Intestinal infection with the mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium induces a strong local Th17 response in the colon. Although this inflammatory immune response helps to clear the pathogen, it also induces inflammation-associated pathology in the gut and thus, has to be tightly controlled. In this project, we therefore studied the impact of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) on the infectious and inflammatory processes elicited by the bacterial pathogen C. rodentium. Surprisingly, we found that depletion of Treg by diphtheria toxin in the Foxp3(DTR) (DEREG) mouse model resulted in impaired bacterial clearance in the colon, exacerbated body weight loss, and increased systemic dissemination of bacteria. Consistent with the enhanced susceptibility to infection, we found that the colonic Th17-associated T-cell response was impaired in Treg-depleted mice, suggesting that the presence of Treg is crucial for the establishment of a functional Th17 response after the infection in the gut. As a consequence of the impaired Th17 response, we also observed less inflammation-associated pathology in the colons of Treg-depleted mice. Interestingly, anti-interleukin (IL)-2 treatment of infected Treg-depleted mice restored Th17 induction, indicating that Treg support the induction of a protective Th17 response during intestinal bacterial infection by consumption of local IL-2.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 19 March 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.17.
Although interleukin (IL)-13 and neurotrophins are functionally important for the pathogenesis of immune responses, the interaction of these pathways has not been explored. Herein, by interrogating IL-13-induced responses in human epithelial cells we show that neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor, type 1 (NTRK1), a cognate, high-affinity receptor for nerve growth factor (NGF), is an early transcriptional IL-13 target. Induction of NTRK1 was accompanied by accumulation of activating epigenetic marks in the promoter; transcriptional and epigenetic changes were signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 dependent. Using eosinophilic esophagitis as a model for human allergic inflammation, we found that NTRK1 was increased in inflamed tissue and dynamically expressed as a function of disease activity and that the downstream mediator of NTRK1 signaling early growth response 1 protein was elevated in allergic inflammatory tissue compared with control tissue. Unlike NTRK1, its ligand NGF was constitutively expressed in control and disease states, indicating that IL-13-stimulated NTRK1 induction is a limiting factor in pathway activation. In epithelial cells, NGF and IL-13 synergistically induced several target genes, including chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 26 (eotaxin-3). In summary, we have demonstrated that IL-13 confers epithelial cell responsiveness to NGF by regulating NTRK1 levels by a transcriptional and epigenetic mechanism and that this process likely contributes to allergic inflammation.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 12 November 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.109.
Interleukin 13 (IL-13)-induced epithelial gene and protein expression changes are central to the pathogenesis of multiple allergic diseases. Herein, using human esophageal squamous and bronchial columnar epithelial cells, we identified microRNAs (miRNAs) that were differentially regulated after IL-13 stimulation. Among the IL-13-regulated miRNAs, miR-375 showed a conserved pattern of downregulation. Furthermore, miR-375 was downregulated in the lung of IL-13 lung transgenic mice. We subsequently analyzed miR-375 levels in a human disease characterized by IL-13 overproduction--the allergic disorder eosinophilic esophagitis (EE)--and observed downregulation of miR-375 in EE patient samples compared with control patients. MiR-375 expression levels reflected disease activity, normalized with remission, and inversely correlated with the degree of allergic inflammation. Using a lentiviral strategy and whole-transcriptome analysis in epithelial cells, miR-375 overexpression was sufficient to markedly modify IL-13-associated immunoinflammatory pathways in epithelial cells in vitro, further substantiating interactions between miR-375 and IL-13. Taken together, our results support a key role of miRNAs, particularly miR-375, in regulating and fine-tuning IL-13-mediated responses.
The roles of macrophages in type 2-driven inflammation and fibrosis remain unclear. Here, using CD11b-diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) transgenic mice and three models of interleukin 13 (IL-13)-dependent inflammation, fibrosis, and immunity, we show that CD11b(+) F4/80(+) Ly6C(+) macrophages are required for the maintenance of type 2 immunity within affected tissues but not secondary lymphoid organs. Direct depletion of macrophages during the maintenance or resolution phases of secondary Schistosoma mansoni egg-induced granuloma formation caused a profound decrease in inflammation, fibrosis, and type 2 gene expression. Additional studies with CD11c-DTR and CD11b/CD11c-DTR double-transgenic mice suggested that macrophages but not dendritic cells were critical. Mechanistically, macrophage depletion impaired effector CD4(+) T helper type 2 (Th2) cell homing and activation within the inflamed lung. Depletion of CD11b(+) F4/80(+) Ly6C(+) macrophages similarly reduced house dust mite-induced allergic lung inflammation and suppressed IL-13-dependent immunity to the nematode parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. Consequently, therapeutic strategies targeting macrophages offer a novel approach to ameliorate established type 2 inflammatory diseases.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 29 April 2015; doi:10.1038/mi.2015.34.
Approximately one-third of the world population is infected with gastrointestinal helminths. Studies in mouse models have demonstrated that the cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 are essential for worm expulsion, but the critical cellular source of these cytokines is poorly defined. Here, we compared the immune response to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis in wild-type, T cell-specific IL-4/IL-13-deficient and general IL-4/IL-13-deficient mice. We show that T cell-derived IL-4/IL-13 promoted T helper 2 (Th2) polarization in a paracrine manner, differentiation of alternatively activated macrophages, and tissue recruitment of innate effector cells. However, innate IL-4/IL-13 played the critical role for induction of goblet cell hyperplasia and secretion of effector molecules like Mucin5ac and RELMβ in the small intestine. Surprisingly, T cell-specific IL-4/IL-13-deficient and wild-type mice cleared the parasite with comparable efficiency, whereas IL-4/IL-13-deficient mice showed impaired expulsion. These findings demonstrate that IL-4/IL-13 produced by cells of the innate immune system is required and sufficient to initiate effective type 2 immune responses resulting in protective immunity against N. brasiliensis.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 22 October 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.101.
Fibrocytes contribute to the fibrotic changes most frequently observed in forms of asthma where inflammation is driven by T helper type 2 (Th2) cells. The mechanisms that regulate the profibrotic function of asthmatic fibrocytes are largely unknown. We isolated circulating fibrocytes from patients with allergen-exacerbated asthma, who showed the presence of fibrocytes, together with elevated concentrations of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 and slightly increased concentrations of the Th17 cell-derived IL-17A, in induced sputum. Fibrocytes stimulated with IL-4 and IL-13 produced high levels of collagenous and non-collagenous matrix components and low levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Conversely, fibrocytes stimulated with IL-17A proliferated and released proinflammatory factors that may promote neutrophil recruitment and airway hyperresponsiveness. IL-17A also indirectly increased α-smooth muscle actin but not collagen expression in fibrocytes. Thus, fibrocytes may proliferate and express a predominant profibrotic or proinflammatory phenotype in asthmatic airways depending on the local concentrations of Th2- and Th17-derived cytokines.
Deleterious responses to pathogens during infancy may contribute to infection and associated asthma. Chlamydia respiratory infections in early life are common causes of pneumonia and lead to reduced lung function and asthma. We investigated the role of interleukin-13 (IL-13) in promoting early-life Chlamydia respiratory infection, infection-induced airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and severe allergic airway disease (AAD). Infected infant Il13(-/-) mice had reduced infection, inflammation, and mucus-secreting cell hyperplasia. Surprisingly, infection of wild-type (WT) mice did not increase IL-13 production but reduced IL-13Rα2 decoy receptor levels compared with sham-inoculated controls. Infection of WT but not Il13(-/-) mice induced persistent AHR. Infection and associated pathology were restored in infected Il13(-/-) mice by reconstitution with IL-13. Stat6(-/-) mice were also largely protected. Neutralization of IL-13 during infection prevented subsequent infection-induced severe AAD. Thus, early-life Chlamydia respiratory infection reduces IL-13Rα2 production, which may enhance the effects of constitutive IL-13 and promote more severe infection, persistent AHR, and AAD.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 7 November 2012; doi:10.1038/mi.2012.99.
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-family cytokine TL1A (TNFSF15) costimulates T cells through its receptor DR3 (TNFRSF25) and is required for autoimmune pathology driven by diverse T-cell subsets. TL1A has been linked to human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but its pathogenic role is not known. We generated transgenic mice that constitutively express TL1A in T cells or dendritic cells. These mice spontaneously develop IL-13-dependent inflammatory small bowel pathology that strikingly resembles the intestinal response to nematode infections. These changes were dependent on the presence of a polyclonal T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire, suggesting that they are driven by components in the intestinal flora. Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) were present in increased numbers despite the fact that TL1A suppresses the generation of inducible Tregs. Finally, blocking TL1A-DR3 interactions abrogates 2,4,6 trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) colitis, indicating that these interactions influence other causes of intestinal inflammation as well. These results establish a novel link between TL1A and interleukin 13 (IL-13) responses that results in small intestinal inflammation, and also establish that TL1A-DR3 interactions are necessary and sufficient for T cell-dependent IBD.
Mucosal Immunology is the official publication of the Society of Mucosal Immunology (SMI). It aims to provide a forum for both basic and clinical scientists to discuss all aspects of immunity and inflammation involving mucosal tissues. The journal reflects the interests of scientists studying gastrointestinal, pulmonary, nasopharyngeal, oral, ocular, and genitourinary immunology through the publication of original research articles, scholarly reviews, and timely commentaries, editorials and letters.
In ulcerative colitis, the T helper type 2 proinflammatory cytokine Interleukin-13 (IL-13) contributes as effector cytokine to the epithelial changes associated with disturbed epithelial barrier function. This study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms in a colonic epithelial cell culture model. For studying these epithelial features in response to proinflammatory cytokines epithelial apoptosis was investigated by TdT-mediated X-dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining in HT-29/B6 cell monolayers. In contrast to interferon-gamma, IL-13 significantly upregulated the apoptotic rate of cells, which was intensified by simultaneous exposure to tumor necrosis factor-alpha. That this has a direct functional influence on epithelial barrier was shown by the caspase inhibitor N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp, which inhibited IL-13 induced apoptosis induction and concomitantly reversed the decrease in epithelial resistance by approximately 50%. Direct evidence for apoptotic rosettes at corresponding sites of barrier defects in the epithelium was obtained by conductance scanning. In addition, the pore-forming tight junction protein claudin-2 was found to be upregulated at protein and mRNA level. In conclusion, IL-13 disturbs intestinal barrier function through mechanisms including apoptosis induction and alteration of tight junction protein composition.
Although the effects of the interleukin 13 (IL-13) on goblet cell (GC) hyperplasia have been studied in the gut and respiratory tracts, its effect on regulating conjunctival GC has not been explored. The purpose of this study was to determine the major IL-13-producing cell type and the role of IL-13 in GC homeostasis in normal murine conjunctiva. Using isolating techniques, we identified natural killer (NK)/natural killer T (NKT) cells as the main producers of IL-13. We also observed that IL-13 knockout (KO) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 knockout (STAT6KO) mice had a lower number of periodic acid Schiff (PAS)+GCs. We observed that desiccating stress (DS) decreases NK population, GCs, and IL-13, whereas it increases interferon-γ (IFN-γ) mRNA in conjunctiva. Cyclosporine A treatment during DS maintained the number of NK/NKT cells in the conjunctiva, increased IL-13 mRNA in NK+ cells, and decreased IFN-γ and IL-17A mRNA transcripts in NK+ and NK- populations. C57BL/6 mice chronically depleted of NK/NKT cells, as well as NKT cell-deficient RAG1KO and CD1dKO mice, had fewer filled GCs than their wild-type counterparts. NK depletion in CD1dKO mice had no further effect on the number of PAS+ cells. Taken together, these findings indicate that NKT cells are major sources of IL-13 in the conjunctival mucosa that regulates GC homeostasis.
