Alteration of innate immune cells in the lungs can promote loss of peripheral tolerance that leads to autoimmune responses in cigarette smokers. Development of autoimmunity in smokers with emphysema is also strongly linked to the expansion of autoreactive T helper (Th) cells expressing interferon gamma (Th1), and interleukin 17A (Th17). However, the mechanisms responsible for enhanced self-recognition and reduced immune tolerance in smoker with emphysema remain less clear. Here we show that C1q, a component of the complement protein 1 complex (C1), is downregulated in lung CD1a+ antigen presenting cells (APCs) isolated from emphysematous human, and mouse lung APCs after chronic cigarette smoke exposure. C1q potentiated the function of APCs to differentiate CD4+ T cells to Tregs, while it inhibited Th17 cell development and proliferation. Mice deficient in C1q that were exposed to chronic smoke exhibited exaggerated lung inflammation marked by increased Th17 cells, while reconstitution of C1q in the lungs enhanced Tregs abundance, dampened smoke-induced lung inflammation, and reversed established emphysema. Our findings demonstrate that cigarette smoke-mediated loss of C1q could play a key role in reduced peripheral tolerance, which could be explored to treat emphysema.
Xiaoyi Yuan, Cheng-Yen Chang, Ran You, Ming Shan, Bon Hee Gu, Matthew Madison, Gretchen Diehl, Sarah Perusich, Li-Zhen Song, Lorraine Cornwell, Roger D. Rossen, Rick Wetsel, Rajapakshe Kimal, Cristian Coarfa, Holger Eltzschig, David B. Corry, Farrah Kheradmand
IgG antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) are a dominant feature of several autoimmune diseases. We previously showed that systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by increased ANA+ IgG plasmablasts/plasma cells (PCs) through aberrant IgG PC differentiation rather than an antigen-specific tolerance defect. Here, we aimed to understand the differentiation pathways resulting in ANA+ IgG PCs in SLE patients. We demonstrate distinct profiles of ANA+ antigen-experienced B cells in SLE patients, characterized by either a high frequency of PCs or a high frequency of IgG+ memory B cells. This classification of SLE patients was unrelated to disease activity and remained stable over time in almost all patients, suggesting minimal influence of disease activity. A similar classification applies to antigen-specific B cell subsets in mice following primary immunization with T-independent and T-dependent antigens as well as in lupus-prone mouse models (MRL/lpr and NZB/W). We further show that, in both lupus-prone mice and SLE patients, the classification correlates with the serum autoantibody profile. In this study, we identified B cell phenotypes that we propose reflect an extrafollicular pathway for PC differentiation or a germinal center pathway, respectively. The classification we propose can be used to stratify patients for longitudinal studies and clinical trials.
Jolien Suurmond, Yemil Atisha-Fregoso, Ashley N. Barlev, Silvia A. Calderon, Meggan C. Mackay, Cynthia Aranow, Betty Diamond
Autoimmune disease is 4 times more common in women than men. This bias is largely unexplained. Female skin is “autoimmunity prone,” showing upregulation of many proinflammatory genes, even in healthy women. We previously identified VGLL3 as a putative transcription cofactor enriched in female skin. Here, we demonstrate that skin-directed overexpression of murine VGLL3 causes a severe lupus-like rash and systemic autoimmune disease that involves B cell expansion, autoantibody production, immune complex deposition, and end-organ damage. Excess epidermal VGLL3 drives a proinflammatory gene expression program that overlaps with both female skin and cutaneous lupus. This includes increased B cell–activating factor (BAFF), the only current biologic target in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); IFN-κ, a key inflammatory mediator in cutaneous lupus; and CXCL13, a biomarker of early-onset SLE and renal involvement. Our results demonstrate that skin-targeted overexpression of the female-biased factor VGLL3 is sufficient to drive cutaneous and systemic autoimmune disease that is strikingly similar to SLE. This work strongly implicates VGLL3 as a pivotal orchestrator of sex-biased autoimmunity.
