Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (?9-THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, is known to suppress the immune responses to bacterial, viral and protozoan infections, but its effects on fungal infections have not been studied. Therefore, we investigated the effects of chronic ?9-THC treatment on mouse resistance to systemic Candida albicans (C. albicans) infection. To determine the outcome of chronic ?9-THC treatment on primary, acute systemic candidiasis, c57BL/6 mice were given vehicle or ?9-THC (16 mg/kg) in vehicle on days 1-4, 8-11 and 15-18. On day 19, mice were infected with 5×10(5) C. albicans. We also determined the effect of chronic ?9-THC (4-64 mg/kg) treatment on mice infected with a non-lethal dose of 7.5×10(4) C. albicans on day 2, followed by a higher challenge with 5×10(5) C. albicans on day 19. Mouse resistance to the infection was assessed by survival and tissue fungal load. Serum cytokine levels were determine to evaluate the immune responses. In the acute infection, chronic ?9-THC treatment had no effect on mouse survival or tissue fungal load when compared to vehicle treated mice. However, ?9-THC significantly suppressed IL-12p70 and IL-12p40 as well as marginally suppressed IL-17 versus vehicle treated mice. In comparison, when mice were given a secondary yeast infection, ?9-THC significantly decreased survival, increased tissue fungal burden and suppressed serum IFN-? and IL-12p40 levels compared to vehicle treated mice. The data showed that chronic ?9-THC treatment decreased the efficacy of the memory immune response to candida infection, which correlated with a decrease in IFN-? that was only observed after the secondary candida challenge.
While the current influenza vaccine strategy is dependent on eliciting neutralizing antibodies to the hemagglutinin (H or HA) surface glycoprotein, antigenic drifts and occasional antigenic shifts necessitate constant surveillance and annual updates to the vaccine components. The ectodomain of the matrix 2 (M2e) channel protein has been proposed as a universal vaccine candidate, although it has not yet been shown to elicit neutralizing antibodies. Utilizing a liposome-based vaccine technology, an M2e vaccine (L-M2e-HD/MPL) was tested and shown to stimulate the production of anti-M2e antibodies which precipitated with whole virus and inhibited viral cell lysis by multiple type A strains of influenza virus using a novel in vitro assay. The anti-M2e antibodies also conferred complete protection following passive transfer from L-M2e-HD/MPL vaccinated mice to naïve mice challenged with H1N1 virus. Significantly higher levels of IL-4 compared to IFN-? were secreted by the splenocytes of L-M2e-HD/MPL vaccinated mice incubated with M2e. In addition, depletion of CD4 cells or CD4 cells plus CD8 cells from L-M2e-HD/MPL vaccinated mice using monoclonal antibodies markedly decreased the level of protection of the vaccine when compared to just CD8 depletion of L-M2e-HD/MPL vaccinated mice. These results suggest that the protective immune response elicited by this vaccine is mediated primarily by a Th2 mechanism.
Monotherapy and combination therapy were compared using optimal doses of liposomal amphotericin B, micafungin, or caspofungin in Aspergillus fumigatus pulmonary and disseminated infections. Mice were challenged intravenously (2.8 x 10(4) to 5.7 x 10(4) conidia) or intranasally (5.8 x 10(7) conidia) with A. fumigatus. Drugs (5, 10, or 15 mg/kg of body weight) were given for 3 or 6 days as single, concomitant, or sequential therapy (i.e., days 1 to 3 and then days 4 to 6). Mice were monitored for survival, and tissues were assayed for fungal burden and drug concentrations. Treatments starting 24 h postchallenge significantly prolonged survival in disseminated aspergillosis (P < 0.002), but only liposomal amphotericin B treatments or treatments beginning with liposomal amphotericin B increased survival to 100% in the pulmonary aspergillosis model. Fungi in kidneys and spleens (disseminated) and lungs (pulmonary) were significantly decreased (P < or = 0.04) by liposomal amphotericin B, liposomal amphotericin B plus echinocandin, or liposomal amphotericin B prior to echinocandin. In the disseminated infection, liposomal amphotericin B and micafungin (10 or 15 mg/kg) had similar kidney drug levels, while in the spleen, 5 and 15 mg/kg liposomal amphotericin B gave higher drug levels than micafungin (P < 0.02). In the pulmonary infection, drug levels in lungs and spleen with 5-mg/kg dosing were significantly higher with liposomal amphotericin B than with caspofungin (P < or = 0.002). In summary, treatment of A. fumigatus infections with liposomal amphotericin B plus echinocandin or liposomal amphotericin B prior to echinocandin was as effective as liposomal amphotericin B alone, and a greater decrease in the fungal burden with liposomal amphotericin B supports using liposomal amphotericin B prior to echinocandin.
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