The indigenous intestinal microbiota is frequently considered an additional major organ of the human body and exerts profound immunomodulating activities. Germ-free (GF) mice display a significantly different inflammatory responsiveness pattern compared with conventional (CV) mice, and this was dubbed a “hyporesponsive phenotype.” Taking into account that the deposition of immune complexes is a major event in acute inflammation and that GF mice have a distinct Ig repertoire and B cell activity, we aimed to evaluate whether this altered Ig repertoire interferes with the inflammatory responsiveness of GF mice. We found that serum transfer from CV naive mice was capable of reversing the inflammatory hyporesponsiveness of GF mice in sterile inflammatory injury induced by intestinal ischemia and reperfusion, as well as in a model of lung infection by Klebsiella pneumoniae. Transferring serum from Ig-deficient mice to GF animals did not alter their response to inflammatory insult; however, injecting purified Abs from CV animals restored inflammatory responsiveness in GF mice, suggesting that natural Abs present in serum were responsible for altering GF responsiveness. Mechanistically, injection of serum and Ig from CV mice into GF animals restored IgG deposition, leukocyte influx, NF-κB activation, and proinflammatory gene expression in inflamed tissues and concomitantly downregulated annexin-1 and IL-10 production. Thus, our data show that microbiota-induced natural Abs are pivotal for host inflammatory responsiveness to sterile and infectious insults.
This work was supported by the Fundação do Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais, the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, and the Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Dengue. C.T.F. was funded by the Jovens Talentos Scholarship (Bolsa Jovens Talentos) program of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.
The online version of this article contains supplemental material.
- Received May 16, 2016.
- Accepted March 16, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.