results for LNC and PBL. In contrast to LNC and PBL, VL contain a significantly higher percentage (15 to 20%) of gamma/delta TCR+ cells, 80% or more of which appear to express CD4. In addition, while CD4-CD8 cell ratios in LNC and PBL were 3:1 and 6:1, respectively, only 1% of VL expressed CD8, resulting in a CD4-CD8 cell ratio of > 100:1. Finally, while LNC and PBL recognized two epitope-distinct (GK 1.5 and 2B6) anti-CD4 antibodies, VL recognized only 2B6 anti-CD4 antibodies. Further analysis of VL showed that Thy-1 cells, but not CD4 cells, were reduced after intravaginal injection of complement-fixing anti-Thy-1.2 and GK 1.5 anti-CD4 antibodies, respectively. Taken together, these data suggest that T lymphocytes in the vaginal mucosae of mice are phenotypically distinct from those in the periphery and that CD4+ VL have an uncharacteristic or atypical expression of the CD4 receptor.
Oophorectomized, estrogen-treated rats were susceptible to experimental vaginal infection by Candida albicans. After spontaneous clearing of the primary infection, the animals were highly resistant to a second vaginal challenge with the fungus. The vaginal fluid of Candida-resistant rats contained antibodies directed against mannan constituents and secretory aspartyl proteinase(s) of C. albicans and was capable of transferring a degree of anti-Candida protection to naive, nonimmunized rats. This passive protection was mediated by the immunoglobulin fraction of the vaginal fluid and was substantially abolished by preabsorption of the vaginal fluid with C. albicans, but not with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, cells. Vaginal anti-mannan antibodies were also produced by active immunization with heat-killed cells of C. albicans or with a mannan extract when administered via the vaginal route. The protection conferred was comparable to that resulting from clearing of the primary infection. In summary, the data suggest that acquired anticandidal protection in this vaginitis model is mediated at least in part by antibodies, among which those directed against the mannan antigen(s) might play a dominant role.
We previously reported that a vaccine composed of liposome-mannan complexes of Candida albicans (L-mann) stimulates mice to produce protective antibodies against disseminated candidiasis. An immunoglobulin M (IgM) monoclonal antibody (MAb), B6.1, specific for a β-1,2-mannotriose in the complexes protects against the disease, whereas MAb B6 does not. In the present study, the vaccine and MAbs B6.1 and B6 were tested for the ability to protect against Candida vaginal infection, established by intravaginal (i.vg.) inoculation of yeast cells in mice maintained in pseudoestrus. Fungal CFU in each vagina was determined to assess the severity of infection. Mice vaccinated before infection developed about 62% fewer vaginal CFU than nonimmunized controls. Naive mice that received polyclonal antiserum (from vaccinated mice) i.vg. before infection had 60% fewer CFU than controls. The serum protective factor was stable at 56°C, but C. albicans cells absorbed this factor. Mice given MAb B6.1 i.vg. after infection was established had fewer Candida CFU in vaginal tissue than control mice given buffer instead of antibody. MAbs B6.1 and B6 given intraperitoneally before infection protected mice, but MAbs preabsorbed with yeast cells did not. MAb B6.1 also protected against C. tropicalis vaginal infection, but MAb B6 did not. The protective activities of MAbs B6.1 and B6 appeared to be specific because an irrelevant IgM carbohydrate-specific MAb and an irrelevant IgG protein-specific MAb were not protective; also, MAb B6.1 did not affect development of vaginal chlamydial infection. These studies show that an appropriate antibody response, or administration of protective antibodies, can help the host to resist Candida vaginal infection.
Conditions consistent with tolerance or immunoregulation have been observed in experimental Candida albicans vaginal infections. The present study investigated the role of γ/δ T cells in experimental vaginal candidiasis. Results showed that T-cell receptor δ-chain-knockout mice had significantly less vaginal fungal burden when compared to wild-type mice, suggesting an immunoregulatory role for γ/δ T cells in Candida vaginitis.
Results from an animal model of vaginal candidiasis suggest that Candida-specific cell-mediated immunity in the systemic circulation does not mediate protection against vaginitis. The present study used cellular depletion analysis to examine the circulation of immune effector function between the vagina and the periphery. Results showed that anti-Thy-1.2 antibodies given intravenously to mice depleted Thy-1+ T lymphocytes in the systemic compartment but not in the vaginal mucosa, while the same antibodies injected intravaginally significantly reduced Thy-1+ T cells in both the vaginal and systemic compartments. These results support a lack or low level of circulation of immune effector function from the periphery to the vaginal mucosa.
