Innate inhibition of adaptive immunity: Mycobacterium tuberculosis-induced IL-6 inhibits macrophage responses to IFN-gamma.
In humans and in mice, control of the intracellular pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), requires IFN-gamma. Although the adaptive immune response results in production of substantial amounts of IFN-gamma in response to Mtb, the immune response is unable to eradicate the infection in most cases. We have previously reported evidence that Mtb inhibits macrophage responses to IFN-gamma, suggesting that this may limit the ability of IFN-gamma to stimulate macrophages to kill Mtb. We have also observed that uninfected macrophages, adjacent to infected macrophages in culture, exhibit decreased responses to IFN-gamma. Here we report that IL-6 secreted by Mtb-infected macrophages inhibits the responses of uninfected macrophages to IFN-gamma. IL-6 selectively inhibits a subset of IFN-gamma-responsive genes at the level of transcriptional activation without inhibiting activation or function of STAT1. Inhibition of macrophage responses to IFN-gamma by IL-6 requires new protein synthesis, but this effect is not attributable to suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 or 3. These results reveal a novel function for IL-6 and indicate that IL-6 secreted by Mtb-infected macrophages may contribute to the inability of the cellular immune response to eradicate infection.
Nagabhushanam, V; Solache, A; Ting, L-M; Escaron, CJ; Zhang, JY; Ernst, JD
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