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1.  Commensal Bacteria Regulate Thymic Aire Expression 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105904.
Commensal bacteria in gastrointestinal tracts are reported to function as an environmental factor to regulate intestinal inflammation and immune responses. However, it remains largely unknown whether such bacterial function exerts any effect on other immune organs distant from the intestine. In this study, the influence of commensal bacteria in the thymus, where T cell lineages develop into mature type to form proper repertoires, was investigated using germ-free (GF) mice and Nod1-deficient mice lacking an intracellular recognition receptor for certain bacterial components, in which a commensal bacterial effect is predicted to be less. In both mice, there was no significant difference in the numbers and subset ratios of thymocytes. Interestingly, however, autoimmune regulator (Aire) expression in thymic epithelial cells (TECs), main components of the thymic microenvironment, was decreased in comparison to specific pathogen-free (SPF) mice and Nod1 wild-type (WT) mice, respectively. In vitro analysis using a fetal thymus organ culture (FTOC) system showed that Aire expression in TECs was increased in the presence of a bacterial component or a bacterial product. These results suggest that through their products, commensal bacteria have the potential to have some effect on epithelial cells of the thymus in tissues distant from the intestine where they are originally harbored.
PMCID: PMC4144919  PMID: 25157574
2.  Capillary Rise on Legs of a Small Animal and on Artificially Textured Surfaces Mimicking Them 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96813.
The wharf roach Ligia exotica is a small animal that lives by the sea and absorbs water from the sea through its legs by virtue of a remarkable array of small blades of micron scale. We find that the imbibition dynamics on the legs is rather complex on a microscopic scale, but on a macroscopic scale the imbibition length seems to simply scale linearly with elapsed time. This unusual dynamics of imbibition, which usually slows down with time, is advantageous for long-distance water transport and results from repetition of unit dynamics. Inspired by the remarkable features, we study artificially textured surfaces mimicking the structure on the legs of the animal. Unlike the case of the wharf roach, the linear dynamics were not reproduced on the artificial surfaces, which may result from more subtle features on the real legs that are not faithfully reflected on the artificial surfaces. Instead, the nonlinear dynamics revealed that hybrid structures on the artificial surfaces speed up the water transport compared with non-hybrid ones. In addition, the dynamics on the artificial surfaces turn out to be well described by a composite theory developed here, with the theory giving useful guiding principles for designing hybrid textured surfaces for rapid imbibition and elucidating physical advantages of the microscopic design on the legs.
PMCID: PMC4029560  PMID: 24849071
3.  Expressions of Tight Junction Proteins Occludin and Claudin-1 Are under the Circadian Control in the Mouse Large Intestine: Implications in Intestinal Permeability and Susceptibility to Colitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98016.
Background & Aims
The circadian clock drives daily rhythms in behavior and physiology. A recent study suggests that intestinal permeability is also under control of the circadian clock. However, the precise mechanisms remain largely unknown. Because intestinal permeability depends on tight junction (TJ) that regulates the epithelial paracellular pathway, this study investigated whether the circadian clock regulates the expression levels of TJ proteins in the intestine.
The expression levels of TJ proteins in the large intestinal epithelium and colonic permeability were analyzed every 4, 6, or 12 hours between wild-type mice and mice with a mutation of a key clock gene Period2 (Per2; mPer2m/m). In addition, the susceptibility to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis was compared between wild-type mice and mPer2m/m mice.
The mRNA and protein expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 exhibited daily variations in the colonic epithelium in wild-type mice, whereas they were constitutively high in mPer2m/m mice. Colonic permeability in wild-type mice exhibited daily variations, which was inversely associated with the expression levels of Occludin and Claudin-1 proteins, whereas it was constitutively low in mPer2m/m mice. mPer2m/m mice were more resistant to the colonic injury induced by DSS than wild-type mice.
Occludin and Claudin-1 expressions in the large intestine are under the circadian control, which is associated with temporal regulation of colonic permeability and also susceptibility to colitis.
PMCID: PMC4028230  PMID: 24845399
4.  Epithelial Cell-derived IL-25, but not Th17 cell-derived IL-17 or IL-17F, is Crucial for Murine Asthma1 
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)  2012;189(7):10.4049/jimmunol.1200461.
IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-25 are ligands for IL-17RA. In the present study, we demonstrated that IL-25-deficient mice, but not IL-17A-, IL-17F-, IL-17A/F-, IL-23p19- and ROR-γt-deficient mice, showed significant suppression of the number of eosinophils and the levels of proinflammatory mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids, airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, or ovalbumin-specific IgG1 and IgE levels in the serum during ovalbumin-induced Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation, without any effect on lung DC migration or antigen-specific memory-Th2-cell expansion during antigen sensitization. By adoptive transfer of either T cells, mast cells or bone marrow cells from IL-25-deficient mice, we found that IL-25 produced by airway structural cells such as epithelial cells—but not by such hematopoietic stem-cell-origin immune cells as T cells and mast cells—was indispensable for induction of Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation by activating lung epithelial cells and eosinophils. Therefore, airway structural-cell-derived IL-25—rather than Th17-cell-derived IL-17A and IL-17F—is responsible for induction of local inflammation by promoting activation of lung epithelial cells and eosinophils in the elicitation phase—but is not required for antigen-specific Th2 cell differentiation in the sensitization phase—of Th2-type/eosinophilic airway inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3812057  PMID: 22942422
5.  Th17 cell-derived IL-17 is dispensable for B cell antibody production 
Cytokine  2012;59(1):108-114.
IL-17, which is preferentially produced by Th17 cells, is important for host defense against pathogens and is also involved in the development of autoimmune and allergic disorders. Antibody (Ab) production was shown to be impaired in IL-17-deficient mice, suggesting that IL-17 may promote B cell activation and direct secretion of Ab. However, the precise role of IL-17 in Ab production by B cells remains unclear. In the present study, we found constitutive expression of IL-17R in murine splenic B cells. Nevertheless, IL-17, IL-17F or IL-25 alone could not induce Ab production by B cells even in the presence of agonistic anti-CD40 Ab. IL-17 also could not affect IFN-γ-, IL-4- or TGF-β1-mediated Ig class-switching. Furthermore, in cocultures of B cells and IL-17−/− CD4+ T cells or IL-17−/− Th17 cells, IL-17 deficiency did not influence Ab production by B cells in vitro, suggesting that Th17 cell-derived IL-17 was not required for B cell Ab production through T-B cell interaction in vitro. Thus, in vivo, IL-17 may be indirectly involved in Ab production by enhancing production of B cell activator(s) by other immune cells.
PMCID: PMC3746348  PMID: 22503615
interleukin-17; Th17 cells; B cells; antibody production
6.  Dietary Resveratrol Prevents the Development of Food Allergy in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44338.
Resveratrol is a bioactive polyphenol enriched in red wine that exhibits many beneficial health effects via multiple mechanisms. However, it is unclear whether resveratrol is beneficial for the prevention of food allergy. This study investigated whether resveratrol inhibited the development of food allergy by using a mouse model of the disease.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mice fed standard diet or standard diet plus resveratrol were sensitized by intragastric administration of ovalbumin (OVA) and mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT). Several manifestations of food allergy were then compared between the mice. The effects of resveratrol on T cells or dendritic cells were also examined by using splenocytes from OVA-specific T cell-receptor (TCR) transgenic DO11.10 mice or mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) in vitro. We found that mice fed resveratrol showed reduced OVA-specific serum IgE production, anaphylactic reaction, and OVA-induced IL-13 and IFN-ã production from the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) and spleens in comparison to the control mice, following oral sensitization with OVA plus CT. In addition, resveratrol inhibited OVA plus CT-induced IL-4, IL-13, and IFN-ã production in splenocytes from DO11.10 mice associated with inhibition of GATA-3 and T-bet expression. Furthermore, resveratrol suppressed the OVA plus CT-induced CD25 expression and IL-2 production in DO11.10 mice-splenocytes in association with decreases in CD80 and CD86 expression levels. Finally, resveratrol suppressed CT-induced cAMP elevation in association with decreases in CD80 and CD86 expression levels in BMDCs.
Ingestion of resveratrol prevented the development of a food allergy model in mice. Given the in vitro findings, resveratrol might do so by inhibiting DC maturation and subsequent early T cell activation and differentiation via downregulation of CT-induced cAMP activation in mice. These results suggest that resveratrol may have potential for prophylaxis against food allergy.
