[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CC-chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), a unique chemokine ligand of CC-chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6), play roles in various pathologic conditions. However, the characteristic expression profiles of CCL20 during human tuberculosis (TB) have been largely unknown. The present study analyzed the production and regulatory mechanisms of CCL20 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) from active pulmonary TB patients and healthy controls (HC). The 30-kDa antigen (Ag) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis actively induced the production of CCL20 by human PBMC and MDM. A comparative analysis revealed that the expression of CCL20 protein was prominently up-regulated in PBMC, MDM, bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (not in sera) from TB patients compared with the corresponding cells or body fluids from HC. Blockade of either tumour necrosis factor-alpha or interferon-gamma, but not interleukin-10, significantly attenuated the CCL20 production. In addition, recombinant CCL20 induced CCR6 expression by CD45RO+ T lymphocytes in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, the expression of CCR6 was significantly increased in CD45RO+ T lymphocytes from TB patients, as compared with those from HC. Pharmacological inhibition studies showed that the 30-kDa Ag-induced CCL20 mRNA expression involves mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK; extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and p38)- and NF-kappaB-dependent signalling. Collectively, the present study demonstrated that TB patients show the up-regulated expression of CCL20, which is modulated by proinflammatory cytokines, and through MAPK/NF-kappaB-mediated transcriptional mechanisms. The findings suggest important implications of potential roles of CCL20-CCR6 in immunopathogenesis of TB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MTB12 protein, also called CFP-2, is a major and early secreted component of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, its role during mycobacterial infection has been poorly characterized. In this study, we purified the native MTB12 protein and investigated the profile of MTB12-induced cytokines [interferon (IFN)-gamma, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6], in early tuberculosis (TB) patients (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 35). The cytokine profiles were compared with those induced by the 30-kDa antigen (Ag). In healthy controls, MTB12-induced IFN-gamma production was markedly decreased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells compared with 30-kDa Ag-induced IFN-gamma. In TB patients, the mean IFN-gamma level induced by MTB12 was lower than that induced by the 30-kDa Ag, albeit the difference was not significant. After 2 months of anti-TB therapy, both the MTB12- and 30-kDa-induced IFN-gamma levels were significantly increased in TB patients. MTB12-induced TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels were prominently upregulated in monocyte-derived macrophages from TB patients, but they were not significantly different from those induced by the 30-kDa Ag. Further, the activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase was required for the induction of TNF-alpha and IL-6 by MTB12, as well as by the 30-kDa Ag. Collectively, these data suggest that the MTB12 protein plays an essential role for proinflammatory responses through the MAPK pathway during the early stages of human TB, even though its T-cell immunoreactivity is weaker than that of the 30-kDa Ag.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interleukin (IL)-12 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha are both thought to be critical factors in the defence against mycobacteria but are known to play different roles. In this study, we investigated the regulatory pathways for IL-12 and TNF-alpha expression in human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) after treatment with Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv or the Triton X-100 solubilized proteins (TSP) purified from M. tuberculosis. We found a rapid phosphorylation of Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), albeit with differential activation kinetics, in human MDMs treated with M. tuberculosis or TSP. Studies using inhibitors selective for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K) and ERK 1/2 show that both pathway plays an essential role in the induction of TNF-alpha at both the transcriptional and translational levels in human MDMs. In contrast, blockade of the PI 3-K/Akt or ERK 1/2 pathways significantly increased M. tuberculosis- or TSP-induced IL-12 p40 and p35 mRNA and bioactive p70 protein. The enhancement of IL-12 levels by inhibition of PI 3-K and ERK 1/2 was not reversed by neutralization of TNF-alpha or addition of rhTNF-alpha, suggesting that the negative regulation of IL-12 is not mediated by concomitant TNF-alpha suppression. Further, PI 3-K activity is required for the M. tuberculosis- or TSP-induced phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 activation. TSP from M. tuberculosis shows a similar dependency on the PI 3-K and ERK 1/2 pathways to those by M. tuberculosis. Collectively, these data suggest that the Th1-driving cytokine IL-12 and proinflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha are differentially regulated by PI 3-K and ERK 1/2 pathways in human MDMs during mycobacterial infection. These results may provide therapeutic targets for precise and specific fine-tuning of cytokine responses.