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Mucosal Immunol. 2017 Mar;10(2):470-480. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.52. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

Impaired calcineurin signaling in myeloid cells results in downregulation of pentraxin-3 and increased susceptibility to aspergillosis.

Author information

Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Biopolis, Singapore.
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.
National University of Singapore Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, Duke-NUS, Singapore.
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Center for Translational Medicine, International Clinical Research Center, St Anne's University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic.


Treatment of post-transplant patients with immunosuppressive drugs targeting the calcineurin-nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) pathway, including cyclosporine A or tacrolimus, is commonly associated with a higher incidence of opportunistic infections, such as Aspergillus fumigatus, which can lead to severe life-threatening conditions. A component of the A. fumigatus cell wall, β-glucan, is recognized by dendritic cells (DCs) via the Dectin-1 receptor, triggering downstream signaling that leads to calcineurin-NFAT binding, NFAT translocation, and transcription of NFAT-regulated genes. Here, we address the question of whether calcineurin signaling in CD11c-expressing cells, such as DCs, has a specific role in the innate control of A. fumigatus. Impairment of calcineurin in CD11c-expressing cells (CD11ccrecnb1loxP) significantly increased susceptibility to systemic A. fumigatus infection and to intranasal infection in irradiated mice undergoing bone marrow transplant. Global expression profiling of bone marrow-derived DCs identified calcineurin-regulated processes in the immune response to infection, including expression of pentraxin-3, an important antifungal defense protein. These results suggest that calcineurin inhibition directly impairs important immunoprotective functions of myeloid cells, as shown by the higher susceptibility of CD11ccrecnbloxP mice in models of systemic and invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, including after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. These findings are relevant to the clinical management of transplant patients with severe Aspergillus infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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