Interleukin-21 receptor-mediated signals control autoreactive T cell infiltration in pancreatic islets.
ABSTRACT: It remains unclear how interleukin-21 receptor (IL-21R) contributes to type 1 diabetes. Here we have shown that dendritic cells (DCs) in the pancreas required IL-21R not for antigen uptake, but to acquire the chemokine receptor CCR7 and migrate into the draining lymph node. Consequently, less antigen, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, and CD86 was provided to autoreactive effector cells in Il21r(-/-) mice, impairing CD4(+) T cell activation, CD40:CD40L interactions, and pancreatic infiltration by autoreactive T cells. CD40 crosslinking restored defective CD4(+) cell expansion and CD4 independently expanded autoreactive CD8(+) cells, but CD8(+) cells still required CD4(+) cells to reach the pancreas and induce diabetes. Diabetes induction by transferred T cells required IL-21R-sufficient host antigen-presenting cells. Transferring IL-21R-sufficient DCs broke diabetes resistance in Il21r(-/-) mice. We conclude that IL-21R controls both antigen transport by DCs and the crucial beacon function of CD4(+) cells for autoreactive CD8(+) cells to reach the islets.
Project description:Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common allergic inflammatory skin disease caused by a combination of intense pruritus, scratching, and epicutaneous (e.c.) sensitization with allergens. To explore the roles of IL-21 and IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) in AD, we examined skin lesions from patients with AD and used a mouse model of allergic skin inflammation. IL-21 and IL-21R expression was upregulated in acute skin lesions of AD patients and in mouse skin subjected to tape stripping, a surrogate for scratching. The importance of this finding was highlighted by the fact that both Il21r-/- mice and WT mice treated with soluble IL-21R-IgG2aFc fusion protein failed to develop skin inflammation after e.c. sensitization of tape-stripped skin. Adoptively transferred OVA-specific WT CD4+ T cells accumulated poorly in draining LNs (DLNs) of e.c. sensitized Il21r-/- mice. This was likely caused by both DC-intrinsic and nonintrinsic effects, because trafficking of skin DCs to DLNs was defective in Il21r-/- mice and, to a lesser extent, in WT mice reconstituted with Il21r-/- BM. More insight into this defect was provided by the observation that skin DCs from tape-stripped WT mice, but not Il21r-/- mice, upregulated CCR7 and migrated toward CCR7 ligands. Treatment of epidermal and dermal cells with IL-21 activated MMP2, which has been implicated in trafficking of skin DCs. These results suggest an important role for IL-21R in the mobilization of skin DCs to DLNs and the subsequent allergic response to e.c. introduced antigen.
Project description:DCs are important mediators of peripheral tolerance for the prevention of autoimmunity. Chimeric ?DEC-205 antibodies with attached antigens allow in vivo antigen-specific stimulation of T cells by CD8(+) DCs, resulting in tolerance in nonautoimmune mice. However, it is not clear whether DC-mediated tolerance induction occurs in the context of ongoing autoimmunity. We assessed the role of CD8(+) DCs in stimulation of autoreactive CD4(+) T cells in the NOD mouse model of type 1 diabetes. Targeting of antigen to CD8(+) DCs via ?DEC-205 led to proliferation and expansion of ?-cell specific BDC2.5 T cells. These T cells also produced IL-2 and IFN-? and did not up-regulate FoxP3, consistent with an activated rather than tolerant phenotype. Similarly, endogenous BDC peptide-reactive T cells, identified with I-A(g7) tetramers, did not become tolerant after antigen delivery via ?DEC-205: no deletion or Treg induction was observed. We observed that CD8(+) DCs from NOD mice expressed higher surface levels of CD40 than CD8(+) DCs from C57BL/6 mice. Blockade of CD40-CD40L interactions reduced the number of BDC2.5 T cells remaining in mice, 10 days after antigen targeting to CD8 DCs, and blocked IFN-? production by BDC2.5 T cells. These data indicate that the ability of autoreactive CD4(+) T cells to undergo tolerance mediated by CD8(+) DCs is defective in NOD mice and that blocking CD40-CD40L interactions can restore tolerance induction.
Project description:In type 1 diabetes, maturation of activated autoreactive CD8+ T cells to fully armed effector cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) occurs within the islet. At present the signals required for the maturation process are poorly defined. Cytokines could potentially provide the necessary "third signal" required to generate fully mature CTL capable of killing insulin-producing β-cells. To determine whether autoreactive CTL within islets respond to cytokines we generated non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice with a reporter for cytokine signalling. These mice express a reporter gene, hCD4, under the control of the endogenous regulatory elements for suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS)1, which is itself regulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines. In NOD mice, the hCD4 reporter was expressed in infiltrated islets and the expression level was positively correlated with the frequency of infiltrating CD45+ cells. SOCS1 reporter expression was induced in transferred β-cell-specific CD8+ 8.3T cells upon migration from pancreatic draining lymph nodes into islets. To determine which cytokines induced SOCS1 promoter activity in islets, we examined hCD4 reporter expression and CTL maturation in the absence of the cytokine receptors IFNAR1 or IL-21R. We show that IFNAR1 deficiency does not confer protection from diabetes in 8.3 TCR transgenic mice, nor is IFNAR1 signalling required for SOCS1 reporter upregulation or CTL maturation in islets. In contrast, IL-21R-deficient 8.3 mice have reduced diabetes incidence and reduced SOCS1 reporter activity in islet CTLs. However IL-21R deficiency did not affect islet CD8+ T cell proliferation or expression of granzyme B or IFNγ. Together these data indicate that autoreactive CD8+ T cells respond to IL-21 and not type I IFNs in the islets of NOD mice, but neither IFNAR1 nor IL-21R are required for islet intrinsic CTL maturation.
Project description:IL-21 is a cytokine with pleiotropic actions, promoting terminal differentiation of B cells, increased Ig production, and the development of Th17 and T follicular helper cells. IL-21 is also implicated in the development of autoimmune disease and has antitumor activity. In this study, we investigated the role of IL-21 in host defense to pneumonia virus of mice (PVM), which initiates an infection in mice resembling that of respiratory syncytial virus disease in humans. We found that PVM-infected mice expressed IL-21 in lung CD4(+) T cells. Following infection, Il21r(-/-) mice exhibited less lung infiltration by neutrophils than did wild-type (WT) mice and correspondingly had lower levels of the chemokine CXCL1 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung parenchyma. CD8(+), CD4(+), and ?? T cell numbers were also lower in the lungs of PVM-infected Il21r(-/-) mice than in infected WT mice, with normal Th17 cytokines but diminished IL-6 production in PVM-infected Il21r(-/-) mice. Strikingly, Il21r(-/-) mice had enhanced survival following PVM infection, and moreover, treatment of WT mice with soluble IL-21R-Fc fusion protein enhanced their survival. These data reveal that IL-21 promotes the pathogenic inflammatory effect of PVM and indicate that manipulating IL-21 signaling may represent an immunomodulatory strategy for controlling PVM and potentially other respiratory virus infections.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The capacity of CD8(+) T cells to control infections and mediate antitumor immunity requires the development and survival of effector and memory cells. IL-21 has emerged as a potent inducer of CD8(+) T-cell effector function and memory development in mouse models of infectious disease. However, the role of IL-21 and associated signaling pathways in protective CD8(+) T-cell immunity in human subjects is unknown. OBJECTIVE:We sought to determine which signaling pathways mediate the effects of IL-21 on human CD8(+) T cells and whether defects in these pathways contribute to disease pathogenesis in patients with primary immunodeficiencies caused by mutations in components of the IL-21 signaling cascade. METHODS:Human primary immunodeficiencies resulting from monogenic mutations provide a unique opportunity to assess the requirement for particular molecules in regulating human lymphocyte function. Lymphocytes from patients with loss-of-function mutations in signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), STAT3, or IL-21 receptor (IL21R) were used to assess the respective roles of these genes in human CD8(+) T-cell differentiation in vivo and in vitro. RESULTS:Mutations in STAT3 and IL21R, but not STAT1, led to a decrease in multiple memory CD8(+) T-cell subsets in vivo, indicating that STAT3 signaling, possibly downstream of IL-21R, regulates the memory cell pool. Furthermore, STAT3 was important for inducing the lytic machinery in IL-21-stimulated naive CD8(+) T cells. However, this defect was overcome by T-cell receptor engagement. CONCLUSION:The IL-21R/STAT3 pathway is required for many aspects of human CD8(+) T-cell behavior but in some cases can be compensated by other signals. This helps explain the relatively mild susceptibility to viral disease observed in STAT3- and IL-21R-deficient subjects.
