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Rheumatoid arthritis patients exhibit impaired Candida albicans-specific Th17 responses

Bishu, S and Su, EW and Wilkerson, ER and Reckley, KA and Jones, DM and McGeachy, MJ and Gaffen, SL and Levesque, MC (2014) Rheumatoid arthritis patients exhibit impaired Candida albicans-specific Th17 responses. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 16 (1). ISSN 1478-6354

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Introduction: Accumulating data implicate the CD4+ T cell subset (Th17 cells) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). IL-17 is an inflammatory cytokine that induces tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, IL-1β and IL-6, all of which are targets of biologic therapies used to treat RA. RA patients are well documented to experience more infections than age-matched controls, and biologic therapies further increase the risk of infection. The Th17/IL-17 axis is vital for immunity to fungi, especially the commensal fungus Candida albicans. Therefore, we were prompted to examine the relationship between RA and susceptibility to C. albicans because of the increasing interest in Th17 cells and IL-17 in driving autoimmunity, and the advent of new biologics that target this pathway.Methods: We analyzed peripheral blood and saliva from 48 RA and 33 healthy control subjects. To assess C. albicans-specific Th17 responses, PBMCs were co-cultured with heat-killed C. albicans extract, and IL-17A levels in conditioned supernatants were measured by ELISA. The frequency of Th17 and Th1 cells was determined by flow cytometry. As a measure of IL-17A-mediated effector responses, we evaluated C. albicans colonization rates in the oral cavity, salivary fungicidal activity and levels of the antimicrobial peptide β-defensin 2 (BD2) in saliva.Results: Compared to controls, PBMCs from RA subjects exhibited elevated baseline production of IL-17A (P = 0.004), although they had similar capacity to produce IL-17A in response to Th17 cell differentiating cytokines (P = 0.91). However RA PBMCs secreted less IL-17A in response to C. albicans antigens (P = 0.006). Significantly more RA patients were colonized with C. albicans in the oral cavity than healthy subjects (P = 0.02). Concomitantly, RA saliva had reduced concentrations of salivary BD2 (P = 0.02). Nonetheless, salivary fungicidal activity was preserved in RA subjects (P = 0.70).Conclusions: RA subjects exhibit detectable impairments in oral immune responses to C. albicans, a strongly Th17-dependent opportunistic pathogen, despite an overall elevated baseline production of IL-17A. © 2014 Bishu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bishu, S
Su, EW
Wilkerson, ER
Reckley, KAkar100@pitt.eduKAR100
Jones, DMdmj26@pitt.eduDMJ26
McGeachy, MJmmcgeach@pitt.eduMMCGEACH
Gaffen, SLsarah.gaffen@pitt.eduSIG65
Levesque, MC
Date: 11 February 2014
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Arthritis Research and Therapy
Volume: 16
Number: 1
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1186/ar4480
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Immunology
School of Medicine > Medicine
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1478-6354
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2016 20:34
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2022 10:57


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