[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammals, circadian and daily rhythms influence nearly all aspects of physiology, ranging from behavior to gene expression. Functional molecular clocks have been described in the murine spleen and splenic NK cells. The aim of our study was to investigate the existence of molecular clock mechanisms in other immune cells. Therefore, we measured the circadian changes in gene expression of clock genes (Per1, Per2, Bmal1, and Clock) and clock-controlled transcription factors (Rev-erbα and Dbp) in splenic enriched macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells in both mice entrained to a light-dark cycle and under constant environmental conditions. Our study reveals the existence of functional molecular clock mechanisms in splenic macrophages, dendritic cells, and B cells.
Brain Behavior and Immunity 03/2012; 26(3):407-13. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythms refer to biologic processes that oscillate with a period of ~24 hr. These rhythms are sustained by a molecular clock and provide a temporal matrix that ensures the coordination of homeostatic processes with the periodicity of environmental challenges. We demonstrate the circadian molecular clock controls the expression and function of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9). In a vaccination model using TLR9 ligand as adjuvant, mice immunized at the time of enhanced TLR9 responsiveness presented weeks later with an improved adaptive immune response. In a TLR9-dependent mouse model of sepsis, we found that disease severity was dependent on the timing of sepsis induction, coinciding with the daily changes in TLR9 expression and function. These findings unveil a direct molecular link between the circadian and innate immune systems with important implications for immunoprophylaxis and immunotherapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: West Nile virus (WNV), from the Flaviviridae family, is a re-emerging zoonotic pathogen of medical importance. In humans, WNV infection may cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis or long-term neurologic sequelae. WNV is transmitted by Culex spp. mosquitoes and both the arthropod vector and the mammalian host are equipped with antiviral innate immune mechanisms sharing a common phylogeny. As far as the current evidence is able to demonstrate, mosquitoes primarily rely on RNA interference, Toll, Imd and JAK-STAT signalling pathways for limiting viral infection, while mammals are provided with these and other more complex antiviral mechanisms involving antiviral effectors, inflammatory mediators, and cellular responses triggered by highly specialized pathogen detection mechanisms that often resemble their invertebrate ancestry. This mini-review summarizes our current understanding of how the innate immune systems of the vector and the mammalian host react to WNV infection and shape its pathogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research in our laboratory has demonstrated robust circadian variations of cytokines and cytolytic factors in enriched NK cells from rat spleen, strongly suggesting these functions may be subject to circadian regulation. The SCN mediates timing information to peripheral tissues by both humoral and neural inputs. In particular, noradrenergic (NE) sympathetic nervous system (SNS) terminals innervate the spleen tissue communicating information between central and peripheral systems. However, whether these immune factors are subject to timing information conveyed through neural NE innervation to the spleen remained unknown. Indeed, we were able to characterize a circadian rhythm of NE content in the spleen, supporting the role of the SNS as a conveyor of timing information to splenocytes. By chemically producing a local splenic sympathectomy through guanethidine treatment, the splenic NE rhythm was abolished or shifted as indicated by a blunting of the expected peak at ZT7. Consequently, the daily variations of cytokine, TNF-α, and cytolytic factors, granzyme-B and perforin, in NK cells and splenocytes were altered. Only time-dependent mRNA expression of IFN-γ was altered in splenocytes, but not protein levels in NK cells, suggesting non-neural entrainment cues may be necessary to regulate specific immune factors. In addition, the rhythms of clock genes and proteins, Bmal1 and Per2, in these tissues also displayed significantly altered daily variations. Collectively, these results demonstrate rhythmic NE input to the spleen acts as an entrainment cue to modulate the molecular clock in NK cells and other spleen cells possibly playing a role in regulating the cytokine and cytolytic function of these cells.