Project description:During autoimmunity, the normal ability of dendritic cells (DCs) to induce T-cell tolerance is disrupted; therefore, autoimmune disease therapies based on cell types and molecular pathways that elicit tolerance in the steady state may not be effective. To determine which DC subsets induce tolerance in the context of chronic autoimmunity, we used chimeric antibodies specific for DC inhibitory receptor 2 (DCIR2) or DEC-205 to target self-antigen to CD11b(+) (cDC2) DCs and CD8(+) (cDC1) DCs, respectively, in autoimmune-prone nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice. Antigen presentation by DCIR2(+) DCs but not DEC-205(+) DCs elicited tolerogenic CD4(+) T-cell responses in NOD mice. ?-Cell antigen delivered to DCIR2(+) DCs delayed diabetes induction and induced increased T-cell apoptosis without interferon-? (IFN-?) or sustained expansion of autoreactive CD4(+) T cells. These divergent responses were preceded by differential gene expression in T cells early after in vivo stimulation. Zbtb32 was higher in T cells stimulated with DCIR2(+) DCs, and overexpression of Zbtb32 in T cells inhibited diabetes development, T-cell expansion, and IFN-? production. Therefore, we have identified DCIR2(+) DCs as capable of inducing antigen-specific tolerance in the face of ongoing autoimmunity and have also identified Zbtb32 as a suppressive transcription factor that controls T cell-mediated autoimmunity.
Project description:Despite the discovery of key pattern recognition receptors and CD4+ T cell subsets in laboratory mice, there is ongoing discussion of the value of murine models to reflect human disease. Pneumocystis is an AIDS-defining illness, in which risk of infection is inversely correlated with peripheral CD4+ T cell counts. Due to medical advances in the control of HIV, the current epidemiology of Pneumocystis infection is predominantly due to primary human immunodeficiencies and immunosuppressive therapies. To this end, we found that every human genetic immunodeficiency associated with Pneumocystis infection that has been tested in mice recapitulated susceptibility. For example, humans with a loss-of-function IL21R mutation are severely immunocompromised. We found that IL-21R, in addition to CD4+ T cell intrinsic STAT3 signaling, were required for generating protective antifungal class-switched antibody responses, as well as effector T cell-mediated protection. Furthermore, CD4+ T cell intrinsic IL-21R/STAT3 signaling was required for CD4+ T cell effector responses, including IL-22 production. Recombinant IL-22 administration to Il21r-/- mice induced the expression of a fungicidal peptide, cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, which showed in vitro fungicidal activity. In conclusion, SPF laboratory mice faithfully replicate many aspects of human primary immunodeficiency and provide useful tools to understand the generation and nature of effector CD4+ T cell immunity.
