Author(s): Bozza S, Gaziano R, Spreca A, Bacci A, Montagnoli C,
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Abstract Aspergilli are respiratory pathogens and pulmonary infections are usually acquired through the inhalation of conidia, able to reach small airways and the alveolar space where the impaired host defense mechanisms allow hyphal germination and subsequent tissue invasion. The invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is the most common manifestation of Aspergillus fumigatus infection in immunocompromised patients and is characterized by hyphal invasion and destruction of pulmonary tissue. A Th1/Th2 dysregulation and a switch to a Th2 immune response may contribute to the development and unfavorable outcome of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Dendritic cells (DC) have a primary role in surveillance for pathogens at the mucosal surfaces and are recognized as the initiators of immune responses to them. In the present study, we assessed the functional activity of pulmonary DC in response to A. fumigatus conidia and hyphae, both in vitro and in vivo. We analyzed mechanisms and receptors for phagocytosis by DC as well as DC migration, maturation, and Th priming in vivo upon exposure to either form of the fungus. We found a remarkable functional plasticity of DC in response to the different forms of the fungus, as pulmonary DC were able to: 1) internalize conidia and hyphae of A. fumigatus through distinct phagocytic mechanisms and recognition receptors; 2) discriminate between the different forms in terms of cytokine production; 3) undergo functional maturation upon migration to the draining lymph nodes and spleens; and 4) instruct local and peripheral Th cell reactivity to the fungus.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology