As recent data are demonstrating that immunological responses vary dramatically across different tissues, new scientific approaches are needed to provide a more cohesive, detailed, and contextual analysis of tissue-specific immunity, as this will provide more targeted approaches to ameliorate disease. Indeed, it is becoming clear that tissue specific immunity likely involves cross talk between the epithelium, microbes, and the immune system. The Tissue Immunity and Repair program made progress in the following areas over the past year: 1. During HIV/SIV infection, mucosal immune system dysfunction and systemic immune activation are associated with progression to AIDS;however, it is unclear to what extent pre-existing gastrointestinal damage relates to disease progression postinfection. Pigtail macaques (PTM) are an excellent model in which to assess mucosal dysfunction in relation to HIV/SIV pathogenesis, as the majority of these animals have high levels of gastrointestinal damage, immune activation, and microbial translocation prior to infection, and rapidly progress to AIDS upon SIV infection. In study this past year, we characterized the mucosal immune environment prior to and throughout SIV infection in 13 uninfected PTM and 9 SIV-infected PTM, of which 3 were slow progressors. This small subset of slow progressors had limited innate immune activation in mucosal tissues in the periphery, which was associated with a more intact colonic epithelial barrier. Furthermore, we found that preinfection levels of microbial translocation, as measured by LPS-binding protein, in PTM correlated with the rate of progression to AIDS. These data suggest that pre-existing levels of microbial translocation and gastrointestinal tract dysfunction may influence the rate of HIV disease progression. 2. The commensal flora can promote both immunity to pathogens and mucosal inflammation. How commensal-driven inflammation is regulated in the context of infection remains poorly understood. Here, we show that during acute mucosal infection of mice with Toxoplasma gondii, inflammatory monocytes acquire a tissue-specific regulatory phenotype associated with production of the lipid mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Notably, in response to commensals, inflammatory monocytes can directly inhibit neutrophil activation in a PGE2-dependent manner. Further, in the absence of inflammatory monocytes, mice develop severe neutrophil-mediated pathology in response to pathogen challenge that can be controlled by PGE2 analog treatment. Complementing these findings, inhibition of PGE2 led to enhanced neutrophil activation and host mortality after infection. These data demonstrate a previously unappreciated dual action of inflammatory monocytes in controlling pathogen expansion while limiting commensal-mediated damage to the gut. Collectively, these results place inflammatory monocyte-derived PGE2 at the center of a commensal-driven regulatory loop required to control host-commensal dialog during pathogen-induced inflammation. 3. HIV infection results in gastrointestinal (GI) tract damage, microbial translocation, and immune activation, which are not completely ameliorated with suppression of viremia by antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. Furthermore, increased morbidity and mortality of ARV-treated HIV-infected individuals is associated with these dysfunctions. Thus, to enhance GI tract physiology, we treated SIV-infected pigtail macaques with ARVs, probiotics, and prebiotics or with ARVs alone. This synbiotic treatment resulted in increased frequency and functionality of GI tract APCs, enhanced reconstitution and functionality of CD4+ T cells, and reduced fibrosis of lymphoid follicles in the colon. Thus, ARV synbiotic supplementation in HIV-infected individuals improves GI tract immunity and thereby mitigates inflammatory sequelae, ultimately improving prognosis. 4. How the immune system adapts to malnutrition to sustain immunity at barrier surfaces, such as the intestine, remains unclear. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies and is associated with profound defects in adaptive immunity. In the past year, we found that type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) are severely diminished in vitamin A-deficient settings, which results in compromised immunity to acute bacterial infection. However, vitamin A deprivation paradoxically resulted in dramatic expansion of interleukin-13 (IL-13)-producing ILC2s and resistance to nematode infection in mice, which revealed that ILCs are primary sensors of dietary stress. Further, these data indicate that, during malnutrition, a switch to innate type 2 immunity may represent a powerful adaptation of the immune system to promote host survival in the face of ongoing barrier challenges. 5. Activation of the innate immune system plays a key role in exacerbations of chronic lung disease, yet the potential role of lung fibroblasts in innate immunity and the identity of epithelial danger signals (alarmins) that may contribute to this process are unclear. We identified lung epithelial-derived alarmins released during endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) and oxidative stress and evaluated their potential to induce innate immune responses in lung fibroblasts. We found that treatment of primary human lung fibroblasts (PHLFs) with conditioned media from damaged lung epithelial cells significantly upregulated interleukin IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor expression (P<0.05). This effect was reduced with anti-IL-1αor IL-1Ra but not anti-IL-1βantibody. Costimulation with a Toll-like receptor 3 ligand, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), significantly accentuated the IL-1α-induced inflammatory phenotype in PHLFs, and this effect was blocked with inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit beta and TGFβ-activated kinase-1 inhibitors. Finally, Il1r1-/- and Il1a-/- mice exhibit reduced bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) neutrophilia and collagen deposition in response to bleomycin treatment. We conclude that IL-1αplays a pivotal role in triggering proinflammatory responses in fibroblasts and this process is accentuated in the presence of double-stranded RNA. This mechanism may be important in the repeated cycles of injury and exacerbation in chronic lung disease.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Niaid Extramural Activities
Zip Code
Evans, Tristan I; Li, Haiying; Schafer, Jamie L et al. (2016) SIV-induced Translocation of Bacterial Products in the Liver Mobilizes Myeloid Dendritic and Natural Killer Cells Associated With Liver Damage. J Infect Dis 213:361-9
Borthwick, L A; Barron, L; Hart, K M et al. (2016) Macrophages are critical to the maintenance of IL-13-dependent lung inflammation and fibrosis. Mucosal Immunol 9:38-55
Naik, Shruti; Bouladoux, Nicolas; Linehan, Jonathan L et al. (2015) Commensal-dendritic-cell interaction specifies a unique protective skin immune signature. Nature 520:104-8
Klase, Z; Ortiz, A; Deleage, C et al. (2015) Dysbiotic bacteria translocate in progressive SIV infection. Mucosal Immunol 8:1009-20
Ortiz, Alexandra M; DiNapoli, Sarah R; Brenchley, Jason M (2015) Macrophages Are Phenotypically and Functionally Diverse across Tissues in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected and Uninfected Asian Macaques. J Virol 89:5883-94
Askenase, Michael H; Han, Seong-Ji; Byrd, Allyson L et al. (2015) Bone-Marrow-Resident NK Cells Prime Monocytes for Regulatory Function during Infection. Immunity 42:1130-42
Evans, Christopher M; Raclawska, Dorota S; Ttofali, Fani et al. (2015) The polymeric mucin Muc5ac is required for allergic airway hyperreactivity. Nat Commun 6:6281
Perkins, Molly R; Briant, Judith A; Calantone, Nina et al. (2014) Homeostatic cytokines induce CD4 downregulation in African green monkeys independently of antigen exposure to generate simian immunodeficiency virus-resistant CD8?? T cells. J Virol 88:10714-24
Lajoie, S; Lewkowich, I; Herman, N S et al. (2014) IL-21 receptor signalling partially mediates Th2-mediated allergic airway responses. Clin Exp Allergy 44:976-85
Spencer, S P; Wilhelm, C; Yang, Q et al. (2014) Adaptation of innate lymphoid cells to a micronutrient deficiency promotes type 2 barrier immunity. Science 343:432-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications