Centrally Acting Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor Suppresses Type I Interferon Responses and Decreases Inflammation in the Periphery and the CNS in Lupus-Prone Mice.
ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by multi-organ damage. Neuropsychiatric lupus (NPSLE) is one of the most common manifestations of human SLE, often causing depression. Interferon-? (IFN?) is a central mediator in disease pathogenesis. Administration of IFN? to patients with chronic viral infections or cancers causes depressive symptoms. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is part of the kallikrein-kinin/renin-angiotensin (KKS/RAS) system that regulates many physiological processes, including inflammation, and brain functions. It is known that ACE degrades bradykinin (BK) into inactive peptides. We have previously shown in an in vitro model of mouse bone-marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC) and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells that captopril (a centrally acting ACE inhibitor-ACEi) suppressed Type I IFN responsive gene (IRG) expression. In this report, we used the MRL/lpr lupus-prone mouse model, an established model to study NPSLE, to determine the in vivo effects of captopril on Type I IFN and associated immune responses in the periphery and brain and effects on behavior. Administering captopril to MRL/lpr mice decreased expression of IRGs in brain, spleen and kidney, decreased circulating and tissue IFN? levels, decreased microglial activation (IBA-1 expression) and reduced depressive-like behavior. Serotonin levels that are decreased in depression were increased by captopril treatment. Captopril also reduced autoantibody levels in plasma and immune complex deposition in kidney and brain. Thus, ACEi's may have potential for therapeutic use for systemic and NPSLE.
Project description:About 40% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus experience diffuse neuropsychiatric manifestations, including impaired cognition and depression. Although the pathogenesis of diffuse neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE) is not fully understood, loss of brain barrier integrity, autoreactive antibodies, and pro-inflammatory cytokines are major contributors to disease development. Fingolimod, a sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator, prevents lymphocyte egress from lymphoid organs through functional antagonism of S1P receptors. In addition to reducing the circulation of autoreactive lymphocytes, fingolimod has direct neuroprotective effects such as preserving brain barrier integrity and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion by astrocytes and microglia. Given these effects, we hypothesized that fingolimod would attenuate neurobehavioral deficits in MRL-lpr/lpr (MRL/lpr) mice, a validated neuropsychiatric lupus model. Fingolimod treatment was initiated after the onset of disease, and mice were assessed for alterations in cognitive function and emotionality. We found that fingolimod significantly attenuated spatial memory deficits and depression-like behavior in MRL/lpr mice. Immunofluorescent staining demonstrated a dramatic lessening of brain T cell and macrophage infiltration, and a significant reduction in cortical leakage of serum albumin, in fingolimod treated mice. Astrocytes and endothelial cells from treated mice exhibited reduced expression of inflammatory genes, while microglia showed differential regulation of key immune pathways. Notably, cytokine levels within the cortex and hippocampus were not appreciably decreased with fingolimod despite the improved neurobehavioral profile. Furthermore, despite a reduction in splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, and circulating autoantibody titers, IgG deposition within the brain was unaffected by treatment. These findings suggest that fingolimod mediates attenuation of NPSLE through a mechanism that is not dependent on reduction of autoantibodies or cytokines, and highlight modulation of the S1P signaling pathway as a novel therapeutic target in lupus involving the central nervous system.
Project description:Neuropsychiatric symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (NP-SLE) have been understudied compared to end-organ failure and peripheral pathology. Neuropsychiatric symptoms, particularly affective and cognitive indications, may be among the earliest manifestations of SLE. Among the potential pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for NP-SLE are increased peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokines, subsequent induction of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and activation of the kynurenine pathway. In the MRL/MpJ-Faslpr (MRL/lpr) murine model of lupus, depression-like behavior and cognitive dysfunction is evident before significant levels of autoantibody titers and nephritis are present. We examined the behavioral profile of MRL/lpr mice and their congenic controls, a comprehensive plasma cytokine and chemokine profile, and brain levels of serotonin and kynurenine pathway metabolites. Consistent with previous studies, MRL/lpr mice had increased depression-like behavior and visuospatial memory impairment. Plasma levels of different inflammatory molecules (Haptoglobin, interleukin 10 (IL-10), interferon ?-inducible protein 10 (IP-10/CXCL10), lymphotactin, macrophage inhibitory protein 3? (MIP-3?/CCL19), monocyte chemotactic protein 1, 3 and 5 (MCP-1/CCL2, MCP-3/CCL7, MCP-5/CCL12), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), lymphotactin and interferon ? (IFN-?)) were increased in MRL/lpr mice. In cortex and hippocampus, MRL/lpr mice had increased levels of kynurenine pathway metabolites (kynurenine, 3-hydroxykynurenine, 3-hydroxynthranilic acid and quinolinic acid). Therefore, our study suggests that increased cytokine expression may be critical in the regulation subtle aspects of brain function in NP-SLE via induction of IDO and tryptophan/kynurenine metabolism.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating multisystemic autoimmune disorder. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain elusive. Some patients with Noonan syndrome, a congenital disorder predominantly caused by gain-of-function mutations in the protein tyrosine phosphatase SH2 domain-containing PTP (SHP2), have been shown to develop SLE, suggesting a functional correlation between phosphatase activity and systemic autoimmunity. To test this directly, we measured SHP2 activity in spleen lysates isolated from lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice and found it was markedly increased compared with that in control mice. Similar increases in SHP2 activity were seen in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from lupus patients relative to healthy patients. To determine whether SHP2 alters autoimmunity and related immunopathology, we treated MRL/lpr mice with an SHP2 inhibitor and found increased life span, suppressed crescentic glomerulonephritis, reduced spleen size, and diminished skin lesions. SHP2 inhibition also reduced numbers of double-negative T cells, normalized ERK/MAPK signaling, and decreased production of IFN-? and IL-17A/F, 2 cytokines involved in SLE-associated organ damage. Moreover, in cultured human lupus T cells, SHP2 inhibition reduced proliferation and decreased production of IFN-? and IL-17A/F, further implicating SHP2 in lupus-associated immunopathology. Taken together, these data identify SHP2 as a critical regulator of SLE pathogenesis and suggest targeting of its activity as a potent treatment for lupus patients.
Project description:Autoantibody and inflammatory cytokines play crucial roles in the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, the regulation of their production warrants further investigation. This study aimed to investigate the role of basophil activation in the development of SLE based on studies in patients with SLE and spontaneous lupus-prone MRL-lpr/lpr mice.The phenotypes of peripheral basophils and the production of autoantibody and interleukin (IL)-17 in patients with SLE were determined by flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and also their correlations were investigated by statistical analysis. Thereafter, the effect of basophils on autoantibody production by B cells and Th17 differentiation in SLE were evaluated in vitro. Finally, the effect of basophil depletion on the development of autoimmune disorders in spontaneous lupus-prone MRL-lpr/lpr mice was examined.The decreased numbers and an increased activation of peripheral basophils were found to be correlated with increased autoantibody production and disease activity in patients with SLE. Correspondingly, in vitro coculture studies showed that basophils obtained from patients with SLE promoted autoantibody production by SLE B cells and promoted Th17 differentiation from SLE naïve CD4+ T cells. The decrease of peripheral basophils in patients with SLE might be due to their migration to lymph nodes post their activation mediated by (autoreactive) IgE as supported by their increased CD62L and CCR7 expressions and accumulation in the lymph nodes of MRL-lpr/lpr mice. Furthermore, an increased activation of peripheral basophils was identified in MRL-lpr/lpr mice. Importantly, basophil-depleted MRL-lpr/lpr mice exhibited an extended life span, improved renal function, and lower serum levels of autoantibodies and IL-17, while basophil-adoptive-transferred mice exhibited the opposite results.These finding suggest that basophil activation-dependent autoantibody and IL-17 production may constitute a critical pathogenic mechanism in SLE.
