The maturation status of dendritic cells determines whether interacting T cells are activated or if they become tolerant. Previously we could induce T cell tolerance by applying a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor (HMGCRI) atorvastatin, which also modulates MHC class II expression and has therapeutic potential in autoimmune disease. Here, we aimed at elucidating the impact of this therapeutic strategy on T cell differentiation as a consequence of alterations in dendritic cell function. We investigated the effect of HMGCRI during differentiation of peripheral human monocytes and murine bone marrow precursors to immature DC in vitro and assessed their phenotype. To examine the stimulatory and tolerogenic capacity of these modulated immature dendritic cells, we measured proliferation and suppressive function of CD4+ T cells after stimulation with the modulated immature dendritic cells. We found that an HMGCRI, atorvastatin, prevents dendrite formation during the generation of immature dendritic cells. The modulated immature dendritic cells had a diminished capacity to take up and present antigen as well as to induce an immune response. Of note, the consequence was an increased capacity to differentiate naïve T cells towards a suppressor phenotype that is less sensitive to proinflammatory stimuli and can effectively inhibit the proliferation of T effector cells in vitro. Thus, manipulation of antigen-presenting cells by HMGCRI contributes to an attenuated immune response as shown by promotion of T cells with suppressive capacities.
Embryonic development depends on complex and precisely orchestrated signaling pathways including specific reduction/oxidation cascades. Oxidoreductases of the thioredoxin family are key players conveying redox signals through reversible posttranslational modifications of protein thiols. The importance of this protein family during embryogenesis has recently been exemplified for glutaredoxin 2, a vertebrate-specific glutathione-disulfide oxidoreductase with a critical role for embryonic brain development. Here, we discovered an essential function of glutaredoxin 2 during vascular development. Confocal microscopy and time-lapse studies based on two-photon microscopy revealed that morpholino-based knockdown of glutaredoxin 2 in zebrafish, a model organism to study vertebrate embryogenesis, resulted in a delayed and disordered blood vessel network. We were able to show that formation of a functional vascular system requires glutaredoxin 2-dependent reversible S-glutathionylation of the NAD(+)-dependent protein deacetylase sirtuin 1. Using mass spectrometry, we identified a cysteine residue in the conserved catalytic region of sirtuin 1 as target for glutaredoxin 2-specific deglutathionylation. Thereby, glutaredoxin 2-mediated redox regulation controls enzymatic activity of sirtuin 1, a mechanism we found to be conserved between zebrafish and humans. These results link S-glutathionylation to vertebrate development and successful embryonic angiogenesis.
Cellular functions and survival are dependent on a tightly controlled redox potential. Currently, an increasing amount of data supports the concept of local changes in the redox environment and specific redox signaling events controlling cell function. Specific protein thiol groups are the major targets of redox signaling and regulation. Thioredoxins and glutaredoxins catalyze reversible thiol-disulfide exchange reactions and are primary regulators of the protein thiol redox state. Here, we demonstrate that embryonic brain development depends on the enzymatic activity of glutaredoxin 2. Zebrafish with silenced expression of glutaredoxin 2 lost virtually all types of neurons by apoptotic cell death and the ability to develop an axonal scaffold. As demonstrated in zebrafish and in a human cellular model for neuronal differentiation, glutaredoxin 2 controls axonal outgrowth via thiol redox regulation of collapsin response mediator protein 2, a central component of the semaphorin pathway. This study provides an example of a specific thiol redox regulation essential for vertebrate embryonic development.
We present a novel highly efficient protocol to magnetically label T cells applying electrostatically stabilized very small superparamagnetic iron oxide particles (VSOP). Our long-term aim is to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate T cell dynamics in vivo during the course of neuroinflammatory disorders such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Encephalitogenic T cells were co-incubated with VSOP, or with protamine-complexed VSOP (VProt), respectively, at different conditions, optimizing concentrations and incubation times. Labeling efficacy was determined by atomic absorption spectrometry as well as histologically, and evaluated on a 7?T MR system. Furthermore, we investigated possible alterations of T cell physiology caused by the labeling procedure. T cell co-incubation with VSOP resulted in an efficient cellular iron uptake. T2 times of labeled cells dropped significantly, resulting in prominent hypointensity on T2*-weighted scans. Optimal labeling efficacy was achieved by VProt (1?mM Fe/ml, 8?h incubation; T2 time shortening of ?80% compared to untreated cells). Although VSOP promoted T cell proliferation and altered the ratio of T cell subpopulations toward a CD4(+) phenotype, no effects on CD4 T cell proliferation or phenotypic stability were observed by labeling in vitro differentiated Th17 cells with VProt. Yet, high concentrations of intracellular iron oxide might induce alterations in T cell function, which should be considered in cell tagging studies. Moreover, we demonstrated that labeling of encephalitogenic T cells did not affect pathogenicity; labeled T cells were still capable of inducing EAE in susceptible recipient mice.
Interferon (IFN)-induced immunoproteasomes (i-proteasomes) have been associated with improved processing of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigens. Here, we show that i-proteasomes function to protect cell viability under conditions of IFN-induced oxidative stress. IFNs trigger the production of reactive oxygen species, which induce protein oxidation and the formation of nascent, oxidant-damaged proteins. We find that the ubiquitylation machinery is concomitantly upregulated in response to IFNs, functioning to target defective ribosomal products (DRiPs) for degradation by i-proteasomes. i-proteasome-deficiency in cells and in murine inflammation models results in the formation of aggresome-like induced structures and increased sensitivity to apoptosis. Efficient clearance of these aggregates by the enhanced proteolytic activity of the i-proteasome is important for the preservation of cell viability upon IFN-induced oxidative stress. Our findings suggest that rather than having a specific role in the production of class I antigens, i-proteasomes increase the peptide supply for antigen presentation as part of a more general role in the maintenance of protein homeostasis.
In chronic autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) such as multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction have been associated with structural changes in the hippocampus. Moreover, experimental studies indicate that inflammatory responses within the CNS modulate the homeostasis of newborn cells in the adult dentate gyrus (DG). However, it remained open whether such changes happen regardless of the primary immunological target or whether a CNS antigen-directed T lymphocyte-mediated autoimmune response may exert a specific impact. We therefore induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a common model of MS serving as a paradigm for a CNS-specific immune response, by immunizing C57BL/6 mice with encephalitogenic myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) p35-55. In EAE animals, we found enhanced de novo generation and survival of doublecortin (DCX)-positive immature neurons when compared with controls immunized with CNS-irrelevant antigen (ovalbumine). However, despite activation of neurogenesis, we observed a reduced capacity of these cells to generate mature neurons. Moreover, the high number of newly born cells retained the expression of the glial marker GFAP. These effects were associated with downregulation of pro-neurogenic factors Neurogenin1 and Neurogenin2 and dysregulation of Notch, ?-catenin, Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling as suggested by altered gene expression of effector molecules. Thus, a CNS antigen-specific immune response leads to an aberrant differentiation of neural precursors associated with dysbalance of signaling pathways relevant for adult hippocampal neurogenesis. These results may further extend our understanding of disturbed regeneration in the course of chronic inflammatory CNS diseases such as MS.
DC are professional APC that instruct T cells during the inflammatory course of EAE. We have previously shown that MAPK3 (Erk1) is important for the induction of T-cell anergy. Our goal was to determine the influence of MAPK3 on the capacity of DC to arm T-cell responses in autoimmunity. We report that DC from Mapk3(-/-) mice have a significantly higher membrane expression of CD86 and MHC-II and--when loaded with the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein--show a superior capacity to prime naïve T cells towards an inflammatory phenotype than Mapk3(+/+) DC. Nonetheless and as previously described, Mapk3(-/-) mice were only slightly but not significantly more susceptible to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced EAE than WT littermate mice. However, Mapk3(+/+) mice engrafted with Mapk3(-/-) BM (KO-->WT) developed a severe form of EAE, in direct contrast to WT-->KO mice, which were even less sick than control WT-->WT mice. An infiltration of DC and accumulation of Th17 cells was also observed in the CNS of KO-->WT mice. Therefore, triggering of MAPK3 in the periphery might be a therapeutic option for the treatment of neuroinflammation since absence of this kinase in the immune system leads to severe EAE.
Previous proteomic and transcriptional analyses of multiple sclerosis lesions revealed modulation of the renin-angiotensin and the opposing kallikrein-kinin pathways. Here we identify kinin receptor B1 (Bdkrb1) as a specific modulator of immune cell entry into the central nervous system (CNS). We demonstrate that the Bdkrb1 agonist R838 (Sar-[D-Phe]des-Arg(9)-bradykinin) markedly decreases the clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in SJL mice, whereas the Bdkrb1 antagonist R715 (Ac-Lys-[D-betaNal(7), Ile(8)]des-Arg(9)-bradykinin) resulted in earlier onset and greater severity of the disease. Bdkrb1-deficient (Bdkrb1(-/-)) C57BL/6 mice immunized with a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein fragment, MOG(35-55), showed more severe disease with enhanced CNS-immune cell infiltration. The same held true for mixed bone marrow-chimeric mice reconstituted with Bdkrb1(-/-) T lymphocytes, which showed enhanced T helper type 17 (T(H)17) cell invasion into the CNS. Pharmacological modulation of Bdkrb1 revealed that in vitro migration of human T(H)17 lymphocytes across blood-brain barrier endothelium is regulated by this receptor. Taken together, these results suggest that the kallikrein-kinin system is involved in the regulation of CNS inflammation, limiting encephalitogenic T lymphocyte infiltration into the CNS, and provide evidence that Bdkrb1 could be a new target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
The detection of pathological tissue alterations by manual palpation is a simple but essential diagnostic tool, which has been applied by physicians since the beginnings of medicine. Recently, the virtual "palpation" of the brain has become feasible using magnetic resonance elastography, which quantifies biomechanical properties of the brain parenchyma by analyzing the propagation of externally elicited shear waves. However, the precise molecular and cellular patterns underlying changes of viscoelasticity measured by magnetic resonance elastography have not been investigated up to date. We assessed changes of viscoelasticity in a murine model of multiple sclerosis, inducing reversible demyelination by feeding the copper chelator cuprizone, and correlated our results with detailed histological analyses, comprising myelination, extracellular matrix alterations, immune cell infiltration and axonal damage. We show firstly that the magnitude of the complex shear modulus decreases with progressive demyelination and global extracellular matrix degradation, secondly that the loss modulus decreases faster than the dynamic modulus during the destruction of the corpus callosum, and finally that those processes are reversible after remyelination.
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