Beneficial role of rapamycin in experimental autoimmune myositis.
ABSTRACT: We developed an experimental autoimmune myositis (EAM) mouse model of polymyositis where we outlined the role of regulatory T (Treg) cells. Rapamycin, this immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection in organ transplantation, is known to spare Treg. Our aim was to test the efficacy of rapamycin in vivo in this EAM model and to investigate the effects of the drug on different immune cell sub-populations.EAM is induced by 3 injections of myosin emulsified in CFA. Mice received rapamycin during 25 days starting one day before myosin immunization (preventive treatment), or during 10 days following the last myosin immunization (curative treatment).Under preventive or curative treatment, an increase of muscle strength was observed with a parallel decrease of muscle inflammation, both being well correlated (R(2) = -0.645, p<0.0001). Rapamycin induced a general decrease in muscle of CD4 and CD8 T cells in lymphoid tissues, but spared B cells. Among T cells, the frequency of Treg was increased in rapamycin treated mice in draining lymph nodes (16.9 ± 2.2% vs. 9.3 ± 1.4%, p<0.001), which were mostly activated regulatory T cells (CD62L(low)CD44(high): 58.1 ± 5.78% vs. 33.1 ± 7%, treated vs. untreated, p<0.001). In rapamycin treated mice, inhibition of proliferation (Ki-67(+)) is more important in effector T cells compared to Tregs cells (p<0.05). Furthermore, during preventive treatment, rapamycin increased the levels of KLF2 transcript in CD44(low) CD62L(high) naive T cell and in CD62L(low) CD44(high) activated T cell.Rapamycin showed efficacy both as curative and preventive treatment in our murine model of experimental myositis, in which it induced an increase of muscle strength with a parallel decrease in muscle inflammation. Rapamycin administration was also associated with a decrease in the frequency of effector T cells, an increase in Tregs, and, when administered as preventive treatment, an upregulation of KFL2 in naive and activated T cells.
Project description:Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are a group of autoimmune inflammatory muscle diseases. Rapamycin has been shown to ameliorate inflammation and improve muscle function in a mouse model of experimental autoimmune myositis (EAM). In the present study, the therapeutic effect of rapamycin was compared with methylprednisolone (MP) on EAM. Mice were injected with myosin for 10 days to induce EAM and were subsequently treated with rapamycin (1.5 mg/kg), MP (40 mg/kg) or placebo (DMSO) for 14 days. The rapamycin-treated group exhibited significantly decreased severe inflammation and improved muscle strength compared with the MP-treated group. The plasma transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) concentration in the rapamycin-treated group was significantly higher compared with the placebo group. However, both treatment groups exhibited significantly lower plasma interleukin-10 levels compared with the placebo group. Moreover, splenic regulatory T cell frequency in both the rapamycin- and MP-treated animals was significantly lower than that in the animals of the placebo group. Rapamycin showed better immune suppressive effects than MP in this model of EAM, and these effects were likely to be mediated by the TGF-? signaling pathway.
Project description:PTPN22 gene variation associates with multiple autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Loss of function studies have demonstrated that PTPN22 impinges on the homeostatic behavior of regulatory T (Treg) cells, a lineage critical for immune tolerance. The frequency and absolute number of Treg cells is increased in Ptpn22-deficient mice, but the mechanism driving this increase is unknown. In this study, we show that Ptpn22 knockdown (KD) promoted the expansion of the Treg cell compartment by upregulating the glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family-related protein (GITR) and increasing GITR signaling. Ptpn22 KD did not accelerate cell division but instead prolonged Treg cell survival, as measured by a decrease in the frequency of apoptotic Treg cells. Loss of Ptpn22 caused a concomitant increase in the proportion of CD44(hi)CD62L(lo) effector Treg cells, at the expense of CD44(lo)CD62L(hi) central Treg cells. The increase in Treg cell numbers, but not their differentiation toward an effector phenotype, was dependent on GITR signaling, because blockade of GITR ligand prevented Treg cell expansion caused by Ptpn22 KD. These findings indicate that GITR plays a key role in regulating the overall size of the Treg cell pool. Our results suggest that the size and composition of the Treg cell compartment are independently controlled and have implications for the design of immunotherapies that seek to improve Treg cell function.
