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1.  Nucleotide-oligomerizing domain-1 (NOD1) receptor activation induces pro-inflammatory responses and autophagy in human alveolar macrophages 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14(1):152.
Nucleotide-binding oligomerizing domain-1 (NOD1) is a cytoplasmic receptor involved in recognizing bacterial peptidoglycan fragments that localize to the cytosol. NOD1 activation triggers inflammation, antimicrobial mechanisms and autophagy in both epithelial cells and murine macrophages. NOD1 mediates intracellular pathogen clearance in the lungs of mice; however, little is known about NOD1’s role in human alveolar macrophages (AMs) or its involvement in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection.
AMs, monocytes (MNs), and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) from healthy subjects were assayed for NOD1 expression. Cells were stimulated with the NOD1 ligand Tri-DAP and cytokine production and autophagy were assessed. Cells were infected with Mtb and treated with Tri-DAP post-infection. CFUs counting determined growth control, and autophagy protein recruitment to pathogen localization sites was analyzed by immunoelectron microscopy.
NOD1 was expressed in AMs, MDMs and to a lesser extent MNs. Tri-DAP stimulation induced NOD1 up-regulation and a significant production of IL1β, IL6, IL8, and TNFα in AMs and MDMs; however, the level of NOD1-dependent response in MNs was limited. Autophagy activity determined by expression of proteins Atg9, LC3, IRGM and p62 degradation was induced in a NOD1-dependent manner in AMs and MDMs but not in MNs. Infected AMs could be activated by stimulation with Tri-DAP to control the intracellular growth of Mtb. In addition, recruitment of NOD1 and the autophagy proteins IRGM and LC3 to the Mtb localization site was observed in infected AMs after treatment with Tri-DAP.
NOD1 is involved in AM and MDM innate responses, which include proinflammatory cytokines and autophagy, with potential implications in the killing of Mtb in humans.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-152) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4190423  PMID: 25253572
Human alveolar macrophages; Innate immunity; NOD1; IRGM; LC3; Autophagy; Mycobacterium tuberculosis
2.  Humoral and cellular responses to a non-adjuvanted monovalent H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine in hospital employees 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:544.
The efficacy of the H1N1 influenza vaccine relies on the induction of both humoral and cellular responses. This study evaluated the humoral and cellular responses to a monovalent non-adjuvanted pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine in occupationally exposed subjects who were previously vaccinated with a seasonal vaccine.
Sixty healthy workers from a respiratory disease hospital were recruited. Sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained prior to and 1 month after vaccination with a non-adjuvanted monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine (Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine Panenza, Sanofi Pasteur). Antibody titers against the pandemic A/H1N1 influenza virus were measured via hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralization assays. Antibodies against the seasonal HA1 were assessed by ELISA. The frequency of IFN-γ-producing cells as well as CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation specific to the pandemic virus A/H1N peptides, seasonal H1N1 peptides and seasonal H3N2 peptides were assessed using ELISPOT and flow cytometry.
At baseline, 6.7% of the subjects had seroprotective antibody titers. The seroconversion rate was 48.3%, and the seroprotection rate was 66.7%. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) were significantly increased (from 6.8 to 64.9, p < 0.05). Forty-nine percent of the subjects had basal levels of specific IFN-γ-producing T cells to the pandemic A/H1N1 peptides that were unchanged post-vaccination. CD4+ T cell proliferation in response to specific pandemic A/H1N1 virus peptides was also unchanged; in contrast, the antigen-specific proliferation of CD8+ T cells significantly increased post-vaccination.
Our results indicate that a cellular immune response that is cross-reactive to pandemic influenza antigens may be present in populations exposed to the circulating seasonal influenza virus prior to pandemic or seasonal vaccination. Additionally, we found that the pandemic vaccine induced a significant increase in CD8+ T cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3835617  PMID: 24238117
Pandemic influenza; H1N1; Vaccine; Cellular response; Proliferation; Humoral response
3.  High glucose concentrations induce TNF-α production through the down-regulation of CD33 in primary human monocytes 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:19.
