In sepsis, the pathology involves a shift from a proinflammatory state toward an immunosuppressive phase. We previously showed that an agonistic anti-TLR4 antibody induced long-term endotoxin tolerance and suppressed antigen-specific secondary IgG production when primed prior to immunization with antigen. These findings led us to speculate that TLR4-induced innate tolerance due to primary infection causes an immunosuppressive pathology in sepsis. Therefore, the mechanism underlying impaired antigen-specific humoral immunity by the TLR4 antibody was investigated. We showed, in a mouse model, that primary antigen-specific IgG responses were impaired in TLR4 antibody-induced tolerized mice, which was the result of reduced numbers of antigen-specific GC B cells and plasma cells. Ovalbumin-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses were impaired in TLR4 antibody-injected OT-I and -II transgenic mice ex vivo. Adoptive transfer studies demonstrated suppression of OVA-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses by the TLR4 antibody in vivo. The TLR4 antibody induced Gr1 + CD11b + myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) expansion with suppression of T-cell activation. Monocytic MDSCs were more suppressive and exhibited higher expression of PD-L1 and inducible nitric oxidase compared with granulocytic MDSCs. In conclusion, immune tolerance conferred by TLR4 activation induces the expansion of monocytic MDSCs, which impairs antigen-specific T-cell priming and IgG production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy