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J Immunol. 2006 Mar 15;176(6):3717-24.

Dectin-1 and TLRs permit macrophages to distinguish between different Aspergillus fumigatus cellular states.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Aspergillus fumigatus is a common cause of invasive and allergic pulmonary disease. Resting conidia of the filamentous fungus are constantly inhaled, but cause infection only after initiating hyphal growth. In this study, we have explored whether macrophages can distinguish between resting spores and the maturing, potentially invasive form of the fungus. Although macrophages bind and ingest A. fumigatus resting conidia efficiently, there is little inflammatory response; NF-kappabeta is not activated, inflammatory cytokines are not induced, and reactive oxygen species are not produced. However, maturing A. fumigatus conidia and germ tubes stimulate NF-kappabeta, secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and production of reactive oxygen by human monocyte-derived macrophages and murine macrophages from multiple anatomical sites. These responses are in part mediated by dectin-1, which binds cell wall beta-glucan that is not present on the surface of dormant conidia, but is present after cellular swelling and loss of the hydrophobic proteinaceous cell wall. Dectin-1 binding to germ tubes augments, but is not required for, TLR2-mediated inflammatory cytokine secretion. Dectin-1 recognition of germ tubes also stimulates TNF-alpha production in the absence of both TLR2 and MyD88 signaling. These data demonstrate one mechanism by which the pulmonary inflammatory response is tailored toward metabolically active cells, thereby avoiding unnecessary tissue damage with frequent inhalation of ubiquitous spores.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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