JOURNAL ARTICLE

Anti-chlamydial Th17 responses are controlled by the inducible costimulator partially through phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling

Xiaoling Gao, Mathieu Gigoux, Jie Yang, Julien Leconte, Xi Yang, Woong-Kyung Suh
PloS One 2012, 7 (12): e52657
23285133
We previously showed that mice deficient in the Inducible Costimulator ligand (ICOSL-KO) develop more severe disease and lung pathology with delayed bacterial clearance upon respiratory infection of Chlamydia muridarum. Importantly, the exacerbation of disease in ICOSL-KO mice was seen despite heightened IFN-γ/Th1 responses, the major defense mechanisms against Chlamydia. To gain insight into the mechanism of ICOS function in this model, we presently analyzed anti-Chlamydia immune responses in mice lacking the entire ICOS (ICOS-KO) versus knock-in mice expressing a mutant ICOS (ICOS-Y181F) that has selectively lost the ability to activate phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Like ICOSL-KO mice, ICOS-KO mice showed worse disease with elevated IFN-γ/Th1 responses compared to wild-type (WT) mice. ICOS-Y181F mice developed much milder disease compared to ICOS-KO mice, yet they were still not fully protected to the WT level. This partial protection in ICOS-Y181F mice could not be explained by the magnitude of IFN-γ/Th1 responses since these mice developed a similar level of IFN-γ response compared to WT mice. It was rather IL-17/Th17 responses that reflected disease severity: IL-17/Th17 response was partially impaired in ICOS-Y181F mice compared to WT, but was substantially stronger than that of ICOS-KO mice. Consistently, we found that both polarization and expansion of Th17 cells were partially impaired in ICOS-Y181F CD4 T cells, and was further reduced in ICOS-KO CD4 T cells in vitro. Our results indicate that once the IFN-γ/Th1 response is above a threshold level, the IL-17/Th17 response becomes a limiting factor in controlling Chlamydia lung infection, and that ICOS plays an important role in promoting Th17 responses in part through the activation of PI3K.

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