Aspergillus Cell Wall Chitin Induces Anti- and Proinflammatory Cytokines in Human PBMCs via the Fc-γ Receptor/Syk/PI3K Pathway.
Chitin is an important cell wall component of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia, of which hundreds are inhaled on a daily basis. Previous studies have shown that chitin has both anti- and proinflammatory properties; however the exact mechanisms determining the inflammatory signature of chitin are poorly understood, especially in human immune cells. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from healthy volunteers and stimulated with chitin from Aspergillus fumigatus Transcription and production of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) were measured from the cell culture supernatant by quantitative PCR (qPCR) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Chitin induced an anti-inflammatory signature characterized by the production of IL-1Ra in the presence of human serum, which was abrogated in immunoglobulin-depleted serum. Fc-γ-receptor-dependent recognition and phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized chitin was identified as a novel IL-1Ra-inducing mechanism by chitin. IL-1Ra production induced by chitin was dependent on Syk kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activation. In contrast, costimulation of chitin with the pattern recognition receptor (PRR) ligands lipopolysaccharide, Pam3Cys, or muramyl dipeptide, but not β-glucan, had synergistic effects on the induction of proinflammatory cytokines by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In conclusion, chitin can have both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties, depending on the presence of pathogen-associated molecular patterns and immunoglobulins, thus explaining the various inflammatory signatures reported for chitin.