Background: Exposure of the lungs to an antigen or pathogen elicits the formation of lymphoid satellite islands termed inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (iBALT). However, little is known about how the presence of iBALT, induced by a stimulus unrelated to the subsequent challenge agent, influences systemic immunity in distal locations, whether it be independently, antagonistically, or synergistically. Here, we determined the kinetics of the influenza-specific responses in the iBALT, tracheobronchial lymph node (TBLN), and spleen of mice with and without pre-formed iBALT.
Methods and Results: Mice with VLP-induced iBALT or no pre-formed iBALT were challenged with influenza. We found that, as we have previously described, those mice whose lungs contained pre-formed iBALT were protected from morbidity, and furthermore, that these mice had increased dendritic cell, and alveolar macrophage accumulation in both the iBALT and TBLNs. This translated to similarly accelerated kinetics and intensified influenza-specific CD4+, but not CD8+ T cell responses in the iBALT, TBLN, and spleen. This expansion was then followed by a more rapid T cell contraction in all lymphoid tissues in the mice with pre-formed iBALT.
Conclusions: Thus, iBALT itself may not be responsible for the accelerated primary immune response we observe in mice with pre-formed iBALT, but may contribute to an overall accelerated local and systemic primary CD4+, but not CD8+ T cell response. Furthermore, less damaging immune responses observed in mice with pre-formed iBALT may be due to a quicker contraction of CD4+ T cell responses in both local and systemic secondary lymphoid tissue.
Here we present a biomimetic strategy towards nanoparticle design for controlled immune response through encapsulation of conserved internal influenza proteins on the interior of virus like particles (VLPs) to direct CD8+ cytotoxic T cell protection. Programmed encapsulation and sequestration of the conserved nucleoprotein (NP) from influenza on the interior of a VLP, derived from the bacteriophage P22, results in a vaccine that provides multi-strain protection against 100 times lethal doses of influenza in an NP specific CD8+ T cell-dependent manner. VLP assembly and encapsulation of the immunogenic NP cargo protein is the result of a genetically programmed self-assembly making this strategy amendable to the quick production of vaccines to rapidly emerging pathogens. Addition of adjuvants or targeting molecules were not required for eliciting the protective response.
virus like particle; VLP; P22; nucleoprotein; influenza; CD8; biomimetic
We show that a model antigen, ovalbumin (OVA), can be chemically conjugated to the exterior of a small heat shock protein (sHsp) cage that has structural similarities to virus-like particles (VLPs). OVA-sHsp conjugation efficiency was dependent upon the stoichiometry and the length of the small molecule linker utilized, and the attachment position on the sHsp cage. When conjugated OVA-sHsp was delivered intranasally to naïve mice, the resulting immune response to OVA was accelerated and intensified, and OVA-specific IgG1 responses were apparent within 5 days after a single immunizing dose, illustrating its utility for vaccine development. If animals were pretreated with a disparate VLP, P22 (a non-replicative bacteriophage capsid), before OVA-sHsp conjugate immunization, OVA-specific IgG1 responses were apparent already by 4 days after a single immunizing dose of conjugate in OVA-naïve mice. Additionally, the mice pretreated with P22 produced high titer mucosal IgA, and isotype-switched OVA-specific serum IgG. Similarly, sHsp pretreatment enhanced the accumulation of lung germinal center B cells, T follicular helper cells, and increased polymeric Ig receptor expression, priming the lungs for subsequent IgG and IgA responses to influenza virus challenge. Thus, sHsp nanoparticles elicited quick and intense antibody responses and these accelerated responses could similarly be induced to antigen chemically conjugated to the sHsp. Pretreatment of mice with P22 further accelerated the onset of the antibody response to OVA-sHsp, demonstrating the utility of conjugating antigens to VLPs for pre-, or possibly post-exposure prophylaxis of lung, all without the need for adjuvant.
Virus-like particle; Nanoparticle; Influenza virus; Mucosal vaccine; Ovalbumin; Tissue-specific Immunity
It is widely held that exposure to pathogens such as fungi can be an agent of comorbidity, such as exacerbation of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although many studies have examined allergic responses to fungi and their effects on pulmonary function, the possible pathologic implications of the early innate responses to fungal pathogens have not been explored. We examined early responses to the atypical fungus Pneumocystis in two common strains of mice in terms of overall immunological response and related pathology, such as cell damage and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). We found a strong strain-specific response in BALB/c mice that included recruitment of neutrophils, NK, NKT, and CD4 T cells. This response was accompanied by elevated indicators of lung damage (bronchoalveolar lavage fluid albumin and LDH) and profound AHR. This early response was absent in C57BL/6 mice, although both strains exhibited a later response associated with the clearance of Pneumocystis. We found that this AHR could not be attributed exclusively to the presence of recruited neutrophils, NKT, NK, or CD4 cells or to the actions of IFN-γ or IL-4. However, in the absence of STAT6 signaling, AHR and inflammatory cell recruitment were virtually absent. Gene expression analysis indicated that this early response included activation of several transcription factors that could be involved in pulmonary remodeling. These results show that exposure to a fungus such as Pneumocystis can elicit pulmonary responses that may contribute to morbidity, even without prior sensitization, in the context of certain genetic backgrounds.
STAT6; airway hyperresponsiveness; Pneumocystis; pulmonary inflammation; strain-specific
Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, is a zoonotic disease with potentially life-threatening complications in humans. Inhalation of low doses of Coxiella bacteria can result in infection of the host alveolar macrophage (AM). However, it is not known whether a subset of AMs within the heterogeneous population of macrophages in the infected lung is particularly susceptible to infection. We have found that lower doses of both phase I and phase II Nine Mile C. burnetii multiply and are less readily cleared from the lungs of mice compared to higher infectious doses. We have additionally identified AM resident within the lung prior to and shortly following infection, opposed to newly recruited monocytes entering the lung during infection, as being most susceptible to infection. These resident cells remain infected up to twelve days after the onset of infection, serving as a permissive niche for the maintenance of bacterial infection. A subset of infected resident AMs undergo a distinguishing phenotypic change during the progression of infection exhibiting an increase in surface integrin CD11b expression and continued expression of the surface integrin CD11c. The low rate of phase I and II Nine Mile C. burnetii growth in murine lungs may be a direct result of the limited size of the susceptible resident AM cell population.
Infection with the opportunistic fungal pathogen Pneumocystis is assumed to pass without persistent pathology in immunocompetent hosts. However, when immunocompetent BALB/c mice were inoculated with Pneumocystis, a vigorous Th2-like pulmonary inflammation ensued and peaked at 14 days postinfection. This coincided with a 10-fold increase in the number of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the lung, and these cells were capable of presenting antigen in vitro, as well as greater uptake of antigen in vivo. When mice were presented with exogenous antigen at the 14-day time point of the infection, they developed respiratory sensitization to that antigen, in the form of increased airway hyperresponsiveness upon a later challenge, whereas mice not infected but presented with antigen did not. Like other forms of collateral sensitization, this response was dependent on interleukin-4 receptor signaling. This ability to facilitate sensitization to exogenous antigen has been previously reported for other infectious disease agents; however, Pneumocystis appears to be uniquely capable in this respect, as a single intranasal dose without added adjuvant, when it was administered at the appropriate time, was sufficient to initiate sensitization. Pneumocystis infection probably occurs in most humans during the first few years of life, and in the vast majority of cases, it fails to cause any overt direct pathology. However, as we show here, Pneumocystis can be an agent of comorbidity at this time by facilitating respiratory sensitization that may relate to the later development or exacerbation of obstructive airway disease.
Influenza virus infections increase susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Influenza-induced tissue damage is hypothesized to increase susceptibility to Streptococcus pneumoniae infection by increasing adherence to the respiratory epithelium. Using a mouse model of influenza infection followed by S. pneumoniae infection, we found that an influenza infection does not increase the number of pneumococci initially present within the trachea, but does inhibit pneumococcal clearance by 2 hours after infection. To determine whether influenza damage increases pneumococcal adherence, we developed a novel murine tracheal explant system to determine influenza-induced tissue damage and subsequent pneumococcal adherence. Murine tracheas were kept viable ex vivo as shown by microscopic examination of ciliary beating and cellular morphology using continuous media flow for up to 8 days. Tracheas were infected with influenza virus for 0.5–5 days ex vivo, and influenza-induced tissue damage and the early stages of repair to the epithelium were assessed histologically. A prior influenza infection did not increase pneumococcal adherence, even when the basement membrane was maximally denuded or during the repopulation of the basement membrane with undifferentiated epithelial cells. We measured mucociliary clearance in vivo and found it was decreased in influenza-infected mice. Together, our results indicate that exposure of the tracheal basement membrane contributes minimally to pneumococcal adherence. Instead, an influenza infection results in decreased tracheal mucociliary velocity and initial clearance of pneumococci, leading to an increased pneumococcal burden as early as 2 hours after pneumococcal infection.
influenza virus; Streptococcus pneumoniae; mucociliary velocity; bacterial clearance and adherence; tracheal explants
Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacterium that causes acute Q fever and chronic infections in humans. A killed, whole cell vaccine is efficacious, but vaccination can result in severe local or systemic adverse reactions. Although T cell responses are considered pivotal for vaccine derived protective immunity, the epitope targets of CD4+ T cell responses in C. burnetii vaccination have not been elucidated. Since mapping CD4+ epitopes in a genome with over 2,000 ORFs is resource intensive, we focused on 7 antigens that were known to be targeted by antibody responses. 117 candidate peptides were selected from these antigens based on bioinformatics predictions of binding to the murine MHC class II molecule H-2 IAb. We screened these peptides for recognition by IFN-γ producing CD4+ T cell in phase I C. burnetii whole cell vaccine (PI-WCV) vaccinated C57BL/6 mice and identified 8 distinct epitopes from four different proteins. The identified epitope targets account for 8% of the total vaccination induced IFN-γ producing CD4+ T cells. Given that less than 0.4% of the antigens contained in C. burnetii were screened, this suggests that prioritizing antigens targeted by antibody responses is an efficient strategy to identify at least a subset of CD4+ targets in large pathogens. Finally, we examined the nature of linkage between CD4+ T cell and antibody responses in PI-WCV vaccinated mice. We found a surprisingly non-uniform pattern in the help provided by epitope specific CD4+ T cells for antibody production, which can be specific for the epitope source antigen as well as non-specific. This suggests that a complete map of CD4+ response targets in PI-WCV vaccinated mice will likely include antigens against which no antibody responses are made.
The mechanisms of the primary adaptive immune response to Coxiella burnetii are not well known. Following inoculation of the lungs with C. burnetii Nine Mile phase I (NMI), SCID mice developed pneumonia and splenomegaly and succumbed to infection, whereas wild-type mice cleared the infection by 24 days. SCID mice reconstituted with either CD4+ T cells or CD8+ T cells alone were able to control the infection, indicating that the presence of either type of T cells was sufficient to control infection, and B cells were not necessary for primary immunity. Similarly, wild-type mice depleted of either CD4+ T cells or CD8+ T cells controlled infections in their lungs, but these mice were highly susceptible if they were depleted of both types of T cells. However, compared to CD4+ T-cell-dependent protection, CD8+ T-cell-dependent protection resulted in less inflammation in the lungs and less growth of bacteria in the spleens.
We compared growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae mutants with disruption in the pspA (PspA-), nanA (NanA-) or hyl (Hyl-) gene to the parental D39 strain using a competitive growth model in mice with and without prior influenza infection. Total bacteria numbers recovered from influenza-infected mice were significantly greater compared to mice without influenza infection. Whereas Hyl- and NanA- mutants did not display attenuation in mice with or without prior influenza infection, the PspA- mutant exhibited attenuation in mice both with and without influenza infection. This defect was severe influenza-infected mice where PspA- growth was 1800-fold less than D39. Furthermore, PspA immunization significantly reduced secondary bacterial lung burdens and specific markers of lung damage in mice receiving serotypes 2, 3 and 4 pneumococci. Our findings indicate that PspA contributes to secondary S. pneumoniae infection following influenza and that PspA immunization mitigates early secondary pneumococcal lung infections.
Influenza; Streptococcus pneumoniae; PspA; immunization
Destruction of the architectural and subsequently the functional integrity of the lung following pulmonary viral infections is attributable to both the extent of pathogen replication and to the host-generated inflammation associated with the recruitment of immune responses. The presence of antigenically disparate pulmonary viruses and the emergence of novel viruses assures the recurrence of lung damage with infection and resolution of each primary viral infection. Thus, there is a need to develop safe broad spectrum immunoprophylactic strategies capable of enhancing protective immune responses in the lung but which limits immune-mediated lung damage. The immunoprophylactic strategy described here utilizes a protein cage nanoparticle (PCN) to significantly accelerate clearance of diverse respiratory viruses after primary infection and also results in a host immune response that causes less lung damage.
Mice pre-treated with PCN, independent of any specific viral antigens, were protected against both sub-lethal and lethal doses of two different influenza viruses, a mouse-adapted SARS-coronavirus, or mouse pneumovirus. Treatment with PCN significantly increased survival and was marked by enhanced viral clearance, accelerated induction of viral-specific antibody production, and significant decreases in morbidity and lung damage. The enhanced protection appears to be dependent upon the prior development of inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (iBALT) in the lung in response to the PCN treatment and to be mediated through CD4+ T cell and B cell dependent mechanisms.
The immunoprophylactic strategy described utilizes an infection-independent induction of naturally occurring iBALT prior to infection by a pulmonary viral pathogen. This strategy non-specifically enhances primary immunity to respiratory viruses and is not restricted by the antigen specificities inherent in typical vaccination strategies. PCN treatment is asymptomatic in its application and importantly, ameliorates the damaging inflammation normally associated with the recruitment of immune responses into the lung.
In contrast to the detrimental outcomes most often associated with the resolution of co-infections, the model presented here involving a localized Pneumocystis infection of the lung, followed 2 weeks later by an influenza virus infection results in a significant beneficial outcome for the host. In the week following the influenza infection, immunocompetent co-infected animals exhibited a faster rate of virus clearance, a more rapid appearance and higher influenza-specific antibody titers in their serum and broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF), significantly reduced inflammatory cytokine levels in their BALF and less evidence of morbidity relative to animals infected only with influenza virus. The beneficial outcome observed in the co-infected immunocompetent animals was dependent upon the ongoing resolution of a viable Pneumocystis infection. No differences in viral clearance were detected between co-infected and influenza-only infected uMT mice or likewise for SCID mice. These results indicate that innate responses elicited by the preceding Pneumocystis infection were not involved in the increased rate of viral clearance in immunocompetent co-infected animals. Rather, the increased rate of viral clearance was due to the enhancement of the influenza-specific antibody response which in turn was transiently dependent upon the resolution of the ongoing Pneumocystis infection.
lung; viral; co-infection
Protein cage nanoparticles have the potential to serve as multifunctional cell targeted, imaging and therapeutic platforms for broad applications in medicine. However, before they find applications in medicine, their biocompatibility in vivo needs to be demonstrated. We provide here baseline biodistribution information of two different spherical protein cage nanoplatforms, the 28 nm viral Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV) and the 12 nm heat shock protein (Hsp) cage. In naïve and immunized mice both nanoplatforms show similar broad distribution and movement throughout most tissues and organs, rapid excretion, the absence of long term persistence within mice tissue and organs, and no overt toxicity after a single injection. These results suggest that protein cage based nanoparticles may serve as safe, biocompatible, nanoplatforms for applications in medicine.
