Significant role of IL-1 signaling, but limited role of inflammasome activation, in oviduct pathology during Chlamydia muridarum genital infection

Uma M Nagarajan, James D Sikes, Laxmi Yeruva, Daniel Prantner
Journal of Immunology 2012 March 15, 188 (6): 2866-75
IL-1β has been implicated in the development of oviduct pathology during Chlamydia muridarum genital infection in the mouse model. The goal of this study was to characterize the role of IL-1 signaling and the inflammasome-activation pathways during genital chlamydial infection. Compared with control mice, IL-1R-deficient mice displayed delayed clearance and increased chlamydial colonization. Consistent with the role for IL-1 signaling in infection clearance, mice deficient for the IL-1R antagonist cleared infection at a faster rate. Despite increased infection, IL-1R-deficient mice had significantly reduced oviduct pathology, which was associated with decreased numbers of neutrophils, but more macrophages, in the genital tract. IL-1β secretion is dependent on caspase-1 and apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing caspase recruitment domain (ASC) inflammasome during in vitro infection of primed macrophages with C. muridarum. To investigate the role of inflammasome components during in vivo genital infection, mice lacking NLRP3, NLRC4, and ASC were tested and found to display no reduction in oviduct pathology compared with control mice. Mice deficient for ASC displayed a prolonged course of infection, which was associated with reduced T cell recruitment and proliferation. Further, ASC-deficient mice displayed normal levels of IL-1β in genital secretions. However, a significant decrease in caspase-1-dependent IL-18 was observed in both ASC- and NLRP3-deficient mice. These data demonstrate a major role for IL-1 signaling, but a limited role for the inflammasome pathway, in IL-1β secretion and development of oviduct pathology during genital chlamydial infection. The data also suggest an IL-1-independent role for ASC in adaptive immunity during genital chlamydial infection.

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