Brain Behavior and Immunity 01/2011; 25(1):101-9. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmunity leads to the activation of innate effector pathways, proinflammatory cytokine production, and end-organ injury. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an upstream activator of the innate response that mediates the recruitment and retention of monocytes via CD74 and associated chemokine receptors, and it has a role in the maintenance of B lymphocytes. High-expression MIF alleles also are associated with end-organ damage in different autoimmune diseases. We assessed the therapeutic efficacy of (S,R)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4,5-dihydro-5-isoxazole acetic acid methyl ester (ISO-1), an orally bioavailable MIF antagonist, in two distinct models of systemic lupus erythematosus: the NZB/NZW F1 and the MRL/lpr mouse strains. ISO-1, like anti-MIF, inhibited the interaction between MIF and its receptor, CD74, and in each model of disease, it reduced functional and histological indices of glomerulonephritis, CD74(+) and CXCR4(+) leukocyte recruitment, and proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression. Neither autoantibody production nor T and B cell activation were significantly affected, pointing to the specificity of MIF antagonism in reducing excessive proinflammatory responses. These data highlight the feasibility of targeting the MIF-MIF receptor interaction by small-molecule antagonism and support the therapeutic value of downregulating MIF-dependent pathways of tissue damage in systemic lupus erythematosus.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2011; 186(1):527-38. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Caspase-12 has been shown to negatively modulate inflammasome signaling during bacterial infection. Its function in viral immunity, however, has not been characterized. We now report an important role for caspase-12 in controlling viral infection via the pattern-recognition receptor RIG-I. After challenge with West Nile virus (WNV), caspase-12-deficient mice had greater mortality, higher viral burden and defective type I interferon response compared with those of challenged wild-type mice. In vitro studies of primary neurons and mouse embryonic fibroblasts showed that caspase-12 positively modulated the production of type I interferon by regulating E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM25-mediated ubiquitination of RIG-I, a critical signaling event for the type I interferon response to WNV and other important viral pathogens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The past decade has seen an explosion in research focusing on innate immunity. Through a wide range of mechanisms including phagocytosis, intracellular killing and activation of proinflammatory or antiviral cytokine production, the cells of the innate immune system initiate and support adaptive immunity. The effects of aging on innate immune responses remain incompletely understood, particularly in humans. Here we review advances in the study of human immunosenescence in the diverse cells of the innate immune system, including neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, natural killer and natural killer T (NKT) cells and dendritic cells-with a focus on consequences for the response to infection or vaccination in old age.
Trends in Immunology 07/2009; 30(7):325-33. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cell dysfunction is associated with hyperresponse of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) to immune challenge and with a loss of beta-endorphin (BEP) neurons in fetal alcohol exposed animals. Recently, we established a method to differentiate neural stem cells into BEP neurons using cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)-elevating agents in cultures. Hence, we determined whether in vitro differentiated BEP neurons could be used for reversing the compromised stress response and immune function in fetal alcohol exposed rats.
To determine the effect of BEP neuron transplants on NK cell function, we implanted in vitro differentiated BEP neurons into the paraventricular nucleus of pubertal and adult male rats exposed to ethanol or control in utero. The functionality of transplanted BEP neurons was determined by measuring proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene expression in these cells and their effects on CRH gene expression under basal and after lipopolysaccaride (LPS) challenge. In addition, the effectiveness of BEP neurons in activating NK cell functions is determined by measuring NK cell cytolytic activity and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production in the spleen and in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) following cell transplantation.
We showed here that when these in vitro differentiated BEP neurons were transplanted into the hypothalamus, they maintain biological functions by producing POMC and reducing the CRH neuronal response to the LPS challenge. BEP neuronal transplants significantly increased NK cell cytolytic activity in the spleen and in the PBMC and increased plasma levels of IFN-gamma in control and fetal alcohol exposed rats.
These data further establish the BEP neuronal regulatory role in the control of CRH and NK cell cytolytic function and identify a possible novel therapy to treat stress hyperresponse and immune deficiency in fetal alcohol exposed subjects.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 04/2009; 33(5):931-7. · 3.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Innate antiviral immunity is activated by the detection of conserved virus-associated molecular motifs by host-encoded pathogen-recognition
receptors (PRRs). This phenomenon triggers the production of antiviral and proinflammatory cytokines as well as the expression
of costimulatory molecules in immune cells, leading to the establishment of an antiviral state and the induction of adaptive
immune responses. In this chapter we review our current understanding of the innate immune mechanisms that mediate the recognition
of West Nile virus (WNV) infection. The role of innate immune cells and cytokines in WNV immunopathogenesis is also discussed.
