Michael Kurrer

University of Zurich, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

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Publications (31)229.81 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Alveolar macrophages (AM) are critical for defense against bacterial and fungal infections. However, a definitive role of AM in viral infections remains unclear. We here report that AM play a key role in survival to influenza and vaccinia virus infection by maintaining lung function and thereby protecting from asphyxiation. Absence of AM in GM-CSF-deficient (Csf2-/-) mice or selective AM depletion in wild-type mice resulted in impaired gas exchange and fatal hypoxia associated with severe morbidity to influenza virus infection, while viral clearance was affected moderately. Virus-induced morbidity was far more severe in Csf2-/- mice lacking AM, as compared to Batf3-deficient mice lacking CD8α+ and CD103+ DCs. Csf2-/- mice showed intact anti-viral CD8+ T cell responses despite slightly impaired CD103+ DC development. Importantly, selective reconstitution of AM development in Csf2rb-/- mice by neonatal transfer of wild-type AM progenitors prevented severe morbidity and mortality, demonstrating that absence of AM alone is responsible for disease severity in mice lacking GM-CSF or its receptor. In addition, CD11c-Cre/Ppargfl/fl mice with a defect in AM but normal adaptive immunity showed increased morbidity and lung failure to influenza virus. Taken together, our results suggest a superior role of AM compared to CD103+ DCs in protection from acute influenza and vaccinia virus infection-induced morbidity and mortality.
    PLoS Pathogens 04/2014; 10(4):e1004053. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lectin-like oxLDL receptor-1 (LOX-1) mediates the uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) in endothelial cells and macrophages. However, the different atherogenic potential of LOX-1-mediated endothelial and macrophage oxLDL uptake remains unclear. The present study was designed to investigate the in vivo role of endothelial LOX-1 in atherogenesis. Endothelial-specific LOX-1 transgenic mice were generated using the Tie2 promoter (LOX-1TG). Oxidized low-density lipoprotein uptake was enhanced in cultured endothelial cells, but not in macrophages of LOX-1TG mice. Six-week-old male LOX-1TG and wild-type (WT) mice were fed a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) for 30 weeks. Increased reactive oxygen species production, impaired endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity and endothelial dysfunction were observed in LOX-1TG mice as compared with WT littermates. LOX-1 overexpression led to p38 phosphorylation, increased nuclear factor κB activity and subsequent up-regulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, thereby favouring macrophage accumulation and aortic fatty streaks. Consistently, HCD-fed double-mutant LOX-1TG/ApoE(-/-) displayed oxidative stress and vascular inflammation with higher aortic plaques than ApoE(-/-) controls. Finally, bone marrow transplantation experiments showed that endothelial LOX-1 was sufficient for atherosclerosis development in vivo. Endothelial-specific LOX-1 overexpression enhanced aortic oxLDL levels, thereby favouring endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation and plaque formation. Thus, LOX-1 may serve as a novel therapeutic target for atherosclerosis.
    European Heart Journal 01/2014; · 14.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The inhibitory programmed death 1 (PD-1)-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway contributes to the functional down-regulation of T cell responses during persistent systemic and local virus infections. The blockade of PD-1-PD-L1-mediated inhibition is considered as a therapeutic approach to reinvigorate antiviral T cell responses. Yet previous studies reported that PD-L1-deficient mice develop fatal pathology during early systemic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection, suggesting a host protective role of T cell down-regulation. As the exact mechanisms of pathology development remained unclear, we set out to delineate in detail the underlying pathogenesis. Mice deficient in PD-1-PD-L1 signaling or lacking PD-1 signaling in CD8 T cells succumbed to fatal CD8 T cell-mediated immunopathology early after systemic LCMV infection. In the absence of regulation via PD-1, CD8 T cells killed infected vascular endothelial cells via perforin-mediated cytolysis, thereby severely compromising vascular integrity. This resulted in systemic vascular leakage and a consequential collapse of the circulatory system. Our results indicate that the PD-1-PD-L1 pathway protects the vascular system from severe CD8 T cell-mediated damage during early systemic LCMV infection, highlighting a pivotal physiological role of T cell down-regulation and suggesting the potential development of immunopathological side effects when interfering with the PD-1-PD-L1 pathway during systemic virus infections.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 12/2012; · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Airborne microbial products have been reported to promote immune responses that suppress asthma, yet how these beneficial effects take place remains controversial and poorly understood. We exposed mice to the bacterium Escherichia coli and subsequently induced allergic airway inflammation through sensitization and intranasal challenge with ovalbumin. Pulmonary exposure to the bacterium Escherichia coli leads to a suppression of allergic airway inflammation. This immune modulation was neither mediated by the induction of a T helper 1 (Th1) response nor regulatory T cells; however, it was dependent on Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) but did not involve TLR desensitisation. Dendritic cell migration to the draining lymph nodes and activation of T cells was unaffected by prior exposure to E. coli, while dendritic cells in the lung displayed a less activated phenotype and had impaired antigen presentation capacity. Consequently, in situ Th2 cytokine production was abrogated. The suppression of airway hyper-responsiveness was mediated through the recruitment of gd T cells; however, the suppression of dendritic cells and T cells was mediated through a distinct mechanism that could not be overcome by the local administration of activated dendritic cells, or by the in vivo administration of tumour necrosis factor a. Our data reveal a localized immunoregulatory pathway that acts to protect the airways from allergic inflammation.
    Thorax 03/2011; 66(9):755-63. · 8.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor super family (TNFSF) members regulate important processes involved in cell proliferation, survival and differentiation and are therefore crucial for the balance between homeostasis and inflammatory responses. Several members of the TNFSF are closely associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Thus, they represent interesting new targets for therapeutic treatment of IBD. We have used mice deficient in TNFSF member HVEM in experimental models of IBD to investigate its role in the disease process. Two models of IBD were employed: i) chemical-induced colitis primarily mediated by innate immune cells; and ii) colitis initiated by CD4(+)CD45RB(high) T cells following their transfer into immuno-deficient RAG1(-/-) hosts. In both models of disease the absence of HVEM resulted in a significant reduction in colitis and inflammatory cytokine production. These data show that HVEM stimulatory signals promote experimental colitis driven by innate or adaptive immune cells.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18495. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is critically involved in development of organ-related autoimmune inflammatory diseases including experimental allergic encephalitis and collagen-induced arthritis. Roles of GM-CSF in the initiation and in the effector phase of the autoimmune response have been proposed. Our study was designed to investigate the mechanisms of GM-CSF in autoimmunity using a model of autoimmune heart inflammatory disease (myocarditis). The pathological sequel after immunization with heart myosin has been shown previously to depend on IL-1, IL-6, IL-23, and IL-17. We found that innate GM-CSF was critical for IL-6 and IL-23 responses by dendritic cells and generation of pathological Th17 cells in vivo. Moreover, GM-CSF promoted autoimmunity by enhancing IL-6-dependent survival of antigen specific CD4(+) T cells. These results suggest a novel role for GM-CSF in promoting generation and maintenance of Th17 cells by regulation of IL-6 and IL-23 in vivo.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 10/2008; 205(10):2281-94. · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than 500 million people worldwide are persistently infected with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus. Although both viruses are poorly cytopathic, persistence of either virus carries a risk of chronic liver inflammation, potentially resulting in liver steatosis, liver cirrhosis, end-stage liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma. Virus-specific T cells are a major determinant of the outcome of hepatitis, as they contribute to the early control of chronic hepatitis viruses, but they also mediate immunopathology during persistent virus infection. We have analyzed the role of platelet-derived vasoactive serotonin during virus-induced CD8(+) T cell-dependent immunopathological hepatitis in mice infected with the noncytopathic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. After virus infection, platelets were recruited to the liver, and their activation correlated with severely reduced sinusoidal microcirculation, delayed virus elimination and increased immunopathological liver cell damage. Lack of platelet-derived serotonin in serotonin-deficient mice normalized hepatic microcirculatory dysfunction, accelerated virus clearance in the liver and reduced CD8(+) T cell-dependent liver cell damage. In keeping with these observations, serotonin treatment of infected mice delayed entry of activated CD8(+) T cells into the liver, delayed virus control and aggravated immunopathological hepatitis. Thus, vasoactive serotonin supports virus persistence in the liver and aggravates virus-induced immunopathology.
