Specific targeting of the common gamma chain blocks cooperative reprogramming of human tissue-resident cytotoxic T lymphocytes by IL-15 and IL-21
ABSTRACT: The common gamma chain (γc) is required for productive signaling by interleukin (IL)-15, IL-21 and IL-2, which are critically involved in immune activation and regulation. IL-21 and IL-15 are implicated in the pathogenesis of type-1 diabetes, graft-versus-host disease, and celiac disease (CeD), a gluten-mediated autoimmune-like enteropathy. Attempts to treat type-1 diabetes and graft-versus-host disease with biologics targeting one particular cytokine have failed. Both IL-15 and IL-21 have been suggested to drive activation of cytotoxic T cells (CTL) that are the effectors mediating tissue destruction in CeD and organ-specific autoimmune disorders. We show that the concomitant upregulation of IL-15 and IL-21 occurs only in full-blown CeD with villous atrophy. BNZ-2, a peptide that targets the γc, was able to block the cooperative IL-15/IL-21 mediated transcriptional activation of human tissue-resident intraepithelial CTL. Importantly, this inhibition was specific and did not interfere with IL-2 signaling, a cytokine with known immunoregulatory functions. Moreover, BNZ-2 blocked gluten-induced IFN-γ production in small intestinal organ cultures from CeD patients. These observations identify BNZ-2 as a therapeutic candidate for immune disorders in which IL-15 and IL-21 cooperate to induce CTL-mediated tissue damage. Overall design: Gene expression profiles of human tissue-resident IE-CTLs (both in vitro and ex vivo), before and after simulation with IL-15 and IL-21 (individually and in combination).
Project description:Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease with a relatively high prevalence especially in the western hemisphere. A strong genetic component is involved in the pathogenesis of CD with virtually all individuals that develop the disease carrying HLA-DQ alleles that encode specific HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 heterodimers. Consumption of cereals rich in gluten triggers a chronic intestinal inflammation in genetically susceptible individuals leading to the development of CD. Emerging evidence has implicated a central role for IL-15 in the orchestration and perpetuation of inflammation and tissue destruction in CD. Therefore, IL-15 represents an attractive target for development of new therapies for CD. Transgenic mice that express human IL-15 specifically in enterocytes (T3(b)-hIL-15 Tg mice) develop villous atrophy and severe duodeno-jejunal inflammation with massive accumulation of NK-like CD8(+) lymphocytes in the affected mucosa. We used these mice to demonstrate that blockade of IL-15 signaling with an antibody (TM-beta1) that binds to murine IL-2/IL-15Rbeta (CD122) leads to a reversal of the autoimmune intestinal damage. The present study, along with work of others, provides the rationale to explore IL-15 blockade as a test of the hypothesis that uncontrolled expression of IL-15 is critical in the pathogenesis and maintenance of refractory CD.
Project description:Coeliac disease is a complex, polygenic inflammatory enteropathy caused by exposure to dietary gluten that occurs in a subset of genetically susceptible individuals who express either the HLA-DQ8 or HLA-DQ2 haplotypes1,2. The need to develop non-dietary treatments is now widely recognized3, but no pathophysiologically relevant gluten- and HLA-dependent preclinical model exists. Furthermore, although studies in humans have led to major advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of coeliac disease4, the respective roles of disease-predisposing HLA molecules, and of adaptive and innate immunity in the development of tissue damage, have not been directly demonstrated. Here we describe a mouse model that reproduces the overexpression of interleukin-15 (IL-15) in the gut epithelium and lamina propria that is characteristic of active coeliac disease, expresses the predisposing HLA-DQ8 molecule, and develops villous atrophy after ingestion of gluten. Overexpression of IL-15 in both the epithelium and the lamina propria is required for the development of villous atrophy, which demonstrates the location-dependent central role of IL-15 in the pathogenesis of coeliac disease. In addition, CD4+ T cells and HLA-DQ8 have a crucial role in the licensing of cytotoxic T cells to mediate intestinal epithelial cell lysis. We also demonstrate a role for the cytokine interferon-? (IFN?) and the enzyme transglutaminase 2 (TG2) in tissue destruction. By reflecting the complex interaction between gluten, genetics and IL-15-driven tissue inflammation, this mouse model provides the opportunity to both increase our understanding of coeliac disease, and develop new therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder caused by intolerance to dietary gluten. The interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-22 function as innate regulators of mucosal integrity. Impaired but not well-understood kinetics of the IL-17/22 secretion was described in celiac patients. Here, the IL-17 and IL-22-producing intestinal cells were studied upon their in vitro stimulation with mitogens in class II major histocompatibility complex-defined, gluten-sensitive rhesus macaques. Pediatric biopsies were collected from distal duodenum during the stages of disease remission and relapse. Regardless of dietary gluten content, IL-17 and IL-22-producing cells consisted of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes as well as of lineage-negative (Lin-) cells. Upon introduction of dietary gluten, capability of intestinal T cells to secrete IL-17/22 started to decline (p<0.05), which was paralleled with gradual disruption of epithelial integrity. These data indicate that IL-17/22-producing cells play an important role in maintenance of intestinal mucosa in gluten-sensitive primates.
