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Infect Immun. 2018 Mar 22;86(4). pii: e00781-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00781-17. Print 2018 Apr.

Induction of Interleukin 10 by Borrelia burgdorferi Is Regulated by the Action of CD14-Dependent p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase and cAMP-Mediated Chromatin Remodeling.

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Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA
Infectious Diseases and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Drug Discovery Division, Southern Research, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, New York, USA.
Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Host genotype influences the severity of murine Lyme borreliosis, caused by the spirochetal bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi C57BL/6 (B6) mice develop mild Lyme arthritis, whereas C3H/HeN (C3H) mice develop severe Lyme arthritis. Differential expression of interleukin 10 (IL-10) has long been associated with mouse strain differences in Lyme pathogenesis; however, the underlying mechanism(s) of this genotype-specific IL-10 regulation remained elusive. Herein we reveal a cAMP-mediated mechanism of IL-10 regulation in B6 macrophages that is substantially diminished in C3H macrophages. Under cAMP and CD14-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, B6 macrophages stimulated with B. burgdorferi produce increased amounts of IL-10 and decreased levels of arthritogenic cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF). cAMP relaxes chromatin, while p38 increases binding of the transcription factors signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and specific protein 1 (SP1) to the IL-10 promoter, leading to increased IL-10 production in B6 bone marrow-derived monocytes (BMDMs). Conversely, macrophages derived from arthritis-susceptible C3H mice possess significantly less endogenous cAMP, produce less IL-10, and thus are ill equipped to mitigate the damaging consequences of B. burgdorferi-induced TNF. Intriguingly, an altered balance between anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory cytokines and CD14-dependent regulatory mechanisms also is operative in primary human peripheral blood-derived monocytes, providing potential insight into the clinical spectrum of human Lyme disease. In line with this notion, we have demonstrated that cAMP-enhancing drugs increase IL-10 production in myeloid cells, thus curtailing inflammation associated with murine Lyme borreliosis. Discovery of novel treatments or repurposing of FDA-approved cAMP-modulating medications may be a promising avenue for treatment of patients with adverse clinical outcomes, including certain post-Lyme complications, in whom dysregulated immune responses may play a role.


Borrelia; IL-10; Lyme; macrophages

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