Graves disease, a common organ-specific autoimmune disease affecting humans, differs from all other autoimmune diseases in being associated with target organ hyperfunction rather than organ damage. Clinical thyrotoxicosis is directly caused by autoantibodies that activate the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR). The etiology of Graves disease is multifactorial, with nongenetic factors playing an important role. Of the latter, there is the intriguing possibility that the molecular structure of the target antigen contributes to the development of thyroid-stimulatory autoantibodies (TSAb’s). Among the glycoprotein hormone receptors, only the TSHR undergoes intramolecular cleavage into disulfide-linked subunits with consequent shedding of some of the extracellular, autoantibody-binding A subunits. Functional autoantibodies do not arise to the noncleaving glycoprotein hormone receptors. Recently, TSAb’s were found to preferentially recognize shed, rather than attached, A subunits. Here we use a new adenovirus-mediated animal model of Graves disease to show that goiter and hyperthyroidism occur to a much greater extent when the adenovirus expresses the free A subunit as opposed to a genetically modified TSHR that cleaves minimally into subunits. These data show that shed A subunits induce or amplify the immune response leading to hyperthyroidism and provide new insight into the etiology of Graves disease.
Chun-Rong Chen, Pavel Pichurin, Yuji Nagayama, Francesco Latrofa, Basil Rapoport, Sandra M. McLachlan
Through a combination of fluorescence microscopy and patch-clamp analysis we have identified a striking alteration in K+ channel expression in terminally differentiated human CCR7–CD45RA– effector memory T lymphocytes (TEM). Following activation, TEM cells expressed significantly higher levels of the voltage-gated K+ channel Kv1.3 and lower levels of the calcium-activated K+ channel IKCa1 than naive and central memory T cells (TCM). Upon repeated in vitro antigenic stimulation, naive cells differentiated into Kv1.3highIKCa1low TEM cells, and the potent Kv1.3-blocking sea anemone Stichodactyla helianthus peptide (ShK) suppressed proliferation of TEM cells without affecting naive or TCM lymphocytes. Thus, the Kv1.3highIKCa1low phenotype is a functional marker of activated TEM lymphocytes. Activated myelin-reactive T cells from patients with MS exhibited the Kv1.3highIKCa1low TEM phenotype, suggesting that they have undergone repeated stimulation during the course of disease; these cells may contribute to disease pathogenesis due to their ability to home to inflamed tissues and exhibit immediate effector function. The Kv1.3highIKCa1low phenotype was not seen in glutamic acid decarboxylase, insulin-peptide or ovalbumin-specific and mitogen-activated T cells from MS patients, or in myelin-specific T cells from healthy controls. Selective targeting of Kv1.3 in TEM cells may therefore hold therapeutic promise for MS and other T cell–mediated autoimmune diseases.
Heike Wulff, Peter A. Calabresi, Rameeza Allie, Sung Yun, Michael Pennington, Christine Beeton, K. George Chandy
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a CD4+ T cell–dependent, immune complex–mediated, autoimmune disease that primarily affects women of childbearing age. Generation of high-titer affinity-matured IgG autoantibodies, specific for double-stranded DNA and other nuclear antigens, coincides with disease progression. Current forms of treatment of SLE including glucocorticosteroids are often inadequate and induce severe side effects. Immunological approaches for treating SLE in mice using anti-CD4 mAb’s or CTLA4-Ig and anti-CD154 mAb’s have proven to be effective. However, like steroid treatment, these regimens induce global immunosuppression, and their withdrawal allows for disease progression. In this report we show that lupus-prone NZB × NZW F1 mice given three injections of anti-CD137 (4-1BB) mAb’s between 26 and 35 weeks of age reversed acute disease, blocked chronic disease, and extended the mice’s lifespan from 10 months to more than 2 years. Autoantibody production in recipients was rapidly suppressed without inducing immunosuppression. Successful treatment could be traced to the fact that NZB × NZW F1 mice, regardless of their age or disease status, could not maintain pathogenic IgG autoantibody production in the absence of continuous CD4+ T cell help. Our data support the hypothesis that CD137-mediated signaling anergized CD4+ T cells during priming at the DC interface.