PMCID: PMC3433457  PMID: 22962611
7.  Paracrine IL-33 Stimulation Enhances Lipopolysaccharide-Mediated Macrophage Activation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18404.
IL-33, a member of the IL-1 family of cytokines, provokes Th2-type inflammation accompanied by accumulation of eosinophils through IL-33R, which consists of ST2 and IL-1RAcP. We previously demonstrated that macrophages produce IL-33 in response to LPS. Some immune responses were shown to differ between ST2-deficient mice and soluble ST2-Fc fusion protein-treated mice. Even in anti-ST2 antibody (Ab)-treated mice, the phenotypes differed between distinct Ab clones, because the characterization of such Abs (i.e., depletion, agonistic or blocking Abs) was unclear in some cases.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To elucidate the precise role of IL-33, we newly generated neutralizing monoclonal Abs for IL-33. Exogenous IL-33 potentiated LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages. That LPS-mediated cytokine production by macrophages was suppressed by inhibition of endogenous IL-33 by the anti-IL-33 neutralizing mAbs.
Our findings suggest that LPS-mediated macrophage activation is accelerated by macrophage-derived paracrine IL-33 stimulation.
PMCID: PMC3073971  PMID: 21494550
8.  Anti-T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-2 monoclonal antibody exacerbates collagen-induced arthritis by stimulating B cells 
T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-2 (TIM-2) has been shown to regulate CD4 T cell activation. However, the role of TIM-2 in the autoimmune disease models has not been clarified yet. In this study, we investigated the effects of anti-TIM-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) to determine whether TIM-2 contributes to the development of T helper (Th) 1 or Th17 cells and joint inflammation.
DBA/1 mice were treated with anti-TIM-2 mAbs during the early or late phase of CIA. Type II collagen (CII)-specific CD4 T-cell proliferative response and cytokine production were assessed from lymph node cell culture. The serum levels of CII-specific antibody were measured by ELISA. The expression of TIM-2 on CD4 T cells or B cells was determined by flow cytometric analysis.
Administration of anti-TIM-2 mAbs in early phase, but not late phase, significantly exacerbated the development of CIA. Although anti-TIM-2 mAbs treatment did not affect the development of Th1 or Th17 cells in the draining lymph node, the serum levels of anti-CII antibodies were significantly increased in the anti-TIM-2-treated mice. TIM-2 expression was found on splenic B cells and further up-regulated by anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)M, anti-CD40, and interleukin(IL)-4 stimulation. In contrast, CD4 T cells did not express TIM-2 even when stimulated with both anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 mAbs. Interestingly, anti-TIM-2 mAbs enhanced proliferation and antibody production of activated B cells in vitro.
TIM-2 signaling influences both proliferation and antibody production of B cells during the early phase of CIA, but not induction of Th1 or Th17 cells.
PMCID: PMC3132034  PMID: 21426565
9.  TIM1 is an endogenous ligand for LMIR5/CD300b: LMIR5 deficiency ameliorates mouse kidney ischemia/reperfusion injury 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(7):1501-1511.
Leukocyte mono-immunoglobulin (Ig)–like receptor 5 (LMIR5)/CD300b is a DAP12-coupled activating receptor predominantly expressed in myeloid cells. The ligands for LMIR have not been reported. We have identified T cell Ig mucin 1 (TIM1) as a possible ligand for LMIR5 by retrovirus-mediated expression cloning. TIM1 interacted only with LMIR5 among the LMIR family, whereas LMIR5 interacted with TIM4 as well as TIM1. The Ig-like domain of LMIR5 bound to TIM1 in the vicinity of the phosphatidylserine (PS)-binding site within the Ig-like domain of TIM1. Unlike its binding to TIM1 or TIM4, LMIR5 failed to bind to PS. LMIR5 binding did not affect TIM1- or TIM4-mediated phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, and stimulation with TIM1 or TIM4 induced LMIR5-mediated activation of mast cells. Notably, LMIR5 deficiency suppressed TIM1-Fc–induced recruitment of neutrophils in the dorsal air pouch, and LMIR5 deficiency attenuated neutrophil accumulation in a model of ischemia/reperfusion injury in the kidneys in which TIM1 expression is up-regulated. In that model, LMIR5 deficiency resulted in ameliorated tubular necrosis and cast formation in the acute phase. Collectively, our results indicate that TIM1 is an endogenous ligand for LMIR5 and that the TIM1–LMIR5 interaction plays a physiological role in immune regulation by myeloid cells.
PMCID: PMC2901072  PMID: 20566714
10.  NKG2A inhibits iNKT cell activation in hepatic injury1 
Activation of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells in the liver is generally regarded as the critical step for concanavallin A (Con A)-induced hepatitis, and the role of NK cell receptors for iNKT cell activation is still controversial. Here we show that blockade of the NKG2A-mediated inhibitory signal with antagonistic anti-NKG2A/C/E mAb (20d5) aggravated Con A-induced hepatitis in wild-type, Fas ligand (FasL)-mutant gld, and IL-4-deficient mice even with NK cell- and CD8 T cell-depletion, but not in perforin-, IFN-γ-, or IFN-γ- and perforin-deficient mice. Consistently, 20d5 pre-treatment augmented serum IFN-γ levels and perforin-dependent cytotoxicity of liver mononuclear cells following Con A injection, but not their FasL/Fas-dependent cytotoxicity. However, blockade of NKG2A-mediated signals during the cytotoxicity effector phase did not augment cytotoxic activity. Activated iNKT cells promptly disappeared after Con A injection, while NK1− iNKT cells, that preferentially expressed CD94/NKG2A, predominantly remained in the liver. Pre-treatment with 20d5 appeared to facilitate disappearance of iNKT cell, particularly NK1− iNKT cells. Moreover, Con A-induced and α-galactosylceramide-induced hepatic injury was very severe in CD94/NKG2A-deficient DBA/2J mice compared with CD94/NKG2A-intact DBA/2JJcl mice. Overall, these results indicated that NKG2A-mediated signal negatively regulates iNKT cell activation and hepatic injury.
PMCID: PMC2841747  PMID: 19109156
Rodent; Natural Killer cells; Cell activation
11.  The Plasminogen Fibrinolytic Pathway Is Required for Hematopoietic Regeneration 
Cell stem cell  2007;1(6):658-670.
Hematopoietic stem cells within the bone marrow exist in a quiescent state. They can differentiate and proliferate in response to hematopoietic stress (e.g., myelosuppression), thereby ensuring a well-regulated supply of mature and immature hematopoietic cells within the circulation. However, little is known about how this stress response is coordinated. Here, we show that plasminogen (Plg), a classical fibrinolytic factor, is a key player in controlling this stress response. Deletion of Plg in mice prevented hematopoietic stem cells from entering the cell cycle and undergoing multilineage differentiation after myelosuppression, leading to the death of the mice. Activation of Plg by administration of tissue-type plasminogen activator promoted matrix metalloproteinase-mediated release of Kit ligand from stromal cells, thereby promoting hematopoietic progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation. Thus, activation of the fibrinolytic cascade is a critical step in regulating the hematopoietic stress response.
PMCID: PMC2646407  PMID: 18371407
12.  Immunomodulating Activity of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 in Mice and in Human Volunteers 
We performed studies on murine models and human volunteers to examine the immunoenhancing effects of the naturally outdoor-cultivated fruit body of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 (i.e. Agaricus blazei). Antitumor, leukocyte-enhancing, hepatopathy-alleviating and endotoxin shock-alleviating effects were found in mice. In the human study, percentage body fat, percentage visceral fat, blood cholesterol level and blood glucose level were decreased, and natural killer cell activity was increased. Taken together, the results strongly suggest that the A. brasiliensis fruit body is useful as a health-promoting food.
PMCID: PMC2396466  PMID: 18604247
A. brasiliensis; clinical research; cold water extract; NK activity;  outdoor-cultivated; safety
13.  Attenuated Disease in SIV-Infected Macaques Treated with a Monoclonal Antibody against FasL 
Acute SIVmac infection in macaques is accompanied by high levels of plasma viremia that decline with the appearance of viral immunity and is a model for acute HIV disease in man. Despite specific immune responses, the virus establishes a chronic, persistent infection. The destruction of CD4+ and CD4- lymphocyte subsets in macaques contributes to viral persistence and suggests the importance of mechanisms for depleting both infected and uninfected (bystander) cells. Bystander cell killing can occur when FasL binds the Fas receptor on activated lymphocytes, which include T and B cell subpopulations that are responding to the infection. Destruction of specific immune cells could be an important mechanism for blunting viral immunity and establishing persistent infection with chronic disease. We inhibited the Fas pathway in vivo with a monoclonal antibody against FasL (RNOK203). Here we show that treatment with anti-FasL reduced cell death in circulating T and B cells, increased CTL and antibody responses to viral proteins, and lowered the setpoint viremia. By blocking FasL during only the first few weeks after infection, we attenuated SIVmac disease and increased the life span for infected and treated macaques.
PMCID: PMC2248700  PMID: 18317535
14.  Low-dose irradiation promotes tissue revascularization through VEGF release from mast cells and MMP-9–mediated progenitor cell mobilization 
Mast cells accumulate in tissues undergoing angiogenesis during tumor growth, wound healing, and tissue repair. Mast cells can secrete angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Ionizing irradiation has also been shown to have angiogenic potential in malignant and nonmalignant diseases. We observed that low-dose irradiation fosters mast cell–dependent vascular regeneration in a limb ischemia model. Irradiation promoted VEGF production by mast cells in a matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9)–dependent manner. Irradiation, through MMP-9 up-regulated by VEGF in stromal and endothelial cells, induced the release of Kit-ligand (KitL). Irradiation-induced VEGF promoted migration of mast cells from the bone marrow to the ischemic site. Irradiation-mediated release of KitL and VEGF was impaired in MMP-9–deficient mice, resulting in a reduced number of tissue mast cells and delayed vessel formation in the ischemic limb. Irradiation-induced vasculogenesis was abrogated in mice deficient in mast cells (steel mutant, Sl/Sld mice) and in mice in which the VEGF pathway was blocked. Irradiation did not induce progenitor mobilization in Sl/Sld mice. We conclude that increased recruitment and activation of mast cells following irradiation alters the ischemic microenvironment and promotes vascular regeneration in an ischemia model. These data show a novel mechanism of neovascularization and suggest that low-dose irradiation may be used for therapeutic angiogenesis to augment vasculogenesis in ischemic tissues.
PMCID: PMC2212942  PMID: 16157686
15.  Immune Responses against a Single CD8+-T-Cell Epitope Induced by Virus Vector Vaccination Can Successfully Control Trypanosoma cruzi Infection  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(11):7356-7365.
In order to develop CD8+-T-cell-mediated immunotherapy against intracellular infectious agents, vaccination using recombinant virus vectors has become a promising strategy. In this study, we generated recombinant adenoviral and vaccinia virus vectors expressing a single CD8+-T-cell epitope, ANYNFTLV, which is derived from a Trypanosoma cruzi antigen. Immunogenicity of these two recombinant virus vectors was confirmed by the detection of ANYNFTLV-specific CD8+ T cells in the spleens of immunized mice. Priming/boosting immunization using combinations of these two recombinant virus vectors revealed that the adenovirus vector was efficient for priming and the vaccinia virus vector was effective for boosting the CD8+-T-cell responses. Moreover, we also demonstrated that the ANYNFTLV-specific CD8+-T-cell responses were further augmented by coadministration of recombinant vaccinia virus vector expressing the receptor activator of NFκB (RANK) ligand as an adjuvant. By priming with the adenovirus vector expressing ANYNFTLV and boosting with the vaccinia virus vectors expressing ANYNFTLV and RANK ligand, the immunized mice were efficiently protected from subsequent challenge with lethal doses of T. cruzi. These results indicated, for the first time, that the induction of immune responses against a single CD8+-T-cell epitope derived from an intrinsic T. cruzi antigen was sufficient to control lethal T. cruzi infection.
PMCID: PMC1273883  PMID: 16239534
16.  Renal allograft rejection is prevented by adoptive transfer of anergic T cells in nonhuman primates 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2005;115(7):1896-1902.
Anergic T cells generated ex vivo are reported to have immunosuppressive effects in vitro and in vivo. Here, we tested this concept in nonhuman primates. Alloreactive T cells were rendered anergic ex vivo by coculture with donor alloantigen in the presence of anti-CD80/CD86 mAbs before adoptive transfer via renal allograft to rhesus monkey recipients. The recipients were briefly treated with cyclophosphamide and cyclosporine A during the preparation of the anergic cells. Thirteen days after renal transplantation, the anergic T cells were transferred to the recipient, after which no further immunosuppressive agents were administered. Rejection-free survival was prolonged in all treated recipients, and 3 of 6 animals survived long term (410–880 days at study’s end). In the long-surviving recipients, proliferative responses against alloantigen were inhibited in a donor-specific manner, and donor-type, but not third-party, skin allografts were also accepted, which demonstrated that antigen-specific tolerance had been induced. We conclude that anergic T cells generated ex vivo by blocking CD28/B7 costimulation can suppress renal allograft rejection after adoptive transfer in nonhuman primates. This strategy may be applicable to the design of safe clinical trials in humans.
PMCID: PMC1143588  PMID: 15951837
17.  Induction of Tumor-specific T Cell Immunity by Anti-DR5 Antibody Therapy 
Because tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) preferentially induces apoptosis in tumor cells and plays a critical role in tumor surveillance, its receptor is an attractive target for antibody-mediated tumor therapy. Here we report that a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the mouse TRAIL receptor, DR5, exhibited potent antitumor effects against TRAIL-sensitive tumor cells in vivo by recruiting Fc receptor–expressing innate immune cells, with no apparent systemic toxicity. Administration of the agonistic anti-DR5 mAb also significantly inhibited experimental and spontaneous tumor metastases. Notably, the anti-DR5 mAb-mediated tumor rejection by innate immune cells efficiently evoked tumor-specific T cell immunity that could also eradicate TRAIL-resistant variants. These results suggested that the antibody-based therapy targeting DR5 is an efficient strategy not only to eliminate TRAIL-sensitive tumor cells, but also to induce tumor-specific T cell memory that affords a long-term protection from tumor recurrence.
PMCID: PMC2211825  PMID: 14769851
apoptosis; macrophage; NK cells; CTL; TRAIL
18.  CAM and NK Cells 
It is believed that tumor development, outgrowth and metastasis are under the surveillance of the immune system. Although both innate and acquired immune systems play roles, innate immunity is the spearhead against tumors. Recent studies have revealed the critical role of natural killer (NK) cells in immune surveillance and that NK cell activity is considerably influenced by various agents, such as environmental factors, stress, foods and drugs. Some of these NK cell stimulants have been used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) since ancient times. Therefore, the value of CAM should be re-evaluated from this point of view. In this review, we overview the intimate correlation between NK cell functions and CAM agents, and discuss possible underlying mechanisms mediating this. In particular, neuro-immune crosstalk and receptors for CAM agents are the most important and interesting candidates for such mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC442116  PMID: 15257322
β-glucan; lectin; NK cell receptor; nerve-immune crosstalk; tumor
19.  Nonredundant Roles for CD1d-restricted Natural Killer T Cells and Conventional CD4+ T Cells in the Induction of Immunoglobulin E Antibodies in Response to Interleukin 18 Treatment of Mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2003;197(8):997-1005.
Interleukin (IL)-18 synergizes with IL-12 to promote T helper cell (Th)1 responses. Somewhat paradoxically, IL-18 administration alone strongly induces immunoglobulin (Ig)E production and allergic inflammation, indicating a role for IL-18 in the generation of Th2 responses. The ability of IL-18 to induce IgE is dependent on CD4+ T cells, IL-4, and signal transducer and activator of transcription (stat)6. Here, we show that IL-18 fails to induce IgE both in CD1d−/− mice that lack natural killer T (NKT) cells and in class II−/− mice that lack conventional CD4+ T cells. However, class II−/− mice reconstituted with conventional CD4+ T cells show the capacity to produce IgE in response to IL-18. NKT cells express high levels of IL-18 receptor (R)α chain and produce significant amounts of IL-4, IL-9, and IL-13, and induce CD40 ligand expression in response to IL-2 and IL-18 stimulation in vitro. In contrast, conventional CD4+ T cells express low levels of IL-18Rα and poorly respond to IL-2 and IL-18. Nevertheless, conventional CD4+ T cells are essential for B cell IgE responses after the administration of IL-18. These findings indicate that NKT cells might be the major source of IL-4 in response to IL-18 administration and that conventional CD4+ T cells demonstrate their helper function in the presence of NKT cells.
