Impaired toll like receptor-7 and 9 induced immune activation in chronic spinal cord injured patients contributes to immune dysfunction

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Gucluler G., Adiguzel E., Gungor B., Kahraman T., GÜRSEL M., Yilmaz B., ...More

PLOS ONE, vol.12, no.2, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171003
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Reduced immune activation or immunosuppression is seen in patients withneurological diseases. Urinary and respiratory infections mainly manifested as septicemia and pneumonia are the most frequent complications following spinal cord injuries and they account for the majority of deaths. The underlying reason of these losses is believed to arise due to impaired immune responses to pathogens. Here, we hypothesized that susceptibility to infections of chronic spinal cord injured (SCI) patients might be due to impairment in recognition of pathogen associated molecular patterns and subsequently declining innate and adaptive immune responses that lead to immune dysfunction. We tested our hypothesis on healthy and chronic SCI patients with a level of injury above T-6. Donor PBMCs were isolated and stimulated with different toll like receptor ligands and T-cell inducers aiming to investigate whether chronic SCI patients display differential immune activation to multiple innate and adaptive immune cell stimulants. We demonstrate that SCI patients' B-cell and plasmacytoid dendritic cells retain their functionality in response to TLR7 and TLR9 ligand stimulation as they secreted similar levels of IL6 and IFN alpha. The immune dysfunction is not probably due to impaired T-cell function, since neither CD4(+) T-cell dependent IFN. producing cell number nor IL10 producing regulatory T-cells resulted different outcomes in response to PMA-Ionomycin and PHA-LPS stimulation, respectively. We showed that TLR7 dependent IFN gamma and IP10 levels and TLR9 mediated APC function reduced substantially in SCI patients compared to healthy subjects. More importantly, IP10 producing monocytes were significantly fewer compared to healthy subjects in response to TLR7 and TLR9 stimulation of SCI PBMCs. When taken together this work implicated that these defects could contribute to persistent complications due to increased susceptibility to infections of chronic SCI patients.