Juergen Foell, Simona Strahotin, Shawn P. O’Neil, Megan M. McCausland, Carolyn Suwyn, Michael Haber, Praveen N. Chander, Abhijit S. Bapat, Xiao-Jie Yan, Nicholas Chiorazzi, Michael K. Hoffmann, Robert S. Mittler
Synovial fluid cells from joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients express a novel variant of CD44 (designated CD44vRA), encoding an extra trinucleotide (CAG) transcribed from intronic sequences flanking a variant exon. The CD44vRA mutant was detected in 23 out of 30 RA patients. CD44-negative Namalwa cells transfected with CD44vRA cDNA or with CD44v3-v10 (CD44vRA wild type) cDNA bound FGF-2 to an equal extent via their associated heparan sulfate chains. However, Namalwa cells, immobilizing FGF-2 via their cell surface CD44vRA, bound substantially more soluble FGF receptor-1 (FGFR-1) than did Namalwa cells immobilizing the same amount of FGF-2 via their cell surface CD44v3-v10. The former cells stimulated the proliferation of BaF-32 cells, bearing FGFR-1, more efficiently than did the latter cells. Finally, isolated primary synovial fluid cells from RA patients expressing CD44vRA bound more soluble FGFR-1 to their cell surface–associated FGF-2 than did corresponding synovial cells expressing CD44v3-v10 or synovial cells from osteoarthritis patients. The binding of soluble FGFR-1 to RA synovial cells could be specifically reduced by their preincubation with Ab’s against the v3 exon product of CD44. Hence, FGF-2 attached to the heparan sulfate moiety expressed by the novel CD44 variant of RA synovium cells exhibits an augmented ability to stimulate FGFR-1–mediated activities. A similar mechanism may foster the destructive inflammatory cascade not only in RA, but also in other autoimmune diseases.
Shlomo Nedvetzki, Itshak Golan, Nathalie Assayag, Erez Gonen, Dan Caspi, Micha Gladnikoff, Avner Yayon, David Naor
Theiler murine encephalomyelitis virus–induced demyelinating disease (TMEV-IDD) is a mouse model of chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) characterized by Th1-mediated CNS demyelination and spastic hindlimb paralysis. Existing MS therapies reduce relapse rates in 30% of relapsing-remitting MS patients, but are ineffective in chronic-progressive disease, and their effects on disability progression are unclear. Experimental studies demonstrate cannabinoids are useful for symptomatic treatment of spasticity and tremor in chronic-relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Cannabinoids, however, have reported immunosuppressive properties. We show that the cannabinoid receptor agonist, R(+)WIN55,212, ameliorates progression of clinical disease symptoms in mice with preexisting TMEV-IDD. Amelioration of clinical disease is associated with downregulation of both virus and myelin epitope-specific Th1 effector functions (delayed-type hypersensitivity and IFN-γ production) and the inhibition of CNS mRNA expression coding for the proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-α, IL1-β, and IL-6. Clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for the symptomatic treatment of MS are ongoing, and this study demonstrates that they may also have potent immunoregulatory properties.
J. Ludovic Croxford, Stephen D. Miller
Neuronal nicotinic AChRs (nAChRs) are implicated in the pathogenesis of diverse neurological disorders and in the regulation of small-cell lung carcinoma growth. Twelve subunits have been identified in vertebrates, and mutations of one are recognized in a rare form of human epilepsy. Mice with genetically manipulated neuronal nAChR subunits exhibit behavioral or autonomic phenotypes. Here, we report the first model of an acquired neuronal nAChR disorder and evidence for its pertinence to paraneoplastic neurological autoimmunity. Rabbits immunized once with recombinant α3 subunit (residues 1–205) develop profound gastrointestinal hypomotility, dilated pupils with impaired light response, and grossly distended bladders. As in patients with idiopathic and paraneoplastic autoimmune autonomic neuropathy, the severity parallels serum levels of ganglionic nAChR autoantibody. Failure of neurotransmission through abdominal sympathetic ganglia, with retention of neuronal viability, confirms that the disorder is a postsynaptic channelopathy. In addition, we found ganglionic nAChR protein in small-cell carcinoma lines, identifying this cancer as a potential initiator of ganglionic nAChR autoimmunity. The data support our hypothesis that immune responses driven by distinct neuronal nAChR subtypes expressed in small-cell carcinomas account for several lung cancer–related paraneoplastic disorders affecting cholinergic systems, including autoimmune autonomic neuropathy, seizures, dementia, and movement disorders.
Vanda A. Lennon, Leonid G. Ermilov, Joseph H. Szurszewski, Steven Vernino
Cardiac antigen–specific CD8+ T cells are involved in the autoimmune component of human myocarditis. Here, we studied the differentiation and migration of pathogenic CD8+ T cell effector cells in a new mouse model of autoimmune myocarditis. A transgenic mouse line was derived that expresses cardiac myocyte restricted membrane-bound ovalbumin (CMy-mOva). The endogenous adaptive immune system of CMy-mOva mice displays tolerance to ovalbumin. Adoptive transfer of naive CD8+ T cells from the ovalbumin-specific T cell receptor–transgenic (TCR-transgenic) OT-I strain induces myocarditis in CMy-mOva mice only after subsequent inoculation with ovalbumin-expressing vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-Ova). OT-I effector T cells derived in vitro in the presence or absence of IL-12 were adoptively transferred into CMy-mOva mice, and the consequences were compared. Although IL-12 was not required for the generation of cytolytic and IFN-γ–producing effector T cells, only effectors primed in the presence of IL-12 infiltrated CMy-mOva hearts in significant numbers, causing lethal myocarditis. Furthermore, analysis of OT-I effectors collected from a mediastinal draining lymph node indicated that only effectors primed in vitro in the presence of IL-12 proliferated in vivo. These data demonstrate the importance of IL-12 in the differentiation of pathogenic CD8+ T cells that can cause myocarditis.
Nir Grabie, Michael W. Delfs, Jason R. Westrich, Victoria A. Love, George Stavrakis, Ferhaan Ahmad, Christine E. Seidman, Jonathan G. Seidman, Andrew H. Lichtman
CD4+ helper Th cells play a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Th cell activation, differentiation, and immune function are regulated by costimulatory molecules. Inducible costimulator (ICOS) is a novel costimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells. We, as well as others, recently demonstrated its importance in Th2 cytokine expression and Ab class switching by B cells. In this study, we examined the role of ICOS in rheumatoid arthritis using a collagen-induced arthritis model. We found that ICOS knockout mice on the DBA/1 background were completely resistant to collagen-induced arthritis and exhibited absence of joint tissue inflammation. These mice, when immunized with collagen, exhibited reduced anti-collagen IgM Ab’s in the initial stage and IgG2a Ab’s at the effector phase of collagen-induced arthritis. Furthermore, ICOS regulates the in vitro and in vivo expression of IL-17, a proinflammatory cytokine implicated in rheumatoid arthritis. These data indicate that ICOS is essential for collagen-induced arthritis and may suggest novel means for treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Roza I. Nurieva, Piper Treuting, Julie Duong, Richard A. Flavell, Chen Dong
Studies in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) suggest a possible role for histone deacetylases (HDACs) in skewed gene expression and disease pathogenesis. We used the MRL-lpr/lpr murine model of lupus to demonstrate that HDACs play a key role in the heightened levels of both Th1 and Th2 cytokine expression that contribute to disease. The availability of specific HDAC inhibitors (HDIs) such as trichostatin A (TSA) and suberonylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) permits the study of the role of HDACs in gene regulation. Our results indicate that HDIs downregulate IL-12, IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 mRNA and protein levels in MRL-lpr/lpr splenocytes. This effect on gene transcription is associated with an increased accumulation of acetylated histones H3 and H4 in total cellular chromatin. To elucidate the in vivo effects of TSA on lupuslike disease, we treated MRL-lpr/lpr mice with TSA (0.5 mg/kg/d) for 5 weeks. Compared with vehicle-treated control mice, TSA-treated mice exhibited a significant reduction in proteinuria, glomerulonephritis, and spleen weight. Taken together, these findings suggest that increased expression of HDACs leading to an altered state of histone acetylation may be of pathologic significance in MRL-lpr/lpr mice. In addition, TSA or other HDIs may have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of SLE.
Nilamadhab Mishra, Christopher M. Reilly, Doris R. Brown, Phil Ruiz, Gary S. Gilkeson
Autoimmune (type 1) diabetes mellitus results from the destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells by T lymphocytes. Prediction of cell-mediated autoimmune diseases by direct detection of autoreactive T cells in peripheral blood has proved elusive, in part because of their low frequency and reduced avidity for peptide MHC ligands.
Jacqueline D. Trudeau, Carolyn Kelly-Smith, C. Bruce Verchere, John F. Elliott, Jan P. Dutz, Diane T. Finegood, Pere Santamaria, Rusung Tan
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