The liver is an immune-privileged organ that can deactivate autoreactive T cells. Yet in autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), autoreactive T cells can defy hepatic control and attack the liver. To elucidate how tolerance to self-antigens is lost during AIH pathogenesis, we generated a spontaneous mouse model of AIH, based on recognition of an MHC class II–restricted model peptide in hepatocytes by autoreactive CD4+ T cells. We found that the hepatic peptide was not expressed in the thymus, leading to deficient thymic deletion and resulting in peripheral abundance of autoreactive CD4+ T cells. In the liver, autoreactive CD4+ effector T cells accumulated within portal ectopic lymphoid structures and maturated toward pathogenic IFN-γ and TNF coproducing cells. Expansion and pathogenic maturation of autoreactive effector T cells was enabled by a selective increase of plasticity and instability of autoantigen-specific Tregs but not of nonspecific Tregs. Indeed, antigen-specific Tregs were reduced in frequency and manifested increased IL-17 production, reduced epigenetic demethylation, and reduced expression of Foxp3. As a consequence, autoantigen-specific Tregs had a reduced suppressive capacity, as compared with that of nonspecific Tregs. In conclusion, loss of tolerance and the pathogenesis of AIH were enabled by combined failure of thymic deletion and peripheral regulation.
Max Preti, Lena Schlott, David Lübbering, Daria Krzikalla, Anna-Lena Müller, Fenja A. Schuran, Tobias Poch, Miriam Schakat, Sören Weidemann, Ansgar W. Lohse, Christina Weiler-Normann, Marcial Sebode, Dorothee Schwinge, Christoph Schramm, Antonella Carambia, Johannes Herkel
Usage data is cumulative from February 2021 through May 2021.
Usage information is collected from two different sources: this site (JCI) and Pubmed Central (PMC). JCI information (compiled daily) shows human readership based on methods we employ to screen out robotic usage. PMC information (aggregated monthly) is also similarly screened of robotic usage.
Various methods are used to distinguish robotic usage. For example, Google automatically scans articles to add to its search index and identifies itself as robotic; other services might not clearly identify themselves as robotic, or they are new or unknown as robotic. Because this activity can be misinterpreted as human readership, data may be re-processed periodically to reflect an improved understanding of robotic activity. Because of these factors, readers should consider usage information illustrative but subject to change.