Differential mechanisms of resistance to sublethal systemic Aspergillus fumigatus infection in immunocompetent BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice
Studies of systemic and pulmonary Aspergillus fumigatus infection demonstrated differential susceptibility of inbred mice of various genetic background to lethal outcome, with an opposite pattern of Th1 cytokine interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and Th2 cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4) in susceptible vs resistant mice. We have shown recently reciprocal IFN-γ and IL-4 expression in spleens of Th1-prone C57BL/6 mice in sublethal systemic aspergillosis. In this study, resistance to systemic (i.v.) A. fumigatus infection was investigated in Th2-prone BALB/c mice by survival rate at different fungal inocula, efficiency of reduction of visceral organ and spleen fungal burden at sublethal conidia dose and splenic immune response to this dose and compared to C57BL/6 mice. No strain differences in survival were noted at three A. fumigatus doses, with similar extent and dynamics of fungal eradication from all organs following sublethal conidia dose injection. Progressive decrease in spleen fungal burden was associated with different dynamics and quality of changes in spleen activity of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Increased spleen mass and cellularity was noted in both strains, with higher values in BALB/c mice at some time points what might be ascribed to peripheral blood cell recruitment, as well as hematopoietic activity and red pulp upgrowth. Infection tipped the balance towards pro-inflammatory antifungal splenic response by a highly increasing IFN-γ and without changing the IL-4 expression in BALB/c mice, in contrast to down-regulating anti-inflammatory (IL-4) and a moderately increasing IFN-γ response in C57BL/6 mice. Jointly, stimulation of IL-17 expression noted in both strains provided an optimal inflammatory milieu in the spleen of infected mice that might have contributed to efficient removal of conidia.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation plays an important role in protective immunity against fungi, including the opportunistic pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus. The balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines is a key determinant of infection outcome. Since macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an upstream regulator of many cytokines, we analyzed herein the role of endogenous MIF in the host control of hematogenously disseminated aspergillosis using MIF⁻/⁻ mice. As revealed by their mortality rate, MIF⁻/⁻ mice were more susceptible to disseminated infection than WT mice. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of MIF with (S,R)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4,5-dihydro-5-isoxazole acetic acid methyl ester, (ISO-1) increased the susceptibility of WT mice to lethal infection. The higher tissue fungal burden early in sublethal infection indicated increased susceptibility of MIF⁻/⁻ mice to sublethal infection as well. Substantial down-regulation of innate and acquired antifungal responses, characterized by decreased production of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-17 in the spleen was noted in sublethally infected MIF⁻/⁻ mice. In contrast, IL-4 was higher in MIF⁻/⁻ than in WT mice. Taken together, our findings show that MIF contributes to host resistance against progressive invasive A. fumigatus infection by controlling downstream pro-inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory cytokine production thus determining the outcome of infection.
- "In contrast to the increase of IFN-␥ in WT mice, which confirms our previous findings concerning this cytokine in sublethal systemic aspergillosis in immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice (Mirkov et al. 2010, 2011), the lower production and expression of IFN-␥ in MIF −/− compared to WT mice, imply Th1 promoting activity of MIF in systemic Aspergillus infection. This is in line with the pro-inflammatory activity of MIF during protection against bacterial infections (Koebernick et al. 2002) and in a wider context with data that MIF is equally efficiently involved in the adaptive immune response through favouring Th1 activation and differentiation (Cvetkovic and Stosic-Grujicic 2006; Koebernick et al. 2002). "
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Model of systemic Aspergillus fumigatus infection induced by intravenous application of conidia is suitable for studying important aspects of invasive aspergillosis including relationship between infection and mortality, dissemination of infection and immune mechanisms involved in host resistance to this fungus. Use of this model allows the investigation of both innate and adaptive immune response characteristics in resistant/susceptible host, and investigating the contribution of genetic background and cytokine gene deficiency improves the knowledge of the diversity of mechanisms of immune response to Aspergillus infection. Studying of various aspects of systemic aspergillosis contributes to development of antifungal drugs.