Adenoviral vector-mediated GM-CSF gene transfer improves anti-mycobacterial immunity in mice – role of regulatory T cells
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Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a hematopoietic growth factor involved in differentiation, survival and activation of myeloid and non-myeloid cells with important implications for lung antibacterial immunity. Here we examined the effect of pulmonary adenoviral vector-mediated delivery of GM-CSF (AdGM-CSF) on anti-mycobacterial immunity in M. bovis BCG infected mice. Exposure of M. bovis BCG infected mice to AdGM-CSF either applied on 6h, or 6h and 7days post-infection substantially increased alveolar recruitment of iNOS and IL-12 expressing macrophages, and significantly increased accumulation of IFNγpos T cells and particularly regulatory T cells (Tregs). This was accompanied by significantly reduced mycobacterial loads in the lungs of mice. Importantly, diphtheria toxin-induced depletion of Tregs did not influence mycobacterial loads, but accentuated immunopathology in AdGM-CSF-exposed mice infected with M. bovis BCG. Together, the data demonstrate that AdGM-CSF therapy improves lung protective immunity against M. bovis BCG infection in mice independent of co-recruited Tregs, which however critically contribute to limit lung immunopathology in BCG-infected mice. These data may be relevant to the development of immunomodulatory strategies to limit immunopathology-based lung injury in tuberculosis in humans.
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