PMCID: PMC2193873  PMID: 12695491
IL-18R; CD4+ NK1.1+ T cells; Th2 cytokines; CD40 ligand; allergy
20.  Critical Contribution of CD28-CD80/CD86 Costimulatory Pathway to Protection from Trypanosoma cruzi Infection  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(6):3131-3137.
The CD28-CD80/CD86-mediated T-cell costimulatory pathway has been variably implicated in infectious immunity. In this study, we investigated the role of this costimulatory pathway in resistance to Trypanosoma cruzi infection by using CD28-deficient mice and blocking antibodies against CD80 and CD86. CD28-deficient mice exhibited markedly exacerbated T. cruzi infection, as evidenced by unrelenting parasitemia and 100% mortality after infection with doses that are nonlethal in wild-type mice. The blockade of both CD80 and CD86 by administering specific monoclonal antibodies also exacerbated T. cruzi infection in wild-type mice. Splenocytes from T. cruzi-infected, CD28-deficient mice exhibited greatly impaired gamma interferon production in response to T. cruzi antigen stimulation in vitro compared to those from infected wild-type mice. The induction of T. cruzi antigen-specific CD8+ T cells was also impaired in T. cruzi-infected, CD28-deficient mice. In addition to these defects in natural protection against T. cruzi infection, CD28-deficient mice were also defective in the induction of CD8+-T-cell-mediated protective immunity against T. cruzi infection by DNA vaccination. These results demonstrate, for the first time, a critical contribution of the CD28-CD80/CD86 costimulatory pathway not only to natural protection against primary T. cruzi infection but also to DNA vaccine-induced protective immunity to Chagas' disease.
PMCID: PMC155781  PMID: 12761091
21.  Activation of Natural Killer T Cells by α-Galactosylceramide Impairs DNA Vaccine-Induced Protective Immunity against Trypanosoma cruzi  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(3):1234-1241.
Innate immunity as a first defense is indispensable for host survival against infectious agents. We examined the roles of natural killer (NK) T cells in defense against Trypanosoma cruzi infection. The T. cruzi parasitemia and survival of CD1d-deficient mice exhibited no differences compared to wild-type littermates. NK T-cell activation induced by administering α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) to T. cruzi-infected mice significantly changed the parasitemia only in the late phase of infection and slightly improved survival when mice were infected intraperitoneally. The combined usage of α-GalCer and benznidazole, a commercially available drug for Chagas' disease, did not enhance the therapeutic efficacy of benznidazole. These results suggest that NK T cells do not play a pivotal role in resistance to T. cruzi infection. In addition, we found that the coadministration of α-GalCer with DNA vaccine impaired the induction of epitope-specific CD8+ T cells and undermined the DNA vaccine-induced protective immunity against T. cruzi. Our results, in contrast to previous reports demonstrating the protective roles of NK T cells against other infectious agents, suggest that these cells might even exhibit adverse effects on vaccine-mediated protective immunity.
PMCID: PMC148846  PMID: 12595437
22.  Coadministration of an Interleukin-12 Gene and a Trypanosoma cruzi Gene Improves Vaccine Efficacy  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(9):4833-4840.
We tested the immunogenicity of two Trypanosoma cruzi antigens injected into mice in the form of DNA vaccine. Immunization with DNA encoding dihydroorotate dehydrogenase did not confer protective immunity in all mouse strains tested. Immunization with DNA encoding trans-sialidase surface antigen (TSSA) protected C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice but not BALB/c (H-2d) or C3H/Hej (H-2k) mice against lethal T. cruzi infection. In vivo depletion of CD4+ or CD8+ T cells abolished the protective immunity elicited by TSSA gene in C57BL/6 mice. Enzyme-linked immunospot assay with splenocytes from T. cruzi-infected mice or TSSA gene-vaccinated mice identified an H-2Kb-restricted antigenic peptide, ANYNFTLV. The CD8+-T-cell line specific for this peptide could recognize T. cruzi-infected cells in vitro and could protect naive mice from lethal infection when adoptively transferred. Coadministration of the interleukin-12 (IL-12) gene with the TSSA gene facilitated the induction of ANYNFTLV-specific CD8+ T cells and improved the vaccine efficacy against lethal T. cruzi infection. These results reinforced the utility of immunomodulatory adjuvants such as IL-12 gene for eliciting protective immunity against intracellular parasites by DNA vaccination.
