Genetic variants at the PTPN2 locus, which encodes the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2, cause reduced gene expression and are linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. PTPN2 inhibits signaling through the T cell and cytokine receptors and loss of PTPN2 promotes T cell expansion and CD4 and CD8-driven autoimmunity. However, it remains unknown whether loss of PTPN2 in FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) plays a role in autoimmunity. Here we aimed to model human autoimmune-predisposing PTPN2 variants, which results in a partial loss of PTPN2 expression, in mouse models of RA. We identified that reduced expression of Ptpn2 enhanced the severity of autoimmune arthritis in the T cell dependent SKG mouse model and demonstrated that this phenotype was mediated through a Treg-intrinsic mechanism. Mechanistically, we found that through dephosphorylation of STAT3, Ptpn2 inhibits IL-6-driven pathogenic loss of FoxP3 after Tregs have acquired RORγt expression, at a stage when chromatin accessibility for STAT3-targeted IL-17 associated transcription factors is maximized. We conclude that PTPN2 promotes FoxP3 stability in mouse RORγt+ Tregs and that loss of function of PTPN2 in Tregs contributes to the association between PTPN2 and autoimmunity.
Mattias N.D. Svensson, Karen M. Doody, Benjamin J. Schmiedel, Sourya Bhattacharyya, Bharat Panwar, Florian Wiede, Shen Yang, Eugenio Santelli, Dennis J. Wu, Cristiano Sacchetti, Ravindra Gujar, Grégory Seumois, William B. Kiosses, Isabelle Aubry, Gisen Kim, Piotr Mydel, Shimon Sakaguchi, Mitchell Kronenberg, Tony Tiganis, Michel L. Tremblay, Ferhat Ay, Pandurangan Vijayanand, Nunzio Bottini
Despite showing success in treating melanoma and haematological malignancies, adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has generated only limited effects in solid tumors. This is, in part, due to a lack of specific antigen targets, poor trafficking/infiltration and immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we combined ACT with oncolytic virus vaccines (OVV) to drive expansion and tumor infiltration of transferred antigen-specific T cells, and demonstrated that the combination is highly potent for the eradication of established solid tumors. Consistent with other successful immunotherapies, this approach elicited severe autoimmune consequence when the antigen targeted was a self-protein. However, modulation of IFNα/β signaling, either by functional blockade or rational choice of an OVV backbone, ameliorated autoimmune side effects without compromising antitumor efficacy. Our study uncovers a pathogenic role for IFNα/β in facilitating autoimmune toxicity during cancer immunotherapy and offers a safe and powerful combinatorial regimen with immediate translational applications.
Scott R. Walsh, Donald Bastin, Lan Chen, Andrew Nguyen, Christopher J. Storbeck, Charles Lefebvre, David Stojdl, Jonathan L. Bramson, John C. Bell, Yonghong Wan
NLRP3 inflammasome plays a critical spatiotemporal role in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). This study reports a mechanistic insight into noncanonical NLRP3 inflammasome activation in microglia for the effector stage of EAE. Microglia-specific deficiency of ASC (apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a C-terminal caspase-activation and recruitment [CARD] domain) attenuated T cell expansion and neutrophil recruitment during EAE pathogenesis. Mechanistically, TLR stimulation led to IRAKM–caspase-8–ASC complex formation, resulting in the activation of caspase-8 and IL-1β release in microglia. Noncanonical inflammasome-derived IL-1β produced by microglia in the CNS helped to expand the microglia population in an autocrine manner and amplified the production of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines. Furthermore, active caspase-8 was markedly increased in the microglia in the brain tissue from patients with multiple sclerosis. Taken together, our study suggests that microglia-derived IL-1β via noncanonical caspase-8–dependent inflammasome is necessary for microglia to exert their pathogenic role during CNS inflammation.
Cun-Jin Zhang, Meiling Jiang, Hao Zhou, Weiwei Liu, Chenhui Wang, Zizhen Kang, Bing Han, Quanri Zhang, Xing Chen, Jianxin Xiao, Amanda Fisher, William J. Kaiser, Masanori A. Murayama, Yoichiro Iwakura, Ji Gao, Julie Carman, Ashok Dongre, George Dubyak, Derek W. Abbott, Fu-Dong Shi, Richard M. Ransohoff, Xiaoxia Li
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), induced by the adoptive transfer of myelin-reactive CD4+ T cells into naïve syngeneic mice. It is widely used as a rodent model of multiple sclerosis (MS). EAE lesion development is initiated when transferred CD4+ T cells access the CNS and are reactivated by local antigen presenting cells (APC) bearing endogenous myelin peptide/ MHC Class II complexes. The identity of the CNS resident, lesion-initiating APC is widely debated. Here we demonstrate that classical dendritic cells (cDC) normally reside in the meninges, brain, and spinal cord in the steady state. These cells are unique among candidate CNS APC in their ability to stimulate naïve, as well as effector, myelin-specific T cells to proliferate and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines directly ex vivo. cDC expanded in the meninges and CNS parenchyma in association with disease progression. Selective depletion of cDC led to a decrease in the number of myelin-primed donor T cells in the CNS and reduced the incidence of clinical EAE by half. Based on our findings, we propose that cDC, and the factors that regulate them, be further investigated as potential therapeutic targets in MS.
