Involvement of CD4? Foxp3? regulatory T cells in persistence of Leishmania donovani in the liver of alymphoplastic aly/aly mice.
ABSTRACT: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a chronic and fatal disease in humans and dogs caused by the intracellular protozoan parasites, Leishmania donovani and L. infantum (L. chagasi). Relapse of disease is frequent in immunocompromised patients, in which the number of VL cases has been increasing recently. The present study is aimed to improve the understanding of mechanisms of L. donovani persistence in immunocompromised conditions using alymphoplastic aly/aly mice. Hepatic parasite burden, granuloma formation and induction of regulatory T cells were determined for up to 7 months after the intravenous inoculation with L. donovani promastigotes. While control aly/+ mice showed a peak of hepatic parasite growth at 4 weeks post infection (WPI) and resolved the infection by 8 WPI, aly/aly mice showed a similar peak in hepatic parasite burden but maintained persistent in the chronic phase of infection, which was associated with delayed and impaired granuloma maturation. Although hepatic CD4(+)Foxp3(+) but not CD8(+)Foxp3(+) T cells were first detected at 4 WPI in both strains of mice, the number of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells was significantly increased in aly/aly mice from 8 WPI. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated the presence of Foxp3(+) T cells in L. donovani-induced hepatic granulomas and perivascular neo-lymphoid aggregates. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of mature granulomas collected by laser microdissection revealed the correlation of Foxp3 and IL-10 mRNA level. Furthermore, treatment of infected aly/aly mice with anti-CD25 or anti-FR4 mAb resulted in significant reductions in both hepatic Foxp3(+) cells and parasite burden. Thus, we provide the first evidence that CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs mediate L. donovani persistence in the liver during VL in immunodeficient murine model, a result that will help to establish new strategies of immunotherapy against this intracellular protozoan pathogen.
Project description:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, is a global health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. Treatment of VL largely depends on therapeutic drugs such as pentavalent antimonials, amphotericin B, and others, which have major drawbacks due to drug resistance, toxicity, and high cost. In this study, for the first time, we have successfully demonstrated the synthesis and antileishmanial activity of the novel sterol pentalinonsterol (PEN), which occurs naturally in the root of a Mexican medicinal plant, Pentalinon andrieuxii. In the experimental BALB/c mouse model of VL induced by infection with L. donovani, intravenous treatment with liposome-encapsulated PEN (2.5 mg/kg) led to a significant reduction in parasite burden in the liver and spleen. Furthermore, infected mice treated with liposomal PEN showed a strong host-protective TH1 immune response characterized by IFN-? production and formation of matured hepatic granulomas. These results indicate that PEN could be developed as a novel drug against VL.
Project description:The outcome of visceral leishmaniasis, caused by parasite Leishmania donovani, depends on the recruitment of leishmanicidal Th1 cells. Chemokine receptor CXCR3, preferentially expressed by Th1 cells, is critical for migration of these T cells during infection. During chronic VL, there is a decrease in the presence of CXCR3-expressing CD4+ T cells in the spleen, which is associated with high parasitic burden in this organ. We therefore examined whether T cell-specific expression of CXCR3 in mice (CXCR3Tg) would promote resistance to VL. L. donovani infected CXCR3Tg mice showed increased accumulation of T cells in the spleens compared to WT littermates (CXCR3+/+). However, CXCR3+ T cells from CXCR3Tg mice showed low CD69 expression and these mice developed fewer granulomas. Additionally, both groups of mice showed similar cytokine profiles and parasitic burdens during the course of infection. In summary, although T cell-specific expression of CXCR3 promoted the accumulation of CXCR3-expressing T cells during L. donovani infection, this did not enhance resistance to VL.
Project description:Leishmania donovani causes visceral leishmaniasis (VL) where the parasite infects and resides inside liver and spleen tissue macrophages. Given the abnormal lipid profile observed in VL patients, we examined the status of serum lipids in an experimental murine model of VL. The murine VL liver displayed altered expression of lipid metabolic genes, many of which are direct or indirect targets of the liver-specific microRNA-122. Concomitant reduction of miR-122 expression was observed in VL liver. High serum cholesterol caused resistance to L. donovani infection, while downregulation of miR-122 is coupled with low serum cholesterol in VL mice. Exosomes secreted by the infective parasites caused reduction in miR-122 activity in hepatic cells. Leishmania surface glycoprotein gp63, a Zn-metalloprotease, targets pre-miRNA processor Dicer1 to prevent miRNP formation in L. donovani-interacting hepatic cells. Conversely, restoration of miR-122 or Dicer1 levels in VL mouse liver increased serum cholesterol and reduced liver parasite burden.
