Monocytes from cystic fibrosis patients are locked in an LPS tolerance state: down-regulation of TREM-1 as putative underlying mechanism

PLoS One. 2008 Jul 16;3(7):e2667. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002667.


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited pleiotropic disease that results from abnormalities in the gene that codes for the chloride channel, Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR). CF patients are frequently colonized by several pathogens, but the mechanisms that allow colonization in spite of apparently functional immune systems are incompletely understood. In this paper we show that blood peripheral monocytes isolated from CF patients are found in an endotoxin tolerance state, yet this is not due to a deficient TLR activation. On the other hand, levels of the amplifier of inflammatory responses, TREM-1 (Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells), are notably down-regulated in monocytes from patients, in comparison to those extracted from healthy volunteers. Furthermore, the soluble form of TREM-1 (sTREM-1) was not detected in the sera of patients. Additionally, and in strict contrast to patients who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), CF monocytes challenged ex vivo with LPS neither up-regulated membrane-anchored TREM-1 nor sTREM-1. Finally, similar levels of PGE(2) expression and p65 translocation into the nucleus were found in both patients and healthy volunteers, thus suggesting that TREM-1 regulation is neither controlled by PGE(2) levels nor by p65 activation in this case. However, PU.1 translocation into the nucleus was significantly higher in CF monocytes than in controls, suggesting a role for this transcription factor in the control of TREM-1 expression. We conclude that down-regulation of TREM-1 expression in cystic fibrosis patients is at least partly responsible for the endotoxin tolerance state in which their monocytes are locked.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Separation
  • Cystic Fibrosis / blood*
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Endotoxins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / biosynthesis*
  • Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1


  • Endotoxins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • TREM1 protein, human
  • Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1
  • Dinoprostone