Tolerance and cross-tolerance following toll- like receptor (TLR)-4 and -9 activation are mediated by IRAK-M and modulated by IL-7 in murine splenocytes

Mark W. Julian, Heather R. Strange, Megan N. Ballinger, Richard S. Hotchkiss, Tracey L. Papenfuss, Elliott D. Crouser

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12 Scopus citations


Objective Immune suppression during critical illness predisposes to serious infections. We sought to determine the mechanisms regulating tolerance and cross-tolerance to common pro-inflammatory danger signals in a model that recapitulates the intact in vivo immune response. Materials and Methods Flt3-expanded splenocytes obtained from wild-type or matching IRAK-M knockout (IRAKM-/-), C57BL/6, male mice (8-10 weeks old) were treated repeatedly or alternately with either LPS or CpGA DNA, agonists of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4 and -9, respectively, over successive 24-hour periods. Supernatants were collected following each 24-hour period with cytokine release (ELISA) and splenocyte IRAK-M expression (Western blot) determined. Tolerance and cross-tolerance were assessed in the absence or presence of programmed death receptor (PD)-1 blocking antibody or IL-7 pre-treatment. Main Results Splenocytes notably exhibited both tolerance and cross-tolerance to subsequent treatments with either LPS or CpGA DNA. The character of tolerance and cross-tolerance in this model was distinct following initial LPS or CpGA treatment in that TNFα and IFNγ release (not IL-10) were suppressed following LPS; whereas, initial CpGA treatment suppressed TNFα, IFNγ and IL-10 release in response to subsequent stimulation (LPS or CpGA). Tolerance and cross-tolerance were unrelated to IL-10 release or PD-1 but were attenuated in IRAK-M-/- splenocytes. IL-7 significantly suppressed IRAK-M expression and restored TNFα and IFNγ production without influencing IL-10 release. Conclusions In summary, acute immune tolerance and cross-tolerance in response to LPS or CpGA were distinct in that LPS selectively suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokine responses; whereas, CpGA suppressed both pro- And anti-inflammatory responses. The induction of tolerance and cross-tolerance in response to common danger signals was mechanistically unrelated to IL-10 or PD-1 but was directly influenced by IRAK-M expression. IL-7 reduced IRAK-M expression and attenuated immune tolerance induced by either LPS or CpGA, and thus may be useful for reversal of immune tolerance in the setting of critical illness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132921
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 28 2015


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