IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a systemic autoimmune disease with unclear pathogenesis. We performed single-cell RNA-seq and surface proteome analyses on 61,379 PBMCs from 9 treatment-naive IgG4-RD patients and 7 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Integrative analyses were performed for altered gene expression in IgG4-RD, and flow cytometry and immunofluorescence were used for validation. We observed expansion of plasmablasts with enhanced protein processing and activation, which correlated with the number of involved organs in IgG4-RD. Increased proportions of CD4+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), CD8+ CTLs-GNLY (granulysin), and γδT cells with enhanced chemotaxis and cytotoxicity but with suppressed inhibitory receptors characterize IgG4-RD. Prominent infiltration of lymphocytes with distinct compositions were found in different organs of IgG4-RD patients. Transcription factors (TFs), including PRDM1/XBP1 and RUNX3, were upregulated in IgG4-RD, promoting the differentiation of plasmablasts and CTLs, respectively. Monocytes in IgG4-RD have stronger expression of genes related to cell adhesion and chemotaxis, which may give rise to profibrotic macrophages in lesions. The gene activation pattern in peripheral immune cells indicated activation of multiple interaction pathways between cell types, in part through chemokines or growth factors and their receptors. Specific upregulation of TFs and expansion of plasmablasts and CTLs may be involved in the pathogenesis of IgG4-RD, and each of these populations are candidate targets for therapeutic interventions in this disease.
Chenyang Lu, Shasha Li, Pingying Qing, Qiuping Zhang, Xing Ji, Zhigang Tang, Chunyan Chen, Tong Wu, Yidan Hu, Yi Zhao, Xiaohui Zhang, Qi He, David A. Fox, Chunyu Tan, Yubin Luo, Yi Liu