protein cage nanoparticles; Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus; heat shock protein; biodistribution
Since secondary Streptococcus pneumoniae infections greatly increase the mortality of influenza infections, we determined the relative roles of neutrophil-dependent and -independent mechanisms in increased susceptibility to S. pneumoniae during influenza infection. Mice infected with influenza for 6 days, but not 3 days, showed a significant increase in susceptibility to S. pneumoniae infection compared to mice not infected with influenza. There was significant neutrophil accumulation in the lungs of S. pneumoniae-infected mice regardless of whether or not they were infected with influenza for 3 or 6 days. Depletion of neutrophils in these mice resulted in increased susceptibility to S. pneumoniae in both the non-influenza-infected mice and mice infected with influenza for 3 days but not in the mice infected with influenza for 6 days, indicating that a prior influenza infection of 6 days may compromise neutrophil function, resulting in increased susceptibility to a S. pneumoniae infection. Neutrophils from the lungs of mice infected with influenza for 3 or 6 days exhibited functional impairment in the form of decreased phagocytosis and intracellular reactive oxygen species generation in response to S. pneumoniae. In addition, neutrophil-depleted mice infected with influenza for 6 days were more susceptible to S. pneumoniae than neutrophil-depleted mice not infected with influenza, indicating that neutrophil-independent mechanisms also contribute to influenza-induced increased susceptibility to S. pneumoniae. Pulmonary interleukin-10 levels were increased in coinfected mice infected with influenza for 6 days but not 3 days. Thus, an influenza infection of 6 days increases susceptibility to S. pneumoniae by both suppression of neutrophil function and by neutrophil-independent mechanisms such as enhanced cytokine production.
Several types of polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) deficiency are a predisposing condition for fatal Aspergillus fumigatus infection. In order to study the defensive role of PMNs in the lungs, with particular reference to PMN recruitment and antimicrobial oxidant activity, responses to pulmonary instillation of A. fumigatus conidia were examined. Responses in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were compared with those in CXCR2−/− and gp91phox−/− mice, which are known to have delayed recruitment of PMN to the lungs in response to inflammatory stimuli and inactive NADPH oxidase, respectively. In BALB/c mice, PMNs were recruited to the lungs and formed oxidase-active aggregates with conidia, which inhibited germination. In C57BL/6, gp91phox−/−, and CXCR2−/− mice, PMN recruitment was slower and there was increased germination compared to that in BALB/c mice at 6 and 12 h. In gp91phox−/− mice, germination was extensive in PMN aggregates but negligible in alveolar macrophages (AM). Lung sections taken at 6 and 48 h from BALB/c mice showed PMN accumulation at peribronchiolar sites but no germinating conidia. Those from C57BL/6 and CXCR2−/− mice showed germinating conidia at 6 h but not at 48 h and few inflammatory cells. In contrast, those from gp91phox−/− mice showed germination at 6 h with more-extensive hyphal proliferation and tissue invasion at 48 h. These results indicate that when the lungs are exposed to large numbers of conidia, in addition to the phagocytic activity of AM, early PMN recruitment and formation of oxidative-active aggregates are essential in preventing germination of A. fumigatus conidia.
A crucial step in infection is the initial attachment of a pathogen to host cells or tissue. Mycobacterium tuberculosis has evolved multiple strategies for establishing an infection within the host. The pulmonary microenvironment contains a complex milieu of pattern recognition molecules of the innate immune system that play a role in the primary response to inhaled pathogens. Encounters of M. tuberculosis with these recognition molecules likely influence the outcome of the bacillus-host interaction. Here we use a novel fluid shear assay to investigate the binding of M. tuberculosis to innate immune molecules that are produced by pulmonary epithelial cells and are thought to play a role in the lung innate immune response. Virulent and attenuated M. tuberculosis strains bound best to immobilized human fibronectin (FN) and surfactant protein A (SP-A) under this condition. Binding under fluid shear conditions was more consistent and significant compared to binding under static conditions. Soluble FN significantly increased the adherence of both virulent and attenuated M. tuberculosis strains to human primary small airway epithelial cells (SAEC) under fluid shear conditions. In contrast, SP-A and SP-D effects on bacterial adherence to SAEC differed between the two strains. The use of a fluid shear model to simulate physiological conditions within the lung and select for high-affinity binding interactions should prove useful for studies that investigate interactions between M. tuberculosis and host innate immune determinants.
