Impairment of neutrophil extracellular trap degradation is associated with lupus nephritis.
ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which patients develop autoantibodies to DNA, histones, and often to neutrophil proteins. These form immune complexes that are pathogenic and may cause lupus nephritis. In SLE patients, infections can initiate flares and are a major cause of mortality. Neutrophils respond to infections and release extracellular traps (NETs), which are antimicrobial and are made of DNA, histones, and neutrophil proteins. The timely removal of NETs may be crucial for tissue homeostasis to avoid presentation of self-antigens. We tested the hypothesis that SLE patients cannot clear NETs, contributing to the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. Here we show that serum endonuclease DNase1 is essential for disassembly of NETs. Interestingly, a subset of SLE patients' sera degraded NETs poorly. Two mechanisms caused this impaired NET degradation: (i) the presence of DNase1 inhibitors or (ii) anti-NET antibodies prevented DNase1 access to NETs. Impairment of DNase1 function and failure to dismantle NETs correlated with kidney involvement. Hence, identification of SLE patients who cannot dismantle NETs might be a useful indicator of renal involvement. Moreover, NETs might represent a therapeutic target in SLE.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NET) expose modified antigens for autoantibodies in vasculitis. Little is known about levels and removal pathways of NET in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), especially in lupus nephritis (LN). We determined circulating levels and defined NET removal in large subsets of patients with incident SLE (iSLE), some of whom had new-onset nephritis. METHODS:Serum levels of NET (ELISA), DNase1/DNase1L3 (ELISA), and DNase activity (functional assay) were determined in 216 patients with iSLE [103 had incident LN (iLN)], in 50 patients with other primary glomerulonephritis, and in healthy controls. Ex vivo NET production by neutrophils purified from a random selection of patients was quantified as elastase/DNA release and by immunofluorescence techniques. RESULTS:Serum NET levels were very high in iSLE/iLN compared to all groups of controls and correlated with anti-dsDNA, C3-C4, and proteinuria; iLN had the highest levels. DNase activity was decreased in iLN compared to SLE (20% had one-half DNase activity) despite similar serum levels of DNase1/DNase1L3. In these cases, pretreatment of serum with protein A restored DNase efficiency; 1 patient was homozygous for a c.289_290delAC variant of DNASE1L3. Ex vivo NET production by neutrophils purified from LN, SLE, and normal controls was similar in all cases. CONCLUSION:Patients with iLN have increased circulating NET and reduced DNase activity, the latter being explained by the presence of inhibitory substances in circulation and/or by rare DNase1L3 mutations. Accumulation of NET derives from a multifactorial mechanism, and is associated and may contribute to disease severity in SLE, in particular to renal lesions. (Clinical trial registration: The Zeus study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, study number NCT02403115).
Project description:Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) are chromatin-derived extracellular structures that are expelled from neutrophils in response to infectious or inflammatory stimuli. NET DNA structures are decorated with proteins including histones, myeloperoxidase and neutrophil elastase. NETs are implicated in the development of auto-immunity in diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) through the externalisation of intracellular neoepitopes e.g. dsDNA and nuclear proteins in SLE and citrullinated peptides in RA. The aim of this work was to use quantitative proteomics to identify and measure NET proteins produced by neutrophils from healthy individuals, and from patients with RA and SLE.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Deposition of chromatin-IgG complexes within glomerular membranes is a key event in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. We recently reported an acquired loss of renal Dnase1 expression linked to transformation from mild to severe membranoproliferative lupus nephritis in (NZBxNZW)F1 mice. As this may represent a basic mechanism in the progression of lupus nephritis, several aspects of Dnase1 expression in lupus nephritis were analyzed. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Total nuclease activity and Dnase1 expression and activity was evaluated using in situ and in vitro analyses of kidneys and sera from (NZBxNZW)F1 mice of different ages, and from age-matched healthy controls. Immunofluorescence staining for Dnase1 was performed on kidney biopsies from (NZBxNZW)F1 mice as well as from human SLE patients and controls. Reduced serum Dnase1 activity was observed in both mesangial and end-stage lupus nephritis. A selective reduction in renal Dnase1 activity was seen in mice with massive deposition of chromatin-containing immune complexes in glomerular capillary walls. Mice with mild mesangial nephritis showed normal renal Dnase1 activity. Similar differences were seen when comparing human kidneys with severe and mild lupus nephritis. Dnase1 was diffusely expressed within the kidney in normal and mildly affected kidneys, whereas upon progression towards end-stage renal disease, Dnase1 was down-regulated in all renal compartments. This demonstrates that the changes associated with development of severe nephritis in the murine model are also relevant to human lupus nephritis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Reduction in renal Dnase1 expression and activity is limited to mice and SLE patients with signs of membranoproliferative nephritis, and may be a critical event in the development of severe forms of lupus nephritis. Reduced Dnase1 activity reflects loss in the expression of the protein and not inhibition of enzyme activity.
Project description:Loss of tolerance to nuclear antigens and multisystem tissue destruction is a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Although the source of autoantigen in lupus remains elusive, a compelling hypothetical source is dead cell debris that drives autoimmune activation. Prior reports suggest that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and their associated death pathway, NETosis, are sources of autoantigen in SLE. However, others and we have shown that inhibition of NETs by targeting the NADPH oxidase complex and peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PADI4) did not ameliorate disease in spontaneous murine models of SLE. Furthermore, myeloperoxidase and PADI4 deletion did not inhibit induced lupus. Since NET formation may occur independently of any one mediator, to address this controversy, we genetically deleted an additional important mediator of NETs and neutrophil effector function, neutrophil elastase (ELANE), in the MRL.Faslpr model of SLE. ELANE deficiency, and by extension ELANE-dependent NETs, had no effect on SLE nephritis, dermatitis, anti-self response, or immune composition in MRL.Faslpr mice. Taken together with prior data from our group and others, these data further challenge the paradigm that NETs and neutrophils are pathogenic in SLE.
Project description:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE), since netting neutrophils release potentially immunogenic autoantigens including histones, LL37, human neutrophil peptide (HNP), and self-DNA. In turn, these NETs activate plasmacytoid dendritic cells resulting in aggravation of inflammation and disease. How suppression of NET formation can be targeted for treatment has not been reported yet. Signal Inhibitory Receptor on Leukocytes-1 (SIRL-1) is a surface molecule exclusively expressed on phagocytes. We recently identified SIRL-1 as a negative regulator of human neutrophil function. Here, we determine whether ligation of SIRL-1 prevents the pathogenic release of NETs in SLE. Peripheral blood neutrophils from SLE patients with mild to moderate disease activity and healthy donors were freshly isolated. NET release was assessed spontaneously or after exposure to anti-neutrophil antibodies or plasma obtained from SLE patients. The formation of NETs was determined by microscopic evaluation using DNA dyes and immunostaining of NET components, as well as by live cell imaging. We show that SLE neutrophils spontaneously release NETs. NET formation is enhanced by stimulation with antibodies against LL37. Inhibition of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase activity and MEK-ERK signaling prevents NET release in response to these antibodies. Signaling via the inhibitory receptor SIRL-1 was induced by ligation with anti-SIRL-1 specific antibodies. Both spontaneous and anti-neutrophil antibody-induced NET formation is suppressed by engagement of SIRL-1. Furthermore, NET release by healthy neutrophils exposed to SLE plasma is inhibited by SIRL-1 ligation. Thus, SIRL-1 engagement can dampen spontaneous and anti-neutrophil antibody-induced NET formation in SLE, likely by suppressing NAPDH oxidase and MEK-ERK activity. Together, these findings reveal a regulatory role for SIRL-1 in NET formation, potentially providing a novel therapeutic target to break the pathogenic loop in SLE.
Project description: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, ? polypeptide (cybb) deletion exacerbated disease in the MRL.Faslpr lupus mouse model. While these data challenge the paradigm that NETs promote lupus, it is conceivable that global regulatory properties of cybb and cybb-independent NETs confound these findings. Furthermore, recent reports indicate that inhibitors of peptidyl arginine deiminase, type IV (Padi4), a distal mediator of NET formation, improve lupus in murine models. Here, to clarify the contribution of NETs to SLE, we employed a genetic approach to delete Padi4 in the MRL.Faslpr model and used a pharmacological approach to inhibit PADs in both the anti-glomerular basement membrane model of proliferative nephritis and a human-serum-transfer model of SLE. In contrast to prior inhibitor studies, we found that deletion of Padi4 did not ameliorate any aspect of nephritis, loss of tolerance, or immune activation. Pharmacological inhibition of PAD activity had no effect on end-organ damage in inducible models of glomerulonephritis. These data provide a direct challenge to the concept that NETs promote autoimmunity and target organ injury in SLE.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the presence of autoantibodies against nuclear components. Lupus nephritis (LN) is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with SLE. Central to the pathogenesis of SLE is the accumulation of cellular waste, especially apoptotic microparticles (MPs), which stimulates diverse immune reactions including the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). In this study, we investigated the content of MPs from SLE patients with and without (active) LN, their capacity to stimulate NET release, and assessed the molecular mechanisms underlying MP-induced NETosis.<h4>Methods</h4>MPs from SLE patients with biopsy-proven active LN, remissive LN, without LN, and healthy controls were characterized by flow cytometry. Isolated neutrophils were exposed to MPs derived from either patient plasma or apoptotic human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and NET release was quantified by immunofluorescence imaging, spectrofluorometry or an in-house developed NET ELISA.<h4>Results</h4>MPs from SLE patients with active LN contain higher levels of acetylated chromatin compared to MPs from those with remissive LN, without LN, or healthy controls. MPs enriched in hyperacetylated chromatin are more potent in inducing NETosis when compared to MPs containing moderate acetylated chromatin. The release of NETs in response to MPs occurs rapidly in a concentration-dependent manner and proceeds independent from the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our data suggest that MPs containing acetylated chromatin drive ROS-independent NET release in SLE patients with active LN, which may lead to the glomerular deposition of NETs and subsequent NET-driven LN.
Project description:Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) are implicated in the development of auto-immunity in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) through the externalization of intracellular neoepitopes e.g., dsDNA and nuclear proteins in SLE and citrullinated peptides in RA. The aim of this work was to use quantitative proteomics to identify and measure NET proteins produced by neutrophils from healthy controls, and from patients with RA and SLE to determine if NETs can be differentially-generated to expose different sets of neoepitopes. Ultra-pure neutrophils (>99%) from healthy individuals (n = 3) and patients with RA or SLE (n = 6 each) were incubated ± PMA (50 nM, PKC super-activator) or A23187 (3.8 ?M, calcium ionophore) for 4 h. NETs were liberated by nuclease digestion and concentrated onto Strataclean beads prior to on-bead digestion with trypsin. Data-dependent LC-MS/MS analyses were conducted on a QExactive HF quadrupole-Orbitrap mass spectrometer, and label-free protein quantification was carried out using Progenesis QI. PMA-induced NETs were decorated with annexins, azurocidin and histone H3, whereas A23187-induced NETs were decorated with granule proteins including CAMP/LL37, CRISP3, lipocalin and MMP8, histones H1.0, H1.4, and H1.5, interleukin-8, protein-arginine deiminase-4 (PADI4), and ?-enolase. Four proteins were significantly different between PMA-NETs from RA and SLE neutrophils (p < 0.05): RNASE2 was higher in RA, whereas MPO, leukocyte elastase inhibitor and thymidine phosphorylase were higher in SLE. For A23187-NETs, six NET proteins were higher in RA (p < 0.05), including CAMP/LL37, CRISP3, interleukin-8, MMP8; Thirteen proteins were higher in SLE, including histones H1.0, H2B, and H4. This work provides the first, direct comparison of NOX2-dependent (PMA) and NOX2-independent (A23187) NETs using quantitative proteomics, and the first direct comparison of RA and SLE NETs using quantitative proteomics. We show that it is the nature of the stimulant rather than neutrophil physiology that determines NET protein profiles in disease, since stimulation of NETosis in either a NOX2-dependent or a NOX2-independent manner generates broadly similar NET proteins irrespective of the disease background. We also use our proteomics pipeline to identify an extensive range of post-translationally modified proteins in RA and SLE, including histones and granule proteins, many of which are known targets of auto-antibodies in each disease.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:An imbalance between neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and degradation has been described in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), potentially contributing to autoantigen externalisation, type I interferon synthesis and endothelial damage. We have demonstrated that peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) inhibition reduces NET formation and protects against lupus-related vascular damage in the New Zealand Mixed model of lupus. However, another strategy for inhibiting NETs--knockout of NOX2--accelerates lupus in a different murine model, MRL/lpr. Here, we test the effects of PAD inhibition on MRL/lpr mice in order to clarify whether some NET inhibitory pathways may be consistently therapeutic across models of SLE. METHODS:NET formation and autoantibodies to NETs were characterised in lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice. MRL/lpr mice were also treated with two different PAD inhibitors, Cl-amidine and the newly described BB-Cl-amidine. NET formation, endothelial function, interferon signature, nephritis and skin disease were examined in treated mice. RESULTS:Neutrophils from MRL/lpr mice demonstrate accelerated NET formation compared with controls. MRL/lpr mice also form autoantibodies to NETs and have evidence of endothelial dysfunction. PAD inhibition markedly improves endothelial function, while downregulating the expression of type I interferon-regulated genes. PAD inhibition also reduces proteinuria and immune complex deposition in the kidneys, while protecting against skin disease. CONCLUSIONS:PAD inhibition reduces NET formation, while protecting against lupus-related damage to the vasculature, kidneys and skin in various lupus models. The strategy by which NETs are inhibited will have to be carefully considered if human studies are to be undertaken.
Project description:Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular DNA structures covered with antimicrobial peptides, danger molecules, and autoantigens that can be released by neutrophils. NETs are an important first-line defense mechanism against bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections, but they can also play a role in autoimmune diseases. NETs are immunogenic and toxic structures that are recognized by the autoantibodies of patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies-associated vasculitis (AAV) (i.e., against myeloperoxidase or proteinase-3) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (i.e., against double-stranded DNA, histones, or nucleosomes). There is cumulating preclinical and clinical evidence that both excessive formation and impaired degradation of NETs are involved in the pathophysiology of AAV and SLE. These autoimmune diseases give rise to 2 clinically and pathologically distinct forms of glomerulonephritis (GN), respectively, crescentic pauci-immune GN and immune complex-mediated GN. Therefore, it is relevant to understand the different roles NET formation can play in the pathophysiology of these most prevalent renal autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes the current concepts on the role of NET formation in the pathophysiology of AAV and SLE, and provides a translational perspective on the clinical implications of NETs, such as potential therapeutic approaches that target NET formation in these renal autoimmune diseases.