The Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist, imiquimod, and the TLR9 agonist, CpG ODN, induce antiviral cytokines and chemokines but do not prevent vaginal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus when applied intravaginally to rhesus macaques.
ABSTRACT: The initial host response to viral infection occurs after Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on dendritic cells (DC) are stimulated by viral nucleic acids (double-stranded RNA, single-stranded RNA) and alpha interferon (IFN-alpha) and IFN-beta are produced. We hypothesized that pharmacologic induction of innate antiviral responses in the cervicovaginal mucosa by topical application of TLR agonists prior to viral exposure could prevent or blunt vaginal transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). To test this hypothesis, we treated rhesus monkeys intravaginally with either the TLR9 agonist, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN), or the TLR7 agonist, imiquimod. Both immune modifiers rapidly induced IFN-alpha and other antiviral effector molecules in the cervicovaginal mucosa of treated animals. However, both CpG ODN and imiquimod also induced proinflammatory cytokine expression in the cervicovaginal mucosa. In the vaginal mucosa of imiquimod-treated monkeys, we documented a massive mononuclear cell infiltrate consisting of activated CD4(+) T cells, DC, and beta-chemokine-secreting cells. After vaginal SIV inoculation, all TLR agonist-treated animals became infected and had plasma vRNA levels that were higher than those of control monkeys. We conclude that induction of mucosal innate immunity including an IFN-alpha response is not sufficient to prevent sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus.
Project description:Imiquimod is a Toll-like receptor 7 agonist used topically to treat external genital warts and basal cell carcinoma. We examined the combination of topical imiquimod with intramuscular administration of CRT/E7, a therapeutic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine comprised of a naked DNA vector expressing calreticulin fused to HPV16 E7.Using an orthotopic HPV16 E6/E7(+) syngeneic tumor, TC-1, as a model of high-grade cervical/vaginal/vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, we assessed if combining CRT/E7 vaccination with cervicovaginal deposition of imiquimod could result in synergistic activities promoting immune-mediated tumor clearance.Imiquimod induced cervicovaginal accumulation of activated E7-specific CD8(+) T cells elicited by CRT/E7 vaccination. Recruitment was not dependent upon the specificity of the activated CD8(+) T cells, but was significantly reduced in mice lacking the IFN? receptor. Intravaginal imiquimod deposition induced upregulation of CXCL9 and CXCL10 mRNA expression in the genital tract, which are produced in response to IFN? receptor signaling and attract cells expressing their ligand, CXCR3. The T cells attracted by imiquimod to the cervicovaginal tract expressed CXCR3 as well as CD49a, an integrin involved in homing and retention of CD8(+) T cells at mucosal sites. Our results indicate that intramuscular CRT/E7 vaccination in conjunction with intravaginal imiquimod deposition recruits antigen-specific CXCR3(+) CD8(+) T cells to the genital tract.Several therapeutic HPV vaccination clinical trials using a spectrum of DNA vaccines, including vaccination in concert with cervical imiquimod, are ongoing. Our study identifies a mechanism by which these strategies could provide therapeutic benefit. Our findings support accumulating evidence that manipulation of the tumor microenvironment can enhance the therapeutic efficacy of strategies that induce tumor-specific T cells.
