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Med Mycol. 2006 Nov;44(7):591-9.

Gliotoxin-mediated suppression of innate and adaptive immune functions directed against Listeria monocytogenes.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Fakultät für klinische Medizin Mannheim der Universität Heidelberg, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Germany.


Gliotoxin is an immunosuppressive apoptogenic mycotoxin produced by a number of fungi including important human pathogens as Aspergillus fumigatus. In order to elucidate the potential role of gliotoxin as immunoevasive fungal virulence factor we studied the effects of gliotoxin on the innate and adaptive T cell-mediated immune response against the facultatively intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Gliotoxin induced apoptosis of bone marrow-derived macrophages, dendritic cells and CD8 T cells in a dose- and cell type-dependent manner. In vitro the apoptogenic effect of gliotoxin correlated with a strong reduction of TNF-alpha and interleukin (IL)-12 production by dendritic cells and bone marrow-derived macrophages infected with L. monocytogenes and in the case of infected macrophages also in reduced NO-production and recognition by L. monocytogenes-specific CD8 T cells. Further gliotoxin pre-treatment of CD8 T cells reduced target cell lysis. In vivo, treatment of mice with gliotoxin increased the bacterial burden during the innate and the adaptive phase of primary L. monocytogenes infection. Taken together, these results demonstrate the suppressive effects of gliotoxin on the innate and also on the adaptive T cell-mediated antilisterial immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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