Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease whose pathogenesis is poorly understood and lacks effective therapies. We undertook quantitative analyses of T cell infiltrates in the skin of thirty-five untreated patients with early diffuse SSc and here show that CD4+ cytotoxic T cells and CD8+ T cells contribute prominently to these infiltrates. We also observed an accumulation of apoptotic cells in SSc tissues, suggesting that recurring cell death may contribute to tissue damage and remodeling in this fibrotic disease. HLA-DR expressing endothelial cells were frequent targets of apoptosis in SSc, consistent with the prominent vasculopathy seen in patients with this disease. A circulating effector population of cytotoxic CD4+ T cells, which exhibited signatures of enhanced metabolic activity, was clonally expanded in systemic sclerosis patients. These data suggest that cytotoxic T cells may induce the apoptotic death of endothelial and other cells in systemic sclerosis. Cell loss driven by immune cells may be followed by overly exuberant tissue repair processes that lead to fibrosis and tissue dysfunction..
Takashi Maehara, Naoki Kaneko, Cory Adam Perugino, Hamid Mattoo, Jesper Kers, Hugues Allard-Chamard, Vinay S. Mahajan, Hang Liu, Samuel J.H. Murphy, Musie Ghebremichael, David A. Fox, Aimee S. Payne, Robert Lafyatis, John H. Stone, Dinesh Khanna, Shiv Pillai
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is initially triggered by alloreactive T cells, which damage peripheral tissues and lymphoid organs. Subsequent transition to chronic GVHD involves the emergence of autoimmunity although the underlying mechanisms driving this process are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute GVHD blocks peripheral tolerance of autoreactive T cells by impairing lymph node (LN) display of peripheral tissue-restricted antigens (PTA). At the initiation of GVHD, LN fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC) rapidly reduced expression of genes regulated by DEAF1, an Autoimmune Regulator-like transcription factor required for intra-nodal expression of PTA. Subsequently, GVHD led to the selective elimination of the FRC population, and blocked the repair pathways required for its regeneration. We used a transgenic mouse model to show that the loss of presentation of an intestinal PTA by FRC during GVHD resulted in the activation of auto-aggressive T cells and gut injury. Finally, we show that FRC normally expressed a unique PTA gene signature that was highly enriched for genes expressed in the target organs affected by chronic GVHD. In conclusion, acute GVHD damages and prevents repair of the FRC network, thus disabling an essential platform for purging auto-reactive T cells from the repertoire.
Simone Dertschnig, Pamela Evans, Pedro Santos e Sousa, Teresa Manzo, Ivana R. Ferrer, Hans J. Stauss, Clare L. Bennett, Ronjon Chakraverty
Although most patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) retain some functional insulin-producing islet β cells at the time of diagnosis, the rate of further β cell loss varies across individuals. It is not clear what drives this differential progression rate. CD8+ T cells have been implicated in the autoimmune destruction of β cells. Here, we addressed whether the phenotype and function of autoreactive CD8+ T cells influence disease progression. We identified islet-specific CD8+ T cells using high-content, single-cell mass cytometry in combination with peptide-loaded MHC tetramer staining. We applied a new analytical method, DISCOV-R, to characterize these rare subsets. Autoreactive T cells were phenotypically heterogeneous, and their phenotype differed by rate of disease progression. Activated islet-specific CD8+ memory T cells were prevalent in subjects with T1D who experienced rapid loss of C-peptide; in contrast, slow disease progression was associated with an exhaustion-like profile, with expression of multiple inhibitory receptors, limited cytokine production, and reduced proliferative capacity. This relationship between properties of autoreactive CD8+ T cells and the rate of T1D disease progression after onset make these phenotypes attractive putative biomarkers of disease trajectory and treatment response and reveal potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
Alice E. Wiedeman, Virginia S. Muir, Mario G. Rosasco, Hannah A. DeBerg, Scott Presnell, Bertrand Haas, Matthew J. Dufort, Cate Speake, Carla J. Greenbaum, Elisavet Serti, Gerald T. Nepom, Gabriele Blahnik, Anna M. Kus, Eddie A. James, Peter S. Linsley, S. Alice Long
Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) are crucial for responses to infections and tissue damage, however, their role in autoimmunity is less clear. Herein we demonstrate that two C-type lectin receptors (CLRs), Mcl and Mincle, play an important role in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Congenic rats expressing lower levels of Mcl and Mincle on myeloid cells exhibited a drastic reduction in EAE incidence. In vivo silencing of Mcl and Mincle or blockade of their endogenous ligand SAP130 revealed that receptors expression in the central nervous system is crucial for the T cell recruitment and reactivation into a pathogenic Th17/GM-CSF phenotype. Consistent with this, we uncovered MCL/MINCLE-expressing cells in brain lesions of MS patients and we further found an upregulation of the MCL/MINCLE signaling pathway and an increased response following MCL/MINCLE stimulation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from MS patients. Together these data support a role for CLRs in autoimmunity and implicate the MCL/MINCLE pathway as a potential therapeutic target in MS.