Project description:NK cell responses to HIV/SIV infection have been well studied in acute and chronic infected patients/monkeys, but little is known about NK cells during viral transmission, particularly in mucosal tissues. In this article, we report a systematic study of NK cell responses to high-dose vaginal exposure to SIVmac251 in the rhesus macaque female reproductive tract (FRT). Small numbers of NK cells were recruited into the FRT mucosa following vaginal inoculation. The influx of mucosal NK cells preceded local virus replication and peaked at 1 wk and, thus, was in an appropriate time frame to control an expanding population of infected cells at the portal of entry. However, NK cells were greatly outnumbered by recruited target cells that fuel local virus expansion and were spatially dissociated from SIV RNA+ cells at the major site of expansion of infected founder populations in the transition zone and adjoining endocervix. The number of NK cells in the FRT mucosa decreased rapidly in the second week, while the number of SIV RNA+ cells in the FRT reached its peak. Mucosal NK cells produced IFN-? and MIP-1?/CCL3 but lacked several markers of activation and cytotoxicity, and this was correlated with inoculum-induced upregulation of the inhibitory ligand HLA-E and downregulation of the activating receptor CD122/IL-2R?. Examination of SIV?nef-vaccinated monkeys suggested that recruitment of NK cells to the genital mucosa was not involved in vaccine-induced protection from vaginal challenge. In summary, our results suggest that NK cells play, at most, a limited role in defenses in the FRT against vaginal challenge.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Intravaginal exposure to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) acutely recruits interferon-alpha (IFN-?) producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) and CD4 T-lymphocyte targets to the endocervix of nonhuman primates. We tested the impact of repeated cervicovaginal exposures to noninfectious, defective SIV particles over 72 hours on a subsequent cervicovaginal challenge with replication competent SIV. METHODS:Thirty-four female Indian Rhesus macaques were given a 3-day twice-daily vaginal exposures to either SIVsmB7, a replication-deficient derivative of SIVsmH3 produced by a T lymphoblast CEMx174 cell clone (n = 16), or to CEM supernatant controls (n = 18). On the fourth day, animals were either euthanized to assess cervicovaginal immune cell infiltration or intravaginally challenged with SIVmac251. Challenged animals were tracked for plasma viral load and CD4 counts and euthanized at 42 days after infection. RESULTS:At the time of challenge, macaques exposed to SIVsmB7, had higher levels of cervical CD123 pDCs (P = 0.032) and CD4 T cells (P = 0.036) than those exposed to CEM control. Vaginal tissues showed a significant increase in CD4 T-cell infiltrates (P = 0.048) and a trend toward increased CD68 cellular infiltrates. After challenge, 12 SIVsmB7-treated macaques showed 2.5-fold greater daily rate of CD4 decline (P = 0.0408), and viral load rise (P = 0.0036) as compared with 12 control animals. CONCLUSIONS:Repeated nonproductive exposure to viral particles within a short daily time frame did not protect against infection despite pDC recruitment, resulting instead in an accelerated CD4 T-cell loss with an increased rate of viral replication.
Project description:Vaginal inoculation of rhesus macaques (RM) with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) has been used to study the biology of HIV transmission. Although the results of vaginal SIV transmission experiments could be affected by vaginal inflammation, studies to date have been conducted without regard to levels of pre-existing genital inflammation present in RM. We collected cevicovaginal secretions (CVS) from 33-36 RM during the mid menstrual cycle (day 10-20) at 2 time points approximately 8 months apart and characterized the mRNA and protein levels of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and interferon-stimulated genes. There was extreme variability in the levels of inflammatory mediators (IFN-?, IFN-?, IL-6, TNF, IL-1b, IP-10, MIG, IL-12 and IL-17). In most animals, the mRNA levels of the inflammatory mediators were similar in the 2 CVS samples collected 8 months apart, suggesting that genital inflammation is stable in a subset of captive female RM. At both time points the cervicovaginal microbiota had low levels of Lactobacillus and was relatively diverse with an average of 13 genera in the samples from the first time point (median 13, range 7-21) and an average of 11.5 genera in the samples from the second time point (median 11, range 5-20). Many of the macaques had similar microbiota in the samples collected 8 months apart. However, we found no correlation between specific bacterial genera and the mRNA or protein levels of the inflammatory mediators in the genital tract of RM in this study. It seems likely that results of published vaginal SIV transmission experiments in RM have been influenced by pre-existing inflammation in the animals used for the experiments.
Project description:The induction of persistent intraepithelial CD8+ T cell responses may be key to the development of vaccines against mucosally transmitted pathogens, particularly for sexually transmitted diseases. Here we investigated CD8+ T cell responses in the female mouse cervicovaginal mucosa after intravaginal immunization with human papillomavirus vectors (HPV pseudoviruses) that transiently expressed a model antigen, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) M/M2, in cervicovaginal keratinocytes. An HPV intravaginal prime/boost with different HPV serotypes induced 10-fold more cervicovaginal antigen-specific CD8+ T cells than priming alone. Antigen-specific T cell numbers decreased only 2-fold after 6 months. Most genital antigen-specific CD8+ T cells were intra- or subepithelial, expressed ?E-integrin CD103, produced IFN-? and TNF-?, and displayed in vivo cytotoxicity. Using a sphingosine-1-phosphate analog (FTY720), we found that the primed CD8+ T cells proliferated in the cervicovaginal mucosa upon HPV intravaginal boost. Intravaginal HPV prime/boost reduced cervicovaginal viral titers 1,000-fold after intravaginal challenge with vaccinia virus expressing the CD8 epitope M2. In contrast, intramuscular prime/boost with an adenovirus type 5 vector induced a higher level of systemic CD8+ T cells but failed to induce intraepithelial CD103+CD8+ T cells or protect against recombinant vaccinia vaginal challenge. Thus, HPV vectors are attractive gene-delivery platforms for inducing durable intraepithelial cervicovaginal CD8+ T cell responses by promoting local proliferation and retention of primed antigen-specific CD8+ T cells.
Project description:Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) constitutively express two members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family, TLR-9 and TLR-7, through which they can be stimulated to produce high levels of interferon (IFN)-?, a key mediator of the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Given the known efficacy of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the treatment of SLE, we examined its ability to inhibit such pDC function in vivo.Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from SLE subjects treated or not with HCQ and from healthy controls were stimulated with the TLR-9 agonist, CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-A ODN)-2216, and the TLR-7 agonist, imiquimod. The proportion of monocytes, B cells, myeloid dendritic cells, pDCs, and natural killer (NK) cells producing IFN-? and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) was then analyzed by multiparameter flow cytometry.After TLR-9/7 stimulation in both SLE and healthy subjects, significant production of IFN-? and TNF-? was only observed in pDCs. TLR-7 and TLR-9 induced IFN-? and TNF-? production by pDCs from subjects with SLE was decreased relative to that found in controls (TLR-9/IFN-?, P < 0.0001; TLR-9/TNF-? P < 0.0001; TLR-7/TNF-? P = 0.01). TLR-9 and TLR-7 induced IFN-? and TNF-? production by pDCs was severely impaired in 36% (TLR-9) and 33% (TLR-7) of SLE subjects. In almost all cases, these subjects were being treated with HCQ (HCQ vs. no HCQ: impaired TLR-9/IFN-?, P = 0.0003; impaired TLR-7/IFN-?, P = 0.07; impaired TLR-9/TNF-?, P < 0.009; impaired TLR-7/TNF-?, P < 0.01).Treatment with HCQ is associated with impaired ability of pDCs from subjects with SLE to produce IFN-? and TNF-? upon stimulation with TLR-9 and TLR-7 agonists.
Project description:Inflammation and immune activation of the cervicovaginal mucosa are considered factors that increase susceptibility to HIV infection. It is essential to screen candidate anti-HIV microbicides for potential mucosal immunomodulatory/inflammatory effects prior to further clinical development. The goal of this study was to develop an in vitro method for preclinical evaluation of the inflammatory potential of new candidate microbicides. We compared transcriptomes of human vaginal cells (Vk2/E6E7) treated with well-characterized pro-inflammatory (PIC) and non-inflammatory (NIC) compounds. Microarraray comparative analysis allowed us to generate a panel of 20 genes that were consistently deregulated by all PICs compared to NICs, thus distinguishing between these two groups. Overall design: Vk2/E6E7 cells were treated with non-inflammatory compounds: carboxymethyl cellulose (9 samples), hydroxyethyl cellulose (9 samples), pro-inflammatory compounds: imiquimod (6 samples), macrophage activating lipopeptide 2 (MALP2) (6 samples), nonoxynol 9 (N9) (9 samples), Pam3CSK4 (6 arrays), TNF-alpha (6 samples). Non-treated cells (GM) were used as controls (54 samples). Altogether 105 samples were analyzed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The microbiota plays an important role in HIV pathogenesis in humans. Microbiota can impact health through several pathways such as increasing inflammation in the gut, metabolites of bacterial