CD33 is a membrane receptor containing a lectin domain and a cytoplasmic immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) that is able to inhibit cytokine production. CD33 is expressed by monocytes, and reduced expression of CD33 correlates with augmented production of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-8. However, the role of CD33 in the inflammation associated with hyperglycemia and diabetes is unknown. Therefore, we studied CD33 expression and inflammatory cytokine secretion in freshly isolated monocytes from patients with type 2 diabetes. To evaluate the effects of hyperglycemia, monocytes from healthy donors were cultured with different glucose concentrations (15-50 mmol/l D-glucose), and CD33 expression and inflammatory cytokine production were assessed. The expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling protein-3 (SOCS-3) and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were also evaluated to address the cellular mechanisms involved in the down-regulation of CD33.
CD33 expression was significantly decreased in monocytes from patients with type 2 diabetes, and higher levels of TNF-α, IL-8 and IL-12p70 were detected in the plasma of patients compared to healthy donors. Under high glucose conditions, CD33 protein and mRNA expression was significantly decreased, whereas spontaneous TNF-α secretion and SOCS-3 mRNA expression were increased in monocytes from healthy donors. Furthermore, the down-regulation of CD33 and increase in TNF-α production were prevented when monocytes were treated with the antioxidant α-tocopherol and cultured under high glucose conditions.
Our results suggest that hyperglycemia down-regulates CD33 expression and triggers the spontaneous secretion of TNF-α by peripheral monocytes. This phenomenon involves the generation of ROS and the up-regulation of SOCS-3. These observations support the importance of blood glucose control for maintaining innate immune function and suggest the participation of CD33 in the inflammatory profile associated with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3353220  PMID: 22500980
Antioxidant; Cytokines; Monocytes; ROS; Siaglec-3; Type 2 diabetes
4.  Differential expression of Toll-like receptors on human alveolar macrophages and autologous peripheral monocytes 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):2.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critical components in the regulation of pulmonary immune responses and the recognition of respiratory pathogens such as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (M.tb). Through examination of human alveolar macrophages this study attempts to better define the expression profiles of TLR2, TLR4 and TLR9 in the human lung compartment which are as yet still poorly defined.
Sixteen healthy subjects underwent venipuncture, and eleven subjects underwent additional bronchoalveolar lavage to obtain peripheral blood mononuclear and bronchoalveolar cells, respectively. Surface and intracellular expression of TLRs was assessed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and qRT-PCR. Cells were stimulated with TLR-specific ligands and cytokine production assessed by ELISA and cytokine bead array.
Surface expression of TLR2 was significantly lower on alveolar macrophages than on blood monocytes (1.2 ± 0.4% vs. 57 ± 11.1%, relative mean fluorescence intensity [rMFI]: 0.9 ± 0.1 vs. 3.2 ± 0.1, p < 0.05). The proportion of TLR4 and TLR9-expressing cells and the rMFIs of TLR4 were comparable between alveolar macrophages and monocytes. The surface expression of TLR9 however, was higher on alveolar macrophages than on monocytes (rMFI, 218.4 ± 187.3 vs. 4.4 ± 1.4, p < 0.05) while the intracellular expression of the receptor and the proportion of TLR9 positive cells were similar in both cell types. TLR2, TLR4 and TLR9 mRNA expression was lower in bronchoalveolar cells than in monocytes.
Pam3Cys, LPS, and M.tb DNA upregulated TLR2, TLR4 and TLR9 mRNA in both, bronchoalveolar cells and monocytes. Corresponding with the reduced surface and mRNA expression of TLR2, Pam3Cys induced lower production of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in bronchoalveolar cells than in monocytes. Despite comparable expression of TLR4 on both cell types, LPS induced higher levels of IL-10 in monocytes than in alveolar macrophages. M.tb DNA, the ligand for TLR9, induced similar levels of cytokines in both cell types.
The TLR expression profile of autologous human alveolar macrophages and monocytes is not identical, therefore perhaps contributing to compartmentalized immune responses in the lungs and systemically. These dissimilarities may have important implications for the design and efficacy evaluation of vaccines with TLR-stimulating adjuvants that target the respiratory tract.
PMCID: PMC2817655  PMID: 20051129
5.  Compartmentalized Bronchoalveolar IFN-γ and IL-12 Response in Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis 
Human tuberculosis (TB) principally involves the lungs, where local immunity impacts on the load of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). Because concomitants of local Th1 immunity are still under-explored in humans, we characterized immune responses in bronchoalveolar cells (BAC) and systemically in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in persons with active pulmonary TB and in healthy community controls. PPD and live M.tb-induced IFN-γ-production was observed in CD4+, CD8+, γδ TCR+, and CD56+ alveolar T cell subpopulations and NK cells (CD3−CD56+). IFN-γ-producing CD4+ T cells (mostly CD45RO+) were more abundant (p<0.05). M.tb-induced IL-12p70, but interestingly also IL-4, were increased (p<0.05) in BAC from TB patients. Constitutive expression of IL-12Rβ1 and IL-12Rβ2 mRNA in BAC and PBMC and IFN-γR1 in BAC was similar in both study groups. Data were normalized to account for differences between the study groups in proportions of alveolar T cells and macrophages. IFN-γ production and its induction by IL-12R engagement occur virtually unimpaired in the bronchoalveolar spaces of patients with pulmonary TB. The reasons for the apparent failure of M. tuberculosis growth control during active pulmonary TB disease may be several including the expression of locally active immunosuppressive mechanisms that subvert the antimycobacterial effects of IFN-γ.
PMCID: PMC2653281  PMID: 18848499
Human pulmonary tuberculosis; BAL cells; interferon gamma; interleukin 12; interleukin 4
6.  Expression of Cathelicidin LL-37 during Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Human Alveolar Macrophages, Monocytes, Neutrophils, and Epithelial Cells▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;76(3):935-941.
The innate immune response in human tuberculosis is not completely understood. To improve our knowledge regarding the role of cathelicidin hCAP-18/LL37 in the innate immune response to tuberculosis infection, we used immunohistochemistry, immunoelectron microscopy, and gene expression to study the induction and production of the antimicrobial peptide in A549 epithelial cells, alveolar macrophages (AM), neutrophils, and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) after infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We demonstrated that mycobacterial infection induced the expression and production of LL-37 in all cells studied, with AM being the most efficient. We did not detect peptide expression in tuberculous granulomas, suggesting that LL-37 participates only during early infection. Through the study of Toll-like receptors (TLR) in MDM, we showed that LL-37 can be induced by stimulation through TLR-2, TLR-4, and TLR-9. This last TLR was strongly stimulated by M. tuberculosis DNA. We concluded that LL-37 may have an important role in the innate immune response against M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC2258801  PMID: 18160480
7.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis Growth Control by Lung Macrophages and CD8 Cells from Patient Contacts 
Rationale: Healthy household contacts (HHCs) of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis are exposed aerogenically to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), thus permitting the study of protective local immunity.
Objectives: To assess alveolar macrophage (AM) and autologous blood CD4 and CD8 T-cell–mediated Mtb growth control in HHCs and healthy, unexposed community control subjects (CCs).
Methods: AMs were infected with Mtb strains H37Ra and H37Rv at multiplicities of infection 0.1 and 1. Mtb colony-forming units were evaluated on Days 1, 4, and 7.
Main Results: CD8 T cells from HHCs in 1:1 cocultures with AMs significantly (p < 0.05) increased Mtb growth control by AMs. In CCs, no detectable contribution of CD8 T cells to Mtb growth control was observed. CD4 T cells did not increase Mtb growth control in HHCs or in CCs. IFN-γ, nitric oxide, and tumor necrosis factor were determined as potential mediators of Mtb growth control in AMs and AM/CD8 and AM/CD4 cocultures. IFN-γ production in AM/CD4 was twofold higher than that in AM/CD8 cocultures in both HHCs and CCs (p < 0.05). Nitric oxide production from AMs of HHCs increased on Days 4 and 7 and was undetectable in AMs from CCs. IFN-γ and nitric acid concentrations and Mtb growth control were not correlated. Tumor necrosis factor levels were significantly increased in AM/CD8 cocultures from HHCs compared with AM/CD8 cocultures from CCs (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Aerogenic exposure to Mtb in HHCs leads to expansion of Mtb–specific effector CD8 T cells that limit Mtb growth in autologous AMs.
