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Pneumocystis infection in an immunocompetent host can promote collateral sensitization to respiratory antigens.

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  1. Journal article


  1. Resource Description
    Infection with the opportunistic fungal pathogen Pneumocystis is assumed to pass without persistent pathology in immunocompetent hosts. However, when immunocompetent BALB/c mice were inoculated with Pneumocystis, a vigorous Th2-like pulmonary inflammation ensued and peaked at 14 days postinfection. This coincided with a 10-fold increase in the number of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the lung, and these cells were capable of presenting antigen in vitro, as well as greater uptake of antigen in vivo. When mice were presented with exogenous antigen at the 14-day time point of the infection, they developed respiratory sensitization to that antigen, in the form of increased airway hyperresponsiveness upon a later challenge, whereas mice not infected but presented with antigen did not. Like other forms of collateral sensitization, this response was dependent on interleukin-4 receptor signaling. This ability to facilitate sensitization to exogenous antigen has been previously reported for other infectious disease agents; however, Pneumocystis appears to be uniquely capable in this respect, as a single intranasal dose without added adjuvant, when it was administered at the appropriate time, was sufficient to initiate sensitization. Pneumocystis infection probably occurs in most humans during the first few years of life, and in the vast majority of cases, it fails to cause any overt direct pathology. However, as we show here, Pneumocystis can be an agent of comorbidity at this time by facilitating respiratory sensitization that may relate to the later development or exacerbation of obstructive airway disease.
  2. Author
    Harmsen, Allen, Ph.D.
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Provenance Metadata About This Resource Record
  1. workflow state
  2. contributor
    qking (Quinton King)
  3. created
  4. creator
    qking (Quinton King)
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Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016