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1.  Intranasal immunization with plasmid DNA encoding spike protein of SARS-coronavirus/polyethylenimine nanoparticles elicits antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:65.
Immunization with the spike protein (S) of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus (CoV) in mice is known to produce neutralizing antibodies and to prevent the infection caused by SARS-CoV. Polyethylenimine 25K (PEI) is a cationic polymer which effectively delivers the plasmid DNA.
In the present study, the immune responses of BALB/c mice immunized via intranasal (i.n.) route with SARS DNA vaccine (pci-S) in a PEI/pci-S complex form have been examined. The size of the PEI/pci-S nanoparticles appeared to be around 194.7 ± 99.3 nm, and the expression of the S mRNA and protein was confirmed in vitro. The mice immunized with i.n. PEI/pci-S nanoparticles produced significantly (P < 0.05) higher S-specific IgG1 in the sera and mucosal secretory IgA in the lung wash than those in mice treated with pci-S alone. Compared to those in mice challenged with pci-S alone, the number of B220+ cells found in PEI/pci-S vaccinated mice was elevated. Co-stimulatory molecules (CD80 and CD86) and class II major histocompatibility complex molecules (I-Ad) were increased on CD11c+ dendritic cells in cervical lymph node from the mice after PEI/pci-S vaccination. The percentage of IFN-γ-, TNF-α- and IL-2-producing cells were higher in PEI/pci-S vaccinated mice than in control mice.
These results showed that intranasal immunization with PEI/pci-S nanoparticles induce antigen specific humoral and cellular immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3023737  PMID: 21194475
2.  Lack of the pattern recognition molecule mannose-binding lectin increases susceptibility to influenza A virus infection 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:64.
Mannose-binding lectin (MBL), a pattern recognition innate immune molecule, inhibits influenza A virus infection in vitro. MBL deficiency due to gene polymorphism in humans has been associated with infection susceptibility. These clinical observations were confirmed by animal model studies, in which mice genetically lacking MBL were susceptible to certain pathogens, including herpes simplex virus 2.
We demonstrate that MBL is present in the lung of naïve healthy wild type (WT) mice and that MBL null mice are more susceptible to IAV infection. Administration of recombinant human MBL (rhMBL) reverses the infection phenotype, confirming that the infection susceptibility is MBL-mediated. The anti-viral mechanisms of MBL include activation of the lectin complement pathway and coagulation, requiring serum factors. White blood cells (WBCs) in the lung increase in WT mice compared with MBL null mice on day 1 post-infection. In contrast, apoptotic macrophages (MΦs) are two-fold higher in the lung of MBL null mice compared with WT mice. Furthermore, MBL deficient macrophages appear to be susceptible to apoptosis in vitro. Lastly, soluble factors, which are associated with lung injury, are increased in the lungs of MBL null mice during IAV infection. These results suggest that MBL plays a key role against IAV infection.
MBL plays a key role in clearing IAV and maintaining lung homeostasis. In addition, our findings also suggest that MBL deficiency maybe a risk factor in IAV infection and MBL may be a useful adjunctive therapy for IAV infection.
PMCID: PMC3022599  PMID: 21182784
3.  Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 protects against pathogen-induced NF-κB activation in vivo  
BMC Immunology  2010;11:63.
Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are among the early and important colonizers of the gastrointestinal tract and are generally considered to be part of a normal, healthy microbiota. It is believed that specific strains within the microbiota can influence host immune-reactivity and may play a role in protection from infection and aberrant inflammatory activity. One such strain, Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7, has been previously shown to protect against Salmonella typhimurium infection in mice and helps resolve acute idiopathic diarrhea in dogs. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning the Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 protective effect.
Following 4 hours of infection with Salmonella typhimurium, NF-κB activation was significantly elevated in vivo in placebo and Enterococcus faecium-fed animals while Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 consumption significantly attenuated the NF-κB response. In vitro anti-CD3/CD28 stimulated Peyer's patch cells secreted significantly less TNF-α and IFN-γ following Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 consumption. Stimulated cells released more IL-12p70 but this difference did not reach statistical significance. No alteration in mucosal IL-6, IL-10 or MCP-1 levels were observed. No statistically significant change in the cytokine profile of mesenteric lymph node cells was noted. In vitro, Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 was bound by dendritic cells and induced secretion of both IL-10 and IL-12p70. In addition, co-culture of CD4+ T cells with Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7-stimulated dendritic cells resulted in a significant increase in CD25+Foxp3+ T cell numbers.
Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 exerts an anti-inflammatory effect via the attenuation of pro-inflammatory transcription factor activation in response to an infectious insult associated with modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine production within the mucosa. The cellular mechanism underpinning Bifidobacterium animalis AHC7 mediated attenuation of NF-κB activation may include recognition of the bacterium by dendritic cells and induction of CD25+Foxp3+ T cells.
PMCID: PMC3016395  PMID: 21176205
4.  Iloprost modulates the immune response in systemic sclerosis 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:62.