Project description:Dendritic cell (DC)-mediated T cell tolerance deficiencies contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. Delivering self-antigen to dendritic-cell inhibitory receptor-2 (DCIR2)+ DCs can delay but not completely block diabetes development in NOD mice. These DCIR2-targeting antibodies induce tolerance via deletion and anergy, but do not increase islet-specific Tregs. Because low-dose IL-2 (LD-IL-2) administration can preferentially expand Tregs, we tested whether delivering islet-antigen to tolerogenic DCIR2+ DCs along with LD-IL-2 would boost islet-specific Tregs and further block autoimmunity. But, surprisingly, adding LD-IL-2 did not increase efficacy of DC-targeted antigen to inhibit diabetes. Here we show the effects of LD-IL-2, with or without antigen delivery to DCIR2+ DCs, on both polyclonal and autoreactive Treg and conventional T cells (Tconv). As expected, LD-IL-2 increased total Tregs, but autoreactive Tregs required both antigen and IL-2 stimulation for optimal expansion. Also, islet-specific Tregs had lower CD25 expression and IL-2 sensitivity, while islet-specific Tconv had higher CD25 expression, compared to polyclonal populations. LD-IL-2 increased activation and expansion of Tconv, and was more pronounced for autoreactive cells after treatment with IL-2 + islet-antigen. Therefore, LD-IL-2 therapy, especially when combined with antigen stimulation, may not optimally activate and expand antigen-specific Tregs in chronic autoimmune settings.
Project description:Previously, we have shown that IL-21R(-/-) splenocytes ameliorate GVHD as compared with wild-type splenocytes. Here, we investigated whether or not IL-21R(-/-) splenocytes diminish the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect. Surprisingly, IL-21R(-/-) splenocytes efficiently eliminate leukemic cells as well as wild-type splenocytes, suggesting the retention of GVL effects in the absence of IL-21 signaling. To compare the GVL effect between IL-21R(-/-) and wild-type cells, we titrated the number of splenocytes required for the elimination of leukemic cells and found that the threshold of GVL effect was obtained between 5 × 10(5) and 5 × 10(6) with both types of splenocytes. Cotransplantation with CD8-depleted splenocytes but not with purified CD8 T-cells resulted in a significant reduction in anti-leukemic effect of IL-21R(-/-) cells compared with wild-type cells, suggesting that the lack of IL-21 signaling primarily impairs CD4 T-cell rather than CD8 T-cell function and the comparable GVL effect with IL-21R(-/-) bulk splenocytes results from cooperative compensation by CD8 T-cells.
Project description:MRL/MpJ-Fas(lpr/lpr)/J (MRL(lpr)) mice develop lupus-like disease manifestations in an IL-21-dependent manner. IL-21 is a pleiotropic cytokine that can influence the activation, differentiation, and expansion of B and T cell effector subsets. Notably, autoreactive CD4(+) T and B cells spontaneously accumulate in MRL(lpr) mice and mediate disease pathogenesis. We sought to identify the particular lymphocyte effector subsets regulated by IL-21 in the context of systemic autoimmunity and, thus, generated MRL(lpr) mice deficient in IL-21R (MRL(lpr).IL-21R(-/-)). Lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly, which are characteristic traits of the MRL(lpr) model were significantly reduced in the absence of IL-21R, suggesting that immune activation was likewise decreased. Indeed, spontaneous germinal center formation and plasma cell accumulation were absent in IL-21R-deficient MRL(lpr) mice. Correspondingly, we observed a significant reduction in autoantibody titers. Activated CD4(+) CD44(+) CD62L(lo) T cells also failed to accumulate, and CD4(+) Th cell differentiation was impaired, as evidenced by a significant reduction in CD4(+) T cells that produced the pronephritogenic cytokine IFN-?. T extrafollicular helper cells are a recently described subset of activated CD4(+) T cells that function as the primary inducers of autoantibody production in MRL(lpr) mice. Importantly, we demonstrated that T extrafollicular helper cells are dependent on IL-21R for their generation. Together, our data highlighted the novel observation that IL-21 is a critical regulator of multiple pathogenic B and T cell effector subsets in MRL(lpr) mice.