To detect and characterize autoreactive T cells in diabetes-prone NOD mice, we have developed a multimeric MHC reagent with high affinity for the BDC-2.5 T cell receptor, which is reactive against a pancreatic autoantigen. A distinct population of T cells is detected in NOD mice that recognizes the same MHC/peptide target. These T cells are positively selected in the thymus at a surprisingly high frequency and exported to the periphery. They are activated specifically in the pancreatic LNs, demonstrating an autoimmune specificity that recapitulates that of the BDC-2.5 cell. These phenomena are also observed in mouse lines that share with NOD the H-2g7 MHC haplotype but carry diabetes-resistance background genes. Thus, a susceptible haplotype at the MHC seems to be the only element required for the selection and emergence of autoreactive T cells, without requiring other diabetogenic loci from the NOD genome.
Thomas Stratmann, Natalia Martin-Orozco, Valérie Mallet-Designe, Laurent Poirot, Dorian McGavern, Grigoriy Losyev, Cathleen M. Dobbs, Michael B.A. Oldstone, Kenji Yoshida, Hitoshi Kikutani, Diane Mathis, Christophe Benoist, Kathryn Haskins, Luc Teyton
In studies using genetically deficient mice, a role for the lymphotoxin (LT) system in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) has remained controversial. Here, we have reassessed this conclusion by using a fusion protein decoy that blocks the LT pathway in vivo without evoking the developmental defects inherent in LT-deficient mice. We have found that inhibition of the LT pathway prevented disease in two models of EAE that do not rely on the administration of pertussis toxin. Surprisingly, disease attenuation was due to specific blockade of LTαβ binding rather than the binding of LIGHT to its receptors. In a third system that requires pertussis toxin, LT inhibition did not affect disease, as was observed when the same model was used with LT-deficient mice. Disease prevention in pertussis toxin–free models was associated with defects in T cell responses and migration. When the DO11.10 T cell transgenic system was used, inhibition of the LT pathway was shown to uncouple T cell priming from T cell recall responses. Therefore, it is hypothesized that the LT pathway and its ability to maintain lymphoid microenvironments is critical for sustaining late-phase T cell responses in multiple sclerosis.
Jennifer L. Gommerman, Keith Giza, Stuart Perper, Irene Sizing, Apinya Ngam-ek, Cheryl Nickerson-Nutter, Jeffrey L. Browning
We studied the immunological basis for the very potent encephalitogenicity of myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), a minor component of myelin in the CNS that is widely used to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). For this purpose, we generated a mutant mouse lacking a functional mog gene. This MOG-deficient mouse presents no clinical or histological abnormalities, permitting us to directly assess the role of MOG as a target autoantigen in EAE. In contrast to WT mice, which developed severe EAE following immunization with whole myelin, MOG-deficient mice had a mild phenotype, demonstrating that the anti-MOG response is a major pathogenic component of the autoimmune response directed against myelin. Moreover, while MOG transcripts are expressed in lymphoid organs in minute amounts, both MOG-deficient and WT mice show similar T and B cell responses against the extracellular domain of MOG, including the immunodominant MOG 35–55 T cell epitope. Furthermore, no differences in the fine specificity of the T cell responses to overlapping peptides covering the complete mouse MOG sequence were observed between MOG+/+ and MOG–/– mice. In addition, upon adoptive transfer, MOG-specific T cells from WT mice and those from MOG-deficient mice are equally pathogenic. This total lack of immune tolerance to MOG in WT C57BL/6 mice may be responsible for the high pathogenicity of the anti-MOG immune response as well as the high susceptibility of most animal strains to MOG-induced EAE.
Cécile Delarasse, Philippe Daubas, Lennart T. Mars, Csaba Vizler, Tobias Litzenburger, Antonio Iglesias, Jan Bauer, Bruno Della Gaspera, Anna Schubart, Laurence Decker, Dalia Dimitri, Guy Roussel, Andrée Dierich, Sandra Amor, André Dautigny, Roland Liblau, Danielle Pham-Dinh
Stepwise degradation of the invariant chain (Ii) is required for the binding of antigenic peptides to MHC class II molecules. Cathepsin (Cat) L in the murine thymus and Cat S in peripheral APCs have both been implicated in the last step of Ii degradation that gives rise to the class II–associated invariant chain peptides (CLIP). Cat V has been recently described as highly homologous to Cat L and exclusively expressed in human thymus and testis, but with no mouse orthologue. We report that Cat V is the dominant cysteine protease in cortical human thymic epithelial cells, while Cat L and Cat S seem to be restricted to dendritic and macrophage-like cells. Active Cat V in thymic lysosomal preparations was demonstrated by active-site labeling. Recombinant Cat V was capable of converting Ii into CLIP efficiently, suggesting that Cat V is the protease that controls the generation of αβ-CLIP complexes in the human thymus, in analogy to Cat L in mouse. Comparison of Cat V expression between thymi from patients with myasthenia gravis and healthy controls revealed a significantly higher expression level in the pathological samples, suggesting a potential involvement of this protease in the immunopathogenesis of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease almost invariably associated with thymic pathology.
