Trained Innate Immunity Induced by Vaccination with Low-Virulence Candida Species Mediates Protection against Several Forms of Fungal Sepsis via Ly6G+ Gr-1+ Leukocytes

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We recently discovered a novel form of trained innate immunity (TII) induced by low-virulence Candida species (i.e., Candida dubliniensis) that protects against lethal fungal/bacterial infection. Mice vaccinated by intraperitoneal (i.p.) inoculation are protected against lethal sepsis following Candida albicans/Staphylococcus aureus (Ca/Sa) intra-abdominal infection (IAI) or Ca bloodstream infection (BSI). The protection against IAI is mediated by long-lived Gr-11 leukocytes as putative myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and not by prototypical trained macrophages. This study aimed to determine if a similar TII mechanism (Gr-11 cell-mediated suppression of sepsis) is protective against BSI and whether this TII can also be induced following intravenous (i.v.) vaccination. For this, mice were vaccinated with low-virulence Candida strains (i.p. or i.v.), followed by lethal challenge (Ca/Sa i.p. or Ca i.v.) 14 days later, and observed for sepsis (hypothermia, sepsis scoring, and serum cytokines), organ fungal burden, and mortality. Similar parameters were monitored following depletion of macrophages or Gr-11 leukocytes during lethal challenge. The results showed that mice vaccinated i.p. or i.v. were protected against lethal Ca/Sa IAI or Ca BSI. In all cases, protection was mediated by Ly6G1 Gr-11 putative granulocytic MDSCs (G-MDSCs), with no role for macrophages, and correlated with reduced sepsis parameters. Protection also correlated with reduced fungal burden in spleen and brain but not liver or kidney. These results suggest that Ly6G1 G-MDSC-mediated TII is induced by either the i.p. and i.v. route of inoculation and protects against IAI or BSI forms of systemic candidiasis, with survival correlating with amelioration of sepsis and reduced organ-specific fungal burden. IMPORTANCE Trained innate immunity (TII) is induced following immunization with live attenuated microbes and represents a clinically important strategy to enhance innate defenses. TII was initially demonstrated following intravenous inoculation with low-virulence Candida albicans, with protection against a subsequent lethal C. albicans intravenous bloodstream infection (BSI) mediated by monocytes with enhanced cytokine responses. We expanded this by describing a novel form of TII induced by intraperitoneal inoculation with low-virulence Candida that protects against lethal sepsis induced by polymicrobial intra-abdominal infection (IAI) via Gr-11 leukocytes as putative myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). In this study, we addressed these two scenarios and confirmed an exclusive role for Ly6G1 Gr-11 leukocytes in mediating TII against either IAI or BSI via either route of inoculation, with protection associated with suppression of sepsis. These studies highlight the previously unrecognized importance of Ly6G1 MDSCs as central mediators of a novel form of TII termed trained tolerogenic immunity.

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American Society for Microbiology