David A. Giles, Patrick C. Duncker, Nicole M. Wilkinson, Jesse M. Washnock-Schmid, Benjamin M. Segal
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) are inflammatory neuropathies that affect humans and are characterized by peripheral nerve myelin destruction and macrophage-containing immune infiltrates. In contrast to the traditional view that the peripheral nerve is simply the target of autoimmunity, we report here that peripheral nerve Schwann cells exacerbate the autoimmune process through extracellular matrix (ECM) protein induction. In a spontaneous autoimmune peripheral polyneuropathy (SAPP) mouse model of inflammatory neuropathy and CIDP nerve biopsies, the ECM protein periostin (POSTN) was upregulated in affected sciatic nerves and was primarily expressed by Schwann cells. Postn deficiency delayed the onset and reduced the extent of neuropathy, as well as decreased the number of macrophages infiltrating the sciatic nerve. In an in vitro assay, POSTN promoted macrophage chemotaxis in an integrin-AM (ITGAM) and ITGAV-dependent manner. The PNS-infiltrating macrophages in SAPP-affected nerves were pathogenic, since depletion of macrophages protected against the development of neuropathy. Our findings show that Schwann cells promote macrophage infiltration by upregulating Postn and suggest that POSTN is a novel target for the treatment of macrophage-associated inflammatory neuropathies.
Denise E. Allard, Yan Wang, Jian Joel Li, Bridget Conley, Erin W. Xu, David Sailer, Caellaigh Kimpston, Rebecca Notini, Collin-Jamal Smith, Emel Koseoglu, Joshua Starmer, Xiaopei L. Zeng, James F. Howard Jr., Ahmet Hoke, Steven S. Scherer, Maureen A. Su
While T cells are important for the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis, little is known about how T cells function after infiltrating the kidney. The current paradigm suggests that kidney infiltrating T cells (KITs) are activated effector cells contributing to tissue damage and ultimately organ failure. Herein, we demonstrate that the majority of CD4+ and CD8+ KITs in three murine lupus models are not effector cells, as hypothesized, but rather expressed multiple inhibitory receptors and proved highly dysfunctional with reduced cytokine production and proliferative capacity. Mechanistically this was linked directly to metabolic and specifically mitochondrial dysfunction. This was driven by the expression of an “exhausted” transcriptional signature. Our data thus reveal that the tissue parenchyma has the capability to suppress T cell responses and limit damage to self. These findings open novel avenues for the treatment of autoimmunity based on selectively exploiting the exhausted phenotype of tissue-infiltrating T cells.
Jeremy S. Tilstra, Lyndsay Avery, Ashley V. Menk, Rachael A. Gordon, Shuchi Smita, Lawrence P. Kane, Maria Chikina, Greg M. Delgoffe, Mark J. Shlomchik
SUMOylation is involved in the development of several inflammatory diseases, but the physiological significance of SUMO-modulated c-Maf in autoimmune diabetes is not completely understood. Here, we report that an age-dependent attenuation of c-Maf SUMOylation in CD4+ T cells is positively correlated with the IL-21–mediated diabetogenesis in NOD mice. Using 2 strains of T cell–specific transgenic NOD mice overexpressing wild-type c-Maf (Tg-WTc) or SUMOylation site–mutated c-Maf (Tg-KRc), we demonstrated that Tg-KRc mice developed diabetes more rapidly than Tg-WTc mice in a CD4+ T cell–autonomous manner. Moreover, SUMO-defective c-Maf preferentially transactivated Il21 to promote the development of CD4+ T cells with an extrafollicular helper T cell phenotype and expand the numbers of granzyme B–producing effector/memory CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, SUMO-defective c-Maf selectively inhibited recruitment of Daxx/HDAC2 to the Il21 promoter and enhanced histone acetylation mediated by CREB-binding protein (CBP) and p300. Using pharmacological interference with CBP/p300, we illustrated that CBP30 treatment ameliorated c-Maf–mediated/IL-21–based diabetogenesis. Taken together, our results show that the SUMOylation status of c-Maf has a stronger regulatory effect on IL-21 than the level of c-Maf expression, through an epigenetic mechanism. These findings provide new insights into how SUMOylation modulates the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes in a T cell–restricted manner and on the basis of a single transcription factor.
