Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by damage to the gut mucosa and systemic inflammation. We sought to evaluate the role of chronic inflammation on circulating T-cell activation in human subjects with Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. We studied 54 patients with IBD and 28 healthy controls. T-cell activation and cycling were assessed in whole blood samples by flow cytometry. Levels of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were measured in serum by Limulus amoebocyte lysate assay, and plasma levels of inflammatory markers and LPS-binding proteins were measured by ELISA. The proportions of circulating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes in cycle (Ki67(+) ) are increased in patients with IBD compared with these proportions in controls. CD8(+) T cells from patients with IBD are also enriched for cells that expressed CD38 and HLA-DR, and proportions of these cells are related to plasma levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein in these patients. Intracellular interleukin-2 and interferon-? levels were elevated in resting and polyclonally activated CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in patients with IBD when compared with levels from healthy controls. Surprisingly, we did not find increased levels of LPS in the serum of patients with IBD. We did, however, find a signature of recent microbial translocation, as levels of LPS-binding protein are increased in the plasma of patients with IBD compared with plasma levels in healthy controls; LPS-binding protein levels are also directly related to proportions of CD38 HLA-DR-expressing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Local damage to the gastrointestinal tract in IBD may result in systemic inflammation and T-cell activation.
Genetic studies with immunocompetent mice show the importance of both T cells and gamma interferon (IFN-?) for survival of a measles virus (MV) challenge; however, the direct role of T cells and IFN-? within the MV-infected brain has not been addressed. Organotypic brain explants represent a successful ex vivo system to define central nervous system (CNS)-specific mechanisms of leukocyte migration, activation, and MV clearance. Within the heterogeneous, brain-derived, primed leukocyte population which reduced MV RNA levels in brain explants by 60%, CD3 T cells are the active antiviral cells, as purified CD3-positive cells are highly antiviral and CD3-negative leukocytes are unable to reduce the viral load. Neutralization of CCL5 and CXCL10 decreases leukocyte migration to areas of infection by 70%. However, despite chemokines directing the migration of T cells to infected neurons, chemokine neutralization revealed that migration is not required for viral clearance, suggesting a cytokine-mediated antiviral mechanism. In accordance with our hypothesis, the ability of leukocytes to clear the virus is abrogated when explants are treated with anti-IFN-? neutralizing antibodies. IFN-? applied to infected slices in the absence of primed leukocytes reduces the viral load by more than 80%; therefore, in brain tissue, IFN-? is both necessary and sufficient to clear MV. Secretion of IFN-? is stimulated by interleukin-12 (IL-12) in the brain, as neutralization of IL-12 results in loss of antiviral activity and stimulation of leukocytes with IL-12/IL-18 enhances their immune effector function of viral clearance. MV-primed leukocytes can reduce both West Nile and mouse hepatitis viral RNAs, indicating that cytokine-mediated viral clearance occurs in an antigen-independent manner. The IFN-? signal is transduced within the brain explant by the Jak/STAT signaling pathway, as inhibition of Jak kinases results in a loss of antiviral activity driven by either brain-derived leukocytes or recombinant IFN-?. These results reveal that primed T cells directly act to clear MV infection of the brain by using a noncytolytic IL-12- and IFN-?-dependent mechanism in the CNS and that this mechanism relies upon Jak/STAT signaling.
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