112 research outputs found

    Mastomys natalensis Has a Cellular Immune Response Profile Distinct from Laboratory Mice

    Get PDF
    The multimammate mouse (Mastomys natalensis; M. natalensis) has been identified as a major reservoir for multiple human pathogens including Lassa virus (LASV), Leishmania spp., Yersinia spp., and Borrelia spp. Although M. natalensis are related to well-characterized mouse and rat species commonly used in laboratory models, there is an absence of established assays and reagents to study the host immune responses of M. natalensis. As a result, there are major limitations to our understanding of immunopathology and mechanisms of immunological pathogen control in this increasingly important rodent species. In the current study, a large panel of commercially available rodent reagents were screened to identify their cross-reactivity with M. natalensis. Using these reagents, ex vivo assays were established and optimized to evaluate lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine production by M. natalensis lymphocytes. In contrast to C57BL/6J mice, lymphocytes from M. natalensis were relatively non-responsive to common stimuli such as phytohaemagglutinin P and lipopolysaccharide. However, they readily responded to concanavalin A stimulation as indicated by proliferation and cytokine production. In summary, we describe lymphoproliferative and cytokine assays demonstrating that the cellular immune responses in M. natalensis to commonly used mitogens differ from a laboratory-bred mouse strain.</jats:p

    The Involvement of IL-17A in the Murine Response to Sub-Lethal Inhalational Infection with Francisella tularensis

    Get PDF
    Background: Francisella tularensis is an intercellular bacterium often causing fatal disease when inhaled. Previous reports have underlined the role of cell-mediated immunity and IFNc in the host response to Francisella tularensis infection. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we provide evidence for the involvement of IL-17A in host defense to inhalational tularemia, using a mouse model of intranasal infection with the Live Vaccine Strain (LVS). We demonstrate the kinetics of IL-17A production in lavage fluids of infected lungs and identify the IL-17A-producing lymphocytes as pulmonary cd and Th17 cells. The peak of IL-17A production appears early during sub-lethal infection, it precedes the peak of immune activation and the nadir of the disease, and then subsides subsequently. Exogenous airway administration of IL-17A or of IL-23 had a limited yet consistent effect of delaying the onset of death from a lethal dose of LVS, implying that IL-17A may be involved in restraining the infection. The protective role for IL-17A was directly demonstrated by in vivo neutralization of IL-17A. Administration of anti IL-17A antibodies concomitantly to a sub-lethal airway infection with 0.16LD50 resulted in a fatal disease. Conclusion: In summary, these data characterize the involvement and underline the protective key role of the IL-17A axis in the lungs from inhalational tularemia

    Effective, Broad Spectrum Control of Virulent Bacterial Infections Using Cationic DNA Liposome Complexes Combined with Bacterial Antigens

    Get PDF
    Protection against virulent pathogens that cause acute, fatal disease is often hampered by development of microbial resistance to traditional chemotherapeutics. Further, most successful pathogens possess an array of immune evasion strategies to avoid detection and elimination by the host. Development of novel, immunomodulatory prophylaxes that target the host immune system, rather than the invading microbe, could serve as effective alternatives to traditional chemotherapies. Here we describe the development and mechanism of a novel pan-anti-bacterial prophylaxis. Using cationic liposome non-coding DNA complexes (CLDC) mixed with crude F. tularensis membrane protein fractions (MPF), we demonstrate control of virulent F. tularensis infection in vitro and in vivo. CLDC+MPF inhibited bacterial replication in primary human and murine macrophages in vitro. Control of infection in macrophages was mediated by both reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mouse cells, and ROS in human cells. Importantly, mice treated with CLDC+MPF 3 days prior to challenge survived lethal intranasal infection with virulent F. tularensis. Similarly to in vitro observations, in vivo protection was dependent on the presence of RNS and ROS. Lastly, CLDC+MPF was also effective at controlling infections with Yersinia pestis, Burkholderia pseudomallei and Brucella abortus. Thus, CLDC+MPF represents a novel prophylaxis to protect against multiple, highly virulent pathogens

    Combined molnupiravir-nirmatrelvir treatment improves the inhibitory effect on SARS-CoV-2 in macaques

