Recent clinical and preclinical studies have demonstrated that systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, unlike in the general population, little is known regarding the efficacy of atheroprotective interventions in patients with SLE. The current study aims to determine the benefit of lymphocyte inhibition on reducing the atherosclerotic burden in SLE-susceptible LDLr-deficient mice.
The induction of sterilizing T-cell responses to tumors is a major goal in the development of T-cell vaccines for treating cancer. Although specific components of anti-viral CD8+ immunity are well characterized, we still lack the ability to mimic viral CD8+ T-cell responses in therapeutic settings for treating cancers. Infection with the picornavirus Theilers murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) induces a strong sterilizing CD8+ T-cell response. In the absence of sterilizing immunity, the virus causes a persistent infection. We capitalized on the ability of TMEV to induce strong cellular immunity even under conditions of immune deficiency by modifying the virus to evaluate its potential as a T-cell vaccine. The introduction of defined CD8+ T-cell epitopes into the leader sequence of the TMEV genome generates an attenuated vaccine strain that can efficiently drive CD8+ T-cell responses to the targeted antigen. This virus activates T-cells in a manner that is capable of inducing targeted tissue damage and glucose dysregulation in an adoptive T-cell transfer model of diabetes mellitus. As a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of established melanoma, epitope-modified TMEV can induce strong cytotoxic T-cell responses and promote infiltration of the T-cells into established tumors, ultimately leading to a delay in tumor growth and improved survival of vaccinated animals. We propose that epitope-modified TMEV is an excellent candidate for further development as a human T-cell vaccine for use in immunotherapy.
The atherosclerotic process is accelerated in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In addition to a robust lipid-lowering effect, various immunomodulatory functions have been ascribed to statins. By virtue of the latter they may be able to reduce atherosclerotic vascular disease in SLE by inhibiting immune activation within the arterial wall and by attenuating lupus activity. The effects of statins on SLE as well as on lupus-mediated atherogenesis in vivo are discussed in this viewpoint.
In a study published recently in Arthritis Research & Therapy, Woo and colleagues investigated the effects of pravastatin in combination with an apolipoprotein-AI (Apo-AI) mimetic peptide in a mouse model of lupus-accelerated atherosclerosis. Combination treatment resulted in a significant decrease in systemic inflammation but increased aortic root lesion size. However, this treatment changed the phenotype of the lesion to a more stable plaque. Because plaque stability is also important for protection against the deadly manifestations of atherosclerosis, combination therapies using Apo-AI mimetics and statin might offer a good additional therapy to treat autoimmunity and cardiovascular disease in patients with lupus.
Atherosclerosis is widely accepted as an inflammatory disease involving both innate and adaptive immunity. B cells and/or antibodies have previously been shown to play a protective role against atherosclerosis. Aside from their ability to bind to antigens, antibodies can influence inflammatory responses by interacting with various Fc? receptors on the surface of antigen presenting cells. Although studies in mice have determined that stimulatory Fc? receptors contribute to atherosclerosis, the role of the inhibitory Fc? receptor IIb (Fc?RIIb) has only recently been investigated.
In this study, we investigated whether dyslipidemia-associated perturbed invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell function is due to intrinsic changes in iNKT cells or defects in the ability of antigen-presenting cells to activate iNKT cells.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the production of autoantibodies against self-antigens such as double-stranded DNA and phospholipids. Classical comorbidities of SLE include glomerulonephritis, infection, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, skin disorders, and neurological disease. In addition to these classical comorbidities, there is emerging evidence that SLE patients are at higher risk of developing insulin resistance and other components of the metabolic syndrome. Visceral adipose tissue inflammation is a central mediator of insulin resistance in the obese setting, but the mechanism behind the pathogenesis of metabolic disease in the SLE patient population is unclear. We hypothesize that lupus-associated changes in the adaptive immune system are associated with disruption in glucose homeostasis in the context of SLE. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the metabolic and immunological phenotype of SLE-prone B6.SLE mice. B6.SLE mice fed a low-fat diet had significantly worsened glucose tolerance, increased adipose tissue insulin resistance, increased ?-cell insulin secretion, and increased adipocyte size compared with their respective B6 controls. Independently of diet, B cells isolated from the white adipose tissue of B6.SLE mice were skewed toward IgG production, and the level of IgG1 was elevated in the serum of SLE-prone mice. These data show that B6.SLE mice develop defects in glucose homeostasis even when fed a low-fat diet and suggest that B cells may play a role in this metabolic dysfunction.
Obesity triggers a low-grade systemic inflammation, which plays an important role in the development of obesity-associated metabolic diseases. In searching for links between lipid accumulation and chronic inflammation, we examined invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, a subset of T lymphocytes that react with lipids and regulate inflammatory responses. We show that iNKT cells respond to dietary lipid excess and become activated before or at the time of tissue recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes, and that these cells progressively increase proinflammatory cytokine production in obese mice. Such iNKT cells skew other leukocytes toward proinflammatory cytokine production and induce an imbalanced proinflammatory cytokine environment in multiple tissues. Further, iNKT cell deficiency ameliorates tissue inflammation and provides protection against obesity-induced insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. Conversely, chronic iNKT cell stimulation using a canonical iNKT cell agonist exacerbates tissue inflammation and obesity-associated metabolic disease. These findings place iNKT cells into the complex network linking lipid excess to inflammation in obesity and suggest new therapeutic avenues for obesity-associated metabolic disorders.
Structural diversity in the peptide binding sites of the redundant classical MHC antigen presenting molecules is strongly selected in humans and mice. Although the encoded antigen presenting molecules overlap in antigen presenting function, differences in polymorphism at the MHC I A, B and C loci in humans and higher primates indicate these loci are not functionally equivalent. The structural basis of these differences is not known. We hypothesize that classical class I loci differ in their ability to direct effective immunity against intracellular pathogens. Using a picornavirus infection model and chimeric H-2 transgenes, we examined locus specific functional determinants distinguishing the ability of class I sister genes to direct effective anti viral immunity. Whereas, parental FVB and transgenic FVB mice expressing the H-2K(b) gene are highly susceptible to persisting Theilers virus infection within the CNS and subsequent demyelination, mice expressing the D(b) transgene clear the virus and are protected from demyelination. Remarkably, animals expressing a chimeric transgene, comprised primarily of K(b) but encoding the peptide binding domain of D(b), develop a robust anti viral CTL response yet fail to clear virus and develop significant demyelination. Differences in expression of the chimeric K(b)?1?2D(b) gene (low) and D(b) (high) in the CNS of infected mice mirror expression levels of their endogenous H-2(q) counterparts in FVB mice. These findings demonstrate that locus specific elements other than those specifying peptide binding and T cell receptor interaction can determine ability to clear virus infection. This finding provides a basis for understanding locus-specific differences in MHC polymorphism, characterized best in human populations.
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