Coccidioides immitis is a pathogenic, dimorphic fungus found in the southwestern United States and is the causative agent of coccidioidomycosis. Extrathoracic dissemination of coccidioidomycosis is associated with a lack of cellular immunity. Dendritic cells (DCs) have been shown to initiate and modulate cellular immune responses. To determine whether DCs could modulate or initiate the immune response in this disease, monocyte-derived DCs were generated from coccidioidal Ag nonresponsive patients with disseminated coccidioidomycosis and healthy nonimmune individuals. DCs generated from both groups demonstrated phenotypes characteristic of DCs and stimulated strong allogeneic MLR. DCs from patients and healthy nonimmune individuals pulsed with the coccidioidal Ag preparation T27K induced lymphocyte proliferation. Mature DCs were much more efficient than immature DCs in these stimulations. Furthermore, restimulation of T27K-primed PBMC with Ag-pulsed DCs generated a C. immitis-specific cellular immune response in PBMC from patients with disseminated coccidioidomycosis as well as healthy nonimmune individuals. These results show that 1) DCs have the capacity to stimulate specific cellular immune responses from patients with disseminated coccidioidomycosis who are nonresponsive to coccidioidal Ag and healthy nonimmune individuals in vitro; 2) DCs can be used to screen coccidioidal Ags as candidates for human vaccine development; and 3) DC therapy may be useful in the treatment of disseminated coccidioidomycosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy