Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) represents the only curative therapy for the majority of bone marrow-derived cancers. Unfortunately, HSCT can result in serious complications such as graft-versus-host disease, graft failure and infection. In the last decade, there have been major advances in the understanding of the role of autophagy in many diseases and cellular processes. Recent findings have demonstrated a crucial role for autophagy in haematopoietic stem cell survival and function, antigen presentation, T-cell differentiation and response to cytokine stimulation. Given the critical requirement for each of these processes in HSCT and subsequent complications, it is surprising that the contribution of autophagy to HSCT per se is relatively unexplored. In addition, the increasing use of autophagy-modulating drugs in the clinic further highlights the need to understand the role of autophagy in allogeneic HSCT. This review will cover established and implicated roles of autophagy in HSCT, suggesting this pathway as an important therapeutic target for improving transplant outcomes.Immunology and Cell Biology advance online publication, 4 November 2014; doi:10.1038/icb.2014.95.
Chronic GVHD (cGVHD) is the major cause of late, nonrelapse death following stem cell transplantation and characteristically develops in organs such as skin and lung. Here, we used multiple murine models of cGVHD to investigate the contribution of macrophage populations in the development of cGVHD. Using an established IL-17-dependent sclerodermatous cGVHD model, we confirmed that macrophages infiltrating the skin are derived from donor bone marrow (F4/80+CSF-1R+CD206+iNOS-). Cutaneous cGVHD developed in a CSF-1/CSF-1R-dependent manner, as treatment of recipients after transplantation with CSF-1 exacerbated macrophage infiltration and cutaneous pathology. Additionally, recipients of grafts from Csf1r-/- mice had substantially less macrophage infiltration and cutaneous pathology as compared with those receiving wild-type grafts. Neither CCL2/CCR2 nor GM-CSF/GM-CSFR signaling pathways were required for macrophage infiltration or development of cGVHD. In a different cGVHD model, in which bronchiolitis obliterans is a prominent manifestation, F4/80+ macrophage infiltration was similarly noted in the lungs of recipients after transplantation, and lung cGVHD was also IL-17 and CSF-1/CSF-1R dependent. Importantly, depletion of macrophages using an anti-CSF-1R mAb markedly reduced cutaneous and pulmonary cGVHD. Taken together, these data indicate that donor macrophages mediate the development of cGVHD and suggest that targeting CSF-1 signaling after transplantation may prevent and treat cGVHD.
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a common complication following allogeneic stem-cell transplantation (SCT). Past studies have implicated the persistence of host antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in GVHD. Our objective was to determine the frequency of host Langerhans cells (LCs) in normal skin post-SCT and ask if their persistence could predict cGVHD. Biopsies of normal skin from 124 sex-mismatched T-cell-replete allogenic SCT recipients were taken 100 days post-transplant. Patients with acute GVHD and those with <9 months of follow-up were excluded and prospective follow-up information was collected from remaining 22 patients. CD1a staining and X and Y chromosome in-situ hybridization were performed to label LCs and to identify their host or donor origin. At 3 months, 59 ± 5% of LCs were host derived. The density of LCs and the proportion of host-derived LCs were similar between patients that did or did not develop cGVHD. Most LCs in the skin remained of host origin 3 months after SCT regardless of cGVHD status. This finding is in line with the redundant role of LCs in acute GVHD initiation uncovered in recent experimental models.
The last 6 decades have seen major advances in the understanding of immunologic diseases, driven by preclinical animal models. Indeed, bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has its genesis in rodent models dating back to the 1950s. Allogeneic BMT and its major complication, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), represent a paradigm for the translation of preclinical concepts into clinical practice. The appreciation that GVHD can be thought of as a stepwise escalation in immune activation characterized by eventual massive target tissue apoptosis has allowed the design of rational approaches to better manage patients. Here, we describe the pathophysiology of GVHD as defined in preclinical models, focusing on the successes and failures of this research to instruct and translate clinical practice. We also provide a commentary on the limitations of these models so that they may be better appreciated and addressed in future studies. Notable preclinical successes include the definition of modern immune suppression, reductions in conditioning intensity, posttransplant cyclophosphamide, and the promotion of regulatory T-cell reconstitution. New strategies including naïve T-cell depletion, focused cytokine and chemokine inhibition, and the blockade of costimulation now also appear highly promising and very likely to translate into patients in the near future.
Preening behavior in birds is important for the maintenance of thermoregulatory and ornamental functions of plumage. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that birds trade off time between plumage maintenance and other activities. However, the condition-dependent constraints of preening remain virtually unstudied. Here, we present the first experimental test of the hypothesis that intestinal parasite infection impairs preening activity. We studied male American goldfinches (Spinus tristis), a species with carotenoid-based plumage coloration. Following pre-alternate (spring) molt, we manipulated the health of males by infecting some birds with Isospora spp. coccidia and keeping others free of the infection. Although the goldfinches increased preening throughout the captive period, we found no significant effect of coccidial treatment on preening behavior. The effect of coccidia on plumage maintenance may be more pronounced under natural conditions where birds have limited access to food and engage in more activities that might limit time available for preening.
A fundamental hypothesis for the evolution and maintenance of ornamental traits is that ornaments convey information to choosing females about the quality of prospective mates. A diverse array of ornaments (e.g., colors, morphological features, and behaviors) has been associated with a wide range of measures of individual quality, but decades of study of such indicator traits have failed to produce general mechanisms of honest signaling. Here, I propose that efficiency of cellular respiration, as a product of mitochondrial function, underlies the associations between ornamentation and performance for a broad range of traits across taxa. A large biomedical literature documents the fundamental biochemical links between oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the process of metabolism, the function of the immune system, the synthesis of proteins, and the development and function of the nervous system. The production of virtually all ornaments whose expressions have been demonstrated to be condition-dependent is directly affected by the efficiency of cellular respiration, suggesting that the signaling of respiratory efficiency may be the primary function of such traits. Furthermore, the production of ornaments links to stress-response systems, including particularly the neuroendocrine system, through mitochondrial function, thereby makes ornamental traits effective signals of the capacity to withstand environmental perturbations. The identification of a unifying mechanism of honest signaling holds the potential to connect many heretofore-disparate fields of study related to stress and ornamentation, including neuroendocrinology, respiratory physiology, metabolic physiology, and immunology.
Many pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and protozoan parasites, suppress cellular immune responses through activation of type I IFN signaling. Recent evidence suggests that immune suppression and susceptibility to the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, is mediated by type I IFN; however, it is unclear how type I IFN suppresses immunity to blood-stage Plasmodium parasites. During experimental severe malaria, CD4+ Th cell responses are suppressed, and conventional DC (cDC) function is curtailed through unknown mechanisms. Here, we tested the hypothesis that type I IFN signaling directly impairs cDC function during Plasmodium infection in mice. Using cDC-specific IFNAR1-deficient mice, and mixed BM chimeras, we found that type I IFN signaling directly affects cDC function, limiting the ability of cDCs to prime IFN-?-producing Th1 cells. Although type I IFN signaling modulated all subsets of splenic cDCs, CD8- cDCs were especially susceptible, exhibiting reduced phagocytic and Th1-promoting properties in response to type I IFNs. Additionally, rapid and systemic IFN-? production in response to Plasmodium infection required type I IFN signaling in cDCs themselves, revealing their contribution to a feed-forward cytokine-signaling loop. Together, these data suggest abrogation of type I IFN signaling in CD8- splenic cDCs as an approach for enhancing Th1 responses against Plasmodium and other type I IFN-inducing pathogens.
The stimulation of naive donor T cells by recipient alloantigen is central to the pathogenesis of graft-versus-host disease after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Using mouse models of transplantation, we have observed that donor cells become "cross-dressed" in very high levels of recipient hematopoietic cell-derived MHC class I and II molecules following BMT. Recipient-type MHC is transiently present on donor dendritic cells (DCs) after BMT in the setting of myeloablative conditioning but is persistent after nonmyeloablative conditioning, in which recipient hematopoietic cells remain in high numbers. Despite the high level of recipient-derived alloantigen present on the surface of donor DCs, donor T cell proliferative responses are generated only in response to processed recipient alloantigen presented via the indirect pathway and not in response to cross-dressed MHC. Assays in which exogenous peptide is added to cross-dressed MHC in the presence of naive TCR transgenic T cells specific to the MHC class II-peptide combination confirm that cross-dressed APC cannot induce T cell proliferation in isolation. Despite failure to induce T cell proliferation, cross-dressing by donor DCs contributes to generation of the immunological synapse between DCs and CD4 T cells, and this is required for maximal responses induced by classical indirectly presented alloantigen. We conclude that the process of cross-dressing by donor DCs serves as an efficient alternative pathway for the acquisition of recipient alloantigen and that once acquired, this cross-dressed MHC can assist in immune synapse formation prior to the induction of full T cell proliferative responses by concurrent indirect Ag presentation.
