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1.  T cell receptor bias and affinity define two compartments of the CD1b-glycolipid specific T cell repertoire 
Current views emphasize T cell receptor (TCR) diversity as a key feature that differentiates the group 1 (CD1a, CD1b, CD1c) and group 2 (CD1d) CD1 systems. Whereas TCR sequence motifs define CD1d-reactive NKT cells, the available data do not allow a TCR-based organization of the group 1 CD1 repertoire. The observed TCR diversity might result from donor to donor differences in TCR repertoire, as seen for MHC-restricted T cells. Alternatively, diversity might result from differing CD1 isoforms, antigens and methods used to identify TCRs. Using CD1b tetramers to isolate clones recognizing the same glycolipid, we identified a previously unknown pattern of variable (V) gene usage (TRAV17, TRBV4-1) among unrelated human subjects. These TCRs are distinct from those present on NKT cells and germline-encoded mycolyl lipid reactive (GEM) T cells. Instead, they resemble the TCR of LDN5, one of the first known CD1b-reactive clones that was previously thought to illustrate the diversity of the TCR repertoire. Interdonor TCR conservation was observed in vitro and ex vivo, identifying LDN5-like T cells as a distinct T cell type. These data support TCR-based organization of the CD1b repertoire, which consists of at least two compartments that differ in TCR sequence motifs, affinity, and co-receptor expression.
PMCID: PMC4019959  PMID: 24683194
2.  T cell recognition of naturally presented epitopes of self-heat shock protein 70 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2014;19(4):569-578.
Self-reactive T cells have shown to have a potential role as regulators of the immune system preventing or even suppressing autoimmunity. One of the most abundant proteins that can be eluted from human HLA molecules is heat shock protein 70 (HSP70). The aims of the current study are to identify HSP70 epitopes based on published HLA elution studies and to investigate whether T cells from healthy individuals may respond to such self-epitopes. A literature search and subsequent in silico binding prediction based on theoretical MHC binding motifs resulted in the identification of seven HSP70 epitopes. PBMCs of healthy controls proliferated after incubation with two of the seven peptides (H167 and H290). Furthermore H161, H290, and H443 induced CD69 expression or production of cytokines IFNγ or TNFα in healthy controls. The identification of these naturally presented epitopes and the response they elicit in the normal immune system make them potential candidates to study during inflammatory conditions as well as in autoimmune diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12192-013-0484-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4041940  PMID: 24425585
Heat shock protein 70; HSP70; Naturally processed T cell epitopes; Human HSP70 peptides; Autoreactive T cells
5.  Autologous stem cell transplantation restores immune tolerance in experimental arthritis by renewal and modulation of the T effector compartment 
Autologous stem cell transplantation (aSCT) induces long-term drug free disease remission in patient with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This study was undertaken to further unravel the immunological mechanism underlying aSCT by using a mouse model of proteoglycan (PG)- induced arthritis (PGIA).
PGIA was induced in BALB/c mice by two intraperitoneal injections of human proteoglycan in a synthetic adjuvant on days 0 and 21. Five weeks after the first immunization, mice received 7.5 Gy total body irradiation and (un)manipulated bone marrow grafts of PGIA mice. Clinical scores, T cell reconstitution, (antigen-specific) T cell cytokine production and intracellular cytokine expression were determined following autologous bone marrow transplantation.
Autologous bone marrow transplantation (aBMT) induced amelioration and stabilisation of arthritis scores. Bone marrow containing T cells gave the same clinical benefit as T cell depleted grafts, with similar reduction in PG-induced T cell proliferation and PG-specific autoantibodies. In vivo re-exposure to PG did not result in disease exacerbation. Following aBMT, basal levels of disease associated pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFNγ, IL-17 and TNFα) were reduced. In addition, T cell re-stimulation with the disease antigen showed a strong reduction in disease-associated pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Finally, while remaining host T cells displayed a pro-inflammatory phenotype following aBMT, IFNγ, IL-17 and TNFα cytokine production by the newly reconstituted donor derived T cells was significantly lower.
