EAE is a mouse T cell–mediated autoimmune disease of the CNS used to model the human condition MS. The contributions of B cells to EAE initiation and progression are unclear. In this study, we have shown that EAE disease initiation and progression are differentially influenced by the depletion of B cells from mice with otherwise intact immune systems. CD20 antibody–mediated B cell depletion before EAE induction substantially exacerbated disease symptoms and increased encephalitogenic T cell influx into the CNS. Increased symptom severity resulted from the depletion of a rare IL-10–producing CD1dhiCD5+ regulatory B cell subset (B10 cells), since the adoptive transfer of splenic B10 cells before EAE induction normalized EAE in B cell–depleted mice. While transfer of regulatory B10 cells was maximally effective during early EAE initiation, they had no obvious role during disease progression. Rather, B cell depletion during EAE disease progression dramatically suppressed symptoms. Specifically, B cells were required for the generation of CD4+ T cells specific for CNS autoantigen and the entry of encephalitogenic T cells into the CNS during disease progression. These results demonstrate reciprocal regulatory roles for B cells during EAE immunopathogenesis. The therapeutic effect of B cell depletion for the treatment of autoimmunity may therefore depend on the relative contributions and the timing of these opposing B cell activities during the course of disease initiation and pathogenesis.
Takashi Matsushita, Koichi Yanaba, Jean-David Bouaziz, Manabu Fujimoto, Thomas F. Tedder
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in demyelination in the central nervous system, and a defect in the regulatory function of CD4+CD25high T cells has been implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease. Here, we reanalyzed the function of this T cell subset in patients with MS, but we depleted cells expressing IL-7 receptor α-chain (CD127), a marker recently described as present on activated T cells but not Tregs. Similar to other studies, we observed a marked defect in the suppressive function of unseparated CD4+CD25high T cells isolated from MS patients. However, when CD127high cells were removed from the CD4+CD25high population, patient and control cells inhibited T cell proliferation and cytokine production equally. Likewise, when the CD25 gate used to sort the cells was stringent enough to eliminate CD127high cells, CD4+CD25high T cells from patients with MS and healthy individuals had similar regulatory function. Additional analysis indicated that the CD127high cells within the CD4+CD25high T cell population from patients with MS appeared more proliferative and secreted more IFN-γ and IL-2 than the same cells from healthy individuals. Taken together, we conclude that CD4+CD25highCD127low Tregs from MS patients and healthy individuals exhibit similar suppressive functions. The decreased inhibitory function of unfractioned CD4+CD25high cells previously observed might be due to abnormal activation of CD127high T cells in patients with MS.
Laure Michel, Laureline Berthelot, Ségolène Pettré, Sandrine Wiertlewski, Fabienne Lefrère, Cécile Braudeau, Sophie Brouard, Jean-Paul Soulillou, David-Axel Laplaud
Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in AIRE cause autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1 (APS 1), which manifests in a classic triad of hypoparathyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, and candidiasis. Interestingly, a kindred with a specific G228W AIRE variant presented with an autosomal dominant autoimmune phenotype distinct from APS 1. We utilized a novel G228W-knockin mouse model to show that this variant acted in a dominant-negative manner to cause a unique autoimmunity syndrome. In addition, the expression of a large number of Aire-regulated thymic antigens was partially inhibited in these animals, demonstrating the importance of quantitative changes in thymic antigen expression in determining organ-specific autoimmunity. Furthermore, the dominant-negative effect of the G228W variant was exerted through recruitment of WT Aire away from active sites of transcription in the nucleus of medullary thymic epithelial cells in vivo. Together, these results may demonstrate a mechanism by which autoimmune predisposition to phenotypes distinct from APS 1 can be mediated in a dominant-negative fashion by Aire.
Maureen A. Su, Karen Giang, Kristina Žumer, Huimin Jiang, Irena Oven, John L. Rinn, Jason J. DeVoss, Kellsey P.A. Johannes, Wen Lu, James Gardner, Angela Chang, Paula Bubulya, Howard Y. Chang, B. Matija Peterlin, Mark S. Anderson
IFN-β, a type I IFN, is widely used for the treatment of MS. However, the mechanisms behind its therapeutic efficacy are not well understood. Using a murine model of MS, EAE, we demonstrate that the Th17-mediated development of autoimmune disease is constrained by Toll–IL-1 receptor domain–containing adaptor inducing IFN-β–dependent (TRIF-dependent) type I IFN production and its downstream signaling pathway. Mice with defects in TRIF or type I IFN receptor (IFNAR) developed more severe EAE. Notably, these mice exhibited marked CNS inflammation, as manifested by increased IL-17 production. In addition, IFNAR-dependent signaling events were essential for negatively regulating Th17 development. Finally, IFN-β–mediated IL-27 production by innate immune cells was critical for the immunoregulatory role of IFN-β in the CNS autoimmune disease. Together, our findings not only may provide a molecular mechanism for the clinical benefits of IFN-β in MS but also demonstrate a regulatory role for type I IFN induction and its downstream signaling pathways in limiting Th17 development and autoimmune inflammation.
Beichu Guo, Elmer Y. Chang, Genhong Cheng
A hallmark of SLE is the production of high-titer, high-affinity, isotype-switched IgG autoantibodies directed against nucleic acid–associated antigens. Several studies have established a role for both type I IFN (IFN-I) and the activation of TLRs by nucleic acid–associated autoantigens in the pathogenesis of this disease. Here, we demonstrate that 2 IFN-I signaling molecules, IFN regulatory factor 9 (IRF9) and STAT1, were required for the production of IgG autoantibodies in the pristane-induced mouse model of SLE. In addition, levels of IgM autoantibodies were increased in pristane-treated Irf9–/– mice, suggesting that IRF9 plays a role in isotype switching in response to self antigens. Upregulation of TLR7 by IFN-α was greatly reduced in Irf9–/– and Stat1–/– B cells. Irf9–/– B cells were incapable of being activated through TLR7, and Stat1–/– B cells were impaired in activation through both TLR7 and TLR9. These data may reveal a novel role for IFN-I signaling molecules in both TLR-specific B cell responses and production of IgG autoantibodies directed against nucleic acid–associated autoantigens. Our results suggest that IFN-I is upstream of TLR signaling in the activation of autoreactive B cells in SLE.
Donna L. Thibault, Alvina D. Chu, Kareem L. Graham, Imelda Balboni, Lowen Y. Lee, Cassidy Kohlmoos, Angela Landrigan, John P. Higgins, Robert Tibshirani, Paul J. Utz
The precise roles of B cells in promoting the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes remain undefined. Here, we demonstrate that B cell depletion in mice can prevent or delay diabetes, reverse diabetes after frank hyperglycemia, and lead to the development of cells that suppress disease. To determine the efficacy and potential mechanism of therapeutic B cell depletion, we generated a transgenic NOD mouse expressing human CD20 (hCD20) on B cells. A single cycle of treatment with an antibody specific for hCD20 temporarily depleted B cells and significantly delayed and/or reduced the onset of diabetes. Furthermore, disease established to the point of clinical hyperglycemia could be reversed in over one-third of diabetic mice. Why B cell depletion is therapeutic for a variety of autoimmune diseases is unclear, although effects on antibodies, cytokines, and antigen presentation to T cells are thought to be important. In B cell–depleted NOD mice, we identified what we believe is a novel mechanism by which B cell depletion may lead to long-term remission through expansion of Tregs and regulatory B cells. Our results demonstrate clinical efficacy even in established disease and identify mechanisms for therapeutic action that will guide design and evaluation of parallel studies in patients.
Chang-yun Hu, Daniel Rodriguez-Pinto, Wei Du, Anupama Ahuja, Octavian Henegariu, F. Susan Wong, Mark J. Shlomchik, Li Wen
TLRs may contribute to the progression of rheumatoid arthritis through recognition of microbial or host-derived ligands found in arthritic joints. Here, we show that TLR2 and TLR4, but not TLR9, are involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis and play distinct roles in the regulation of T cells and cytokines. We investigated the involvement of TLR2, TLR4, and TLR9 in the progression of arthritis using IL-1 receptor antagonist–knockout (IL1rn–/–) mice, which spontaneously develop an autoimmune T cell–mediated arthritis. Spontaneous onset of arthritis was dependent on TLR activation by microbial flora, as germ-free mice did not develop arthritis. Clinical and histopathological evaluation of IL1rn–/–Tlr2–/– mice revealed more severe arthritis, characterized by reduced suppressive function of Tregs and substantially increased IFN-γ production by T cells. IL1rn–/–Tlr4–/– mice were, in contrast, protected against severe arthritis and had markedly lower numbers of Th17 cells and a reduced capacity to produce IL-17. A lack of Tlr9 did not affect the progression of arthritis. While any therapeutic intervention targeting TLR2 still seems complicated, the strict position of TLR4 upstream of a number of pathogenic cytokines including IL-17 provides an interesting potential therapeutic target for rheumatoid arthritis.