With its plumage color dimorphism and unique history in North America, including a recent population expansion and an epizootic of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a model species for studying sexual selection, plumage coloration and host-parasite interactions. As part of our ongoing efforts to make available genomic resources for this species, here we report a transcriptome assembly derived from genes expressed in spleen.
Natural killer (NK) cells have been reported to control adaptive immune responses that occur in lymphoid organs at the early stages of immune challenge. The physiological purpose of such regulatory activity remains unclear, because it generally does not confer a survival advantage. We found that NK cells specifically eliminated activated CD4(+) T cells in the salivary gland during chronic murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection. This was dependent on TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) expression by NK cells. Although NK cell-mediated deletion of CD4(+) T cells prolonged the chronicity of infection, it also constrained viral-induced autoimmunity. In the absence of this activity, chronic infection was associated with a Sjogren's-like syndrome characterized by focal lymphocytic infiltration into the glands, production of autoantibodies, and reduced saliva and tear secretion. Thus, NK cells are an important homeostatic control that balances the efficacy of adaptive immune responses with the risk of developing autoimmunity.
The majority of allogeneic stem cell transplants are currently undertaken using G-CSF mobilized peripheral blood stem cells. G-CSF has diverse biological effects on a broad range of cells and IL-10 is a key regulator of many of these effects. Using mixed radiation chimeras in which the hematopoietic or nonhematopoietic compartments were wild-type, IL-10(-/-), G-CSFR(-/-), or combinations thereof we demonstrated that the attenuation of alloreactive T cell responses after G-CSF mobilization required direct signaling of the T cell by both G-CSF and IL-10. IL-10 was generated principally by radio-resistant tissue, and was not required to be produced by T cells. G-CSF mobilization significantly modulated the transcription profile of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells, promoted their expansion in the donor and recipient and their depletion significantly increased graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In contrast, stem cell mobilization with the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 did not alter the donor T cell's ability to induce acute GVHD. These studies provide an explanation for the effects of G-CSF on T cell function and demonstrate that IL-10 is required to license regulatory function but T cell production of IL-10 is not itself required for the attenuation GVHD. Although administration of CXCR4 antagonists is an efficient means of stem cell mobilization, this fails to evoke the immunomodulatory effects seen during G-CSF mobilization. These data provide a compelling rationale for considering the immunological benefits of G-CSF in selecting mobilization protocols for allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a life-threatening impediment to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and current therapies do not completely prevent and/or treat cGVHD. CD4+ T cells and B cells mediate cGVHD; therefore, targeting these populations may inhibit cGVHD pathogenesis. Ibrutinib is an FDA-approved irreversible inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) and IL-2 inducible T cell kinase (ITK) that targets Th2 cells and B cells and produces durable remissions in B cell malignancies with minimal toxicity. Here, we evaluated whether ibrutinib could reverse established cGVHD in 2 complementary murine models, a model interrogating T cell-driven sclerodermatous cGVHD and an alloantibody-driven multiorgan system cGVHD model that induces bronchiolar obliterans (BO). In the T cell-mediated sclerodermatous cGVHD model, ibrutinib treatment delayed progression, improved survival, and ameliorated clinical and pathological manifestations. In the alloantibody-driven cGVHD model, ibrutinib treatment restored pulmonary function and reduced germinal center reactions and tissue immunoglobulin deposition. Animals lacking BTK and ITK did not develop cGVHD, indicating that these molecules are critical to cGVHD development. Furthermore, ibrutinib treatment reduced activation of T and B cells from patients with active cGVHD. Our data demonstrate that B cells and T cells drive cGVHD and suggest that ibrutinib has potential as a therapeutic agent, warranting consideration for cGVHD clinical trials.
Primary defects in host immune responses have been hypothesised to contribute towards an inability of subjects with cystic fibrosis (CF) to effectively clear pulmonary infections. Innate T-lymphocytes provide rapid pathogen-specific responses prior to the development of classical MHC class I and II restricted T-cell responses and are essential to the initial control of pulmonary infection. We aimed to examine the relationship between peripheral blood lymphocyte phenotype and clinical outcomes in adults with CF.
Natural regulatory T cells (nTregs) play an important role in tolerance; however, the small numbers of cells obtainable potentially limit the feasibility of clinical adoptive transfer. Therefore, we studied the feasibility and efficacy of using murine-induced regulatory T cells (iTregs) for the induction of tolerance after bone marrow transplantation. iTregs could be induced in large numbers from conventional donor CD4 and CD8 T cells within 1 wk and were highly suppressive. During graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), CD4 and CD8 iTregs suppressed the proliferation of effector T cells and the production of proinflammatory cytokines. However, unlike nTregs, both iTreg populations lost Foxp3 expression within 3 wk in vivo, reverted to effector T cells, and exacerbated GVHD. The loss of Foxp3 in iTregs followed homeostatic and/or alloantigen-driven proliferation and was unrelated to GVHD. However, the concurrent administration of rapamycin, with or without IL-2/anti-IL-2 Ab complexes, to the transplant recipients significantly improved Foxp3 stability in CD4 iTregs (and, to a lesser extent, CD8 iTregs), such that they remained detectable 12 wk after transfer. Strikingly, CD4, but not CD8, iTregs could then suppress Teff proliferation and proinflammatory cytokine production and prevent GVHD in an equivalent fashion to nTregs. However, at high numbers and when used as GVHD prophylaxis, Tregs potently suppress graft-versus-leukemia effects and so may be most appropriate as a therapeutic modality to treat GVHD. These data demonstrate that CD4 iTregs can be produced rapidly in large, clinically relevant numbers and, when transferred in the presence of systemic rapamycin and IL-2, induce tolerance in transplant recipients.
Cytomegalovirus latently infects myeloid cells; however, the acute effects of the virus on this cell subset are poorly characterised. We demonstrate that systemic cytomegalovirus infection induced rapid activation of monocytes in the bone marrow, characterised by upregulation of CD69, CD11c, Ly6C and M-CSF receptor. Activated bone marrow monocytes were more sensitive to M-CSF and less sensitive to granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor in vitro, resulting in the generation of more macrophages and fewer dendritic cells, respectively. Monocyte activation was also observed in the periphery and resulted in significant accumulation of monocytes in the spleen. MyD88 expression was required within the haematopoietic compartment to initiate monocyte activation and recruitment. However, monocytes lacking MyD88 were activated and recruited in the presence of MyD88-sufficient cells in mixed bone marrow chimeras, indicating that once initiated, the process was MyD88 independent. Interestingly, we found that monocyte activation occurred in the absence of the common inflammatory cytokines, namely type I interferons (IFNs), IL-6, TNF-? and IL-1 as well as the NLRP3 inflammasome adaptor protein, ASC. We also excluded a role for the chemokine-like protein MCK-2 (m131/129) expressed by murine CMV. Taken together, these results challenge the notion that a single inflammatory cytokine mediates activation and recruitment of monocytes in response to infection.
Malaria is a highly prevalent disease caused by infection by Plasmodium spp., which infect hepatocytes and erythrocytes. Blood-stage infections cause devastating symptoms and can persist for years. Antibodies and CD4(+) T cells are thought to protect against blood-stage infections. However, there has been considerable difficulty in developing an efficacious malaria vaccine, highlighting our incomplete understanding of immunity against this disease. Here, we used an experimental rodent malaria model to show that PD-1 mediates up to a 95% reduction in numbers and functional capacity of parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells. Furthermore, in contrast to widely held views, parasite-specific CD8(+) T cells are required to control both acute and chronic blood-stage disease even when parasite-specific antibodies and CD4(+) T cells are present. Our findings provide a molecular explanation for chronic malaria that will be relevant to future malaria-vaccine design and may need consideration when vaccine development for other infections is problematic.
