Exploiting genotyping, DNA sequencing, imputation and trans-ancestral mapping, we used Bayesian and frequentist approaches to model the IRF5-TNPO3 locus association, now implicated in two immunotherapies and seven autoimmune diseases. Specifically, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we resolved separate associations in the IRF5 promoter (all ancestries) and with an extended European haplotype. We captured 3230 IRF5-TNPO3 high-quality, common variants across 5 ethnicities in 8395 SLE cases and 7367 controls. The genetic effect from the IRF5 promoter can be explained by any one of four variants in 5.7 kb (P-valuemeta = 6 × 10(-49); OR = 1.38-1.97). The second genetic effect spanned an 85.5-kb, 24-variant haplotype that included the genes IRF5 and TNPO3 (P-valuesEU = 10(-27)-10(-32), OR = 1.7-1.81). Many variants at the IRF5 locus with previously assigned biological function are not members of either final credible set of potential causal variants identified herein. In addition to the known biologically functional variants, we demonstrated that the risk allele of rs4728142, a variant in the promoter among the lowest frequentist probability and highest Bayesian posterior probability, was correlated with IRF5 expression and differentially binds the transcription factor ZBTB3. Our analytical strategy provides a novel framework for future studies aimed at dissecting etiological genetic effects. Finally, both SLE elements of the statistical model appear to operate in Sjögren's syndrome and systemic sclerosis whereas only the IRF5-TNPO3 gene-spanning haplotype is associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, demonstrating the nuance of similarity and difference in autoimmune disease risk mechanisms at IRF5-TNPO3.
Cytopenias of uncertain etiology are commonly observed in patients during severe inflammation. Hemophagocytosis, the histological appearance of blood-eating macrophages, is seen in the disorder hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and other inflammatory contexts. Although it is hypothesized that these phenomena are linked, the mechanisms facilitating acute inflammation-associated cytopenias are unknown. We report that interferon ? (IFN-?) is a critical driver of the acute anemia observed during diverse microbial infections in mice. Furthermore, systemic exposure to physiologically relevant levels of IFN-? is sufficient to cause acute cytopenias and hemophagocytosis. Demonstrating the significance of hemophagocytosis, we found that IFN-? acts directly on macrophages in vivo to alter endocytosis and provoke blood cell uptake, leading to severe anemia. These findings define a unique pathological process of broad clinical and immunological significance, which we term the consumptive anemia of inflammation.
Individuals with impaired perforin-dependent cytotoxic function (Ctx(-)) develop a fatal inflammatory disorder called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). It has been hypothesized that immune hyperactivation during HLH is caused by heightened infection, defective apoptosis/responsiveness of Ctx(-) lymphocytes, or enhanced antigen presentation. Whereas clinical and experimental data suggest that increased T-cell activation drives HLH, potential abnormalities of T-cell activation have not been well characterized in Ctx(-) hosts. To define such abnormalities and to test these hypotheses, we assessed in vivo T-cell activation kinetics and viral loads after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection of Ctx(-) mice. We found that increased T-cell activation occurred early during infection of Ctx(-) mice, while they had viral burdens that were identical to those of WT animals, demonstrating that T-cell hyperactivation was independent of viral load. Furthermore, cell transfer and signaling studies indicated that increased antigenic stimulation, not a cell-intrinsic defect of responsiveness, underlay heightened T-cell activation in vivo. Finally, direct measurement of viral antigen presentation demonstrated an increase in Ctx(-) mice that was proportional to abnormal T-cell activation. We conclude that perforin-dependent cytotoxicity has an immunoregulatory role that is distinguishable from its pathogen clearance function and limits T-cell activation in the physiologic context by suppressing antigen presentation.
IFN-gamma has long been recognized as a cytokine with potent and varied effects in the immune response. Although its effects on specific cell types have been well studied in vitro, its in vivo effects are less clearly understood because of its diverse actions on many different cell types. Although control of multiple protozoan parasites is thought to depend critically on the direct action of IFN-gamma on macrophages, this premise has never been directly proven in vivo. To more directly examine the effects of IFN-gamma on cells of the macrophage lineage in vivo, we generated mice called the "macrophages insensitive to IFN-gamma" (MIIG) mice, which express a dominant negative mutant IFN-gamma receptor in CD68+ cells: monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, and mast cells. Macrophage lineage cells and mast cells from these mice are unable to respond to IFN-gamma, whereas other cells are able to produce and respond to this cytokine normally. When challenged in vitro, macrophages from MIIG mice were unable produce NO or kill Trypanosoma cruzi or Leishmania major after priming with IFN-gamma. Furthermore, MIIG mice demonstrated impaired parasite control and heightened mortality after T. cruzi, L. major, and Toxoplasma gondii infection, despite an appropriate IFN-gamma response. In contrast, MIIG mice displayed normal control of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, despite persistent insensitivity of macrophages to IFN-gamma. Thus, the MIIG mouse formally demonstrates for the first time in vivo, the specific importance of direct, IFN-gamma mediated activation of macrophages for controlling infection with multiple protozoan parasites.
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