Eva Tolosa, Weijie Li, Yoshiyuki Yasuda, Wolfgang Wienhold, Lisa K. Denzin, Alfred Lautwein, Christoph Driessen, Petra Schnorrer, Ekkehard Weber, Stefan Stevanovic, Raffael Kurek, Arthur Melms, Dieter Brömme
Graves disease, a common organ-specific autoimmune disease affecting humans, differs from all other autoimmune diseases in being associated with target organ hyperfunction rather than organ damage. Clinical thyrotoxicosis is directly caused by autoantibodies that activate the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR). The etiology of Graves disease is multifactorial, with nongenetic factors playing an important role. Of the latter, there is the intriguing possibility that the molecular structure of the target antigen contributes to the development of thyroid-stimulatory autoantibodies (TSAb’s). Among the glycoprotein hormone receptors, only the TSHR undergoes intramolecular cleavage into disulfide-linked subunits with consequent shedding of some of the extracellular, autoantibody-binding A subunits. Functional autoantibodies do not arise to the noncleaving glycoprotein hormone receptors. Recently, TSAb’s were found to preferentially recognize shed, rather than attached, A subunits. Here we use a new adenovirus-mediated animal model of Graves disease to show that goiter and hyperthyroidism occur to a much greater extent when the adenovirus expresses the free A subunit as opposed to a genetically modified TSHR that cleaves minimally into subunits. These data show that shed A subunits induce or amplify the immune response leading to hyperthyroidism and provide new insight into the etiology of Graves disease.
Chun-Rong Chen, Pavel Pichurin, Yuji Nagayama, Francesco Latrofa, Basil Rapoport, Sandra M. McLachlan
Through a combination of fluorescence microscopy and patch-clamp analysis we have identified a striking alteration in K+ channel expression in terminally differentiated human CCR7–CD45RA– effector memory T lymphocytes (TEM). Following activation, TEM cells expressed significantly higher levels of the voltage-gated K+ channel Kv1.3 and lower levels of the calcium-activated K+ channel IKCa1 than naive and central memory T cells (TCM). Upon repeated in vitro antigenic stimulation, naive cells differentiated into Kv1.3highIKCa1low TEM cells, and the potent Kv1.3-blocking sea anemone Stichodactyla helianthus peptide (ShK) suppressed proliferation of TEM cells without affecting naive or TCM lymphocytes. Thus, the Kv1.3highIKCa1low phenotype is a functional marker of activated TEM lymphocytes. Activated myelin-reactive T cells from patients with MS exhibited the Kv1.3highIKCa1low TEM phenotype, suggesting that they have undergone repeated stimulation during the course of disease; these cells may contribute to disease pathogenesis due to their ability to home to inflamed tissues and exhibit immediate effector function. The Kv1.3highIKCa1low phenotype was not seen in glutamic acid decarboxylase, insulin-peptide or ovalbumin-specific and mitogen-activated T cells from MS patients, or in myelin-specific T cells from healthy controls. Selective targeting of Kv1.3 in TEM cells may therefore hold therapeutic promise for MS and other T cell–mediated autoimmune diseases.
Heike Wulff, Peter A. Calabresi, Rameeza Allie, Sung Yun, Michael Pennington, Christine Beeton, K. George Chandy
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a CD4+ T cell–dependent, immune complex–mediated, autoimmune disease that primarily affects women of childbearing age. Generation of high-titer affinity-matured IgG autoantibodies, specific for double-stranded DNA and other nuclear antigens, coincides with disease progression. Current forms of treatment of SLE including glucocorticosteroids are often inadequate and induce severe side effects. Immunological approaches for treating SLE in mice using anti-CD4 mAb’s or CTLA4-Ig and anti-CD154 mAb’s have proven to be effective. However, like steroid treatment, these regimens induce global immunosuppression, and their withdrawal allows for disease progression. In this report we show that lupus-prone NZB × NZW F1 mice given three injections of anti-CD137 (4-1BB) mAb’s between 26 and 35 weeks of age reversed acute disease, blocked chronic disease, and extended the mice’s lifespan from 10 months to more than 2 years. Autoantibody production in recipients was rapidly suppressed without inducing immunosuppression. Successful treatment could be traced to the fact that NZB × NZW F1 mice, regardless of their age or disease status, could not maintain pathogenic IgG autoantibody production in the absence of continuous CD4+ T cell help. Our data support the hypothesis that CD137-mediated signaling anergized CD4+ T cells during priming at the DC interface.
Juergen Foell, Simona Strahotin, Shawn P. O’Neil, Megan M. McCausland, Carolyn Suwyn, Michael Haber, Praveen N. Chander, Abhijit S. Bapat, Xiao-Jie Yan, Nicholas Chiorazzi, Michael K. Hoffmann, Robert S. Mittler
Synovial fluid cells from joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients express a novel variant of CD44 (designated CD44vRA), encoding an extra trinucleotide (CAG) transcribed from intronic sequences flanking a variant exon. The CD44vRA mutant was detected in 23 out of 30 RA patients. CD44-negative Namalwa cells transfected with CD44vRA cDNA or with CD44v3-v10 (CD44vRA wild type) cDNA bound FGF-2 to an equal extent via their associated heparan sulfate chains. However, Namalwa cells, immobilizing FGF-2 via their cell surface CD44vRA, bound substantially more soluble FGF receptor-1 (FGFR-1) than did Namalwa cells immobilizing the same amount of FGF-2 via their cell surface CD44v3-v10. The former cells stimulated the proliferation of BaF-32 cells, bearing FGFR-1, more efficiently than did the latter cells. Finally, isolated primary synovial fluid cells from RA patients expressing CD44vRA bound more soluble FGFR-1 to their cell surface–associated FGF-2 than did corresponding synovial cells expressing CD44v3-v10 or synovial cells from osteoarthritis patients. The binding of soluble FGFR-1 to RA synovial cells could be specifically reduced by their preincubation with Ab’s against the v3 exon product of CD44. Hence, FGF-2 attached to the heparan sulfate moiety expressed by the novel CD44 variant of RA synovium cells exhibits an augmented ability to stimulate FGFR-1–mediated activities. A similar mechanism may foster the destructive inflammatory cascade not only in RA, but also in other autoimmune diseases.
Shlomo Nedvetzki, Itshak Golan, Nathalie Assayag, Erez Gonen, Dan Caspi, Micha Gladnikoff, Avner Yayon, David Naor
Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus–induced demyelinating disease (TMEV-IDD) is a mouse model of chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) characterized by Th1-mediated CNS demyelination and spastic hindlimb paralysis. Existing MS therapies reduce relapse rates in 30% of relapsing-remitting MS patients, but are ineffective in chronic-progressive disease, and their effects on disability progression are unclear. Experimental studies demonstrate cannabinoids are useful for symptomatic treatment of spasticity and tremor in chronic-relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Cannabinoids, however, have reported immunosuppressive properties. We show that the cannabinoid receptor agonist, R(+)WIN55,212, ameliorates progression of clinical disease symptoms in mice with preexisting TMEV-IDD. Amelioration of clinical disease is associated with downregulation of both virus and myelin epitope-specific Th1 effector functions (delayed-type hypersensitivity and IFN-γ production) and the inhibition of CNS mRNA expression coding for the proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-α, IL1-β, and IL-6. Clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the symptomatic treatment of MS are ongoing, and this study demonstrates that they may also have potent immunoregulatory properties.
J. Ludovic Croxford, Stephen D. Miller
Neuronal nicotinic AChRs (nAChRs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of diverse neurological disorders and in the regulation of small-cell lung carcinoma growth. Twelve subunits have been identified in vertebrates, and mutations of one are recognized in a rare form of human epilepsy. Mice with genetically manipulated neuronal nAChR subunits exhibit behavioral or autonomic phenotypes. Here, we report the first model of an acquired neuronal nAChR disorder and evidence for its pertinence to paraneoplastic neurological autoimmunity. Rabbits immunized once with recombinant α3 subunit (residues 1–205) develop profound gastrointestinal hypomotility, dilated pupils with impaired light response, and grossly distended bladders. As in patients with idiopathic and paraneoplastic autoimmune autonomic neuropathy, the severity parallels serum levels of ganglionic nAChR autoantibody. Failure of neurotransmission through abdominal sympathetic ganglia, with retention of neuronal viability, confirms that the disorder is a postsynaptic channelopathy. In addition, we found ganglionic nAChR protein in small-cell carcinoma lines, identifying this cancer as a potential initiator of ganglionic nAChR autoimmunity. The data support our hypothesis that immune responses driven by distinct neuronal nAChR subtypes expressed in small-cell carcinomas account for several lung cancer–related paraneoplastic disorders affecting cholinergic systems, including autoimmune autonomic neuropathy, seizures, dementia, and movement disorders.
Vanda A. Lennon, Leonid G. Ermilov, Joseph H. Szurszewski, Steven Vernino
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