The circadian system is as an important regulator of immune function. Human inflammatory lung diseases frequently show time-of-day variation in symptom severity and lung function, but the mechanisms and cell types that are underlying these effects remain unclear. We show that pulmonary antibacterial responses are modulated by a circadian clock within epithelial club (Clara) cells. These drive circadian neutrophil recruitment to the lung via the chemokine CXCL5. Genetic ablation of the clock gene Bmal1 (also called Arntl or MOP3) in bronchiolar cells disrupts rhythmic Cxcl5 expression, resulting in exaggerated inflammatory responses to lipopolysaccharide and bacterial infection. Adrenalectomy blocks rhythmic inflammatory responses and the circadian regulation of CXCL5, suggesting a key role for the adrenal axis in driving CXCL5 expression and pulmonary neutrophil recruitment. Glucocorticoid receptor occupancy at the Cxcl5 locus shows circadian oscillations, but this is disrupted in mice with bronchiole-specific ablation of Bmal1, leading to enhanced CXCL5 expression despite normal corticosteroid secretion. In clock-gene disrupted mice the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone loses anti-inflammatory efficacy. We now define a regulatory mechanism that links the circadian clock and glucocorticoid hormones to control both time-of-day variation and also the magnitude of pulmonary inflammation and responses to bacterial infection.
The influenza pandemic that emerged in 2009 provided an unprecedented opportunity to study adaptation of a virus recently acquired from an animal source during human transmission. In the United Kingdom, the novel virus spread in three temporally distinct waves between 2009 and 2011. Phylogenetic analysis of complete viral genomes showed that mutations accumulated over time. Second- and third-wave viruses replicated more rapidly in human airway epithelial (HAE) cells than did the first-wave virus. In infected mice, weight loss varied between viral isolates from the same wave but showed no distinct pattern with wave and did not correlate with viral load in the mouse lungs or severity of disease in the human donor. However, second- and third-wave viruses induced less alpha interferon in the infected mouse lungs. NS1 protein, an interferon antagonist, had accumulated several mutations in second- and third-wave viruses. Recombinant viruses with the third-wave NS gene induced less interferon in human cells, but this alone did not account for increased virus fitness in HAE cells. Mutations in HA and NA genes in third-wave viruses caused increased binding to α-2,6-sialic acid and enhanced infectivity in human mucus. A recombinant virus with these two segments replicated more efficiently in HAE cells. A mutation in PA (N321K) enhanced polymerase activity of third-wave viruses and also provided a replicative advantage in HAE cells. Therefore, multiple mutations allowed incremental changes in viral fitness, which together may have contributed to the apparent increase in severity of A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza virus during successive waves.
IMPORTANCE Although most people infected with the 2009 pandemic influenza virus had mild or unapparent symptoms, some suffered severe and devastating disease. The reasons for this variability were unknown, but the numbers of severe cases increased during successive waves of human infection in the United Kingdom. To determine the causes of this variation, we studied genetic changes in virus isolates from individual hospitalized patients. There were no consistent differences between these viruses and those circulating in the community, but we found multiple evolutionary changes that in combination over time increased the virus's ability to infect human cells. These adaptations may explain the remarkable ability of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus to continue to circulate despite widespread immunity and the apparent increase in severity of influenza over successive waves of infection.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection claims approximately 2 million lives per year, and improved efficacy of the BCG vaccine remains a World Health Organization priority. Successful vaccination against M. tuberculosis requires the induction and maintenance of T cells. Targeting molecules that promote T-cell survival may therefore provide an alternative strategy to classic adjuvants. We show that the interaction between T-cell–expressed OX40 and OX40L on antigen-presenting cells is critical for effective immunity to BCG. However, because OX40L is lost rapidly from antigen-presenting cells following BCG vaccination, maintenance of OX40-expressing vaccine-activated T cells may not be optimal. Delivering an OX40L:Ig fusion protein simultaneously with BCG provided superior immunity to intravenous and aerosol M. tuberculosis challenge even 6 months after vaccination, an effect that depends on natural killer 1.1+ cells. Attenuated vaccines may therefore lack sufficient innate stimulation to maintain vaccine-specific T cells, which can be replaced by reagents binding inducible T-cell costimulators.
The lung is exposed to a vast array of inhaled antigens, particulate matter, and pollution. Cells present in the airways must therefore be maintained in a generally suppressive phenotype so that excessive responses to nonserious irritants do not occur; these result in bystander damage to lung architecture, influx of immune cells to the airways, and consequent impairment of gas exchange. To this end, the resident cells of the lung, which are predominantly macrophages, are kept in a dampened state. However, on occasion the suppression fails and these macrophages overreact to antigenic challenge, resulting in release of inflammatory mediators, induction of death of lung epithelial cells, deposition of extracellular matrix, and development of immunopathology. In this paper, we discuss the mechanisms behind this macrophage-mediated pathology, in the context of a number of inflammatory pulmonary disorders.
Background. Previous studies have shown that the interaction of CD200R, a myeloid inhibitory receptor, with its ligand, CD200, is critical in the control of innate immune activation in the lung.
Methods and Results. Using a mouse model of bacterial superinfection following influenza, we show that an absence of CD200R (a negative regulator highly expressed by macrophages and dendritic cells), restricts commensal and exogenous bacterial invasiveness and completely prevents the mortality observed in wild-type mice. This benefit is due to a heightened innate immune response to influenza virus in cd200r knockout mice that limits immune pathogenesis and viral load. In wild-type mice, apoptotic cells expressing CD200 that we believe contribute to the suppressed innate immune response to bacteria dominate during the resolution phase of influenza-induced inflammation. We also show for the first time the presence of a variety of previously unidentified bacterial species in the lower airways that are significantly adjusted by influenza virus infection and may contribute to the pathophysiology of disease.
Conclusions. The interaction of CD200 with CD200R therefore contributes to the hyporesponsive innate immune state following influenza virus infection that predisposes to secondary bacterial infection, a phenomenon that has the potential for immune modulation.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are an essential link between the innate and adaptive immune response. In order to become effective antigen presenting cells DCs need to undergo maturation, during which they up-regulate co-stimulatory molecules and produce cytokines. There is great interest in utilising DCs in vaccination regimes. Over recent years, Toll-like receptor (TLR) signalling has been recognised to be one of the major inducers of DC maturation. This study describes a mutant version of the TLR adaptor molecule MyD88 (termed MyD88lpr) as a novel adjuvant for vaccination regimes. MyD88lpr specifically activates DCs by disrupting a DC intrinsic inhibitory mechanism, which is dependent on SIGIRR. Moreover, MyD88lpr was able to induce an IgG2a dominated response to a co-expressed antigen, suggesting Th1 immunity. However, when used as a vaccine adjuvant for Influenza Nucleoprotein there was no significant difference in the lung viral titres during the infection. This study describes MyD88lpr as a potential adjuvant for vaccinations, which would be able to target DCs specifically.
Toll-like receptors; SIGIRR; inflammation
Leukotriene A4 Hydrolase (LTA4H) is a pro-inflammatory enzyme which generates the inflammatory mediator leukotriene B4 (LTB4). LTA4H also possesses aminopeptidase activity with unknown substrate and physiological significance. We identified the neutrophil chemoattractant, Pro-Gly-Pro (PGP), as this physiological substrate. PGP is a biomarker for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is implicated in neutrophil persistence in the lung. In acute neutrophil driven inflammation, PGP was degraded by LTA4H, which facilitated the resolution of inflammation. In contrast, cigarette smoke, a major risk factor for the development of COPD, selectively inhibited LTA4H aminopeptidase activity, which led to the accumulation of PGP and neutrophils. These studies imply that therapeutic strategies that inhibit LTA4H to prevent LTB4 generation may not reduce neutrophil recruitment because of elevated PGP.
