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J Immunol. 2006 Aug 1;177(3):1786-95.

T-bet deficiency facilitates airway colonization by Mycoplasma pulmonis in a murine model of asthma.

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  • 1Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY 12208, USA.

Abstract

Epidemiological and clinical evidence suggest a correlation between asthma and infection with atypical bacterial respiratory pathogens. However, the cellular and molecular underpinnings of this correlation remain unclear. Using the T-bet-deficient (T-bet(-/-)) murine model of asthma and the natural murine pathogen Mycoplasma pulmonis, we provide a mechanistic explanation for this correlation. In this study, we demonstrate the capacity of asthmatic airways to facilitate colonization by M. pulmonis and the capacity of M. pulmonis to exacerbate symptoms associated with acute and chronic asthma. This mutual synergism results from an inability of T-bet(-/-) mice to mount an effective immune defense against respiratory infection through release of IFN-gamma and the ability of M. pulmonis to trigger the production of Th2-type cytokines (e.g., IL-4 and IL-5), and Abs (e.g., IgG1, IgE, and IgA), eosinophilia, airway remodeling, and hyperresponsiveness; all pathophysiological hallmarks of asthma. The capacity of respiratory pathogens such as Mycoplasma spp. to dramatically augment the pathological changes associated with asthma likely explains their association with acute asthmatic episodes in juvenile patients and with adult chronic asthmatics, >50% of whom are found to be PCR positive for M. pneumoniae. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that in mice genetically predisposed to asthma, M. pulmonis infection elicits an inflammatory milieu in the lungs that skews the immune response toward the Th2-type, thus exacerbating the pathophysiological changes associated with asthma. For its part, airways exhibiting an asthmatic phenotype provide a fertile environment that promotes colonization by Mycoplasma spp. and one which is ill-equipped to kill and clear respiratory pathogens.

PMID:
16849489
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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