Macrophage Lysosomal Alkalinization Drives Invasive Aspergillosis in a Mouse Cystic Fibrosis Model of Airway Transplantation.

Journal: Journal Of Fungi (Basel, Switzerland)

Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung transplant recipients (LTRs) exhibit a disproportionately high rate of life-threatening invasive aspergillosis (IA). Loss of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR-/-) in macrophages (mφs) has been associated with lyosomal alkalinization. We hypothesize that this alkalinization would persist in the iron-laden post-transplant microenvironment increasing the risk of IA. To investigate our hypothesis, we developed a murine CF orthotopic tracheal transplant (OTT) model. Iron levels were detected by immunofluorescence staining and colorimetric assays. Aspergillus fumigatus (Af) invasion was evaluated by Grocott methenamine silver staining. Phagocytosis and killing of Af conidia were examined by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. pH and lysosomal acidification were measured by LysoSensorTM and LysotrackerTM, respectively. Af was more invasive in the CF airway transplant recipient compared to the WT recipient (p < 0.05). CFTR-/- mφs were alkaline at baseline, a characteristic that was increased with iron-overload. These CFTR-/- mφs were unable to phagocytose and kill Af conidia (p < 0.001). Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles acidified lysosomes, restoring the CFTR-/- mφs' ability to clear conidia. Our results suggest that CFTR-/- mφs' alkalinization interacts with the iron-loaded transplant microenvironment, decreasing the CF-mφs' ability to kill Af conidia, which may explain the increased risk of IA. Therapeutic pH modulation after transplantation could decrease the risk of IA.

Efthymia Matthaiou, Wayland Chiu, Carol Conrad, Joe Hsu