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1.  The role of IL-27 in susceptibility to post-influenza Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia 
Respiratory Research  2015;16(1):10.
Influenza is a common respiratory virus and Staphylococcus aureus frequently causes secondary pneumonia during influenza infection, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Influenza has been found to attenuate subsequent Type 17 immunity, enhancing susceptibility to secondary bacterial infections. IL-27 is known to inhibit Type 17 immunity, suggesting a potential critical role for IL-27 in viral and bacterial co-infection.
A murine model of influenza and Staphylococcus aureus infection was used to mimic human viral, bacterial co-infection. C57BL/6 wild-type, IL-27 receptor α knock-out, and IL-10 knock-out mice were infected with Influenza H1N1 (A/PR/8/34) or vehicle for 6 days followed by challenge with Staphylococcus aureus or vehicle for 24 hours. Lung inflammation, bacterial burden, gene expression, and cytokine production were determined.
IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice challenged with influenza A had increased morbidity compared to controls, but no change in viral burden. IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice infected with influenza displayed significantly decreased IL-10 production compared to wild-type. IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice co-infected with influenza and S. aureus had improved bacterial clearance compared to wild-type controls. Importantly, there were significantly increased Type 17 responses and decreased IL-10 production in IL-27 receptor α knock-out mice. Dual infected IL-10−/− mice had significantly less bacterial burden compared to dual infected WT mice.
These data reveal that IL-27 regulates enhanced susceptibility to S. aureus pneumonia following influenza infection, potentially through the induction of IL-10 and suppression of IL-17.
PMCID: PMC4324414  PMID: 25651926
IL-27; Influenza; Staphylococcus aureus; Type 17 immunity
2.  Influenza A Inhibits Th17-Mediated Host Defense against Bacterial Pneumonia in Mice 
Staphylococcus aureus is a significant cause of hospital and community acquired pneumonia and causes secondary infection after influenza A. Recently, patients with hyper-IgE syndrome, who often present with S. aureus infections of the lung and skin, were found to have mutations in STAT3, required for Th17 immunity, suggesting a potential critical role for Th17 cells in S. aureus pneumonia. Indeed, IL-17R−/− and IL-22−/− mice displayed impaired bacterial clearance of S. aureus compared with that of wild-type mice. Mice challenged with influenza A PR/8/34 H1N1 and subsequently with S. aureus had increased inflammation and decreased clearance of both virus and bacteria. Coinfection resulted in greater type I and II IFN production in the lung compared with that with virus infection alone. Importantly, influenza A coinfection resulted in substantially decreased IL-17, IL-22, and IL-23 production after S. aureus infection. The decrease in S. aureus-induced IL-17, IL-22, and IL-23 was independent of type II IFN but required type I IFN production in influenza A-infected mice. Furthermore, overexpression of IL-23 in influenza A, S. aureus-coinfected mice rescued the induction of IL-17 and IL-22 and markedly improved bacterial clearance. These data indicate a novel mechanism by which influenza A-induced type I IFNs inhibit Th17 immunity and increase susceptibility to secondary bacterial pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC4275066  PMID: 21178015
3.  Influenza A Exacerbates Staphylococcus aureus Pneumonia by Attenuating IL-1β Production in Mice1 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2013;191(10):10.4049/jimmunol.1301237.
Pneumonia is a leading cause of death worldwide. Staphylococcal aureus can be a cause of severe pneumonia alone or as a common pathogen in secondary pneumonia following influenza. Recently, we have reported that preceding influenza attenuated the Type 17 pathway, increasing the lung’s susceptibility to secondary infection. IL-1β is known to regulate host defense including playing a role in TH17 polarization. We examined if IL-1β signaling is required for S. aureus host defense and whether influenza infection impacted S. aureus induced IL-1β production and subsequent Type 17 pathway activation. Mice were challenged with S. aureus (USA300) with or without preceding influenza A/PR/8/34 H1N1 infection. IL-1receptor1 −/− mice had significantly higher S. aureus burden, increased mortality, and decreased Type 17 pathway activation following S. aureus challenge. Co-infected mice had significantly decreased IL-1β production versus S. aureus alone at early time points following bacterial challenge. Preceding influenza did not attenuate S. aureus induced inflammasome activation, but there was early suppression of NF-κB activation, suggesting an inhibition of NF-κB dependent transcription of pro- IL-1β. Furthermore, overexpression of IL-1β in influenza, S. aureus co-infected mice rescued the induction of IL-17 and IL-22 by S. aureus and improved bacterial clearance. Finally, exogenous IL-1β did not significantly rescue S. aureus host defense during co-infection in IL-17RA −/− mice or in mice in which IL-17 and IL-22 activity were blocked. These data reveal a novel mechanism by which influenza A inhibits S. aureus induced IL-1β production resulting in attenuation of Type 17 immunity and increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.
PMCID: PMC3827735  PMID: 24089191
4.  In utero arsenic exposure and infant infection in a United States cohort: A prospective study 
Environmental research  2013;126:10.1016/j.envres.2013.05.001.
Arsenic (As), a ubiquitous environmental toxicant, has recently been linked to disrupted immune function and enhanced infection susceptibility in highly exposed populations. Drinking water As levels above the EPA maximum contaminant level occur in our US study area and are a particular health concern for pregnant women and infants. As part of the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study, we investigated whether in utero exposure to As affects risk of infant infections. We prospectively obtained information on four-month-old infants (n=214) using a parental telephone survey on infant’s infections and symptoms, including respiratory infections, diarrhea and specific illnesses, as well as the duration and severity of infections. Using logistic regression and Poisson models, we evaluated the association between maternal urinary As during pregnancy and infection risks adjusted for potentially confounding factors. Maternal urinary As concentrations were related to total number of infections requiring a physician visit (Relative Risk (RR) per one-fold increase in As in urine =1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.0, 2.1) or prescription medication (RR=1.6; 95% CI =1.1, 2.4), as well as lower respiratory infections treated with prescription medication (RR=3.3; 95% CI =1.2, 9.0). Associations were observed with respiratory symptoms (RR=4.0; 95% CI =1.0, 15.8), upper respiratory infections (RR=1.6; 95% CI =1.0, 2.5), and colds treated with prescription medication (RR=2.3; 95% CI =1.0, 5.2). Our results provide initial evidence that in utero As exposure may be related to infant infection and infection severity and provide insight into the early life impacts of fetal As exposure.
PMCID: PMC3808159  PMID: 23769261
Arsenic; infant respiratory infection; prenatal exposure; pregnancy; US cohort
5.  Tissue-Protective Effects of NKG2A in Immune-Mediated Clearance of Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108385.
Virus infection triggers a CD8+ T cell response that aids in virus clearance, but also expresses effector functions that may result in tissue injury. CD8+ T cells express a variety of activating and inhibiting ligands, though regulation of the expression of inhibitory receptors is not well understood. The ligand for the inhibitory receptor, NKG2A, is the non-classical MHC-I molecule Qa1b, which may also serve as a putative restricting element for the T cell receptors of purported regulatory CD8+ T cells. We have previously shown that Qa1b-null mice suffer considerably enhanced immunopathologic lung injury in the context of CD8+ T cell-mediated clearance of influenza infection, as well as evidence in a non-viral system that failure to ligate NKG2A on CD8+ effector T cells may represent an important component of this process. In this report, we examine the requirements for induction of NKG2A expression, and show that NKG2A expression by CD8+ T cells occurs as a result of migration from the MLN to the inflammatory lung environment, irrespective of peripheral antigen recognition. Further, we confirmed that NKG2A is a mediator in limiting immunopathology in virus infection using mice with a targeted deletion of NKG2A, and infecting the mutants with two different viruses, influenza and adenovirus. In neither infection is virus clearance altered. In influenza infection, the enhanced lung injury was associated with increased chemoattractant production, increased infiltration of inflammatory cells, and significantly enhanced alveolar hemorrhage. The primary mechanism of enhanced injury was the loss of negative regulation of CD8+ T cell effector function. A similar effect was observed in the livers of mutant mice infected intravenously with adenovirus. These results demonstrate the immunoregulatory role of CD8+ NKG2A expression in virus infection, which negatively regulates T cell effector functions and contributes to protection of tissue integrity during virus clearance.
PMCID: PMC4177548  PMID: 25251060
6.  ADAM17-Mediated Processing of TNF-α Expressed by Antiviral Effector CD8+ T Cells Is Required for Severe T-Cell-Mediated Lung Injury 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79340.
Influenza infection in humans evokes a potent CD8+ T-cell response, which is important for clearance of the virus but may also exacerbate pulmonary pathology. We have previously shown in mice that CD8+ T-cell expression of TNF-α is required for severe and lethal lung injury following recognition of an influenza antigen expressed by alveolar epithelial cells. Since TNF-α is first expressed as a transmembrane protein that is then proteolytically processed to release a soluble form, we sought to characterize the role of TNF-α processing in CD8+ T-cell-mediated injury. In this study we observed that inhibition of ADAM17-mediated processing of TNF-α by CD8+ T cells significantly attenuated the diffuse alveolar damage that occurs after T-cell transfer, resulting in enhanced survival. This was due in part to diminished chemokine expression, as TNF-α processing was required for lung epithelial cell expression of CXCL2 and the subsequent inflammatory infiltration. We confirmed the importance of CXCL2 expression in acute lung injury by transferring influenza-specific CD8+ T cells into transgenic mice lacking CXCR2. These mice exhibited reduced airway infiltration, attenuated lung injury, and enhanced survival. Theses studies describe a critical role for TNF-α processing by CD8+ T cells in the initiation and severity of acute lung injury, which may have important implications for limiting immunopathology during influenza infection and other human infectious or inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3819268  PMID: 24223177
7.  Influenza-Infected Neutrophils within the Infected Lungs Act as Antigen Presenting Cells for Anti-Viral CD8+ T Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46581.
Influenza A virus (IAV) is a leading cause of respiratory tract disease worldwide. Anti-viral CD8+ T lymphocytes responding to IAV infection are believed to eliminate virally infected cells by direct cytolysis but may also contribute to pulmonary inflammation and tissue damage via the release of pro-inflammatory mediators following recognition of viral antigen displaying cells. We have previously demonstrated that IAV antigen expressing inflammatory cells of hematopoietic origin within the infected lung interstitium serve as antigen presenting cells (APC) for infiltrating effector CD8+ T lymphocytes; however, the spectrum of inflammatory cell types capable of serving as APC was not determined. Here, we demonstrate that viral antigen displaying neutrophils infiltrating the IAV infected lungs are an important cell type capable of acting as APC for effector CD8+ T lymphocytes in the infected lungs and that neutrophils expressing viral antigen as a result of direct infection by IAV exhibit the most potent APC activity. Our findings suggest that in addition to their suggested role in induction of the innate immune responses to IAV, virus clearance, and the development of pulmonary injury, neutrophils can serve as APCs to anti-viral effector CD8+ T cells within the infected lung interstitium.
PMCID: PMC3466305  PMID: 23056353
8.  Effects of Low-Dose Drinking Water Arsenic on Mouse Fetal and Postnatal Growth and Development 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38249.
Arsenic (As) exposure is a significant worldwide environmental health concern. Chronic exposure via contaminated drinking water has been associated with an increased incidence of a number of diseases, including reproductive and developmental effects. The goal of this study was to identify adverse outcomes in a mouse model of early life exposure to low-dose drinking water As (10 ppb, current U.S. EPA Maximum Contaminant Level).
Methodology and Findings
C57B6/J pups were exposed to 10 ppb As, via the dam in her drinking water, either in utero and/or during the postnatal period. Birth outcomes, the growth of the F1 offspring, and health of the dams were assessed by a variety of measurements. Birth outcomes including litter weight, number of pups, and gestational length were unaffected. However, exposure during the in utero and postnatal period resulted in significant growth deficits in the offspring after birth, which was principally a result of decreased nutrients in the dam's breast milk. Cross-fostering of the pups reversed the growth deficit. Arsenic exposed dams displayed altered liver and breast milk triglyceride levels and serum profiles during pregnancy and lactation. The growth deficits in the F1 offspring resolved following separation from the dam and cessation of exposure in male mice, but did not resolve in female mice up to six weeks of age.
Exposure to As at the current U.S. drinking water standard during critical windows of development induces a number of adverse health outcomes for both the dam and offspring. Such effects may contribute to the increased disease risks observed in human populations.
PMCID: PMC3365045  PMID: 22693606
9.  Interference with Intraepithelial TNF-α Signaling Inhibits CD8+ T-Cell-Mediated Lung Injury in Influenza Infection 
Viral Immunology  2010;23(6):639-645.
CD8+ T-cell-mediated pulmonary immunopathology in respiratory virus infection is mediated in large part by antigen-specific TNF-α expression by antiviral effector T cells, which results in epithelial chemokine expression and inflammatory infiltration of the lung. To further define the signaling events leading to lung epithelial chemokine production in response to CD8+ T-cell antigen recognition, we expressed the adenoviral 14.7K protein, a putative inhibitor of TNF-α signaling, in the distal lung epithelium, and analyzed the functional consequences. Distal airway epithelial expression of 14.7K resulted in a significant reduction in lung injury resulting from severe influenza pneumonia. In vitro analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in the expression of an important mediator of injury, CCL2, in response to CD8+ T-cell recognition, or to TNF-α. The inhibitory effect of 14.7K on CCL2 expression resulted from attenuation of NF-κB activity, which was independent of Iκ-Bα degradation or nuclear translocation of the p65 subunit. Furthermore, epithelial 14.7K expression inhibited serine phosphorylation of Akt, GSK-3β, and the p65 subunit of NF-κB, as well as recruitment of NF-κB for DNA binding in vivo. These results provide insight into the mechanism of 14.7K inhibition of NF-κB activity, as well as further elucidate the mechanisms involved in the induction of T-cell-mediated immunopathology in respiratory virus infection.
PMCID: PMC2991178  PMID: 21142450
10.  Role of alveolar epithelial Early growth response-1 (Egr-1) in CD8+ T Cell mediated Lung Injury 
Molecular immunology  2009;47(2-3):623-631.
Influenza infection of the distal airways results in severe lung injury, a considerable portion of which is immunopathologic and attributable to the host responses. We have used a mouse model to specifically investigate the role of antiviral CD8+ T cells in this injury, and have found that the critical effector molecule is TNF-α expressed by the T cells upon antigen recognition. Interestingly, the immunopathology which ensues is characterized by significant accumulation of host inflammatory cells, recruited by chemokines expressed by the target alveolar epithelial cells. In this study we analyzed the mechanisms involved in the induction of epithelial chemokine expression triggered by antigen-specific CD8+ T cell recognition, and demonstrate that the Early growth response-1 (Egr-1) transcription factor is rapidly induced in epithelial cells, both in vitro and ex vivo, and that this is a critical regulator of a host of inflammatory chemokines. Genetic deficiency of Egr-1 significantly abrogates both the chemokine expression and the immunopathologic injury associated with T cell recognition, and it directly regulates transcriptional activity of a model CXC chemokine, MIP-2. We further demonstrate that Egr-1 induction is triggered by TNF-α– dependent ERK activation, and inhibition of this pathway ablates Egr-1 expression. These findings suggest that Egr-1 may represent an important target in mitigating the immunopathology of severe influenza infection.
PMCID: PMC2787734  PMID: 19786304
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α); Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ); CD8+ T Cells; Influenza; Early growth response-1 (Egr-1); Chemokines; Lung injury
11.  Low-Dose Arsenic Compromises the Immune Response to Influenza A Infection in Vivo 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(9):1441-1447.
Arsenic exposure is a significant worldwide environmental health concern. We recently reported that 5-week exposure to environmentally relevant levels (10 and 100 ppb) of As in drinking water significantly altered components of the innate immune response in mouse lung, which we hypothesize is an important contributor to the increased risk of lung disease in exposed human populations.
We investigated the effects of As exposure on respiratory influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, a common and potentially fatal disease.
In this study, we exposed C57BL/6J mice to 100 ppb As in drinking water for 5 weeks, followed by intranasal inoculation with a sub lethal dose of influenza A/PuertoRico/8/34 (H1N1) virus. Multiple end points were assessed postinfection.
Arsenic was associated with a number of significant changes in response to influenza, including an increase in morbidity and higher pulmonary influenza virus titers on day 7 post-infection. We also found many alterations in the immune response relative to As-unexposed controls, including a decrease in the number of dendritic cells in the mediastinal lymph nodes early in the course of infection.
Our data indicate that chronic As exposure significantly compromises the immune response to infection. Alterations in response to repeated lung infection may also contribute to other chronic illnesses, such as bronchiectasis, which is elevated by As exposure in epidemiology studies.
PMCID: PMC2737023  PMID: 19750111
arsenic; dendritic cells; influenza; innate immune system; mouse lung
12.  Cigarette smoke selectively enhances viral PAMP– and virus-induced pulmonary innate immune and remodeling responses in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(8):2771-2784.
Viral infections have more severe consequences in patients who have been exposed to cigarette smoke (CS) than in those not exposed to CS. For example, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), viruses cause more severe disease exacerbation, heightened inflammation, and accelerated loss of lung function compared with other causes of disease exacerbation. Symptomatology and mortality in influenza-infected smokers is also enhanced. To test the hypothesis that these outcomes are caused by CS-induced alterations in innate immunity, we defined the effects of CS on pathogen-associated molecular pattern–induced (PAMP-induced) pulmonary inflammation and remodeling in mice. CS was found to enhance parenchymal and airway inflammation and apoptosis induced by the viral PAMP poly(I:C). CS and poly(I:C) also induced accelerated emphysema and airway fibrosis. The effects of a combination of CS and poly(I:C) were associated with early induction of type I IFN and IL-18, later induction of IL-12/IL-23 p40 and IFN-γ, and the activation of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) and eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). Further analysis using mice lacking specific proteins indicated a role for TLR3-dependent and -independent pathways as well as a pathway or pathways that are dependent on mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS), IL-18Rα, IFN-γ, and PKR. Importantly, CS enhanced the effects of influenza but not other agonists of innate immunity in a similar fashion. These studies demonstrate that CS selectively augments the airway and alveolar inflammatory and remodeling responses induced in the murine lung by viral PAMPs and viruses.
PMCID: PMC2483678  PMID: 18654661
13.  Phenotypic alterations in type II alveolar epithelial cells in CD4+ T cell mediated lung inflammation 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):47.
Although the contribution of alveolar type II epithelial cell (AEC II) activities in various aspects of respiratory immune regulation has become increasingly appreciated, our understanding of the contribution of AEC II transcriptosome in immunopathologic lung injury remains poorly understood. We have previously established a mouse model for chronic T cell-mediated pulmonary inflammation in which influenza hemagglutinin (HA) is expressed as a transgene in AEC II, in mice expressing a transgenic T cell receptor specific for a class II-restricted epitope of HA. Pulmonary inflammation in these mice occurs as a result of CD4+ T cell recognition of alveolar antigen. This model was utilized to assess the profile of inflammatory mediators expressed by alveolar epithelial target cells triggered by antigen-specific recognition in CD4+ T cell-mediated lung inflammation.
We established a method that allows the flow cytometric negative selection and isolation of primary AEC II of high viability and purity. Genome wide transcriptional profiling was performed on mRNA isolated from AEC II isolated from healthy mice and from mice with acute and chronic CD4+ T cell-mediated pulmonary inflammation.