Marie N'diaye, Susanna Brauner, Sevasti Flytzani, Lara Kular, Andreas Warnecke, Milena Z. Adzemovic, Eliane Piket, Jin-Hong Min, Will Edwards, Filia Mela, Hoi Ying Choi, Vera Magg, Tojo James, Magdalena Linden, Holger M. Reichardt, Michael R. Daws, Jack van Horssen, Ingrid Kockum, Robert A. Harris, Tomas Olsson, Andre O. Guerreiro-Cacais, Maja Jagodic
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of axial inflammation. Over time, some patients develop spinal ankylosis and permanent disability; however, current treatment strategies cannot arrest syndesmophyte formation completely. Here, we used mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from AS patients (AS MSCs) within the enthesis involved in spinal ankylosis to delineate that the HLA-B27–mediated spliced X-box–binding protein 1 (sXBP1)/retinoic acid receptor-β (RARB)/tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) axis accelerated the mineralization of AS MSCs, which was independent of Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2). An animal model mimicking AS pathological bony appositions was established by implantation of AS MSCs into the lumbar spine of NOD-SCID mice. We found that TNAP inhibitors, including levamisole and pamidronate, inhibited AS MSC mineralization in vitro and blocked bony appositions in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the serum bone-specific TNAP (BAP) level was a potential prognostic biomarker to predict AS patients with a high risk for radiographic progression. Our study highlights the importance of the HLA-B27–mediated activation of the sXBP1/RARB/TNAP axis in AS syndesmophyte pathogenesis and provides a new strategy for the diagnosis and prevention of radiographic progression of AS.
Chin-Hsiu Liu, Sengupta Raj, Chun-Hsiung Chen, Kuo-Hsuan Hung, Chung-Tei Chou, Ing-Ho Chen, Jui-Teng Chien, I-Ying Lin, Shii-Yi Yang, Takashi Angata, Wen-Chan Tsai, James Cheng-Chung Wei, I-Shiang Tzeng, Shih-Chieh Hung, Kuo-I Lin
While the impact of T helper 17 (Th17) cells in autoimmunity is undisputable, their pathogenic effector mechanism is still enigmatic. We have discovered SNARE complex proteins in Th17 cells enabling a vesicular glutamate release pathway inducing local intracytoplasmic calcium release and subsequent damage in neurons. This pathway is glutamine dependent and triggered by binding of β1-integrin to VCAM-1 on neurons in inflammatory context. Glutamate secretion could be blocked by inhibiting either glutaminase or KV1.3 channels, known to be linked to integrin expression and highly expressed on stimulated T cells. While KV1.3 is not expressed in the CNS tissue, intrathecal administration of a KV1.3 channel blocker or a glutaminase inhibitor ameliorated disability in experimental neuroinflammation. In humans, T cells from multiple sclerosis patients secreted higher levels of glutamate, and cerebrospinal fluid glutamine levels were increased. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that β1-integrin- and KV1.3 channel-dependent signaling stimulates glutamate release from Th17 cells upon direct cell-cell contact between Th17 cells and neurons.
Katharina Birkner, Beatrice Wasser, Tobias Ruck, Carine Thalman, Dirk Luchtman, Katrin Pape, Samantha Schmaul, Lynn Bitar, Eva-Maria Krämer-Albers, Albrecht Stroh, Sven G. Meuth, Frauke Zipp, Stefan Bittner
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the CNS. Although CD4 T cells are implicated in MS pathogenesis and have been the main focus of MS research using the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), substantial evidence from patients with MS points to a role for CD8 T cells in disease pathogenesis. We previously showed that an MHC class I-restricted epitope of myelin basic protein (MBP) is presented in the CNS during CD4 T cell-initiated EAE. Here, we investigated whether naïve MBP-specific CD8 T cells recruited to the CNS during CD4 T cell-initiated EAE engaged in determinant-spreading and influenced disease. We found that the MBP-specific CD8 T cells exacerbated brain but not spinal cord inflammation. We show that a higher frequency of monocytes and monocyte-derived cells presented the MHC class I-restricted MBP ligand in the brain compared to the spinal cord. Infiltration of MBP-specific CD8 T cells enhanced ROS production in the brain only in these cell-types and only when the MBP-specific CD8 T cells expressed Fas ligand (FasL). These results suggest that myelin-specific CD8 T cells may contribute to disease pathogenesis via a FasL-dependent mechanism that preferentially promotes lesion formation in the brain.
