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Article

Chronic Occupational Mold Exposure Drives Expansion of Aspergillus-Reactive Type 1 and Type 2 T-Helper Cell Responses

1
Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital of Wuerzburg, 97080 Wuerzburg, Germany
2
Institute for Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, 80539 Munich, Germany
3
Systems Biology and Bioinformatics, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology—Hans-Knoell-Institute (HKI), 07745 Jena, Germany
4
Department of Surgery I, University Hospital of Wuerzburg, 97080 Wuerzburg, Germany
5
Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
6
Department of Molecular and Applied Microbiology, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology—Hans-Knoell-Institute (HKI), 07745 Jena, Germany
7
Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Florence Persat
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090698
Received: 15 July 2021 / Revised: 20 August 2021 / Accepted: 25 August 2021 / Published: 27 August 2021
Occupational mold exposure can lead to Aspergillus-associated allergic diseases including asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Elevated IL-17 levels or disbalanced T-helper (Th) cell expansion were previously linked to Aspergillus-associated allergic diseases, whereas alterations to the Th cell repertoire in healthy occupationally exposed subjects are scarcely studied. Therefore, we employed functional immunoassays to compare Th cell responses to A. fumigatus antigens in organic farmers, a cohort frequently exposed to environmental molds, and non-occupationally exposed controls. Organic farmers harbored significantly higher A. fumigatus-specific Th-cell frequencies than controls, with comparable expansion of Th1- and Th2-cell frequencies but only slightly elevated Th17-cell frequencies. Accordingly, Aspergillus antigen-induced Th1 and Th2 cytokine levels were strongly elevated, whereas induction of IL-17A was minimal. Additionally, increased levels of some innate immune cell-derived cytokines were found in samples from organic farmers. Antigen-induced cytokine release combined with Aspergillus-specific Th-cell frequencies resulted in high classification accuracy between organic farmers and controls. Aspf22, CatB, and CipC elicited the strongest differences in Th1 and Th2 responses between the two cohorts, suggesting these antigens as potential candidates for future bio-effect monitoring approaches. Overall, we found that occupationally exposed agricultural workers display a largely balanced co-expansion of Th1 and Th2 immunity with only minor changes in Th17 responses. View Full-Text
Keywords: mold exposure; immunoassay; biomarker; Aspergillus; cytokines; inflammation; adaptive immunity; hypersensitivity mold exposure; immunoassay; biomarker; Aspergillus; cytokines; inflammation; adaptive immunity; hypersensitivity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lauruschkat, C.D.; Etter, S.; Schnack, E.; Ebel, F.; Schäuble, S.; Page, L.; Rümens, D.; Dragan, M.; Schlegel, N.; Panagiotou, G.; Kniemeyer, O.; Brakhage, A.A.; Einsele, H.; Wurster, S.; Loeffler, J. Chronic Occupational Mold Exposure Drives Expansion of Aspergillus-Reactive Type 1 and Type 2 T-Helper Cell Responses. J. Fungi 2021, 7, 698. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090698

AMA Style

Lauruschkat CD, Etter S, Schnack E, Ebel F, Schäuble S, Page L, Rümens D, Dragan M, Schlegel N, Panagiotou G, Kniemeyer O, Brakhage AA, Einsele H, Wurster S, Loeffler J. Chronic Occupational Mold Exposure Drives Expansion of Aspergillus-Reactive Type 1 and Type 2 T-Helper Cell Responses. Journal of Fungi. 2021; 7(9):698. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090698

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lauruschkat, Chris D., Sonja Etter, Elisabeth Schnack, Frank Ebel, Sascha Schäuble, Lukas Page, Dana Rümens, Mariola Dragan, Nicolas Schlegel, Gianni Panagiotou, Olaf Kniemeyer, Axel A. Brakhage, Hermann Einsele, Sebastian Wurster, and Juergen Loeffler. 2021. "Chronic Occupational Mold Exposure Drives Expansion of Aspergillus-Reactive Type 1 and Type 2 T-Helper Cell Responses" Journal of Fungi 7, no. 9: 698. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090698

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