Breaking immune tolerance by targeting Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells mitigates Alzheimer's disease pathology.
ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder in which chronic neuroinflammation contributes to disease escalation. Nevertheless, while immunosuppressive drugs have repeatedly failed in treating this disease, recruitment of myeloid cells to the CNS was shown to play a reparative role in animal models. Here we show, using the 5XFAD AD mouse model, that transient depletion of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), or pharmacological inhibition of their activity, is followed by amyloid-? plaque clearance, mitigation of the neuroinflammatory response and reversal of cognitive decline. We further show that transient Treg depletion affects the brain's choroid plexus, a selective gateway for immune cell trafficking to the CNS, and is associated with subsequent recruitment of immunoregulatory cells, including monocyte-derived macrophages and Tregs, to cerebral sites of plaque pathology. Our findings suggest targeting Treg-mediated systemic immunosuppression for treating AD.
Project description:Many risk genes for the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are exclusively or highly expressed in myeloid cells. Microglia are dependent on colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signaling for their survival. We designed and synthesized a highly selective brain-penetrant CSF1R inhibitor (PLX5622) allowing for extended and specific microglial elimination, preceding and during pathology development. We find that in the 5xFAD mouse model of AD, plaques fail to form in the parenchymal space following microglial depletion, except in areas containing surviving microglia. Instead, Aβ deposits in cortical blood vessels reminiscent of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Altered gene expression in the 5xFAD hippocampus is also reversed by the absence of microglia. Transcriptional analyses of the residual plaque-forming microglia show they exhibit a disease-associated microglia profile. Collectively, we describe the structure, formulation, and efficacy of PLX5622, which allows for sustained microglial depletion and identify roles of microglia in initiating plaque pathogenesis.
Project description:Accumulation and retention of regulatory T-cells (Tregs) has been reported within post viral-encephalitic brains, however, the full extent to which these cells modulate neuroinflammation is yet to be elucidated. Here, we used Foxp3-DTR (diphtheria toxin receptor) knock-in transgenic mice, which upon administration of low dose diphtheria toxin (DTx) results in specific deletion of Tregs. We investigated the proliferation status of various immune cell subtypes within inflamed central nervous system (CNS) tissue. Depletion of Tregs resulted in increased proliferation of both CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell subsets within the brain at 14 d post infection (dpi) when compared to Treg-sufficient animals. At 30 dpi, while proliferation of CD8+ T-cells was controlled within brains of both Treg-depleted and undepleted mice, proliferation of CD4+ T-cells remained significantly enhanced with DTx-treatment. Previous studies have demonstrated that Treg numbers within the brain rebound following DTx treatment to even higher numbers than in untreated animals. Despite this rebound, CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells proliferated at a higher rate when compared to that of Treg-sufficient mice, thus maintaining sustained neuroinflammation. Furthermore, at 30 dpi we found the majority of CD8+ T-cells were CD127hi KLRG1- indicating that the cells were long lived memory precursor cells. These cells showed marked elevation of CD103 expression, a marker of tissue resident-memory T-cells (TRM) in the CNS, in untreated animals when compared to DTx-treated animals suggesting that generation of TRM is impaired upon Treg depletion. Moreover, the effector function of TRM as indicated by granzyme B production in response to peptide re-stimulation was found to be more potent in Treg-sufficient animals. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Tregs limit neuroinflammatory responses to viral infection by controlling cell proliferation and may direct a larger proportion of lymphocytes within the brain to be maintained as TRM cells.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive, late-onset dementia with no effective treatment available. Recent studies suggest that AD pathology is driven by age-related changes in metabolism. Alterations in metabolism, such as placing patients on a ketogenic diet, can alter cognition by an unknown mechanism. One of the ketone bodies produced as a result of ketogenesis, ?-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), is known to inhibit NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Therefore, we tested if BHB inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome reduces overall AD pathology in the 5XFAD mouse model of AD. Here, we find BHB levels are lower in red blood cells and brain parenchyma of AD patients when compared with non-AD controls. Furthermore, exogenous BHB administration reduced plaque formation, microgliosis, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (Asc) speck formation, and caspase-1 activation in the 5XFAD mouse model of AD. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that BHB reduces AD pathology by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Additionally, our data suggest dietary or pharmacological approaches to increase BHB levels as promising therapeutic strategies for AD.
Project description:Although chronic infections with viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C virus have been associated with regulatory T cell (Treg)-mediated suppression of virus-specific CD8(+) T-cell activity, no causal relationship between Tregs and chronic viral set points has been established. Using transgenic mice in which Tregs can be selectively ablated, we now show that transient depletion of Tregs during a chronic retroviral infection allows exhausted CD8(+) T cells to regain antiviral functions, including secretion of cytokines, production of cytotoxic molecules, and virus-specific cytolytic activity. Furthermore, short-term Treg ablation resulted in long-term reductions in chronic virus loads. These results demonstrate that Treg-mediated immunosuppression can be a significant factor in the maintenance of chronic viral infections and that Treg-targeted immunotherapy could be a valuable component in therapeutic strategies to treat chronic infectious diseases.
Project description:Regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) expressing the Foxp3 transcription factor are critical modulators of autoimmunity. Foxp3(+) Tregs may develop in the thymus as a population distinct from conventional Foxp3(-) ?? T cells (Tconvs). Alternatively, plasticity in Foxp3 expression may allow for the interconversion of mature Tregs and Tconvs. We examined >160,000 TCR sequences from Foxp3(+) or Foxp3(-) populations in the spleens or CNS of wild-type mice with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis to determine their relatedness and identify distinguishing TCR features. Our results indicate that the CNS-infiltrating Tregs and Tconvs arise predominantly from distinct sources. The repertoires of CNS Treg or Tconv TCRs showed limited overlap with heterologous populations in both the CNS and the spleen, indicating that they are largely unrelated. Indeed, Treg and Tconv TCRs in the CNS were significantly less related than those populations in the spleen. In contrast, CNS Treg and Tconv repertoires strongly intersected those of the homologous cell type in the spleen. High-frequency sequences more likely to be disease associated showed similar results, and some public TCRs demonstrated Treg- or Tconv-specific motifs. Different charge characteristics and amino acid use preferences were identified in the CDR3? of Tregs and Tconvs infiltrating the CNS, further indicating that their repertoires are qualitatively distinct. Therefore, discrete populations of Tregs and Tconvs that do not substantially interconvert respond during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Differences in sequence and physical characteristics distinguish Treg and Tconv TCRs and imply dissimilar Ag recognition properties.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Treg) are abundant in human and mouse pancreatic cancer. To understand the contribution to the immunosuppressive microenvironment, we depleted Tregs in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Contrary to our expectations, Treg depletion failed to relieve immunosuppression and led to accelerated tumor progression. We show that Tregs are a key source of TGF? ligands and, accordingly, their depletion reprogramed the fibroblast population, with loss of tumor-restraining, smooth muscle actin-expressing fibroblasts. Conversely, we observed an increase in chemokines Ccl3, Ccl6, and Ccl8 leading to increased myeloid cell recruitment, restoration of immune suppression, and promotion of carcinogenesis, an effect that was inhibited by blockade of the common CCL3/6/8 receptor CCR1. Further, Treg depletion unleashed pathologic CD4+ T-cell responses. Our data point to new mechanisms regulating fibroblast differentiation in pancreatic cancer and support the notion that fibroblasts are a heterogeneous population with different and opposing functions in pancreatic carcinogenesis. SIGNIFICANCE: Here, we describe an unexpected cross-talk between Tregs and fibroblasts in pancreatic cancer. Treg depletion resulted in differentiation of inflammatory fibroblast subsets, in turn driving infiltration of myeloid cells through CCR1, thus uncovering a potentially new therapeutic approach to relieve immunosuppression in pancreatic cancer.See related commentary by Aykut et al., p. 345.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 327.
