Denise Monack, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Immunology textbooks teach us about the ways hosts can recognize and kill microbes but leave out something important: the mechanisms used to survive infections. Survival depends on more than simply detecting and eliminating microbes; it requires that we prevent and repair the damage caused by pathogens and the immune response. Recent work in insects is helping to build our understanding of this aspect of pathology, called disease tolerance. Here we discuss papers that explore disease tolerance using theoretical, population genetics, and mechanistic approaches.
View details for PubMedID 30551820
Pathologic infections are accompanied by a collection of short-term behavioral perturbations collectively termed sickness behaviors [1, 2]. These include changes in body temperature, reduced eating and drinking, and lethargy and mimic behaviors of animals in torpor and hibernation [1, 3-6]. Sickness behaviors are important, pathogen-specific components of the host response to infection [1, 3, 7-9]. In particular, host anorexia has been shown to be beneficial or detrimental depending on the infection [7, 8]. While these studies have illuminated the effects of anorexia on infection, they consider this behavior in isolation from other behaviors and from its effects on host metabolism and energy. Here, we explored the temporal dynamics of multiple sickness behaviors and their effect on host energy and metabolism throughout infection. We used the Plasmodium chabaudi AJ murine model of malaria as it causes severe pathology from which most animals recover. We found that infected animals did become anorexic, skewing their metabolism toward fatty acid oxidation and ketosis. Metabolism of fats requires oxygen for the production of ATP. In this model, animals also suffer severe anemia, limiting their ability to carry oxygen concurrent with their switch toward fatty acid metabolism. We reasoned that the combination of anorexia and anemia would increase pressure on glycolysis as a critical energy pathway because it does not require oxygen. Treating infected mice when anorexic with the glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) reduced survival; treating animals with glucose improved survival. Peak parasite loads were unchanged, demonstrating changes in disease tolerance. Parasite clearance was reduced with 2DG treatment, suggesting altered resistance.
View details for PubMedID 29754902
Latest information on COVID-19