Acidic mammalian chitinase negatively affects immune responses during acute and chronic Aspergillus fumigatus exposure

Academic Article


  • Chitin is a polysaccharide that provides structure and rigidity to the cell walls of fungi and insects. Mammals possess multiple chitinases, which function to degrade chitin, thereby supporting a role for chitinases in immune defense. However, chitin degradation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma. Here, we determined the impact of acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) (Chia) deficiency on host defense during acute exposure to the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus as well as its contribution to A. fumigatus-associated allergic asthma. We demonstrate that chitin in the fungal cell wall was detected at low levels in A. fumigatus conidia, which emerged at the highest level during hyphal transition. In response to acute A. fumigatus challenge, Chia-/- mice unexpectedly demonstrated lower A. fumigatus lung burdens at 2 days postchallenge. The lower fungal burden correlated with decreased lung interleukin-33 (IL-33) levels yet increased IL-1β and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production, a phenotype that we reported previously to promote the induction of IL-17A and IL-22. During chronic A. fumigatus exposure, AMCase deficiency resulted in lower dynamic and airway lung resistance than in wild-type mice. Improved lung physiology correlated with attenuated levels of the proallergic chemokines CCL17 and CCL22. Surprisingly, examination of inflammatory responses during chronic exposure revealed attenuated IL-17A and IL-22 responses, but not type 2 responses, in the absence of AMCase. Collectively, these data suggest that AMCase functions as a negative regulator of immune responses during acute fungal exposure and is a contributor to fungal asthma severity, putatively via the induction of proinflammatory responses.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Garth JM; Mackel JJ; Reeder KM; Blackburn JP; Dunaway CW; Yu Z; Matalon S; Fitz L; Steele C
  • Volume

  • 86
  • Issue

  • 7