Project description:Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease of the skin mediated by CD8+ T cells that kill melanocytes and create white spots. Skin lesions in vitiligo frequently return after discontinuing conventional treatments, supporting the hypothesis that autoimmune memory is formed at these locations. We found that lesional T cells in mice and humans with vitiligo display a resident memory (TRM) phenotype, similar to those that provide rapid, localized protection against reinfection from skin and mucosal-tropic viruses. Interleukin-15 (IL-15)-deficient mice reportedly have impaired TRM formation, and IL-15 promotes TRM function ex vivo. We found that both human and mouse TRM express the CD122 subunit of the IL-15 receptor and that keratinocytes up-regulate CD215, the subunit required to display the cytokine on their surface to promote activation of T cells. Targeting IL-15 signaling with an anti-CD122 antibody reverses disease in mice with established vitiligo. Short-term treatment with anti-CD122 inhibits TRM production of interferon-? (IFN?), and long-term treatment depletes TRM from skin lesions. Short-term treatment with anti-CD122 can provide durable repigmentation when administered either systemically or locally in the skin. On the basis of these data, we propose that targeting CD122 may be a highly effective and even durable treatment strategy for vitiligo and other tissue-specific autoimmune diseases involving TRM.
Project description:IL-21 is a pleiotropic type 1 cytokine that shares the common cytokine receptor ?-chain, ?(c), with IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15. IL-21 is most homologous to IL-2. These cytokines are encoded by adjacent genes, but they are functionally distinct. Whereas IL-2 promotes development of regulatory T cells and confers protection from autoimmune disease, IL-21 promotes differentiation of Th17 cells and is implicated in several autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus. However, the roles of IL-21 and IL-2 in CNS autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and uveitis have been controversial. Here, we generated Il21-mCherry/Il2-emGFP dual-reporter transgenic mice and showed that development of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) correlated with the presence of T cells coexpressing IL-21 and IL-2 into the retina. Furthermore, Il21r(-/-) mice were more resistant to EAU development than wild-type mice, and adoptive transfer of Il21r(-/-) T cells induced much less severe EAU, underscoring the need for IL-21 in the development of this disease and suggesting that blocking IL-21/?(c)-signaling pathways may provide a means for controlling CNS auto-inflammatory diseases.
Project description:IL-17 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine implicated a variety of autoimmune diseases. We have recently reported that FGF2 cooperates with IL-17 to protect intestinal epithelium during dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. Here, we report a pathogenic role of the FGF2-IL-17 cooperation in the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis. Combined treatment with FGF2 and IL-17 synergistically induced ERK activation as well as the production of cytokines and chemokines in human synovial intimal resident fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Furthermore, ectopic expression of FGF2 in mouse joints potentiated IL-17-induced inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in the tissue. In the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model, while ectopic expression of FGF2 in vivo exacerbated tissue inflammation and disease symptom in the wild-type controls, the effect was largely blunted in Il17a -/- mice. Taken together, our study suggests that FGF2 cooperates with IL-17 to promote the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis by cooperating with IL-17 to induce inflammatory response.
