Immune privilege of the CNS is not the consequence of limited antigen sampling.
ABSTRACT: Central nervous system (CNS) immune privilege is complex, and it is still not understood how CNS antigens are sampled by the peripheral immune system under steady state conditions. To compare antigen sampling from immune-privileged or nonprivileged tissues, we created transgenic mice with oligodendrocyte or gut epithelial cell expression of an EGFP-tagged fusion protein containing ovalbumin (OVA) antigenic peptides and tested peripheral anti-OVA peptide-specific sentinel OT-I and OT-II T cell activation. We report that oligodendrocyte or gut antigens are sampled similarly, as determined by comparable levels of OT-I T cell activation. However, activated T cells do not access the CNS under steady state conditions. These data show that afferent immunity is normally intact as there is no barrier at the antigen sampling level, but that efferent immunity is restricted. To understand how this one-sided surveillance contributes to CNS immune privilege will help us define mechanisms of CNS autoimmune disease initiation.
Project description:Central nervous system (CNS) immune privilege is an experimentally defined phenomenon. Tissues that are rapidly rejected by the immune system when grafted in sites, such as the skin, show prolonged survival when grafted into the CNS. Initially, CNS immune privilege was construed as CNS isolation from the immune system by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), the lack of draining lymphatics, and the apparent immunoincompetence of microglia, the resident CNS macrophage. CNS autoimmunity and neurodegeneration were presumed automatic consequences of immune cell encounter with CNS antigens. Recent data have dramatically altered this viewpoint by revealing that the CNS is neither isolated nor passive in its interactions with the immune system. Peripheral immune cells can cross the intact BBB, CNS neurons and glia actively regulate macrophage and lymphocyte responses, and microglia are immunocompetent but differ from other macrophage/dendritic cells in their ability to direct neuroprotective lymphocyte responses. This newer view of CNS immune privilege is opening the door for therapies designed to harness autoreactive lymphocyte responses and also implies (i) that CNS autoimmune diseases (i.e. multiple sclerosis) may result as much from neuronal and/or glial dysfunction as from immune system dysfunctions and (ii) that the severe neuronal and glial dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative disorders (i.e. Alzheimer's disease) likely alters CNS-specific regulation of lymphocyte responses affecting the utility of immune-based therapies (i.e. vaccines).
Project description:Certain cellular components of the eye, such as neural retina, are unable to regenerate and replicate after destructive inflammation. Ocular immune privilege provides the eye with immune protection against intraocular inflammation in order to minimize the risk to vision integrity. The eye and immune system use strategies to maintain the ocular immune privilege by regulating the innate and adaptive immune response, which includes immunological ignorance, peripheral tolerance to eye-derived antigens, and intraocular immunosuppressive microenvironment. In this review, we summarize current knowledge regarding the molecular mechanism responsible for the development and maintenance of ocular immune privilege via regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are generated by the anterior chamber-associated immune deviation (ACAID), and ocular resident cells including corneal endothelial (CE) cells, ocular pigment epithelial (PE) cells, and aqueous humor. Furthermore, we examined the therapeutic potential of Tregs generated by RPE cells that express transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?), cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-2 alpha (CTLA-2?), and retinoic acid for autoimmune uveoretinitis and evaluated a new strategy using human RPE-induced Tregs for clinical application in inflammatory ocular disease. We believe that a better understanding of the ocular immune privilege associated with Tregs might offer a new approach with regard to therapeutic interventions for ocular autoimmunity.
Project description:Soluble antigens diffuse out of the brain and can thus stimulate a systemic immune response, whereas particulate antigens (from infectious agents or tumor cells) remain within brain tissue, thus failing to stimulate a systemic immune response. Immune privilege describes how the immune system responds to particulate antigens localized selectively within the brain parenchyma. We believe this immune privilege is caused by the absence of antigen presenting dendritic cells from the brain. We tested the prediction that expression of fms-like tyrosine kinase ligand 3 (Flt3L) in the brain will recruit dendritic cells and induce a systemic immune response against exogenous influenza hemagglutinin in BALB/c mice. Coexpression of Flt3L with HA in the brain parenchyma induced a robust systemic anti-HA immune response, and a small response against myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein epitopes. Depletion of CD4(+)CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) enhanced both responses. To investigate the autoimmune impact of these immune responses, we characterized the neuropathological and behavioral consequences of intraparenchymal injections of Flt3L and HA in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. T cell infiltration in the forebrain was time and strain dependent, and increased in animals treated with Flt3L and depleted of Tregs; however, we failed to detect widespread defects in myelination throughout the forebrain or spinal cord. Results of behavioral tests were all normal. These results demonstrate that Flt3L overcomes the brain's immune privilege, and supports the clinical development of Flt3L as an adjuvant to stimulate clinically effective immune responses against brain neo-antigens, for example, those associated with brain tumors.
Project description:The brain is in many ways an immunologically and pharmacologically privileged site. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) of the cerebrovascular endothelium and its participation in the complex structure of the neurovascular unit (NVU) restrict access of immune cells and immune mediators to the central nervous system (CNS). In pathologic conditions, very well-organized immunologic responses can develop within the CNS, raising important questions about the real nature and the intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of this immune privilege. We assess the interactions of immune cells and immune mediators with the BBB and NVU in neurologic disease, cerebrovascular disease, and intracerebral tumors. The goals of this review are to outline key scientific advances and the status of the science central to both the neuroinflammation and CNS barriers fields, and highlight the opportunities and priorities in advancing brain barriers research in the context of the larger immunology and neuroscience disciplines. This review article was developed from reports presented at the 2011 Annual Blood-Brain Barrier Consortium Meeting.
Project description:The ocular microenvironment has evolutionarily adapted several mechanisms of immunosuppression to minimize the induction of inflammation. Neuropeptides produced by the retinal pigment epithelial cells regulate macrophage activity. Two neuropeptides, ?-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (? -MSH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY), are constitutively expressed by the retinal pigment epithelial cells. Together these two neuropeptides induce anti-inflammatory cytokine production in endotoxin-stimulated macrophages and suppress phagocytosis of unopsonized bioparticles. These neuropeptides do not suppress the phagocytosis of opsonized bioparticles; however, they do suppress phagolysosome activation or formation. In this report, we studied the possibility that ?-MSH with NPY suppress phagosome maturation within macrophages using opsonized OVA-coated magnetic beads to isolate and analyze the phagosomes. The magnetic bead-containing intercellular vesicles were isolated and assayed for Rab5, Rab7, LAMP1, Iad, and OVA. The macrophages cotreated with ?-MSH and NPY were suppressed in Rab7 recruitment to the phagosome with suppression in LAMP1 expression but not in Iad expression. The results demonstrated that the ?-MSH/NPY cotreatment suppressed phagosome maturation. In addition, the a-MSH/NPY-cotreated macrophages were suppressed in their ability to Ag stimulate CD4+ T cell proliferation. These results imply a potential mechanism of ocular immune privilege to divert Ag processing to prevent autoreactive effector T cells from binding their target cognate Ag within the ocular microenvironment.