    Nature medicine 08/2008; 14(7):756-61. · 27.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a complex inflammatory disease with multiple diagnostic and therapeutic pitfalls. The congenital form, referred to as familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (FHL), is often associated with cerebromeningeal involvement, whereas neurological complications are not characteristic of the adult form of secondary HLH (sHLH). Here we report the case of a 20-year-old woman with adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD), retinal microangiopathy and concurrent macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), in the context of sHLH. Following treatment with etanercept, ibuprofen, methylprednisolone, and phenylbutazone for 3 weeks, MAS deteriorated and fatal cerebral edema occurred within only 24 h. The clinical signs and neuropathological findings are discussed with special emphasis on possible relationships between the aggravation of MAS and therapeutic interventions for AOSD. In conclusion, even the slightest sign of mental decline in a patient with AOSD must be considered central nervous system MAS which can be rapidly fatal.
    American Journal of Hematology 06/2008; 83(5):424-7. · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the 5(th) most prevalent disease worldwide leading to severe morbidity and mortality in developed countries. The disease is strongly associated with smoking, and can be characterized by progressive and irreversible deterioration in lung function and destruction of the lung parenchyma. We show here that infection with the hookworm Nippostrongylus brasiliensis results in deterioration in lung function, destruction of alveoli and long-term airways hyperresponsiveness, consistent with COPD and emphysema. N. brasiliensis infection leads to chronic low level hemorrhaging in the lung and the presence of hemosiderin-laden macrophages in the absence of an overt inflammatory infiltrate. Microarray analysis of gene expression in diseased lungs and quantitative RT-PCR analysis of purified macrophages revealed a state of prolonged tissue injury and the presence of alternatively activated macrophages producing MMP-12. Taken together, these data show that lung tissue damage caused by hookworm infection can result in the development of COPD and emphysema.
    European Journal of Immunology 03/2008; 38(2):479-88. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoimmune diseases are the clinical correlate of a dysregulation of the immune system, involving multiple steps and multiple components of both the innate and the adaptive immune system. Innate immune cells are sensitive to a very limited repertoire of foreign "patterns" that bind to selective "pattern recognition receptors". In contrast, adaptive auto-reactive T or B cells bear receptors specific for antigens including "self" antigens and are rendered non-reactive by several "quality control" mechanisms. Under special conditions, activation of cells of the innate immune system can break the state of inactivity of auto-reactive cells of the adaptive immune system, thereby provoking autoimmune disease. Here we review examples to illustrate how innate immune activation influences autoimmune disease and point to the implications for the treatment of human autoimmune disease.
    Journal of Autoimmunity 01/2008; 29(4):206-12. · 8.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serine/threonine kinase, protein kinase C-theta (PKC-theta), plays a central role in the activation and differentiation of Th2 cells while being redundant in CD4+ and CD8+ antiviral responses. Recent evidence indicates that PKC-theta may however be required for some T cell-driven autoimmune responses. We have investigated the role of PKC-theta in the induction of autoimmune myocarditis induced by either Coxsackie B3 virus infection or immunization with alpha-myosin/CFA (experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM)). PKC-theta-deficient mice did not develop EAM as shown by impaired inflammatory cell infiltration into the heart, reduced CD4+ T cell IL-17 production, and the absence of a myosin-specific Ab response. Comparatively, PKC-theta was not essential for both early and late-phase Coxsackie virus-induced myocarditis. We sought to find alternate pathways of immune stimulation that might reconcile the differential requirements for PKC-theta in these two disease models. We found systemic administration of the TLR ligand CpG restored EAM in PKC-theta-deficient mice. CpG could act directly upon TLR9-expressing T cells to restore proliferation and up-regulation of Bcl-x(L), but exogenous IL-6 and TGF-beta was required for Th17 cell differentiation. Taken together, these results indicate that TLR-mediated activation of T cells can directly overcome the requirement for PKC-theta signaling and, combined with the dendritic cell-derived cytokine milieu, can promote the development of autoimmunity.
    The Journal of Immunology 04/2007; 178(6):3466-73. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin 21 (IL-21) is a member of the common gamma-chain family of cytokines, which influence a broad spectrum of immunologic responses. A number of studies have examined the function of IL-21, but its specific role in Th1/Th2-cell differentiation and related effector responses remains to be clarified. Thus, we generated IL-21R-deficient mice and have investigated the role of IL-21R signaling using a series of in vivo experimentally induced disease models. We first addressed the role of IL-21R signaling in Th2 immune responses by examining allergic airway inflammation, and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and Heligmosomoides polygyrus antihelminth responses. In each of these systems, IL-21R signaling played a clear role in the development of Th2 responses. Comparatively, IL-21R signaling was not required for the containment of Leishmania major infection or the development of experimental autoimmune myocarditis, indicative of competent Th1 and Th17 responses, respectively. Adoptive transfer of T cells and analysis of IL-21R+/+/IL-21R-/- chimera mice revealed that IL-21R-signaling was central to Th2-cell survival or migration to peripheral tissues. Overall, our data show IL-21 plays a crucial role in supporting polarized Th2 responses in vivo, while appearing superfluous for Th1 and Th17 responses.
