Title

Interleukin-6 is essential for primary resistance to Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain infection.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2013

Keywords

Animals, Bacterial Vaccines, Francisella tularensis, Haptoglobins, Interleukin-6, Lymphocyte Activation, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Serum Amyloid A Protein, T-Lymphocytes, Tularemia, Vaccines, Attenuated

JAX Source

Infect Immun 2013 Feb; 81(2):585-97.

PMID

23230288

Abstract

We employed Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) to study mechanisms of protective immunity against intracellular pathogens and, specifically, to understand protective correlates. One potential molecular correlate identified previously was interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine with pleotropic roles in immunity, including influences on T and B cell functions. Given its role as an immune modulator and the correlation with successful anti-LVS vaccination, we examined the role IL-6 plays in the host response to LVS. IL-6-deficient (IL-6 knockout [KO]) mice infected with LVS intradermally or intranasally or anti-IL-6-treated mice, showed greatly reduced 50% lethal doses compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Increased susceptibility was not due to altered splenic immune cell populations during infection or decreased serum antibody production, as IL-6 KO mice had similar compositions of each compared to WT mice. Although LVS-infected IL-6 KO mice produced much less serum amyloid A and haptoglobin (two acute-phase proteins) than WT mice, there were no other obvious pathophysiological differences between LVS-infected WT and IL-6 KO mice. IL-6 KO or WT mice that survived primary LVS infection also survived a high-dose LVS secondary challenge. Using an in vitro overlay assay that measured T cell activation, cytokine production, and abilities of primed splenocytes to control intracellular LVS growth, we found that IL-6 KO total splenocytes or purified T cells were slightly defective in controlling intracellular LVS growth but were equivalent in cytokine production. Taken together, IL-6 is an integral part of a successful immune response to primary LVS infection, but its exact role in precipitating adaptive immunity remains elusive. Infect Immun 2013 Feb; 81(2):585-97.