Project description:Interleukin (IL)-9, which is produced mainly by CD4(+) T cells, is implicated in mast cell-related allergic diseases, although its involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis remains unclear. Thus, we investigated the presence of IL-9 in lupus-prone MRL/Mp-lpr/lpr (MRL/lpr) mice and examined the role of IL-9 in lupus pathogenesis. Increased levels of IL-9(+) lymphocytes were detected in the spleens and kidneys of MRL/lpr mice and increased IL-9 levels in the spleen correlated with PNA(+) germinal center (GC) cell expansion. The percentage of CD4(+)IL-9(+) (Th9) cells was increased in MRL/lpr mice and serum IL-9 levels were elevated and closely related to the production of antibodies against double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). IL-9 appears to promote B-cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production, which could be blocked by inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Treatment with neutralizing anti-IL-9 antibody in vivo decreased serum anti-dsDNA-antibody titers and alleviated lupus nephritis in MRL/lpr mice. Our findings indicate expansion of Th9 cells in lupus-prone MRL/lpr mice and the correlation of IL-9 with B-cell proliferation and autoantibody production. These findings suggest that IL-9 is a potential therapeutic target for SLE.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) features a decreased pool of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T regulatory (Treg) cells. We had previously observed NKG2D+CD4+ T cell expansion in contrast to a decreased pool of Treg cells in SLE patients, but whether NKG2D+CD4+ T cells contribute to the decreased Treg cells remains unclear. In the present study, we found that the NKG2D+CD4+ T cells efficiently killed NKG2D ligand (NKG2DL)+ Treg cells in vitro, whereby the surviving Treg cells in SLE patients showed no detectable expression of NKG2DLs. It was further found that MRL/lpr lupus mice have significantly increased percentage of NKG2D+CD4+ T cells and obvious decreased percentage of Treg cells, as compared with wild-type mice. Adoptively transferred NKG2DL+ Treg cells were found to be efficiently killed in MRL/lpr lupus mice, with NKG2D neutralization remarkably attenuating this killing. Anti-NKG2D or anti-interferon-alpha receptor (IFNAR) antibodies treatment in MRL/lpr mice restored Treg cells numbers and markedly ameliorated the lupus disease. These results suggest that NKG2D+CD4+ T cells are involved in the pathogenesis of SLE by killing Treg cells in a NKG2D-NKG2DL-dependent manner. Targeting the NKG2D-NKG2DL interaction might be a potential therapeutic strategy by which Treg cells can be protected from cytolysis in SLE patients.
Project description:Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) were considered to be the major IFN? source in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) but their phenotype and function in different disease status have not been well studied. To study the function and phenotype of pDCs in lupus-prone mice we used 7 strains of lupus-prone mice including NZB/W F1, NZB, NZW, NZM2410, B6.NZM(Sle1/2/3), MRL/lpr and BXSB/Mp mice and C57BL/6 as control mice. Increased spleen pDC numbers were found in most lupus mice compared to C57BL/6 mice. The IFN?-producing ability of BM pDCs was similar between lupus and C57BL/6 mice, whereas pDCs from the spleens of NZB/W F1 and NZB mice produced more IFN? than pDCs from the spleens of C57BL/6 mice. Furthermore, spleen pDCs from MRL-lpr and NZM2410 mice showed increased responses to Tlr7 and Tlr9, respectively. As the disease progressed, IFN signature were evaluated in both BM and spleen pDC from lupus prone mice and the number of BM pDCs and their ability to produce IFN? gradually decreased in lupus-prone mice. In conclusion, pDC are activated alone with disease development and its phenotype and function differ among lupus-prone strains, and these differences may contribute to the development of lupus in these mice.
Project description:Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) constitute a diagnostic criterion of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and aPL have been functionally linked to liver disease in patients with SLE. Since the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a regulator of oxidative stress, a pathophysiologic process that contributes to the development of aPL, this study was undertaken in a mouse model of SLE to examine the involvement of liver mitochondria in lupus pathogenesis.Mitochondria were isolated from lupus-prone MRL/lpr, C57BL/6.lpr, and MRL mice, age-matched autoimmunity-resistant C57BL/6 mice as negative controls, and transaldolase-deficient mice, a strain that exhibits oxidative stress in the liver. Electron transport chain (ETC) activity was assessed using measurements of oxygen consumption. ETC proteins, which are regulators of mitochondrial homeostasis, and the mTOR complexes mTORC1 and mTORC2 were examined by Western blotting. Anticardiolipin (aCL) and anti-?2 -glycoprotein I (anti-?2 GPI) autoantibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in mice treated with rapamycin or mice treated with a solvent control.Mitochondrial oxygen consumption was increased in the livers of 4-week-old, disease-free MRL/lpr mice relative to age-matched controls. Levels of the mitophagy initiator dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) were depleted while the activity of mTORC1 was increased in MRL/lpr mice. In turn, mTORC2 activity was decreased in MRL and MRL/lpr mice. In addition, levels of aCL and anti-?2 GPI were elevated preceding the development of nephritis in 4-week-old MRL, C57BL/6.lpr, and MRL/lpr mice. Transaldolase-deficient mice showed increased oxygen consumption, depletion of Drp1, activation of mTORC1, and elevated expression of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase core subunit S3 (NDUFS3), a pro-oxidant subunit of ETC complex I, as well as increased production of aCL and anti-?2 GPI autoantibodies. Treatment with rapamycin selectively blocked mTORC1 activation, NDUFS3 expression, and aPL production both in transaldolase-deficient mice and in lupus-prone mice.In lupus-prone mice, mTORC1-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the generation of aPL, suggesting that such mechanisms may represent a treatment target in patients with SLE.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with aberrant immune cell function. Treatment involves the use of indiscriminate immunosuppression, which results in significant side effects. SLE T cells express high levels of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type IV (CaMKIV), which translocates to the nucleus upon engagement of the T cell receptor-CD3 complex and accounts for abnormal T cell function. The purpose of this study was to determine whether inhibition of CaMKIV would improve disease pathology.We treated MRL/lpr mice with KN-93, a CaMKIV inhibitor, starting at week 8 or week 12 of age and continuing through week 16 and evaluated skin lesions, proteinuria, kidney histopathology, proinflammatory cytokine production, and costimulatory molecule expression. We also determined the effect of silencing of CAMK4 on interferon-? (IFN?) expression by human SLE T cells.CaMKIV inhibition in MRL/lpr mice resulted in significant suppression of nephritis and skin disease, decreased expression of the costimulatory molecules CD86 and CD80 on B cells, and suppression of IFN? and tumor necrosis factor ? production. In human SLE T cells, silencing of CAMK4 resulted in suppression of IFN? production.We conclude that suppression of CaMKIV mitigates disease development in lupus-prone mice by suppressing cytokine production and costimulatory molecule expression. Specific silencing of CAMK4 in human T cells results in similar suppression of IFN? production. Our data justify the development of small-molecule CaMKIV inhibitors for the treatment of patients with SLE.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients display impaired endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) function required for normal vasodilatation. SLE patients express increased compensatory activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) generating excess nitric oxide that may result in inflammation. We examined the effects of genetic deletion of NOS2 and NOS3, encoding iNOS and eNOS respectively, on accelerated vascular disease in MRL/lpr lupus mouse model. NOS2 and NOS3 knockout (KO) MRL/lpr mice had higher plasma levels of triglycerides (23% and 35%, respectively), ceramide (45% and 21%, respectively), and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) (21%) compared to counterpart MRL/lpr controls. Plasma levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) in NOS2 and NOS3 KO MRL/lpr mice were lower (53% and 80%, respectively) than counterpart controls. Nodule-like lesions in the adventitia were detected in aortas from both NOS2 and NOS3 KO MRL/lpr mice. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the lesions revealed activated endothelial cells and lipid-laden macrophages (foam cells), elevated sphingosine kinase 1 expression, and oxidized low-density lipoprotein immune complexes (oxLDL-IC). The findings suggest that advanced vascular disease in NOS2 and NOS3 KO MRL/lpr mice maybe mediated by increased plasma triglycerides, ceramide and S1P; decreased plasma IL-10; and accumulation of oxLDL-IC in the vessel wall. The results expose possible new targets to mitigate lupus-associated complications.