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Immunology - Pediatrics and Child Health

Neonatal Plasma Polarizes TLR4-Mediated Cytokine Responses towards Low IL-12p70 and High IL-10 Production via Distinct Factors
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012
Author: Mirjam E. Belderbos et al.

by Mirjam E. Belderbos, Ofer Levy, Femke Stalpers, Jan L. Kimpen, Linde Meyaard, Louis Bont

Human neonates are highly susceptible to infection, which may be due in part to impaired innate immune function. Neonatal Toll-like receptor (TLR) responses are biased against the generation of pro-inflammatory/Th1-polarizing cytokines, yet the underlying mechanisms are incompletely defined. Here, we demonstrate that neonatal plasma polarizes TLR4-mediated cytokine production. When exposed to cord blood plasma, mononuclear cells (MCs) produced significantly lower TLR4-mediated IL-12p70 and higher IL-10 compared to MC exposed to adult plasma. Suppression by neonatal plasma of TLR4-mediated IL-12p70 production, but not induction of TLR4-mediated IL-10 production, was maintained up to the age of 1 month. Cord blood plasma conferred a similar pattern of MC cytokine responses to TLR3 and TLR8 agonists, demonstrating activity towards both MyD88-dependent and MyD88-independent agonists. The factor causing increased TLR4-mediated IL-10 production by cord blood plasma was heat-labile, lost after protein depletion and independent of lipoprotein binding protein (LBP) or soluble CD14 (sCD14). The factor causing inhibition of TLR4-mediated IL-12p70 production by cord blood plasma was resistant to heat inactivation or protein depletion and was independent of IL-10, vitamin D and prostaglandin E2. In conclusion, human neonatal plasma contains at least two distinct factors that suppress TLR4-mediated IL-12p70 production or induce IL-10 or production. Further identification of these factors will provide insight into the ontogeny of innate immune development and might identify novel targets for the prevention and treatment of neonatal infection.