Chronic cavitary pulmonary aspergillosis (CCPA) is an uncommon but serious pulmonary disease of humans, with an annual mortality rate of 10-30%. It is caused by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Patients are overtly immunocompetent; however, some immunogenetic defect is likely. To investigate this, we performed a genetic association study analysing biologically plausible candidate genes in 112 CCPA patients and 279 healthy controls, and investigated gene expression in monocyte-derived macrophages from patients and controls at baseline and during stimulation with A. fumigatus. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CCPA were found in TLR1, CLEC7A (dectin-1), PLAT (n=2), VEGFA, and DENND1B. Macrophages from CCPA patients showed low TLR3 and TLR10 expression and high TREM1 expression at baseline, as compared with macrophages from healthy subjects, with major expression differences being seen in most Toll-like receptors (TLRs) during 9 h of co-culture with A. fumigatus. The differences in baseline expression between the healthy and CCPA groups suggest roles for TLR3 and TLR10 in susceptibility to CCPA, and the association of SNPs in PLAT (n=2), VEGFA and DENND1B supports novel roles for plasminogen activation and angiogenesis and of these genes specifically in susceptibility to CCPA.
Keywords: Aspergilloma; Aspergillus fumigatus; CCPA; TLR; aspergillosis; gene expression; genetic susceptibility; immune response; monocyte-derived macrophages.
© 2014 The Authors Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2014 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.