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1.  Plasmacytoid dendritic cells inhibit pulmonary immunopathology and promote clearance of respiratory syncytial virus 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(5):1153-1159.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is widely spread and is a major cause of bronchiolitis in infants and high-risk adults, often leading to hospitalization. RSV infection leads to obstruction and inflammation of the airways and induction of innate and acquired immune responses. Because dendritic cells (DCs) are essential in the elicitation of these immune responses, we investigated the presence and the role of dendritic cell subtypes upon RSV infection in the lung. Here, we report that RSV infection increased the number of both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the lung and the lung-draining lymph nodes. In particular, the increase in plasmacytoid dendritic cell numbers was sustained and lasted until 30 d after infection. Depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells resulted in decreased RSV clearance. In addition, depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells resulted in an exacerbation of all manifestations of immune-mediated pathology caused by RSV infection. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that both conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells are attracted to the site of RSV infection. It is demonstrated that plasmacytoid dendritic cells play a protective role during RSV infection by modulation of local immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2121199  PMID: 16682497
2.  Heterogeneous responses and cross reactivity between the major peanut allergens Ara h 1, 2,3 and 6 in a mouse model for peanut allergy 
The relative contribution and the relation between individual peanut allergens in peanut allergic responses is still matter of debate. We determined the individual contribution of peanut proteins to B, T cell and allergic effector responses in a mouse model for peanut allergy.
Mice were immunized and challenged by oral gavage with peanut protein extract or isolated allergens Ara h 1, 2, 3 and 6 followed by assessment of food allergic manifestations. In addition, T cell responses to the individual proteins were measured by an in vitro dendritic cell-T cell assay.
Sensitization with the individual peanut proteins elicited IgE responses with specificity to the allergen used as expected. However, cross reactivity among Ara h 1, 2, 3 and 6 was observed. T cell re-stimulations with peanut extract and individual peanut proteins also showed cross reactivity between Ara h 1, 2, 3 and 6. Despite the cross reactivity at the IgE level, only Ara h 2 and 6 were able to elicit mast cell degranulation after an oral challenge. However, after systemic challenge, Ara h 1, 2 and 6 and to lesser extent Ara h 3 were able to elicit anaphylactic responses.
Ara h 1, 2, 3 and 6 sensitize via the intra-gastric route, but differ in their capacity to cause allergic effector responses. Interestingly, extensive cross reactivity at T cell and antibody level is observed among Ara h 1, 2, 3 and 6, which may have important implications for the diagnosis and therapy of peanut allergy. Awareness about the relative contribution of individual peanut allergens and cross reactivity between these allergens is of importance for current research in diagnostics and therapeutics for and the mechanism of peanut allergy.
PMCID: PMC4369825  PMID: 25802736
Cross-reactivity; IgE; Peanut allergy; Peanut proteins; T cell; Mouse model; Sensitization; Anaphylaxis
3.  Contribution of Classic and Alternative Effector Pathways in Peanut-Induced Anaphylactic Responses 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28917.
Food allergy affects approximately 5% of children and is the leading cause of hospitalization for anaphylactic reactions in westernized countries. However, the pathways of anaphylaxis in food allergy are still relatively unknown. We investigated the effector pathways of allergic and anaphylactic responses of different strains of mice in a clinical relevant model of peanut allergy. C3H/HeOuJ, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were sensitized by intragastric peanut extract and challenged by intragastric or intraperitoneal injection of peanut. Peanut-specific T cell responses, IgE, IgG1 and IgG2a and mucosal mast cell degranulation were induced to different extent in C3H/HeOuJ, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. Interestingly, anaphylactic symptoms after systemic challenge were highest in C3H/HeOuJ followed by C57BL/6 but were absent in BALB/c mice. Mechanistic studies showed that the food allergic systemic anaphylaxis was dependent on platelets, FcRγ and mast cells, and partially dependent on platelet activating factor and monocytes/macrophages, depending on mouse strain. These data demonstrate that in three mouse strains, components of the classic and alternative anaphylactic cascade are differently expressed, leading to differential outcomes in parameters of allergic disease and food induced systemic anaphylaxis.
PMCID: PMC3237567  PMID: 22194949
4.  Respiratory Virus-induced TLR7 activation controls IL-17 associated Increase in mucus via IL-23 regulation 
The response to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), negative strand ssRNA virus, depends upon the ability to recognize specific pathogen associated targets. In the present study the role of TLR7 that recognizes ssRNA was examined. Using TLR7−/− mice we found that the response to RSV infection in the lung was more pathogenic as assessed by significant increases in inflammation and mucus hyper-secretion. While there appeared to be no effect of TLR7 deficiency on Type I IFN, the pathology was associated with an alteration in T cell responses with increases in mucogenic cytokines, IL-4, IL-13 and IL-17. Examination of DC from TLR7−/− animals indicated a preferential activation of IL-23 (a Th17 associated cytokine) and a decrease in IL-12 production. Neutralization of IL-17 in the TLR7−/− mice resulted in a significant decrease in the mucogenic response in the lungs of the RSV-infected mice. Thus, without TLR7-mediated responses an altered immune environment ensued with a significant effect on airway epithelial cell remodeling and goblet cell hyper/metaplasia leading to mucus overproduction.
PMCID: PMC3006454  PMID: 20624950
5.  Effect of Cigarette Smoke Extract on Dendritic Cells and Their Impact on T-Cell Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4946.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Cigarette smoke has been considered a major player in the pathogenesis of COPD. The inflamed airways of COPD patients contain several inflammatory cells including neutrophils, macrophages,T lymphocytes, and dendritic cells (DCs). The relative contributions of these various inflammatory cells to airway injury and remodeling are not well documented. In particular, the potential role of DCs as mediators of inflammation in the smoker's airways and COPD patients is poorly understood. In the current study we analyzed the effects of cigarette smoke extract on mouse bone marrow derived DC and the production of chemokines and cytokines were studied. In addition, we assessed CSE-induced changes in cDC function in the mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) examining CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation. Cigarette smoke extract induces the release of the chemokines CCL3 and CXCL2 (but not cytokines), via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In a mixed-leukocyte reaction assay, cigarette smoke-primed DCs potentiate CD8+T cell proliferation via CCL3. In contrast, proliferation of CD4+T cells is suppressed via an unknown mechanism. The cigarette smoke-induced release of CCL3 and CXCL2 by DCs may contribute to the influx of CD8+T cells and neutrophils into the airways, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2655711  PMID: 19293939
6.  The Balance between Plasmacytoid DC versus Conventional DC Determines Pulmonary Immunity to Virus Infections 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1720.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects nearly all infants by age 2 and is a leading cause of bronchiolitis. RSV may employ several mechanisms to induce immune dysregulation, including dendritic cell (DC) modulation during the immune response to RSV.
Methods and Findings
Expansion of cDC and pDC by Flt3L treatment promoted an anti-viral response with reduced pathophysiology characterized by decreased airway hyperreactivity, reduced Th2 cytokines, increased Th1 cytokines, and a reduction in airway inflammation and mucus overexpression. These protective aspects of DC expansion could be completely reversed by depleting pDCs during the RSV infection. Expansion of DCs by Flt3L treatment enhanced in CD8+ T cell responses, which was reversed by depletion of pDC.
These results indicate that a balance between cDC and pDC in the lung and its lymph nodes is crucial for the outcome of a pulmonary infection. Increased pDC numbers induced by Flt3L treatment have a protective impact on the nature of the overall immune environment.
PMCID: PMC2249704  PMID: 18320041
7.  Toll-like receptor-4 mediates cigarette smoke-induced cytokine production by human macrophages 
Respiratory Research  2006;7(1):66.
The major risk factor for the development of COPD is cigarette smoking. Smoking causes activation of resident cells and the recruitment of inflammatory cells into the lungs, which leads to release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemotactic factors, oxygen radicals and proteases. In the present study evidence is found for a new cellular mechanism that refers to a link between smoking and inflammation in lungs.
Employing human monocyte-derived macrophages, different techniques including FACS analysis, Cytometric Bead Array Assay and ELISA were achieved to evaluate the effects of CS on pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion including IL-8. Then, Toll-like receptor neutralization was performed to study the involvement of Toll-like receptor-4 in IL-8 production. Finally, signaling pathways in macrophages after exposure to CS medium were investigated performing ELISA and Western analysis.
We demonstrate that especially human monocytes are sensitive to produce IL-8 upon cigarette smoke stimulation compared to lymphocytes or neutrophils. Moreover, monocyte-derived macrophages produce high amounts of the cytokine. The IL-8 production is dependent on Toll-like receptor 4 stimulation and LPS is not involved. Further research resolved the cellular mechanism by which cigarette smoke induces cytokine production in monocyte-derived macrophages. Cigarette smoke causes subsequently a concentration-dependent phosphorylation of IRAK and degradation of TRAF6. Moreover, IκBα was phosphorylated which suggests involvement of NF-κB. In addition, NFκB -inhibitor blocked cigarette smoke-induced IL-8 production.
These findings link cigarette smoke to inflammation and lead to new insights/therapeutic strategies in the pathogenesis of lung emphysema.
PMCID: PMC1481582  PMID: 16620395

Results 1-7 (7)