Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated fungal pathogen commonly acquired by inhalation. Extrapulmonary dissemination can lead to infection of the bloodstream and various organs, most commonly resulting in meningoencephalitis. However, infection with C. neoformans is often characterized by a scant inflammatory response. The leukocyte response to infection depends in part upon a gradient of chemotactic factors and adhesion molecules expressed by the host vascular endothelium, yet the inflammatory response of human endothelial cells (EC) to C. neoformans has not been previously investigated. We found that incubation of primary human EC with C. neoformans did not induce chemokine synthesis, and resulted in differential inhibition of cytokine-induced IL-8, IFN-γ-inducible protein-10, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. In contrast, C. neoformans had little effect on EC surface expression of the leukocyte ligand, ICAM-1, as determined by flow cytometry. Modulation of chemokine production was dependent on the chemokine under study, the inoculum of C. neoformans used, fungal viability, and cell-cell contact, but independent of cryptococcal strain or encapsulation. These observations suggest a novel mechanism whereby C. neoformans can affect EC function and interfere with the host inflammatory response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy