Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory CNS demyelinating disease in which remyelination largely fails. Transmembrane TNF (tmTNF) and TNF receptor 2 are important for remyelination in experimental MS models, but it is unknown whether soluble TNF (solTNF), a major proinflammatory factor, is involved in regeneration processes. Here, we investigated the specific contribution of solTNF to demyelination and remyelination in the cuprizone model. Treatment with XPro1595, a selective inhibitor of solTNF that crosses the intact blood-brain barrier (BBB), in cuprizone-fed mice did not prevent toxin-induced oligodendrocyte loss and demyelination, but it permitted profound early remyelination due to improved phagocytosis of myelin debris by CNS macrophages and prevented disease-associated decline in motor performance. The beneficial effects of XPro1595 were absent in TNF-deficient mice and replicated in tmTNF-knockin mice, showing that tmTNF is sufficient for the maintenance of myelin and neuroprotection. These findings demonstrate that solTNF inhibits remyelination and repair in a cuprizone demyelination model and suggest that local production of solTNF in the CNS might be one reason why remyelination fails in MS. These findings also suggest that disinhibition of remyelination by selective inhibitors of solTNF that cross the BBB might represent a promising approach for treatment in progressive MS.
Maria Karamita, Christopher Barnum, Wiebke Möbius, Malú G. Tansey, David E. Szymkowski, Hans Lassmann, Lesley Probert
Myasthenia gravis (MG) with anti–acetylcholine receptor (AChR) Abs is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe defects in immune regulation and thymic inflammation. Because mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) display immunomodulatory features, we investigated whether and how in vitro–preconditioned human MSCs (cMSCs) could treat MG disease. We developed a new humanized preclinical model by subcutaneously grafting thymic MG fragments into immunodeficient NSG mice (NSG-MG model). Ninety percent of the animals displayed human anti-AChR Abs in the serum, and 50% of the animals displayed MG-like symptoms that correlated with the loss of AChR at the muscle endplates. Interestingly, each mouse experiment recapitulated the MG features of each patient. We next demonstrated that cMSCs markedly improved MG, reducing the level of anti-AChR Abs in the serum and restoring AChR expression at the muscle endplate. Resting MSCs had a smaller effect. Finally, we showed that the underlying mechanisms involved (a) the inhibition of cell proliferation, (b) the inhibition of B cell–related and costimulatory molecules, and (c) the activation of the complement regulator DAF/CD55. In conclusion, this study shows that a preconditioning step promotes the therapeutic effects of MSCs via combined mechanisms, making cMSCs a promising strategy for treating MG and potentially other autoimmune diseases.
Muriel Sudres, Marie Maurer, Marieke Robinet, Jacky Bismuth, Frédérique Truffault, Diane Girard, Nadine Dragin, Mohamed Attia, Elie Fadel, Nicola Santelmo, Camille Sicsic, Talma Brenner, Sonia Berrih-Aknin
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is often associated with exaggerated B cell activation promoting plasma cell generation, immune-complex deposition in the kidney, renal infiltration of myeloid cells, and glomerular nephritis. Type-I IFNs amplify these autoimmune processes and promote severe disease. Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk) inhibitors are considered novel therapies for SLE. We describe the characterization of a highly selective reversible Btk inhibitor, G-744. G-744 is efficacious, and superior to blocking BAFF and Syk, in ameliorating severe lupus nephritis in both spontaneous and IFNα-accelerated lupus in NZB/W_F1 mice in therapeutic regimens. Selective Btk inhibition ablated plasmablast generation, reduced autoantibodies, and — similar to cyclophosphamide — improved renal pathology in IFNα-accelerated lupus. Employing global transcriptional profiling of spleen and kidney coupled with cross-species human modular repertoire analyses, we identify similarities in the inflammatory process between mice and humans, and we demonstrate that G-744 reduced gene expression signatures essential for splenic B cell terminal differentiation, particularly the secretory pathway, as well as renal transcriptional profiles coupled with myeloid cell–mediated pathology and glomerular plus tubulointerstitial disease in human glomerulonephritis patients. These findings reveal the mechanism through which a selective Btk inhibitor blocks murine autoimmune kidney disease, highlighting pathway activity that may translate to human SLE.
Arna Katewa, Yugang Wang, Jason A. Hackney, Tao Huang, Eric Suto, Nandhini Ramamoorthi, Cary D. Austin, Meire Bremer, Jacob Zhi Chen, James J. Crawford, Kevin S. Currie, Peter Blomgren, Jason DeVoss, Julie A. DiPaolo, Jonathan Hau, Adam Johnson, Justin Lesch, Laura E. DeForge, Zhonghua Lin, Marya Liimatta, Joseph W. Lubach, Sami McVay, Zora Modrusan, Allen Nguyen, Chungkee Poon, Jianyong Wang, Lichuan Liu, Wyne P. Lee, Harvey Wong, Wendy B. Young, Michael J. Townsend, Karin Reif
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) has been used as an animal model of multiple sclerosis to identify pathogenic cytokines that could be therapeutic targets. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is the only cytokine reported to be essential for EAE. We investigated the role of GM-CSF in EAE in C3HeB/FeJ mice that uniquely exhibit extensive brain and spinal cord inflammation. Unexpectedly, GM-CSF–deficient C3HeB/FeJ mice were fully susceptible to EAE because IL-17 activity compensated for the loss of GM-CSF during induction of spinal cord–targeted disease. In contrast, both GM-CSF and IL-17 were needed to fully overcome the inhibitory influence of IFN-γ on the induction of inflammation in the brain. Both GM-CSF and IL-17 independently promoted neutrophil accumulation in the brain, which was essential for brain-targeted disease. These results identify a GM-CSF/IL-17/IFN-γ axis that regulates inflammation in the central nervous system and suggest that a combination of cytokine-neutralizing therapies may be needed to dampen central nervous system autoimmunity.
Emily R. Pierson, Joan M. Goverman
T cells play a significant role in the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus; however, there is relatively little information on the nature and specificity of autoreactive T cells. Identifying such cells has been technically difficult because they are likely to be rare and low affinity. Here, we report a method for identifying autoreactive T cell clones that recognize proteins contained in autoantibody immune complexes, providing direct evidence that functional autoreactive helper T cells exist in the periphery of normal mice. These T cells significantly enhanced autoreactive B cell proliferation and altered B cell differentiation in vivo. Most importantly, these autoreactive T cells were able to rescue many aspects of the TLR-deficient AM14 (anti-IgG2a rheumatoid factor) B cell response, suggesting that TLR requirements can be bypassed. This result has implications for the efficacy of TLR-targeted therapy in the treatment of ongoing disease.
Josephine R. Giles, Adriana Turqueti Neves, Ann Marshak-Rothstein, Mark J. Shlomchik
Levamisole, an anthelmintic drug with cholinergic properties, has been implicated in cases of drug-induced vasculitis when added to cocaine for profit purposes. Neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation is a cell death mechanism characterized by extrusion of chromatin decorated with granule proteins. Aberrant NET formation and degradation have been implicated in idiopathic autoimmune diseases that share features with levamisole-induced autoimmunity as well as in drug-induced autoimmunity. This study’s objective was to determine how levamisole modulates neutrophil biology and its putative effects on the vasculature. Murine and human neutrophils exposed to levamisole demonstrated enhanced NET formation through engagement of muscarinic subtype 3 receptor. Levamisole-induced NETosis required activation of Akt and the RAF/MEK/ERK pathway, ROS induction through the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase, and peptidylarginine deiminase activation. Sera from two cohorts of patients actively using levamisole-adulterated cocaine displayed autoantibodies against NET components. Cutaneous biopsy material obtained from individuals exposed to levamisole suggests that neutrophils produce NETs in areas of vasculitic inflammation and thrombosis. NETs generated by levamisole were toxic to endothelial cells and impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Stimulation of muscarinic receptors on neutrophils by cholinergic agonists may contribute to the pathophysiology observed in drug-induced autoimmunity through the induction of inflammatory responses and neutrophil-induced vascular damage.