Iloprost has been suggested to possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating actions and it is widely use as a vasodilatator in systemic sclerosis (SSc). In this study we evaluate the effect of iloprost on immune response in SSc patients. To this extend we enrolled 15 women affected by SSc and infused iloprost for 5 days. The effect of iloprost on T cells and monocytes was measured by flow cytometry, Real time PCR and measuring cytokines production in vivo and in vitro by ELISA.
Our results demonstrate that Iloprost reduces T cell and TNF alpha production both in vivo and in vitro. It reduces T regulatory cells number, but increases their activity after immune stimulation. It increases serum IL-2 and this increase persists 28 days after the last infusion, also RANKL was increased both in vivo and in vitro. We observed no effect on IFN gamma production.
These results suggest that iloprost has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects, reducing TNF alpha production by T cells and the number of T regulatory cells and increasing IL-2 and RANKL.
PMCID: PMC3018379  PMID: 21159177
5.  Differential mucosal expression of Th17-related genes between the inflamed colon and ileum of patients with inflammatory bowel disease 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:61.
Immunological and genetic findings implicate Th17 effector cytokines in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Expression of Th17 pathway-associated genes is mainly studied in colonic disease. The present study assessed the mRNA expression levels of Th17 effector cytokines (IL17A, IL17F, IL21, IL22 and IL26) and genes involved in differentiation (IL6, IL1B, TGFB1, IL23A and STAT3) and recruitment of Th17 cells (CCR6 and CCL20) by quantitative real-time PCR analysis of colonic and ileal biopsies from 22 healthy control subjects, 26 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 12 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Inflammation was quantified by measuring expression of the inflammatory mediators IL8 and TNF.
Evaluation of mRNA expression levels in colonic and ileal control samples revealed that TNF, TGFB1, STAT3 and CCR6 were expressed at higher levels in the ileum than in the colon. Expression of all the Th17 pathway-associated genes was increased in inflamed colonic samples. The increased expression of these genes was predominantly observed in samples from UC patients and was associated with more intense inflammation. Although increased expression of IL17A, IL17F, IL21 and IL26 was detected in inflamed ileal samples, expression of the indispensable Th17 cell differentiation factors TGFB1 and IL23A, the signaling molecule STAT3 and the Th17 recruitment factors CCR6 and CCL20 were unchanged.
Our findings suggest that immune regulation is different in colonic and ileal disease, which might have important consequences for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3016394  PMID: 21144017
6.  In vivo trafficking and immunostimulatory potential of an intranasally-administered primary dendritic cell-based vaccine 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:60.
Coccidioidomycosis or Valley fever is caused by a highly virulent fungal pathogen: Coccidioides posadasii or immitis. Vaccine development against Coccidioides is of contemporary interest because a large number of relapses and clinical failures are reported with antifungal agents. An efficient Th1 response engenders protection. Thus, we have focused on developing a dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccine for coccidioidomycosis. In this study, we investigated the immunostimulatory characteristics of an intranasal primary DC-vaccine in BALB/c mouse strain that is most susceptible to coccidioidomycosis. The DCs were transfected nonvirally with Coccidioides-Ag2/PRA-cDNA. Expression of DC-markers, Ag2/PRA and cytokines were studied by flow cytometry, dot-immunoblotting and cytometric bead array methods, respectively. The T cell activation was studied by assessing the upregulation of activation markers in a DC-T cell co-culture assay. For trafficking, the DCs were co-transfected with a plasmid DNA encoding HSV1 thymidine kinase (TK) and administered intranasally into syngeneic mice. The trafficking and homing of TK-expressing DCs were monitored with positron emission tomography (PET) using 18F-FIAU probe. Based on the PET-probe accumulation in vaccinated mice, selected tissues were studied for antigen-specific response and T cell phenotypes using ELISPOT and flow cytometry, respectively.
We found that the primary DCs transfected with Coccidioides-Ag2/PRA-cDNA were of immature immunophenotype, expressed Ag2/PRA and activated naïve T cells. In PET images and subsequent biodistribution, intranasally-administered DCs were found to migrate in blood, lung and thymus; lymphocytes showed generation of T effector memory cell population (TEM) and IFN-γ release.
In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the intranasally-administered primary DC vaccine is capable of inducing Ag2/PRA-specific T cell response. Unique approaches utilized in our study represent an attractive and novel means of producing and evaluating an autologous DC-based vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3018378  PMID: 21143974
7.  CD8+ T cell activation predominate early immune responses to hypercholesterolemia in Apoe-/- mice 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:58.
It is well established that adaptive immune responses induced by hypercholesterolemia play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, but the pathways involved remain to be fully characterized. In the present study we assessed immune responses to hypercholesterolemia induced by feeding Apoe-/- mice a high-fat diet for 4 or 8 weeks.
The primary immune response in lymph nodes draining the aortic root was an increased expression of interferon (IFN)-γ in CD8+CD28+ T cells, while an activation of IFN-γ expression in CD4+ T cells was observed only after 8 weeks of high-fat diet. Contrarily, spleen CD4+ T cells responded with a higher expression of IL-10. Spleen CD8+ T cells expressed both IFN-γ and IL-10 and showed enhanced proliferation when exposed to Concanavalin A. Plasma levels of IgG and IgM against oxidized LDL did not change, but the level of apolipoprotein B/IgM immune complexes was increased.
Hypercholesterolemia leads to unopposed activation of Th1 immune responses in lymph nodes draining atherosclerotic lesions, whereas Th1 activation in the spleen is balanced by a concomitant activation of Th2 cells. The activation of CD8+ T cells implies that hypercholesterolemia is associated with formation of cell autoantigens.
PMCID: PMC3003229  PMID: 21126329
8.  Circulating cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia determined by multiplex suspension array 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:59.
Preeclampsia is a severe complication of pregnancy characterized by an excessive maternal systemic inflammatory response with activation of both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules are central to innate and adaptive immune processes. The purpose of this study was to determine circulating levels of cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia in a comprehensive manner, and to investigate their relationship to the clinical features and laboratory parameters of the study participants, including markers of overall inflammation (C-reactive protein), endothelial activation (von Willebrand factor antigen) and endothelial injury (fibronectin), oxidative stress (malondialdehyde) and trophoblast debris (cell-free fetal DNA).
Serum levels of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-12p70, IL-18, interferon (IFN)-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, interferon-gamma-inducible protein (IP)-10, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 were measured in 60 preeclamptic patients, 60 healthy pregnant women and 59 healthy non-pregnant women by multiplex suspension array and ELISA. In normal pregnancy, the relative abundance of circulating IL-18 over IL-12p70 and the relative deficiency of the bioactive IL-12p70 in relation to IL-12p40 might favour Th2-type immunity. Although decreased IL-1ra, TNF-alpha and MCP-1 concentrations of healthy pregnant relative to non-pregnant women reflect anti-inflammatory changes in circulating cytokine profile, their decreased serum IL-10 and increased IP-10 levels might drive pro-inflammatory responses. In addition to a shift towards Th1-type immunity (expressed by the increased IL-2/IL-4 and IFN-gamma/IL-4 ratios), circulating levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha, the chemokines IL-8, IP-10 and MCP-1, as well as the adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, were raised in preeclampsia compared with healthy pregnancy, resulting in an overall pro-inflammatory systemic environment. Increased IP-10, MCP-1, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 concentrations of preeclamptic patients showed significant correlations with blood pressure values, renal and liver function parameters, as well as with CRP, malondialdehyde, von Willebrand factor antigen and fibronectin levels.
According to our findings, preeclampsia was associated with an overall pro-inflammatory systemic environment. Elevated amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules in the maternal circulation might play a central role in the excessive systemic inflammatory response, as well as in the generalized endothelial dysfunction characteristics of the maternal syndrome of preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3014878  PMID: 21126355
9.  TGF-β-induced growth inhibition in B-cell lymphoma correlates with Smad1/5 signalling and constitutively active p38 MAPK 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:57.
Cytokines of the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) superfamily exert effects on proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation in various cell types. Cancer cells frequently acquire resistance to the anti-proliferative signals of TGF-β, which can be due to mutations in proteins of the signalling cascade. We compared the TGF-β-related signalling properties in B-cell lymphoma cell lines that were sensitive or resistant to TGF-β-induced anti-proliferative effects.
TGF-β sensitive cell lines expressed higher cell surface levels of the activin receptor-like kinase 5 (Alk-5), a TGF-β receptor type 1. The expression levels of the other TGF-β and bone morphogenetic protein receptors were comparable in the different cell lines. TGF-β-induced phosphorylation of Smad2 was similar in TGF-β sensitive and resistant cell lines. In contrast, activation of Smad1/5 was restricted to cells that were sensitive to growth inhibition by TGF-β. Moreover, with activin A we detected limited anti-proliferative effects, strong phosphorylation of Smad2, but no Smad1/5 phosphorylation. Up-regulation of the TGF-β target genes Id1 and Pai-1 was identified in the TGF-β sensitive cell lines. Constitutive phosphorylation of MAPK p38 was restricted to the TGF-β sensitive cell lines. Inhibition of p38 MAPK led to reduced sensitivity to TGF-β.
We suggest that phosphorylation of Smad1/5 is important for the anti-proliferative effects of TGF-β in B-cell lymphoma. Alk-5 was highly expressed in the sensitive cell lines, and might be important for signalling through Smad1/5. Our results indicate a role for p38 MAPK in the regulation of TGF-β-induced anti-proliferative effects.
PMCID: PMC3006362  PMID: 21092277
10.  Rapid induction of IgE responses to a worm cysteine protease during murine pre-patent schistosome infection 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:56.
During the pre-patent stage of infection, juvenile Schistosoma blood flukes co-opt signals from the adaptive immune system to facilitate parasite development, but the types of responses that are induced at this early stage of infection, and the parasite antigens they target, have not been characterized.
Through analysis of experimental pre-patent infections, we show that the S. mansoni cysteine protease SmCB1 is rapidly targeted by an antigen-specific IgE response. The induction of this response is independent of schistosome eggs as infection with male or female worms alone also induced SmCB1-specific IgE. We also show that the SmCB1-specific IgE response is dependent on cognate CD4+ T cell help and IL-4, suggesting that pre-patent Th2 responses provide T cell help for the SmCB1-specific IgE response. Finally, exposed human subjects also produced IgE against SmCB1.
Our data demonstrate that, like eggs, schistosome worms also induce functional type 2 responses and that a parasite cysteine protease is an inducer of type 2 responses during the early stages of schistosome infection.
PMCID: PMC2993659  PMID: 21078176
11.  Novel Method of Monitoring Trace Cytokines and Activated STAT Molecules in the Paws of Arthritic Mice using Multiplex Bead Technology 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:55.
The use of mouse models to study human disease provides useful data that can provide support for research projects or an existing drug discovery program. How well a model recapitulates the human condition and the ease and reproducibility of data collected will determine how much confidence a scientist can place on results obtained. Designing new treatments for rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), requires complex immunocompetent models that depend on intricate cytokine networks. Using local cytokines, signal transduction and transcription factor molecules as potential biomarkers to monitor disease and treatment efficacy is the best method to follow the progression of tissue damage and repair when testing an unknown compound or biologic. Described here in this report, a novel method for the non-enzymatic extraction and measurement of cytokines and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) molecules using Luminex® bead array technology in two different mouse models for human RA - collagen antibody-dependent arthritis (CAIA) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).
Dynamic expression of several pro-inflammatory cytokines responsible for promoting disease augmentation overtime were monitored, such as IL-1β, TNFα, IL-6 and IL-12, locally in the paws of affected animals directly ex vivo. Local cytokine responses could be matched with serum cytokine levels and joint pathology results. In addition, STAT1, 3, and 5a/b activation status could be monitored with confidence using specifically formulated extraction buffer that protected the phosphorylation site. STAT3 activation followed paw swelling and cytokine levels in both models and correlates of disease could be ablated upon treatment with dexamethasone. Here reported a novel method of extracting joint fluid from the paws of inflamed mice coupled with powerful multiplex bead technology allowing us to measure cytokine responses, pharmacodynamic markers such as STATs and pharmacokinetic analysis of dosed agent all from the same sample directly ex vivo.
This method is powerful in that it is applicable to multiple autoimmunity model types, streamlines ex vivo readouts in a high-throughput manner, and allows multiplexing providing the investigator with an array of options and possible analytes when developing preclinical animal models to support drug discovery efforts in the search for new treatments for rheumatic diseases.
PMCID: PMC2992046  PMID: 21073728
12.  Phenotype, functions and fate of adoptively transferred tumor draining lymphocytes activated ex vivo in mice with an aggressive weakly immunogenic mammary carcinoma 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:54.
Regression of established tumors can be induced by adoptive immunotherapy with tumor draining lymph node lymphocytes activated with bryostatin and ionomycin. We hypothesized that tumor regression is mediated by a subset of the transferred T lymphocytes, which selectively infiltrate the tumor draining lymph nodes and proliferate in vivo.
Adoptive transfer of B/I activated tumor draining lymphocytes induces regression of advanced 4T1 tumors, and depletion of CD8, but not CD4 T cells, abrogated tumor regression in mice. The predominant mediators of tumor regression are CD8+ and derived from CD62L- T cells. Transferred lymphocytes reached their peak concentration (10.5%) in the spleen 3 days after adoptive transfer and then rapidly declined. Adoptively transferred cells preferentially migrated to and/or proliferated in the tumor draining lymph nodes, peaking at day 5 (10.3%) and remained up to day 28. CFSE-stained cells were seen in tumors, also peaking at day 5 (2.1%). Bryostatin and ionomycin-activated cells proliferated vigorously in vivo, with 10 generations evident in the tumor draining lymph nodes on day 3. CFSE-stained cells found in the tumor draining lymph nodes on day 3 were 30% CD8+, 72% CD4+, 95% CD44+, and 39% CD69+. Pre-treatment of recipient mice with cyclophosphamide dramatically increased the number of interferon-gamma producing cells.
Adoptively transferred CD8+ CD62Llow T cells are the principal mediators of tumor regression, and host T cells are not required. These cells infiltrate 4T1 tumors, track preferentially to tumor draining lymph nodes, have an activated phenotype, and proliferate in vivo. Cyclophosphamide pre-treatment augments the anti-tumor effect by increasing the proliferation of interferon-gamma producing cells in the adoptive host.
PMCID: PMC2998465  PMID: 21050466
13.  PAR1- and PAR2-induced innate immune markers are negatively regulated by PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in oral keratinocytes 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:53.
Protease-Activated Receptors (PARs), members of G-protein-coupled receptors, are activated by proteolytic activity of various proteases. Activation of PAR1 and PAR2 triggers innate immune responses in human oral keratinocytes (HOKs), but the signaling pathways downstream of PAR activation in HOKs have not been clearly defined. In this study, we aimed to determine if PAR1- and PAR2-mediated signaling differs in the induction of innate immune markers CXCL3, CXCL5 and CCL20 via ERK, p38 and PI3K/Akt.