Thymocyte expressed molecule involved in selection 1 (Themis1, SwissProt accession number Q8BGW0) is the recently characterised founder member of a novel family of proteins. A second member of this family, Themis2 (Q91YX0), also known as ICB1 (Induced on contact with basement membrane 1), remains unreported at the protein level despite microarray and EST databases reporting Themis2 mRNA expression in B cells and macrophages.
Here we characterise Themis2 protein for the first time and show that it acts as a macrophage signalling scaffold, exerting a receptor-, mediator- and signalling pathway-specific effect on TLR responses in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Themis2 over-expression enhanced the LPS-induced production of TNF but not IL-6 or Cox-2, nor TNF production induced by ligands for TLR2 (PAM3) or TLR3 (poly I∶C). Moreover, LPS-induced activation of the MAP kinases ERK and p38 was enhanced in cells over-expressing Themis2 whereas the activation of JNK, IRF3 or NF-κB p65, was unaffected. Depletion of Themis2 protein by RNA inteference inhibited LPS-induced TNF production in primary human macrophages demonstrating a requirement for Themis2 in this event. Themis2 was inducibly tyrosine phosphorylated upon LPS challenge and interacted with Lyn kinase (P25911), the Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor, Vav (P27870), and the adaptor protein Grb2 (Q60631). Mutation of either tyrosine 660 or a proline-rich sequence (PPPRPPK) simultaneously interrupted this complex and reduced by approximately 50% the capacity of Themis2 to promote LPS-induced TNF production. Finally, Themis2 protein expression was induced during macrophage development from murine bone marrow precursors and was regulated by inflammatory stimuli both in vitro and in vivo.
We hypothesise that Themis2 may constitute a novel, physiological control point in macrophage inflammatory responses.
CD8 T cells assist in the clearance of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection from the lungs. However, disease after RSV infection is in part caused by excessive T cell activity, and a balance is therefore needed between beneficial and harmful cellular immune responses. The chemokine CCL3 (MIP1α) is produced following RSV infection and is broadly chemotactic for both T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. We therefore investigated its role in RSV disease.
CCL3 was produced biphasically, in both the early (day 1) and late (day 6–7) stages of infection. CCL3 depletion did not alter the recruitment of natural killer (NK) cells to the lungs during the early stage, but depletion did affect the later adaptive phase. While fewer T cells were recruited to the lungs of either CCL3 knockout or anti-CCL3 treated RSV infected mice, more RSV-specific pro-inflammatory T cells were recruited to the lung when CCL3 responses were impaired. This increase in RSV-specific pro-inflammatory T cells was accompanied by increased weight loss and illness after RSV infection.
CCL3 regulates the balance of T cell populations in the lung and can alter the outcome of RSV infection. Understanding the role of inflammatory mediators in the recruitment of pathogenic T cells to the lungs may lead to novel methods to control RSV disease.
The nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) pathway plays a central role in inflammation and immunity. In response to proinflammatory cytokines and pathogen-associated molecular patterns, NF-κB activation is controlled by IκB kinase (IKK)β. Using Cre/lox-mediated gene targeting of IKKβ, we have uncovered a tissue-specific role for IKKβ during infection with group B streptococcus. Although deletion of IKKβ in airway epithelial cells had the predicted effect of inhibiting inflammation and reducing innate immunity, deletion of IKKβ in the myeloid lineage unexpectedly conferred resistance to infection that was associated with increased expression of interleukin (IL)-12, inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2), and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II by macrophages. We also describe a previously unknown role for IKKβ in the inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)1 signaling in macrophages, which is critical for IL-12, NOS2, and MHC class II expression. These studies suggest that IKKβ inhibits the “classically” activated or M1 macrophage phenotype during infection through negative cross talk with the Stat1 pathway. This may represent a mechanism to prevent the over-exuberant activation of macrophages during infection and contribute to the resolution of inflammation. This establishes a new role for IKKβ in the regulation of macrophage activation with important implications in chronic inflammatory disease, infection, and cancer.