Pathogenic or parasitic infections pose numerous physiological challenges to organisms. Carotenoid pigments have often been used as biomarkers of disease state and impact because they integrate multiple aspects of an individuals condition and nutritional and health state. Some diseases are known to influence carotenoid uptake from food (e.g. coccidiosis) and carotenoid use (e.g. as antioxidants/immunostimulants in the body, or for sexually attractive coloration), but there is relatively little information in animals about how different types of carotenoids from different tissue sources may be affected by disease. Here we tracked carotenoid accumulation in two body pools (retina and plasma) as a function of disease state in free-ranging house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). House finches in eastern North America can contract mycoplasmal conjunctivitis (Mycoplasma gallisepticum, or MG), which can progress from eye swelling to eye closure and death. Previous work showed that systemic immune challenges in house finches lower carotenoid levels in retina, where they act as photoprotectors and visual filters. We assessed carotenoid levels during the molt period, a time of year when finches uniquely metabolize ketocarotenoids (e.g. 3-hydroxy-echinenone) for acquisition of sexually selected red plumage coloration, and found that males infected with MG circulated significantly lower levels of 3-hydroxy-echinenone, but no other plasma carotenoid types, than birds exhibiting no MG symptoms. This result uncovers a key biochemical mechanism for the documented detrimental effect of MG on plumage redness in H. mexicanus. In contrast, we failed to find a relationship between MG infection status and retinal carotenoid concentrations. Thus, we reveal differential effects of an infectious eye disease on carotenoid types and tissue pools in a wild songbird. At least compared to retinal sources (which appear somewhat more temporally stable than other body carotenoid pools, even to diseases of the eye evidently), our results point to either a high physiological cost of ketocarotenoid synthesis (as is argued in models of sexually selected carotenoid coloration) or high benefit of using this ketocarotenoid to combat infection.
The rapid spread of the bacterial disease, Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG), throughout the introduced range of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) in eastern North America, compared to its slower spread through the native western range, has puzzled researchers and highlights the need to understand the relative differences in health state of finches from both populations. We conducted a light-microscope survey of hemoparasites in populations of finches from Arizona (within the western range) and from Alabama (within the eastern range), and compared our estimates of prevalence to published reports from house finches sampled in both ranges. Of the 33 Arizona birds examined, we recorded hematozoan infections in 16 (48.5%) individuals, compared to 1 infected Alabama bird out of 30 birds examined (3.3%). Based on independent surveys of seven western North American and five eastern North American populations of house finches the average prevalence of blood parasites in western populations is 38.8% (±17.9 SD), while the average prevalence within the eastern range is only 5.9% (±6.1 SD). The average rate of infection among all songbirds sampled in the east is 34.2% (±4.8 SD). Thus, our surveys of wild birds as well as previously published observations point to eastern house finches having a much lower prevalence of blood parasite infections than their western counterparts. Combined with the fact that eastern finches also tend to have lower rates of avian pox infections than do western birds (based on a literature review), these observations suggest that eastern birds have either strong resistance to these infections or high susceptibility and associated mortality.
On-site sanitation solutions have gained much interest in recent years. One such solution is the urine diverting vermicomposting toilet (UDVT). This study evaluated the hygienic quality of the composted material in six UDVTs in operation in France. Samples were taken from three sampling positions in each toilet, with increasing distance from the fresh material. The concentration of Salmonella spp., Enterococcus spp., thermotolarent coliforms and coliphages were analysed and plotted against a number of variables. The variables found to have the greatest impact was the pH (for Enterococcus spp. and thermotolarent coliforms (TTC)) and time since last maintenance (coliphages). The pH was found to correlate with the material maturity. The current practise of maintenance can cause recontamination of the stabilised material and increase the risk of regrowth of pathogenic microorganisms. A modification in the maintenance procedure, in which a fourth maturation point is introduced, would eliminate this risk. UDVTs were found to be a good on-site sanitation option as the maintenance requirement is small and the system effectively reduced odour and concentration of pathogen and indicator organisms in human waste while keeping the accumulation of material down to a minimum. If the vermicompost is to be used for crops consumed raw, an additional sanitisation step is recommended.
Major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted T-cell immunity is essential to control infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a clinically important virus that causes significant disease in immunocompromised individuals. Cross-presentation is considered the primary mode of antigen presentation to generate protective antiviral CD8? T-cell immunity. Herpesviruses, including CMV, encode numerous proteins that interfere with direct antigen presentation, leading to the paradigm that T-cell immunity to these pathogens necessitates cross-presentation. However, the antigen presentation requirements needed to generate a protective T-cell response to CMV remain unknown. Here, we show that a fully functional antiviral CD8? T-cell response can be generated in a system where cross-presentation is shut down by pretreatment with CpG. Notably, in this setting, CD8? T cells demonstrate accelerated control of infection, and organ pathology is limited. These data indicate that protective antiviral T-cell immunity to CMV is generated by direct presentation and can be enhanced by pretreatment with CpG.
Testosterone has been implicated as a developmental mechanism involved in the organization and expression of sexually dimorphic traits, such as plumage coloration, in birds. Although research findings relating testosterone levels to plumage expression is equivocal, few studies have investigated how testosterone may influence the expression of structurally based plumage coloration. Here, we use experimental and correlational evidence to test the hypothesis that testosterone influences the development and maintenance of structurally based plumage coloration in a wild-breeding population of eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis). First, we experimentally manipulated yolk testosterone and measured the effect on the development of plumage coloration of nestlings. Second, we implanted juvenile bluebirds with testosterone and measured the effect on nestling growth, body condition, and plumage coloration of nestlings. Third, we measured covariation between circulating testosterone and plumage coloration of breeding males. Yolk testosterone injections had no significant effect on nestling plumage coloration. Testosterone implantation, however, caused a reduction in plumage brightness, elevated corticosterone, and slower growth in nestlings. Finally, in breeding adult males we found no significant relationship between structural coloration and testosterone; however, males with higher testosterone levels exhibited duller chestnut (melanin-based) plumage. Our observations lead us to reject the hypothesis that testosterone increases structural plumage coloration in male eastern bluebirds.
It is challenging and expensive to monitor and test decentralized composting toilet systems, yet critical to prevent the mismanagement of potentially harmful and pathogenic end-product. Recent studies indicate that mixed latrine composting toilets can be inhibited by high ammonia content, a product of urea hydrolysis. Urine-diverting vermicomposting toilets are better able to accomplish the goals of remote site human waste management by facilitating the consumption of fecal matter by earthworms, which are highly sensitive to ammonia. The reliability of Solvita compost stability and maturity tests were evaluated as a means of determining feedstock suitability for vermicomposting (ammonia) and end-product stability/completeness (carbon dioxide). A significant linear regression between Solvita ammonia and free ammonia gas was found. Solvita ranking of maturity did not correspond to ranking assigned by ammonium:nitrate standards. Solvita ammonia values 4 and 5 contained ammonia levels below earthworm toxicity limits in 80% and 100% of samples respectively indicative of their use in evaluating feedstock suitability for vermicomposting. Solvita stability tests did not correlate with carbon dioxide evolution tests nor ranking of stability by the same test, presumably due to in situ inhibition of decomposition and microbial respiration by ammonia which were reported by the Solvita CO2 test as having high stability values.
End-product from 16 public mixed latrine style composting toilets (CTs) at 12 sites between 50 and 2100 m.a.s.l. in Western North America was tested in order to evaluate the effect of composting variables (TS%, NH3-N, temperature, and material age) on compost quality and hygiene (VS%, Escherichia coli, [Formula: see text] -N, and pH). Principal component analysis indicated that TS%, temperature, and material age equally contributed to reduction in VS%. NH3-N had the greatest effect on [Formula: see text] -N, E. coli, and pH. Nitrification was significantly inhibited above 386 mg/kg NH3-N, but no such limit was found for E. coli, despite a significant (p = 0.016) but weak (r(2) = 0.11) negative relationship. It may be possible to amplify the sanitizing effect of ammonia and overcome pathogen resistance due to low temperatures and re-contamination (caused by poor design) with generous dosing of urea and ash. However, even sanitized, the fertilization effect of discharged material on the natural environment may not be desired or permitted in parks or protected areas where many CTs were found. To this end, operators of CTs need to evaluate their primary management objectives and ensure congruency with proven system capabilities.
Donor T cells play pivotal roles in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects following bone marrow transplantation (BMT). DNAX accessory molecule 1 (DNAM-1) is a costimulatory and adhesion molecule, expressed mainly by natural killer cells and CD8(+) T cells at steady state to promote adhesion to ligand-expressing targets and enhance cytolysis. We have analyzed the role of this pathway in GVHD and GVL. The absence of DNAM-1 on the donor graft attenuated GVHD in major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-mismatched and MHC-matched BMT following conditioning with lethal and sublethal irradiation. In contrast, DNAM-1 was not critical for GVL effects against ligand (CD155) expressing and nonexpressing leukemia. The effects on GVHD following myeloablative conditioning were independent of CD8(+) T cells and dependent on CD4(+) T cells, and specifically donor FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg). The absence of DNAM-1 promoted the expansion and suppressive function of Treg after BMT. These findings provide support for therapeutic DNAM-1 inhibition to promote tolerance in relevant inflammatory-based diseases characterized by T-cell activation.