Project description:The skin, similar to most nonlymphoid tissues, contains substantial numbers of T cells. Among these, memory T cells serve a sentinel role to protect against pathogens, and regulatory T cells (Tregs) terminate immune responses as a check against unrestrained inflammation. Previously, we created conditional knockout mice with Treg-specific deletion of CD28. Although these mice have normal numbers of Tregs, these cells have lower levels of CTLA-4, PD-1, and CCR6, and the animals develop systemic autoimmunity characterized by prominent skin inflammation. In this study, we have performed a detailed analysis of the skin disease in these mice. Our data show that Treg-expressed CD28 is required for optimal maturation of CD44(lo)CD62L(hi) central Tregs into CD44(hi)CD62L(lo) effector Tregs (eTregs), as well as induction of CCR6 among the cells that do become eTregs. Although CD28-deficient Tregs are able to regulate inflammation normally when injected directly into the skin, they fail to home properly to inflamed skin. Collectively, these results suggest a key role for CD28 costimulation in promoting a central Treg to eTreg transition with appropriate upregulation of chemokine receptors such as CCR6 that are required for tissue homing.
Project description:Autoimmune myocarditis often leads to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Although T cell reactivity to cardiac self-antigen is common in the disease, it is unknown which antigen presenting cell (APC) triggers autoimmunity. Experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) was induced by immunizing mice with ?-myosin loaded bone marrow APCs cultured in GM-CSF. APCs found in such cultures include conventional type 2 CD11b+ cDCs (GM-cDC2s) and monocyte-derived cells (GM-MCs). However, only ?-myosin loaded GM-cDC2s could induce EAM. We also studied antigen presenting capacity of endogenous type 1 CD24+ cDCs (cDC1s), cDC2s, and MCs for ?-myosin-specific TCR-transgenic TCR-M CD4+ T cells. After EAM induction, all cardiac APCs significantly increased and cDCs migrated to the heart-draining mediastinal lymph node (LN). Primarily cDC2s presented ?-myosin to TCR-M cells and induced Th1/Th17 differentiation. Loss of IRF4 in Irf4 fl/fl .Cd11cCre mice reduced MHCII expression on GM-cDC2s in vitro and cDC2 migration in vivo. However, partly defective cDC2 functions in Irf4 fl/fl .Cd11cCre mice did not suppress EAM. MCs were the largest APC subset in the inflamed heart and produced pro-inflammatory cytokines. Targeting APC populations could be exploited in the design of new therapies for cardiac autoimmunity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Celiac disease (CD) is an intestinal inflammation driven by gluten-reactive CD4(+) T cells. Due to lack of selective markers it has not been determined whether defects in inducible regulatory T cell (Treg) differentiation are associated with CD. This is of importance as changes in numbers of induced Treg could be indicative of defects in mucosal tolerance development in CD. Recently, we have shown that, after encounter of retinoic acid during differentiation, circulating gut-imprinted T cells express CD62L(neg)CD38(+). Using this new phenotype, we now determined whether alterations occur in the frequency of natural CD62L(+)Foxp3(+) Treg or mucosally-imprinted CD62L(neg)CD38(+)Foxp3(+) Treg in peripheral blood of CD patients. In particular, we compared pediatric CD, aiming to select for disease at onset, with adult CD. METHODS: Cell surface markers, intracellular Foxp3 and Helios were determined by flow cytometry. Foxp3 expression was also detected by immunohistochemistry in duodenal tissue of CD patients. RESULTS: In children, the percentages of peripheral blood CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Treg were comparable between CD patients and healthy age-matched controls. Differentiation between natural and mucosally-imprinted Treg on the basis of CD62L and CD38 did not uncover differences in Foxp3. In adult patients on gluten-free diet and in refractory CD increased percentages of circulating natural CD62L(+)Foxp3(+) Treg, but normal mucosally-imprinted CD62L(neg)CD38(+)Foxp3(+) Treg frequencies were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our data exclude that significant numeric deficiency of mucosally-imprinted or natural Foxp3(+) Treg explains exuberant effector responses in CD. Changes in natural Foxp3(+) Treg occur in a subset of adult patients on a gluten-free diet and in refractory CD patients.
Project description:CD4+CD25-CD62L+ naive T-cells were FACS isolated from wild type mouse lymph node. These were compared to regulatory T cells (Treg; CD4+C25+) and activated T-cells induced to express Foxp3 by treatment with rapamycin and LY294002 (Treg-like cells). RNA was extracted from duplicate cultures using RNA-Bee, labelled with the Affymetrix GeneChip Small Sample protocol and hybridised to Affymetrix Mouse 430 2.0 Arrays.