Carmelo Carmona-Rivera, Monica M. Purmalek, Erica Moore, Meryl Waldman, Peter J. Walter, H. Martin Garraffo, Karran A. Phillips, Kenzie L. Preston, Jonathan Graf, Mariana J. Kaplan, Peter C. Grayson
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) vasculitis is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies to myeloperoxidase and proteinase-3, which bind monocytes in addition to neutrophils. While a pathological effect on neutrophils is acknowledged, the impact of ANCA on monocyte function is less well understood. Using IgG from patients we investigated the effect of these autoantibodies on monocytes and found that anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies (MPO-ANCA) reduced both IL-10 and IL-6 secretion in response to LPS. This reduction in IL-10 and IL-6 depended on Fc receptors and enzymatic myeloperoxidase and was accompanied by a significant reduction in TLR-driven signaling pathways. Aligning with changes in TLR signals, oxidized phospholipids, which function as TLR4 antagonists, were increased in monocytes in the presence of MPO-ANCA. We further observed that MPO-ANCA increased monocyte survival and differentiation to macrophages by stimulating CSF-1 production. However, this was independent of myeloperoxidase enzymatic activity and TLR signaling. Macrophages differentiated in the presence of MPO-ANCA secreted more TGF-β and further promoted the development of IL-10– and TGF-β–secreting CD4+ T cells. Thus, MPO-ANCA may promote inflammation by reducing the secretion of antiinflammatory IL-10 from monocytes, and MPO-ANCA can alter the development of macrophages and T cells to potentially promote fibrosis.
Reena J. Popat, Seran Hakki, Alpesh Thakker, Alice M. Coughlan, Julie Watson, Mark A. Little, Corinne M. Spickett, Paul Lavender, Behdad Afzali, Claudia Kemper, Michael G. Robson
A SNP identified as rs548234, which is found in
Su Hwa Jang, Helen Chen, Peter K. Gregersen, Betty Diamond, Sun Jung Kim
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare autoimmune disease with the highest case-fatality rate of all connective tissue diseases. Current efforts to determine patient response to a given treatment using the modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) are complicated by interclinician variability, confounding, and the time required between sequential mRSS measurements to observe meaningful change. There is an unmet critical need for an objective metric of SSc disease severity. Here, we performed an integrated, multicohort analysis of SSc transcriptome data across 7 datasets from 6 centers composed of 515 samples. Using 158 skin samples from SSc patients and healthy controls recruited at 2 centers as a discovery cohort, we identified a 415-gene expression signature specific for SSc, and validated its ability to distinguish SSc patients from healthy controls in an additional 357 skin samples from 5 independent cohorts. Next, we defined the SSc skin severity score (4S). In every SSc cohort of skin biopsy samples analyzed in our study, 4S correlated significantly with mRSS, allowing objective quantification of SSc disease severity. Using transcriptome data from the largest longitudinal trial of SSc patients to date, we showed that 4S allowed us to objectively monitor individual SSc patients over time, as (a) the change in 4S of a patient is significantly correlated with change in the mRSS, and (b) the change in 4S at 12 months of treatment could predict the change in mRSS at 24 months. Our results suggest that 4S could be used to distinguish treatment responders from nonresponders prior to mRSS change. Our results demonstrate the potential clinical utility of a novel robust molecular signature and a computational approach to SSc disease severity quantification.
Shane Lofgren, Monique Hinchcliff, Mary Carns, Tammara Wood, Kathleen Aren, Esperanza Arroyo, Peggie Cheung, Alex Kuo, Antonia Valenzuela, Anna Haemel, Paul J. Wolters, Jessica Gordon, Robert Spiera, Shervin Assassi, Francesco Boin, Lorinda Chung, David Fiorentino, Paul J. Utz, Michael L. Whitfield, Purvesh Khatri
Ectopic lymphoid tissues (ELT) can be found in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other organ-specific inflammatory conditions. Whether ELT in the meninges of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease exhibit local germinal center (GC) activity remains unknown. In an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of CNS autoimmunity, we found activation-induced cytidine deaminase, a GC-defining enzyme, in meningeal ELT (mELT) densely populated by B and T cells. To determine GC activity in mELT, we excised meningeal lymphoid aggregates using laser capture microscopy and evaluated B cell repertoires in mELT and secondary lymphoid organs by next-generation immune repertoire sequencing. We found immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region sequences that were unique to mELT and had accumulated functionally relevant somatic mutations, together indicating localized antigen-driven affinity maturation. Our results suggest that B cells in mELT actively participate in CNS autoimmunity, which may be relevant to mELT in MS and ELT in other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Klaus Lehmann-Horn, Sheng-zhi Wang, Sharon A. Sagan, Scott S. Zamvil, H.-Christian von Büdingen
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