Project description:Model antigens are frequently introduced into pathogens to study determinants that influence T-cell responses to infections. To address whether an antigen's subcellular location influences the nature and magnitude of antigen-specific T-cell responses, we generated Plasmodium berghei parasites expressing the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) either in the parasite cytoplasm or on the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM). For cytosolic expression, OVA alone or conjugated to mCherry was expressed from a strong constitutive promoter (OVAhsp70 or OVA::mCherryhsp70); for PVM expression, OVA was fused to HEP17/EXP1 (OVA::Hep17hep17). Unexpectedly, OVA expression in OVAhsp70 parasites was very low, but when OVA was fused to mCherry (OVA::mCherryhsp70), it was highly expressed. OVA expression in OVA::Hep17hep17 parasites was strong but significantly less than that in OVA::mCherryhsp70 parasites. These transgenic parasites were used to examine the effects of antigen subcellular location and expression level on the development of T-cell responses during blood-stage infections. While all OVA-expressing parasites induced activation and proliferation of OVA-specific CD8(+) T cells (OT-I) and CD4(+) T cells (OT-II), the level of activation varied: OVA::Hep17hep17 parasites induced significantly stronger splenic and intracerebral OT-I and OT-II responses than those of OVA::mCherryhsp70 parasites, but OVA::mCherryhsp70 parasites promoted stronger OT-I and OT-II responses than those of OVAhsp70 parasites. Despite lower OVA expression levels, OVA::Hep17hep17 parasites induced stronger T-cell responses than those of OVA::mCherryhsp70 parasites. These results indicate that unconjugated cytosolic OVA is not stably expressed in Plasmodium parasites and, importantly, that its cellular location and expression level influence both the induction and magnitude of parasite-specific T-cell responses. These parasites represent useful tools for studying the development and function of antigen-specific T-cell responses during malaria infection.
Project description:The liver has the ability to prime immune responses against neo antigens provided upon infections. However, T cell immunity in liver is uniquely modulated by the complex tolerogenic property of this organ that has to also cope with foreign agents such as endotoxins or food antigens. In this respect, the nature of intrahepatic T cell responses remains to be fully characterized. To gain deeper insight into the mechanisms that regulate the CD8+ T cell responses in the liver, we established a novel OVA_X_CreER(T2) mouse model. Upon tamoxifen administration OVA antigen expression is observed in a fraction of hepatocytes, resulting in a mosaic expression pattern. To elucidate the cross-talk of CD8+ T cells with antigen-expressing hepatocytes, we adoptively transferred K(b)/OVA257-264-specific OT-I T cells to OVA_X_CreER(T2) mice or generated triple transgenic OVA_X CreER(T2)_X_OT-I mice. OT-I T cells become activated in OVA_X_CreER(T2) mice and induce an acute and transient hepatitis accompanied by liver damage. In OVA_X_CreER(T2)_X_OT-I mice, OVA induction triggers an OT-I T cell mediated, fulminant hepatitis resulting in 50% mortality. Surviving mice manifest a long lasting hepatitis, and recover after 9 weeks. In these experimental settings, recovery from hepatitis correlates with a complete loss of OVA expression indicating efficient clearance of the antigen-expressing hepatocytes. Moreover, a relapse of hepatitis can be induced upon re-induction of cured OVA_X_CreER(T2)_X_OT-I mice indicating absence of tolerogenic mechanisms. This pathogen-free, conditional mouse model has the advantage of tamoxifen inducible tissue specific antigen expression that reflects the heterogeneity of viral antigen expression and enables the study of intrahepatic immune responses to both de novo and persistent antigen. It allows following the course of intrahepatic immune responses: initiation, the acute phase and antigen clearance.
Project description:We have previously shown that pancreatic islets engineered to transiently display a modified form of FasL protein (SA-FasL) on their surface survive indefinitely in allogeneic recipients without a need for chronic immunosuppression. Mechanisms that confer long-term protection to allograft are yet to be elucidated. We herein demonstrated that immune protection evolves in two distinct phases; induction and maintenance. SA-FasL-engineered allogeneic islets survived indefinitely and conferred protection to a second set of donor-matched, but not third-party, unmanipulated islet grafts simultaneously transplanted under the contralateral kidney capsule. Protection at the induction phase involved a reduction in the frequency of proliferating alloreactive T cells in the graft-draining lymph nodes, and required phagocytes and TGF-?. At the maintenance phase, immune protection evolved into graft site-restricted immune privilege as the destruction of long-surviving SA-FasL-islet grafts by streptozotocin followed by the transplantation of a second set of unmanipulated islet grafts into the same site from the donor, but not third party, resulted in indefinite survival. The induced immune privilege required both CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ Treg cells and persistent presence of donor antigens. Engineering cell and tissue surfaces with SA-FasL protein provides a practical, efficient, and safe means of localized immunomodulation with important implications for autoimmunity and transplantation.
Project description:Adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) using T-cell receptor (TCR)-engineered lymphocytes holds promise for eradication of disseminated tumors but also an inherent risk of pathologic autoimmunity if targeted antigens or antigenic mimics are expressed by normal tissues. We evaluated whether modulating TCR affinity could allow CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells to control tumor outgrowth without inducing concomitant autoimmunity in a preclinical murine model of ACT. RIP-mOVA mice express a membrane-bound form of chicken ovalbumin (mOVA) as a self-antigen in kidney and pancreas. Such mice were implanted with OVA-expressing ID8 ovarian carcinoma cells and subsequently treated with CD8<sup>+</sup> T lymphocytes (CTL) expressing either a high-affinity (OT-I) or low-affinity (OT-3) OVA-specific TCR. The effects on tumor growth versus organ-specific autoimmunity were subsequently monitored. High-affinity OT-I CTLs underwent activation and proliferation in both tumor-draining and pancreatic lymph nodes, leading to both rapid eradication of ID8-OVA tumors and autoimmune diabetes in all treated mice. Remarkably, the low-affinity OT-3 T cells were activated only by tumor-derived antigen and mediated transient regression of ID8-OVA tumors without concomitant autoimmunity. The OT-3 cells eventually upregulated inhibitory receptors PD-1, TIM-3, and LAG-3 and became functionally unresponsive, however, allowing the tumors in treated mice to reestablish progressive growth. Antibody-mediated blockade of the inhibitory receptors prevented exhaustion and allowed tumor clearance, but these mice also developed autoimmune diabetes. The findings reveal that low-affinity TCRs can mediate tumor regression and that functional avidity can discriminate between tumor-derived and endogenous antigen, while highlighting the risks involved in immune-checkpoint blockade on endogenous self-reactive T cells.
Project description:Heart failure due to pressure overload is frequently associated with inflammation. In addition to inflammatory responses of the innate immune system, autoimmune reactions of the adaptive immune system appear to be triggered in subgroups of patients with heart failure as demonstrated by the presence of autoantibodies against myocardial antigens. Moreover, T cell-deficient and T cell-depleted mice have been reported to be protected from heart failure induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC) and we have shown recently that CD4+-helper T cells with specificity for an antigen in cardiomyocytes accelerate TAC-induced heart failure. In this study, we set out to investigate the potential contribution of CD8+-cytotoxic T cells with specificity to a model antigen (ovalbumin, OVA) in cardiomyocytes to pressure overload-induced heart failure. In 78% of cMy-mOVA mice with cardiomyocyte-specific OVA expression, a low-grade OVA-specific cellular cytotoxicity was detected after TAC. Adoptive transfer of OVA-specific CD8+-T cells from T cell receptor transgenic OT-I mice before TAC did not increase the risk of OVA-specific autoimmunity in cMy-mOVA mice. After TAC, again 78% of the mice displayed an OVA-specific cytotoxicity with on average only a three-fold higher killing of OVA-expressing target cells. More CD8+ cells were present after TAC in the myocardium of cMy-mOVA mice with OT-I T cells (on average 17.5/mm2) than in mice that did not receive OVA-specific CD8+-T cells (3.6/mm2). However, the extent of fibrosis was similar in both groups. Functionally, as determined by echocardiography, the adoptive transfer of OVA-specific CD8+-T cells did not significantly accelerate the progression from hypertrophy to heart failure in cMy-mOVA mice. These findings argue therefore against a major impact of cytotoxic T cells with specificity for autoantigens of cardiomyocytes in pressure overload-induced heart failure.