Neutrophils are implicated in the damage of lung tissue in many disease states, including infectious diseases and environmental insults. These effects may be due to oxidative or nonoxidative functions of the neutrophil or both. We examined the role of neutrophils in pulmonary damage during infection with the opportunistic fungal pathogen Pneumocystis sp. in four mouse models of neutrophil dysfunction. These were (i) a knockout of the gp91phox component of NADPH oxidase, in which reactive oxygen species (ROS) production is greatly reduced; (ii) a double knockout of gp91phox and inducible nitric oxide synthase, in which ROS and nitric oxide production is greatly decreased; (iii) a knockout of the chemokine receptor CXCR2, in which accumulation of intra-alveolar neutrophils is severely diminished; and (iv) antibody depletion of circulating neutrophils in wild-type mice with the monoclonal antibody RB6. Surprisingly, in each case, indicators of pulmonary damage (respiratory rates, arterial oxygen partial pressures, and intra-alveolar albumin concentrations) were the same in knockout mice and comparable wild-type mice. Therefore, whereas neutrophils are a valid correlative marker of lung damage during Pneumocystis infection, neither neutrophils nor ROS appear to be the causative agent of tissue damage. We also show that there is no difference in Pneumocystis burdens between wild-type and knockout mice, which supports the idea that neutrophils do not have a major role in the clearance of this organism.
Innate immune mechanisms against Pneumocystis carinii, a frequent cause of pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals, are not well understood. Using both real time polymerase chain reaction as a measure of organism viability and fluorescent deconvolution microscopy, we show that nonopsonic phagocytosis of P. carinii by alveolar macrophages is mediated by the Dectin-1 β-glucan receptor and that the subsequent generation of hydrogen peroxide is involved in alveolar macrophage–mediated killing of P. carinii. The macrophage Dectin-1 β-glucan receptor colocalized with the P. carinii cyst wall. However, blockage of Dectin-1 with high concentrations of anti–Dectin-1 antibody inhibited binding and concomitant killing of P. carinii by alveolar macrophages. Furthermore, RAW 264.7 macrophages overexpressing Dectin-1 bound P. carinii at a higher level than control RAW cells. In the presence of Dectin-1 blockage, killing of opsonized P. carinii could be restored through FcγRII/III receptors. Opsonized P. carinii could also be efficiently killed in the presence of FcγRII/III receptor blockage through Dectin-1–mediated phagocytosis. We further show that Dectin-1 is required for P. carinii–induced macrophage inflammatory protein 2 production by alveolar macrophages. Taken together, these results show that nonopsonic phagocytosis and subsequent killing of P. carinii by alveolar macrophages is dependent upon recognition by the Dectin-1 β-glucan receptor.
lung; leukocyte; innate; yeast; chemokine
Host defense against the opportunistic pathogen Pneumocystis carinii requires functional interactions of many cell types. Alveolar macrophages are presumed to be a vital host cell in the clearance of P. carinii, and the mechanisms of this interaction have come under scrutiny. The macrophage mannose receptor is believed to play an important role as a receptor involved in the binding and phagocytosis of P. carinii. Although there is in vitro evidence for this interaction, the in vivo role of this receptor in P. carinii clearance in unclear. Using a mouse model in which the mannose receptor has been deleted, we found that the absence of this receptor is not sufficient to allow infection by P. carinii in otherwise immunocompetent mice. Furthermore, when mice were rendered susceptible to P. carinii by CD4+ depletion, mannose receptor knockout mice (MR-KO) had pathogen loads equal to those of wild-type mice. However, the MR-KO mice exhibited a greater influx of phagocytes into the alveoli during infection. This was accompanied by increased pulmonary pathology in the MR-KO mice, as well as greater accumulation of glycoproteins in the alveoli (glycoproteins, including harmful hydrolytic enzymes, are normally cleared by the mannose receptor). We also found that the surface expression of the mannose receptor is not downregulated during P. carinii infection in wild-type mice. Our findings suggest that while the macrophage mannose receptor may be important in the recognition of P. carinii, in vivo, this mechanism may be redundant, and the absence of this receptor may be compensated for.