PMCID: PMC128276  PMID: 12183527
23.  Critical Role for Tumor Necrosis Factor–related Apoptosis-inducing Ligand in Immune Surveillance Against Tumor Development 
Natural killer (NK) cells and interferon (IFN)-γ have been implicated in immune surveillance against tumor development. Here we show that tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) plays a critical role in the NK cell–mediated and IFN-γ–dependent tumor surveillance. Administration of neutralizing monoclonal antibody against TRAIL promoted tumor development in mice subcutaneously inoculated with a chemical carcinogen methylcholanthrene (MCA). This protective effect of TRAIL was at least partly mediated by NK cells and totally dependent on IFN-γ. In the absence of TRAIL, NK cells, or IFN-γ, TRAIL-sensitive sarcomas preferentially emerged in MCA-inoculated mice. Moreover, development of spontaneous tumors in p53+/− mice was also promoted by neutralization of TRAIL. These results indicated a substantial role of TRAIL as an effector molecule that eliminates developing tumors.
PMCID: PMC2193611  PMID: 11805143
NK cells; IFN-γ; methylcholanthrene-induced fibrosarcoma; p53; innate immune response
24.  Differential responses of mast cell Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 in allergy and innate immunity 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2002;109(10):1351-1359.
Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 play important roles in the early innate immune response to microbial challenge. To clarify the functional roles of TLRs 2 and 4 in mast cells, we examined bone marrow–derived mast cells (BMMCs) from TLR2 or TLR4 gene-targeted mice. Peptidoglycan (PGN) from Staphylococcus aureus stimulated mast cells in a TLR2-dependent manner to produce TNF-α, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13, but not IL-1β. In contrast, LPS from Escherichia coli stimulated mast cells in a TLR4-dependent manner to produce TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-13, but not IL-4 nor IL-5. Furthermore, TLR2- but not TLR4-dependent mast cell stimulation resulted in mast cell degranulation and Ca2+ mobilization. In a mast cell–dependent model of acute sepsis, TLR4 deficiency of BMMCs in mice resulted in significantly higher mortality because of defective neutrophil recruitment and production of proinflammatory cytokines in the peritoneal cavity. Intradermal injection of PGN led to increased vasodilatation and inflammation through TLR2-dependent activation of mast cells in the skin. Taken together, these results suggest that direct activation of mast cells via TLR2 or TLR4 by respective microligands contributes to innate and allergic immune responses.
PMCID: PMC150977  PMID: 12021251
25.  Tumor Necrosis Factor–Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (Trail) Contributes to Interferon γ–Dependent Natural Killer Cell Protection from Tumor Metastasis 
Tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is expressed by in vitro activated natural killer (NK) cells, but the relevance of this observation to the biological function of NK cells has been unclear. Herein, we have demonstrated the in vivo induction of mouse TRAIL expression on various tissue NK cells and correlated NK cell activation with TRAIL-mediated antimetastatic function in vivo. Expression of TRAIL was only constitutive on a subset of liver NK cells, and innate NK cell control of Renca carcinoma hepatic metastases in the liver was partially TRAIL dependent. Administration of therapeutic doses of interleukin (IL)-12, a powerful inducer of interferon (IFN)-γ production by NK cells and NKT cells, upregulated TRAIL expression on liver, spleen, and lung NK cells, and IL-12 suppressed metastases in both liver and lung in a TRAIL-dependent fashion. By contrast, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), a powerful inducer of NKT cell IFN-γ and IL-4 secretion, suppressed both liver and lung metastases but only stimulated NK cell TRAIL-mediated function in the liver. TRAIL expression was not detected on NK cells from IFN-γ–deficient mice and TRAIL-mediated antimetastatic effects of IL-12 and α-GalCer were strictly IFN-γ dependent. These results indicated that TRAIL induction on NK cells plays a critical role in IFN-γ–mediated antimetastatic effects of IL-12 and α-GalCer.
PMCID: PMC2193421  PMID: 11257133
rodent; tumor immunity; in vivo animal models; immunotherapy; interleukin 12

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