Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection endemic in the southwestern United States that is increasing in incidence. While cellular immunity correlates with protection from clinical illness, the precise elements of that response are undefined. Using the coccidioidal antigen preparation T27K and multiparametric flow cytometry, the in vitro frequency of polyfunctional T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of naturally immune healthy donors and those who were nonimmune was determined. Polyfunctional CD4 lymphocytes, defined as producing intracellular interleukin 2 (IL-2), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor alpha simultaneously, had a frequency of 137 per 400,000 events among peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of immune donors compared to 11 per 400,000 PBMC from nonimmune donors (P = 0.03). When monocytederived mature dendritic cells pulsed with T27K (mDCT27K) were used for antigen presentation, the frequency of polyfunctional CD4 T lymphocytes did not significantly increase for either group, although mDCT27K did significantly increase the concentrations of IL-2 and IFN-γ released by PBMC from nonimmune donors (P = 0.02). After in vitro stimulation with T27K, polyfunctional CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes of PBMC from immune donors had a mixture of low- and high-expression CCR7 cells, suggesting both effector and central memory, compared with predominantly high-expression CCR7 cells when PBMC were incubated with the mitogen phytohemagglutinin (P = 0.03). These data demonstrate the presence of polyfunctional T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of individuals with coccidioidal immunity and suggest a model for the in vitro testing of vaccine candidates for coccidioidomycosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases