The spleen is involved in fluid volume regulation, immune responses, and hematopoiesis. Yet, the composition of the fluid phase within the spleen microenviroment, the migratory routes of lymphocytes as well as the splenic response to bacterial endotoxin is incomplete. To address these issues, we isolated postnodal lymph in rats by cannulating an efferent lymphatic draining the spleen, and assessed the secretion of signaling substances during a septic response induced by LPS. Spleen lymph flow increased 8-fold after LPS exposure. The spleen exhibited a permeable microvasculature with low sieving of macromolecules that was absent after exposure to LPS. Furthermore, after LPS exposure the spleen contributed significantly to the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and experiments in splenectomized rats suggested it may induce a protracted inflammation because of a dominant role in IL-6 production. A significant amount of lymphocytes exited via lymphatics draining the spleen in control rats. LPS-induced inflammation resulted in increased T cell and reduced B cell subset fractions, and gave a significant increase in CD4(+) and CD8(+) subset T cell efflux and a reduced B cell efflux in spleen lymph. Exposure of leukocytes to the spleen microenvironment affected their signaling status, and by phosphorylation specific flow cytometry we could identify STAT3 and CREB as important mediators in the cellular signaling occurring during endotoxemia. We conclude that analysis of spleen lymph may unravel immune cell migration patterns and local signaling, and immune cells exit via lymph having acquired specific activation signatures after exposure to the spleen microenvironment.
Vaccines using dendritic cells (DCs) harboring leukemic antigens to stimulate T cells is a possible treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Limitations of breaking tolerance to leukemic cells and lack of specific activation of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity may explain the discouraging clinical results with this approach. To break self-tolerance against AML cells, we loaded DCs with AML antigens and a bifunctional small interference (si) RNA targeting interleukin (IL) 10 and simultaneously activating toll-like receptors (TLRs). In vitro, this active siRNA inhibited (P < .05) IL-10 production by silencing the IL-10 gene in DCs. The active siRNA stimulated production of tumor necrosis factor alpha, implying activation of TLRs. Vaccination in a nonimmunogenic rat model mimicking human AML with the loaded DCs induced a substantial and specific T-cell cytotoxicity. Leukemic rats treated with the active siRNA lived longer and had markedly less leukemic cell mass infiltrating their bone marrow compared with rats given inactive siRNA (P < .05). Furthermore, compared with inactive siRNA treatment, the active siRNA led to significantly less extramedullar leukemic dissemination, evidenced by reduced matrix metalloproteinase activity and smaller spleens. Our data demonstrate that this bifunctional siRNA may work as an immunomodulatory drug with antileukemic properties.
The spleen is a part of the immune system and is involved in the response to a systemic inflammation induced by blood borne pathogens that may induce sepsis. Knowledge about the protein composition of the spleen microenvironment in a control situation and during systemic inflammation may contribute to our understanding of the pathophysiology of sepsis. To our knowledge, the proteome of the fluid phase of the spleen microenvironment has not previously been investigated. In order to access the proximal fluid surrounding the splenic cells, we collected postnodal efferent spleen lymph from rats by cannulation, and spleen interstitial fluid (IF) by centrifugation. The origin of the isolated spleen IF was assessed by the extracellular tracer (51)Cr-EDTA and the plasma tracer (125)I-HSA. Spleen lymph, IF, and plasma samples were collected during lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced systemic inflammation and analyzed using a cytokine multiplex assay and, for the first time, using label-free mass spectrometry based proteomics. The concentrations of TNF-?, IL-1?, IL-6, and IL-10 increased severalfold in all fluids after LPS exposure. In total, 281, 201, and 236 proteins were identified in lymph, IF, and plasma, respectively, and several of these were detected after LPS only. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 1 (ADAMTS1) was detected by proteomics (the pro- region) in lymph only after LPS. ADAMTS1 was assessed by ELISA (the metalloproteinase domain), and the concentration was significantly higher in IF and lymph than in plasma in a control situation, showing local production in the spleen. A dramatic increase in ADAMTS1 was detected in lymph, IF, and plasma after LPS exposure. In conclusion, the procedures we used to isolate IF and lymph from the spleen during LPS enabled detection of locally produced proteins. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the inflammatory proteome is different in the spleen microenvironment when compared to that in plasma.
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