Pulmonary immune responses to Propionibacterium acnes in C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice.
Propionibacterium acnes (PA) is a gram-positive anaerobic bacterium implicated as a putative etiologic agent of sarcoidosis. To characterize the pulmonary immune response to PA, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally sensitized and intratracheally challenged with heat-killed bacteria. C57BL/6 mice challenged with PA developed a cellular immune response characterized by elevations in Th1 cytokines/chemokines, increased numbers of lymphocytes and macrophages in lung lavage fluid, and peribronchovascular granulomatous inflammation composed of T- and B-lymphocytes and epithelioid histiocytes. T-lymphocytes in the lung lavage fluid showed a marked CD4+ cell predominance. In contrast, C57BL/6 mice challenged with Staphylococcus epidermidis (SE), another gram-positive commensal of human skin, and BALB/c mice challenged with PA, showed only a modest induction of Th1 cytokines, less pulmonary inflammation, and no granulomatous changes in the lung. Enhancement of Toll-like receptor expression was seen in PA-exposed C57BL/6 mice within 24 h after exposure, suggesting that induction of innate immunity by PA contributes to the robust, polarized Th1 immune response elicited by this bacterium. These findings suggest that PA-induced pulmonary inflammation may be a useful model for testing the contributions of both bacterial and host factors in the development, maintenance, and resolution of granulomatous inflammation in the lung.
McCaskill, JG; Chason, KD; Hua, X; Neuringer, IP; Ghio, AJ; Funkhouser, WK; Tilley, SL
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