Stothers CL, Burelbach KR, Owen AM, Patil NK, McBride MA, Bohannon JK, Luan L, Hernandez A, Patil TK, Williams DL, Sherwood ER. β-Glucan Induces Distinct and Protective Innate Immune Memory in Differentiated Macrophages. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2021 Dec 1;207(207). 2785-2798. PMID: 34740960 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC8612974 NIHMSID: NIHMS1745892.
Bacterial infections are a common and deadly threat to vulnerable patients. Alternative strategies to fight infection are needed. β-Glucan, an immunomodulator derived from the fungal cell wall, provokes resistance to infection by inducing trained immunity, a phenomenon that persists for weeks to months. Given the durability of trained immunity, it is unclear which leukocyte populations sustain this effect. Macrophages have a life span that surpasses the duration of trained immunity. Thus, we sought to define the contribution of differentiated macrophages to trained immunity. Our results show that β-glucan protects mice from infection by augmenting recruitment of innate leukocytes to the site of infection and facilitating local clearance of bacteria, an effect that persists for more than 7 d. Adoptive transfer of macrophages, trained using β-glucan, into naive mice conferred a comparable level of protection. Trained mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages assumed an antimicrobial phenotype characterized by enhanced phagocytosis and reactive oxygen species production in parallel with sustained enhancements in glycolytic and oxidative metabolism, increased mitochondrial mass, and membrane potential. β-Glucan induced broad transcriptomic changes in macrophages consistent with early activation of the inflammatory response, followed by sustained alterations in transcripts associated with metabolism, cellular differentiation, and antimicrobial function. Trained macrophages constitutively secreted CCL chemokines and robustly produced proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in response to LPS challenge. Induction of the trained phenotype was independent of the classic β-glucan receptors Dectin-1 and TLR-2. These findings provide evidence that β-glucan induces enhanced protection from infection by driving trained immunity in macrophages.