    Get PDF
    The periodic emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) with unpredictable clinical severity and ability to escape preexisting immunity emphasizes the continued need for antiviral interventions. Two small molecule inhibitors, molnupiravir (MK-4482), a nucleoside analog, and nirmatrelvir (PF-07321332), a 3C-like protease inhibitor, have recently been approved as monotherapy for use in high-risk patients with COVID-19. As preclinical data are only available for rodent and ferret models, here we assessed the efficacy of MK-4482 and PF-07321332 alone and in combination against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta VOC in the rhesus macaque COVID-19 model. Macaques were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant and treated with vehicle, MK-4482, PF-07321332, or a combination of MK-4482 and PF-07321332. Clinical exams were performed at 1, 2, and 4 days postinfection to assess disease and virological parameters. Notably, use of MK-4482 and PF-07321332 in combination improved the individual inhibitory effect of both drugs, resulting in milder disease progression, stronger reduction of virus shedding from mucosal tissues of the upper respiratory tract, stronger reduction of viral replication in the lower respiratory tract, and reduced lung pathology. Our data strongly indicate superiority of combined MK-4482 and PF-07321332 treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections as demonstrated in the closest COVID-19 surrogate model of human infection

    The Fischer 344 Rat Reflects Human Susceptibility to Francisella Pulmonary Challenge and Provides a New Platform for Virulence and Protection Studies

    Get PDF
    Background: The pathogenesis of Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, has been primarily characterized in mice. However, the high degree of sensitivity of mice to bacterial challenge, especially with the human virulent strains of F. tularensis, limits this animal model for screening of defined attenuated vaccine candidates for protection studies. Methods and Findings: We analyzed the susceptibility of the Fischer 344 rat to pulmonary (intratracheal) challenge with three different subspecies (subsp) of F. tularensis that reflect different levels of virulence in humans, and characterized the bacterial replication profile in rat bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM). In contrast to the mouse, Fischer 344 rats exhibit a broader range of sensitivity to pulmonary challenge with the human virulent subsp. tularensis and holarctica. Unlike mice, Fischer rats exhibited a high degree of resistance to pulmonary challenge with LVS (an attenuated derivative o

    Interrelationship between Dendritic Cell Trafficking and Francisella tularensis Dissemination following Airway Infection

    Get PDF
    Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of the inhalation tularemia, multiplies in a variety of cultured mammalian cells. Nevertheless, evidence for its in vivo intracellular residence is less conclusive. Dendritic cells (DC) that are adapted for engulfing bacteria and migration towards lymphatic organs could serve as potential targets for bacterial residence and trafficking. Here, we focus on the in vivo interactions of F. tularensis with DC following airway infection of mice. Lethal airway infection of mice with the live vaccine strain (LVS) results in trafficking of a CD11bhigh/CD11cmed/autofluorescencelow DC subset from the respiratory tract to the draining mediastinal lymph node (MdLN). Simultaneously, a rapid, massive bacterial colonization of the MdLN occurs, characterized by large bacterial foci formation. Analysis of bacteria in the MdLN revealed a major population of extracellular bacteria, which co-exists with a substantial fraction of intracellular bacteria. The intracellular bacteria are viable and reside in cells sorted for DC marker expression. Moreover, in vivo vital staining experiments indicate that most of these intracellular bacteria (∼75%) reside in cells that have migrated from the airways to the MdLN after infection. The correlation between DC and bacteria accumulation in the MdLN was further demonstrated by manipulating DC migration to the MdLN through two independent pathways. Impairment of DC migration to the MdLN, either by a sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor agonist (FTY720) or by the D prostanoid receptor 1 agonist (BW245C), resulted in reduced bacterial colonization of MdLN. Moreover, BW245C treatment delayed the onset of morbidity and the time to death of the infected mice. Taken together, these results suggest that DC can serve as an inhabitation niche for F. tularensis in the early stages of infection, and that DC trafficking plays a role in pathogen dissemination. This underscores the therapeutic potential of DC migration impairing drugs in tularemia treatment

    Generation of a Convalescent Model of Virulent Francisella tularensis Infection for Assessment of Host Requirements for Survival of Tularemia

    Get PDF
    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of tularemia. Development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for tularemia has been hampered by the lack of understanding of which immune components are required to survive infection. Defining these requirements for protection against virulent F. tularensis, such as strain SchuS4, has been difficult since experimentally infected animals typically die within 5 days after exposure to as few as 10 bacteria. Such a short mean time to death typically precludes development, and therefore assessment, of immune responses directed against virulent F. tularensis. To enable identification of the components of the immune system that are required for survival of virulent F. tularensis, we developed a convalescent model of tularemia in C57Bl/6 mice using low dose antibiotic therapy in which the host immune response is ultimately responsible for clearance of the bacterium. Using this model we demonstrate αβTCR+ cells, γδTCR+ cells, and B cells are necessary to survive primary SchuS4 infection. Analysis of mice deficient in specific soluble mediators shows that IL-12p40 and IL-12p35 are essential for survival of SchuS4 infection. We also show that IFN-γ is required for survival of SchuS4 infection since mice lacking IFN-γR succumb to disease during the course of antibiotic therapy. Finally, we found that both CD4+ and CD8+ cells are the primary producers of IFN-γand that γδTCR+ cells and NK cells make a minimal contribution toward production of this cytokine throughout infection. Together these data provide a novel model that identifies key cells and cytokines required for survival or exacerbation of infection with virulent F. tularensis and provides evidence that this model will be a useful tool for better understanding the dynamics of tularemia infection

