Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a B cell–mediated autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission. Pathogenic autoantibodies to muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK) can be found in patients with MG who do not have detectable antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor (AChR). MuSK MG includes immunological and clinical features that are generally distinct from AChR MG, particularly regarding responsiveness to therapy. B cell depletion has been shown to affect a decline in serum autoantibodies and to induce sustained clinical improvement in the majority of MuSK MG patients. However, the duration of this benefit may be limited, as we observed disease relapse in MuSK MG patients who had achieved rituximab-induced remission. We investigated the mechanisms of such relapses by exploring autoantibody production in the reemerging B cell compartment. Autoantibody-expressing CD27+ B cells were observed within the reconstituted repertoire during relapse but not during remission or in controls. Using two complementary approaches, which included production of 108 unique human monoclonal recombinant immunoglobulins, we demonstrated that antibody-secreting CD27hiCD38hi B cells (plasmablasts) contribute to the production of MuSK autoantibodies during relapse. The autoantibodies displayed hallmarks of antigen-driven affinity maturation. These collective findings introduce potential mechanisms for understanding both MuSK autoantibody production and disease relapse following B cell depletion.
Panos Stathopoulos, Aditya Kumar, Richard J. Nowak, Kevin C. O’Connor
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), remnants of ancestral viral genomic insertions, are known to represent 8% of the human genome and are associated with several pathologies. In particular, the envelope protein of HERV-W family (HERV-W-Env) has been involved in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis. Investigations to detect HERV-W-Env in a few other autoimmune diseases were negative, except in type-1 diabetes (T1D). In patients suffering from T1D, HERV-W-Env protein was detected in 70% of sera, and its corresponding RNA was detected in 57% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. While studies on human Langerhans islets evidenced the inhibition of insulin secretion by HERV-W-Env, this endogenous protein was found to be expressed by acinar cells in 75% of human T1D pancreata. An extensive immunohistological analysis further revealed a significant correlation between HERV-W-Env expression and macrophage infiltrates in the exocrine part of human pancreata. Such findings were corroborated by in vivo studies on transgenic mice expressing HERV-W-env gene, which displayed hyperglycemia and decreased levels of insulin, along with immune cell infiltrates in their pancreas. Altogether, these results strongly suggest an involvement of HERV-W-Env in T1D pathogenesis. They also provide potentially novel therapeutic perspectives, since unveiling a pathogenic target in T1D.
Sandrine Levet, Julie Medina, Julie Joanou, Amandine Demolder, Nelly Queruel, Kevin Réant, Matthieu Normand, Marine Seffals, Julie Dimier, Raphaële Germi, Thomas Piofczyk, Jacques Portoukalian, Jean-Louis Touraine, Hervé Perron
The pathogenesis of primary Sjogren’s syndrome (SS), an autoimmune disease that targets the mucosa of exocrine tissues, is poorly understood. Although several mouse models have been developed that display features of SS, most of these are within the larger context of a lupus-like presentation. Immunity-related GTPase family M protein 1 (Irgm1) is an interferon-inducible cytoplasmic GTPase that is reported to regulate autophagy and mitochondrial homeostasis. Here, we report that naive Irgm1–/– mice display lymphocytic infiltration of multiple mucosal tissues including the lung in a manner reminiscent of SS, together with IgA class–predominant autoantibodies including anti-Ro and anti-La. This phenotype persists in the germ-free state, but is abolished by deletion of Irgm3. Irgm1–/– mice have increased local production in the lung of TECP15-idiotype IgA, a natural antibody with dual reactivity against host and pneumococcal phosphorylcholine. Associated with this, Irgm1–/– mice display enhanced opsonization and clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae from the lung and increased survival from pneumococcal pneumonia. Taken together, our results identify Irgm1 as a master regulator of mucosal immunity that dually modulates evolutionarily conserved self- and other-directed immune responses at the interface of host with environment.
Kathleen M. Azzam, Jennifer H. Madenspacher, Derek W. Cain, Lihua Lai, Kymberly M. Gowdy, Prashant Rai, Kyathanahalli Janardhan, Natasha Clayton, Willie Cunningham, Heather Jensen, Preeyam S. Patel, John F. Kearney, Gregory A. Taylor, Michael B. Fessler
The maintenance of peripheral naive T lymphocytes in humans is dependent on their homeostatic division, not continuing emigration from the thymus, which undergoes involution with age. However, postthymic maintenance of naive T cells is still poorly understood. Previously we reported that recent thymic emigrants (RTEs) are contained in CD31+CD25− naive T cells as defined by their levels of signal joint T cell receptor rearrangement excision circles (sjTRECs). Here, by differential gene expression analysis followed by protein expression and functional studies, we define that the naive T cells having divided the least since thymic emigration express complement receptors (CR1 and CR2) known to bind complement C3b- and C3d-decorated microbial products and, following activation, produce IL-8 (CXCL8), a major chemoattractant for neutrophils in bacterial defense. We also observed an IL-8–producing memory T cell subpopulation coexpressing CR1 and CR2 and with a gene expression signature resembling that of RTEs. The functions of CR1 and CR2 on T cells remain to be determined, but we note that CR2 is the receptor for Epstein-Barr virus, which is a cause of T cell lymphomas and a candidate environmental factor in autoimmune disease.
Marcin L. Pekalski, Arcadio Rubio García, Ricardo C. Ferreira, Daniel B. Rainbow, Deborah J. Smyth, Meghavi Mashar, Jane Brady, Natalia Savinykh, Xaquin Castro Dopico, Sumiyya Mahmood, Simon Duley, Helen E. Stevens, Neil M. Walker, Antony J. Cutler, Frank Waldron-Lynch, David B. Dunger, Claire Shannon-Lowe, Alasdair J. Coles, Joanne L. Jones, Chris Wallace, John A. Todd, Linda S. Wicker
The chemokine receptor CCR6 marks subsets of T cells and innate lymphoid cells that produce IL-17 and IL-22, and as such may play a role in the recruitment of these cells to certain inflammatory sites. However, the precise role of CCR6 has been controversial, in part because no effective monoclonal antibody (mAb) inhibitors against this receptor exist for use in mouse models of inflammation. We circumvented this problem using transgenic mice expressing human CCR6 (hCCR6) under control of its native promoter (hCCR6-Tg/mCCR6–/–). We also developed a fully humanized mAb against hCCR6 with antagonistic activity. The expression pattern of hCCR6 in hCCR6-Tg/mCCR6–/– mice was consistent with the pattern observed in humans. In mouse models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and psoriasis, treatment with anti-hCCR6 mAb was remarkably effective in both preventive and therapeutic regimens. For instance, in the imiquimod model of psoriasis, anti-CCR6 completely abolished all signs of inflammation. Moreover, anti-hCCR6 attenuated clinical symptoms of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein–induced (MOG-induced) EAE and reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells in the central nervous system. CCR6 plays a critical role in Th17 type inflammatory reactions, and CCR6 inhibition may offer an alternative approach for the treatment of these lesions.
Remy Robert, Caroline Ang, Guizhi Sun, Laurent Juglair, Ee X. Lim, Linda J. Mason, Natalie L. Payne, Claude C.A. Bernard, Charles R. Mackay
GPCR expression was intensively studied in bulk cDNA of leukocyte populations, but limited data are available with respect to expression in individual cells. Here, we show a microfluidic-based single-cell GPCR expression analysis in primary T cells, myeloid cells, and endothelial cells under naive conditions and during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the mouse model of multiple sclerosis. We found that neuroinflammation induces characteristic changes in GPCR heterogeneity and patterning, and we identify various functionally relevant subgroups with specific GPCR profiles among spinal cord–infiltrating CD4 T cells, macrophages, microglia, or endothelial cells. Using GPCRs CXCR4, S1P1, and LPHN2 as examples, we show how this information can be used to develop new strategies for the functional modulation of Th17 cells and activated endothelial cells. Taken together, single-cell GPCR expression analysis identifies functionally relevant subpopulations with specific GPCR repertoires and provides a basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies in immune disorders.
