Aspergillus fumigatus-induced IL-22 is not restricted to a specific Th cell subset and is dependent on complement receptor 3.
Th cell responses induced by Aspergillus fumigatus have been extensively investigated in mouse models. However, the requirements for differentiation and the characteristics of A. fumigatus-induced human Th cell subsets remain poorly defined. We demonstrate that A. fumigatus induces Th1 and Th17 subsets in human PBMCs. Moreover, we show that the cytokine IL-22 is not restricted to a specific Th subset, in contrast to IL-17A. The pattern recognition and cytokine pathways that skew these Aspergillus-induced Th cell responses are TLR4- and IL-1-, IL-23-, and TNF-α-dependent. These pathways are of specific importance for production of the cytokines IL-17A and IL-22. Additionally, our data reveal that the dectin-1/Syk pathway is redundant and that TLR2 has an inhibitory effect on Aspergillus-induced IL-17A and IL-22 production. Notably, blocking complement receptor (CR)3 significantly reduced Aspergillus-induced Th1 and Th17 responses, and this was independent on the activation of the complement system. CR3 is a known receptor for β-1,3-glucan; however, blocking CR3 had significant effects on Th cell responses induced by heat-killed Aspergillus conidia, which have minimal β-glucan expression on their cell surface. Collectively, these data characterize the human Th cell subsets induced by Aspergillus, demonstrate that the capability to produce IL-22 is not restricted to a specific T cell subset, and provide evidence that CR3 might play a significant role in the adaptive host defense against Aspergillus, although the ligand and its action remain to be elucidated.