Chao-Yuan Hsu, Li-Tzu Yeh, Shin-Huei Fu, Ming-Wei Chien, Yu-Wen Liu, Shi-Chuen Miaw, Deh-Ming Chang, Huey-Kang Sytwu
BACKGROUND. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), plasma exchange and immunoadsorption are frequently used in the management of severe autoimmune diseases mediated by pathogenic IgG autoantibodies. These approaches to modulate IgG levels can however be associated with some severe adverse reactions and significant burden to patients. Targeting the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) presents an innovative and potentially more effective, safer, and convenient alternative for clearing pathogenic IgGs. METHODS. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled first-in-human study was conducted in 62 healthy volunteers to explore single and multiple ascending intravenous doses of the FcRn antagonist efgartigimod. The study objectives were to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and immunogenicity. The findings of this study were compared with the pharmacodynamics profile elicited by efgartigimod in cynomolgus monkeys. RESULTS. Efgartigimod treatment resulted in a rapid and specific clearance of serum IgG levels in both cynomolgus monkeys and healthy volunteers. In humans, single administration of efgartigimod reduced IgG levels up to 50% whilst multiple dosing further lowered IgGs on average by 75% of baseline levels. Approximately 8 weeks following the last administration, IgG levels returned to baseline. Efgartigimod did not alter the homeostasis of albumin or immunoglobulins other than IgG and no serious adverse events related to efgartigimod infusion were observed. CONCLUSION. Antagonizing FcRn using efgartigimod is safe and results in a specific, profound, and sustained reduction of serum IgG levels. These results warrant further evaluation of this therapeutic approach in IgG-driven autoimmune diseases. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03457649. FUNDING. argenx bvba.
Peter Ulrichts, Antonio Guglietta, Torsten Dreier, Tonke van Bragt, Valérie Hanssens, Erik Hofman, Bernhardt Vankerckhoven, Peter Verheesen, Nicolas Ongenae, Valentina Lykhopiy, F. Javier Enriquez, JunHaeng Cho, Raimund J. Ober, E. Sally Ward, Hans de Haard, Nicolas Leupin
Podocyte malfunction occurs in autoimmune and nonautoimmune kidney disease. Calcium signaling is essential for podocyte injury, but the role of Ca2+/calmodulin–dependent kinase (CaMK) signaling in podocytes has not been fully explored. We report that podocytes from patients with lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and lupus-prone and lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-treated mice display increased expression of CaMK IV (CaMK4), but not CaMK2. Mechanistically, CaMK4 modulated podocyte motility by altering the expression of the GTPases Rac1 and RhoA and suppressed the expression of nephrin, synaptopodin, and actin fibers in podocytes. In addition, it phosphorylated the scaffold protein 14-3-3β, which resulted in the release and degradation of synaptopodin. Targeted delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor to podocytes preserved their ultrastructure, averted immune complex deposition and crescent formation, and suppressed proteinuria in lupus-prone mice and proteinuria in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide-induced podocyte injury by preserving nephrin/synaptopodin expression. In animals exposed to adriamycin, podocyte-specific delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor prevented and reversed podocyte injury and renal disease. We conclude that CaMK4 is pivotal in immune and nonimmune podocyte injury and that its targeted cell-specific inhibition preserves podocyte structure and function and should have therapeutic value in lupus nephritis and podocytopathies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
Kayaho Maeda, Kotaro Otomo, Nobuya Yoshida, Mones S. Abu-Asab, Kunihiro Ichinose, Tomoya Nishino, Michihito Kono, Andrew Ferretti, Rhea Bhargava, Shoichi Maruyama, Sean Bickerton, Tarek M. Fahmy, Maria G. Tsokos, George C. Tsokos
Toll-like receptors TLR7 and TLR9 are both implicated in the activation of autoreactive B cells and other cell types associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. However, Tlr9–/– autoimmune-prone strains paradoxically develop more severe disease. We have now leveraged the negative regulatory role of TLR9 to develop an inducible rapid-onset murine model of systemic autoimmunity that depends on T cell detection of a membrane-bound OVA fusion protein expressed by MHC class II+ cells, expression of TLR7, expression of the type I IFN receptor, and loss of expression of TLR9. These mice are distinguished by a high frequency of OVA-specific Tbet+, IFN-γ+, and FasL-expressing Th1 cells as well as autoantibody-producing B cells. Unexpectedly, contrary to what occurs in most models of SLE, they also developed skin lesions that are very similar to those of human cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) as far as clinical appearance, histological changes, and gene expression. FasL was a key effector mechanism in the skin, as the transfer of FasL-deficient DO11gld T cells completely failed to elicit overt skin lesions. FasL was also upregulated in human CLE biopsies. Overall, our model provides a relevant system for exploring the pathophysiology of CLE as well as the negative regulatory role of TLR9.
Purvi Mande, Bahar Zirak, Wei-Che Ko, Keyon Taravati, Karen L. Bride, Tia Y. Brodeur, April Deng, Karen Dresser, Zhaozhao Jiang, Rachel Ettinger, Katherine A. Fitzgerald, Michael D. Rosenblum, John E. Harris, Ann Marshak-Rothstein
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