The vitamin A (VA) metabolite retinoic acid (RA) affects the properties of T cells and dendritic cells (DCs). In VA-deficient mice, we observed that mesenteric lymph node (MLN)-DCs induce a distinct inflammatory T helper type 2 (Th2)-cell subset that particularly produces high levels of interleukin (IL)-13 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). This subset expressed homing receptors for skin and inflammatory sites, and was mainly induced by B220(-)CD8α(-)CD11b(+)CD103(-) MLN-DCs in an IL-6- and OX40 ligand-dependent manner, whereas RA inhibited this induction. The corresponding MLN-DC subset of VA-sufficient mice induced a similar T-cell subset in the presence of RA receptor antagonists. IL-6 induced this subset differentiation from naive CD4(+) T cells upon activation with antibodies against CD3 and CD28. Transforming growth factor-β inhibited this induction, and reciprocally enhanced Th17 induction. Treatment with an agonistic anti-OX40 antibody and normal MLN-DCs enhanced the induction of general inflammatory Th2 cells. In VA-deficient mice, proximal colon epithelial cells produced TNF-α that may have enhanced OX40 ligand expression in MLN-DCs. The repeated oral administrations of a T cell-dependent antigen primed VA-deficient mice for IL-13-dependent strong immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) responses and IgE responses that caused skin allergy. These results suggest that RA inhibits allergic responses to oral antigens by preventing MLN-DCs from inducing IL-13-producing inflammatory Th2 cells.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 13 November 2013; doi:10.1038/mi.2013.96.
Enterochromaffin (EC) cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa are the main source of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) in the body. 5-HT is implicated in the pathophysiology of many GI disorders including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders. Herein we studied the role of interleukin 13 (IL-13) in EC cell biology by utilizing IL-13-deficient (IL-13-/-) mice and BON cells (a model for human EC cells). The numbers of EC cells and 5-HT amount were significantly lower in enteric parasite, Trichuris muris-infected IL-13-/- mice compared with the wild-type mice. This was accompanied with increased parasite burden in IL-13-/- mice. Treatment of naive and infected IL-13-/- mice with IL-13 increased EC cell numbers and 5-HT amount. BON cells expressed IL-13 receptor and in response to IL-13 produced more 5-HT. These results provide novel information on IL-13-mediated immunological control of 5-HT in the gut, which may ultimately lead to improved therapeutic opportunities in various GI disorders.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 4 July 2012. doi:10.1038/mi.2012.58.
Recent studies that have evaluated the immunologic factors that mediate the development of the two forms of inflammatory bowel disease, namely Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), have suggested that these diseases are because of disparate immune responses. Although Crohn's disease has been characterized as a dysregulation of the T helper (Th)1/Th17 pathways more recent evidence has emerged that UC pathogenesis is associated with a nonclassical NK (natural killer) T cell producing an atypical Th2 (interleukin (IL)-13) response. In the following review the insights gained from both animal models and human studies as to the function that IL-13 and NK T cells have in the pathogenesis of UC will be discussed.
We have established that mucosal immunization can generate high-avidity human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific CD8(+) T cells compared with systemic immunization, and interleukin (IL)-13 is detrimental to the functional avidity of these T cells. We have now constructed two unique recombinant HIV-1 vaccines that co-express soluble or membrane-bound forms of the IL-13 receptor α2 (IL-13Rα2), which can "transiently" block IL-13 activity at the vaccination site causing wild-type animals to behave similar to an IL-13 KO animal. Following intranasal/intramuscular prime-boost immunization, these IL-13Rα2-adjuvanted vaccines have shown to induce (i) enhanced HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells with higher functional avidity, with broader cytokine/chemokine profiles and greater protective immunity using a surrogate mucosal HIV-1 challenge, and also (ii) excellent multifunctional mucosal CD8(+) T-cell responses, in the lung, genito-rectal nodes (GN), and Peyer's patch (PP). Data revealed that intranasal delivery of these IL-13Rα2-adjuvanted HIV vaccines recruited large numbers of unique antigen-presenting cell subsets to the lung mucosae, ultimately promoting the induction of high-avidity CD8(+) T cells. We believe our novel IL-13R cytokine trap vaccine strategy offers great promise for not only HIV-1, but also as a platform technology against range of chronic infections that require strong sustained high-avidity mucosal/systemic immunity for protection.
