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Concept: Interleukin


Although some signs of inflammation have been reported previously in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the data are limited and contradictory. High-throughput methods now allow us to interrogate the human immune system for multiple markers of inflammation at a scale that was not previously possible. To determine whether a signature of serum cytokines could be associated with ME/CFS and correlated with disease severity and fatigue duration, cytokines of 192 ME/CFS patients and 392 healthy controls were measured using a 51-multiplex array on a Luminex system. Each cytokine’s preprocessed data were regressed on ME/CFS severity plus covariates for age, sex, race, and an assay property of newly discovered importance: nonspecific binding. On average, TGF-β was elevated (P = 0.0052) and resistin was lower (P = 0.0052) in patients compared with controls. Seventeen cytokines had a statistically significant upward linear trend that correlated with ME/CFS severity: CCL11 (Eotaxin-1), CXCL1 (GROα), CXCL10 (IP-10), IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17F, leptin, G-CSF, GM-CSF, LIF, NGF, SCF, and TGF-α. Of the 17 cytokines that correlated with severity, 13 are proinflammatory, likely contributing to many of the symptoms experienced by patients and establishing a strong immune system component of the disease. Only CXCL9 (MIG) inversely correlated with fatigue duration.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Infection, Cytokines, Interleukin, Chemokine, Chronic fatigue syndrome


A high circulating concentration of interleukin 6 is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. Blockade of the interleukin-6 receptor (IL6R) with a monoclonal antibody (tocilizumab) licensed for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis reduces systemic and articular inflammation. However, whether IL6R blockade also reduces risk of coronary heart disease is unknown.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoclast, Interleukin, Interleukin 6, Tocilizumab, Interleukin-6 receptor, Ciliary neurotrophic factor


The administration of interleukin 33 and deletion of IL-33 receptor, ST2 molecule, affects the induction of autoimmunity in different experimental models of human autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of ST2 deletion on the induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in resistant BALB/c mice. Mice were immunized with MOG(35-55) peptide or disease was induced by passive transfer of encephalitogenic singenic cells and EAE was clinically and histologically evaluated. Expression of intracellular inflammatory cytokines, markers of activation and chemokine receptors on lymphoid tissue and CNS infiltrating mononuclear cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. We report here that deletion of ST2(-/-) molecule abrogates resistance of BALB/c mice to EAE induction based on clinical and histopathological findings. Brain and spinal cord infiltrates of ST2(-/-) mice had significantly higher number of CD4(+) T lymphocytes containing inflammatory cytokines compared to BALB/c WT mice. Adoptive transfer of ST2(-/-) primed lymphocytes induced clinical signs of the disease in ST2(-/-) as well as in WT mice. MOG(35-55) restimulated ST2(-/-) CD4(+) cells as well as ex vivo analyzed lymph node cells had higher expression of T-bet and IL-17, IFN-γ, TNF-α and GM-CSF in comparison with WT CD4(+) cells. ST2(-/-) mice had higher percentages of CD4(+) cells expressing chemokine receptors important for migration to CNS in comparison with WT CD4(+) cells. Draining lymph nodes of ST2(-/-) mice contained higher percentage of CD11c(+)CD11b(+)CD8(-) cells containing inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-12 with higher expression of activation markers. Transfer of ST2(-/-) but not WT dendritic cells induced EAE in MOG(35-55) immunized WT mice. Our results indicate that ST2 deficiency attenuates inherent resistance of BALB/c mice to EAE induction by enhancing differentiation of proinflammatory antigen presenting cells and consecutive differentiation of encephalitogenic T cells in the draining lymph node rather than affecting their action in the target tissue.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Lymph node, Lymphatic system, Interleukin, Dendritic cell, Lymph, Lymph vessel


Genistein, the major isoflavone in soybean, was recently reported to exert beneficial effects in metabolic disorders and inflammatory diseases. In the present study, we investigated the effects and mechanisms of a dietary concentration of genistein on the inflammatory response in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Our results demonstrated that genistein effectively inhibited the LPS-induced overproduction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), as well as LPS-induced nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation. In addition, the data also showed that genistein prevented LPS-induced decrease in adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation. These effects were obviously attenuated by an AMPK inhibitor. Taken together, our results suggest that the dietary concentration of genistein is able to attenuate inflammatory responses via inhibition of NF-κB activation following AMPK stimulation. The data provide direct evidence for the potential application of low concentrations of genistein in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Adenosine triphosphate, Interleukin, Enzyme inhibitor, Fever, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, AMP-activated protein kinase


Two populations of human natural killer (NK) cells can be identified in peripheral blood. The majority are CD3(-)CD56(dim) cells while the minority exhibits a CD3(-)CD56(bright) phenotype. In vitro evidence indicates that CD56(bright) cells are precursors of CD56(dim) cells, but in vivo evidence is lacking. Here, we studied NK cells from a patient that suffered from a melanoma and opportunistic fungal infection during childhood. The patient exhibited a stable phenotype characterized by a reduction in the frequency of peripheral blood CD3(-)CD56(dim) NK cells, accompanied by an overt increase in the frequency and absolute number of CD3(-)CD56(bright) cells. These NK cells exhibited similar expression of perforin, CD57 and CD158, the major activating receptors CD16, NKp46, NKG2D, DNAM-1, and 2B4, as well as the inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A, on both CD56(bright) and CD56(dim) NK cells as healthy controls. Also, both NK cell subpopulations produced IFN-γ upon stimulation with cytokines, and CD3(-)CD56(dim) NK cells degranulated in response to cytokines or K562 cells. However, upon stimulation with cytokines, a substantial fraction of CD56(dim) cells failed to up-regulate CD57 and CD158, showed a reduction in the percentage of CD16(+) cells, and CD56(bright) cells did not down-regulate CD62L, suggesting that CD56(dim) cells could not acquire a terminally differentiated phenotype and that CD56(bright) cells exhibit a maturation defect that might result in a potential altered migration pattern. These observations, support the notion that NK cells of this patient display a maturation/activation defect that precludes the generation of mature NK cells at a normal rate accompanied by CD56(dim) NK cells that cannot completely acquire a terminally differentiated phenotype. Thus, our results provide evidence that support the concept that in vivo CD56(bright) NK cells differentiate into CD56(dim) NK cells, and contribute to further understand human NK cell ontogeny.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Natural killer cell, Interferon, Interleukin, Cytotoxicity, Perforin, Granzyme


Childhood exposure to environmental particulates increases the risk of development of asthma. The underlying mechanisms may include oxidant injury to airway epithelial cells (AEC). We investigated the ability of ambient environmental particulates to contribute to sensitization via the airways, and thus to the pathogenesis of childhood asthma. To do so, we devised a novel model in which weanling BALB/c mice were exposed to both ambient particulate pollutants and ovalbumin for sensitization via the respiratory tract, followed by chronic inhalational challenge with a low mass concentration of the antigen. We also examined whether these particulates caused oxidant injury and activation of AEC in vitro. Furthermore, we assessed the potential benefit of minimizing oxidative stress to AEC through the period of sensitization and challenge, by dietary intervention. We found that characteristic features of asthmatic inflammation developed only in animals which received particulates at the same time as respiratory sensitization, and were then chronically challenged with allergen. However, these animals did not develop airway hyper-responsiveness. Ambient particulates induced epithelial injury in vitro, with evidence of oxidative stress, and production of both pro-inflammatory cytokines and Th2-promoting cytokines such as IL-33. Treatment of AEC with an anti-oxidant in vitro inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokine response to these particulates. Ambient particulates also induced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression following administration to weanling mice. However, early-life dietary supplementation with anti-oxidants did not prevent the development of an asthmatic inflammatory response in animals that were exposed to particulates, sensitized and challenged. We conclude that injury to airway epithelium by ambient environmental particulates in early life is capable of promoting the development of an asthmatic inflammatory response in sensitized and antigen-challenged mice. These findings are likely to be relevant to the induction of childhood asthma.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Cytokine, Asthma, Antioxidant, Interleukin, Endothelium, Respiratory epithelium


Spondyloarthritis encompasses a group of common inflammatory diseases thought to be driven by IL-17A-secreting type-17 lymphocytes. Here we show increased numbers of GM-CSF-producing CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes in the blood and joints of patients with spondyloarthritis, and increased numbers of IL-17A(+)GM-CSF(+) double-producing CD4, CD8, γδ and NK cells. GM-CSF production in CD4 T cells occurs both independently and in combination with classical Th1 and Th17 cytokines. Type 3 innate lymphoid cells producing predominantly GM-CSF are expanded in synovial tissues from patients with spondyloarthritis. GM-CSF(+)CD4(+) cells, isolated using a triple cytokine capture approach, have a specific transcriptional signature. Both GM-CSF(+) and IL-17A(+)GM-CSF(+) double-producing CD4 T cells express increased levels of GPR65, a proton-sensing receptor associated with spondyloarthritis in genome-wide association studies and pathogenicity in murine inflammatory disease models. Silencing GPR65 in primary CD4 T cells reduces GM-CSF production. GM-CSF and GPR65 may thus serve as targets for therapeutic intervention of spondyloarthritis.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, White blood cell, Antibody, Gene expression, Interleukin 1, Natural killer cell, Interleukin


Major depressive disorder is associated with abnormalities in the brain and the immune system. Chronic stress in animals showed that epigenetic and inflammatory mechanisms play important roles in mediating resilience and susceptibility to depression. Here, through a high-throughput screening, we identify two phytochemicals, dihydrocaffeic acid (DHCA) and malvidin-3'-O-glucoside (Mal-gluc) that are effective in promoting resilience against stress by modulating brain synaptic plasticity and peripheral inflammation. DHCA/Mal-gluc also significantly reduces depression-like phenotypes in a mouse model of increased systemic inflammation induced by transplantation of hematopoietic progenitor cells from stress-susceptible mice. DHCA reduces pro-inflammatory interleukin 6 (IL-6) generations by inhibiting DNA methylation at the CpG-rich IL-6 sequences introns 1 and 3, while Mal-gluc modulates synaptic plasticity by increasing histone acetylation of the regulatory sequences of the Rac1 gene. Peripheral inflammation and synaptic maladaptation are in line with newly hypothesized clinical intervention targets for depression that are not addressed by currently available antidepressants.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Histone, Human brain, Interleukin


Mexico City Metropolitan Area children chronically exposed to high concentrations of air pollutants exhibit an early brain imbalance in genes involved in oxidative stress, inflammation, innate and adaptive immune responses along with accumulation of misfolded proteins observed in the early stages of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases. A complex modulation of serum cytokines and chemokines influences children’s brain structural and gray/white matter volumetric responses to air pollution. The search for biomarkers associating systemic and CNS inflammation to brain growth and cognitive deficits in the short term and neurodegeneration in the long-term is our principal aim. We explored and compared a profile of cytokines, chemokines (Multiplexing LASER Bead Technology) and Cellular prion protein (PrP©) in normal cerebro-spinal-fluid (CSF) of urban children with high vs. low air pollution exposures. PrP© and macrophage inhibitory factor (MIF) were also measured in serum. Samples from 139 children ages 11.91 ± 4.2 years were measured. Highly exposed children exhibited significant increases in CSF MIF (p = 0.002), IL6 (p = 0.006), IL1ra (p = 0.014), IL-2 (p = 0.04), and PrP© (p = 0.039) vs. controls. MIF serum concentrations were higher in exposed children (p = 0.009). Our results suggest CSF as a MIF, IL6, IL1Ra, IL-2, and PrP© compartment that can possibly differentiate air pollution exposures in children. MIF, a key neuro-immune mediator, is a potential biomarker bridge to identify children with CNS inflammation. Fine tuning of immune-to-brain communication is crucial to neural networks appropriate functioning, thus the short and long term effects of systemic inflammation and dysregulated neural immune responses are of deep concern for millions of exposed children. Defining the linkage and the health consequences of the brain / immune system interactions in the developing brain chronically exposed to air pollutants ought to be of pressing importance for public health.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Antibody, Signal transduction, Innate immune system, Adaptive immune system, Interleukin, Cerebrospinal fluid


Diets rich in fruits and vegetables (FV), which contain (poly)phenols, protect against age-related inflammation and chronic diseases. T-lymphocytes contribute to systemic cytokine production and are modulated by FV intake. Little is known about the relative potency of different (poly)phenols in modulating cytokine release by lymphocytes. We compared thirty-one (poly)phenols and six (poly)phenol mixtures for effects on pro-inflammatory cytokine release by Jurkat T-lymphocytes. Test compounds were incubated with Jurkat cells for 48 h at 1 and 30 µm, with or without phorbol ester treatment at 24 h to induce cytokine release. Three test compounds that reduced cytokine release were further incubated with primary lymphocytes at 0·2 and 1 µm for 24 h, with lipopolysaccharide added at 5 h. Cytokine release was measured, and generation of H2O2 by test compounds was determined to assess any potential correlations with cytokine release. A number of (poly)phenols significantly altered cytokine release from Jurkat cells (P<0·05), but H2O2 generation did not correlate with cytokine release. Resveratrol, isorhamnetin, curcumin, vanillic acid and specific (poly)phenol mixtures reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine release from T-lymphocytes, and there was evidence for interaction between (poly)phenols to further modulate cytokine release. The release of interferon-γ induced protein 10 by primary lymphocytes was significantly reduced following treatment with 1 µm isorhamnetin (P<0·05). These results suggest that (poly)phenols derived from onions, turmeric, red grapes, green tea and açai berries may help reduce the release of pro-inflammatory mediators in people at risk of chronic inflammation.

Concepts: Inflammation, Antibody, Cytokine, Interleukin 1, Enzyme, Asthma, Interleukin, Module