origin, and microbial translocation from the gut to the periphery which contributes to systemic chronic inflammation and immune activation and the development of AIDS. Unlike HIV-infected humans, SIV-infected vervet monkeys do not experience gut dysfunction, microbial translocation, and chronic immune activation and do not progress to immunodeficiency. Here, we provide the first reported characterization of the microbial ecosystems of the gut and genital tract in a natural nonprogressing host of SIV, wild vervet monkeys from South Africa. RESULTS:We characterized fecal, rectal, vaginal, and penile microbiomes in vervets from populations heavily infected with SIV from diverse locations across South Africa. Geographic site, age, and sex affected the vervet microbiome across different body sites. Fecal and vaginal microbiome showed marked stratification with three enterotypes in fecal samples and two vagitypes, which were predicted functionally distinct within each body site. External bioclimatic factors, biome type, and environmental temperature influenced microbiomes locally associated with vaginal and rectal mucosa. Several fecal microbial taxa were linked to plasma levels of immune molecules, for example, MIG was positively correlated with Lactobacillus and Escherichia/Shigella and Helicobacter, and IL-10 was negatively associated with Erysipelotrichaceae, Anaerostipes, Prevotella, and Anaerovibrio, and positively correlated with Bacteroidetes and Succinivibrio. During the chronic phase of infection, we observed a significant increase in gut microbial diversity, alterations in community composition (including a decrease in Proteobacteria/Succinivibrio in the gut) and functionality (including a decrease in genes involved in bacterial invasion of epithelial cells in the gut), and partial reversibility of acute infection-related shifts in microbial abundance observed in the fecal microbiome. As part of our study, we also developed an accurate predictor of SIV infection using fecal samples. CONCLUSIONS:The vervets infected with SIV and humans infected with HIV differ in microbial responses to infection. These responses to SIV infection may aid in preventing microbial translocation and subsequent disease progression in vervets, and may represent host microbiome adaptations to the virus. Video Abstract.
Project description:To determine if deoxycytidyl-deoxyguanosine oligonucleotides (CpG ODN) can be used effectively as nonspecific inducers of innate immune defenses for preventative or therapeutic interventions in infectious disease models for nonhuman primates, the present study evaluated the response of rhesus monkey peripheral blood mononuclear cells to three different synthetic CpG ODN classes by defining the cytokine gene expression patterns and by characterizing IFN-alpha/beta responses. Depending on the type and dose of CpG ODN used for stimulation, distinct gene expression patterns were induced. CpG ODN class A (CpG-A ODN) and CpG-C ODN, but not CpG-B ODN, were potent inducers of alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), and this response was due to IFN-alpha production by TLR9-positive plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Importantly, there was a dose-dependent increase in IFN-alpha responses to CpG-A ODN but a dose-dependent decrease in IFN-alpha responses by CpG-B ODN. The most sustained IFN-alpha response was induced by CpG-A ODN and was associated with a stronger induction of interferon regulatory factor 7 and the induction of several interferon-stimulated genes. In contrast, and independent of the dose, CpG-B ODN were the weakest inducers of IFN-alpha but the most potent inducers of proinflammatory cytokines. CpG-C ODN induced cytokine gene expression patterns that were intermediate between those of CpG-A and CpG-B ODN. Thus, the different types of CpG ODN induce different post-TLR9 signaling pathways that result in distinct cytokine gene expression patterns. Based on these findings, A and C class CpG ODN, but not B class CpG ODN, may be particularly suited for use as therapeutic or prophylactic antiviral interventions.
Project description:Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7)-activation has been implicated as a significant mechanism of neuroinflammation triggered by ssRNA viruses. Infiltration of monocytes into the brain and astrocyte activation occurs during in vivo TLR7-mediated neuroinflammation. The objective here was to determine whether the TLR7 agonist, imiquimod, and interferon-alpha (IFN-?), promote monocyte-mediated astrocyte secretion of pro-inflammatory factors. Using a human primary co-culture system, we demonstrate that monocytes, together with imiquimod and IFN-?, promote astrocyte secretion of MCP-1, IL-6 and IP-10. Furthermore, TLR7-induced monocyte-derived IL-1? is critical for promoting the astrocyte response. Overall, this study provides a potential mechanism for TLR7-mediated neuroinflammation.