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, is an immunosuppressive cytokine that inhibits T-cell activation. We hypothesized that TGF-β mediates its immunoinhibitory effects by modulation of micro RNA (miRNA)-155 (miR-155). Interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon-γ are down-regulated by TGF-β in activated CD4 peripheral blood T cells and lamina propria T cells (LPT), but miR-155 is upregulated ninefold specifically in LPT. Consequently, this study focuses on the role of TGF-β-enhanced miR-155 on LPT immune responses. TGF-β induces miR-155 in both freshly isolated and LPT lymphoblasts, whereas other inducible miRNAs are not regulated by TGF-β. Using MAMI bioinformatics database, we determined that inducible T-cell kinase (itk) is a functional target of miR-155 that exhibits an inverse mRNA response to that of miR-155. To determine experimentally that miR-155 regulates itk, transfection experiments were performed that demonstrated miR-155 overexpression decreased itk and IL-2 mRNA, whereas antagonism of miR-155 restored both mRNAs in activated cells. These findings describe a TGF-β-dependent function for miR-155 in modulating cytokine and T-cell immune responses in the gut.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 11 July 2012; doi:10.1038/mi.2012.60.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are innate sentinels required for clearance of bacterial and fungal infections of the cornea, but their role in viral immunity is currently unknown. We report that TLR signaling is expendable in herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 containment as depicted by plaque assays of knockout mice (MyD88(-/-), Trif(-/-) and MyD88(-/-) Trif(-/-) double knockout) resembling wild-type controls. To identify the key sentinel in viral recognition of the cornea, in vivo knockdown of the DNA sensor IFI-16/p204 in the corneal epithelium was performed and resulted in a loss of IFN-regulatory factor-3 (IRF-3) nuclear translocation, interferon-α production, and viral containment. The sensor seems to have a similar function in other HSV clinically relevant sites such as the vaginal mucosa in which a loss of p204/IFI-16 results in significantly more HSV-2 shedding. Thus, we have identified an IRF-3-dependent, IRF-7- and TLR-independent innate sensor responsible for HSV containment at the site of acute infection.
Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of severe pneumonia. Multiple mechanisms of proinflammatory signaling are activated to recruit immune cells into the airway in response to S. aureus. We found that interleukin-16 (IL-16), a T cell cytokine that binds CD4, is potently activated by S. aureus, specifically by protein A (SpA), and to a much greater extent than by Gram-negative pathogens or lipopolysaccharide. IL-16 production involved multiple signals including ligation of tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family members or epidermal growth factor receptor, both receptors for SpA and generation of Ca(2+) fluxes to activate calpains and caspase-3. Although human airway epithelial cells, vascular endothelial cells, THP-1 and Jurkat T cells released IL-16 in response to S. aureus in vitro, in a murine model of pneumonia, CD4(+) cells were the major source of IL-16 suggesting the involvement of an autocrine signaling pathway. The production of IL-16 contributed to lung damage as neutralization of IL-16 enhanced S. aureus clearance and resulted in diminished lung pathology in S. aureus pneumonia. Our results suggest that the ability of S. aureus to activate TNFR1 and Ca(2+)/calpain signaling contribute to T cell activation and excessive inflammation in the setting of acute pneumonia.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 16 April 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.24.