For a variety of infectious diseases, the richness of the community of potential host species has emerged as an important factor in pathogen transmission, whereby a higher richness of host species is associated with a lowered disease risk. The proposed mechanism driving this pattern is an increased likelihood in species-rich communities that infectious individuals will encounter dead-end hosts. Mosquito-borne pathogen systems potentially are exceptions to such "dilution effects" because mosquitoes vary their rates of use of vertebrate host species as bloodmeal sources relative to host availabilities. Such preferences may violate basic assumptions underlying the hypothesis of a dilution effect in pathogen systems. Here, we describe development of a model to predict exposure risk of sentinel chickens to eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) in Walton County, Florida between 2009 and 2010 using avian species richness as well as densities of individual host species potentially important to EEEV transmission as candidate predictor variables. We found the highest support for the model that included the density of northern cardinals, a highly preferred host of mosquito vectors of EEEV, as a predictor variable. The highest-ranking model also included Culiseta melanura abundance as a predictor variable. These results suggest that mosquito preferences for vertebrate hosts influence pathogen transmission.
Microglial cells are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system and participate in both innate and adaptive immune responses but can also lead to exacerbation of neurodegenerative pathologies after viral infections. Microglia in the outer layers of the retina and the subretinal space are thought to be involved in retinal diseases where low-grade chronic inflammation and oxidative stress play a role. This study investigated the effect of systemic infection with murine cytomegalovirus on the distribution and dynamics of retinal microglia cells. Systemic infection with murine cytomegalovirus elicited a significant increase in the number of microglia in the subretinal space and an accumulation of iris macrophages, along with morphological signs of activation. Interferon ? (IFN-?)-deficient mice failed to induce changes in microglia distribution. Bone marrow chimera experiments confirmed that microglial cells in the subretinal space were not recruited from the circulating monocyte pool, but rather represented an accumulation of resident microglial cells from within the retina. Our results demonstrate that a systemic viral infection can lead to IFN-?-mediated accumulation of microglia into the outer retinal layers and offer proof of concept that systemic viral infections alter the ocular microenvironment and therefore, may influence the course of diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or autoimmune uveitis, where low-grade inflammation is implicated.
Antiviral immunity and cross-presentation is mediated constitutively through CD8?+ and CD103+ DCs. Development of these DC subsets is thought to require the transcription factors Irf8, Id2, Nfil3, and Batf3, although how this network is regulated is poorly defined. We addressed the nature of the differentiation blocks observed in the absence of these factors and found that although all 4 factors are required for CD103+ DC development, only Irf8 is essential for CD8?+ DCs. CD8?+ DCs emerged in the absence of Id2, Nfil3 and Batf3 in short-term bone marrow reconstitution. These “induced” CD8?+ DCs exhibit several hallmarks of classic CD8?+ DCs including the expression of CD24, Tlr3, Xcr1, Clec9A, and the capacity to cross-present soluble, cell-associated antigens and viral antigens even in the absence of Batf3. Collectively, these results uncover a previously undescribed pathway by which CD8?+ DCs emerge independent of Id2, Nfil3, and Batf3, but dependent on Irf8.
The reconstitution of anti-viral cellular immunity following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is crucial in preventing cytomegalovirus (CMV)-associated complications. Thus immunological monitoring has emerged as an important tool to better target pre-emptive anti-viral therapies. However, traditional laboratory-based assays are too cumbersome and complicated to implement in a clinical setting. Here we conducted a prospective study of a new whole blood assay (referred to as QuantiFERON-CMV®) to determine the clinical utility of measuring CMV-specific CD8+ T-cell responses as a prognostic tool. Forty-one evaluable allogeneic HSCT recipients underwent weekly immunological monitoring from day 21 post-transplant and of these 21 (51.2%) showed CMV reactivation and 29 (70.7%) developed acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). Patients with acute GvHD (grade?2) within 6 weeks of transplant showed delayed reconstitution of CMV-specific T-cell immunity (p?=?0.013) and a higher risk of CMV viremia (p?=?0.026). The median time to stable CMV-specific immune reconstitution was 59 days and the incidence of CMV reactivation was lower in patients who developed this than those who did not (27% versus 65%; p?=?0.031). Furthermore, a failure to reconstitute CMV-specific immunity soon after the onset of CMV viraemia was associated with higher peak viral loads (5685 copies/ml versus 875 copies/ml; p?=?0.002). Hence, QuantiFERON-CMV® testing in the week following CMV viremia can be useful in identifying HSCT recipients at risk of complicated reactivation.
Why females assess ornaments when choosing mates remains a central question in evolutionary biology. We hypothesize that the imperative for a choosing female to find a mate with nuclear oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes that are compatible with her mitochondrial OXPHOS genes drives the evolution of ornaments. Indicator traits are proposed to signal the efficiency of OXPHOS function thus enabling females to select mates with nuclear genes that are compatible with maternal mitochondrial genes in the formation of OXPHOS complexes. Species-typical pattern of ornamentation is proposed to serve as a marker of mitochondrial type ensuring that females assess prospective mates with a shared mitochondrial background. The mitonuclear compatibility hypothesis predicts that the production of ornaments will be closely linked to OXPHOS pathways, and that sexual selection for compatible mates will be strongest when genes for nuclear components of OXPHOS complexes are Z-linked. The implications of this hypothesis are that sexual selection may serve as a driver for the evolution of more efficient cellular respiration.
Live attenuated varicella vaccine is considered a safe vaccine with serious adverse effects reported only in immunocompromised children. We describe a severe life-threatening infection with varicella vaccine virus causing rash and pneumonitis in a 6-year-old boy with no apparent immunodeficiency.
Costimulation-deficient dendritic cells (DCs) prevent autoimmune disease in mouse models. However, autoimmune-prone mice and humans fail to control expansion of peripheral autoreactive effector memory T cells (T(EMs)), which resist immunoregulation by costimulation-deficient DCs. In contrast, activation of DC costimulation may be coupled with regulatory capacity. To test whether costimulatory DCs control T(EMs) and attenuate established autoimmune disease, we used RelB-deficient mice, which have multiorgan inflammation, expanded peripheral autoreactive T(EMs), and dysfunctional Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) cells and conventional DCs. T(EMs) were regulated by Foxp3(+) Tregs when costimulated by CD3/CD28-coated beads or wild-type DCs but not DCs deficient in RelB or CD80/CD86. After transfer, RelB and CD80/CD86-sufficient DCs restored tolerance and achieved a long-term cure of autoimmune disease through costimulation of T(EM) and Foxp3(+) Treg IFN-? production, as well as induction of IDO by host APCs. IDO was required for regulation of T(EMs) and suppression of organ inflammation. Our data challenge the paradigm that costimulation-deficient DCs are required to regulate established autoimmune disease to avoid T(EM) activation and demonstrate cooperative cross-talk between costimulatory DCs, IFN-?, and IDO-dependent immune regulation. IFN-? and IDO activity may be good surrogate biomarkers measured against clinical efficacy in trials of autoimmune disease immunoregulation.
The presentation pathways by which allogeneic peptides induce graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are unclear. We developed a bone marrow transplant (BMT) system in mice whereby presentation of a processed recipient peptide within major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules could be spatially and temporally quantified. Whereas donor antigen presenting cells (APCs) could induce lethal acute GVHD via MHC class II, recipient APCs were 100-1,000 times more potent in this regard. After myeloablative irradiation, T cell activation and memory differentiation occurred in lymphoid organs independently of alloantigen. Unexpectedly, professional hematopoietic-derived recipient APCs within lymphoid organs had only a limited capacity to induce GVHD, and dendritic cells were not required. In contrast, nonhematopoietic recipient APCs within target organs induced universal GVHD mortality and promoted marked alloreactive donor T cell expansion within the gastrointestinal tract and inflammatory cytokine generation. These data challenge current paradigms, suggesting that experimental lethal acute GVHD can be induced by nonhematopoietic recipient APCs.
Multiplexed qRT-PCR assays are currently lacking for nearly all species without genome or transcriptome resources. Here, we present a strategy for primer design of highly multiplexed qRT-PCR assays, evaluate Beckman Coulters Quant Tool gene expression quantification software and provide details of our assay for the North American songbird Carpodacus mexicanus (house finch), for which only small sections of genome sequence are available. We combined Beckman Coulters eXpress Designer module for creating custom multiplex primers with the free, online program Amplify 3 to design and evaluate primers computationally before testing them empirically. We also generated a standard curve for each gene included in the final multiplex. We compared models using cubic and quadratic polynomial estimators that did and did not force the intercept through zero. Ultimately, we used the sequences available for 316 clones differentially expressed in cDNA macroarray and microarray comparisons, and from these sequences, we were able to generate a set of transcript-specific primers for use with the GeXP analyser for 20 house finch genes.
Delayed plumage maturation is the delayed acquisition of a definitive colour and pattern of plumage until after the first potential breeding period in birds. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of the numerous studies of delayed plumage maturation and a revised theoretical framework for understanding the function of delayed plumage maturation in all birds. We first distinguish between hypotheses that delayed plumage maturation is attributable to a moult constraint with no adaptive function and hypotheses that propose that delayed plumage maturation is a component of an adaptive life-history strategy associated with delayed reproductive investment. We then recognize three potential benefits of delayed plumage maturation: crypsis, mimicry and status signaling. Evidence suggests that delayed plumage maturation is not a consequence of developmental constraints and instead represents a strategy to maximize reproductive success in circumstances where young adults cannot effectively compete with older adults for limited resources, particularly breeding opportunities. A multi-factorial explanation that takes into account lifespan and the degree of competition for limited breeding resources and that combines the benefits of an inconspicuous appearance with the benefits of honest signaling of reduced competitiveness provides a general explanation for the function of delayed plumage maturation in most bird species. Delayed plumage maturation should be viewed as a component of alternative reproductive strategies that can include delay in both plumage and sexual development. Such strategies are frequently facultative, with individuals breeding prior to the acquisition of definitive plumages when conditions are favourable. Presumably, the benefits of delayed plumage maturation ultimately enhance lifetime reproductive success, and studying delayed plumage maturation within the context of lifetime reproductive success should be a goal of future studies.
Introduced organisms can alter ecosystems by disrupting natural ecological relationships. For example, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) have disrupted native arthropod communities throughout much of their introduced range. By competing for many of the same food resources as insectivorous vertebrates, fire ants also have the potential to disrupt vertebrate communities.
Although the effects of type II-IFN (IFN-?) on GVHD and leukemia relapse are well studied, the effects of type I-interferon (type I-IFN, IFN-?/?) remain unclear. We investigated this using type I-IFN receptor-deficient mice and exogenous IFN-? administration in established models of GVHD and GVL. Type I-IFN signaling in host tissue prevented severe colon-targeted GVHD in CD4-dependent models of GVHD directed toward either major histocompatibility antigens or multiple minor histocompatibility antigens. This protection was the result of suppression of donor CD4(+) T-cell proliferation and differentiation. Studies in chimeric recipients demonstrated this was due to type I-IFN signaling in hematopoietic tissue. Consistent with this finding, administration of IFN-? during conditioning inhibited donor CD4(+) proliferation and differentiation. In contrast, CD8-dependent GVHD and GVL effects were enhanced when type I-IFN signaling was intact in the host or donor, respectively. This finding reflected the ability of type I-IFN to both sensitize host target tissue/leukemia to cell-mediated cytotoxicity and augment donor CTL function. These data confirm that type I-IFN plays an important role in defining the balance of GVHD and GVL responses and suggests that administration of the cytokine after BM transplantation could be studied prospectively in patients at high risk of relapse.
Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that cycles in birds but also causes severe disease in humans and horses. We examined patterns of avian host use by vectors of EEEV in Alabama from 2001 to 2009 using blood-meal analysis of field-collected mosquitoes and avian abundance surveys. The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was the only preferred host (fed on significantly more than expected based on abundance) of Culiseta melanura, the enzootic vector of EEEV. Preferred hosts of Culex erraticus, a putative bridge vector of EEEV, were American robin (Turdus migratorius), Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis), barred owl (Strix varia), and northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottis). Our results provide insight into the relationships between vectors of EEEV and their avian hosts in the Southeast and suggest that the northern cardinal may be important in the ecology of EEEV in this region.
Wild organisms are under increasing pressure to adapt rapidly to environmental changes. Predicting the impact of these changes on natural populations requires an understanding of the speed with which adaptive phenotypes can arise and spread, as well as of the underlying mechanisms. However, our understanding of these parameters is poor in natural populations. Here we use experimental and molecular approaches to investigate the recent emergence of resistance in eastern populations of North American house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) to Mycoplasma galliseptum (MG), a severe conjunctivitis-causing bacterium. Two weeks following an experimental infection that took place in 2007, finches from eastern US populations with a 12-y history of exposure to MG harbored 33% lower MG loads in their conjunctivae than finches from western US populations with no prior exposure to MG. Using a cDNA microarray, we show that this phenotypic difference in resistance was associated with differences in splenic gene expression, with finches from the exposed populations up-regulating immune genes postinfection and those from the unexposed populations generally down-regulating them. The expression response of western US birds to experimental infection in 2007 was more similar to that of the eastern US birds studied in 2000, 7 y earlier in the epizootic, than to that of eastern birds in 2007. These results support the hypothesis that resistance has evolved by natural selection in the exposed populations over the 12 y of the epizootic. We hypothesize that host resistance arose and spread from standing genetic variation in the eastern US and highlight that natural selection can lead to rapid phenotypic evolution in populations when acting on such variation.
Condition is a nearly ubiquitous term in the behavioural, physiological and evolutionary ecology literature; however, existing definitions are incomplete or ambiguous. This poor conceptualization has led to confusion regarding what is being signalled by condition-dependent traits and how to interpret links between ornamentation and individual characteristics such as nutrient reserves, oxidative state and immunocompetence. I propose that the combined effects of the somatic state, epigenetic state and genotype of an organism determine condition. I define condition as the relative capacity to maintain optimal functionality of vital systems within the body. A condition-dependent trait is a conspicuous feature of an organism that enhances perception of condition. Ornament expression can link to system functionality in at least four ways: (1) resources are traded off between operation of physiological pathways and production of ornaments; (2) a regulatory agent necessary for ornament expression depresses a vital physiological process; (3) ornament production requires a product of a vital physiological process; and (4) pathways are shared between ornament production and vital physiological processes. If the honesty of ornamental traits derives from connections to vital cellular processes then there is no need to invoke a fitness cost of ornamentation to insure signal honesty.
CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) play a crucial role in the regulation of immune responses. Although many mechanisms of Treg suppression in vitro have been described, the mechanisms by which Treg modulate CD8(+) T cell differentiation and effector function in vivo are more poorly defined. It has been proposed, in many instances, that modulation of cytokine homeostasis could be an important mechanism by which Treg regulate adaptive immunity; however, direct experimental evidence is sparse. Here we demonstrate that CD4(+)CD25(+) Treg, by critically regulating IL-2 homeostasis, modulate CD8(+) T-cell effector differentiation. Expansion and effector differentiation of CD8(+) T cells is promoted by autocrine IL-2 but, by competing for IL-2, Treg limit CD8(+) effector differentiation. Furthermore, a regulatory loop exists between Treg and CD8(+) effector T cells, where IL-2 produced during CD8(+) T-cell effector differentiation promotes Treg expansion.
During blood-stage Plasmodium infection, large-scale invasion of RBCs often occurs before the generation of cellular immune responses. In Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA)-infected C57BL/6 mice, CD4(+) T cells controlled parasite numbers poorly, instead providing early help to pathogenic CD8(+) T cells. Expression analysis revealed that the transcriptional signature of CD4(+) T cells from PbA-infected mice was dominated by type I IFN (IFN-I) and IFN-?-signalling pathway-related genes. A role for IFN-I during blood-stage Plasmodium infection had yet to be established. Here, we observed IFN-? protein production in the spleen of PbA-infected C57BL/6 mice over the first 2 days of infection. Mice deficient in IFN-I signalling had reduced parasite burdens, and displayed none of the fatal neurological symptoms associated with PbA infection. IFN-I substantially inhibited CD4(+) T-bet(+) T-cell-derived IFN-? production, and prevented this emerging Th1 response from controlling parasites. Experiments using BM chimeric mice revealed that IFN-I signalled predominantly via radio-sensitive, haematopoietic cells, but did not suppress CD4(+) T cells via direct signalling to this cell type. Finally, we found that IFN-I suppressed IFN-? production, and hampered efficient control of parasitaemia in mice infected with non-lethal Plasmodium chabaudi. Thus, we have elucidated a novel regulatory pathway in primary blood-stage Plasmodium infection that suppresses CD4(+) T-cell-mediated parasite control.
Seasonal shifts in host use by mosquitoes from birds to mammals drive the timing and intensity of annual epidemics of mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile virus, in North America. The biological mechanism underlying these shifts has been a matter of debate, with hypotheses falling into two camps: (1) the shift is driven by changes in host abundance, or (2) the shift is driven by seasonal changes in the foraging behavior of mosquitoes. Here we explored the idea that seasonal changes in host use by mosquitoes are driven by temporal patterns of host reproduction. We investigated the relationship between seasonal patterns of host use by mosquitoes and host reproductive phenology by examining a seven-year dataset of blood meal identifications from a site in Tuskegee National Forest, Alabama USA and data on reproduction from the most commonly utilized endothermic (white-tailed deer, great blue heron, yellow-crowned night heron) and ectothermic (frogs) hosts. Our analysis revealed that feeding on each host peaked during periods of reproductive activity. Specifically, mosquitoes utilized herons in the spring and early summer, during periods of peak nest occupancy, whereas deer were fed upon most during the late summer and fall, the period corresponding to the peak in births for deer. For frogs, however, feeding on early- and late-season breeders paralleled peaks in male vocalization. We demonstrate for the first time that seasonal patterns of host use by mosquitoes track the reproductive phenology of the hosts. Peaks in relative mosquito feeding on each host during reproductive phases are likely the result of increased tolerance and decreased vigilance to attacking mosquitoes by nestlings and brooding adults (avian hosts), quiescent young (avian and mammalian hosts), and mate-seeking males (frogs).