Project description:Overexpression of interleukin-15 (IL-15) is linked with immunopathology of several autoimmune disorders including celiac disease. Here, we utilized an anti-human IL-15 antibody 04H04 (anti-IL-15) to reverse immunopathogenesis of celiac disease. Anti-IL-15 was administered to six gluten-sensitive rhesus macaques with celiac disease characteristics including gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE), and the following celiac-related metrics were evaluated: morphology (villous height/crypt depth ratio) of small intestine, counts of intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, IFN-?-producing CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, plasma levels of anti-gliadin and anti-intestinal tissue transglutaminase IgG antibodies, as well as peripheral effector memory (CD3+CD28-CD95+) T cells. Anti-IL-15 treatment reversed the clinically relevant disease endpoints, intraepithelial lymphocyte counts, and villous height/crypt depth ratios within jejunal biopsies to normal levels (P?<?0.001). Additionally, intestinal CD8+ and CD4+ T cell IFN-? production was reduced (P?<?0.05). Extra-intestinally, anti-IL-15 treatment reduced peripheral NK cell counts (P?<?0.001), but otherwise, non-NK peripheral lymphocytes including effector memory T cells and serum blood chemistry were unaffected. Overall, providing the beneficial disease-modulatory and immunomodulatory effects observed, anti-IL-15 treatment might be considered as a novel therapy to normalize intestinal lymphocyte function in celiac disease patients with GSE.
Project description:Celiac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated, inflammatory disorder of the small intestines with a defined genetic etiological component associated with the expression of HLA-DQ2 and/or HLA-DQ8 haplotypes. The dietary consumption of gluten-rich cereals triggers a gluten-specific immune response in genetically susceptible individuals leading to a spectrum of clinical manifestations ranging from an inapparent subclinical disease, to overt enteropathy that can in some individuals progress to enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma (EATL). The tissue-destructive pathologic process of CD is driven by activated NK-like intraepithelial CD8(+) lymphocytes and the proinflammatory cytokine IL-15 has emerged to be pivotal in orchestrating this perpetual tissue destruction and inflammation. Moreover, transgenic mice that over-express human IL-15 from an enterocyte-specific promoter (T3(b)-hIL-15 Tg) recapitulate many of the disease-defining T and B cell-mediated pathologic features of CD, further supporting the evolving consensus that IL-15 represents a valuable target in devising therapeutic interventions against the form of the disease that is especially refractory to gluten-free diet. In the present study, we evaluated the potential efficacy of tofacitinib, a pan-JAK inhibitor that abrogates IL-15 signaling, as a therapeutic modality against CD using T3(b)-hIL-15 Tg mice. We demonstrate that tofacitinib therapy leads to a lasting reversal of pathologic manifestations in the treated mice, thereby highlighting the potential value of tofacitininb as a therapeutic modality against refractory CD for which no effective therapy exists currently. Additionally, the visceral adiposity observed in the tofacitinib-treated mice underscores the importance of continued evaluation of the drug's impact on the lipid metabolism.
Project description:IL-4 has been shown to suppress acute graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in irradiated hosts. Here we evaluated whether IL-4 suppresses acute GVHD in the un-irradiated parent-into-F1 GVHD model with relevance to renal allograft rejection. IL-4 completely suppressed CD8 CTL when administered with donor cells however this effect was lost if its administration was delayed 3days. IL-4 did not inhibit donor CD8+ T cell homing to the host spleen but rather prevented donor CD8+ T cell differentiation into CTLs. Studies with IL-4R?-deficient donor cells or recipient mice demonstrated that IL-4 effects on the host, rather than, or in addition to IL-4 effects on donor cells, were critical for suppression of CTL. Because IL-4 decreased all splenic dendritic cell populations and increased neutrophil and CD8+ T cells, IL-4 may suppress donor CD8+ CTL by decreasing Ag presentation and/or increasing host myeloid and CD8+ T cell suppression of donor T cells.
Project description:IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells (Th17 cells) have well-described pathogenic roles in tissue inflammation and autoimmune diseases, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); however, the involvement of IL-21 in these processes has remained controversial. While IL-21 is an essential autocrine amplification factor for differentiation of Th17 cells, the loss of IL-21 or IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) does not protect mice from actively induced EAE. Here, we utilized a transgenic EAE mouse model, in which T and B cells overexpress receptors for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) (referred to as 2D2xTH mice), and demonstrated that IL-21 is critical for the development of a variant form of spontaneous EAE in these animals. Il21r deletion in 2D2xTH mice reduced the incidence and severity of spontaneous EAE, which was associated with a defect in Th17 cell generation. Moreover, IL-21R deficiency limited IL-23R expression on Th17 cells and inhibited expression of key molecules involved in the generation of pathogenic Th17 cells. Conversely, loss of IL-23R in 2D2xTH mice resulted in complete resistance to the development of spontaneous EAE. Our data identify a previously unappreciated role for IL-21 in EAE and reveal that IL-21-mediated signaling supports generation and stabilization of pathogenic Th17 cells and development of spontaneous autoimmunity.