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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Differential effects of Mycobacterium bovis - derived polar and apolar lipid fractions on bovine innate immune cells

Chris Pirson1*, Gareth J Jones1, Sabine Steinbach1, Gurdyal S Besra2 and H Martin Vordermeier1

Author Affiliations

1 TB Research Group, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency – Weybridge, New Haw, Surrey, Addlestone, KT15 3NB, United Kingdom

2 School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom

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Veterinary Research 2012, 43:54  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-54

Published: 27 June 2012

Abstract

Mycobacterial lipids have long been known to modulate the function of a variety of cells of the innate immune system. Here, we report the extraction and characterisation of polar and apolar free lipids from Mycobacterium bovis AF 2122/97 and identify the major lipids present in these fractions. Lipids found included trehalose dimycolate (TDM) and trehalose monomycolate (TMM), the apolar phthiocerol dimycocersates (PDIMs), triacyl glycerol (TAG), pentacyl trehalose (PAT), phenolic glycolipid (PGL), and mono-mycolyl glycerol (MMG). Polar lipids identified included glucose monomycolate (GMM), diphosphatidyl glycerol (DPG), phenylethanolamine (PE) and a range of mono- and di-acylated phosphatidyl inositol mannosides (PIMs). These lipid fractions are capable of altering the cytokine profile produced by fresh and cultured bovine monocytes as well as monocyte derived dendritic cells. Significant increases in the production of IL-10, IL-12, MIP-1β, TNFα and IL-6 were seen after exposure of antigen presenting cells to the polar lipid fraction. Phenotypic characterisation of the cells was performed by flow cytometry and significant decreases in the expression of MHCII, CD86 and CD1b were found after exposure to the polar lipid fraction. Polar lipids also significantly increased the levels of CD40 expressed by monocytes and cultured monocytes but no effect was seen on the constitutively high expression of CD40 on MDDC or on the levels of CD80 expressed by any of the cells. Finally, the capacity of polar fraction treated cells to stimulate alloreactive lymphocytes was assessed. Significant reduction in proliferative activity was seen after stimulation of PBMC by polar fraction treated cultured monocytes whilst no effect was seen after lipid treatment of MDDC. These data demonstrate that pathogenic mycobacterial polar lipids may significantly hamper the ability of the host APCs to induce an appropriate immune response to an invading pathogen.