T-helper 1 and 17 (Th1/Th17) responses are important in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and research indicates that Toll-like receptor 6 (TLR6) stimulation leads to Th17 cell development within the lung. The gastrointestinal tract, like the lung, is a mucosal surface that is exposed to bacterially derived TLR6 ligands. Thus, we looked at the effects of TLR6 stimulation on the expression of Th17-, Th1-, and regulatory T-cell-associated transcription factors; RORγt, T-bet, and Foxp3, respectively; in CD4+ T cells within gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) in vitro and in vivo. Cells from GALT and spleen were stimulated with anti-CD3 and TLR ligands for TLR1/2 and TLR2/6 (Pam3CSK4 and FSL-1, respectively). FSL-1 was more effective than Pam3CSK4 at inducing Th1 and Th17 responses in the GALT while Pam3CSK4 rivaled FSL-1 in the spleen. TLR6 was further explored in vivo using experimental colitis. Tlr6-/- mice were resistant to colitis, and oral FSL-1 led to more severe colitis in wild-type mice. Similar pro-inflammatory reactions were seen in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and TLR6 expression was directly correlated with RORC mRNA levels in inflamed intestines of IBD patients. These results demonstrate that TLR6 supports Th1- and Th17-skewed responses in the GALT and might be an important target for the development of new medical interventions in IBD.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 26 March 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.16.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) disease progression is associated with multifocal damage to the gastrointestinal tract epithelial barrier that correlates with microbial translocation and persistent pathological immune activation, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Investigating alterations in mucosal immunity during SIV infection, we found that damage to the colonic epithelial barrier was associated with loss of multiple lineages of interleukin (IL)-17-producing lymphocytes, cells that microarray analysis showed expressed genes important for enterocyte homeostasis, including IL-22. IL-22-producing lymphocytes were also lost after SIV infection. Potentially explaining coordinate loss of these distinct populations, we also observed loss of CD103+ dendritic cells (DCs) after SIV infection, which associated with the loss of IL-17- and IL-22-producing lymphocytes. CD103+ DCs expressed genes associated with promotion of IL-17/IL-22+ cells, and coculture of CD103+ DCs and naïve T cells led to increased IL17A and RORc expression in differentiating T cells. These results reveal complex interactions between mucosal immune cell subsets providing potential mechanistic insights into mechanisms of mucosal immune dysregulation during HIV/SIV infection, and offer hints for development of novel therapeutic strategies to address this aspect of AIDS virus pathogenesis.
Natural killer T (NKT) cells are innate-like T cells that rapidly recognize pathogens and produce cytokines that shape the ensuing immune response. IL-17-producing NKT cells are enriched in barrier tissues, such as the lung, skin, and peripheral lymph nodes, and the factors that maintain this population in the periphery have not been elucidated. Here we show that NKT17 cells deviate from other NKT cells in their survival requirements. In contrast to conventional NKT cells that are maintained by IL-15, RORγt(+) NKT cells are IL-15 independent and instead rely completely on IL-7. IL-7 initiates a T-cell receptor-independent (TCR-independent) expansion of NKT17 cells, thus supporting their homeostasis. Without IL-7, survival is dramatically impaired, yet residual cells remain lineage committed with no downregulation of RORγt evident. Their preferential response to IL-7 does not reflect enhanced signaling through STAT proteins, but instead is modulated via the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. The ability to compete for IL-7 is dependent on high-density IL-7 receptor expression, which would promote uptake of low levels of IL-7 produced in the non-lymphoid sites of lung and skin. This dependence on IL-7 is also reported for RORγt(+) innate lymphoid cells and CD4(+) Th17 cells, and suggests common survival requirements for functionally similar cells.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 22 January 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2013.122.
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are an emerging subset of lymphocytes involved in surveillance against virally infected cells. Here, we show CD3(-)CD8(high) lymphocytes in macaque blood include major subsets of ILCs including natural killer (NK) cells expressing CD16, NKp46, and NKG2A, but also populations of ILCs in mucosal tissues having different properties. One ILC subset secreted interleukin (IL)-17 (ILC17), but these were restricted to mucosal tissues. Some mucosal ILC17 cells expressed classical NK-cell markers, but little NKG2A or NKG2D. Some ILC17 cells secreted IL-22 and tumor necrosis factor-α, but few produced interferon (IFN)-γ or contained granzyme B. IL-17 production by ILCs was induced by IL-6, transforming growth factor-β, and IL-23. Further, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection resulted in a significant loss of ILC17 cells, especially in the jejunum, which persisted throughout SIV infection. These findings indicate that ILC17 cells may be involved in innate mucosal immune responses, and their loss may contribute to loss of intestinal mucosal integrity and disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/SIV infection.
T helper (Th)17 cells have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It is now well established that although transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta alone induces FoxP3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells, TGF-beta and interleukin (IL)-6, acting in concert, induce differentiation of mouse naive T cells into Th17. As we previously showed that CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) "natural" Treg cells express cell surface or secrete TGF-beta, we examined whether Treg cells serve to induce Th17 differentiation. We found that upon activation, Treg cells induce CD4(+)CD25(-) naive T cells or Treg cells themselves to differentiate into Th17 in the presence of IL-6 alone without exogenous addition of TGF-beta. We also found that TGF-â is also produced by dendritic cells that are in contact with Treg cells. Although Treg cells are effectively recruited at inflamed mucosa in patients with IBD, it is possible that Treg cells may have undesirable effects through their ability to differentiate into pathogenic Th17 in the presence of IL-6 and/or IL-23 at sites of inflammation. Further study of the relationship between Treg cells and Th17 cells in the inflamed tissue in IBD is important for possible Treg cell-mediated therapeutic applications.
Despite near universal vaccine coverage, the bacterial pathogen Bordetella pertussis has re-emerged as a major public health concern. We recently developed a baboon (Papio anubis) model of pertussis that provides an excellent model of human pertussis. Using this model, the immune response to pertussis was characterized by measuring cytokines in the nasopharyngeal mucosa of infected baboons. Notably, we observed mucosal expression of interleukin-17 (IL-17) as well as IL-6, IL-23, and several cytokines and chemokines that are orchestrated by IL-17 immune responses. We also found substantial populations of circulating B. pertussis-specific Th17 and Th1 cells in convalescent animals >2 years post-infection consistent with a role in immunological memory to pertussis. Collectively, these data shed important light on the innate and adaptive immune responses to pertussis in a primate infection model and suggest that Th17 and Th1 immune responses contribute to the immunity conferred by natural pertussis infection.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication 28 November 2012; doi:10.1038/mi.2012.117.
Human immunodeficiency virus/simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV/SIV) infections are believed to infect minimally activated CD4(+) T cells after viral entry. Not much is known about why SIV selectively targets these cells. Here we show that CD4(+) T cells that express high levels of the alpha4beta7 heterodimer are preferentially infected very early during the course of SIV infection. At days 2-4 post infection, alpha4(+)beta7(hi)CD4(+) T cells had approximately 5x more SIV-gag DNA than beta7(-)CD4(+) T cells. alpha4(+)beta7(hi)CD4(+) T cells displayed a predominantly central memory (CD45RA(-)CD28(+)CCR7(+)) and a resting (CD25(-)CD69(-)HLA-DR(-)Ki-67(-)) phenotype. Although the expression of detectable CCR5 was variable on alpha4(+)beta7(hi) and beta7(-)CD4(+) T cells, both CCR5(+) and CCR5(-) subsets of alpha4(+)beta7(hi) and beta7(-)CD4(+) T cells were found to express sufficient levels of CCR5 mRNA, suggesting that both these subsets could be efficiently infected by SIV. In line with this, we found similar levels of SIV infection in beta7(-)CD4(+)CCR5(+) and beta7(-)CD4(+)CCR5(-) T cells. alpha4beta7(hi)CD4(+) T cells were found to harbor most T helper (Th)-17 cells that were significantly depleted during acute SIV infection. Taken together, our results show that resting memory alpha4(+)beta7(hi)CD4(+) T cells in the blood are preferentially infected and depleted during acute SIV infection, and the loss of these cells alters the balance between Th-17 and Th-1 responses, thereby contributing to disease pathogenesis.