T cell-mediated inflammation was associated with expression of a broad array of cytokine and chemokine genes by AEC II cell, indicating a potential contribution of epithelial-derived chemoattractants to the inflammatory cell parenchymal infiltration. Morphologically, there was an increase in the size of activated epithelial cells, and on the molecular level, comparative transcriptome analyses of AEC II from inflamed versus normal lungs provide a detailed characterization of the specific inflammatory genes expressed in AEC II induced in the context of CD4+ T cell-mediated pneumonitis.
An important contribution of AEC II gene expression to the orchestration and regulation of interstitial pneumonitis is suggested by the panoply of inflammatory genes expressed by this cell population, and this may provide insight into the molecular pathogenesis of pulmonary inflammatory states. CD4+ T cell recognition of antigen presented by AEC II cells appears to be a potent trigger for activation of the alveolar cell inflammatory transcriptosome.
PMCID: PMC1939847  PMID: 17610738
14.  CD8+ T Cell–mediated Injury In Vivo Progresses in the Absence of Effector T Cells 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2001;194(12):1835-1846.
Tissue injury is a common sequela of acute virus infection localized to a specific organ such as the lung. Tissue injury is an immediate consequence of infection with lytic viruses. It can also result from the direct destruction of infected cells by effector CD8+ T lymphocytes and indirectly through the action of the T cell–derived proinflammatory cytokines and recruited inflammatory cells on infected and uninfected tissue. We have examined CD8+ T cell–mediated pulmonary injury in a transgenic model in which adoptively transferred, virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) produce lethal, progressive pulmonary injury in recipient mice expressing the viral target transgene exclusively in the lungs. We have found that over the 4–5 day course of the development of lethal pulmonary injury, the effector CTLs, while necessary for the induction of injury, are present only transiently (24–48 h) in the lung. We provide evidence that the target of the antiviral CD8+ T cells, the transgene expressing type II alveolar cells, are not immediately destroyed by the effector T cells. Rather, after T cell–target interaction, the type II alveolar cells are stimulated to produce the chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1. These results reinforce the concept that, in vivo, the cellular targets of specific CTLs may participate directly in the development of progressive tissue injury by activating in response to interaction with the T cells and producing proinflammatory mediators without sustained in vivo activation of CD8+ T cell effectors.
PMCID: PMC2193585  PMID: 11748284
CD8+ T cell; pulmonary injury; target cell; inflammatory mediators; MCP-1
15.  Alveolar epithelial cell chemokine expression triggered by antigen-specific cytolytic CD8+ T cell recognition 
CD8+ T lymphocyte responses are a critical arm of the immune response to respiratory virus infection and may play a role in the pathogenesis of interstitial lung disease. We have shown that CD8+ T cells induce significant lung injury in the absence of virus infection by adoptive transfer into mice with alveolar expression of a viral transgene. The injury is characterized by the parenchymal infiltration of host cells, primarily macrophages, which correlates with physiologic deficits in transgenic animals. CD8+ T cell–mediated lung injury can occur in the absence of perforin and Fas expression as long as TNF-α is available. Here, we show that the effect of TNF-α expressed by CD8+ T cells is mediated not exclusively by cytotoxicity, but also through the activation of alveolar target cells and their expression of inflammatory mediators. CD8+ T cell recognition of alveolar cells in vitro triggered monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) expression in the targets, which was mediated by TNF-α. Antigen-dependent alveolar MCP-1 expression was observed in vivo as early as 3 hours after CD8+ T cell transfer and depended upon TNF-R1 expression in transgenic recipients. MCP-1 neutralization significantly reduced parenchymal infiltration after T cell transfer. We conclude that alveolar epithelial cells actively participate in the inflammation and lung injury associated with CD8+ T cell recognition of alveolar antigens.
This article may have been published online in advance of the print edition. The date of publication is available from the JCI website, J. Clin. Invest. 106:R49–R58 (2000).
PMCID: PMC381394  PMID: 10995793

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