The progression of immune responses is generally associated with an increase in the overall avidity of antigen-specific T cell populations for peptide-MHC. This is thought to result from preferential expansion of high-avidity clonotypes at the expense of their low-avidity counterparts. Since T cell antigen-receptor genes do not mutate, it is puzzling that high-avidity clonotypes do not predominate from the outset. Here we provide a developmental basis for this phenomenon in the context of autoimmunity. We have carried out comprehensive studies of the diabetogenic CD8+ T cell population that targets residues 206–214 of the β cell antigen islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit–related protein (IGRP206–214) and undergoes avidity maturation as disease progresses. We find that the succession of IGRP206–214–specific clonotypes with increasing avidities during the progression of islet inflammation to overt diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice is fueled by autoimmune inflammation but opposed by systemic tolerance. As expected, naive high-avidity IGRP206–214–specific T cells respond more efficiently to antigen and are significantly more diabetogenic than their intermediate- or low-avidity counterparts. However, central and peripheral tolerance selectively limit the contribution of these high-avidity T cells to the earliest stages of disease without abrogating their ability to progressively accumulate in inflamed islets and kill β cells. These results illustrate the way in which incomplete deletion of autoreactive T cell populations of relatively high avidity can contribute to the development of pathogenic autoimmunity in the periphery.
Bingye Han, Pau Serra, Jun Yamanouchi, Abdelaziz Amrani, John F. Elliott, Peter Dickie, Teresa P. DiLorenzo, Pere Santamaria
Osteopontin (OPN) is an extracellular matrix protein of pleiotropic properties and has been recently recognized as a potential inflammatory cytokine. In this study, we demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, that overexpression of OPN in synovial T cells is associated with local inflammatory milieu and that OPN acts as an important mediator in amplification and perpetuation of rheumatoid synovitis. The study revealed that mRNA expression of OPN was highly elevated in CD4+ synovial T cells derived from patients with RA, which correlated with increased OPN concentrations in synovial fluid (SF). The pattern of OPN overexpression was confined to rheumatoid synovium and correlated with coexpression of selected OPN receptors in synovial T cells, including integrins αv and β1 and CD44. RA-derived SF stimulated the expression of OPN in T cells, which was attributable to IL-10 present in SF and abrogated by anti–IL-10 antibody. Among the more than 300 autoimmune and inflammatory response genes examined, OPN selectively induced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines known to promote migration and recruitment of inflammatory cells. Furthermore, it was evident that OPN activated transcription factor NF-κB in mononuclear cells. The study has important implications for understanding the role of OPN in rheumatoid synovitis and other inflammatory conditions.
Guangwu Xu, Hong Nie, Ningli Li, Wenxin Zheng, Dongqing Zhang, Guozhang Feng, Liqing Ni, Rong Xu, Jian Hong, Jingwu Z. Zhang
Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA) is a subepidermal blistering disorder associated with tissue-bound and circulating autoantibodies specific to type VII collagen, a major constituent of the dermal-epidermal junction. Previous attempts to transfer the disease by injection of patient autoantibodies into mice have been unsuccessful. To study the pathogenic relevance of antibodies specific to type VII collagen in vivo, we generated and characterized rabbit antibodies specific to a murine form of this antigen and passively transferred them into adult nude, BALB/c, and C57BL/6 mice. Immune rabbit IgG bound to the lamina densa of murine skin and immunoblotted type VII collagen. Mice injected with purified IgG specific to type VII collagen, in contrast to control mice, developed subepidermal skin blisters, reproducing the human disease at the clinical, histological, electron microscopical, and immunopathological levels. Titers of rabbit IgG in the serum of mice correlated with the extent of the disease. F(ab′)2 fragments of rabbit IgG specific to type VII collagen were not pathogenic. When injected into C5-deficient mice, antibodies specific to type VII collagen failed to induce the disease, whereas C5-sufficient mice were susceptible to blister induction. This animal model for EBA should facilitate further dissection of the pathogenesis of this disease and development of new therapeutic strategies.
Cassian Sitaru, Sidonia Mihai, Christoph Otto, Mircea T. Chiriac, Ingrid Hausser, Barbara Dotterweich, Hitoshi Saito, Christian Rose, Akira Ishiko, Detlef Zillikens
Extracellular proteolysis by the plasminogen/plasmin (Plg/plasmin) system and MMPs is required for tissue injury in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. We demonstrate that a Plg cascade synergizes with MMP-9/gelatinase B in vivo during dermal-epidermal separation in an experimental model of bullous pemphigoid (BP), an autoimmune disease. BP was induced in mice by antibodies to the hemidesmosomal antigen BP180. Mice deficient in MMP-9 were resistant to experimental BP, while mice deficient in Plg and both tissue Plg activator (tPA) and urokinase Plg activator (uPA) showed delayed and less intense blister formation induced by antibodies to BP180. Plg-deficient mice reconstituted locally with Plg or the active form of MMP-9 (actMMP-9), but not the proenzyme form of MMP-9 (proMMP-9), developed BP. In contrast, proMMP-9 or actMMP-9, but not Plg, reconstituted susceptibility of MMP-9–deficient mice to the skin disease. In addition, MMP-3–deficient mice injected with pathogenic IgG developed the same degree of BP and expressed levels of actMMP-9 in the skin similar to those of WT controls. Thus, the Plg/plasmin system is epistatic to MMP-9 activation and subsequent dermal-epidermal separation in BP.
Zhi Liu, Ning Li, Luis A. Diaz, Michael Shipley, Robert M. Senior, Zena Werb
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) T cells express high levels of cAMP response element modulator (CREM) that binds to the IL-2 promoter and represses the transcription of the IL-2 gene. This study was designed to identify pathways that lead to increased binding of CREM to the IL-2 promoter in SLE T cells. Ca2+/calmodulin–dependent kinase IV (CaMKIV) was found to be increased in the nucleus of SLE T cells and to be involved in the overexpression of CREM and its binding to the IL-2 promoter. Treatment of normal T cells with SLE serum resulted in increased expression of CREM protein, increased binding of CREM to the IL-2 promoter, and decreased IL-2 promoter activity and IL-2 production. This process was abolished when a dominant inactive form of CaMKIV was expressed in normal T cells. The effect of SLE serum resided within the IgG fraction and was specifically attributed to anti–TCR/CD3 autoantibodies. This study identifies CaMKIV as being responsible for the increased expression of CREM and the decreased production of IL-2 in SLE T cells and demonstrates that anti–TCR/CD3 antibodies present in SLE sera can account for the increased expression of CREM and the suppression of IL-2 production.
Yuang-Taung Juang, Ying Wang, Elena E. Solomou, Yansong Li, Christian Mawrin, Klaus Tenbrock, Vasileios C. Kyttaris, George C. Tsokos
Herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM), a TNF receptor superfamily member, has been previously described as a T cell costimulatory receptor. Surprisingly, HVEM–/– T cells showed enhanced responses to in vitro concanavalin A (ConA) stimulation when compared with WT T cells. Consistent with these findings, HVEM–/– mice exhibited increased morbidity and mortality as compared with WT mice in a model of ConA-mediated T cell–dependent autoimmune hepatitis. HVEM–/– mice produced higher levels of multiple cytokines, which were dependent on the presence of CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, HVEM–/– mice were more susceptible to MOG peptide–induced experimental autoimmune encephalopathy, and they showed increased T cell proliferation and cytokine production in response to antigen-specific challenge. Taken together, our data revealed an unexpected regulatory role of HVEM in T cell–mediated immune responses and autoimmune diseases.
Yang Wang, Sumit K. Subudhi, Robert A. Anders, James Lo, Yonglian Sun, Sarah Blink, Yugang Wang, Jing Wang, Xiaojuan Liu, Karin Mink, Daniel Degrandi, Klaus Pfeffer, Yang-Xin Fu
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by pathogenic autoantibodies against nucleoproteins and DNA. Here we show that DNA-containing immune complexes (ICs) within lupus serum (SLE-ICs), but not protein-containing ICs from other autoimmune rheumatic diseases, stimulates plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) to produce cytokines and chemokines via a cooperative interaction between Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and FcγRIIa (CD32). SLE-ICs transiently colocalized to a subcellular compartment containing CD32 and TLR9, and CD32+, but not CD32–, PDCs internalized and responded to SLE-ICs. Our findings demonstrate a novel functional interaction between Fc receptors and TLRs, defining a pathway in which CD32 delivers SLE-ICs to intracellular lysosomes containing TLR9, inducing a signaling cascade leading to PDC activation. These data demonstrate that endogenous DNA-containing autoantibody complexes found in the serum of patients with SLE activate the innate immune system and suggest a novel mechanism whereby these ICs contribute to the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease.
Terry K. Means, Eicke Latz, Fumitaka Hayashi, Mandakolathur R. Murali, Douglas T. Golenbock, Andrew D. Luster
We document here that infection of prediabetic mice with a virus expressing an H-2Kb–restricted mimic ligand to a self epitope present on β cells accelerates the development of autoimmune diabetes. Immunization with the mimic ligand expanded autoreactive T cell populations, which was followed by their trafficking to the islets, as visualized in situ by tetramer staining. In contrast, the mimic ligand did not generate sufficient autoreactive T cells in naive mice to initiate disease. Diabetes acceleration did not occur in H-2Kb–deficient mice or in mice tolerized to the mimic ligand. Thus, arenavirus-expressed mimics of self antigens accelerate a previously established autoimmune process. Sequential heterologous viral infections might therefore act in concert to precipitate clinical autoimmune disease, even if single exposure to a viral mimic does not always cause sufficient tissue destruction.
Urs Christen, Kurt H. Edelmann, Dorian B. McGavern, Tom Wolfe, Bryan Coon, Meghann K. Teague, Stephen D. Miller, Michael B.A. Oldstone, Matthias G. von Herrath
The development of autoimmune diabetes in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse results from a breakdown in tolerance to pancreatic islet antigens. CD28-B7 and CD40 ligand–CD40 (CD40L-CD40) costimulatory pathways affect the development of disease and are promising therapeutic targets. Indeed, it was shown previously that diabetes fails to develop in NOD–B7-2–/– and NOD-CD40L–/– mice. In this study, we examined the relative role of these 2 costimulatory pathways in the balance of autoimmunity versus regulation in NOD mice. We demonstrate that initiation but not effector function of autoreactive T cells was defective in NOD–B7-2–/– mice. Moreover, the residual proliferation of the autoreactive cells was effectively controlled by CD28-dependent CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg’s), as depletion of Treg’s partially restored proliferation of autoreactive T cells and resulted in diabetes in an adoptive-transfer model. Similarly, disruption of the CD28-B7 pathway and subsequent Treg deletion restored autoimmunity in NOD-CD40L–/– mice. These results demonstrate that development of diabetes is dependent on a balance of pathogenic and regulatory T cells that is controlled by costimulatory signals. Thus, elimination of Treg’s results in diabetes even in the absence of costimulation, which suggests a need for alternative strategies for immunotherapeutic approaches.
Hélène Bour-Jordan, Benoît L. Salomon, Heather L. Thompson, Gregory L. Szot, Matthew R. Bernhard, Jeffrey A. Bluestone
Anti-C1q autoantibodies are present in sera of patients with several autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Strikingly, in SLE the presence of anti-C1q is associated with the occurrence of nephritis. We have generated mouse anti–mouse C1q mAb’s and used murine models to investigate whether anti-C1q autoantibodies actually contribute to renal pathology in glomerular immune complex disease. Administration of anti-C1q mAb JL-1, which recognizes the collagen-like region of C1q, resulted in glomerular deposition of C1q and anti-C1q autoantibodies and mild granulocyte influx, but no overt renal damage. However, combination of JL-1 with a subnephritogenic dose of C1q-fixing anti–glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibodies enhanced renal damage characterized by persistently increased levels of infiltrating granulocytes, major histological changes, and increased albuminuria. This was not observed when a non–C1q-fixing anti-GBM preparation was used. Experiments with different knockout mice showed that renal damage was dependent not only on glomerular C1q and complement activation but also on Fcγ receptors. In conclusion, anti-C1q autoantibodies deposit in glomeruli together with C1q but induce overt renal disease only in the context of glomerular immune complex disease. This provides an explanation why anti-C1q antibodies are especially pathogenic in patients with SLE.
Leendert A. Trouw, Tom W.L. Groeneveld, Marc A. Seelen, Jacques M.G.J. Duijs, Ingeborg M. Bajema, Frans A. Prins, Uday Kishore, David J. Salant, J. Sjef Verbeek, Cees van Kooten, Mohamed R. Daha
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