Catriona A. Wagner, Pamela J. Roqué, Trevor R. Mileur, Denny Liggitt, Joan M. Goverman
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating autoimmune disease, in which hyperactive T cells play a critical role. Understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the T cell hyperactivity will lead to identification of specific therapeutic targets. Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor (SRSF)1 is an essential RNA-binding protein which controls posttranscriptional gene expression. We have demonstrated that SRSF1 levels are aberrantly decreased in T cells from SLE patients and correlate with severe disease, yet the role of SRSF1 in T cell physiology and autoimmune disease is largely unknown. Here we show that T cell-restricted Srsf1-deficient mice develop systemic autoimmunity and lupus-nephritis. Mice exhibit increased frequencies of activated/effector T cells producing proinflammatory cytokines, and an elevated T cell activation gene signature. Mechanistically, we noted increased activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and reduced expression of its repressor PTEN. The mTOR complex (mTORC)1 inhibitor rapamycin suppressed proinflammatory cytokine production by T cells and alleviated autoimmunity in Srsf1-deficient mice. Of direct clinical relevance, PTEN levels correlated with SRSF1 in T cells from SLE patients, and SRSF1 overexpression rescued PTEN, suppressed mTORC1 activation and proinflammatory cytokine production. Our studies reveal the role of a previously unrecognized molecule SRSF1 in restraining T cell activation and averting the development of autoimmune disease and a potential therapeutic target for lupus.
Takayuki Katsuyama, Hao Li, Denis Comte, George C. Tsokos, Vaishali R. Moulton
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a putative T cell–mediated autoimmune disease. As with many autoimmune diseases, females are more susceptible than males. Sexual dimorphisms may be due to differences in sex hormones, sex chromosomes, or both. Regarding sex chromosome genes, a small percentage of X chromosome genes escape X inactivation and have higher expression in females (XX) compared with males (XY). Here, high-throughput gene expression analysis in CD4+ T cells showed that the top sexually dimorphic gene was Kdm6a, a histone demethylase on the X chromosome. There was higher expression of Kdm6a in females compared with males in humans and mice, and the four core genotypes (FCG) mouse model showed higher expression in XX compared with XY. Deletion of Kdm6a in CD4+ T cells ameliorated clinical disease and reduced neuropathology in the classic CD4+ T cell–mediated autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Global transcriptome analysis in CD4+ T cells from EAE mice with a specific deletion of Kdm6a showed upregulation of Th2 and Th1 activation pathways and downregulation of neuroinflammation signaling pathways. Together, these data demonstrate that the X escapee Kdm6a regulates multiple immune response genes, providing a mechanism for sex differences in autoimmune disease susceptibility.
Yuichiro Itoh, Lisa C. Golden, Noriko Itoh, Macy Akiyo Matsukawa, Emily Ren, Vincent Tse, Arthur P. Arnold, Rhonda R. Voskuhl
Histone H3K27 demethylase, JMJD3 plays a critical role in gene expression and T-cell differentiation. However, the role and mechanisms of JMJD3 in T cell trafficking remain poorly understood. Here we show that JMJD3 deficiency in CD4+ T cells resulted in an accumulation of T cells in the thymus, and reduction of T cell number in the secondary lymphoid organs. We identified PDLIM4 as a significantly down-regulated target gene in JMJD3-deficient CD4+ T cells by gene profiling and ChIP-seq analyses. We further showed that PDLIM4 functioned as an adaptor protein to interact with S1P1 and filamentous actin (F-actin), thus serving as a key regulator of T cell trafficking. Mechanistically, JMJD3 bound to the promoter and gene body regions of Pdlim4 gene and regulated its expression by interacting with zinc finger transcription factor KLF2. Our findings have identified Pdlim4 as a JMJD3 target gene that affects T-cell trafficking by cooperating with S1P1, and provided insights into the molecular mechanisms by which JMJD3 regulates genes involved in T cell trafficking.
Chuntang Fu, Qingtian Li, Jia Zou, Changsheng Xing, Mei Luo, Bingnan Yin, Junjun Chu, Jiaming Yu, Xin Liu, Helen Y. Wang, Rong-Fu Wang
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