Our data show the induction of innate immunity by PAR1 requires both p38 and ERK MAP kinases, while PAR2 prominently signals via p38. However, inhibition of PI3K enhances expression of innate immune markers predominantly via suppressing p38 phosphorylation signaled by PAR activation.
Our data indicate that proteases mediating PAR1 and PAR2 activation differentially signal via MAP kinase cascades. In addition, the production of chemokines induced by PAR1 and PAR2 is suppressed by PI3K/Akt, thus keeping the innate immune responses of HOK in balance. The results of our study provide a novel insight into signaling pathways involved in PAR activation.
PMCID: PMC2988058  PMID: 21029417
14.  Interleukin-33 contributes to both M1 and M2 chemokine marker expression in human macrophages 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:52.
Interleukin-33 is a member of the IL-1 cytokine family whose functions are mediated and modulated by the ST2 receptor. IL-33-ST2 expression and interactions have been explored in mouse macrophages but little is known about the effect of IL-33 on human macrophages. The expression of ST2 transcript and protein levels, and IL-33-mediated effects on M1 (i.e. classical activation) and M2 (i.e. alternative activation) chemokine marker expression in human bone marrow-derived macrophages were examined.
Human macrophages constitutively expressed the membrane-associated (i.e. ST2L) and the soluble (i.e. sST2) ST2 receptors. M2 (IL-4 + IL-13) skewing stimuli markedly increased the expression of ST2L, but neither polarizing cytokine treatment promoted the release of sST2 from these cells. When added to naïve macrophages alone, IL-33 directly enhanced the expression of CCL3. In combination with LPS, IL-33 blocked the expression of the M2 chemokine marker CCL18, but did not alter CCL3 expression in these naive cells. The addition of IL-33 to M1 macrophages markedly increased the expression of CCL18 above that detected in untreated M1 macrophages. Similarly, alternatively activated human macrophages treated with IL-33 exhibited enhanced expression of CCL18 and the M2 marker mannose receptor above that detected in M2 macrophages alone.
Together, these data suggest that primary responses to IL-33 in bone marrow derived human macrophages favors M1 chemokine generation while its addition to polarized human macrophages promotes or amplifies M2 chemokine expression.
PMCID: PMC2967528  PMID: 20958987
15.  The gastrointestinal nematode Trichostrongylus colubriformis down-regulates immune gene expression in migratory cells in afferent lymph 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:51.
Gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infections are the predominant cause of economic losses in sheep. Infections are controlled almost exclusively by the use of anthelmintics which has lead to the selection of drug resistant nematode strains. An alternative control approach would be the induction of protective immunity to these parasites. This study exploits an ovine microarray biased towards immune genes, an artificially induced immunity model and the use of pseudo-afferent lymphatic cannulation to sample immune cells draining from the intestine, to investigate possible mechanisms involved in the development of immunity.
During the development of immunity to, and a subsequent challenge infection with Trichostrongylus colubriformis, the transcript levels of 2603 genes of cells trafficking in afferent intestinal lymph were significantly modulated (P < 0.05). Of these, 188 genes were modulated more than 1.3-fold and involved in immune function. Overall, there was a clear trend for down-regulation of many genes involved in immune functions including antigen presentation, caveolar-mediated endocytosis and protein ubiquitination. The transcript levels of TNF receptor associated factor 5 (TRAF5), hemopexin (HPX), cysteine dioxygenase (CDO1), the major histocompatability complex Class II protein (HLA-DMA), interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP), ephrin A1 (EFNA1) and selenoprotein S (SELS) were modulated to the greatest degree.
This report describes gene expression profiles of afferent lymph cells in sheep developing immunity to nematode infection. Results presented show a global down-regulation of the expression of immune genes which may be reflective of the natural temporal response to nematode infections in livestock.
PMCID: PMC2970587  PMID: 20950493
16.  Natural killer cells are crucial for the efficacy of Icon (factor VII/human IgG1 Fc) immunotherapy in human tongue cancer 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:49.
Icon is a novel, dual neovascular- and cancer cell-targeting immunotherapeutic agent and has shown efficacy in the treatment of cancer, wet form macular degeneration and endometriosis. However, its underlying mechanism remains to be investigated. The objective of this study is to elucidate the mechanism of Icon immunotherapy in cancer using a squamous carcinoma human tongue cancer line TCA8113 in vitro and in vivo in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice.
We showed that Icon, as a chimeric factor VII and human IgG1 Fc immunoconjugate, could separately induce murine natural killer (NK) cells and activate complement to kill TCA8113 cancer cells in vitro via antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). However, Icon-NK ADCC had a significantly stronger effect than that of Icon-CDC. Moreover, Icon could completely eradicate established human tongue tumour xenografts in vivo in the CB-17 strain of SCID mice that have functional NK cells at a normal level, whereas it was less effective in SCID/Beige mice that do not have functional NK cells.
We conclude that NK cells are crucial for the efficacy of Icon immunotherapy in the treatment of cancer. The results also suggest that impaired NK level/activity could contribute to the resistance to therapeutic antibodies that are currently under investigation in preclinical and clinical studies.
PMCID: PMC2965132  PMID: 20939894
17.  Macrophage migration inhibitory factor regulates interleukin-6 production by facilitating nuclear factor-kappa B activation during Vibrio vulnificus infection 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:50.
Patients infected with Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) show severe inflammatory responses characterised by the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), an upstream proinflammatory regulator, increases the inflammation caused by sepsis. Whether MIF regulates responses to V. vulnificus infection and the actual mechanism by which V. vulnificus initiates these MIF-modulated proinflammatory cytokines remain unclear.
MIF increased inflammation during V. vulnificus infection in vivo. In V. vulnificus-infected mice, MIF was produced earlier than tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 and was expressed in a time-dependent manner. ISO-1 ((S, R)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4,5-dihydro-5-isoxazole acetic acid methyl ester), a small-molecule inhibitor of MIF, significantly decreased IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α production in a time- and dose-dependent manner in human peripheral blood cells infected with V. vulnificus. The induction of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α production by V. vulnificus infection was mediated via the NF-κB- and p38 MAPK-regulated pathways but not via the Akt pathway. ISO-1-treated human peripheral blood cells showed lower V. vulnificus-induced NF-κB activation, IL-6 mRNA expression, and IκB phosphorylation, but they did not show lower p38 MAPK activation.
We conclude that MIF regulates V. vulnificus-induced IL-6 production via NF-κB activation and that p38 MAPK activation in V. vulnificus infection is not MIF dependent.
PMCID: PMC2965133  PMID: 20939898
18.  Associations between SNPs in candidate immune-relevant genes and rubella antibody levels: a multigenic assessment 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:48.
The mechanisms of immune response are structured within a highly complex regulatory system. Genetic associations with variation in the immune response to rubella vaccine have typically been assessed one locus at a time. We simultaneously assessed the associations between 726 SNPs tagging 84 candidate immune response genes and rubella-specific antibody levels. Blood samples were obtained from 714 school-aged children who had received two doses of MMR vaccine. Associations between rubella-specific antibody levels and 726 candidate tagSNPs were assessed both one SNP at a time and in a variety of multigenic analyses.
Single-SNP assessments identified 4 SNPs that appeared to be univariately associated with rubella antibody levels: rs2844482 (p = 0.0002) and rs2857708 (p = 0.001) in the 5'UTR of the LTA gene, rs7801617 in the 5'UTR of the IL6 gene (p = 0.0005), and rs4787947 in the 5'UTR of the IL4R gene (p = 0.002). While there was not significant evidence in favor of epistatic genetic associations among the candidate SNPs, multigenic analyses identified 29 SNPs significantly associated with rubella antibody levels when selected as a group (p = 0.017). This collection of SNPs included not only those that were significant univariately, but others that would not have been identified if only considered in isolation from the other SNPs.
For the first time, multigenic assessment of associations between candidate SNPs and rubella antibody levels identified a broad number of genetic associations that would not have been deemed important univariately. It is important to consider approaches like those applied here in order to better understand the full genetic complexity of response to vaccination.
PMCID: PMC2965704  PMID: 20923569
19.  Bystander T cells in human immune responses to dengue antigens 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:47.
Previous studies of T cell activation in dengue infection have focused on restriction of specific T cell receptors (TCRs) and classical MHC molecules. However, bystander T cell activation, which is TCR independent, occurs via cytokines in other viral infections, both in vitro and in vivo, and enables T cells to bypass certain control checkpoints. Moreover, clinical and pathological evidence has pointed to cytokines as the mediators of dengue disease severity. Therefore, we investigated bystander T cell induction by dengue viral antigen.
Whole blood samples from 55 Thai schoolchildren aged 13-14 years were assayed for in vitro interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) induction in response to inactivated dengue serotype 2 antigen (Den2). The contribution of TCR-dependent and independent pathways was tested by treatment with cyclosporin A (CsA), which inhibits TCR-dependent activation of T cells. ELISA results revealed that approximately 72% of IFN-γ production occurred via the TCR-dependent pathway. The major IFN-γ sources were natural killer (NK) (mean ± SE = 55.2 ± 3.3), CD4+T (24.5 ± 3.3) and CD8+T cells (17.9 ± 1.5), respectively, as demonstrated by four-color flow cytometry. Interestingly, in addition to these cells, we found CsA-resistant IFN-γ producing T cells (CD4+T = 26.9 ± 3.6% and CD8+T = 20.3 ± 2.1%) implying the existence of activated bystander T cells in response to dengue antigen in vitro. These bystander CD4+ and CD8+T cells had similar kinetics to NK cells, appeared after 12 h and were inhibited by anti-IL-12 neutralization indicating cytokine involvement.
This study described immune cell profiles and highlighted bystander T cell activation in response to dengue viral antigens of healthy people in an endemic area. Further studies on bystander T cell activation in dengue viral infection may reveal the immune mechanisms that protect or enhance pathogenesis of secondary dengue infection.
PMCID: PMC2949776  PMID: 20854672
20.  Serum lipoproteins attenuate macrophage activation and Toll-Like Receptor stimulation by bacterial lipoproteins 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:46.
Chlamydia trachomatis was previously shown to express a lipoprotein, the macrophage infectivity potentiator (Mip), exposed at the bacterial surface, and able to stimulate human primary monocytes/macrophages through Toll Like Receptor (TLR)2/TLR1/TLR6, and CD14. In PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells the proinflammatory activity of Mip was significantly higher in the absence than in the presence of serum. The present study aims to investigate the ability of different serum factors to attenuate Mip proinflammatory activity in PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells and in primary human differentiated macrophages. The study was also extend to another lipoprotein, the Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface protein (Osp)A. The proinflammatory activity was studied through Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α) and Interleukin (IL)-8 release. Finally, TLR1/2 human embryonic kidney-293 (HEK-293) transfected cells were used to test the ability of the serum factors to inhibit Mip and OspA proinflammatory activity.
In the absence of any serum and in the presence of 10% delipidated FBS, production of Mip-induced TNF-α and IL-8 in PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells were similar whereas they were significantly decreased in the presence of 10% FBS suggesting an inhibiting role of lipids present in FBS. In the presence of 10% human serum, the concentrations of TNF-α and IL-8 were 2 to 5 times lower than in the presence of 10% FBS suggesting the presence of more potent inhibitor(s) in human serum than in FBS. Similar results were obtained in primary human differentiated macrophages. Different lipid components of human serum were then tested (total lipoproteins, HDL, LDL, VLDL, triglyceride emulsion, apolipoprotein (apo)A-I, B, E2, and E3). The most efficient inhibitors were LDL, VLDL, and apoB that reduced the mean concentration of TNF-α release in Mip-induced macrophages to 24, 20, and 2%, respectively (p < 0.0001). These lipid components were also able to prevent TLR1/2 induced activation by Mip, in HEK-293 transfected cells. Similar results were obtained with OspA.
These results demonstrated the ability of serum lipids to attenuate proinflammatory activity of bacterial lipoproteins and suggested that serum lipoproteins interact with acyl chains of the lipid part of bacterial lipoproteins to render it biologically inactive.
PMCID: PMC2949775  PMID: 20846396
21.  Tumor vaccine composed of C-class CpG oligodeoxynucleotides and irradiated tumor cells induces long-term antitumor immunity 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:45.
An ideal tumor vaccine should activate both effector and memory immune response against tumor-specific antigens. Beside the CD8+ T cells that play a central role in the generation of a protective immune response and of long-term memory, dendritic cells (DCs) are important for the induction, coordination and regulation of the adaptive immune response. The DCs can conduct all of the elements of the immune orchestra and are therefore a fundamental target and tool for vaccination. The present study was aimed at assessing the ability of tumor vaccine composed of C-class CpG ODNs and irradiated melanoma tumor cells B16F1 followed by two additional injections of CpG ODNs to induce the generation of a functional long-term memory response in experimental tumor model in mice (i.p. B16F1).
It has been shown that the functional memory response in vaccinated mice persists for at least 60 days after the last vaccination. Repeated vaccination also improves the survival of experimental animals compared to single vaccination, whereas the proportion of animals totally protected from the development of aggressive i.p. B16F1 tumors after vaccination repeated three times varies between 88.9%-100.0%. Additionally, the long-term immune memory and tumor protection is maintained over a prolonged period of time of at least 8 months. Finally, it has been demonstrated that following the vaccination the tumor-specific memory cells predominantly reside in bone marrow and peritoneal tissue and are in a more active state than their splenic counterparts.
In this study we demonstrated that tumor vaccine composed of C-class CpG ODNs and irradiated tumor cells followed by two additional injections of CpG ODNs induces a long-term immunity against aggressive B16F1 tumors.
PMCID: PMC2946268  PMID: 20836870
22.  Effects of F/G-actin ratio and actin turn-over rate on NADPH oxidase activity in microglia 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:44.
Most in vivo studies that have addressed the role of actin dynamics in NADPH oxidase function in phagocytes have used toxins to modulate the polymerization state of actin and mostly effects on actin has been evaluated by end point measurements of filamentous actin, which says little about actin dynamics, and without consideration for the subcellular distribution of the perturbed actin cytoskeleton.
