Staphylococcus aureus induces a mucosal type 2 immune response via epithelial cell-derived cytokines

Feng Lan, Nan Zhang, Gabriele Holtappels, Natalie De Ruyck, Olga Krysko, Koen Van Crombruggen, Harald Braun, Sebastian L. Johnston, Nikos G. Papadopoulos, Luo Zhang, Claus Bachert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps is characterized by a T-helper cell type 2-skewed upper airway inflammation. Mucosal Staphylococcus aureus colonization is found in the majority of patients with nasal polyps. S. aureus is known to induce type 2 cytokine release via enterotoxins. Objectives: To investigate the impact of non-enterotoxinproducing S. aureus on type 2 cytokine release. Methods: TSLP (thymic stromal lymphopoietin), IL-33, and type 2 cytokines were assessed in a human mucosal tissue model upon S. aureus infection. Measurements and Main Results: S. aureus exposure increased the expression of IL-33, TSLP, IL-5, and IL-13 in nasal polyp tissue, accompanied by elevated expression levels of TSLP and IL-33 receptors, predominantly on CD31 T cells. S. aureus infection led to the release of TSLP, but not IL-33, IL-5, or IL-13, from healthy inferior turbinate tissue. In contrast, S. epidermidis did not induce any epithelial cell-derived cytokines in nasal polyp or healthy tissue. S. aureus infection also increased the release of IL-33 and TSLP in BEAS-2B epithelial cells, accompanied by activation ofNF-κB (nuclear factor kB) pathways. Incubation with CU-CPT22, a specific Toll-like receptor 2 antagonist, significantly reduced the S. aureus-induced release of TSLP and IL-33, and the activity of theNF-κB signal in BEAS-2B cells. Conclusions: This study demonstrates for the first time that S. aureus can directly induce epithelial cell-derived cytokine release via binding to Toll-like receptor 2, and may thereby propagate type 2 cytokine expression in nasal polyp tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-463
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date16 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
  • IL-33
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Th2
  • Thymic stromal lymphopoietin

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


Dive into the research topics of 'Staphylococcus aureus induces a mucosal type 2 immune response via epithelial cell-derived cytokines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this