IFN-gamma production by innate immune cells is sufficient for development of hypersensitivity pneumonitis

Eur J Immunol. 2005 Jun;35(6):1928-38. doi: 10.1002/eji.200425762.


Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is an interstitial lung disease that develops following repeated exposure to inhaled particulate antigens. The disease is characterized by lymphocytic alveolitis, granuloma formation and fibrosis. IFN-gamma is required for the formation of granulomas in HP, and we therefore focused on identifying the cellular sources of IFN-gamma during the disease. Using the Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula (SR) animal model of HP, we demonstrated that the majority of IFN-gamma(+) cells in the lung following SR exposure are neutrophils. Ab-mediated depletion of neutrophils in mice prior to exposure to SR resulted in a decrease in the level of IFN-gamma mRNA and protein compared to isotype Ab-treated mice, suggesting that neutrophils are an important source of IFN-gamma during HP. To determine the contribution of T and non-T cell sources of IFN-gamma to granuloma formation, we performed adoptive transfer studies. RAG-1(-/-) mice reconstituted with spleen cells from IFN-gamma(-/-) mice developed granulomas similarly to RAG-1(-/-) mice reconstituted with normal spleen cells. Therefore innate immune cell IFN-gamma production in the absence of T cell IFN-gamma production is sufficient for granuloma formation. These results provide new insight into the pathogenesis of HP and demonstrate the important contribution of innate immune cells to the disease process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / etiology
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Granuloma / etiology
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Saccharopolyspora / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RAG-1 protein
  • Interferon-gamma