Long-Term Depletion of Conventional Dendritic Cells Cannot Be Maintained in an Atherosclerotic Zbtb46-DTR Mouse Model.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Increased evidence suggests a pro-atherogenic role for conventional dendritic cells (cDC). However, due to the lack of an exclusive marker for cDC, their exact contribution to atherosclerosis remains elusive. Recently, a unique transcription factor was described for cDC, namely Zbtb46, enabling us to selectively target this cell type in mice. METHODS:Low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr-/-) mice were transplanted with bone marrow from Zbtb46-diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) transgenic mice following total body irradiation. Zbtb46-DTR?Ldlr-/- chimeras were fed a Western-type diet for 18 weeks while cDC were depleted by administering diphtheria toxin (DT). RESULTS:Although we confirmed efficient direct induction of cDC death in vitro and in vivo upon DT treatment of Zbtb46-DTR mice, advanced atherosclerotic plaque size and composition was not altered. Surprisingly, however, analysis of Zbtb46-DTR?Ldlr-/- chimeras showed that depletion of cDC was not sustained following 18 weeks of DT treatment. In contrast, high levels of anti-DT antibodies were detected. CONCLUSIONS:Because of the observed generation of anti-DT antibodies and consequently the partial depletion of cDC, no clear decision can be taken on the role of cDC in atherosclerosis. Our results underline the unsuitability of Zbtb46-DTR?Ldlr-/- mice for studying the involvement of cDC in maintaining the disease process of atherosclerosis, as well as of other chronic inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Distinguishing dendritic cells (DCs) from other cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system is complicated by the shared expression of cell surface markers such as CD11c. In this study, we identified Zbtb46 (BTBD4) as a transcription factor selectively expressed by classical DCs (cDCs) and their committed progenitors but not by plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), monocytes, macrophages, or other lymphoid or myeloid lineages. Using homologous recombination, we replaced the first coding exon of Zbtb46 with GFP to inactivate the locus while allowing detection of Zbtb46 expression. GFP expression in Zbtb46(gfp/+) mice recapitulated the cDC-specific expression of the native locus, being restricted to cDC precursors (pre-cDCs) and lymphoid organ- and tissue-resident cDCs. GFP(+) pre-cDCs had restricted developmental potential, generating cDCs but not pDCs, monocytes, or macrophages. Outside the immune system, Zbtb46 was expressed in committed erythroid progenitors and endothelial cell populations. Zbtb46 overexpression in bone marrow progenitor cells inhibited granulocyte potential and promoted cDC development, and although cDCs developed in Zbtb46(gfp/gfp) (Zbtb46 deficient) mice, they maintained expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and leukemia inhibitory factor receptors, which are normally down-regulated in cDCs. Thus, Zbtb46 may help enforce cDC identity by restricting responsiveness to non-DC growth factors and may serve as a useful marker to identify rare cDC progenitors and distinguish between cDCs and other mononuclear phagocyte lineages.
Project description:Dendritic cells (DCs) are key regulators of innate and adaptive immunity. Our understanding of immune function has benefited greatly from mouse models allowing for selective ablation of DCs. Many such models rely on transgenic diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) expression driven by DC-restricted promoters. This renders DCs sensitive to DT but is otherwise thought to have no effect on immune physiology. In this study, we report that, unexpectedly, mice in which DTR is expressed on conventional DCs display marked lymph node (LN) hypocellularity and reduced frequency of DCs in the same organs but not in spleen or nonlymphoid tissues. Intriguingly, in mixed bone marrow chimeras the phenotype conferred by DTR-expressing DCs is dominant over control bone marrow-derived cells, leading to small LNs and an overall paucity of DCs independently of the genetic ability to express DTR. The finding of alterations in LN composition and size independently of DT challenge suggests that caution must be exercised when interpreting results of experiments obtained with mouse models to inducibly deplete DCs. It further indicates that DTR, a member of the epidermal growth factor family, is biologically active in mice. Its use in cell ablation experiments needs to be considered in light of this activity.
Project description:To test the hypothesis that macrophages are essential for remodeling the cervix in preparation for birth, pregnant homozygous CD11b-dtr mice were injected with diphtheria toxin (DT) on days 14 and 16 postbreeding. On day 15 postbreeding, macrophages (F4/80+) were depleted in cervix and kidney, but not in liver, ovary, or other non-reproductive tissues in DT-compared to saline-treated dtr mice or wild-type controls given DT or saline. Within 24 h of DT-treatment, the density of cell nuclei and macrophages declined in cervix stroma in dtr mice versus controls, but birefringence of collagen, as an indication of extracellular cross-linked structure, remained unchanged. Only in the cervix of DT-treated dtr mice was an apoptotic morphology evident in macrophages. DT-treatment did not alter the sparse presence or morphology of neutrophils. By day 18 postbreeding, macrophages repopulated the cervix in DT-treated dtr mice so that the numbers were comparable to that in controls. However, at term, evidence of fetal mortality without cervix ripening occurred in most dtr mice given DT-a possible consequence of treatment effects on placental function. These findings suggest that CD11b+ F4/80+ macrophages are important to sustain pregnancy and are required for processes that remodel the cervix in preparation for parturition.
Project description:The success of adoptive CTL therapy for cancer depends on interactions between tumor-infiltrating CTLs and cancer cells as well as other cells and molecules in the tumor microenvironment. Tumor dendritic cells (DCs) comprise several subsets: CD103+CD11b- DC1 and CD11b+CD64- DC2, which originate from circulating precursors of conventional DCs, and CD11b+CD64+ DC3, which arise from monocytes. It remains controversial which of these subset(s) promotes intratumor CTL proliferation, expansion, and function. To address this issue, we used the Zbtb46-DTR-transgenic mouse model to selectively deplete DC1 and DC2 from tumors and lymphoid tissues. Wild-type and Zbtb46-DTR bone marrow chimeras were inoculated with B16 melanoma cells that express OVA and were treated with OT-1 CTLs. We found that depletion of DCs derived from precursors of conventional DCs in Zbtb46-DTR bone marrow chimeras abolished CTL proliferation and expansion in tumor-draining lymph nodes. By contrast, intratumor CTL accumulation, proliferation, and IFN-? expression were unaffected by their absence. We found that adoptive cell therapy increases the frequency of monocyte-derived tumor DC3, which possess the capacity to cross-present tumor Ags and induce CTL proliferation. Our findings support the specialized roles of different DC subsets in the regulation of antitumor CTL responses.
Project description:Conditional expression of diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) is widely used for tissue-specific ablation of cells. However, diphtheria toxin (DT) crosses the blood-brain barrier, which limits its utility for ablating peripheral cells using Cre drivers that are also expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). Here we report the development of a brain-sparing DT, termed BRAINSPAReDT, for tissue-specific genetic ablation of cells outside the CNS. We prevent blood-brain barrier passage of DT through PEGylation, which polarizes the molecule and increases its size. We validate BRAINSPAReDT with regional genetic sympathectomy: BRAINSPAReDT ablates peripheral but not central catecholaminergic neurons, thus avoiding the Parkinson-like phenotype associated with full dopaminergic depletion. Regional sympathectomy compromises adipose tissue thermogenesis, and renders mice susceptible to obesity. We provide a proof of principle that BRAINSPAReDT can be used for Cre/DTR tissue-specific ablation outside the brain using CNS drivers, while consolidating the link between adiposity and the sympathetic nervous system.
Project description:ZBTB46 is a transcription factor identified in classical dendritic cells and keeps dendritic cells in a quiescent state. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing in dendritic cells has identified over 1300 potential gene targets of ZBTB46, affecting many processes including cell cycle. Endothelial cells (ECs) also express ZBTB46 and are mostly in a quiescent non-proliferative state. While EC proliferation is a critical process in development, dysregulation of EC proliferation as seen in areas of disturbed flow play an important role in many disease processes such as atherosclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, transplant vasculopathy, neointimal hyperplasia, and in-stent restenosis. We studied the role of ZBTB46 in ECs, hypothesizing that it inhibits EC proliferation. Using a model of disturbed flow in mice, we found that ZBTB46 is expressed in murine arterial ECs in vivo, and is downregulated by disturbed flow. In vitro results using HAECs showed that cell confluence and laminar shear stress, both known physiological conditions promoting EC quiescence, led to upregulation of ZBTB46 expression. Adenoviral-mediated overexpression of ZBTB46 in vitro caused reduced EC proliferation, and increased number of cells in the G0/G1 phase of cell cycle, without affecting apoptosis or senescence, while siRNA knockdown of ZBTB46 negated the known inhibitory role of unidirectional laminar shear stress on EC proliferation. ZBTB46 overexpression also led to a broad suppression of genes involved in cell cycle progression including multiple cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases, but an increase in the CDK inhibitor CDKN1A. Phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein was also decreased as assessed by Western blot. Tube formation on Matrigel was reduced, suggesting an inhibitory role for ZBTB46 in angiogenesis. Further research is required to investigate the potential role of ZBTB46 in specific pathologic conditions and whether it can be targeted in a therapeutic manner.
Project description:Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease promoted by hyperlipidemia. Several studies support FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) as inhibitors of atherosclerosis; however, the mechanism underlying this protection remains elusive. To define the role of FOXP3-expressing Tregs in atherosclerosis, we used the DEREG mouse, which expresses the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor under control of the Treg-specific Foxp3 promoter, allowing for specific ablation of FOXP3+ Tregs. Lethally irradiated, atherosclerosis-prone, low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr(-/-)) mice received DEREG bone marrow and were injected with DT to eliminate FOXP3(+) Tregs. Depletion of Tregs caused a 2.1-fold increase in atherosclerosis without a concomitant increase in vascular inflammation. These mice also exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in plasma cholesterol and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile with increased levels of VLDL. Clearance of VLDL and chylomicron remnants was hampered, leading to accumulation of cholesterol-rich particles in the circulation. Functional and protein analyses complemented by gene expression array identified reduced protein expression of sortilin-1 in liver and increased plasma enzyme activity of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and phospholipid transfer protein as mediators of the altered lipid phenotype. These results demonstrate that FOXP3(+) Tregs inhibit atherosclerosis by modulating lipoprotein metabolism.
Project description:To establish an inducible liver injury mouse model and transplant human hepatocytes to obtain liver-humanized mice.We crossed three mouse strains, including albumin (Alb)-cre transgenic mice, inducible diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) transgenic mice and severe combined immune deficient (SCID)-beige mice, to create Alb-cre/DTR/SCID-beige (ADSB) mice, which coincidentally harbor Alb-cre and DTR transgenes and are immunodeficient. As the Cre expression is driven by the liver-specific promoter Alb (encoding ALB), the DTR stop signal flanked by two loxP sites can be deleted in the ADSB mice, resulting in DTR expression in the liver. ADSB mice aged 8-10 wk were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with diphtheria toxin (DT) and liver damage was assessed by serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. Two days later, mouse livers were sampled for histological analysis, and human hepatocytes were transplanted into the livers on the same day. A human ALB enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed 7, 14, 21 and 28 d after transplantation. Human CD68 immunohistochemistry was performed 30 and 90 d after transplantation.We crossed Alb-cre with DTR and SCID-beige mice to obtain ADSB mice. These mice were found to have liver damage 4 d after i.p. injection of 2.5 ng/g bodyweight DT. Bodyweight began to decrease on day 2, increased on day 7, and was lowest on day 4 (range, 10.5%-13.4%). Serum ALT activity began to increase on day 2 and reached a peak value of 289.7 ± 16.2 IU/mL on day 4, then returned to background values on day 7. After transplantation of human liver cells, peripheral blood human ALB level was 1580 ± 454.8 ng/mL (range, 750.2-3064.9 ng/mL) after 28 d and Kupffer cells were present in the liver at 30 d in ADSB mice.Human hepatocytes were successfully repopulated in the livers of ADSB mice. The inducible mouse model of humanized liver in ADSB mice may have functional applications, such as hepatocyte transplantation, hepatic regeneration and drug metabolism.
Project description:Langerhans cells are epidermal dendritic cells responsible for antigen presentation during an immune response. Langerhans cells associate intimately with epidermal sensory axons. While there is evidence that Langerhans cells may produce neurotrophic factors, a role in regulating cutaneous innervation has not been established. We used genetically engineered mice in which the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor is targeted to Langerhans cells (Lang-DTR mice) to assess sensory axon-dendritic cell interactions. Diphtheria toxin administration to wild type mice did not affect epidermal structure, Langerhans cell content, or innervation density. A DT administration regimen supramaximal for completely ablating epidermal Langerhans cells in Lang-DTR mice reduced PGP 9.5-immunoreactive total innervation and calcitonin gene related peptide-immunoreactive peptidergic nociceptor innervation. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction showed that epidermal gene expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor was unchanged, but nerve growth factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor mRNAs were reduced. Behavioral testing showed that, while thermal sensitivity was unaffected, mice depleted of Langerhans cells displayed mechanical hypersensitivity. These findings provide evidence that Langerhans cells play an important role in determining cutaneous sensory innervation density and mechanical sensitivity. This may involve alterations in neurotrophin production by Langerhans or other epidermal cells, which in turn may affect mechanical sensitivity directly or as a result of neuropathic changes.