Project description:Myocarditis can lead to autoimmune disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, and heart failure, which is modeled in the mouse by cardiac myosin immunization (experimental autoimmune myocarditis [EAM]). Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) systemic inhibition exerts both preventive and therapeutic effects in EAM, and STAT3 constitutive activation elicits immune-mediated myocarditis dependent on complement C3 and correlating with activation of the STAT3-interleukin 6 (IL-6) axis in the liver. Thus, liver-specific STAT3 inhibition may represent a therapeutic option, allowing to bypass the heart toxicity, predicted by systemic STAT3 inhibition. We therefore decided to explore the effectiveness of silencing liver Stat3 and C3 in preventing EAM onset and/or the recovery of cardiac functions. We first show that complement C3 and C5 genetic depletion significantly prevents the onset of spontaneous myocarditis, supporting the complement cascade as a viable target. In order to interfere with complement production and STAT3 activity specifically in the liver, we took advantage of liver-specific Stat3 or C3 small interfering (si)RNA nanoparticles, demonstrating that both siRNAs can significantly prevent myocarditis onset and improve the recovery of heart functions in EAM. Our data demonstrate that liver-specific Stat3/C3 siRNAs may represent a therapeutic option for autoimmune myocarditis and suggest that complement levels and activation might be predictive of progression to dilated cardiomyopathy.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The idiopathic inflammatory myopathies represent a group of autoimmune diseases that are characterized by lymphocyte infiltration of muscle and muscle weakness. Insulin-like 6 (Insl6) is a poorly characterized member of the insulin-like/relaxin family of secreted proteins, whose expression is upregulated upon acute muscle injury. METHODS: In this study, we employed Insl6 gain or loss of function mice to investigate the role of Insl6 in a T cell-mediated model of experimental autoimmune myositis (EAM). EAM models in rodents have involved immunization with human myosin-binding protein C with complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) emulsions and pertussis toxin. RESULTS: Insl6-deficiency in mice led to a worsened myositis phenotype including increased infiltration of CD4 and CD8 T cells and the elevated expression of inflammatory cytokines. Insl6-deficient mice show significant motor function impairment when tested with treadmill or Rotarod devices. Conversely, muscle-specific overexpression of Insl6 protected against the development of myositis as indicated by reduced lymphocyte infiltration in muscle, diminished inflammatory cytokine expression and improved motor function. The improvement in myositis by Insl6 could also be demonstrated by acute hydrodynamic delivery of a plasmid encoding murine Insl6. In cultured cells, Insl6 inhibits Jurkat cell proliferation and activation in response to phytohemagglutinin/phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate stimulation. Insl6 transcript expression in muscle was reduced in a cohort of dermatomyositis and polymyositis patients. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that Insl6 may have utility for the treatment of myositis, a condition for which few treatment options exist.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play crucial roles in both fetal and tumor development. We recently showed that immunosurveillance by pre-existing CD44(high)CD62L(low) activated/memory Tregs (amTregs) specific for self-Ags protects emergent tumor cells in mice. This Treg response of a memory type is more rapid than and dominates the antitumor response of tumor-specific effector T cells. In this study, we report striking similarities between the early Treg responses to embryo and tumor implantation. Tregs are rapidly recruited to uterus-draining lymph nodes and activated in the first days after embryo implantation in both syngeneic and allogeneic matings; express the markers of the amTreg subset; and are at least in part self-Ag specific, as seen in tumor emergence. Unlike in the tumor emergence setting, however, for which preimmunization against tumor Ags is sufficient for complete tumor eradication even in the presence of Tregs, Treg depletion is additionally required for high frequencies of fetus loss after preimmunization against paternal tissue Ags. Thus, amTregs play a major role in protecting embryos in both naive and preimmune settings. This role and the ensuing therapeutic potential are further highlighted by showing that Treg stimulation, directly by low-dose IL-2 or indirectly by Fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, led to normal pregnancy rates in a spontaneous abortion-prone model.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by loss of tolerance to self-Ags and activation of autoreactive T cells. Regulatory T (Treg) cells play a critical role in controlling the activation of autoreactive T cells. In this study, we investigated mechanisms of potential Treg cell defects in systemic lupus erythematosus using MRL-Fas(lpr/lpr) (MRL/lpr) and MRL-Fas(+/+) mouse models. We found a significant increase in CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells, albeit with an altered phenotype (CD62L(-)CD69(+)) and with a reduced suppressive capacity, in the lymphoid organs of MRL strains compared with non-autoimmune C3H/HeOuj mice. A search for mechanisms underlying the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice led us to find a profound reduction in Dicer expression and an altered microRNA (miRNA, miR) profile in MRL/lpr Treg cells. Despite having a reduced level of Dicer, MRL/lpr Treg cells exhibited a significant overexpression of several miRNAs, including let-7a, let-7f, miR-16, miR-23a, miR-23b, miR-27a, and miR-155. Using computational approaches, we identified one of the upregulated miRNAs, miR-155, that can target CD62L and may thus confer the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice. In fact, the induced overexpression of miR-155 in otherwise normal (C3H/HeOuj) Treg cells reduced their CD62L expression, which mimics the altered Treg cell phenotype in MRL/lpr mice. These data suggest a role of Dicer and miR-155 in regulating Treg cell phenotype. Furthermore, simultaneous appearance of Dicer insufficiency and miR-155 overexpression in diseased mice suggests a Dicer-independent alternative mechanism of miRNA regulation under inflammatory conditions.