The immune response of naive CD4 T cells to influenza virus is initiated in the draining lymph nodes and spleen, and only after effectors are generated do antigen-specific cells migrate to the lung which is the site of infection. The effector cells generated in secondary organs appear as multiple subsets which are a heterogeneous continuum of cells in terms of number of cell divisions, phenotype and function. The effector cells that migrate to the lung constitute the more differentiated of the total responding population, characterized by many cell divisions, loss of CD62L, down-regulation of CCR7, stable expression of CD44 and CD49d, and transient expression of CCR5 and CD25. These cells also secrete high levels of interferon γ and reduced levels of interleukin 2 relative to those in the secondary lymphoid organs. The response declines rapidly in parallel with viral clearance, but a spectrum of resting cell subsets reflecting the pattern at the peak of response is retained, suggesting that heterogeneous effector populations may give rise to corresponding memory populations. These results reveal a complex response, not an all-or-none one, which results in multiple effector phenotypes and implies that effector cells and the memory cells derived from them can display a broad spectrum of functional potentials.
memory; inflammation; migration; chemokine receptors; cytokines
There has been emerging evidence that immunocompetent hosts can harbor Pneumocystis in their lungs. The purpose of this study was to determine the kinetics of Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris infection in adult immunocompetent mice and the host immune response to the organisms. To accomplish this, we exposed adult immunocompetent mice to SCID mice infected with P. carinii f. sp. muris by cohousing. We found that P. carinii f. sp. muris was detectable in the lungs of cohoused immunocompetent mice by PCR by 3 weeks after the beginning of cohousing. At about 4 weeks of cohousing, P. carinii f. sp. muris was readily detectable in the lungs of mice by microscopic techniques. Also at this time, P. carinii f. sp. muris-specific immunoglobulin G was found in the sera of the mice, and CD62low CD4- and CD8-positve T cells accumulated in the lungs. Shortly after this immune response, the P. carinii f. sp. muris organisms were cleared from the lungs. Adult mice cohoused for only 1 week also contained P. carinii f. sp. muris cysts detectable by silver staining at 5 and 6 weeks after the beginning of cohousing. We also found that the P. carinii f. sp. muris organisms grew to greater numbers in the lungs of BALB/c mice than in those of C57BL6 mice. This indicates that immunocompetent hosts develop a mild infection with P. carinii f. sp. muris which resolves in 5 to 6 weeks when there is a detectable immune response to the organism. Once an acquired immune response was initiated, the P. carinii f. sp. muris organisms were quickly eliminated without clinical signs of disease.
Passive antibody immunoprophylaxis is one method used to protect patients against infection if they are unable to mount an adequate active immune response. Topical application of antibody may be effective against infections at mucosal sites. Using a SCID mouse model of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, we were able to demonstrate protection against an airborne challenge with P. carinii by intranasal administration of antibody. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) monoclonal antibodies to an epitope shared by mouse and human P. carinii organisms reduced organism numbers by more than 99% under the conditions described. An IgG1 switch variant of one of the IgM monoclonal antibodies was also protective. These experiments provide a model for exploring the utility of this approach in protecting at-risk patients from infection with P. carinii.
