The notion that the mucosal immune system maintains a tolerogenic response to harmless Ags while continually being challenged with microbial products seems an enigma. The aim of this study was to unravel mechanisms that are involved in regulating the development of tolerance under constant microbial pressure. The tolerogenic response to Ags administered via the nasal mucosa is dependent on the organized lymphoid tissue of the cervical lymph nodes (LN). We show that cervical LN differentially express secretory leukoprotease inhibitor (SLPI) compared with peripheral LN. SLPI was expressed by dendritic cells (DCs) and because SLPI is known to suppress LPS responsiveness, it was hypothesized that its expression in mucosal DCs may be required to regulate cellular activation to microbial products. Indeed, compared with wild-type controls, bone marrow-derived DCs from SLPI(-/-) mice released more inflammatory cytokines and enhanced T cell proliferation after stimulation with low dose LPS. This increased sensitivity to LPS was accompanied by increased NF-kappaB p65 activation in SLPI(-/-) DCs. In vivo, nasal application of OVA with LPS to SLPI(-/-) mice resulted in enhanced DC activation in the cervical LN reflected by increased costimulatory molecule expression and release of inflammatory cytokines. This led to failure to maintain tolerance to nasal OVA application in the presence of low doses of LPS. We propose that expression of SLPI functions as a rheostat by controlling the level of bacterial stimuli that induce mucosal DC activation. As such, it regulates the quality of the ensuing Ag-specific immune response in the mucosa draining LN.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Nov 2007|