Host-commensal interactions are critical for the generation of robust inflammatory responses, yet the mechanisms leading to this effect remain poorly understood. Using a murine model of cytokine storm, we identified that host microbiota are required to sustain systemic TLR-driven immune responses. Mice treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics or raised in germ-free conditions responded normally to an initial TLR signal but failed to sustain production of proinflammatory cytokines following administration of repeated TLR signals in vivo. Mechanistically, host microbiota primed JAK signaling in myeloid progenitors to promote TLR-enhanced myelopoiesis, which is required for the accumulation of TLR-responsive monocytes. In the absence of TLR-enhanced monocytopoiesis, antibiotic-treated mice lost their ability to respond to repeated TLR stimuli and were protected from cytokine storm–induced immunopathology. These data reveal priming of TLR-enhanced myelopoiesis as a microbiota-dependent mechanism that regulates systemic inflammatory responses and highlight a role for host commensals in the pathogenesis of cytokine storm syndromes.


Lehn K. Weaver, Danielle Minichino, Chhanda Biswas, Niansheng Chu, Jung-Jin Lee, Kyle Bittinger, Sabrin Albeituni, Kim E. Nichols, Edward M. Behrens


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