Exposure to combustion derived particulate matter exacerbates influenza infection in neonatal mice by inhibiting IL22 production

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BACKGROUND: Particulate matter (PM) containing environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) are formed during various combustion processes, including the thermal remediation of hazardous wastes. Exposure to PM adversely affects respiratory health in infants and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to acute lower respiratory tract infections. We previously reported that early-life exposure to PM damages the lung epithelium and suppresses immune responses to influenza virus (Flu) infection, thereby enhancing Flu severity. Interleukin 22 (IL22) is important in resolving lung injury following Flu infection. In the current study, we determined the effects of PM exposure on pulmonary IL22 responses using our neonatal mouse model of Flu infection. RESULTS: Exposure to PM resulted in an immediate (0.5-1-day post-exposure; dpe) increase in IL22 expression in the lungs of C57BL/6 neonatal mice; however, this IL22 expression was not maintained and failed to increase with either continued exposure to PM or subsequent Flu infection of PM-exposed mice. This contrasts with increased IL22 expression in age-matched mice exposed to vehicle and Flu infected. Activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which mediates the induction and release of IL22 from immune cells, was also transiently increased with PM exposure. The microbiome plays a major role in maintaining epithelial integrity and immune responses by producing various metabolites that act as ligands for AhR. Exposure to PM induced lung microbiota dysbiosis and altered the levels of indole, a microbial metabolite. Treatment with recombinant IL22 or indole-3-carboxaldehyde (I3A) prevented PM associated lung injury. In addition, I3A treatment also protected against increased mortality in Flu-infected mice exposed to PMs. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these data suggest that exposure to PMs results in failure to sustain IL22 levels and an inability to induce IL22 upon Flu infection. Insufficient levels of IL22 may be responsible for aberrant epithelial repair and immune responses, leading to increased Flu severity in areas of high PM.

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Particle and fibre toxicology

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