[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phagocytic clearance of apoptotic cells is essential to prevent chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The phosphatidylserine-binding protein milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8) is a major opsonin for apoptotic cells, and MFG-E8(-/-) mice spontaneously develop a lupus-like disease. Similar to human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the murine disease is associated with an impaired clearance of apoptotic cells. SLE is routinely treated with glucocorticoids (GCs), whose anti-inflammatory effects are consentaneously attributed to the transrepression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Here, we show that the GC-mediated transactivation of MFG-E8 expression and the concomitantly enhanced elimination of apoptotic cells constitute a novel aspect in this context. Patients with chronic inflammation receiving high-dose prednisone therapy displayed substantially increased MFG-E8 mRNA levels in circulating monocytes. MFG-E8 induction was dependent on the GC receptor and several GC response elements within the MFG-E8 promoter. Most intriguingly, the inhibition of MFG-E8 induction by RNA interference or genetic knockout strongly reduced or completely abolished the phagocytosis-enhancing effect of GCs in vitro and in vivo. Thus, MFG-E8-dependent promotion of apoptotic cell clearance is a novel anti-inflammatory facet of GC treatment and renders MFG-E8 a prospective target for future therapeutic interventions in SLE.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 5 July 2013; doi:10.1038/cdd.2013.82.
Cell death and differentiation 07/2013; · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The elimination of apoptotic cells, called efferocytosis, is fundamentally important for tissue homeostasis and prevents the onset of inflammation and autoimmunity. Serum proteins are known to assist in this complex process. In the current study, we performed a multistep chromatographic fractionation of human serum and identified plasminogen, a protein involved in fibrinolysis, wound healing, and tissue remodeling, as a novel serum-derived factor promoting apoptotic cell removal. Even at levels significantly lower than its serum concentration, purified plasminogen strongly enhanced apoptotic prey cell internalization by macrophages. Plasminogen acted mainly on prey cells, whereas on macrophages no enhancement of the engulfment process was observed. We further demonstrate that the efferocytosis-promoting activity essentially required the proteolytic activation of plasminogen and was completely abrogated by the urokinase plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and serine protease inhibitor aprotinin. Thus, our study assigns a new function to plasminogen and plasmin in apoptotic cell clearance.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2012; · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is both a frequent colonizer of the upper respiratory tract and a leading cause of life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. The innate immune system is critical for the control of colonization and for defence during invasive disease. Initially, pneumococci are recognized by different sensors of the innate immune system called pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which control most subsequent host defence pathways. These PRRs include the transmembrane Toll-like receptors (TLRs) as well as the cytosolic NOD-like receptors (NLRs) and DNA sensors. Recognition of S. pneumoniae by members of these PRR families regulates the production of inflammatory mediators that orchestrate the following immune response of infected as well as neighbouring non-infected cells, stimulates the recruitment of immune cells such as neutrophils and macrophages, and shapes the adaptive immunity. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the function of different PRRs in S. pneumoniae infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of community-acquired pneumonia. In this study, we examine an innate immune recognition pathway that senses pneumococcal infection, triggers type I IFN production, and regulates RANTES production. We found that human and murine alveolar macrophages as well as murine bone marrow macrophages, but not alveolar epithelial cells, produced type I IFNs upon infection with S. pneumoniae. This response was dependent on the pore-forming toxin pneumolysin and appeared to be mediated by a cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway involving the adapter molecule STING and the transcription factor IFN regulatory factor 3. Indeed, DNA was present in the cytosol during pneumococcal infection as indicated by the activation of the AIM2 inflammasome, which is known to sense microbial DNA. Type I IFNs produced by S. pneumoniae-infected macrophages positively regulated gene expression and RANTES production in macrophages and cocultured alveolar epithelial cells in vitro. Moreover, type I IFNs controlled RANTES production during pneumococcal pneumonia in vivo. In conclusion, we identified an immune sensing pathway detecting S. pneumoniae that triggers a type I IFN response and positively regulates RANTES production.
The Journal of Immunology 12/2011; 188(2):811-7. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Pneumococci can be divided into >90 serotypes that show differences in the pathogenicity and invasiveness. We tested the hypotheses that the innate immune inflammasome pathway is involved in fighting pneumococcal pneumonia and that some invasive pneumococcal types are not recognized by this pathway. We show that human and murine mononuclear cells responded to S. pneumoniae expressing hemolytic pneumolysin by producing IL-1β. This IL-1β production depended on the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. Some serotype 1, serotype 8, and serotype 7F bacteria, which have previously been associated with increased invasiveness and with production of toxins with reduced hemolytic activity, or bacterial mutants lacking pneumolysin did not stimulate notable IL-1β production. We further found that NLRP3 was beneficial for mice during pneumonia caused by pneumococci expressing hemolytic pneumolysin and was involved in cytokine production and maintenance of the pulmonary microvascular barrier. Overall, the inflammasome pathway is protective in pneumonia caused by pneumococci expressing hemolytic toxin but is not activated by clinically important pneumococcal sequence types causing invasive disease. The study indicates that a virulence factor polymorphism may substantially affect the recognition of bacteria by the innate immune system.
The Journal of Immunology 07/2011; 187(1):434-40. · 5.52 Impact Factor