IFNγ/IL-10 Co-producing Cells Dominate the CD4 Response to Malaria in Highly Exposed Children

National Institute for Medical Research, United Kingdom
PLoS Pathogens (Impact Factor: 7.56). 01/2014; 10(1):e1003864. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003864
Source: PubMed


Although evidence suggests that T cells are critical for immunity to malaria, reliable T cell correlates of exposure to and protection from malaria among children living in endemic areas are lacking. We used multiparameter flow cytometry to perform a detailed functional characterization of malaria-specific T cells in 78 four-year-old children enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study in Tororo, Uganda, a highly malaria-endemic region. More than 1800 episodes of malaria were observed in this cohort, with no cases of severe malaria. We quantified production of IFNγ, TNFα, and IL-10 (alone or in combination) by malaria-specific T cells, and analyzed the relationship of this response to past and future malaria incidence. CD4(+) T cell responses were measurable in nearly all children, with the majority of children having CD4(+) T cells producing both IFNγ and IL-10 in response to malaria-infected red blood cells. Frequencies of IFNγ/IL10 co-producing CD4(+) T cells, which express the Th1 transcription factor T-bet, were significantly higher in children with ≥2 prior episodes/year compared to children with <2 episodes/year (P<0.001) and inversely correlated with duration since malaria (Rho = -0.39, P<0.001). Notably, frequencies of IFNγ/IL10 co-producing cells were not associated with protection from future malaria after controlling for prior malaria incidence. In contrast, children with <2 prior episodes/year were significantly more likely to exhibit antigen-specific production of TNFα without IL-10 (P = 0.003). While TNFα-producing CD4(+) T cells were not independently associated with future protection, the absence of cells producing this inflammatory cytokine was associated with the phenotype of asymptomatic infection. Together these data indicate that the functional phenotype of the malaria-specific T cell response is heavily influenced by malaria exposure intensity, with IFNγ/IL10 co-producing CD4(+) T cells dominating this response among highly exposed children. These CD4(+) T cells may play important modulatory roles in the development of antimalarial immunity.

32 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: CD4(+) T-cells have been shown to play a central role in immune control of infection with Plasmodium parasites. At the erythrocytic stage of infection, IFN-γ production by CD4(+) T-cells and CD4(+) T-cell help for the B-cell response are required for control and elimination of infected red blood cells. CD4(+) T-cells are also important for controlling Plasmodium pre-erythrocytic stages through the activation of parasite-specific CD8(+) T-cells. However, excessive inflammatory responses triggered by the infection have been shown to drive pathology. Early classical experiments demonstrated a biphasic CD4(+) T-cell response against erythrocytic stages in mice, in which T helper (Th)1 and antibody-helper CD4(+) T-cells appear sequentially during a primary infection. While IFN-γ-producing Th1 cells do play a role in controlling acute infections, and they contribute to acute erythrocytic-stage pathology, it became apparent that a classical Th2 response producing IL-4 is not a critical feature of the CD4(+) T-cell response during the chronic phase of infection. Rather, effective CD4(+) T-cell help for B-cells, which can occur in the absence of IL-4, is required to control chronic parasitemia. IL-10, important to counterbalance inflammation and associated with protection from inflammatory-mediated severe malaria in both humans and experimental models, was originally considered be produced by CD4(+) Th2 cells during infection. We review the interpretations of CD4(+) T-cell responses during Plasmodium infection, proposed under the original Th1/Th2 paradigm, in light of more recent advances, including the identification of multifunctional T-cells such as Th1 cells co-expressing IFN-γ and IL-10, the identification of follicular helper T-cells (Tfh) as the predominant CD4(+) T helper subset for B-cells, and the recognition of inherent plasticity in the fates of different CD4(+) T-cells.
    Frontiers in Immunology 01/2014; 5:671. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00671
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In malaria-naïve individuals, Plasmodium falciparum infection results in high levels of parasite-infected red blood cells (iRBCs) that trigger systemic inflammation and fever. Conversely, individuals in endemic areas who are repeatedly infected are often asymptomatic and have low levels of iRBCs, even young children. We hypothesized that febrile malaria alters the immune system such that P. falciparum re-exposure results in reduced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and enhanced anti-parasite effector responses compared to responses induced before malaria. To test this hypothesis we used a systems biology approach to analyze PBMCs sampled from healthy children before the six-month malaria season and the same children seven days after treatment of their first febrile malaria episode of the ensuing season. PBMCs were stimulated with iRBC in vitro and various immune parameters were measured. Before the malaria season, children's immune cells responded to iRBCs by producing pro-inflammatory mediators such as IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8. Following malaria there was a marked shift in the response to iRBCs with the same children's immune cells producing lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and higher levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10, TGF-β). In addition, molecules involved in phagocytosis and activation of adaptive immunity were upregulated after malaria as compared to before. This shift was accompanied by an increase in P. falciparum-specific CD4+Foxp3- T cells that co-produce IL-10, IFN-γ and TNF; however, after the subsequent six-month dry season, a period of markedly reduced malaria transmission, P. falciparum-inducible IL-10 production remained partially upregulated only in children with persistent asymptomatic infections. These findings suggest that in the face of P. falciparum re-exposure, children acquire exposure-dependent P. falciparum-specific immunoregulatory responses that dampen pathogenic inflammation while enhancing anti-parasite effector mechanisms. These data provide mechanistic insight into the observation that P. falciparum-infected children in endemic areas are often afebrile and tend to control parasite replication.
    PLoS Pathogens 04/2014; 10(4):e1004079. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004079 · 7.56 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although clinical immunity to malaria eventually develops among children living in endemic settings, the underlying immunologic mechanisms are not known. The Vδ2(+) subset of γδ T cells have intrinsic reactivity to malaria antigens, can mediate killing of Plasmodium falciparum merozoites, and expand markedly in vivo after malaria infection in previously naïve hosts, but their role in mediating immunity in children repeatedly exposed to malaria is unclear. We evaluated γδ T cell responses to malaria among 4-year-old children enrolled in a longitudinal study in Uganda. We found that repeated malaria was associated with reduced percentages of Vδ2(+) γδ T cells in peripheral blood, decreased proliferation and cytokine production in response to malaria antigens, and increased expression of immunoregulatory genes. Further, loss and dysfunction of proinflammatory Vδ2(+) γδ T cells were associated with a reduced likelihood of symptoms upon subsequent P. falciparum infection. Together, these results suggest that repeated malaria infection during childhood results in progressive loss and dysfunction of Vδ2(+) γδ T cells that may facilitate immunological tolerance of the parasite.
    Science translational medicine 08/2014; 6(251):251ra117. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3009793 · 15.84 Impact Factor
Show more


32 Reads
Available from