Divergent mucosal and systemic responses in children in response to acute otitis media

Authors


Summary

Acute otitis media (AOM), induced by respiratory bacteria, is a significant cause of children seeking medical attention worldwide. Some children are highly prone to AOMs, suffering three to four recurrent infections per year (prone). We previously determined that this population of children could have diminished anti-bacterial immune responses in peripheral blood that could fail to limit bacterial colonization in the nasopharynx (NP). Here, we examined local NP and middle ear (ME) responses and compared them to peripheral blood to examine whether the mucosa responses were similar to the peripheral blood responses. Moreover, we examined differences in effector cytokine responses between these two populations in the NP, ME and blood compartments at the onset of an AOM caused by either Streptococcus pneumoniae or non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae. We found that plasma effector cytokines patterned antigen-recall responses of CD4 T cells, with lower responses detected in prone children. ME cytokine levels did not mirror blood, but were more similar to the NP. Interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in the NP were similar in prone and non-prone children, while IL-2 production was higher in prone children. The immune responses diverged in the mucosal and blood compartments at the onset of a bacterial ME infection, thus highlighting differences between local and systemic immune responses that could co-ordinate anti-bacterial immune responses in young children.

Ancillary