Paradoxically, although many of the innate responses induced by WNV infection are protective, others favor WNV neuroinvasion
by their detrimental effect on blood–brain barrier permeability.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: West Nile virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, has recently emerged in North America, and the elderly are particularly susceptible to severe neurological disease and death from infection with this virus. We have investigated the innate immune response of primary human macrophages to WNV in vitro and have found significant differences between the responsiveness of macrophages derived from younger donors and that from older donors. Binding of the glycosylated WNV envelope protein to the C-type lectin dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3 (ICAM3) grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN) leads to a reduction in the expression of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) in macrophages from young donors via the signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1)-mediated pathway. This signaling is impaired in the elderly, and the elevated levels of TLR3 result in an elevation of cytokine levels. This alteration of the innate immune response with aging may contribute to the permeability of the blood-brain barrier and suggests a possible mechanism for the increased severity of WNV infection in older individuals.
Journal of Virology 09/2008; 82(15):7613-23. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circadian rhythms in physiology and behavior are ultimately regulated at the hypothalamic level by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). This central oscillator transduces photic information to the cellular clocks in the periphery through the autonomic nervous system and the neuroendocrine system. The fact that these two systems have been shown to modulate leukocyte physiology supports the concept that the circadian component is an important aspect of hypothalamic-immune communication. Circadian disruption has been linked to immune dysregulation, and recent reports suggest that several circadian clock genes, in addition to their time-keeping role, are involved in the immune response. In this overview, we summarize the findings demonstrating that Natural Killer (NK) cell function is under circadian control.
Neurochemical Research 05/2008; 33(4):708-18. · 2.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immune response against viral infection relies on the early production of cytokines that induce an antiviral state and trigger the activation of immune cells. This response is initiated by the recognition of virus-associated molecular patterns such as dsRNA, a viral replication intermediate recognized by TLR3 and certain RNA helicases. Infection with West Nile virus (WNV) can lead to lethal encephalitis in susceptible individuals and constitutes an emerging health threat. In this study, we report that WNV envelope protein (WNV-E) specifically blocks the production of antiviral and proinflammatory cytokines induced by dsRNA in murine macrophages. This immunosuppressive effect was not dependent on TLR3 or its adaptor molecule Trif. Instead, our experiments show that WNV-E acts at the level of receptor-interacting protein 1. Our results also indicate that WNV-E requires a certain glycosylation pattern, specifically that of dipteran cells, to inhibit dsRNA-induced cytokine production. In conclusion, these data show that the major structural protein of WNV impairs the innate immune response and suggest that WNV exploits differential vector/host E glycosylation profiles to evade antiviral mechanisms.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2008; 179(12):8403-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The flavivirus West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging pathogen that causes life-threatening encephalitis in susceptible individuals. We investigated the role of the proinflammatory cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which is an upstream mediator of innate immunity, in WNV immunopathogenesis. We found that patients suffering from acute WNV infection presented with increased MIF levels in plasma and in cerebrospinal fluid. MIF expression also was induced in WNV-infected mice. Remarkably, abrogation of MIF action by 3 distinct approaches (antibody blockade, small molecule pharmacologic inhibition, and genetic deletion) rendered mice more resistant to WNV lethality. Mif(-/-) mice showed a reduced viral load and inflammatory response in the brain when compared with wild-type mice. Our results also indicate that MIF favors viral neuroinvasion by compromising the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. In conclusion, the data obtained from this study provide direct evidence for the involvement of MIF in viral pathogenesis and suggest that pharmacotherapeutic approaches targeting MIF may hold promise for the treatment of WNV encephalitis.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 11/2007; 117(10):3059-66. · 12.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circadian and daily rhythms regulate many aspects of physiology and behavior. Although a growing number of studies suggest that circadian disruptions may render organisms more susceptible to infection and cancer, the molecular links between the circadian system and the immune system are largely unknown. Here we report that mice carrying a loss-of-function mutation in the Per2 gene, a key component of the molecular circadian clock, lacked the physiologic daily rhythm of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) mRNA and protein expression in the spleen. These observations were associated with a significant alteration in the expression of canonical clock genes. In addition, Per2 mutant mice failed to show a daily rhythm in IFN-gamma serum levels, which were significantly lower than those determined in wild-type mice during the early light period. These findings provide novel evidence for a direct circadian regulation of IFN-gamma, a critical cytokine modulating the immune response.
Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research 10/2006; 26(9):645-9. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells participate in the immune response against infection and cancer. An emerging body of epidemiological data supports that circadian homeostasis may constitute a factor risk for cancer development. Physiological rhythms under circadian control persist in the absence of light entrainment and ultimately rely on a molecular clock. We have previously shown that NK cell cytolytic activity follows a daily rhythm and that NK cells enriched from light-entrained rats present 24-h oscillations of clock genes, cytolytic factors, and cytokines. To investigate whether these oscillations are under a genuine circadian control, we assessed the daily expression of clock genes (Per1, Per2, Clock, and Bmal1), a clock-controlled gene (Dbp), cytolytic factors (granzyme B and perforin), and cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) in NK cells enriched from rats maintained in constant darkness (DD). In addition, we investigated whether the disruption of the NK cell clock by RNA interference (RNAi) affects the expression of cytolytic factors and cytokines. Persistent 24-h oscillations were found in the expression levels of clock genes, cytolytic factors, and cytokines in NK cells enriched from DD rats. In addition, RNAi-mediated Per2 knockdown caused a significant decrease of granzyme B and perforin levels in the rat derived NK cell line RNK16. Taken together, these results provide evidence supporting that NK cell function is under circadian regulation.
Brain Behavior and Immunity 10/2006; 20(5):469-76. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circadian (and daily) rhythms are physiological events that oscillate with a 24-hour period. Circadian disruptions may hamper the immune response against infection and cancer. Several immune mechanisms, such as natural killer (NK) cell function, follow a daily rhythm. Although ethanol is known to be a potent toxin for many systems in the developing fetus, including the immune system, the long-term effects of fetal ethanol exposure on circadian immune function have not been explored.
Daily rhythms of cytotoxic factors (granzyme B and perforin), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), and NK cell cytotoxic activity were determined in the spleens of adult male rats obtained from mothers who were fed during pregnancy with chow food or an ethanol-containing liquid diet or pair-fed an isocaloric liquid diet.
We found that adult rats exposed to ethanol during their fetal life showed a significant alteration in the physiological rhythms of granzyme B and IFN-gamma that was associated with decreased NK cell cytotoxic activity.
These data suggest that fetal ethanol exposure causes a permanent alteration of specific immune rhythms that may in part underlie the immune impairment observed in children prenatally exposed to alcohol.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 07/2006; 30(6):1039-44. · 3.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A growing body of knowledge is revealing the critical role of circadian physiology in the development of specific pathological entities such as cancer. NK cell function participates in the immune response against infection and malignancy. We have reported previously the existence of a physiological circadian rhythm of NK cell cytolytic activity in rats, suggesting the existence of circadian mechanisms subjacent to NK cell function. At the cellular level, circadian rhythms are originated by the sustained transcriptional-translational oscillation of clock genes that form the cellular clock apparatus. Our aim in this study was to investigate the presence of molecular clock mechanisms in NK cells as well as the circadian expression of critical factors involved in NK cell function. For that purpose, we measured the circadian changes in the expression of clock genes (Per1, Per2, Bmal1, Clock), Dbp (a clock-controlled output gene), CREB (involved in clock signaling), cytolytic factors (granzyme B and perforin), and cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) in NK cells enriched from the rat spleen. The results obtained from this study demonstrate for the first time the existence of functional molecular clock mechanisms in NK cells. Moreover, the circadian expression of cytolytic factors and cytokines in NK cells reported in this study emphasizes the circadian nature of NK cell function.
The Journal of Immunology 07/2005; 174(12):7618-24. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies show that alterations in the body's biological rhythms can lead to serious pathologies, including cancer. Acute and chronic ethanol consumption impairs the immune system by causing specific defects in the cellular components of the innate immune response and by creating increased risk and susceptibility to infections and cancer. NK cells are critical for immune surveillance against infected and malignant cells. To assess whether NK cell function follows a circadian trend and to determine ethanol effects on this rhythm, we measured, over a 24-h period, mRNA and protein levels of granzyme B, perforin, and the cytokine IFN-gamma, as well as NK cell activity, in the splenocytes of ad libitum-fed, pair-fed, and ethanol-fed Sprague Dawley male rats. Circadian rhythms were found in mRNA and protein levels of granzyme B, perforin, and IFN-gamma. A circadian pattern was also detected in NK cell cytolytic activity. Our data further demonstrated how chronic ethanol suppressed NK cell activity by directly disrupting the circadian rhythms of granzyme B, perforin, and IFN-gamma. These findings identify the circadian functions of splenic NK cells and show the vulnerability of these rhythms to chronic ethanol.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2004; 172(5):2811-7. · 5.52 Impact Factor