Anti-CD4 antibodies, which cause CD4+ T-cell depletion, have been shown to increase susceptibility to infections in mice. Thus, development of anti-CD4 antibodies for clinical use raises potential concerns about suppression of host defense mechanisms against pathogens and tumors. The anti-human CD4 antibody keliximab, which binds only human and chimpanzee CD4, has been evaluated in host defense models using murine CD4 knockout-human CD4 transgenic (HuCD4/Tg) mice. In these mice, depletion of CD4+ T cells by keliximab was associated with inhibition of anti-Pneumocystis carinii and anti-Candida albicans antibody responses and rendered HuCD4/Tg mice susceptible to P. carinii, a CD4-dependent pathogen, but did not compromise host defense against C. albicans infection. Treatment of HuCD4/Tg mice with corticosteroids impaired host immune responses and decreased survival for both infections. Resistance to experimental B16 melanoma metastases was not affected by treatment with keliximab, in contrast to an increase in tumor colonization caused by anti-T cell Thy1.2 and anti-asialo GM-1 antibodies. These data suggest an immunomodulatory rather than an overt immunosuppressive activity of keliximab. This was further demonstrated by the differential effect of keliximab on type 1 and type 2 cytokine expression in splenocytes stimulated ex vivo. Keliximab caused an initial up-regulation of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and gamma interferon, followed by transient down-regulation of IL-4 and IL-10. Taken together, the effects of keliximab in HuCD4/Tg mice suggest that in addition to depleting circulating CD4+ T lymphocytes, keliximab has the capability of modulating the function of the remaining cells without causing general immunosuppression. Therefore, keliximab therapy may be beneficial in controlling certain autoimmune diseases.
During Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in mice, the degree of pulmonary inflammation correlates directly with the severity of lung function deficits. Therefore, studies were undertaken to determine whether the host inflammatory response contributes to PCP-related respiratory impairment, at least in part, by disrupting the pulmonary surfactant system. Protein and phospholipid content and surfactant activity were measured in the lavage fluid of infected mice in either the absence or presence of an inflammatory response. At 9 weeks postinfection with P. carinii, nonreconstituted SCID mice exhibited no signs of pulmonary inflammation, respiratory impairment, or surfactant dysfunction. Lavage fluid obtained from these mice had protein/phospholipid (Pr/PL) ratios (64% ± 4.7%) and minimum surface tension values (4.0 ± 0.9 mN/m) similar to those of P. carinii-free control mice. However, when infected SCID mice were immunologically reconstituted, an intense inflammatory response ensued. Pr/PL ratios (218% ± 42%) and minimum surface tension values (27.2 ± 2.7 mN/m) of the lavage fluid were significantly elevated compared to those of the lavage fluid from infected, nonreconstituted mice (P < 0.05). To examine the specific role of CD8+ T-cell-mediated inflammation in surfactant dysfunction during PCP, mice with defined T-cell populations were studied. P. carinii-infected, CD4+-depleted mice had elevated lavage fluid Pr/PL ratios (126% ± 20%) and elevated minimum surface tension values (16.3 ± 1.0 mN/m) compared to normal mice (P < 0.05). However, when infected mice were additionally depleted of CD8+ cells, Pr/PL ratios were normal and surfactant activity was improved. These findings demonstrate that the surfactant pathology associated with PCP is related to the inflammatory process rather than being a direct effect of P. carinii. Moreover, CD8+ lymphocytes are involved in the mechanism leading to surfactant dysfunction.
The clinical severity of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) correlates closely with the appearance of pulmonary markers of inflammation. Therefore, a model system was developed whereby physiological studies could be performed on live mice to determine the extent to which pulmonary inflammation contributes to respiratory impairment during PCP. P. carinii–infected severe combined immunodeficient mice displayed little evidence of pulmonary inflammation and exhibited normal oxygenation and dynamic lung compliance. When comparably infected littermates were immunologically reconstituted, however, an intense immune-mediated inflammatory response was observed that resulted in significant decreases in both lung compliance and oxygenation. As the pneumonia resolved pulmonary function returned toward normal. To begin to define the cell populations contributing to inflammation-associated respiratory impairment during PCP, similar studies were performed in CD4+ T cell–depleted mice. Mice depleted of both CD4+ and CD8+ cells developed infection, but they demonstrated neither abnormal lung compliance nor increased respiratory rate and displayed no markers of lung injury. In contrast, mice depleted of only CD4+ T cells exhibited severe pulmonary inflammation and injury, decreased oxygenation and lung compliance, and increased respirations. Respiratory compromise was associated with the presence of activated CD8+ cells and neutrophils in broncho-alveolar lavage fluid. These observations provide direct experimental evidence that the host’s response to P. carinii directly impairs pulmonary function and contributes to the pathogenesis of PCP. Furthermore, CD8+ T cells likely contribute to the respiratory compromise observed during PCP.