Browsing by Subject "bakteriologia ja immunologia"

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  • Kankkunen, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The human body is constantly exposed to a variety of microbes and their metabolites. In the early stage of an infection, the cells of innate immunity, including dendritic cells, macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells initiate a rapid immune response mediated via the different pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) expressed by these cells. PRRs, including membrane-bound Toll-like receptors, C-type lectin -like receptors (CLRs), and cytoplasmic NOD-like receptors (NLRs) recognize different conserved microbial structures such as microbial cell wall components. Moreover, particular NLRs are able to sense several heterogeneous danger signals such as ATP and microbial toxins of both endogenous and exogenous origins, respectively. Activation of PRRs with microbial structures and various danger signals leads to production of different cytokines such as pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18 in immune cells. NLR containing multiprotein complexes called inflammasomes are considered as key mediators of inflammation. Inflammasome mediated signalling is needed for the processing of immature pro-IL-1β and pro-IL-18 into their biologically active IL-1β and IL-18 forms. Repeated fungal exposure and fungal infection is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Individuals with immunosuppression are especially prone to suffer fungal infections, mycoses. However, even individuals with normal immunity can experience fungal infection in certain conditions. Many individuals are at risk when exposed to fungi and their metabolites when living in water-damaged buildings. (1,3)-β-glucans and trichothecene mycotoxins are fungal metabolites and they are present on the materials and in indoor air of water-damaged buildings. The results suggest that a major fungal cell wall component, (1,3)-β-glucans, triggers secretion of IL-1β in human macrophages through CLR dectin-1, Syk tyrosine kinase and NLRP3 inflammasome dependent mechanism. Moreover, the results imply that the (1,3)-β-glucan induced inflammasome activation is dependent on the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), efflux of K+, and on the function of lysosomal protease cathepsin B in human macrophages. In addition, the results reveal that fungal trichothecene mycotoxins activate NLRP3 inflammasome and resulted in IL-1β and IL-18 secretion in lipopolysaccharide-treated human macrophages. The trichothecene triggered inflammasome activation was dependent on the ROS production, K+ efflux and cathepsin B release. Moreover, trichothecene induced inflammasome activation was dependent on purinergic P2X7 receptor. In addition to Syk and Src tyrosine kinase mediated signalling participated on trichothecene triggered inflammasome induction. Collectively, both (1,3)-β-glucans and trichothecenes mycotoxins activate the NLRP3 inflammasome and result in inflammation in human macrophages.
  • Kekäläinen, Eliisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Autoimmune regulator (AIRE) is the gene mutated in the human polyglandular autoimmune disease called Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy, candidiasis, and ectodermal dystrophy (APECED) that belongs to the Finnish disease heritage. Murine Aire has been shown to be important in the generation of the T cell central tolerance in the thymus by promoting the expression of ectopic tissue-specific antigens in the thymic medulla. Aire is also involved in the thymus tissue organization during organogenesis. In addition to the thymus, AIRE/Aire is expressed in the secondary lymphoid organs. Accordingly, a role for AIRE/Aire in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance has been suggested. Peripheral tolerance involves mechanisms that suppress immune responses in secondary lymphoid organs. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are an important suppressive T cell population mediating the peripheral tolerance. Tregs are generated in the thymus but also in the peripheral immune system T cells can acquire the Treg-phenotype. The aim of this study was to characterize Tregs in APECED patients and in the APECED mouse model (Aire-deficient mice). In the mouse model, it was possible to separate Aire expression in the thymus and in the secondary lymphoid organs. The relative importance of thymic and peripheral Aire expression in the maintenance of immunological tolerance was studied in an experimental model that was strongly biased towards autoimmunity, i.e. lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP) of lymphocytes. This experimental model was also utilised to study the behaviour of T cells with dual-specific T cell receptors (TCR) during the proliferation. The Treg phenotype was studied by flow cytometry and relative gene expression with real-time polymerase chain reaction. TCR repertoires of the Tregs isolated from APECED patients and healthy controls were also compared. The dual-specific TCRs were studied with the TCR repertoire analysis that was followed with sequencing of the chosen TCR genes in order to estimate changes in the dual-specific TCR diversity. The Treg function was tested with an in vitro suppression assay. The APECED patients had normal numbers of Tregs but the phenotype and suppressive functions of the Tregs were impaired. In order to separate Aire functions in the thymus from its yet unknown role in the secondary lymphoid organs, the phenomenon of LIP was utilised. In this setting, the lymphocytes that are adoptively transferred to a lymphopenic recipient proliferate to stimuli from self-originating antigens. This proliferation can result in autoimmunity if peripheral tolerance is not fully functional. When lymphocytes that had matured without Aire in the thymus were transferred to lymphopenic Aire-sufficient recipients, no clinical autoimmunity followed. The Aire-deficient donor-originating lymphocytes hyperproliferated, and other signs of immune dysregulation were also found in the recipients. Overt autoimmunity, however, was prevented by the Aire-deficient donor-originating Tregs that hyperproliferated in the recipients. Aire-deficient lymphopenic mice were used to study whether peripheral loss of Aire had an impact on the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. When normal lymphocytes were transferred to these Aire-deficient lymphopenic recipients, the majority of recipients developed a clinically symptomatic colitis. The colitis was confirmed also by histological analysis of the colon tissue sections. In the Aire-deficient lymphopenic recipients Tregs were proliferating significantly less than in the control group s recipients that had normal Aire expression in their secondary lymphoid organs. This study shows that Aire is not only important in the central tolerance but is also has a significant role in the maintenance of the peripheral tolerance both in mice and men. Aire expressed in the secondary lymphoid organs is involved in the functions of Tregs during an immune response. This peripheral expression appears to be relatively more important in some situations since only those lymphopenic recipients that had lost peripheral expression of Aire developed a symptomatic autoimmune disease. This AIRE-related Treg defect could be clinically important in understanding the pathogenesis of APECED.
