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Eur J Immunol. 2015 Apr;45(4):1082-91. doi: 10.1002/eji.201445078. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Deficiency of prolactin-inducible protein leads to impaired Th1 immune response and susceptibility to Leishmania major in mice.

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Department of Immunology, College of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Institute of Tropical Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.


Although the strategic production of prolactin-inducible protein (PIP) at several ports of pathogen entry into the body suggests it might play a role in host defense, no study has directly implicated it in immunity against any infectious agent. Here, we show for the first time that PIP deficiency is associated with reduced numbers of CD4(+) T cells in peripheral lymphoid tissues and impaired CD4(+) Th1-cell differentiation in vitro. In vivo, CD4(+) T cells from OVA-immunized, PIP-deficient mice showed significantly impaired proliferation and IFN-γ production following in vitro restimulation. Furthermore, PIP-deficient mice were highly susceptible to Leishmani major infection and failed to control lesion progression and parasite proliferation. This susceptibility was associated with impaired NO production and leishmanicidal activity of PIP KO macrophages following IFN-γ and LPS stimulation. Collectively, our findings implicate PIP as an important regulator of CD4(+) Th1-cell-mediated immunity.


IFN-γ; Leishmania; Macrophages; Protozoan; Th1 cells

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