Early innate immunity determines outcome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pulmonary infection in rabbits

Selvakumar Subbian, Nirmalya Bandyopadhyay, Liana Tsenova, Paul O'Brien, Viraj Khetani, Nicole L. Kushner, Blas Peixoto, Patricia Soteropoulos, Joel S. Bader, Petros C. Karakousis, Dorothy Fallows, Gilla Kaplan

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Abstract

Background: Pulmonary infection of humans by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), results in active disease in 5-10% of individuals, while asymptomatic latent Mtb infection (LTBI) is established in the remainder. The host immune responses that determine this differential outcome following Mtb infection are not fully understood. Using a rabbit model of pulmonary TB, we have shown that infection with the Mtb clinical isolate HN878 (a hyper-virulent W-Beijing lineage strain) leads to progressive cavitary disease similar to what is seen in humans with active TB. In contrast, infection with Mtb CDC1551 (a hyper-immunogenic clinical isolate) is efficiently controlled in rabbit lungs, with establishment of LTBI, which can be reactivated upon treatment with immune-suppressive drugs. We hypothesize that the initial interaction of Mtb with the cells of the host response in the lungs determine later outcome of infection. Results: To test this hypothesis, we used our rabbit model of pulmonary TB and infected the animals with Mtb HN878 or CDC1551. At 3 hours, with similar lung bacillary loads, HN878 infection caused greater accumulation of mononuclear and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) in the lungs, compared to animals infected with CDC1551. Using whole-genome microarray gene expression analysis, we delineated the early transcriptional changes in the lungs of HN878- or CDC1551-infected rabbits at this time and compared them to the differential response at 4 weeks of Mtb-infection. Our gene network and pathway analysis showed that the most significantly differentially expressed genes involved in the host response to HN878, compared to CDC1551, at 3 hours of infection, were components of the inflammatory response and STAT1 activation, recruitment and activation of macrophages, PMN, and fMLP (N-formyl-Methionyl-Leucyl-Phenylalanine)-stimulation. At 4 weeks, the CDC1551 bacillary load was significantly lower and the granulomatous response reduced compared to HN878 infection. Moreover, although inflammation was dampened in both Mtb infections at 4 weeks, the majority of the differentially expressed gene networks were similar to those seen at 3 hours. Conclusions: We propose that differential regulation of the inflammation-associated innate immune response and related gene expression changes seen at 3 hours determine the long term outcome of Mtb infection in rabbit lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 27 2013

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Keywords

  • Early innate immunity
  • Inflammatory response
  • Latent M. tuberculosis infection
  • Macrophage activation
  • PMN leukocyte recruitment
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Rabbit lung transcriptome
  • STAT1 network

Cite this

Subbian, S., Bandyopadhyay, N., Tsenova, L., O'Brien, P., Khetani, V., Kushner, N. L., Peixoto, B., Soteropoulos, P., Bader, J. S., Karakousis, P. C., Fallows, D., & Kaplan, G. (2013). Early innate immunity determines outcome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pulmonary infection in rabbits. Cell Communication and Signaling, 11(1), [60]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-811X-11-60