Prostaglandin E2 induction suppresses the Th1 immune responses in cattle with Johne's disease

Yamato Sajiki, Satoru Konnai, Tomohiro Okagawa, Asami Nishimori, Naoya Maekawa, Shinya Goto, Ryoyo Ikebuchi, Reiko Nagat, Satoko Kawaji, Yumiko Kagawa, Shinji Yamada, Yukinari Kato, Chie Nakajima, Yasuhiko Suzuki, Shiro Murata, Yasuyuki Mori, Kazuhiko Ohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


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 (JPPD) 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00910-17
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1


  • COX-2 inhibitor
  • Cattle
  • Immunoinhibitory molecules
  • Immunotherapy
  • Johne's disease
  • PD-1
  • PD-L1
  • PGE
  • T-cell exhaustion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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