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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Differential responses of human dendritic cells to metabolites from the oral/airway microbiome.

  • Author(s): Whiteson, K
  • Agrawal, S
  • Agrawal, A
  • et al.

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Small molecule metabolites that are produced or altered by host-associated microbial communities are emerging as significant immune response modifiers. However, there is a key gap in our knowledge of how oral microbial metabolites affect the immune response. Here, we examined the effects of metabolites from five bacterial strains found commonly in the oral/airway microbial communities of humans. The five strains, each isolated from cystic fibrosis patient sputum, were Pseudomonas aeruginosa FLR01 non-mucoid (P1) and FLR02 mucoid (P2) forms, Streptococcus pneumoniae (Sp), S. salivarius (Ss) and Rothia mucilaginosa (Rm). The effect of bacterial metabolites on dendritic cell (DC) activation, T cell priming and cytokine secretion was determined by exposing DCs to bacterial supernatants and individual metabolites of interest. Supernatants from P1 and P2 induced high levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-6 from DCs and primed T cells to secrete interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-22 compared to supernatants from Sp, Ss and Rm. Investigations into the composition of supernatants using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) revealed signature metabolites for each of the strains. Supernatants from P1 and P2 contained high levels of putrescine and glucose, while Sp and Ss contained high levels of 2,3-butanediol. The individual metabolites replicated the results of whole supernatants, although the magnitudes of their effects were reduced significantly. Altogether, our data demonstrate for the first time that the signature metabolites produced by different bacteria have different effects on DC functions. The identification of signature metabolites and their effects on the host immune system can provide mechanistic insights into diseases and may also be developed as biomarkers.

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