Project description:Leishmania major and Leishmania infantum are among the main species that are responsible for cutaneous leishmaniosis (CL) and visceral leishmaniosis (VL), respectively. The leishmanioses represent the second-largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria. Recently, we succeeded in generating a plasmid DNA (pCMV-HISA70m2A) and demonstrated that immunized mice were protected against L. major challenge. The efficacy of the DNA-vaccine was further enhanced by the inclusion of KMP-11 antigen into the antibiotic-free plasmid pVAX1-asd.Here, we describe the use of a HisAK70 DNA-vaccine encoding seven Leishmania genes (H2A, H2B, H3, H4, A2, KMP11 and HSP70) for vaccination of mice to assess the induction of a resistant phenotype against VL and CL.HisAK70 was successful in vaccinated mice, resulting in a high amount of efficient sterile hepatic granulomas associated with a hepatic parasite burden fully resolved in the VL model; and resulting in 100% inhibition of parasite visceralization in the CL model.The results suggest that immunization with the HisAK70 DNA-vaccine may provide a rapid, suitable, and efficient vaccination strategy to confer cross-protective immunity against VL and CL.
Project description:The development of inflammatory granulomas around infected Kupffer cells is necessary for hepatic parasite clearance during visceral leishmaniasis. Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are predominant T cells in the mouse liver and can synthesize large quantities of IL-4 and IFN-?, two cytokines involved in granuloma formation. This study analyzed the role of iNKT cells in the hepatic immune response during Leishmania donovani infection, using a murine model of wild-type (WT) and iNKT cell-deficient (J?18?/?) C57BL/6 mice sacrificed 15, 30 or 60 days post-infection. We recorded hepatic parasite loads, cytokine expression, and analyzed granulomatous response by immunohistochemistry and hepatic immune cell infiltration by flow cytometry. Whereas WT animals rapidly controlled the infection and developed an inflammatory response associated with a massive influx of iNKT cells observed by flow cytometry, J?18?/? mice had significantly higher parasitic loads on all time points. This lack of control of parasite burden was associated with a delay in granuloma maturation (28.1% of large granulomas at day 60 versus 50.7% in WT). Cytokine transcriptome analysis showed that mRNA of 90/101 genes encoding chemokines, cytokines and their receptors, was underexpressed in J?18?/? mice. Detection of IL-4 and TNF-? by ELISA in liver extracts was also significantly lower in J?18?/? mice. Consistent with flow cytometry analysis, cytokinome profile in WT mice showed a bias of expression towards T cell-chemoattractant chemokines on D15, and displayed a switch towards expression of granulocytes and/or monocytes -chemoattractant chemokines on D60. In J?18?/? mice, the significantly lower expression of CXCL5, MIP-2 and CCL2 mRNA was correlated with a defect in myeloperoxidase positive-cell attraction observed by immunohistochemistry and with a lower granulocyte and monocyte infiltration in the liver, as shown by flow cytometry. These data indicate that iNKT cells play a role in early and sustained pro-inflammatory cytokine response warranting efficient organization of hepatic granulomas and parasite clearance.
Project description:CD4<sup>+</sup> T helper 1 (Th1) cells producing interferon gamma (IFN-?) are critical for the resolution of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). MicroRNA 155 (miR155) promotes CD4<sup>+</sup> Th1 responses and IFN-? production by targeting suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1) and Src homology-2 domain-containing inositol 5-phosphatase 1 (SHIP-1) and therefore could play a role in the resolution of VL. To determine the role of miR155 in VL, we monitored the course of <i>Leishmania donovani</i> infection in miR155 knockout (miR155KO) and wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice. miR155KO mice displayed significantly higher liver and spleen parasite loads than WT controls and showed impaired hepatic granuloma formation. However, parasite growth eventually declined in miR155KO mice, suggesting the induction of a compensatory miR155-independent antileishmanial pathway. <i>Leishmania</i> antigen-stimulated splenocytes from miR155KO mice produced significantly lower levels of Th1-associated IFN-? than controls. Interestingly, at later time points, levels of Th2-associated interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-10 were also lower in miR155KO splenocyte supernatants than in WT mice. On the other hand, miR155KO mice displayed significantly higher levels of <i>IFN-?</i>, <i>iNOS</i>, and <i>TNF-?</i> gene transcripts in their livers than WT mice, indicating that distinct organ-specific antiparasitic mechanisms were involved in control of <i>L. donovani</i> infection in miR155KO mice. Throughout the course of infection, organs of miR155KO mice showed significantly more PDL1-expressing Ly6C<sup>hi</sup> inflammatory monocytes than WT mice. Conversely, blockade of Ly6C<sup>hi</sup> inflammatory monocyte recruitment in miR155KO mice significantly reduced parasitic loads, indicating that these cells contributed to disease susceptibility. In conclusion, we found that miR155 contributes to the control of <i>L. donovani</i> but is not essential for infection resolution.