Patterns of mosquito dispersal are important for predicting the risk of transmission of mosquito-borne pathogens to vertebrate hosts. We studied dispersal behavior of Culex erraticus (Dyar & Knab), a potentially significant vector of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) that is often associated with foci of this pathogen in the southeastern United States. Using data on the relative density of resting adult female Cx. erraticus around known emergence sites in Tuskegee National Forest, Alabama, we developed a model for the exponential decay of the relative density of adult mosquitoes with distance from larval habitats through parameterization of dispersal kernels. The mean and 99th percentile of dispersal distance for Cx. erraticus estimated from this model were 0.97 and 3.21 km per gonotrophic cycle, respectively. Parameterized dispersal kernels and estimates of the upper percentiles of dispersal distance of this species can potentially be used to predict EEEV infection risk in areas surrounding the Tuskegee National Forest focus in the event of an EEEV outbreak. The model that we develop for estimating the dispersal distance of Cx. erraticus from collections of adult mosquitoes could be applicable to other mosquito species that emerge from discrete larval sites.
Studies in malaria patients indicate that higher frequencies of peripheral blood CD4(+) Foxp3(+) CD25(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells correlate with increased blood parasitemia. This observation implies that Treg cells impair pathogen clearance and thus may be detrimental to the host during infection. In C57BL/6 mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA, depletion of Foxp3(+) cells did not improve parasite control or disease outcome. In contrast, elevating frequencies of natural Treg cells in vivo using IL-2/anti-IL-2 complexes resulted in complete protection against severe disease. This protection was entirely dependent upon Foxp3(+) cells and resulted in lower parasite biomass, impaired antigen-specific CD4(+) T and CD8(+) T cell responses that would normally promote parasite tissue sequestration in this model, and reduced recruitment of conventional T cells to the brain. Furthermore, Foxp3(+) cell-mediated protection was dependent upon CTLA-4 but not IL-10. These data show that T cell-mediated parasite tissue sequestration can be reduced by regulatory T cells in a mouse model of malaria, thereby limiting malaria-induced immune pathology.
The graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect is a potent form of immunotherapy against many hematologic malignancies and some solid tumors. The beneficial GVT effect after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is tightly linked to its most significant complication, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) after allogeneic BMT is not well understood. This study used a series of complementary knockout and antibody blockade strategies to analyze the impact of IL-6 in multiple clinically relevant murine models of GVHD and GVT.
The hypothesis that nestlings are a significant driver of arbovirus transmission and amplification is based upon findings that suggest nestlings are highly susceptible to being fed upon by vector mosquitoes and to viral infection and replication. Several previous studies have suggested that nestlings are preferentially fed upon relative to adults in the nest, and other studies have reported a preference for adults over nestlings. We directly tested the feeding preference of nestling and adult birds in a natural setting, introducing mosquitoes into nesting boxes containing eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis), collecting blood-fed mosquitoes, and matching the source of mosquito blood meals to individual birds using microsatellite markers. Neither nestlings nor adults were fed upon to an extent significantly greater than would be predicted based upon their relative abundance in the nests, although feeding upon mothers decreased as the age of the nestlings increased.
The development of the mononuclear phagocyte system requires macrophage colony-stimulating factor (CSF-1) signaling through the CSF-1 receptor (CSF1R, CD115). We examined the effect of an antibody against CSF1R on macrophage homeostasis and function using the MacGreen transgenic mouse (csf1r-enhanced green fluorescent protein) as a reporter. The administration of a novel CSF1R blocking antibody selectively reduced the CD115(+)Gr-1(neg) monocyte precursor of resident tissue macrophages. CD115(+)Gr-1(+) inflammatory monocytes were correspondingly increased, supporting the view that monocytes are a developmental series. Within tissue, the antibody almost completely depleted resident macrophage populations in the peritoneum, gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidney, and skin, but not in the lung or female reproductive organs. CSF1R blockade reduced the numbers of tumor-associated macrophages in syngeneic tumor models, suggesting that these cells are resident type macrophages. Conversely, it had no effect on inflammatory monocyte recruitment in models, including lipopolysaccharide-induced lung inflammation, wound healing, peritonitis, and severe acute graft-versus-host disease. Depletion of resident tissue macrophages from bone marrow transplantation recipients actually resulted in accelerated pathology and exaggerated donor T-cell activation. The data indicate that CSF1R signaling is required only for the maturation and replacement of resident-type monocytes and tissue macrophages, and is not required for monocyte production or inflammatory function.
Males typically have greater variance in reproductive success than females, so mothers should benefit by producing sons under favorable conditions. Being paired with a better-than-average mate is one such favorable circumstance. High-quality fathers can improve conditions for their offspring by providing good genes, good resources, or both, so females paired to such males should invest preferentially in sons. Ornamentation has been linked to male quality in many birds and, in support of differential allocation theory, females of several avian species invest more in entire broods when paired to attractive mates. Additionally, the females of some bird species apparently manipulate the primary sex-ratio of their broods in relation to the attractiveness of their mates. However, empirical support for a link between mate ornamentation and preferential feeding of sons (another form of biased investment) is lacking. We tested for correlations between sex-biased parental investment and mate plumage colour in the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), a species in which juveniles have sexually dichromatic UV-blue plumage. We found that the proportion of maternal feeding attempts to fledgling sons (versus fledgling daughters) was positively correlated with structurally coloured plumage ornamentation of fathers. Additionally, paternal feeding attempts to sons were correlated with plumage ornamentation of mothers and increased in fathers exhibiting breast plumage characteristics typical of older males. These results provide further support for the idea that parental strategies are influenced by mate attractiveness and provide the first evidence that mate ornamentation can influence parental behavior even after offspring have left the nest.
Effective immunity requires the coordinated activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Natural killer (NK) cells are central innate immune effectors, but can also affect the generation of acquired immune responses to viruses and malignancies. How NK cells influence the efficacy of adaptive immunity, however, is poorly understood. Here, we show that NK cells negatively regulate the duration and effectiveness of virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses by limiting exposure of T cells to infected antigen-presenting cells. This impacts the quality of T cell responses and the ability to limit viral persistence. Our studies provide unexpected insights into novel interplays between innate and adaptive immune effectors, and define the critical requirements for efficient control of viral persistence.
Carotenoid pigments produce yellow, orange, and red integumentary color displays that can serve as reliable signals of health and condition. In many birds and fish, individuals gain competitive or mating advantages by ingesting and utilizing large quantities of carotenoid pigments. Carotenoid pigments serve as antioxidants, performing important functions as free-radical scavengers. The beneficial effects of carotenoid pigments are well documented, but rarely have researchers considered potential detrimental effects of high-level accumulation of carotenoids. We maintained American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) on high- or low-carotenoid diets through molt and tested for damage to the liver and skeletal muscle. High intake of carotenoids had no measurable effect on liver enzymes but caused an increase in creatine kinase, an indicator of skeletal muscle breakdown, and a reduction in vertical flight performance, a measure of skeletal muscle integrity. The detrimental effects of high-level carotenoid accumulation were approximately equivalent to the negative effects of removing carotenoids from the diet. The adverse effects observed in this study have important implications for theories of the function and evolution of colorful plumage.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3) is the main intracellular regulator of signaling by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, an immune-modulatory cytokine used to mobilize stem cells for transplantation. We have therefore studied the contribution of SOCS3 to the spectrum of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Grafts from SOCS3(-/Deltavav) donor mice in which SOCS3 deficiency is restricted to the hematopoietic compartment had an augmented capacity to induce acute GVHD. With the use of SOCS3(-/DeltaLysM) and SOCS3(-/Deltalck) donors in which SOCS3 deficiency was restricted to the myeloid or T-cell lineage, respectively, we confirmed SOCS3 deficiency promoted acute GVHD mortality and histopathology within the gastrointestinal tract by effects solely within the donor T cell. SOCS3(-/Deltalck) donor T cells underwent enhanced alloantigen-dependent proliferation and generation of interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-17, and interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) after SCT. The enhanced capacity of the SOCS3(-/Deltalck) donor T cell to induce acute GVHD was dependent on IFNgamma but independent of IL-10 or IL-17. Surprisingly, SOCS3(-/Deltalck) donor T cells also induced severe, transforming growth factor beta- and IFNgamma-dependent, sclerodermatous GVHD. Thus, the delivery of small molecule SOCS3 mimetics may prove to be useful for the inhibition of both acute and chronic GVHD.