Project description:Crescentic glomerulonephritis is mediated by inappropriate humoral and cellular immune responses toward self-antigens that may result from defects in central and peripheral tolerance. Evidence now suggests that regulatory T cells (Tregs) may be of pathophysiological importance in proliferative and crescentic forms of glomerulonephritis. To analyze the role of endogenous Tregs in a T cell-dependent glomerulonephritis model of nephrotoxic nephritis, we used 'depletion of regulatory T cell' (DEREG) mice that express the diphtheria toxin receptor under control of the FoxP3 (forkhead box P3) gene promoter. Toxin injection into these mice efficiently depleted renal and splenic FoxP3(+) Treg cells as determined by fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS) and immunohistochemical analyses. Treg depletion exacerbated systemic and renal interferon-? (IFN?) expression and increased recruitment of IFN?-producing Th1 cells into the kidney without an effect on the Th17 immune response. The enhanced Th1 response, following Treg cell depletion, was associated with an aggravated course of glomerulonephritis as measured by glomerular crescent formation. Thus, our results establish the functional importance of endogenous Tregs in the control of a significantly enhanced systemic and renal Th1 immune response in experimental glomerulonephritis.
Project description:Recent studies have demonstrated that regulatory T cells (Tregs) are recruited to tumor sites where they can suppress antitumor immunity. The chemokine receptor CCR4 is expressed at high levels on functional CD4<sup>+</sup>CD25<sup>+</sup>FoxP3<sup>+</sup> Tregs and production of the CCR4 ligand CCL22 by tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages is associated with Treg recruitment to the tumor site. Here, we tested IgG1 and IgG4 isotypes of human anti-CCR4 mAb2-3 for their <i>in vitro</i> activity and <i>in vivo</i> capacity in a NSG mouse model bearing CCL22-secreting ovarian cancer (OvCA) xenograft to modulate Tregs and restore antitumor activity. Both mAb2-3 isotypes blocked <i>in vitro</i> chemoattraction of Tregs to CCL22-secreting OvCA cells. However, they differed in their <i>in vivo</i> mode of action with IgG1 causing Treg depletion and IgG4 blocking migration to the tumors. Primary T cells that were primed with OvCA-pulsed dendritic cells (DCs) demonstrated INF? secretion that could be enhanced through Treg depletion by mAb2-3. Humanized mice reconstructed with allogeneic tumor-primed T cells (TP-T) were used to evaluate the restoration of OvCA immunity by depletion or blockade of Tregs with mAb2-3. We observed that IgG1 was more potent than IgG4 in inhibiting tumor growth. Mechanism studies demonstrated that mAb2-3 treatment lead to inhibition of IL-2 binding to its receptor. Further studies showed that mAb2-3 induced CD25 shedding (sCD25) from Tregs which lead to a decrease in IL-2-dependent survival. Together, the results demonstrate that mAb2-3 is an agonist antibody that can restore anti-OvCA immunity through modulation of Treg activity.
Project description:Although androgen ablation therapy is effective in treating primary prostate cancers, a significant number of patients develop incurable castration-resistant disease. Recent studies have suggested a potential synergy between vaccination and androgen ablation, yet the enhanced T-cell function is transient. Using a defined tumor antigen model, UV-8101-RE, we found that concomitant castration significantly increased the frequency and function of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells early after the immunization of wild-type mice. However, at a late time point after immunization, effector function was reduced to the same level as noncastrated mice and was accompanied by a concomitant amplification in CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) following immunization. We investigated whether Treg expansion occurred following castration of prostate tumor-bearing mice. In the prostate-specific Pten(-/-) mouse model of prostate cancer, we observed an accelerated Treg expansion in mice bearing the castration-resistant endogenous prostate tumor, which prevented effector responses to UV-8101-RE. Treg depletion together with castration elicited a strong CD8(+) T-cell response to UV-8101-RE in Pten(-/-) mice and rescued effector function in castrated and immunized wild-type mice. In addition, Treg expansion in Pten(-/-) mice was prevented by in vivo interleukin (IL)-2 blockade suggesting that increased IL-2 generated by castration and immunization promotes Treg expansion. Our findings therefore suggest that although effector responses are augmented by castration, the concomitant expansion of Tregs is one mechanism responsible for only transient immune potentiation after androgen ablation.