L Ekman

University of Gothenburg, Goeteborg, Västra Götaland, Sweden

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Publications (17)72.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Despite an extensive literature on the mechanism of action of cholera toxin (CT), we still lack critical information about how the toxin acts as an adjuvant and, especially, which dendritic cells (DCs) are the target cells. Although a T helper type 2 (Th2)-skewing effect of CT is most commonly reported, effective priming of Th17 cells as well as suppression of Th1 responses are well documented. However, the ability of CT to block interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) function and interleukin (IL)-12 production in DCs, which blocks CD8α DC and Th1 cell development, is inconsistent with priming of Th1 and CD8 T cells in many other reports. This prompted us to investigate the adjuvant effect of CT in wild-type, IL-12p40-/-, Batf3-/-, and IL-17A-/- mice and in mice that selectively lack the Gsα target protein for CT adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribosylation in DCs. We found that CT promoted Th1 priming independently of IL-12, and whereas Th2 and also Th17 responses were augmented, the gut IgA responses did not require IL-17A. Adjuvanticity was intact in Batf3-/- mice, lacking CD8α(+) DCs, but completely lost in mice with Gsα-deficient CD11c cells. Thus, our data demonstrate that the adjuvant effect requires Gsα expression in CD11b(+) DCs, and that priming of mucosal IgA and CD4 T cells appears unbiased and is independent of IL-12 and IL-17A.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 26 November 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.111.
    Mucosal Immunology 11/2014; 8(4). DOI:10.1038/mi.2014.111 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Earlier studies have reported on both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory activities of cholera toxin (CT). As CT is a powerful adjuvant, we were interested in identifying genes with a possible involvement in these functions. A global gene expression analysis in mouse B cells showed that CT regulated <100 annotated genes, which encoded transcription factors, G proteins, cell-cycle regulators, and immunoregulating molecules. Interestingly, CT regulated the expression of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 gene and influenced the level and activation of both isoforms STAT3 alpha and STAT3 beta, in vitro in a B-cell line and in Peyer's patch (PP) B cells and in vivo in freshly isolated splenic B cells from CT-treated mice. This effect was cAMP dependent and was not seen with CTB. B cells pre-exposed to CT were significantly more susceptible to the activation of STAT3 by interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-10. This exerted a stronger inhibitory effect of IL-10 on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated B-cell proliferation and cytokine production (IL-6). Moreover, IgG1 and IgA production induced by LPS and IL-10 were enhanced by the addition of CT to cultures of PP or splenic B cells. This is the first study to provide a molecular mechanism that can reconcile previous findings of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects by CT adjuvant.
    Mucosal Immunology 04/2010; 3(4):374-86. DOI:10.1038/mi.2010.16 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that the dichotomy between tolerance and active IgA immunity in mucosal immune responses is regulated at the APC level. Therefore, immunomodulation of the APC could be an effective mechanism to control the two response patterns. In this study, we demonstrate that ADP-ribosylation controls the outcome of tolerance or active effector T cell immunity to an internal peptide p323-339 from OVA inserted into the cholera toxin (CT)-derived CTA1-OVA-DD adjuvant. We found that a single point mutation, CTA1R7K-OVA-DD, resulting in lack of enzymatic activity, promoted peptide-specific tolerance in TCR transgenic CD4(+) T cells following a single intranasal (i.n.) treatment. The CTA1R7K-OVA-DD-induced tolerance was strong, long-lasting, and impaired the ability of adoptively transferred naive peptide-specific CD4(+) T cells to respond to Ag-challenge, irrespective if this was given i.p or i.n. The tolerance correlated with induction of regulatory T cells of the regulatory T type 1 characterized by CD25(-)Foxp3(-)CD4(+) T cells producing IL-10. In contrast, in IL-10-deficient mice, no peptide-specific tolerance was observed, and these mice exhibited unimpaired CD4(+) T cell responsiveness to recall Ag irrespective of if they were untreated (PBS) or treated i.n. with CTA1R7K-OVA-DD. Thus, for the first time, we can provide unequivocal proof that ADP-ribosylation can control the outcome of mucosal Ag exposure from tolerance to an enhanced effector CD4(+) T cell response. The exploitation of this system for clinical treatment of autoimmune diseases is discussed.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2010; 184(6):2776-84. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.0901445 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The in vivo mechanisms of action of most vaccine adjuvants are poorly understood. In this study, we present data in mice that reveal a series of critical interactions between the cholera toxin (CT) adjuvant and the dendritic cells (DC) of the splenic marginal zone (MZ) that lead to effective priming of an immune response. For the first time, we have followed adjuvant targeting of MZ DC in vivo. We used CT-conjugated OVA and found that the Ag selectively accumulated in MZ DC following i.v. injections. The uptake of Ag into DC was GM1 ganglioside receptor dependent and mediated by the B subunit of CT (CTB). The targeted MZ DC were quite unique in their phenotype: CD11c(+), CD8alpha(-), CD11b(-), B220(-), and expressing intermediate or low levels of MHC class II and DEC205. Whereas CTB only delivered the Ag to MZ DC, the ADP-ribosyltransferase activity of CT was required for the maturation and migration of DC to the T cell zone, where these cells distinctly up-regulated CD86, but not CD80. This interaction appeared to instruct Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells to move into the B cell follicle and strongly support germinal center formations. These events may explain why CT-conjugated Ag is substantially more immunogenic than Ag admixed with soluble CT and why CTB-conjugated Ag can tolerize immune responses when given orally or at other mucosal sites.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2005; 175(8):5192-202. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.175.8.5192 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we show that costimulation required for mucosal IgA responses is strikingly different from that needed for systemic responses, including serum IgA. Following oral immunization with cholera toxin (CT) adjuvant we found that whereas CTLA4-H1 transgenic mice largely failed to respond, CD28-/- mice developed near normal gut mucosal IgA responses but poor serum Ab responses. The local IgA response was functional in that strong antitoxic protection developed in CT-immunized CD28-/- mice. This was in spite of the fact that no germinal centers (GC) were observed in the Peyer's patches, spleen, or other peripheral lymph nodes. Moreover, significant somatic hypermutation was found in isolated IgA plasma cells from gut lamina propria of CD28-/- mice. Thus, differentiation to functional gut mucosal IgA responses against T cell-dependent Ags does not require signaling through CD28 and can be independent of GC formations and isotype-switching in Peyer's patches. By contrast, serum IgA responses, similar to IgG-responses, are dependent on GC and CD28. However, both local and systemic responses are impaired in CTLA4-Hgamma1 transgenic mice, indicating that mucosal IgA responses are dependent on the B7-family ligands, but require signaling via CTLA4 or more likely a third related receptor. Therefore, T-B cell interactions leading to mucosal as opposed to serum IgA responses are uniquely regulated and appear to represent separate events. Although CT is known to strongly up-regulate B7-molecules, we have demonstrated that it acts as a potent mucosal adjuvant in the absence of CD28, suggesting that alternative costimulatory pathways are involved.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2003; 170(1):55-63. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.170.1.55 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently developed a novel immunomodulating gene fusion protein, CTA1-DD, that combines the ADP-ribosylating ability of cholera toxin (CT) with a dimer of an Ig-binding fragment, D, of Staphylococcus aureus protein A. The CTA1-DD adjuvant was found to be nontoxic and greatly augmented T cell-dependent responses to soluble protein Ags after systemic as well as mucosal immunizations. Here we show that CTA1-DD does not appear to form immune complexes or bind to soluble Ig following injections, but, rather, it binds directly to B cells of all isotypes, including naive IgD+ cells. No binding was observed to macrophages or dendritic cells. Immunizations in FcepsilonR (common FcRgamma-chain)- and FcgammaRII-deficient mice demonstrated that CTA1-DD exerted unaltered enhancing effects, indicating that FcgammaR-expressing cells are not required for the adjuvant function. Whereas CT failed to augment Ab responses to high m.w. dextran B512 in athymic mice, CTA1-DD was highly efficient, demonstrating that T cell-independent responses were also enhanced by this adjuvant. In normal mice both CT and CTA1-DD, but not the enzymatically inactive CTA1-R7K-DD mutant, were efficient enhancers of T cell-dependent as well as T cell-independent responses, and both promoted germinal center formation following immunizations. Although CT augmented apoptosis in Ag receptor-activated B cells, CTA1-DD strongly counteracted apoptosis by inducing Bcl-2 in a dose-dependent manner, a mechanism that was independent of the CD19 coreceptor. However, in the presence of CD40 stimulation, apoptosis was low and unaffected by CT, suggesting that the adjuvant effect of CT is dependent on the presence of activated CD40 ligand-expressing T cells.
    The Journal of Immunology 07/2000; 164(12):6276-86. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.164.12.6276 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent publications have provided confusing information on the importance of the J chain for secretion of dimeric IgA at mucosal surfaces. Using J chain-deficient (J chain-/-) mice, we addressed whether a lack of J chain had any functional consequence for the ability to resist challenge with cholera toxin (CT) in intestinal loops. J chain-/- mice had normal levels of IgA plasma cells in the gut mucosa, and the Peyer's patches exhibited normal IgA B cell differentiation and germinal center reactions. The total IgA levels in gut lavage were reduced by roughly 90% as compared with that in wild-type controls, while concomitantly serum IgA levels were significantly increased. Total serum IgM levels were depressed, whereas IgG concentrations were normal. Following oral immunizations with CT, J chain-/- mice developed 10-fold increased serum antitoxin IgA titers, but gut lavage anti-CT IgA levels were substantially reduced. However, anti-CT IgA spot-forming cell frequencies in the gut lamina propria were normal. Anti-CT IgM concentrations were low in serum and gut lavage, whereas anti-CT IgG titers were unaltered. Challenge of small intestinal ligated loops with CT caused dramatic fluid accumulation in immunized J chain-/- mice, and only 20% protection was detected compared with unimmunized controls. In contrast, wild-type mice demonstrated 80% protection against CT challenge. Mice heterozygous for the J chain deletion exhibited intermediate gut lavage anti-CT IgA and intestinal protection levels, arguing for a J chain gene-dosage effect on the transport of secretory IgA. This study unequivocally demonstrates a direct relationship between mucosal transport of secretory SIgA and intestinal immune protection.
    The Journal of Immunology 08/1999; 163(2):913-9. · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    L C Agren · L Ekman · B Löwenadler · J G Nedrud · N Y Lycke ·
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    ABSTRACT: The ADP-ribosylating enterotoxins, cholera toxin (CT) and Escherichia coli heat-labile toxin, are among the most powerful immunogens and adjuvants yet described. An innate problem, however, is their strong toxic effects, largely due to their promiscuous binding to all nucleated cells via their B subunits. Notwithstanding this, their exceptional immunomodulating ability is attracting increasing attention for use in systemic and mucosal vaccines. Whereas others have separated adjuvanticity from toxicity by disrupting the enzymatic activity of the A1 subunit by site-directed mutagenesis, we have constructed a nontoxic molecule that combines the full enzymatic activity of the A1 subunit with a B cell targeting moiety in a gene fusion protein, the CTA1-DD adjuvant. Despite its more selective binding properties, we found comparable adjuvant effects of the novel CTA1-DD adjuvant to that of CT. Here we unequivocally demonstrate, using a panel of mutant CTA1-DD molecules, that the immunomodulating ability of CTA1-DD is dependent on both an intact enzymatic activity and the Ig-binding ability of the DD dimer. Both agents, CT and CTA1-DD, ADP-ribosylate intact B cells. However, contrary to CT, no increase in intracellular cyclic AMP in the targeted cells was detected, suggesting that cyclic AMP may not be important for adjuvanticity. Most remarkably, CTA1-DD achieves similar immunomodulating effects to CT using a ganglioside-GM1 receptor-independent pathway for internalization.
    The Journal of Immunology 03/1999; 162(4):2432-40. · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    M Kjerrulf · D Grdic · L Ekman · K Schön · M. and Vajdy · N Y Lycke ·
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    ABSTRACT: Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) receptor knock-out (IFN-gamma R -/-) mice were used to analyse the role of IFN-gamma in mucosal immune responses following oral immunization. We found that the IFN-gamma R -/- mice demonstrated 50% reduced spot-forming cell (SFC) responses in the gut lamina propria and spleen after oral immunization with keyhold limpet haemocyanin (KLH) plus cholera toxin (CT) adjuvant. The IFN-gamma R -/- mice exhibited 10-fold reduced total serum KLH-specific antibody levels compared with wild-type mice after oral immunization, while after intravenous immunization, no such difference was seen, suggesting a selective impairment of mucosal immune responses. Moreover, oral immunizations resulted in impaired interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-10 and IFN-gamma production by spleen T cells from IFN-gamma R -/- mice, indicating that no reciprocal up-regulation of Th2-activities had occurred despite the lack of IFN-gamma R function. No reduction in Th1 or Th2 cytokines was observed following systemic immunizations. Despite potentially strong modulating effects of IFN-gamma on epithelial cell IgA transcytosis and electrolyte barrier functions, CT-immunized IFN-gamma R -/- mice demonstrated unaltered protection against CT in ligated intestinal loops together with normal anti-CT IgA and total IgA levels in gut lavage. Oral feeding with KLH followed by parenteral immunization resulted in strongly suppressed SFC numbers and reduced cell-mediated immunity in both wild-type and IFN-gamma R -/- mice. CT-adjuvant abrogated induction of oral tolerance in both IFN-gamma R -/- and wild-type mice. Collectively, our data argue that the two major response patterns induced by oral administration of protein antigen, i.e. active IgA immunity and oral tolerance, are differently regulated. Thus, IFN-gamma R -/- mice have impaired mucosal immune responses while induction of oral tolerance appears to be unaffected by the lack of IFN-gamma functions.
    Immunology 10/1997; 92(1):60-8. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2567.1997.00312.x · 3.80 Impact Factor
  • L C Agren · L Ekman · B Löwenadler · N Y Lycke ·
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    ABSTRACT: Cholera toxin (CT) is an exceptionally potent adjuvant but, unfortunately, also very toxic. Here we present a powerful new approach to separate toxicity from adjuvanticity by constructing a fusion protein that combines the enzymatically active cholera toxin A1 subunit (CTA1) with targeting to B cells. The CTA1 was genetically linked at its C-terminal end to two Ig-binding domains, DD, of staphylococcal protein A and produced in Escherichia coli. The highly purified, monomeric CTA1-DD fusion protein, with a molecular mass of 37 kDa, was found to exhibit strong ADP-ribosyltransferase activity and bound, via the DD moiety, to both Fc and Fab fragments and to all IgG subclasses--IgE, IgA, and IgM. After i.v. injection of the fusion protein, FACS analysis revealed binding of CTA1-DD to splenic IgM+ B cells, but not CD3+ T cells, indicating cell-specific targeting in vivo. Strikingly, we found that the adjuvant ability of CTA1-DD to enhance systemic IgG as well as mucosal IgA responses to the unrelated Ags, OVA, or keyhole limpet hemocyanin, administered i.v or intranasally, was comparable to that of intact CT. In addition, the enhancing effect on specific IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b responses mimicked that of CT and suggested involvement of both Th1 and Th2 CD4+ T cell activity. The CTA1-DD, as well as CT, up-regulated expression of the CD80 and CD86 molecules on the targeted B cells, indicating that enhanced T cell costimulation may be responsible for the adjuvant effect. Contrary to CT, however, CTA1-DD was completely nontoxic. Thus, the CTA1-DD adjuvant should find general applicability in systemic and mucosal vaccines, and the strategy used may also be explored for other regimens requiring targeted immunomodulation.
    The Journal of Immunology 05/1997; 158(8):3936-46. · 4.92 Impact Factor

  • Immunology Letters 05/1997; 56:289-289. DOI:10.1016/S0165-2478(97)86163-9 · 2.51 Impact Factor
  • N. Lycke · D. Gray · E. Gärdby · L. Ekman · K. Schön · M. Vajdy ·

    Immunology Letters 05/1997; 56:45-46. DOI:10.1016/S0165-2478(97)85174-7 · 2.51 Impact Factor
  • A K Bromander · L Ekman · M Kopf · J G Nedrud · N Y Lycke ·
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    ABSTRACT: Using IL-6-deficient (IL-6 -/-) or wild-type mice, we investigated whether IL-6 is involved in the intestinal adjuvant activity of cholera toxin (CT) and to what extent IL-6 is required for mucosal IgA responses against soluble protein Ags or live Helicobacter felis infection. In naive IL-6 -/- mice we found normal total IgA levels in serum, bronchial and intestinal lavage and unaltered frequencies of IgA plasma cells in intestinal lamina propria. In Peyer's patches (PP) and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) IgA-producing cells were as frequent in IL-6 -/- as in wild-type mice. Immunohistochemical analysis of PP revealed germinal centers that co-localized IgA+ cells, indicating B cell activation and isotype switching in situ in the intestinal immune inductive site. Phenotypic analysis of the distribution of conventional B-2 cells (B220+CD5-/Mac-1-) and B-1 cells (B220+, CD5+/Mac-1+) in intestine-associated tissues gave comparable results in IL-6 -/- and wild-type mice. The ability to respond with mucosal IgA following oral and intranasal immunization with specific Ag, KLH or OVA, in the presence of CT adjuvant or to live H. felis infection was similar in IL-6 -/- and wild-type mice. CT exerted strong and comparable adjuvant functions in IL-6 -/- and wild-type mice. Repeated oral immunizations with CT alone stimulated immune protection against CT-induced diarrhea in ligated loops that was of similar magnitude in IL-6 -/- and wild-type mice. We conclude that, although IL-6 has been ascribed a crucial role in terminal differentiation of IgA B cells in vitro, we found no evidence to support the notion that IL-6 is critically required for IgA B cell development or specific mucosal IgA responses in vivo.
    The Journal of Immunology 07/1996; 156(11):4290-7. · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • C E Hörnquist · L Ekman · K D Grdic · K Schön · N Y Lycke ·
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    ABSTRACT: Using normal and CD4 gene-targeted (CD4-/-) mice, we asked whether mucosal immune responses and IgA B cell differentiation require the presence of CD4+ T helper cells. We found that CD4-/- mice had numerous B cell germinal centers in Peyer's patches and other gut-associated lymphoid tissues. Membrane IgA+ B cells were found to co-localize to germinal center areas and CD4-CD8- double negative CD3+ T cells had replaced CD4+ T cells in the follicular areas of the Peyer's patches. CD4-/- mice had normal levels of IgA-producing cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissues, and gut lavage contained unaltered levels of total IgA. However, despite T cell help for IgA B cell differentiation, CD4-/- mice did not respond with Ag-specific intestinal IgA following oral immunization with the powerful mucosal immunogen cholera toxin (CT). By contrast, these mice demonstrated serum alpha-CT IgG following oral immunization, suggesting that double negative CD3+ T cells provided some help for systemic immune responses after oral immunization. Perorally immunized CD4-/- mice were completely unprotected against CT-induced diarrhea while both normal and CD8-/- mice were well protected and also demonstrated high levels of gut mucosal alpha-CT IgA. After reconstitution of the CD4-/- mice by adoptive transfer of naive mesenteric lymph node CD4+ T cells, the mice acquired the ability to respond with specific mucosal immune responses following oral immunization and also developed resistance against CT-induced diarrhea. Thus, paradoxically, although IgA B cell differentiation appears to proceed normally in CD4-/- mice, specific gut mucosal immune responses are grossly impaired in the absence of CD4+ T cells.
    The Journal of Immunology 10/1995; 155(6):2877-87. · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • N Lycke · A K Bromander · L Ekman · U Karlsson · J Holmgren ·
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    ABSTRACT: Cholera toxin (CT) is a potent oral immunogen that also acts as a strong mucosal adjuvant for immune responses to related as well as unrelated Ag. To elucidate the immunomodulating effects of CT at the cellular level we have examined interactions of CT with APC and with B and T lymphocytes in vitro. CT markedly stimulated the production of IL-1 from APC (mouse peritoneal macrophages or macrophage cell line P388D1) but did not induce Ia-Ag and had marginal, if any, effect in potentiating Ia Ag expression stimulated by rIFN-gamma on these cells. CT had differential effect on T cell proliferation in vitro, usually strongly inhibitory but on Con A-stimulated spleen cells during prolonged (greater than or equal to 5 days) culture or when added on day 4 or later to these cultures up to a two- to three-fold enhancement of proliferation was seen. CT-induced inhibition of T cell proliferation was associated with decreased production of IL-2 and anergy to exogenously added IL-2 despite apparently normal expression of IL-2R. Similar to what was found with T cells LPS-stimulated spleen B cells demonstrated both inhibition and enhancement of proliferation in the presence of CT: in high concentrations (greater than or equal to 10(-8) M) and early in culture (day 3) CT had a strong inhibitory effect on the proliferation of B cells, whereas later (day 6) and/or at lower CT concentrations (10(-9) to 10(-11) M) the proliferation was increased up to 10-fold. The net effect of CT treatment on Ig-production by LPS-stimulated spleen B cells was seen as an enhanced level of IgA and IgG but not IgM in culture supernatants. The differential effects of CT on the cells of the immune system observed in vitro may, singly or in combination, explain the immunostimulatory function of CT.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/1989; 142(1):20-7. · 4.92 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

652 Citations
72.79 Total Impact Points


  • 2010-2014
    • University of Gothenburg
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Goeteborg, Västra Götaland, Sweden
  • 2003-2005
    • Mid Sweden University
      Härnösand, Västernorrland, Sweden