Cytokine induction is often critical for the host defense during acute immune responses while, if not tightly regulated, it may cause an immunological pathology coincident with tissue damage. Despite the fact that gram-positive bacterial infection has become increasingly prevalent, immune modulation induced by lipoteichoic acid (LTA), the major cell wall component of gram-positive bacteria has not been studied thoroughly at the cellular level. In the current study, tolerance induction in mouse bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) treated with single or repeated stimulation of Staphylococcus aureus LTA was compared with those of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The results showed that repeated LTA stimulation significantly suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-α and IL-6) production in BMDCs, comparable to that of LPS, but with less extent, down-regulated IL-10 and enhanced the inhibitory molecule, LAG-3-associated protein (LAP). Furthermore, we observed a sustained expression of unique negative regulators, Toll interacting protein (TOLLIP) and Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), in BMDCs treated with LTA.
A transient hyporesponsiveness period appeared when DCs were treated repeatedly with LTA or LPS showing a distinctive pattern. Intriguingly, LPS exposure induced cross tolerance to LTA while LTA exposure did not to LPS, implicating that a distinct signaling components are involved in response to LTA. Collectively, a distinct immune regulation appeared to be responsible for the LPS- and LTA-induced tolerance on cytokine production, expression of surface markers and intracellular proteins.