    Blood 04/2007; 109(5):2023-31. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteopontin (OPN) and CD44 have been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis and multiple sclerosis, as well as chronic inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis and colitis. To investigate their roles in autoimmune myocarditis induced by immunization with heart alpha-myosin (MyHC-alpha), a mouse model of human cardiomyopathy, we analyzed mice lacking OPN or CD44v6/v7, a CD44 isoform that binds OPN. Both, OPN(-/-) and CD44v6/v7(-/-) mice developed myocarditis with the same prevalence and severity as BALB/c wild-type controls. Furthermore, treatment of BALB/c mice with a pan-neutralizing anti-CD44 antibody did not affect the disease outcome. Consistently, expansion of MyHC-alpha-specific autoimmune CD4(+) T cells and MyHC-alpha autoantibody responses from either CD44v6/v7(-/-) mice or OPN(-/-) mice was indistinguishable from their wild-type controls. Thus, OPN and CD44v6/v7 are merely spectators rather than protagonists in autoimmune myocarditis.
    European Journal of Immunology 03/2006; 36(2):494-9. · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The new WHO/EORTC classification for cutaneous lymphomas comprises mature T-cell and natural killer (NK)-cell neoplasms, mature B-cell neoplasms, and immature hematopoietic malignancies. It reflects the unique features of lymphoproliferative diseases of the skin, and at the same time it is as compatible as possible with the concepts underlying the WHO classification for nodal lymphomas and the EORTC classification of cutaneous lymphomas. This article reviews the histological, phenotypical, and molecular genetic features of the various nosological entities included in this new classification. These findings always have to be interpreted in the context of the clinical features and biologic behavior. To review the histological, phenotypical and molecular genetic features of the various nosological entities of the new WHO/EORTC classification for cutaneous lymphomas. Extensive review of the literature cited in Medline and own data of the authors. The WHO/EORTC classification of cutaneous lymphomas comprises mature T-cell and NK-cell neoplasms, mature B-cell neoplasms and immature hematopoietic malignancies. It reflects the unique features of primary cutaneous lymphoproliferative diseases. This classification is as much as possible compatible with the concept of the WHO classification for nodal lymphomas and the EORTC classification of cutaneous lymphomas. The histological, phenotypical and molecular genetic features always have to be interpreted in the context of the clinical features and biologic behavior.
    Journal of Cutaneous Pathology 12/2005; 32(10):647-74. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Characterization of autoantigen-specific CD4+ T cells at the single cell level is crucial for understanding the immunopathological mechanisms underlying autoimmune diseases. Cardiac myosin heavy chain (myhca) is the major autoantigen associated with autoimmune myocarditis both in humans and in experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) in mice. In the current study, we evaluated two methods for the enumeration and phenotypic characterization of myhca-specific CD4+ T cells during the course of EAM. Both enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and cytokine flow cytometry (CFC) assays were suitable for the detection and characterization of myhca-specific Th cells during acute myocardial inflammation and the late healing phase of the disease. Cytokine production of myhca-specific Th cells was restricted to interferon-gamma (IFNgamma). Only trace amounts of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 could be detected. Concomitant surface marker analysis in the CFC assay revealed the prototypical effector phenotype of myhca-specific Th1 cells during the acute phase of the disease. Taken together, the combination of both methods appears to be most appropriate for a comprehensive ex vivo single cell analysis of Th cells in heart-specific autoimmune disorders.
    Journal of Immunological Methods 10/2005; 304(1-2):117-25. · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Primary cutaneous lymphomas are currently classified by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) classification or the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, but both systems have shortcomings. In particular, differences in the classification of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas other than mycosis fungoides, Sezary syndrome, and the group of primary cutaneous CD30+ lymphoproliferative disorders and the classification and terminology of different types of cutaneous B-cell lymphomas have resulted in considerable debate and confusion. During recent consensus meetings representatives of both systems reached agreement on a new classification, which is now called the WHO-EORTC classification. In this paper we describe the characteristic features of the different primary cutaneous lymphomas and other hematologic neoplasms frequently presenting in the skin, and discuss differences with the previous classification schemes. In addition, the relative frequency and survival data of 1905 patients with primary cutaneous lymphomas derived from Dutch and Austrian registries for primary cutaneous lymphomas are presented to illustrate the clinical significance of this new classification.