Shahla Abdollahi-Roodsaz, Leo A.B. Joosten, Marije I. Koenders, Isabel Devesa, Mieke F. Roelofs, Timothy R.D.J. Radstake, Marleen Heuvelmans-Jacobs, Shizuo Akira, Martin J.H. Nicklin, Fátima Ribeiro-Dias, Wim B. van den Berg
Autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model for multiple sclerosis, is characterized by the activation of immune cells, demyelination of axons in the CNS, and paralysis. We found that TGF-β1 synthesis in glial cells and TGF-β–induced signaling in the CNS were activated several days before the onset of paralysis in mice with autoimmune encephalomyelitis. While early production of TGF-β1 was observed in glial cells TGF-β signaling was activated in neurons and later in infiltrating T cells in inflammatory lesions. Systemic treatment with a pharmacological inhibitor of TGF-β signaling ameliorated the paralytic disease and reduced the accumulation of pathogenic T cells and expression of IL-6 in the CNS. Priming of peripheral T cells was not altered, nor was the generation of TH17 cells, indicating that this effect was directed within the brain, yet affected the immune system. These results suggest that early production of TGF-β1 in the CNS creates a permissive and dangerous environment for the initiation of autoimmune inflammation, providing a rare example of the brain modulating the immune system. Importantly, inhibition of TGF-β signaling may have benefits in the treatment of the acute phase of autoimmune CNS inflammation.
Jian Luo, Peggy P. Ho, Marion S. Buckwalter, Tiffany Hsu, Lowen Y. Lee, Hui Zhang, Dae-Kee Kim, Seong-Jin Kim, Sanjiv S. Gambhir, Lawrence Steinman, Tony Wyss-Coray
Histamine receptor H1 (H1R) is a susceptibility gene in both experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and experimental autoimmune orchitis (EAO), 2 classical T cell–mediated models of organ-specific autoimmune disease. Here we showed that expression of H1R in naive CD4+ T cells was required for maximal IFN-γ production but was dispensable for proliferation. Moreover, H1R signaling at the time of TCR ligation was required for activation of p38 MAPK, a known regulator of IFN-γ expression. Importantly, selective reexpression of H1R in CD4+ T cells fully complemented both the IFN-γ production and the EAE susceptibility of H1R-deficient mice. These data suggest that the presence of H1R in CD4+ T cells and its interaction with histamine regulates early TCR signals that lead to Th1 differentiation and autoimmune disease.
Rajkumar Noubade, Graeme Milligan, James F. Zachary, Elizabeth P. Blankenhorn, Roxana del Rio, Mercedes Rincon, Cory Teuscher
Reduced capacity to produce ROS increases the severity of T cell–dependent arthritis in both mice and rats with polymorphisms in neutrophil cytosolic factor 1 (Ncf1) (p47phox). Since T cells cannot exert oxidative burst, we hypothesized that T cell responsiveness is downregulated by ROS produced by APCs. Macrophages have the highest burst capacity among APCs, so to study the effect of macrophage ROS on T cell activation, we developed transgenic mice expressing functional Ncf1 restricted to macrophages. Macrophage-restricted expression of functional Ncf1 restored arthritis resistance to the level of that of wild-type mice in a collagen-induced arthritis model but not in a T cell–independent anti-collagen antibody–induced arthritis model. T cell activation was downregulated and skewed toward Th2 in transgenic mice. In vitro, IL-2 production and T cell proliferation were suppressed by macrophage ROS, irrespective of T cell origin. IFN-γ production, however, was independent of macrophage ROS but dependent on T cell origin. These effects were antigen dependent but not restricted to collagen type II. In conclusion, macrophage-derived ROS play a role in T cell selection, maturation, and differentiation, and also a suppressive role in T cell activation, and thereby mediate protection against autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
Kyra A. Gelderman, Malin Hultqvist, Angela Pizzolla, Ming Zhao, Kutty Selva Nandakumar, Ragnar Mattsson, Rikard Holmdahl
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