Peptide MHC class II–based (pMHCII-based) nanomedicines trigger the formation of multicellular regulatory networks by reprogramming autoantigen-experienced CD4+ T cells into autoimmune disease–suppressing T regulatory type 1 (TR1) cells. We have shown that pMHCII-based nanomedicines displaying liver autoimmune disease–relevant yet ubiquitously expressed antigens can blunt various liver autoimmune disorders in a non–disease-specific manner without suppressing local or systemic immunity against infectious agents or cancer. Here, we show that such ubiquitous autoantigen-specific T cells are also awakened by extrahepatic tissue damage and that the corresponding TR1 progeny can suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and pancreatic β cell autoreactivity. In mice having EAE, nanomedicines displaying either ubiquitous or CNS-specific epitopes triggered the formation and expansion of cognate TR1 cells and their recruitment to the CNS-draining lymph nodes, sparing their liver-draining counterparts. Surprisingly, in mice having both liver autoimmunity and EAE, liver inflammation sequestered these ubiquitous or even CNS-specific TR1 cells away from the CNS, abrogating their antiencephalitogenic activity. In these mice, only the ubiquitous antigen-specific TR1 cells suppressed liver autoimmunity. Thus, the scope of antigen spreading in autoimmune disorders is larger than previously anticipated, involving specificities expected to be silenced by mechanisms of tolerance; the regulatory activity, but not the retention of autoreactive TR1 cells, requires local autoantigen expression.
Channakeshava Sokke Umeshappa, Jacques Mbongue, Santiswarup Singha, Saswat Mohapatra, Jun Yamanouchi, Justin A. Lee, Roopa Hebbandi Nanjundappa, Kun Shao, Urs Christen, Yang Yang, Kristofor K. Ellestad, Pere Santamaria