Innate Immune Sensing of Fusarium culmorum by Mouse Dendritic Cells

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2015;78(13-14):871-85. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2015.1051201.


Chronic inhalation of grain dust is associated with asthma and chronic bronchitis in grain worker populations. Exposure to fungal particles was postulated to be an important etiologic agent of these pathologies. Fusarium species frequently colonize grain and straw and produce a wide array of mycotoxins that impact human health, necessitating an evaluation of risk exposure by inhalation of Fusarium and its consequences on immune responses. Data showed that Fusarium culmorum is a frequent constituent of aerosols sampled during wheat harvesting in the Vaud region of Switzerland. The aim of this study was to examine cytokine/chemokine responses and innate immune sensing of F. culmorum in bone-marrow-derived dendritic cells and macrophages. Overall, dendritic cells and macrophages responded to F. culmorum spores but not to its secreted components (i.e., mycotoxins) by releasing large amounts of macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, MIP-1β, MIP-2, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, RANTES, and interleukin (IL)-12p40, intermediate amounts of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-6, IL-12p70, IL-33, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and interferon gamma-induced protein (IP-10), but no detectable amounts of IL-4 and IL-10, a pattern of mediators compatible with generation of Th1 or Th17 antifungal protective immune responses rather than with Th2-dependent allergic responses. The sensing of F. culmorum spores by dendritic cells required dectin-1, the main pattern recognition receptor involved in β-glucans detection, but likely not MyD88 and TRIF-dependent Toll-like receptors. Taken together, our results indicate that F. culmorum stimulates potently innate immune cells in a dectin-1-dependent manner, suggesting that inhalation of F. culmorum from grain dust may promote immune-related airway diseases in exposed worker populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis
  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Animals
  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fusarium / physiology*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / genetics
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / metabolism
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Switzerland
  • Triticum


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition