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CD200 is a type I transmembrane glycoprotein that can regulate the activation threshold of inflammatory immune responses, polarize cytokine production, and maintain immune homeostasis. We therefore evaluated the functional status of CD200/CD200 receptor 1 (CD200R1) interactions in subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Serum CD200 level was detected by ELISA. The expression of CD200/CD200R1 by CD4+ T cells and dendritic cells (DCs) was examined by flow cytometry, and then compared between SLE patients and healthy controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stained with carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester and annexin V/propidium iodide for evaluation of the effect of CD200 on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition, the effect of CD200 on DC function was determined by transwell migration assay as well as by measurement of binding and phagocytosis of apoptotic cells.
In SLE patients, the number of CD200+ cells and the level of soluble CD200 were significantly higher than in healthy controls, whereas the expression of CD200R1 by CD4+ T cells and DCs was decreased. Furthermore, the increased CD200 expression by early apoptotic cells contributed to their diminished binding and phagocytosis by DCs in SLE. Importantly, the engagement of CD200 receptor on CD4+ T cells with CD200-Fc fusion protein in vitro reduced the differentiation of T-helper type 17 cells and reversed the defective induction of CD4+CD25highFoxP3+ T cells by transforming growth factor beta in SLE patients. Conversely, blockade of CD200-CD200R1 interaction with anti-CD200R1 antibody promoted CD4+ T-cell proliferation.
CD200 and CD200R1 expression and function are abnormal in SLE and may contribute to the immunologic abnormalities in SLE.