Project description:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), caused by a protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, is still a threat to mankind due to treatment failure, drug resistance and coinfection with HIV. The limitations of first-line drugs have led to the development of new strategies to combat this dreaded disease. Recently, we have shown the immunomodulatory property of Ara-LAM, a TLR2 ligand, against leishmanial pathogenesis. In this study, we have extended our study to the effect of Ara-LAM on regulatory T cells in a murine model of VL. We observed that Ara-LAM-treated infected BALB/c mice showed a strong host-protective Th1 immune response due to reduced IL-10 and TGF-? production, along with marked decrease in CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) GITR(+) CTLA4(+) regulatory T cell (Treg) generation and activation. The reduction in Foxp3 expression was due to effective modulation of TGF-?-induced SMAD signaling in Treg cells by Ara-LAM. Moreover, we demonstrated that Ara-LAM-induced IRF1 expression in the Treg cells, which negatively regulated foxp3 gene transcription, resulting in the reduced immunosuppressive activity of Treg cells. Interestingly, irf1 gene knockdown completely abrogated the effect of Ara-LAM on Treg cells. Thus, these findings provide detailed mechanistic insight into Ara-LAM-mediated modulation of Treg cells, which might be helpful in combating VL.
Project description:Hepatic resistance to Leishmania donovani infection in mice is associated with the development of granulomas, in which a variety of lymphoid and non-lymphoid populations accumulate. Although previous studies have identified B cells in hepatic granulomas and functional studies in B cell-deficient mice have suggested a role for B cells in the control of experimental visceral leishmaniasis, little is known about the behaviour of B cells in the granuloma microenvironment. Here, we first compared the hepatic B cell population in infected mice, where ?60% of B cells are located within granulomas, with that of naïve mice. In infected mice, there was a small increase in mIgM(lo)mIgD(+) mature B2 cells, but no enrichment of B cells with regulatory phenotype or function compared to the naïve hepatic B cell population, as assessed by CD1d and CD5 expression and by IL-10 production. Using 2-photon microscopy to quantify the entire intra-granuloma B cell population, in conjunction with the adoptive transfer of polyclonal and HEL-specific BCR-transgenic B cells isolated from L. donovani-infected mice, we demonstrated that B cells accumulate in granulomas over time in an antigen-independent manner. Intra-vital dynamic imaging was used to demonstrate that within the polyclonal B cell population obtained from L. donovani-infected mice, the frequency of B cells that made multiple long contacts with endogenous T cells was greater than that observed using HEL-specific B cells obtained from the same inflammatory environment. These data indicate, therefore, that a subset of this polyclonal B cell population is capable of making cognate interactions with T cells within this unique environment, and provide the first insights into the dynamics of B cells within an inflammatory site.
Project description:The roles of interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 in the regulation of immunity to Leishmania donovani infection are still poorly understood. Here we show that the increased parasite load observed in IL-4(-/-) and IL-4 receptor alpha(-/-) mice correlates with retarded granuloma maturation and antileishmanial activity and that the increased parasite load observed in IL-4 receptor alpha(-/-) mice correlates with increased NOS2 expression and decreased serum gamma interferon levels. IL-4 and IL-13 appear to play little role in regulating collagen deposition in L. donovani-induced granulomas.
Project description:Experimental visceral leishmaniasis, caused by infection of mice with the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, is characterized by focal accumulation of inflammatory cells in the liver, forming discrete "granulomas" within which the parasite is eventually eliminated. To shed new light on fundamental aspects of granuloma formation and function, we have developed an in silico Petri net model that simulates hepatic granuloma development throughout the course of infection. The model was extensively validated by comparison with data derived from experimental studies in mice, and the model robustness was assessed by a sensitivity analysis. The model recapitulated the progression of disease as seen during experimental infection and also faithfully predicted many of the changes in cellular composition seen within granulomas over time. By conducting in silico experiments, we have identified a previously unappreciated level of inter-granuloma diversity in terms of the development of anti-leishmanial activity. Furthermore, by simulating the impact of IL-10 gene deficiency in a variety of lymphocyte and myeloid cell populations, our data suggest a dominant local regulatory role for IL-10 produced by infected Kupffer cells at the core of the granuloma.