The recent shift to the use of stem cells mobilized by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) for hematopoietic transplantation has increased chronic graftversus-host disease (GVHD), although the mechanisms of this are unclear. We have found that G-CSF invokes potent type 17 rather than type 1 or type 2 differentiation. The amplification of interleukin-17 (IL-17) production by G-CSF occurs in both CD4 and CD8 conventional T cells and is dependent on, and downstream of, G-CSF-induced IL-21 signaling. Importantly, donor IL-17A controls the infiltration of macrophages into skin and cutaneous fibrosis, manifesting late after transplantation as scleroderma. Interestingly, donor CD8 T cells were the predominant source of IL-17A after transplantation and could mediate scleroderma independently of CD4 T cells. This study provides a logical explanation for the propensity of allogeneic stem cell transplantation to invoke sclerodermatous GVHD and suggests a therapeutic strategy for intervention.
IL-23 is an important molecular driver of Th17 cells and has strong tumor-promoting proinflammatory activity postulated to occur via adaptive immunity. Conversely, more recently it has been reported that IL-17A elicits a protective inflammation that promotes the activation of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells. Here we show the much broader impact of IL-23 in antagonizing antitumor immune responses primarily mediated by innate immunity. Furthermore, the majority of this impact was independent of IL-17A, which did not appear critical for many host responses to tumor initiation or metastases. IL-23-deficient mice were resistant to experimental tumor metastases in three models where host NK cells controlled disease. Immunotherapy with IL-2 was more effective in mice lacking IL-23, and again the protection afforded was NK cell mediated and independent of IL-17A. Further investigation revealed that loss of IL-23 promoted perforin and IFN-gamma antitumor effector function in both metastasis models examined. IL-23-deficiency also strikingly protected mice from tumor formation in two distinct mouse models of carcinogenesis where the dependence on host IL-12p40 and IL-17A was quite different. Notably, in the 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA) induction of fibrosarcoma model, this protection was completely lost in the absence of NK cells. Overall, these data indicate the general role that IL-23 plays in suppressing natural or cytokine-induced innate immunity, promoting tumor development and metastases independently of IL-17A.
A site near Tuskegee, Alabama was examined for vector-host activities of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus (EEEV). Land cover maps of the study site were created in ArcInfo 9.2 from QuickBird data encompassing visible and near-infrared (NIR) band information (0.45 to 0.72 microm) acquired July 15, 2008. Georeferenced mosquito and bird sampling sites, and their associated land cover attributes from the study site, were overlaid onto the satellite data. SAS 9.1.4 was used to explore univariate statistics and to generate regression models using the field and remote-sampled mosquito and bird data. Regression models indicated that Culex erracticus and Northern Cardinals were the most abundant mosquito and bird species, respectively. Spatial linear prediction models were then generated in Geostatistical Analyst Extension of ArcGIS 9.2. Additionally, a model of the study site was generated, based on a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), using ArcScene extension of ArcGIS 9.2.
The relative amount of resources that avian parents provide to individual offspring within a brood represents a strategy that can have large effects on reproductive success. We tested whether parental feeding decisions of eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis are influenced by offspring plumage color by presenting pairs of differently colored fledglings side by side and observing how they were provisioned by parents. After a control period, we manipulated blue plumage color so that one sibling in each trial became relatively dark and one became relatively bright. During neither the control nor the experimental periods did either parent consistently feed naturally brighter or experimentally brightened sons more than drab sons. Under specific circumstances, however, both parents directed a higher proportion of their feeding attempts to more brightly colored sons. Paternal feeding attempts to brighter offspring during both the control and experimental periods increased in relation to the brightness of these fledglings relative to their brothers. Maternal feeding decision, on the other hand, were influenced by numerous variables during control and experimental periods including the date of the trial, the difference in mass between fledglings, the feeding behavior of fathers during the trial, the relative investment by fathers during the nestling stage, and the amount of UV chroma in fledgling plumage. Taken together, these results suggest that equal provisioning of offspring is the strategy most commonly adopted by eastern bluebirds but more brightly colored offspring will be fed preferentially when resources for offspring are limited.
Chronic infectious diseases and cancers are often associated with suboptimal effector T cell responses. Enhancement of T cell costimulatory signals has been extensively studied for cancer immunotherapy but not so for the treatment of infectious disease. The few previous attempts at this strategy using infection models have lacked cellular specificity, with major immunoregulatory mechanisms or innate immune cells also being targeted. In this study, we examined the potential of promoting T cell responses via the glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor (GITR) family-related protein in a murine model of visceral leishmaniasis. GITR stimulation during established infection markedly improved antiparasitic immunity. This required CD4(+) T cells, TNF, and IFN-gamma, but crucially, was independent of regulatory T (Treg) cells. GITR stimulation enhanced CD4(+) T cell expansion without modulating Treg cell function or protecting conventional CD4(+) T cells from Treg cell suppression. GITR stimulation substantially improved the efficacy of a first-line visceral leishmaniasis drug against both acute hepatic infection and chronic infection in the spleen, demonstrating its potential to improve clinical outcomes. This study identifies a novel strategy to therapeutically enhance CD4(+) T cell-mediated antiparasitic immunity and, importantly, achieves this goal without impairment of Treg cell function.
Phylogenetic relationships among the 14 manakin genera were inferred from DNA sequence data obtained from both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA loci. Phylogenetic analysis resulted in a well-supported hypothesis that corroborates a sister relationship between tyrant-manakins and the "core" manakins (Antilophia, Chiroxiphia, Corapipo, Dixiphia, Heterocercus, Ilicura, Lepidothrix, Manacus, Masius, Machaeropterus, Pipra, and Xenopipo). Our data strongly support these core manakin genera as a monophyletic group. Consistent with previous work, we find two major clades within the core manakins, although the placement of the genus Xenopipo with regards to these two clades is ambiguous. Generic relationships within these clades are generally well resolved. Although we find some concordance between our study and a previous manakin phylogeny based on syringeal characters, we note several fundamental differences between the phylogenies. Thus, we offer a new phylogenetic hypothesis for Pipridae.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a key cytokine in the effector phase of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after bone marrow transplantation, and TNF inhibitors have shown efficacy in clinical and experimental GVHD. TNF signals through the TNF receptors (TNFR), which also bind soluble lymphotoxin (LTalpha3), a TNF family member with a previously unexamined role in GVHD pathogenesis. We have used preclinical models to investigate the role of LT in GVHD. We confirm that grafts deficient in LTalpha have an attenuated capacity to induce GVHD equal to that seen when grafts lack TNF. This is not associated with other defects in cytokine production or T-cell function, suggesting that LTalpha3 exerts its pathogenic activity directly via TNFR signaling. We confirm that donor-derived LTalpha is required for graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects, with equal impairment in leukemic clearance seen in recipients of LTalpha- and TNF-deficient grafts. Further impairment in tumor clearance was seen using Tnf/Lta(-/-) donors, suggesting that these molecules play nonredundant roles in GVL. Importantly, donor TNF/LTalpha were only required for GVL where the recipient leukemia was susceptible to apoptosis via p55 TNFR signaling. These data suggest that antagonists neutralizing both TNF and LTalpha3 may be effective for treatment of GVHD, particularly if residual leukemia lacks the p55 TNFR.
The role that different age classes of birds play in the amplification of arthropod-borne viruses depends critically on the feeding choices made by mosquitoes. To determine if mosquitoes are more likely to feed on nestling or adult birds, we introduced Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes into eastern bluebird Sialia sialis nest boxes after dark and recaptured them the following morning. We collected blood from each nestling and brooding mother and used molecular genotyping methods to trace the blood meals of individual mosquitoes to the individual bird fed upon (mothers or chicks). Of the 14 recaptured mosquitoes, whose blood meals were identified to the species level, 10 fed only on nestlings, three fed only on an adult, and one mosquito fed on an adult and two nestlings. These preliminary data show that microsatellite genotyping may be used to answer important questions concerning mosquito feeding patterns on different age classes of birds.
Juveniles of many avian species possess spotted or mottled plumage that is distinct from the plumage of adults. Such plumage has typically been assumed to aid in camouflaging vulnerable immature birds. Here, we propose that spotty plumage signals juvenile status, thereby decreasing aggression from territorial adults. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the aggressive responses of adult eastern bluebird males to different combinations of simultaneously presented taxidermic mounts. We found that territorial males attacked adult models significantly more than juvenile models, and that they attacked adult models with orange breasts (typical of adults) more frequently than they attacked adult models with spotty breasts (typical of juveniles). We found no difference in attack rates when models with white breasts (a novel trait) were presented with models possessing spotty breasts. These observations indicate that breast colour is a cue used by territorial adults when identifying conspecific intruders, but that adults do not recognize juvenile-specific plumage as such. Adults respond aggressively only to orange-breasted intruders.