    Blood 06/2005; 105(10):3768-85. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha) and IL-1beta are proinflammatory cytokines, which induce a plethora of genes and activities by binding to the type 1 IL-1 receptor (IL-1R1). We have investigated the role of IL-1 during pulmonary antiviral immune responses in IL-1R1(-/-) mice infected with influenza virus. IL-1R1(-/-) mice showed markedly reduced inflammatory pathology in the lung, primarily due to impaired neutrophil recruitment. Activation of CD4(+) T cells in secondary lymphoid organs and subsequent migration to the lung were impaired in the absence of IL-1R1. In contrast, activation of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes and killing of virus-infected cells in the lung were intact. Influenza virus-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody responses were intact, while the IgM response was markedly reduced in both serum and mucosal sites in IL-1R1(-/-) mice. We found significantly increased mortality in the absence of IL-1R1; however, lung viral titers were only moderately increased. Our results demonstrate that IL-1alpha/beta mediate acute pulmonary inflammatory pathology while enhancing survival during influenza virus infection. IL-1alpha/beta appear not to influence killing of virus-infected cells but to enhance IgM antibody responses and recruitment of CD4(+) T cells to the site of infection.
    Journal of Virology 06/2005; 79(10):6441-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reactive hemophagocytic syndrome (RHS) is a disease of overwhelming macrophage activity triggered by infection, malignancy or autoimmune disorders. Currently used laboratory markers for the quantitative assessment of monocyte/macrophage activation lack lineage-restricted expression patterns and thus specificity. Serum levels of the macrophage specific scavenger receptor CD163 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and were found to be highly increased in patients with RHS (median 39.0 mg/L). Significantly lower levels were determined in patients with sepsis (median 9.1 mg/L), acute mononucleosis (median 8.2 mg/L), Leishmania infection (median 6.7 mg/L) and healthy controls (median 1.8 mg/L). Follow-up of patients with a relapsing course of the disease revealed close correlations of sCD163 with clinical disease activity, serum ferritin and other markers of macrophage activity. Large sinusoidal accumulations of CD163 expressing macrophages actively engaged in phagocytosis of blood cells were detected in spleen sections of RHS patients. Our data suggests sCD163 to be a macrophage-specific marker in patients with disorders of inappropriate macrophage activation.
    European Journal Of Haematology 02/2005; 74(1):6-10. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In vitro studies suggest a role for c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) in proatherogenic cellular processes. We show that atherosclerosis-prone ApoE-/- mice simultaneously lacking JNK2 (ApoE-/- JNK2-/- mice), but not ApoE-/- JNK1-/- mice, developed less atherosclerosis than do ApoE-/- mice. Pharmacological inhibition of JNK activity efficiently reduced plaque formation. Macrophages lacking JNK2 displayed suppressed foam cell formation caused by defective uptake and degradation of modified lipoproteins and showed increased amounts of the modified lipoprotein-binding and -internalizing scavenger receptor A (SR-A), whose phosphorylation was markedly decreased. Macrophage-restricted deletion of JNK2 was sufficient to decrease atherogenesis. Thus, JNK2-dependent phosphorylation of SR-A promotes uptake of lipids in macrophages, thereby regulating foam cell formation, a critical step in atherogenesis.
    Science 12/2004; 306(5701):1558-61. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoantibodies can be detected in autoimmune diseases with a long prodromal phase and may serve as early indicators of disease activity. Autoantibody-based screening methods are therefore potent tools for the identification of target antigens. The SEREX method (serological identification of antigens by recombinant expression cloning) has been developed for the serological definition of immunogenic tumor antigens. Recent studies indicate that the SEREX approach may also be utilized for the analysis of complex immune responses involved in autoimmune diseases.
    Autoimmunity Reviews 11/2003; 2(6):339-45. · 7.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
229.81 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2012
    • University of Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2005–2008
    • ETH Zurich
      • Institute of Integrative Biology Zurich
      Zürich, ZH, Switzerland