In addition to cytokines, CD4+ T cells have been found to secrete soluble, T-cell-derived antigen binding molecules (TABMs). These antigen-specific immunoproteins are thought to have immunoregulatory properties in the suppression of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) because they often associate with interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor beta. Decreased CMI causes susceptibility to infections caused by organisms which are normally nonpathogenic. In this situation, e.g., Candida albicans saprophytism may develop into invasive candidiasis. The difficult diagnosis of invasive candidiasis is based on the findings obtained from blood cultures and with tissue biopsy specimens, with some additional diagnostic value gained by the detection of Candida albicans mannan antigenemia and antimannan antibodies. In the present study, Candida albicans mannan-specific TABM (CAM-TABM) levels in the sera of patients with invasive candidiasis (n = 11), Candida colonization (n = 11) and noncolonization (n = 10), recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (n = 30), and atopic eczema dermatitis syndrome (n = 59) and healthy controls (n = 30) were analyzed. For 14 participants, the effect of mannan stimulation on TABM production and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and IL-4 mRNA expression by peripheral blood lymphocytes was also studied. It was demonstrated that CAM-TABM production was the highest in patients with invasive candidiasis and that CAM-TABM levels could distinguish Candida-colonized patients from noncolonized patients. In addition, the CAM-TABM level was directly related to mRNA expression for IL-4 but not IFN-γ. These results reinforce the view that TABMs are associated with decreased CMI, immunoregulation, and the T-helper cell 2-type immune response.
Cryptococcosis, an increasingly important opportunistic infection caused by the encapsulated yeast-like organism Cryptococcus neoformans, is limited by an anticryptococcal cell-mediated immune (CMI) response. Gaining a thorough understanding of the complex anticryptococcal CMI response is essential for developing means of controlling infections with C. neoformans. The murine cryptococcosis model utilizing footpad swelling to cryptococcal antigen (delayed-type hypersensitivity [DTH]) has proven to be a valuable tool for studying the induction and regulation of the anticryptococcal CMI response, but this technique has limitations with regard to evaluating the role of the final effector cells recruited by an ongoing CMI response. The purpose of this study was to assess the types of cells and cytokines induced into the site of cryptococcal antigen deposition in C. neoformans-infected and -immunized mice compared with those for control mice. We used a gelatin sponge implant model to examine the cells and cytokines present at the site of an anticryptococcal DTH response. Sponges implanted in infected mice and injected with cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) 24 h before assessment had significantly increased numbers of infiltrating leukocytes compared with saline-injected sponges in the same animals. Exaggerated influxes of neutrophils and mononuclear cells were the major contributors to the increase in total numbers of cells in the DTH-reactive sponges. The numbers of CD4+ and LFA-1+ cells were found to be significantly increased in the CneF-injected sponges of infected and immunized mice over the numbers in control sponges. The numbers of large granular lymphocytes were also increased in DTH-reactive sponges compared with control sponges. Gamma interferon, interleukin 2 (IL-2), and IL-5 are clearly relevant cytokines in the anticryptococcal CMI response, since they were produced in greater amounts in the CneF-injected sponges from C. neoformans-infected and -immunized mice than in control sponges. IL-4 was not associated with the expression of DTH to cryptococcal antigen. The gelatin sponge model is an excellent tool for studying cells and cytokines involved in specific CMI responses.
Vaginal infections caused by the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans are a significant problem in women of child-bearing age. Several factors are recognized as playing a crucial role in the pathogenesis of superficial candidiasis; these factors include hyphal formation, phenotypic switching, and the expression of virulence factors, including a 10-member family of secreted aspartic proteinases. In the present investigation, we analyzed the secreted aspartic proteinase gene (SAP) expression profile of C. albicans that is elicited in the course of vaginal infection in mice and how this in vivo expression profile is associated with hyphal formation. We utilized two different genetic reporter systems that allowed us to observe SAP expression on a single-cell basis, a recombination-based in vivo expression technology and green fluorescent protein-expressing Candida reporter strains. Of the six SAP genes that were analyzed (SAP1 to SAP6), only SAP4 and SAP5 were detectably induced during infection in this model. Expression of both of these genes was associated with hyphal growth, although not all hyphal cells detectably expressed SAP4 and SAP5. SAP5 expression was induced soon after infection, whereas SAP4 was expressed at later times and in fewer cells compared with SAP5. These findings point to a link between morphogenetic development and expression of virulence genes during Candida vaginitis in mice, where host signals induce both hyphal formation and expression of SAP4 and SAP5, but temporal gene expression patterns are ultimately controlled by other factors.
Rodent models of oral, vaginal and gastrointestinal Candida infection are described and discussed in terms of their scientific merits. The common feature of all experimental mucosal Candida infections is the need for some level of host immunocompromise or exogenous treatment to ensure quantitatively reproducible disease. A growing literature describes the contributions of such candidiasis models to our understanding of certain aspects of fungal virulence and host response to mucosal Candida albicans challenge. Evidence to date shows that T-lymphocyte responses dominate host immune defences to oral and gastrointestinal challenge, while other, highly compartmentalized responses defend vaginal surfaces. By contrast the study of C. albicans virulence factors in mucosal infection models has only begun to unravel the complex of attributes required to define the difference between strongly and weakly muco-invasive strains.
animal; mucosal; epithelium; oral; model; vaginal