Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a specialized subset of CD4(+) T cells that maintain self-tolerance by functionally suppressing autoreactive lymphocytes. The Treg compartment is composed of thymus-derived Tregs (tTregs) and peripheral Tregs (pTregs) that are generated in secondary lymphoid organs after exposure to antigen and specific cytokines, such as TGF-?. With regard to this latter lineage, pTregs [and their ex vivo generated counterparts, induced Tregs (iTregs)] offer particular therapeutic potential because these cells can be raised against specific antigens to limit autoimmunity. We now report that transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is necessary for the generation of iTregs but not tTregs. Moreover, drugs that limit KLF2 proteolysis during T-cell activation enhance iTreg development. To the authors' knowledge, this study identifies the first transcription factor to distinguish between i/pTreg and tTreg ontogeny and demonstrates that KLF2 is a therapeutic target for the production of regulatory T cells.
In vitro CD4(+) T cell differentiation systems have made important contributions to understanding the mechanisms underlying the differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells into effector cells with distinct biological functions. Mature CD4(+) T cells expressing CD8?? homodimers are primarily found in the intestinal mucosa of men and mice, and to a lesser extent in other tissues such as peripheral blood. Although CD4(+)CD8?(+) T cells are easily identified, very little is known about their development and immunological functions. It has been reported, however, that CD4(+)CD8?(+) T cells possess regulatory properties. In this report, we present a novel in vitro differentiation system where CD4(+) T cells are stimulated to become CD4(+)CD8?(+) T cells in the presence of TGF-?, IL-7 and IFN-?, resulting in cells with very similar features as CD4(+)CD8?(+) intraepithelial lymphocytes. This novel in vitro differentiation culture should provide a powerful and tractable tool for dissecting the differentiation and biological functions of CD4(+)CD8?(+) T cells.
Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), the principal growth factor for macrophages, is increased in the kidney, serum, and urine of patients with lupus nephritis, and eliminating CSF-1 suppresses lupus in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. CSF-1 has three biologically active isoforms: a membrane-spanning cell surface glycoprotein (csCSF-1), a secreted proteoglycan (spCSF-1), and a secreted glycoprotein (sgCSF-1); the role of each isoform in the circulation and kidney in autoimmune disease is not well understood. Here, we constructed mutant MRL-Fas(lpr) mice that only express csCSF-1 or precursors of the spCSF-1 and sgCSF-1 isoforms. Both csCSF-1 and spCSF-1 shifted monocytes toward proinflammatory, activated populations, enhancing their recruitment into the kidney during lupus nephritis. With advancing lupus nephritis, spCSF-1 was the predominant isoform responsible for increasing circulating CSF-1 and, along with the csCSF-1 isoform, for increasing intrarenal CSF-1. Thus, csCSF-1 appears to initiate and promote the local activation of macrophages within the kidney. Intrarenal expression of csCSF-1 and spCSF-1 increases with advancing nephritis, thereby promoting the intrarenal recruitment of monocytes and expansion of Ly6C(hi) macrophages, which induce apoptosis of the renal parenchyma. Taken together, these data suggest that the three CSF-1 isoforms have distinct biologic properties, suggesting that blocking both circulating and intrarenal CSF-1 may be necessary for therapeutic efficacy.
Macrophages mediate kidney disease and are prominent in a mouse model (MRL-Fas(lpr)) of lupus nephritis. Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) is the primary growth factor for macrophages, and CSF-1 deficiency protects MRL-Fas(lpr) mice from kidney disease and systemic illness. Whether this renoprotection derives from a reduction of macrophages and whether systemic CSF-1, as opposed to intrarenal CSF-1, promotes macrophage-dependent lupus nephritis remain unclear. Here, we found that increasing systemic CSF-1 hastened the onset of lupus nephritis in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Using mutant MRL-Fas(lpr) strains that express high, moderate, or no systemic CSF-1, we detected a much higher tempo of kidney disease in mice with the highest level of CSF-1. Furthermore, we uncovered a multistep CSF-1-dependent systemic mechanism central to lupus nephritis. CSF-1 heightened monocyte proliferation in the bone marrow (SSC(low)CD11b(+)), and these monocytes subsequently seeded the circulation. Systemic CSF-1 skewed the frequency of monocytes toward "inflammatory" (SSC(low)CD11b(+)Ly6C(high)) and activated populations that homed to sites of inflammation, resulting in a more rapid accumulation of intrarenal macrophages (CD11b(+)CSF-1R(+) or CD68(+)) that induced apoptosis of tubular epithelial cells, damaging the kidney. In humans, we found increased levels of CSF-1 in the serum, urine, and kidneys of patients with lupus compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, serum and urine CSF-1 levels correlated with lupus activity, and intrarenal CSF-1 expression correlated with the histopathology activity index of lupus nephritis. Taken together, circulating CSF-1 is a potential therapeutic target for lupus nephritis.
Tubular damage following ischemic renal injury is often reversible, and tubular epithelial cell (TEC) proliferation is a hallmark of tubular repair. Macrophages have been implicated in tissue repair, and CSF-1, the principal macrophage growth factor, is expressed by TECs. We therefore tested the hypothesis that CSF-1 is central to tubular repair using an acute renal injury and repair model, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Mice injected with CSF-1 following I/R exhibited hastened healing, as evidenced by decreased tubular pathology, reduced fibrosis, and improved renal function. Notably, CSF-1 treatment increased TEC proliferation and reduced TEC apoptosis. Moreover, administration of a CSF-1 receptor-specific (CSF-1R-specific) antibody after I/R increased tubular pathology and fibrosis, suppressed TEC proliferation, and heightened TEC apoptosis. To determine the contribution of macrophages to CSF-1-dependent renal repair, we assessed the effect of CSF-1 on I/R in mice in which CD11b+ cells were genetically ablated and determined that macrophages only partially accounted for CSF-1-dependent tubular repair. We found that TECs expressed the CSF-1R and that this receptor was upregulated and coexpressed with CSF-1 in TECs following renal injury in mice and humans. Furthermore, signaling via the CSF-1R stimulated proliferation and reduced apoptosis in human and mouse TECs. Taken together, these data suggest that CSF-1 mediates renal repair by both a macrophage-dependent mechanism and direct autocrine/paracrine action on TECs.
CSF-1, required for macrophage (Mø) survival, proliferation, and activation, is upregulated in the tubular epithelial cells (TECs) during kidney inflammation. CSF-1 mediates Mø-dependent destruction in lupus-susceptible mice with nephritis and, paradoxically, Mø-dependent renal repair in lupus-resistant mice after transient ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R). We now report that I/R leads to defective renal repair, nonresolving inflammation, and, in turn, early-onset lupus nephritis in preclinical MRL/MpJ-Faslpr/Fas(lpr) mice (MRL-Fas(lpr) mice). Moreover, defective renal repair is not unique to MRL-Fas(lpr) mice, as flawed healing is a feature of other lupus-susceptible mice (Sle 123) and MRL mice without the Fas(lpr) mutation. Increasing CSF-1 hastens renal healing after I/R in lupus-resistant mice but hinders healing, exacerbates nonresolving inflammation, and triggers more severe early-onset lupus nephritis in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Probing further, the time-related balance of M1 "destroyer" Mø shifts toward the M2 "healer" phenotype in lupus-resistant mice after I/R, but M1 Mø continue to dominate in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Moreover, hypoxic TECs release mediators, including CSF-1, that are responsible for stimulating the expansion of M1 Mø inherently poised to destroy the kidney in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. In conclusion, I/R induces CSF-1 in injured TECs that expands aberrant Mø (M1 phenotype), mediating defective renal repair and nonresolving inflammation, and thereby hastens the onset of lupus nephritis.
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