Protein Energy Malnutrition Decreases Immunity and Increases Susceptibility to Influenza Infection in Mice.
ABSTRACT Background. Protein energy malnutrition (PEM), a common cause of secondary immune deficiency in children, is associated with an increased risk of infections. Very few studies have addressed the relevance of PEM as a risk factor for influenza.Methods. We investigated the influence of PEM on susceptibility to, and immune responses following, influenza virus infection using isocaloric diets providing either adequate protein (AP; 18%) or very low protein (VLP; 2%) in a mouse model.Results. We found that mice maintained on the VLP diet, when compared to mice fed with the AP diet, exhibited more severe disease following influenza infection based on virus persistence, trafficking of inflammatory cell types to the lung tissue, and virus-induced mortality. Furthermore, groups of mice maintained on the VLP diet showed significantly lower virus-specific antibody response and a reduction in influenza nuclear protein-specific CD8(+) T cells compared with mice fed on the AP diet. Importantly, switching diets for the group maintained on the VLP diet to the AP diet improved virus clearance, as well as protective immunity to viral challenge.Conclusions. Our results highlight the impact of protein energy on immunity to influenza infection and suggest that balanced protein energy replenishment may be one strategy to boost immunity against influenza viral infections.
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ABSTRACT: Leishmaniasis remains one of the world's most devastating neglected tropical diseases. It mainly affects developing countries, where it often co-exists with chronic malnutrition, one of the main risk factors for developing the disease. Few studies have been published, however, on the relationship between leishmaniasis progression and malnutrition. The present paper reports the influence of protein malnutrition on the immune response and visceral disease development in adult hamsters infected with Leishmania infantum fed either standard or low protein diets. The low protein diet induced severe malnutrition in these animals, and upon infection with L. infantum 33% had severe visceral leishmaniasis compared to only 8% of animals fed the standard diet. The infected, malnourished animals showed notable leukocyte depletion, mild specific antibody responses, impairment of lymphoproliferation, presence of parasites in blood (16.67% of the hamsters) and significant increase of the splenic parasite burden. Animals fed standard diet suffered agranulocytosis and monocytopenia, but showed stronger specific immune responses and had lower parasite loads than their malnourished counterparts. The present results show that protein malnutrition promotes visceral leishmaniasis and provide clues regarding the mechanisms underlying the impairment of the immune system.PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89412. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Human noroviruses are the primary cause of severe childhood diarrhea in the United States, and they are of particular clinical importance in pediatric populations in the developing world. A major contributing factor to the general increased severity of infectious diseases in these regions is malnutrition-nutritional status shapes host immune responses and the composition of the host intestinal microbiota, both of which can influence the outcome of pathogenic infections. In terms of enteric norovirus infections, mucosal immunity and intestinal microbes are likely to contribute to the infection outcome in substantial ways. We probed these interactions using a murine model of malnutrition and murine norovirus infection. Our results reveal that malnutrition is associated with more severe norovirus infections as defined by weight loss, impaired control of norovirus infections, reduced antiviral antibody responses, loss of protective immunity, and enhanced viral evolution. Moreover, the microbiota is dramatically altered by malnutrition. Interestingly, murine norovirus infection also causes changes in the host microbial composition within the intestine but only in healthy mice. In fact, the infection-associated microbiota resembles the malnutrition-associated microbiota. Collectively, these findings represent an extensive characterization of a new malnutrition model of norovirus infection that will ultimately facilitate elucidation of the nutritionally regulated host parameters that predispose to more severe infections and impaired memory immune responses. In a broad sense, this model may provide insight into the reduced efficacy of oral vaccines in malnourished hosts and the potential for malnourished individuals to act as reservoirs of emergent virus strains. IMPORTANCE Malnourished children in developing countries are susceptible to more severe infections than their healthy counterparts, in particular enteric infections that cause diarrhea. In order to probe the effects of malnutrition on an enteric infection in a well-controlled system devoid of other environmental and genetic variability, we studied norovirus infection in a mouse model. We have revealed that malnourished mice develop more severe norovirus infections and they fail to mount effective memory immunity to a secondary challenge. This is of particular importance because malnourished children generally mount less effective immune responses to oral vaccines, and we can now use our new model system to probe the immunological basis of this impairment. We have also determined that noroviruses evolve more readily in the face of malnutrition. Finally, both norovirus infection and malnutrition independently alter the composition of the intestinal microbiota in substantial and overlapping ways.mBio 02/2014; 5(2). · 6.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Nutritional status is critically important for immune cell function. While obesity is characterized by inflammation that promotes metabolic syndrome including cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance, malnutrition can result in immune cell defects and increased risk of mortality from infectious diseases. T cells play an important role in the immune adaptation to both obesity and malnutrition. T cells in obesity have been shown to have an early and critical role in inducing inflammation, accompanying the accumulation of inflammatory macrophages in obese adipose tissue, which are known to promote insulin resistance. How T cells are recruited to adipose tissue and activated in obesity is a topic of considerable interest. Conversely, T cell number is decreased in malnourished individuals, and T cells in the setting of malnutrition have decreased effector function and proliferative capacity. The adipokine leptin, which is secreted in proportion to adipocyte mass, may have a key role in mediating adipocyte-T cell interactions in both obesity and malnutrition, and has been shown to promote effector T cell function and metabolism while inhibiting regulatory T cell proliferation. Additionally, key molecular signals are involved in T cell metabolic adaptation during nutrient stress; among them, the metabolic regulator AMP kinase and the mammalian target of rapamycin have critical roles in regulating T cell number, function, and metabolism. In summary, understanding how T cell number and function are altered in obesity and malnutrition will lead to better understanding of and treatment for diseases where nutritional status determines clinical outcome.Frontiers in Immunology 08/2014; 5:379.