PMCID: PMC2662991  PMID: 16210664
interferon type II; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; nitric oxide; T lymphocytes, effector; macrophages, alveolar
8.  Human β-Defensin 2 Is Expressed and Associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis during Infection of Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(8):4505-4511.
To determine the role of human β-defensin 2 (HBD-2) in human tuberculosis, we studied the in vitro induction of HBD-2 gene expression by Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv infection in the human lung epithelial cell line A549, in alveolar macrophages (AM), and in blood monocytes (MN) by reverse transcription-PCR. We also studied the induction of HBD-2 gene expression by mannose lipoarabinomannan (manLAM) from M. tuberculosis. Intracellular production of HBD-2 peptide was detected by immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy. Our results demonstrated that there was induction of HBD-2 mRNA in A549 cells after infection with M. tuberculosis at various multiplicities of infection (MOI) and that there was stimulation with manLAM. AM expressed the HBD-2 gene only at a high MOI with M. tuberculosis. MN did not express HBD-2 at any of the experimental M. tuberculosis MOI. Immunostaining revealed the presence of intracellular HBD-2 peptide in A549 cells following infection with M. tuberculosis, and the staining was more intense in areas where there were M. tuberculosis clusters. By using electron microscopy we also demonstrated production of HBD-2 after M. tuberculosis infection and adherence of HBD-2 to the membranes of M. tuberculosis. Alveolar epithelial cells are among the first cells to encounter M. tuberculosis following aerogenic infection. As HBD-2 has been shown to control growth of M. tuberculosis and has chemotactic activity, our results suggest that HBD-2 induction by M. tuberculosis may have a role in the pathogenesis of human tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC1201238  PMID: 16040961
9.  Cytokine Profiles for Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes from Patients with Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Healthy Household Contacts in Response to the 30-Kilodalton Antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(1):176-180.
Patients with active tuberculosis (TB) have a stronger humoral but a poorer cellular immune response to the secreted 30-kDa antigen (Ag) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis than do healthy household contacts (HHC), who presumably are more protected against disease. The basis for this observation was studied by examining the Th1 (interleukin 2 [IL-2] and gamma interferon [IFN-γ])- and Th2 (IL-10 and IL-4)-type cytokines produced in response to the 30-kDa Ag by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with active pulmonary TB (n = 7) and from HHC who were tuberculin (purified protein derivative) skin test positive (n = 12). Thirty-kilodalton-Ag-stimulated PBMC from TB patients produced significantly lower levels of IFN-γ (none detectable) than did those from HHC (212 ± 73 pg/ml, mean ± standard error) (P < 0.001). Likewise, 30-kDa-Ag-stimulated PBMC from TB patients failed to express IFN-γ mRNA by reverse transcription-PCR, whereas cells from HHC expressed the IFN-γ gene. In contrast, 30-kDa-Ag-stimulated PBMC from TB patients produced significantly higher levels of IL-10 (403 ± 80 pg/ml) than did those from HHC (187 ± 66 pg/ml) (P < 0.013), although cells from both groups expressed the IL-10 gene. IL-2 and IL-4 were not consistently produced, and their genes were not expressed by 30-kDa-Ag-stimulated cells from either TB patients or HHC. After treatment with antituberculous drugs, lymphocytes from four of the seven TB patients proliferated and three of them expressed IFN-γ mRNA in response to the 30-kDa Ag and produced decreased levels of IL-10.
PMCID: PMC107874  PMID: 9423855

Results 1-9 (9)