Denise Tischner, Myriam Grimm, Harmandeep Kaur, Daniel Staudenraus, Jorge Carvalho, Mario Looso, Stefan Günther, Florian Wanke, Sonja Moos, Nelly Siller, Johanna Breuer, Nicholas Schwab, Frauke Zipp, Ari Waisman, Florian C. Kurschus, Stefan Offermanns, Nina Wettschureck
Today, it is known that autoimmune diseases start a long time before clinical symptoms appear. Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) appear many years before the clinical onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is still unclear if and how ACPAs are arthritogenic. To better understand the molecular basis of pathogenicity of ACPAs, we investigated autoantibodies reactive against the C1 epitope of collagen type II (CII) and its citrullinated variants. We found that these antibodies are commonly occurring in RA. A mAb (ACC1) against citrullinated C1 was found to cross-react with several noncitrullinated epitopes on native CII, causing proteoglycan depletion of cartilage and severe arthritis in mice. Structural studies by X-ray crystallography showed that such recognition is governed by a shared structural motif “RG-TG” within all the epitopes, including electrostatic potential-controlled citrulline specificity. Overall, we have demonstrated a molecular mechanism that explains how ACPAs trigger arthritis.
Changrong Ge, Dongmei Tong, Bibo Liang, Erik Lönnblom, Nadine Schneider, Cecilia Hagert, Johan Viljanen, Burcu Ayoglu, Roma Stawikowska, Peter Nilsson, Gregg B. Fields, Thomas Skogh, Alf Kastbom, Jan Kihlberg, Harald Burkhardt, Doreen Dobritzsch, Rikard Holmdahl
Many effector mechanisms of neutrophils have been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been assigned a particularly detrimental role. Here we investigated the functional impact of neutrophils and NETs on a mouse model of lupus triggered by intraperitoneal injection of the cell death–inducing alkane pristane. Pristane-induced lupus (PIL) was aggravated in 2 mouse strains with impaired induction of NET formation, i.e., NOX2-deficient (
Deborah Kienhöfer, Jonas Hahn, Julia Stoof, Janka Zsófia Csepregi, Christiane Reinwald, Vilma Urbonaviciute, Caroline Johnsson, Christian Maueröder, Malgorzata J. Podolska, Mona H. Biermann, Moritz Leppkes, Thomas Harrer, Malin Hultqvist, Peter Olofsson, Luis E. Munoz, Attila Mocsai, Martin Herrmann, Georg Schett, Rikard Holmdahl, Markus H. Hoffmann
Though recent reports suggest that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are a source of antigenic nucleic acids in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we recently showed that inhibition of NETs by targeting the NADPH oxidase complex via cytochrome b-245, β polypeptide (
Rachael A. Gordon, Jan M. Herter, Florencia Rosetti, Allison M. Campbell, Hiroshi Nishi, Michael Kashgarian, Sheldon I. Bastacky, Anthony Marinov, Kevin M. Nickerson, Tanya N. Mayadas, Mark J. Shlomchik
Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an epithelial blistering disease caused by autoantibodies to the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (DSG3). Glucocorticoids improve disease within days by increasing DSG3 gene transcription, although the mechanism for this observation remains unknown. Here, we show that DSG3 transcription in keratinocytes is regulated by Stat3. Treatment of primary human keratinocytes (PHKs) with hydrocortisone or rapamycin, but not the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB202190, significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein expression and correspondingly reduces phospho-S727 Stat3. Stat3 inhibition or shRNA-knockdown also significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein levels. Hydrocortisone- or rapamycin-treated PHKs demonstrate increased number and length of desmosomes by electron microscopy and are resistant to PV IgG–induced loss of cell adhesion, whereas constitutive activation of Stat3 in PHKs abrogates DSG3 upregulation and inhibits hydrocortisone and rapamycin’s therapeutic effects. Topical hydrocortisone, rapamycin, or Stat3 inhibitor XVIII prevents autoantibody-induced blistering in the PV passive transfer mouse model, correlating with increased epidermal DSG3 expression and decreased phospho-S727 Stat3. Our data indicate that glucocorticoids and rapamycin upregulate DSG3 transcription through inhibition of Stat3. These studies explain how glucocorticoids rapidly improve pemphigus and may also offer novel insights into the physiologic and pathophysiologic regulation of desmosomal cadherin expression in normal epidermis and epithelial carcinomas.
Xuming Mao, Michael Jeffrey T. Cho, Christoph T. Ellebrecht, Eric M. Mukherjee, Aimee S. Payne
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