Together our data suggest that aBMT restores immune tolerance by renewal and modulation of the T effector compartment, leading to a strong reduction in pro-inflammatory (self antigen-specific) T cell cytokine production.
PMCID: PMC4131556  PMID: 24504807
6.  Interleukin-7 and Toll-Like Receptor 7 Induce Synergistic B Cell and T Cell Activation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94756.
To investigate the potential synergy of IL-7-driven T cell-dependent and TLR7-mediated B cell activation and to assess the additive effects of monocyte/macrophages in this respect.
Isolated CD19 B cells and CD4 T cells from healthy donors were co-cultured with TLR7 agonist (TLR7A, Gardiquimod), IL-7, or their combination with or without CD14 monocytes/macrophages (T/B/mono; 1 : 1 : 0,1). Proliferation was measured using 3H-thymidine incorporation and Ki67 expression. Activation marker (CD19, HLA-DR, CD25) expression was measured by FACS analysis. Immunoglobulins were measured by ELISA and release of cytokines was measured by Luminex assay.
TLR7-induced B cell activation was not associated with T cell activation. IL-7-induced T cell activation alone and together with TLR7A synergistically increased numbers of both proliferating (Ki67+) B cells and T cells, which was further increased in the presence of monocytes/macrophages. This was associated by up regulation of activation markers on B cells and T cells. Additive or synergistic induction of production of immunoglobulins by TLR7 and IL-7 was associated by synergistic induction of T cell cytokines (IFNγ, IL-17A, IL-22), which was only evident in the presence of monocytes/macrophages.
IL-7-induced CD4 T cell activation and TLR7-induced B cell activation synergistically induce T helper cell cytokine and B cell immunoglobulin production, which is critically dependent on monocytes/macrophages. Our results indicate that previously described increased expression of IL-7 and TLR7 together with increased numbers of macrophages at sites of inflammation in autoimmune diseases like RA and pSS significantly contributes to enhanced lymphocyte activation.
PMCID: PMC3989236  PMID: 24740301
7.  A conserved human T cell population targets mycobacterial antigens presented by CD1b 
Nature immunology  2013;14(7):10.1038/ni.2630.
T cell receptors (TCRs) pair in millions of combinations to create complex and personally unique T cell repertoires. Using tetramers to analyze CD1b-reactive TCRs, we detected T cells with highly stereotyped TCR α chains present among genetically unrelated tuberculosis patients. These germline-encoded mycolyl-reactive (GEM) T cells were defined by CD4 expression and rearrangement of TRAV1-2 to TRAJ9 with few N-region additions. TCR analysis by high throughput sequencing, binding and crystallography showed linkage of TCR α sequence motifs to high affinity antigen recognition. Thus, the CD1-reactive TCR repertoire is composed of at least two compartments, high affinity GEM TCRs and more diverse TCRs with low affinity for CD1b-lipid complexes. These data demonstrate high inter-donor conservation of TCRs, which likely results from selection by a non-polymorphic antigen presenting molecule and an immunodominant antigen.
PMCID: PMC3723453  PMID: 23727893
8.  Plasma IL-25 is elevated in a subgroup of patients with clinical reactivity to peanut 
One of the IL-17 family members, IL-25, has been implicated with the initiation and amplification of Th2 responses in animal models and has been associated with airway hyper-reactivity. The involvement of IL-25 and also IL-17 in food allergic disease remains to be investigated.
In this study thirty children suspected of peanut allergic disease underwent a double-blind placebo controlled food challenge (DBPCFC) and IL-25 and IL-17 plasma levels were determined before and after challenge. IL-25 was highly elevated only in subgroup of children with a positive DBPCFC outcome. Plasma IL-25 was absent in children with a negative DBPCFC outcome and in healthy controls.