Allison C. Billi, Mehrnaz Gharaee-Kermani, Joseph Fullmer, Lam C. Tsoi, Brett D. Hill, Dennis Gruszka, Jessica Ludwig, Xianying Xing, Shannon Estadt, Sonya J. Wolf, Syed Monem Rizvi, Celine C. Berthier, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Maria A. Beamer, Mrinal K. Sarkar, Yun Liang, Ranjitha Uppala, Shuai Shao, Chang Zeng, Paul W. Harms, Monique E. Verhaegen, John J. Voorhees, Fei Wen, Nicole L. Ward, Andrzej A. Dlugosz, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Johann E. Gudjonsson
Biased agonism is a paradigm that may explain the selective activation of a signaling pathway via a GPCR that activates multiple signals. The autoantibody-induced inactivation of the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) causes acquired hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (AHH). Here, we describe an instructive case of AHH in which severe hypercalcemia was accompanied by an increased CaSR antibody titer. These autoantibodies operated as biased allosteric modulators of CaSR by targeting its Venus flytrap domain near the Ca2+-binding site. A positive allosteric modulator of CaSR, cinacalcet, which targets its transmembrane domain, overcame this autoantibody effect and successfully corrected the hypercalcemia in this patient. Hence, this is the first study to our knowledge that identifies the interaction site of a disease-causing GPCR autoantibody working as its biased allosteric modulator and demonstrates that cinacalcet can correct the AHH autoantibody effects both in vitro and in our AHH patient. Our observations provide potentially new insights into how biased agonism works and how to design a biased allosteric modulator of a GPCR. Our observations also indicate that the diagnosis of AHH is important because the severity of hypercalcemia may become fatal if the autoantibody titer increases. Calcimimetics may serve as good treatment options for some patients with severe AHH.
Noriko Makita, Takao Ando, Junichiro Sato, Katsunori Manaka, Koji Mitani, Yasuko Kikuchi, Takayoshi Niwa, Masanori Ootaki, Yuko Takeba, Naoki Matsumoto, Atsushi Kawakami, Toshihisa Ogawa, Masaomi Nangaku, Taroh Iiri
Imatinib (Gleevec) reverses type 1 diabetes (T1D) in NOD mice and is currently in clinical trials in individuals with recent-onset disease. While research has demonstrated that imatinib protects islet β cells from the harmful effects of ER stress, the role the immune system plays in its reversal of T1D has been less well understood, and specific cellular immune targets have not been identified. In this study, we demonstrate that B lymphocytes, an immune subset that normally drives diabetes pathology, are unexpectedly required for reversal of hyperglycemia in NOD mice treated with imatinib. In the presence of B lymphocytes, reversal was linked to an increase in serum insulin concentration, but not an increase in islet β cell mass or proliferation. However, improved β cell function was reflected by a partial recovery of MafA transcription factor expression, a sensitive marker of islet β cell stress that is important to adult β cell function. Imatinib treatment was found to increase the antioxidant capacity of B lymphocytes, improving reactive oxygen species (ROS) handling in NOD islets. This study reveals a novel mechanism through which imatinib enables B lymphocytes to orchestrate functional recovery of T1D β cells.
Christopher S. Wilson, Jason M. Spaeth, Jay Karp, Blair T. Stocks, Emilee M. Hoopes, Roland W. Stein, Daniel J. Moore
Paraneoplastic neurological disorders result from an autoimmune response against neural self-antigens that are ectopically expressed in neoplastic cells. In paraneoplastic disorders associated to autoantibodies against intracellular proteins, such as paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD), current data point to a major role of cell-mediated immunity. In an animal model, in which a neo–self-antigen was expressed in both Purkinje neurons and implanted breast tumor cells, immune checkpoint blockade led to complete tumor control at the expense of cerebellum infiltration by T cells and Purkinje neuron loss, thereby mimicking PCD. Here, we identify 2 potential therapeutic targets expressed by cerebellum-infiltrating T cells in this model, namely α4 integrin and IFN-γ. Mice with PCD were treated with anti-α4 integrin antibodies or neutralizing anti–IFN-γ antibodies at the onset of neurological signs. Although blocking α4 integrin had little or no impact on disease development, treatment using the anti–IFN-γ antibody led to almost complete protection from PCD. These findings strongly suggest that the production of IFN-γ by cerebellum-invading T cells plays a major role in Purkinje neuron death. Our successful preclinical use of neutralizing anti–IFN-γ antibody for the treatment of PCD offers a potentially new therapeutic opportunity for cancer patients at the onset of paraneoplastic neurological disorders.
Lidia Yshii, Béatrice Pignolet, Emilie Mauré, Mandy Pierau, Monika Brunner-Weinzierl, Oliver Hartley, Jan Bauer, Roland Liblau
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that predominantly affects women and is driven by autoreactive T cell–mediated inflammation. It is known that individuals with multiple X-chromosomes are at increased risk for developing SLE; however, the mechanisms underlying this genetic basis are unclear. Here, we use single cell imaging to determine the epigenetic features of the inactive X (Xi) in developing thymocytes, mature T cell subsets, and T cells from SLE patients and mice. We show that Xist RNA and heterochromatin modifications transiently reappear at the Xi and are missing in mature single positive T cells. Activation of mature T cells restores Xist RNA and heterochromatin marks simultaneously back to the Xi. Notably, X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) maintenance is altered in T cells of SLE patients and late-stage–disease NZB/W F1 female mice, and we show that X-linked genes are abnormally upregulated in SLE patient T cells. SLE T cells also have altered expression of XIST RNA interactome genes, accounting for perturbations of Xi epigenetic features. Thus, abnormal XCI maintenance is a feature of SLE disease, and we propose that Xist RNA localization at the Xi could be an important factor for maintaining dosage compensation of X-linked genes in T cells.
Camille M. Syrett, Bam Paneru, Donavon Sandoval-Heglund, Jianle Wang, Sarmistha Banerjee, Vishal Sindhava, Edward M. Behrens, Michael Atchison, Montserrat C. Anguera
Dysregulation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway is associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and its mouse model, Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE). Suppressors Of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS) negatively regulate the JAK/STAT pathway. We previously reported a severe, brain-targeted, atypical form of EAE in mice lacking Socs3 in myeloid cells (Socs3ΔLysM), which is associated with cerebellar neutrophil infiltration. There is emerging evidence that neutrophils are detrimental in the pathology of MS/EAE, however, their exact function is unclear. Here we demonstrate that neutrophils from the cerebellum of Socs3ΔLysM mice show a hyper-activated phenotype with excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the peak of EAE. Neutralization of ROS in vivo delayed the onset and reduced severity of atypical EAE. Mechanistically, Socs3-deficient neutrophils exhibit enhanced STAT3 activation, a hyper-activated phenotype in response to G-CSF, and upon G-CSF priming, increased ROS production. Neutralization of G-CSF in vivo significantly reduced the incidence and severity of the atypical EAE phenotype. Overall, our work elucidates that hypersensitivity of G-CSF/STAT3 signaling in Socs3ΔLysM mice leads to atypical EAE by enhanced neutrophil activation and increased oxidative stress, which may explain the detrimental role of G-CSF in MS patients.
Zhaoqi Yan, Wei Yang, Luke Parkitny, Sara A. Gibson, Kevin S. Lee, Forrest Collins, Jessy S. Deshane, Wayne Cheng, Amy S. Weinmann, Hairong Wei, Hongwei Qin, Etty N. Benveniste
Tregs require IL-2 signaling for signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5)-mediated induction of Foxp3. While phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a negative regulator of IL-2 production in effector T cells and Tregs do not produce IL-2, it is not known whether PP2A controls IL-2 signaling in Tregs. To address the role of PP2A in IL-2 signaling in Tregs we studied mice engineered to lack PP2A in all Foxp3-expressing cells. We report that PP2A is required to enable Foxp3 expression and to maintain sufficient numbers of Tregs in the thymus. We show for the first time that PP2A prevents the selective loss of surface IL-2Rβ and preserves IL-2R signaling potency in Tregs. The loss of IL-2Rβ in thymus- and spleen-derived Tregs that lack PP2A is due to increased sheddase activity. Pan-sheddase or selective A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 (ADAM10) inhibition, like forced expression of IL-2Rβ in PP2A-deficient Tregs restored IL-2Rβ expression and signaling. Thus, PP2A restrains the sheddase activity of ADAM10 in Treg cells to prevent the cleavage of IL-2Rβ from the cell surface to enable competent IL-2R signaling which is essential for Tregs development and homeostasis.
Amir Sharabi, Hao Li, Isaac R. Kasper, Wenliang Pan, Esra Meidan, Maria G. Tsokos, Vaishali R. Moulton, George C. Tsokos
TCR1640 mice, which have a T cell receptor (TCR) directed against MOG92–106, spontaneously develop experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Female mice mostly develop a relapsing-remitting (RR) course and have a higher incidence of disease, while males most frequently suffer from progressive disease, reflecting the unresolved clinical sex discrepancies seen in multiple sclerosis. Herein, we performed adoptive transfers of male and female TCR1640 immune cells into WT animals to investigate if disease course is dependent on the sex of the donor immune cells or on the sex of the recipient animal. We found that transfer of female TCR1640 immune cells led to a RR disease while transfer of male TCR1640 immune cells led to a progressive course, independent of the sex of the recipient. In addition, regulatory and pathogenic T cell infiltration after transfer was also immune cell sex intrinsic. We performed genetic profiling of the donor immune cells and found significant differences between the transcriptomic profiles of male and female TCR1640 immune cells, interestingly, within genes related to immune regulation of T lymphocytes. These results suggest that differences in gene expression profiles related to regulation of T cell immunity seen in male and female neuroinflammatory disease drive relapsing versus progressive disease course.
Tessa Dhaeze, Catherine Lachance, Laurence Tremblay, Camille Grasmuck, Lyne Bourbonnière, Sandra Larouche, Olivia Saint-Laurent, Marc-André Lécuyer, Rose-Marie Rébillard, Stephanie Zandee, Alexandre Prat
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