    Nasal Acai Polysaccharides Potentiate Innate Immunity to Protect against Pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei Infections

    Get PDF
    Pulmonary Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei infections are highly lethal in untreated patients, and current antibiotic regimens are not always effective. Activating the innate immune system provides an alternative means of treating infection and can also complement antibiotic therapies. Several natural agonists were screened for their ability to enhance host resistance to infection, and polysaccharides derived from the Acai berry (Acai PS) were found to have potent abilities as an immunotherapeutic to treat F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections. In vitro, Acai PS impaired replication of Francisella in primary human macrophages co-cultured with autologous NK cells via augmentation of NK cell IFN-γ. Furthermore, Acai PS administered nasally before or after infection protected mice against type A F. tularensis aerosol challenge with survival rates up to 80%, and protection was still observed, albeit reduced, when mice were treated two days post-infection. Nasal Acai PS administration augmented intracellular expression of IFN-γ by NK cells in the lungs of F. tularensis-infected mice, and neutralization of IFN-γ ablated the protective effect of Acai PS. Likewise, nasal Acai PS treatment conferred protection against pulmonary infection with B. pseudomallei strain 1026b. Acai PS dramatically reduced the replication of B. pseudomallei in the lung and blocked bacterial dissemination to the spleen and liver. Nasal administration of Acai PS enhanced IFN-γ responses by NK and γδ T cells in the lungs, while neutralization of IFN-γ totally abrogated the protective effect of Acai PS against pulmonary B. pseudomallei infection. Collectively, these results demonstrate Acai PS is a potent innate immune agonist that can resolve F. tularensis and B. pseudomallei infections, suggesting this innate immune agonist has broad-spectrum activity against virulent intracellular pathogens

    Orally delivered MK-4482 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in the Syrian hamster model

    Get PDF
    AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic progresses unabated in many regions of the world. An effective antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 that could be administered orally for use following high-risk exposure would be of substantial benefit in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we show that MK-4482, an orally administered nucleoside analog, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in the Syrian hamster model. The inhibitory effect of MK-4482 on SARS-CoV-2 replication is observed in animals when the drug is administered either beginning 12 h before or 12 h following infection in a high-risk exposure model. These data support the potential utility of MK-4482 to control SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans following high-risk exposure as well as for treatment of COVID-19 patients.</jats:p

    Development of Functional and Molecular Correlates of Vaccine-Induced Protection for a Model Intracellular Pathogen, F. tularensis LVS

    Get PDF
    In contrast with common human infections for which vaccine efficacy can be evaluated directly in field studies, alternative strategies are needed to evaluate efficacy for slowly developing or sporadic diseases like tularemia. For diseases such as these caused by intracellular bacteria, serological measures of antibodies are generally not predictive. Here, we used vaccines varying in efficacy to explore development of clinically useful correlates of protection for intracellular bacteria, using Francisella tularensis as an experimental model. F. tularensis is an intracellular bacterium classified as Category A bioterrorism agent which causes tularemia. The primary vaccine candidate in the U.S., called Live Vaccine Strain (LVS), has been the subject of ongoing clinical studies; however, safety and efficacy are not well established, and LVS is not licensed by the U.S. FDA. Using a mouse model, we compared the in vivo efficacy of a panel of qualitatively different Francisella vaccine candidates, the in vitro functional activity of immune lymphocytes derived from vaccinated mice, and relative gene expression in immune lymphocytes. Integrated analyses showed that the hierarchy of protection in vivo engendered by qualitatively different vaccines was reflected by the degree of lymphocytes' in vitro activity in controlling the intramacrophage growth of Francisella. Thus, this assay may be a functional correlate. Further, the strength of protection was significantly related to the degree of up-regulation of expression of a panel of genes in cells recovered from the assay. These included IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-12Rβ2, T-bet, SOCS-1, and IL-18bp. Taken together, the results indicate that an in vitro assay that detects control of bacterial growth, and/or a selected panel of mediators, may ultimately be developed to predict the outcome of vaccine efficacy and to complement clinical trials. The overall approach may be applicable to intracellular pathogens in general
    corecore