The Journal of Immunology
Commensal microbiota are critical for the development of local immune responses. In this article, we show that gut microbiota can regulate CD4 T cell polarization during pulmonary fungal infections. Vancomycin drinking water significantly decreased lung Th17 cell numbers during acute infection, demonstrating that Gram-positive commensals contribute to systemic inflammation. We next tested a role for RegIII, an IL-22-inducible antimicrobial protein with specificity for Gram-positive bacteria. Following infection, increased accumulation of Th17 cells in the lungs of RegIII(-/-) and Il22(-/-) mice was associated with intestinal segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) colonization. Although gastrointestinal delivery of rRegIII decreased lung inflammatory gene expression and protected Il22(-/-) mice from weight loss during infection, it had no direct effect on SFB colonization, fungal clearance, or lung Th17 immunity. We further show that vancomycin only decreased lung IL-17 production in mice colonized with SFB. To determine the link between gut microbiota and lung immunity, serum-transfer experiments revealed that IL-1R ligands increase the accumulation of lung Th17 cells. These data suggest that intestinal microbiota, including SFB, can regulate pulmonary adaptive immune responses.