This study shows that IL-25, an IL-17 family member, is highly elevated only in children with a clinical response to peanut. This suggests a role for IL-25 in the pathogenesis of peanut allergy and elevated plasma IL-25 may be a sign of a severe atopic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4176502  PMID: 24295226
DBPCFC; IL-17 family; IL-25; Peanut allergy
9.  Intra-articular CD1c-expressing myeloid dendritic cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients express a unique set of T cell-attracting chemokines and spontaneously induce Th1, Th17 and Th2 cell activity 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R155.
Myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) are potent T cell-activating antigen-presenting cells that have been suggested to play a crucial role in the regulation of immune responses in many disease states, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Despite this, studies that have reported on the capacity of naturally occurring circulating mDCs to regulate T cell activation in RA are still lacking. This study aimed to evaluate the phenotypic and functional properties of naturally occurring CD1c (BDCA-1)+ mDCs from synovial fluid (SF) compared to those from peripheral blood (PB) of RA patients.
CD1c+ mDC numbers and expression of costimulatory molecules were assessed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis in SF and PB from RA patients. Ex vivo secretion of 45 inflammatory mediators by mDCs from SF and PB of RA patients was determined by multiplex immunoassay. The capacity of mDCs from SF to activate autologous CD4+ T cells was measured.
CD1c+ mDC numbers were significantly increased in SF versus PB of RA patients (mean 4.7% vs. 0.6%). mDCs from SF showed increased expression of antigen-presenting (human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II, CD1c) and costimulatory molecules (CD80, CD86 and CD40). Numerous cytokines were equally abundantly produced by mDCs from both PB and SF (including IL-12, IL-23, IL-13, IL-21). SF mDCs secreted higher levels of interferon γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10), monokine induced by interferon γ (MIG) and, thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), but lower macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) levels compared to mDCs from PB. mDCs from SF displayed a strongly increased capacity to induce proliferation of CD4+ T cells associated with a strongly augmented IFNγ, IL-17, and IL-4 production.
This study suggests that increased numbers of CD1c+ mDCs in SF are involved in the inflammatory cascade intra-articularly by the secretion of specific T cell-attracting chemokines and the activation of self-reactive T cells.
PMCID: PMC3979121  PMID: 24286358
10.  Recognition of self-heat shock protein 60 by T cells from patients with atopic dermatitis 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2012;18(1):87-95.
Heat shock protein 60 (hsp60) is a highly conserved stress protein and target of self-reactive T cells in various inflammatory diseases. Not much is known about a possible role in atopic disease. As atopic diseases are considered to be the result of a disturbance in the balance between T helper cells type 2 and regulatory T cells, it is of interest to know whether hsp60 acts as a bystander antigen in atopic disease. Our aim was to investigate whether hsp60 is involved in the chronicity of inflammation of atopic dermatitis (AD). We studied the expression of hsp60 in skin tissue of adults with AD by immunohistochemistry. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of children with AD were cultured with hsp60 and proliferative responses, cytokine secretion, surface markers, and functional assays were compared to responses of PBMC of healthy controls (HC). Hsp60 was detected more in lesional skin of AD patients compared to nonlesional skin. Furthermore, PBMC of children with AD proliferated more strongly in response to hsp60 compared to HC. hsp60-reactive T cells of atopic children produced high levels of IFNγ and low levels of IL-10. In vitro activation with hsp60 leads to the induction of CD4+CD25bright T cells expressing FOXP3 in both HC as well as in atopic children. However, despite their regulatory phenotype, hsp60-induced CD4+CD25brightCD127−FOXP3+ T cells of AD patients were incapable of suppressing effector T cells in vitro. hsp60 is recognized by proinflammatory (IFNγ high, IL-10 low) T cells in atopic patients and is more present in lesional AD skin. This suggests that hsp60-specific T cell responses contribute to local inflammation in AD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12192-012-0361-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3508125  PMID: 22869467
Atopy; Atopic dermatitis; Regulatory T cells; Human heat shock protein 60
11.  Biomarkers in Inflammatory Childhood Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:745493.
PMCID: PMC3691901  PMID: 23840098
13.  Protein expression profiling of inflammatory mediators in human temporal lobe epilepsy reveals co-activation of multiple chemokines and cytokines 
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is a chronic and often treatment-refractory brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures originating from the hippocampus. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying mTLE remain largely unknown. Recent clinical and experimental evidence supports a role of various inflammatory mediators in mTLE. Here, we performed protein expression profiling of 40 inflammatory mediators in surgical resection material from mTLE patients with and without hippocampal sclerosis, and autopsy controls using a multiplex bead-based immunoassay. In mTLE patients we identified 21 upregulated inflammatory mediators, including 10 cytokines and 7 chemokines. Many of these upregulated mediators have not previously been implicated in mTLE (for example, CCL22, IL-7 and IL-25). Comparing the three patient groups, two main hippocampal expression patterns could be distinguished, pattern I (for example, IL-10 and IL-25) showing increased expression in mTLE + HS patients compared to mTLE-HS and controls, and pattern II (for example, CCL4 and IL-7) showing increased expression in both mTLE groups compared to controls. Upregulation of a subset of inflammatory mediators (for example, IL-25 and IL-7) could not only be detected in the hippocampus of mTLE patients, but also in the neocortex. Principle component analysis was used to cluster the inflammatory mediators into several components. Follow-up analyses of the identified components revealed that the three patient groups could be discriminated based on their unique expression profiles. Immunocytochemistry showed that IL-25 IR (pattern I) and CCL4 IR (pattern II) were localized in astrocytes and microglia, whereas IL-25 IR was also detected in neurons. Our data shows co-activation of multiple inflammatory mediators in hippocampus and neocortex of mTLE patients, indicating activation of multiple pro- and anti-epileptogenic immune pathways in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3489559  PMID: 22935090
Temporal lobe epilepsy; Immune system; Network analysis
14.  Genome-wide microRNA profiling of human temporal lobe epilepsy identifies modulators of the immune response 
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences  2012;69(18):3127-3145.
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying mTLE may involve defects in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that control the expression of genes at the post-transcriptional level. Here, we performed a genome-wide miRNA profiling study to examine whether miRNA-mediated mechanisms are affected in human mTLE. miRNA profiles of the hippocampus of autopsy control patients and two mTLE patient groups were compared. This revealed segregated miRNA signatures for the three different patient groups and 165 miRNAs with up- or down-regulated expression in mTLE. miRNA in situ hybridization detected cell type-specific changes in miRNA expression and an abnormal nuclear localization of select miRNAs in neurons and glial cells of mTLE patients. Of several cellular processes implicated in mTLE, the immune response was most prominently targeted by deregulated miRNAs. Enhanced expression of inflammatory mediators was paralleled by a reduction in miRNAs that were found to target the 3′-untranslated regions of these genes in reporter assays. miR-221 and miR-222 were shown to regulate endogenous ICAM1 expression and were selectively co-expressed with ICAM1 in astrocytes in mTLE patients. Our findings suggest that miRNA changes in mTLE affect the expression of immunomodulatory proteins thereby further facilitating the immune response. This mechanism may have broad implications given the central role of astrocytes and the immune system in human neurological disease. Overall, this work extends the current concepts of human mTLE pathogenesis to the level of miRNA-mediated gene regulation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-012-0992-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3428527  PMID: 22535415
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy; Nuclear localization; Immune regulation; Immune system; MicroRNA; RNA profiling; Temporal lobe epilepsy
15.  Cord Blood CD4+ T Cells Respond to Self Heat Shock Protein 60 (HSP60) 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24119.
To prevent harmful autoimmunity most immune responses to self proteins are controlled by central and peripheral tolerance. T cells specific for a limited set of self-proteins such as human heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) may contribute to peripheral tolerance. It is not known whether HSP60-specific T cells are present at birth and thus may play a role in neonatal tolerance. We studied whether self-HSP60 reactive T cells are present in cord blood, and if so, what phenotype these cells have.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMC) of healthy, full term neonates (n = 21), were cultured with HSP60 and Tetanus Toxoid (TT) to study antigen specific proliferation, cytokine secretion and up-regulation of surface markers. The functional capacity of HSP60-induced T cells was determined with in vitro suppression assays. Stimulation of CBMC with HSP60 led to CD4+ T cell proliferation and the production of various cytokines, most notably IL-10, Interferon-gamma, and IL-6. HSP60-induced T cells expressed FOXP3 and suppressed effector T cell responses in vitro.
Self-reactive HSP60 specific T cells are already present at birth. Upon stimulation with self-HSP60 these cells proliferate, produce cytokines and express FOXP3. These cells function as suppressor cells in vitro and thus they may be involved in the regulation of neonatal immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3172234  PMID: 21931651
17.  Interleukin and Growth Factor Levels in Subretinal Fluid in Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19141.
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is a major cause of visual loss in developed countries. Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), an eye-sight threatening complication of RRD surgery, resembles a wound-healing process with inflammation, scar tissue formation, and membrane contraction. This study was performed to determine the possible involvement of a wide range of cytokines in the future development of PVR, and to identify predictors of PVR and visual outcome.
A multiplex immunoassay was used for the simultaneous detection of 29 different cytokines in subretinal fluid samples from patients with primary RRD. Of 306 samples that were collected and stored in our BioBank between 2001 and 2008, 21 samples from patients who developed postoperative PVR were compared with 54 age-, sex-, and storage-time–matched RRD control patients who had an uncomplicated postoperative course during the overall follow-up period.
Levels of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-3, IL-6, VEGF, and ICAM-1 were significantly higher (P<0.05) in patients who developed postoperative PVR after reattachment surgery than in patients with an uncomplicated postoperative course, whereas levels of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-9, IL-10, IL-11, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-18, IL-21, IL-22, IL-23, IL-25, IL-33, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IGF-1, bFGF, HGF, and NGF were not (P>0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that IL-3 (P = 0.001), IL-6 (P = 0.047), ICAM-1 (P = 0.010), and preoperative visual acuity (P = 0.026) were independent predictors of postoperative PVR. Linear regression analysis showed that ICAM-1 (P = 0.005) and preoperative logMAR visual acuity (P = 0.001) were predictive of final visual outcome after primary RRD repair.
Our findings indicate that after RRD onset an exaggerated response of certain cytokines may predispose to PVR. Sampling at a time close to the onset of primary RRD may thus provide clues as to which biological events may initiate the development of PVR and, most importantly, may provide a means for therapeutic control.
PMCID: PMC3083411  PMID: 21556354
18.  Blood and synovial fluid cytokine signatures in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a cross‐sectional study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(5):589-598.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) consists of a heterogeneous group of disorders with, for the most part, an unknown immunopathogenesis. Although onset and disease course differ, the subtypes of JIA share the occurrence of chronic inflammation of the joints, with infiltrations of immunocompetent cells that secrete inflammatory mediators.
To identify a panel of cytokines specifically related to the inflammatory process in JIA.
Using a new technology, the multiplex immunoassay, 30 cytokines were measured in plasma of 65 patients with JIA , of which 34 were paired with synovial fluid. These data were compared with plasma of 20 healthy controls and 9 patients with type I diabetes, a chronic inflammatory disease.
Patients with JIA had, irrespective of their subclassification, significantly higher levels of tumour necrosis factor α, macrophage inhibitory factor (MIF), CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, CCL22 and CXCL9 in plasma than controls. In paired plasma and synovial fluid samples of patients with JIA, significantly higher levels of interleukin (IL)6, IL15, CCL2, CCL3, CXCL8, CXCL9 and CXCL10 were present in synovial fluid. Cluster analysis in all patients with JIA revealed a predominant pro‐inflammatory cytokine cluster during active disease and a regulatory/anti‐inflammatory‐related cytokine cluster during remission. Whether a discrimination profile of various cytokines could help in the determination of disease classification was tested.
It is suggested that several cytokines (IL18, MIF, CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, CXCL9 and CXCL10) may correspond to the activation status during inflammation in JIA and could be instrumental in monitoring disease activity and outcomes of (new) immunotherapies.
PMCID: PMC1954617  PMID: 17170049
19.  Human Regulatory T Cell Suppressive Function Is Independent of Apoptosis Induction in Activated Effector T Cells 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e7183.
CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ Regulatory T cells (Treg) play a central role in the immune balance to prevent autoimmune disease. One outstanding question is how Tregs suppress effector immune responses in human. Experiments in mice demonstrated that Treg restrict effector T cell (Teff) responses by deprivation of the growth factor IL-2 through Treg consumption, resulting in apoptosis of Teff.
Principal Findings
In this study we investigated the relevance of Teff apoptosis induction to human Treg function. To this end, we studied naturally occurring Treg (nTreg) from peripheral blood of healthy donors, and, to investigate Treg function in inflammation in vivo, Treg from synovial fluid of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) patients (SF-Treg). Both nTreg and SF-Treg suppress Teff proliferation and cytokine production efficiently as predicted. However, in contrast with murine Treg, neither nTreg nor SF-Treg induce apoptosis in Teff. Furthermore, exogenously supplied IL-2 and IL-7 reverse suppression, but do not influence apoptosis of Teff.
Our functional data here support that Treg are excellent clinical targets to counteract autoimmune diseases. For optimal functional outcome in human clinical trials, future work should focus on the ability of Treg to suppress proliferation and cytokine production of Teff, rather than induction of Teff apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2746309  PMID: 19779623
20.  Prerequisites for cytokine measurements in clinical trials with multiplex immunoassays 
BMC Immunology  2009;10:52.
Growing knowledge about cellular interactions in the immune system, including the central role of cytokine networks, has lead to new treatments using monoclonal antibodies that block specific components of the immune system. Systemic cytokine concentrations can serve as surrogate outcome parameters of these interventions to study inflammatory pathways operative in patients in vivo. This is now possible due to novel technologies such as multiplex immunoassays (MIA) that allows detection of multiple cytokines in a single sample. However, apparently trivial underappreciated processes, (sample handling and storage, interference of endogenous plasma proteins) can greatly impact the reliability and reproducibility of cytokine detection.
Therefore we set out to investigate several processes that might impact cytokine profiles such as blood collecting tubes, duration of storage, and number of freeze thawing cycles.
Since under physiological conditions cytokine concentrations normally are low or undetectable we spiked cytokines in the various plasma and serum samples. Overall recoveries ranged between 80-120%. Long time storage showed cytokines are stable for a period up to 2 years of storage at -80°C. After 4 years several cytokines (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-10, IL-15 and CXCL8) degraded up to 75% or less of baseline values. Furthermore we show that only 2 out of 15 cytokines remained stable after several freeze-thawing cycles. We also demonstrate implementation of an internal control for multiplex cytokine immunoassays.
All together we show parameters which are essential for measurement of cytokines in the context of clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2761376  PMID: 19785746
21.  Novel self-epitopes derived from aggrecan, fibrillin, and matrix metalloproteinase-3 drive distinct autoreactive T-cell responses in juvenile idiopathic arthritis and in health 
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a heterogeneous autoimmune disease characterized by chronic joint inflammation. Knowing which antigens drive the autoreactive T-cell response in JIA is crucial for the understanding of disease pathogenesis and additionally may provide targets for antigen-specific immune therapy. In this study, we tested 9 self-peptides derived from joint-related autoantigens for T-cell recognition (T-cell proliferative responses and cytokine production) in 36 JIA patients and 15 healthy controls. Positive T-cell proliferative responses (stimulation index ≥2) to one or more peptides were detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 69% of JIA patients irrespective of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genotype. The peptides derived from aggrecan, fibrillin, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 yielded the highest frequency of T-cell proliferative responses in JIA patients. In both the oligoarticular and polyarticular subtypes of JIA, the aggrecan peptide induced T-cell proliferative responses that were inversely related with disease duration. The fibrillin peptide, to our knowledge, is the first identified autoantigen that is primarily recognized in polyarticular JIA patients. Finally, the epitope derived from MMP-3 elicited immune responses in both subtypes of JIA and in healthy controls. Cytokine production in short-term peptide-specific T-cell lines revealed production of interferon-γ (aggrecan/MMP-3) and interleukin (IL)-17 (aggrecan) and inhibition of IL-10 production (aggrecan). Here, we have identified a triplet of self-epitopes, each with distinct patterns of T-cell recognition in JIA patients. Additional experiments need to be performed to explore their qualities and role in disease pathogenesis in further detail.
PMCID: PMC1794523  PMID: 17129378
22.  Expression of the inflammatory chemokines CCL5, CCL3 and CXCL10 in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and demonstration of CCL5 production by an atypical subset of CD8+ T cells 
This study focuses upon three chemokines, namely CCL5, CXCL10 and CCL3, which are potential novel therapeutic targets in arthritis. The aim of the study was to analyse the expression and production of these three chemokines within the joints of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) of the oligoarticular and polyarticular subtypes. All three of these chemokines are highly expressed at the level of mRNA, with the most significant increase in mRNA levels being demonstrated for CCL5 when compared with matched peripheral blood samples and controls. We show that high levels of all three chemokines are present in synovial fluid of children with JIA. We investigate the major source of CCL5 from inflammatory synovial cells, which we show to be CD8+ T cells. This CD8+ synovial T cell population has an unexpected phenotype that has not been described previously, being CCR7- yet predominantly CD28+ and CD45RA-. These cells contain high levels of stored intracellular CCL5, and rapid release of CCL5 takes place on T cell stimulation, without requiring new protein synthesis. In addition, we demonstrate that CCL5 is present in synovial biopsies from these patients, in particular on the endothelium of small and medium sized vessels. We believe this to be the first in depth analysis of these mediators of inflammation in JIA.
PMCID: PMC1526593  PMID: 16507178
23.  Simultaneous Detection of 15 Human Cytokines in a Single Sample of Stimulated Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
Cytokines secreted by cells of the immune system can alter the behavior and properties of immune or other cells. At a site of inflammation, sets of cytokines interact with immune cells, and their combined effect is often more important than the function of one isolated component. Conventional techniques, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, generally require large quantities of cells to characterize a complete cytokine profile of activated lymphocytes. The Bio-Plex system from Bio-Rad Laboratories combines the principle of a sandwich immunoassay with the Luminex fluorescent-bead-based technology. We developed a multiplex cytokine assay to detect different cytokines simultaneously in culture supernatant of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with antigen and with mitogen. Fifteen human cytokines (interleukin 1α [IL-1α], IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-18, gamma interferon, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) were validated with a panel of healthy individuals, rheumatoid arthritis patients, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients. Comparing the multiplex assay with a regular enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique with this donor panel resulted in correlation coefficients for all cytokines ranging from 0.75 to 0.99. Intra-assay variance proved to be less then 10%, whereas interassay variability ranged between 10 and 22%. This multiplex system proved to be a powerful tool in the quantitation of cytokines. It will provide a more complete picture in differences between activated lymphocyte cytokine profiles from healthy individuals and those from patients with chronic inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC145264  PMID: 12522051

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