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Infect Immun. 2018 Apr 23;86(5). pii: e00910-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00910-17. Print 2018 May.

Prostaglandin E2 Induction Suppresses the Th1 Immune Responses in Cattle with Johne's Disease.

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Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
Bacterial and Parasitic Disease Research Division, National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Japan.
North Lab, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Antibody Drug Development, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.
New Industry Creation Hatchery Center, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.
Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Global Station for Zoonosis Control, Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.


Johne's disease, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, is a bovine chronic infection that is endemic in Japan and many other countries. The expression of immunoinhibitory molecules is upregulated in cattle with Johne's disease, but the mechanism of immunosuppression is poorly understood. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is immunosuppressive in humans, but few veterinary data are available. In this study, functional and kinetic analyses of PGE2 were performed to investigate the immunosuppressive effect of PGE2 during Johne's disease. In vitro PGE2 treatment decreased T-cell proliferation and Th1 cytokine production and upregulated the expression of immunoinhibitory molecules such as interleukin-10 and programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy cattle. PGE2 was upregulated in sera and intestinal lesions of cattle with Johne's disease. In vitro stimulation with Johnin purified protein derivative (J-PPD) induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) transcription, PGE2 production, and upregulation of PD-L1 and immunoinhibitory receptors in PBMCs from cattle infected with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis Therefore, Johnin-specific Th1 responses could be limited by the PGE2 pathway in cattle. In contrast, downregulation of PGE2 with a COX-2 inhibitor promoted J-PPD-stimulated CD8+ T-cell proliferation and Th1 cytokine production in PBMCs from the experimentally infected cattle. PD-L1 blockade induced J-PPD-stimulated CD8+ T-cell proliferation and interferon gamma production in vitro Combined treatment with a COX-2 inhibitor and anti-PD-L1 antibodies enhanced J-PPD-stimulated CD8+ T-cell proliferation in vitro, suggesting that the blockade of both pathways is a potential therapeutic strategy to control Johne's disease. The effects of COX-2 inhibition warrant further study as a novel treatment of Johne's disease.


COX-2 inhibitor; Johne's disease; PD-1; PD-L1; PGE2; T-cell exhaustion; cattle; immunoinhibitory molecules; immunotherapy

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