Here, we in addition to toxins use conditional expression of the major actin regulatory protein LIM kinase-1 (LIMK1), and shRNA knock-down of cofilin to modulate the cellular F/G-actin ratio in the Ra2 microglia cell line, and we use Fluorescence Recovery after Photobleaching (FRAP) in β-actin-YFP-transduced cells to obtain a dynamic measure of actin recovery rates (actin turn-over rates) in different F/G-actin states of the actin cytoskeleton. Our data demonstrate that stimulated NADPH oxidase function was severely impaired only at extreme actin recovery rates and F/G-actin ratios, and surprisingly, that any moderate changes of these parameters of the actin cytoskeleton invariably resulted in an increased NADPH oxidase activity.
moderate actin polymerization and depolymerization both increase the FMLP and PMA-stimulated NADPH oxidase activity of microglia, which is directly correlated with neither actin recovery rate nor F/G- actin ratio. Our results indicate that NADPH oxidase functions in an enhanced state of activity in stimulated phagocytes despite widely different states of the actin cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC2944333  PMID: 20825680
23.  Recombinant human complement component C2 produced in a human cell line restores the classical complement pathway activity in-vitro: an alternative treatment for C2 deficiency diseases 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:43.
Complement C2 deficiency is the most common genetically determined complete complement deficiency and is associated with a number of diseases. Most prominent are the associations with recurrent serious infections in young children and the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in adults. The links with these diseases reflect the important role complement C2 plays in both innate immunity and immune tolerance. Infusions with normal fresh frozen plasma for the treatment of associated disease have demonstrated therapeutic effects but so far protein replacement therapy has not been evaluated.
Human complement C2 was cloned and expressed in a mammalian cell line. The purity of recombinant human C2 (rhC2) was greater than 95% and it was characterized for stability and activity. It was sensitive to C1s cleavage and restored classical complement pathway activity in C2-deficient serum both in a complement activation ELISA and a hemolytic assay. Furthermore, rhC2 could increase C3 fragment deposition on the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae in C2-deficient serum to levels equal to those with normal serum.
Taken together these data suggest that recombinant human C2 can restore classical complement pathway activity and may serve as a potential therapeutic for recurring bacterial infections or SLE in C2-deficient patients.
PMCID: PMC2931460  PMID: 20727163
24.  Ultrastructural localization of extracellular matrix proteins of the lymph node cortex: evidence supporting the reticular network as a pathway for lymphocyte migration 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:42.
The lymph node (LN) is a crossroads of blood and lymphatic vessels allowing circulating lymphocytes to efficiently recognize foreign molecules displayed on antigen presenting cells. Increasing evidence indicates that after crossing high endothelial venules, lymphocytes migrate within the node along the reticular network (RN), a scaffold of fibers enwrapped by fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC). Light microscopy has shown that the RN contains specific extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, which are putative molecular "footholds" for migration, and are known ligands for lymphocyte integrin adhesion receptors.
To investigate whether ECM proteins of the RN are present on the outer surface of the FRC and are thus accessible to migrating lymphocytes, ultrastructural immunohistochemical staining of cynomolgus monkey LN was performed using antibodies to human ECM proteins that were successfully employed at the light microscopic level. The fibrillar collagens I and III were observed primarily within the reticular network fibers themselves. In contrast, the matrix proteins laminin, fibronectin, collagen IV, and tenascin were observed within the reticular fibers and also on the outer membrane surface of the FRC.
These findings suggest a molecular basis for how the RN functions as a pathway for lymphocyte migration within the lymph node.
PMCID: PMC2933709  PMID: 20716349
25.  Dynamics of dendritic cell maturation are identified through a novel filtering strategy applied to biological time-course microarray replicates 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:41.
Dendritic cells (DC) play a central role in primary immune responses and become potent stimulators of the adaptive immune response after undergoing the critical process of maturation. Understanding the dynamics of DC maturation would provide key insights into this important process. Time course microarray experiments can provide unique insights into DC maturation dynamics. Replicate experiments are necessary to address the issues of experimental and biological variability. Statistical methods and averaging are often used to identify significant signals. Here a novel strategy for filtering of replicate time course microarray data, which identifies consistent signals between the replicates, is presented and applied to a DC time course microarray experiment.
The temporal dynamics of DC maturation were studied by stimulating DC with poly(I:C) and following gene expression at 5 time points from 1 to 24 hours. The novel filtering strategy uses standard statistical and fold change techniques, along with the consistency of replicate temporal profiles, to identify those differentially expressed genes that were consistent in two biological replicate experiments. To address the issue of cluster reproducibility a consensus clustering method, which identifies clusters of genes whose expression varies consistently between replicates, was also developed and applied. Analysis of the resulting clusters revealed many known and novel characteristics of DC maturation, such as the up-regulation of specific immune response pathways. Intriguingly, more genes were down-regulated than up-regulated. Results identify a more comprehensive program of down-regulation, including many genes involved in protein synthesis, metabolism, and housekeeping needed for maintenance of cellular integrity and metabolism.
The new filtering strategy emphasizes the importance of consistent and reproducible results when analyzing microarray data and utilizes consistency between replicate experiments as a criterion in both feature selection and clustering, without averaging or otherwise combining replicate data. Observation of a significant down-regulation program during DC maturation indicates that DC are preparing for cell death and provides a path to better understand the process. This new filtering strategy can be adapted for use in analyzing other large-scale time course data sets with replicates.
PMCID: PMC2928180  PMID: 20682054

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