Accumulation of Tropheryma (T.) whipplei-stuffed macrophages in the duodenum, impaired T. whipplei-specific Th1 responses and weak secretion of IL-12 are hallmarks of classical Whipple's disease (CWD). This study addresses dendritic cell (DC) functionality during CWD. We documented composition, distribution and functionality of DC ex vivo or after in vitro maturation by FACS and by immunohistochemistry in situ. A decrease in peripheral DC of untreated CWD patients compared to healthy donors was due to reduced CD11c(high) myeloid DC (M-DC). Decreased maturation markers CD83, CD86 and CCR7 as well as low IL-12 production in response to stimulation disclosed an immature M-DC phenotype. In vitro generated monocyte-derived DC from CWD patients showed normal maturation and T cell-stimulatory capacity under pro-inflammatory conditions, but produced less IL-12 and failed to activate T. whipplei-specific Th1 cells. In duodenal and lymphoid tissues, T. whipplei was found within immature DC-SIGN(+) DC and DC and proliferating lymphocytes were reduced in LN of CWD patients compared to controls. Our results indicate that dysfunctional IL-12 production by DC provides suboptimal conditions for priming of T. whipplei-specific T cells during CWD and that immature DC carrying T. whipplei might contribute to the disseminate the bacterium.
Background.?Mucosal macrophages are involved in the maintenance of epithelial barrier integrity and the elimination of invading pathogens. Although an intestinal barrier defect and microbial translocation are hallmarks of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, recent data on gut mucosal macrophages in HIV infection are sparse.Methods.?Treatment-naive and treated HIV-infected patients and healthy controls were studied for frequencies and functional parameters of blood monocytes and macrophages in duodenal mucosa.Results.?We found mucosal enrichment of macrophages in untreated HIV infection associated with reduced monocyte counts in blood and increased monocyte expression of the gut-homing molecule integrin ?7. Increased CCR2 density on integrin ?7-expressing monocytes and mucosal secretion of CCL2 suggest that CCR2/CCL2-chemotaxis is involved in enhanced trafficking of blood monocytes to the gut. Secretion of macrophage-related proinflammatory molecules interleukin 1?, CCL5, CXCL9, and CXCL10 was increased in the gut mucosa of untreated patients. Moreover, mucosal macrophages of untreated patients showed reduced phagocytic activity.Conclusions.?These data suggest a role for gut mucosal macrophages in HIV immune pathogenesis: infiltrated macrophages in the intestinal mucosa may promote local inflammation and tissue injury, whereas their low phagocytic activity prevents the efficient elimination of luminal antigens that cross the damaged intestinal barrier.
Macrophage heterogeneity reflects their plasticity in response to environmental stimuli. Usually human macrophages are characterized by analysis of surface molecules or cytokine expression while functional assays are established in the mouse system but lacking for various human specimens.
During antimicrobial treatment of classic Whipples disease (CWD), the chronic systemic infection with Tropheryma whipplei, immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), is a serious complication. The aim of our study was to characterize the immunological processes underlying IRIS in CWD. Following the definition of IRIS, we describe histological features of IRIS and immunological parameters of 24 CWD IRIS patients, 189 CWD patients without IRIS, and 89 healthy individuals. T cell reconstitution, Th1 reactivity, and the phenotype of T cells were described in the peripheral blood, and infiltration of CD4(+) T cells and regulatory T cells in the duodenal mucosa was determined. During IRIS, tissues were heavily infiltrated by CD3(+), predominantly CD45RO(+)CD4(+) T cells. In the periphery, initial reduction of CD4(+) cell counts and their reconstitution on treatment was more pronounced in CWD patients with IRIS than in those without IRIS. The ratio of activated and regulatory CD4(+) T cells, nonspecific Th1 reactivity, and the proportion of naive among CD4(+) T cells was high, whereas serum IL-10 was low during IRIS. T. whipplei-specific Th1 reactivity remained suppressed before and after emergence of IRIS. The findings that IRIS in CWD mainly are mediated by nonspecific activation of CD4(+) T cells and that it is not sufficiently counterbalanced by regulatory T cells indicate that flare-up of pathogen-specific immunoreactivity is not instrumental in the pathogenesis of IRIS in CWD.
Classical Whipples disease (CWD) is caused by chronic infection with Tropheryma whipplei that seems to be associated with an underlying immune defect. The pathognomonic hallmark of CWD is a massive infiltration of the duodenal mucosa with T. whipplei-infected macrophages that disperse systemically to many other organ systems. An alleviated inflammatory reaction and the absence of T. whipplei-specific Th1 reactivity support persistence and systemic spread of the pathogen. In this article, we hypothesized that regulatory T cells (T(reg)) are involved in immunomodulation in CWD, and we asked for the distribution, activation, and regulatory capacity of T(reg) in CWD patients. Whereas in the lamina propria of CWD patients before treatment numbers of T(reg) were increased, percentages in the peripheral blood were similar in CWD patients and healthy controls. However, peripheral T(reg) of CWD patients were more activated than those of controls. Elevated secretion of IL-10 and TGF-? in the duodenal mucosa of CWD patients indicated locally enhanced T(reg) activity. Enhanced CD95 expression on peripheral memory CD4(+) T cells combined with reduced expression of IFN-? and IL-17A upon polyclonal stimulation by CD4(+) cells from untreated CWD patients further hinted to T(reg) activity-related exhaustion of effector CD4(+) T cells. In conclusion, increased numbers of T(reg) can be detected within the duodenal mucosa in untreated CWD, where huge numbers of T. whipplei-infected macrophages are present. Thus, T(reg) might contribute to the chronic infection and systemic spread of T. whipplei in CWD but in contrast prevent mucosal barrier defect by reducing local inflammation.
Whipple disease, which is caused by infection with Tropheryma whipplei, can be treated effectively with antimicrobials. Occasionally, inflammation reappears after initial improvement; this is often interpreted as refractory or recurrent disease. However, polymerase chain reaction for T. whipplei in tissue is sometimes negative during reinflammation, indicating absence of vital bacteria, and this reinflammation does not respond to antimicrobials but does respond to steroids.
Whipples disease is a chronic multisystemic infection caused by Tropheryma whipplei that is characterized by arthritis, weight loss, and diarrhea. The immunological defects in the duodenal mucosa, the site of major replication of the agent underlying the pathogenesis of Whipples disease, are poorly understood. Mucosal immunoglobulins are essential for the defense against intestinal pathogens; therefore, we analyzed the B-cell response in duodenal specimens and sera of Whipples disease patients. Whereas systemic immunoglobulin production was affected only marginally, duodenal biopsy specimens of Whipples disease patients contained reduced numbers of immunoglobulin-positive plasma cells and secreted less immunoglobulin compared to healthy controls but showed a weak secretory IgA response toward T. whipplei. This T. whipplei-specific intestinal immune response was not observed in controls. Thus, we were able to demonstrate that general mucosal immunoglobulin production in Whipples disease patients is impaired. However, this deficiency does not completely abolish T. whipplei-specific secretory IgA production that nonetheless does not protect from chronic infection.
Whipples disease is a chronic multisystemic infection caused by Tropheryma whipplei. Host factors likely predispose for the establishment of an infection, and macrophages seem to be involved in the pathogenesis of Whipples disease. However, macrophage activation in Whipples disease has not been studied systematically so far.
Knowledge about HIV infection in older persons is becoming increasingly important. CD4 T cells are essential for protective immunity, but little is known about the effect of age on the CD4 T cell impairment in HIV infection.
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