Models of parasite-mediated sexual selection propose that males with more elaborate sexual traits will have fewer parasites. These models have generally been tested using metazoan or protozoan parasites of the blood, gut, or integument. Fewer studies have examined sexual ornaments in relation to bacterial infections. While most surface bacteria are harmless or beneficial, feather-degrading bacteria may have detrimental effects. In this study, we examined the relationships between overall bacterial load, feather-degrading bacterial load, and sexually selected carotenoid-based plumage color in a wild population of house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). We found that males with the redder plumage preferred by females had similar overall bacterial loads, but lower feather-degrading bacterial loads, than males with less red plumage. These data suggest that plumage color can signal abundance of feather-degrading bacteria to potential mates. It remains unclear whether feather-degrading bacteria directly or indirectly affect plumage color, but the observed correlations suggest that feather-degrading bacteria may play some role in sexual selection.
Invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) have pivotal roles in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects. iNKT cells are activated through their T-cell receptors by glycolipid moieties (typically the alpha-galactosylceramide [alpha-GalCer] derivative KRN7000) presented within CD1d. We investigated the ability of modified alpha-GalCer molecules to differentially modulate alloreactivity and GVL. KRN7000 and the N-acyl variant, C20:2, were administered in multiple well-established murine models of allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The highly potent and specific activation of all type I NKT cells with C20:2 failed to exacerbate and in most settings inhibited GVHD late after transplantation, whereas effects on GVL were variable. In contrast, the administration of KRN7000 induced hyperacute GVHD and early mortality in all models tested. Administration of KRN7000, but not C20:2, was found to result in downstream interleukin (IL)-12 and dendritic cell (DC)-dependent natural killer (NK)- and conventional T-cell activation. Specific depletion of host DCs, IL-12, or donor NK cells prevented this pathogenic response and the induction of hyperacute GVHD. These data demonstrate the ability of profound iNKT activation to modulate both the innate and adaptive immune response via the DC-NK-cell interaction and raise concern for the use of alpha-GalCer therapeutically to modulate GVHD and GVL effects.
We have quantified the relative contribution of donor antigen-presenting cell populations to alloantigen presentation after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) by using transgenic T cells that can respond to host-derived alloantigen presented within the donor major histocompatibility complex. We also used additional transgenic/knockout donor mice and/or monoclonal antibodies that allowed conditional depletion of conventional dendritic cells (cDCs), plasmacytoid DC (pDCs), macrophages, or B cells. Using these systems, we demonstrate that donor cDCs are the critical population presenting alloantigen after BMT, whereas pDCs and macrophages do not make a significant contribution in isolation. In addition, alloantigen presentation was significantly enhanced in the absence of donor B cells, confirming a regulatory role for these cells early after transplantation. These data have major implications for the design of therapeutic strategies post-BMT, and suggest that cDC depletion and the promotion of B-cell reconstitution may be beneficial tools for the control of alloreactivity.
It has been well established that carotenoid and melanin pigmentation are often condition-dependent traits in vertebrates. Expression of carotenoid coloration in birds has been shown to reflect pigment intake, food access and parasite load; however, the relative importance of and the potential interactions among these factors have not been previously considered. Moreover, carotenoid and melanin pigmentation have been proposed to signal fundamentally different aspects of individual condition but few data exist to test this idea. We simultaneously manipulated three environmental conditions under which American goldfinches (Cardeulis tristis) grew colorful feathers and developed carotenoid pigmentation of their bills. Male goldfinches were held with either high or low carotenoid supplementation, pulsed or continuous antimicrobial drug treatment, or restricted or unlimited access to food. Carotenoid supplementation had an overriding effect on yellow feather coloration. Males given more lutein and zeaxanthin grew yellow feathers with hue shifted toward orange and with higher yellow chroma than males supplemented with fewer carotenoids. Parasites and food access did not significantly affect yellow feather coloration, and there were only minor interaction effects for the three treatments. By contrast, bill coloration was significantly affected by all three treatments. Carotenoid supplementation had a significant effect on yellow chroma of bills, drug treatment and food access both had a significant effect on bill hue, and food access had a significant effect on the yellow brightness of bills. Neither the size nor blackness of the black caps of male goldfinches was affected by any treatment. These results indicate that pigment intake, food access and parasite load can have complex and variable effects on color displays, and that feather and bill coloration signal different aspects of male condition.
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is often used to hasten neutrophil recovery after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), but the clinical and immunological consequences evoked remain unclear. We examined the effect of G-CSF administration after transplantation in mouse models and found that exposure to either standard G-CSF or pegylated-G-CSF soon after BMT substantially increased graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This effect was dependent on total body irradiation (TBI) rendering host dendritic cells (DCs) responsive to G-CSF by upregulating their expression of the G-CSF receptor. Stimulation of host DCs by G-CSF subsequently unleashed a cascade of events characterized by donor natural killer T cell (NKT cell) activation, interferon-gamma secretion and CD40-dependent amplification of donor cytotoxic T lymphocyte function during the effector phase of GVHD. Crucially, the detrimental effects of G-CSF were only present when it was administered after TBI conditioning and at a time when residual host antigen presenting cells were still present, perhaps explaining the conflicting and somewhat controversial clinical studies from the large European and North American BMT registries. These data have major implications for the use of G-CSF in disease states where NKT cell activation may have effects on outcome.
The procedural requirements of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) predispose to the dramatic induction of local and systemic inflammatory states and can be conceived in relation to transplant conditioning, the activation of alloreactive T cells and finally, the effector stage of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). It is now clear that alloreactive T cell responses result in a dramatic and often fulminant amplification of systemic inflammation that is responsible for many of the characteristic causes of transplant-related mortality. The pathways by which inflammatory cytokines are induced after BMT and the resultant pathologies will be discussed.
Donor treatment with granulocyle-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is known to modulate immune function, characterized by the generation of regulatory myelogenous and T cell populations and Th2 differentiation. Recently, these effects have been shown to be enhanced by pegylation of the G-CSF molecule, which also improves graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) via activation of invariant natural killer (iNK) T cells. We have compared G-CSF bound to a single PEG molecule (monopeg-G-CSF) as used clinically to a G-CSF molecule bound to multiple PEG molecules (multipeg-G-CSF) in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) disparate and matched models of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and GVL. We demonstrate that multipeg-G-CSF induces greater levels of progenitor cell, myelogenous, and iNKT cell expansion than monopeg-G-CSF, while inducing similar protection from GVHD. Despite this, multipeg-G-CSF enhanced CTL function in vivo and improved iNKT cell-dependent leukemia clearance. Thus, GVL and GVHD can be further separated after allogeneic stem cell transplantation by mobilization with a multiple-pegylated G-CSF molecule.
The role of Ag presenting cell subsets in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains unclear. We have thus examined the ability of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to modulate transplant outcome. Surprisingly, host pDC were exquisitely sensitive to total body irradiation and were depleted before transplantation, thus allowing us to focus on donor pDC [corrected]. The depletion of all pDC from bone marrow grafts resulted in an acceleration of GVHD mortality while the depletion of mature pDC from G-CSF mobilized splenic grafts had no effect. Thus, donor bone marrow pDC, but not mature pDC contained within stem cell grafts attenuate acute GVHD. In the presence of GVHD, donor pDC completely failed to reconstitute although a CD11clow120G8+ precursor DC reconstituted in an exaggerated and transient manner. These cells expressed Flt-3, the macrophage colony stimulating factor receptor and, consistent with a common dendritic cell (DC) precursor, were capable of differentiation into pDC and conventional DC in vivo in the absence of GVHD. These precursors were MHC class II+ and CD80/86+ but lacked CD40, were actively presenting host Ag and inhibited GVHD and T cell proliferation in a contact-dependent fashion. These data demonstrate that GVHD prevents the maturation of pDC and instead promotes the generation of a suppressive precursor DC, further contributing to the state of immune paralysis after transplantation.
The distribution of diversity along latitudinal and elevation gradients, and the coupling of this phenomenon with climate, is a pattern long recognized in ecology. Hypothesizing that climate change may have altered this pattern over time, we investigated whether the aggregate of reported northward shifts of bird ranges in North America is now detectable in community-level indices such as richness and diversity. Here, we report that bird diversity in North America increased and shifted northward between 1966 and 2010. This change in the relationship of diversity to the latitudinal gradient is primarily influenced by range expansions of species that winter in the eastern United States as opposed to species which migrate to this area from wintering grounds in the tropics. This increase in diversity and its northward expansion is best explained by an increase in regional prebreeding season temperature over the past 44 years.
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