Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Flt3 Ligand Is Essential for Survival and Protective Immune Responses during Toxoplasmosis

 2015 Sep 18. pii: 1500690. [Epub ahead of print]


Dendritic cells (DCs) are critical for resistance to Toxoplasma gondii, and infection with this pathogen leads to increased numbers of DCs at local sites of parasite replication and in secondary lymphoid organs, but the factors that regulate this expansion are poorly understood. The cytokine Flt3 ligand (Flt3L) is critical for the generation and maintenance of DCs, and Flt3L-/- mice were found to be highly susceptible to acute toxoplasmosis. This phenotype correlated with decreased production of IL-12 and IFN-γ, as well as impaired NK cell responses. Surprisingly, despite low basal numbers of DCs, Flt3L-/- mice infected with T. gondii displayed an expansion of CD8α+ and CD11bloCD8α- DCs. Infection also induced an expansion of parasite-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in Flt3L-/- mice; however, these cells were reduced in number and displayed impaired ability to produce IFN-γ relative to wild-type controls. Exogenous IL-12 treatment partially restored NK and T cell responses in Flt3L-/- mice, as well as acute resistance; however, these mice eventually succumbed to toxoplasmic encephalitis, despite the presence of large numbers of DCs and T cells in the brain. These results highlight the importance of Flt3L for resistance to toxoplasmosis and demonstrate the existence of Flt3L-independent pathways that can mediate infection-induced expansion of DCs and T cell priming.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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