  • Siikala, Emilia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy (APECED, APS1) is an autoimmune disease caused by a loss-of function mutation in the autoregulator gene (AIRE). Patients with APECED suffer from chronic mucocutaneous candidosis (CMC) of the oral cavity and oesophagus often since early childhood. The patients are mainly colonized with Candida albicans and decades of exposure to antifungal agents have lead to the development of clinical and microbiological resistance in the treatment of CMC in the APECED patient population in Finland. A high incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma is associated with oral CMC lesions in the APECED patients over the age of 25. The overall aim of this study was firstly, to investigate the effect of long-term azole exposure on the metabolism of oral C. albicans isolates from APECED patients with CMC and secondly, to analyse the specific molecular mechanisms that are responsible for these changes. The aim of the first study was to examine C. albicans strains from APECED patients and the level of cross-resistance to miconazole, the recommended topical compound for the treatment of oral candidosis. A total of 16% of the strains had decreased susceptibility to miconazole and all of these isolates had decreased susceptibility to fluconazole. Miconazole MICs also correlated with MICs to voriconazole and posaconazole. A significant positive correlation between the years of miconazole exposure and the MICs to azole antifungal agents was also found. These included azoles the patients had not been exposed to. The aim of our second study was to determine if the APECED patients are continuously colonized with the same C. albicans strains despite extensive antifungal treatment and to gain a deeper insight into the genetic changes leading to azole resistance. The strains were typed using MLST and our results confirmed that all patients were persistently colonized with the same or a genetically related strain despite antifungal treatment between isolations. No epidemic strains were found. mRNA expression was analysed by Northern blotting, protein level by western blotting, and TAC1 and ERG11 genes were sequenced. The main molecular mechanisms resulting in azole resistance were gain-of-function mutations in TAC1 leading to over expression of CDR1 and CDR2, genes linked to azole resistance. Several strains had also developed point mutations in ERG11, another gene linked to azole resistance. In the third study we used gas chromatography to test whether the level of carcinogenic acetaldehyde produced by C. albicans strains isolated from APECED patients were different from the levels produced by strains isolated from healthy controls and oral carcinoma patients. Acetaldehyde is a carcinogenic product of alcohol fermentation and metabolism in microbes associated with cancers of the upper digestive tract. In yeast, acetaldehyde is a by-product of the pyruvate bypass that converts pyruvate into acetyl-CoA during fermentation. Our results showed that strains isolated from APECED patients produced mutagenic levels of acetaldehyde in the presence of glucose (100mM, 18g/l) and the levels produced were significantly higher than those from strains isolated from controls and oral carcinoma patients. All strains in the study, however, were found to produce mutagenic levels of acetaldehyde in the presence of ethanol (11mM). The glucose and ethanol levels used in this study are equivalent to those found in food and beverages and our results highlight the role of dietary sugars and ethanol on carcinogenesis. The aims of our fourth study were to research the effect of growth conditions in the levels of acetaldehyde produced by C. albicans and to gain deeper insight into the role of different genes in the pyruvate-bypass in the production of high acetaldehyde levels. Acetaldehyde production in the presence of glucose increased by 17-fold under moderately hypoxic conditions compared to the levels produced under normoxic conditions. Under moderately hypoxic conditions acetaldehyde levels did not correlate with the expression of ADH1 and ADH2, genes catalyzing the oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde, or PDC11, the gene catalyzing the oxidation of pyruvate to acetaldehyde but correlated with the expression of down-stream genes ALD6 and ACS1. Our results highlight a problem where indiscriminate use of azoles may influence azole susceptibility and lead to the development of cross-resistance. Despite clinically successful treatment leading to relief of symptoms, colonization by C. albicans strains is persistent within APECED patients. Microevolution and point mutations that occur in strains may lead to the development of azole-resistant isolates and metabolic changes leading to increased production of carcinogenic acetaldehyde.