Although the outcome of respiratory infection alters with age, nutritional status, and immunologic competence, there is a growing body of evidence that we all develop a unique but subtle inflammatory profile. This uniqueness is determined by the sequence of infections or antigenic insults encountered that permanently mold our lungs through experience. This experience and learning process forms the basis of immunologic memory that is attributed to the acquired immune system. But what happens if the pathogen is not homologous to any preceding it? In the absence of cross-specific acquired immunity, one would expect a response similar to that of a subject who had never been infected with anything before. It is now clear that this is not the case. Prior inflammation in the respiratory tract alters immunity and pathology to subsequent infections even when they are antigenically distinct. Furthermore, the influence of the first infection is long lasting, not dependent on the presence of T and B cells, and effective against disparate pathogen combinations. We have used the term “innate imprinting” to explain this phenomenon, although innate education may be a closer description. This educational process, by sequential waves of infection, may be beneficial, as shown for successive viral infections, or significantly worse, as illustrated by the increased susceptibly to life-threatening bacterial pneumonia in patients infected with seasonal and pandemic influenza. We now examine what these long-term changes involve, the likely cell populations affected, and what this means to those studying inflammatory disorders in the lung.
lung inflammation; heterologous immunity; respiratory tract; influenza; innate immunity
The World Health Organization estimates that lower respiratory tract infections (excluding tuberculosis) account for ∼35% of all deaths caused by infectious diseases. In many cases, the cause of death may be caused by multiple pathogens, e.g., the life-threatening bacterial pneumonia observed in patients infected with influenza virus. The ability to evolve more efficient immunity on each successive encounter with antigen is the hallmark of the adaptive immune response. However, in the absence of cross-reactive T and B cell epitopes, one lung infection can modify immunity and pathology to the next for extended periods of time. We now report for the first time that this phenomenon is mediated by a sustained desensitization of lung sentinel cells to Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands; this is an effect that lasts for several months after resolution of influenza or respiratory syncytial virus infection and is associated with reduced chemokine production and NF-κB activation in alveolar macrophages. Although such desensitization may be beneficial in alleviating overall immunopathology, the reduced neutrophil recruitment correlates with heightened bacterial load during secondary respiratory infection. Our data therefore suggests that post-viral desensitization to TLR signals may be one possible contributor to the common secondary bacterial pneumonia associated with pandemic and seasonal influenza infection.
CCL5/RANTES is a key proinflammatory chemokine produced by virus-infected epithelial cells and present in respiratory secretions of asthmatics. To examine the role of CCL5 in viral lung disease, we measured its production during primary respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and during secondary infection after sensitizing vaccination that induces Th2-mediated eosinophilia. A first peak of CCL5 mRNA and protein production was seen at 18 to 24 h of RSV infection, before significant lymphocyte recruitment occurred. Treatment in vivo with Met-RANTES (a competitive chemokine receptor blocker) throughout primary infection decreased CD4+ and CD8+ cell recruitment and increased viral replication. In RSV-infected, sensitized mice with eosinophilic disease, CCL5 production was further augmented; Met-RANTES treatment again reduced inflammatory cell recruitment and local cytokine production. A second wave of CCL5 production occurred on day 7, attributable to newly recruited T cells. Paradoxically, mice treated with Met-RANTES during primary infection demonstrated increased cellular infiltration during reinfection. We therefore show that RSV induces CCL5 production in the lung and this causes the recruitment of RSV-specific cells, including those making additional CCL5. If this action is blocked with Met-RANTES, inflammation decreases and viral clearance is delayed. However, the exact effects of chemokine modulation depend critically on time of administration, a factor that may potentially complicate the use of chemokine blockers in inflammatory diseases.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major viral pathogen of infants that also reinfects adults. During RSV infection, inflammatory host cell recruitment to the lung plays a central role in determining disease outcome. Chemokines mediate cell recruitment to sites of inflammation and are influenced by, and influence, the production of cytokines. We therefore compared chemokine production in a mouse model of immunopathogenic RSV infection in which either Th1 or Th2 immunopathology is induced by prior sensitization to individual RSV proteins. Chemokine expression profiles were profoundly affected by the nature of the pulmonary immunopathology: “Th2” immunopathology in BALB/c mice was associated with increased and prolonged expression of CCL2 (MCP-1), CXCL10 (IP-10), and CCL11 (eotaxin) starting within 24 h of challenge. C57BL/6 mice with “Th2” pathology (enabled by a deficiency of CD8+ cells) also showed increased CCL2 production. No differences in chemokine receptor expression were detected. Chemokine blockers may therefore be of use for children with bronchiolitis.
Illness due to respiratory virus infection is often induced by excessive infiltration of cells into pulmonary tissues, leading to airway occlusion. We show here that infection with Trichinella spiralis results in lower levels of tumor necrosis factor in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and inhibits cellular recruitment into the airways of mice coinfected with influenza A virus. Infiltration of neutrophils and CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes was reduced, resulting in animals gaining weight more rapidly following the initial phase of infection. Influenza resulted in a generalized increase in vascular permeability in pulmonary tissues, and this was suppressed by parasite infection, although the effects were restricted to the early phase of trichinosis. Moreover, the number of cells producing interleukin-10 (IL-10), and the local levels of this cytokine, were reduced, suggesting that amelioration of pulmonary pathology by parasite infection occurs independently of IL-10 production.
Oral immunization of healthy adults with 107 CFU BCG Moreau Rio de Janeiro was well tolerated and significantly boosted gamma interferon responses to purified protein derivative, Ag85, and MPB70 from previous childhood intradermal BCG immunization. Oral BCG offers the possibility of a needle-free tuberculosis vaccine and of boosting the protective immunity from intradermal tuberculosis vaccines.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major viral pathogen of infants and the elderly. Significant morbidity is caused by an overexuberant mixed lung cell infiltrate, which is thought to be driven by chemokines. One of the main chemotactic mediators responsible for the movement of eosinophils is CCL11 (eotaxin). Using a mouse model of eosinophilic bronchiolitis induced by RSV, we show here that treatment in vivo with a blocking antibody to CCL11 greatly reduces lung eosinophilia and disease severity. In addition, anti-CCL11 caused a striking inhibition of CD4-T-cell influx and shifted cytokine production away from interleukin-5 without reducing the resistance to viral replication. These results suggest that in addition to influencing eosinophil diapedesis and survival, anti-CCL11 has an action on T cells. These studies strengthen the case for anti-CCL11 treatment of Th2-driven diseases.
Respiratory infections are the third leading cause of death worldwide. Illness is caused by pathogen replication and disruption of airway homeostasis by excessive expansion of cell numbers. One strategy to prevent lung immune–mediated damage involves reducing the cellular burden. To date, antiinflammatory strategies have affected both antigen-specific and naive immune repertoires. Here we report a novel form of immune intervention that specifically targets recently activated T cells alone. OX40 (CD134) is absent on naive T cells but up-regulated 1–2 d after antigen activation. OX40–immunoglobulin fusion proteins block the interaction of OX40 with its ligand on antigen-presenting cells and eliminate weight loss and cachexia without preventing virus clearance. Reduced proliferation and enhanced apoptosis of lung cells accompanied the improved clinical phenotype. Manipulation of this late costimulatory pathway has clear therapeutic potential for the treatment of dysregulated lung immune responses.
costimulation; influenza; weight loss; inflammation
Some common childhood infections appear to prevent the development of atopy and asthma. In some Mycobacterium bovis BCG-vaccinated populations, strong delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to mycobacterial antigens are associated with a reduced risk of atopy. Although BCG exposure decreases allergen-induced lung eosinophilia in animal models, little attention has been given to the effect of immunity to BCG on responses against live pathogens. We used the murine Cryptococcus neoformans infection model to investigate whether prior BCG infection can alter such responses. The present study shows that persistent pulmonary BCG infection of C57BL/6 mice induced an increase in gamma interferon, a reduction in interleukin-5, and a decrease in lung eosinophilia during subsequent Cryptococcus infection. This effect was long lasting, depended on the presence of live bacteria, and required persistence of mycobacterial infection in the lung. Reduction of eosinophilia was less prominent after infection with a mutant BCG strain (ΔhspR), which was rapidly cleared from the lungs. These observations have important implications for the development of vaccines designed to prevent Th2-mediated disease and indicate that prior lung BCG vaccination can alter the pattern of subsequent host inflammation.
T cells secreting interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5 (T helper cell type 2 [Th2] cells) play a detrimental role in a variety of diseases, but specific methods of regulating their activity remain elusive. T1/ST2 is a surface ligand of the IL-1 receptor family, expressed on Th2- but not on interferon (IFN)-γ–producing Th1 cells. Prior exposure of BALB/c mice to the attachment (G) or fusion (F) protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) increases illness severity during intranasal RSV challenge, due to Th2-driven lung eosinophilia and exuberant Th1-driven pulmonary infiltration, respectively. We used these polar models of viral illness to study the recruitment of T1/ST2 cells to the lung and to test the effects of anti-T1/ST2 treatment in vivo. T1/ST2 was present on a subset of CD4+ cells from mice with eosinophilic lung disease. Monoclonal anti-T1/ST2 treatment reduced lung inflammation and the severity of illness in mice with Th2 (but not Th1) immunopathology. These results show that inhibition of T1/ST2 has a specific effect on virally induced Th2 responses and suggests that therapy targeted at this receptor might be of value in treating Th2-driven illness.
bronchiolitis, viral; immunity, mucosal; immunity, cellular; pulmonary infection; eosinophil
The effect of infection history is ignored in most animal models of infectious disease. The attachment protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) induces T helper cell type 2–driven pulmonary eosinophilia in mice similar to that seen in the failed infant vaccinations in the 1960s. We show that previous influenza virus infection of mice: (a) protects against weight loss, illness, and lung eosinophilia; (b) attenuates recruitment of inflammatory cells; and (c) reduces cytokine secretion caused by RSV attachment protein without affecting RSV clearance. This protective effect can be transferred via influenza-immune splenocytes to naive mice and is long lived. Previous immunity to lung infection clearly plays an important and underestimated role in subsequent vaccination and infection. The data have important implications for the timing of vaccinations in certain patient groups, and may contribute to variability in disease susceptibility observed in humans.
viral immunology; murine model; eosinophils; major histocompatibility complex tetramers; mucosal immunology
In a murine model of respiratory syncytial virus disease, prior sensitization to the attachment glycoprotein (G) leads to pulmonary eosinophilia and enhanced illness. Three different approaches were taken to dissect the region of G responsible for enhanced disease and protection against challenge. First, mutant viruses, containing frameshifts that altered the COOH terminus of the G protein, were used to challenge mice sensitized by scarification with recombinant vaccinia virus (rVV) expressing wild-type G. Second, cDNA expressing these mutated G proteins were expressed by rVV and used to vaccinate mice before challenge with wild-type respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These studies identified residues 193–205 to be responsible for G-induced weight loss and lung eosinophilia and showed that this region was not was not necessary for induction of protective immunity. Third, mice were sensitized using an rVV that expressed only amino acids 124–203 of the G protein. Upon RSV challenge, mice sensitized with this rVV developed enhanced weight loss and eosinophilia. This is the first time that a region within RSV (amino acids 193–203) has been shown to be responsible for induction of lung eosinophilia and disease enhancement. Moreover, we now show that it is possible to induce protective immunity with an altered G protein without inducing a pathological response.
respiratory syncytial virus; G protein; eosinophilia; vaccine; T helper cell