Mechanisms that regulate inflammation and repair after acute lung injury are incompletely understood. The extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan is produced after tissue injury and impaired clearance results in unremitting inflammation. Here we report that hyaluronan degradation products require MyD88 and both Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 and TLR2 in vitro and in vivo to initiate inflammatory responses in acute lung injury. Hyaluronan fragments isolated from serum of individuals with acute lung injury stimulated macrophage chemokine production in a TLR4- and TLR2-dependent manner. Myd88(-/-) and Tlr4(-/-)Tlr2(-/-) mice showed impaired transepithelial migration of inflammatory cells but decreased survival and enhanced epithelial cell apoptosis after lung injury. Lung epithelial cell-specific overexpression of high-molecular-mass hyaluronan was protective against acute lung injury. Furthermore, epithelial cell-surface hyaluronan was protective against apoptosis, in part, through TLR-dependent basal activation of NF-kappaB. Hyaluronan-TLR2 and hyaluronan-TLR4 interactions provide signals that initiate inflammatory responses, maintain epithelial cell integrity and promote recovery from acute lung injury.
Preface As we age, the innate immune system becomes dysregulated and is characterized by persistent inflammatory responses that involve multiple immune and non-immune cell types, and that vary depending on the cell activation state and tissue context. This ageing-associated basal inflammation, particularly in humans, is thought to be induced by factors including the reactivation of latent viral infections and the release of endogenous damage-associated ligands of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Innate immune cell functions, such as cell migration and PRR signalling, that are required to respond to pathogens or vaccines are also impaired in aged individuals. This immune dysregulation may affect conditions associated with chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are recently discovered germline-encoded receptors on APCs that are critically important in innate immune recognition of microbial pathogens. However, their role in solid-organ transplantation is unknown. To explore this role, we employed a skin allograft model using mice with targeted deletion of the universal TLR signal adaptor protein, MyD88. We report that minor antigen-mismatched (HY-mismatched) allograft rejection cannot occur in the absence of MyD88 signaling. Furthermore, we show that the inability to reject these allografts results from a reduced number of mature DCs in draining lymph nodes, leading to impaired generation of anti-graft-reactive T cells and impaired Th1 immunity. Hence, this work demonstrates that TLRs can be activated in a transplant setting and not solely by infections. These results link innate immunity to the initiation of the adaptive alloimmune response.
Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in initiating alloimmunity yet the substances that activate them during the host response to transplantation remain elusive. In this study we examined the potential roles of endogenous innate immune agonists in activating dendritic cell-dependent alloimmunity. Using a murine in vitro culture system, we show that 135 KDa fragments of the extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan hyaluronan induce dendritic cell maturation and initiate alloimmunity. Priming of alloimmunity by hyaluronan-activated DCs was dependent on signaling via TIR-associated protein, a Toll-like receptor (TLR) adaptor downstream of TLRs 2 and 4. However, this effect was independent of alternate TLR adaptors, MyD88 or Trif. Using an in vivo murine transplant model, we show that hyaluronan accumulated during skin transplant rejection. Examination of human lung transplant recipients demonstrated that increased levels of intragraft hyaluronan were associated with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. In conclusion, our study suggests that fragments of hyaluronan can act as innate immune agonists that activate alloimmunity.
Influenza viral infections often lead to increased mortality in older people. However, the mechanisms by which aging impacts immunity to influenza lung infection remain unclear. We employed a murine model of influenza infection to identify these mechanisms. With aging, we found reduced numbers of alveolar macrophages, cells essential for lung homeostasis. We also determined that these macrophages are critical for influenza-induced mortality with aging. Furthermore, aging vastly alters the transcriptional profile and specifically down-regulates cell cycling pathways in alveolar macrophages. Aging impairs the ability of alveolar macrophages to limit lung damage during influenza infection. Moreover, aging decreases alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils, downregulates the scavenging receptor CD204, and induces retention of neutrophils during influenza infection. Thus, aging induces defective phagocytosis by alveolar macrophages and increases lung damage. These findings indicate that therapies that enhance the function of alveolar macrophages may improve outcomes in older people infected with respiratory viruses.
TLR4 is a unique TLR because downstream signaling occurs via two separate pathways, as follows: MyD88 and Toll IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adaptor-inducing IFN-β (TRIF). In this study, we compared and contrasted the interplay of these pathways between murine dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages during LPS stimulation. During TLR4 activation, neither pathway on its own was critical for up-regulation of costimulatory molecules in DCs, whereas the up-regulation of costimulatory molecules was largely TRIF dependent in macrophages. LPS-induced secreted factors, of which type I IFNs were one of the active components, played a larger role in promoting the up-regulation of costimulatory molecules in macrophages than DCs. In both cell types, MyD88 and TRIF pathways together accounted for the inflammatory response to LPS activation. Furthermore, signaling of both adaptors allowed maximal T cell priming by LPS-matured DCs, with MyD88 playing a larger role than TRIF. In sum, in our experimental systems, TRIF signaling plays a more important role in LPS-induced macrophage activation than in DC activation.
Sterile inflammation occurs in acute conditions such as ischemia reperfusion injury and crystal-induced arthritis, and also with chronic diseases such as particle-induced lung diseases and atherosclerosis. The triggers of sterile inflammation are still being identified and the pathways that transduce sterile inflammatory signals are not completely clear. Currently, most of the innate immune pathways that sense infection have been implicated in sterile inflammation, although distinct signaling pathways of sterile inflammation exist. Whether immune pathology ensues after sterile inflammation depends on the balance of induced inflammatory and resolution pathways. Further identification of the molecular mechanisms of sterile inflammation will lead to novel therapeutics to treat a wide range of diseases.
Neutrophils clear viruses, but excessive neutrophil responses induce tissue injury and worsen disease. Aging increases mortality to influenza infection; however, whether this is due to impaired viral clearance or a pathological host immune response is unknown. Here, we show that aged mice have higher levels of lung neutrophils than younger mice after influenza viral infection. Depleting neutrophils after, but not before, infection substantially improves the survival of aged mice without altering viral clearance. Aged alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) have a higher frequency of senescence and secrete higher levels of the neutrophil-attracting chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL2 during influenza infection. These chemokines are required for age-enhanced neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro . Our work suggests that aging increases mortality from influenza in part because senescent AECs secrete more chemokines, leading to excessive neutrophil recruitment. Therapies that mitigate this pathological immune response in the elderly might improve outcomes of influenza and other respiratory infections.
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