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2.  In Vivo Ablation of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Inhibits Autoimmunity through Expansion of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells 
Autoimmunity ensues upon breakdown of tolerance mechanism and priming of self-reactive T cells. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) constitute a unique cell subset that participates in the activation of autoreactive T cells but also has been shown to be critically involved in the induction of self-tolerance. However, their functional importance during the priming phase of an organ-specific autoimmune response remains unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that absence of pDCs during myelin antigenic challenge resulted in amelioration of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and reduced disease severity. This was accompanied by significantly decreased frequency of myelin-specific T cells in the draining lymph nodes and inhibition of Th1 and Th17 immune responses. Unexpectedly, in vivo ablation of pDCs increased myelopoiesis in the bone marrow and specifically induced the generation of CD11bhiGr1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Furthermore, we demonstrate that pDC depletion enhanced the mobilization of MDSCs in the spleen, and that sorted MDSCs could potently suppress CD4+ T cell responses in vitro. Importantly, pDC-depleted mice showed increased levels of MCP-1 in the draining lymph nodes, and in vivo administration of MCP-1 increased the frequency and absolute numbers of MDSCs in the periphery of treated mice. Together, our results reveal that absence of pDCs during the priming of an autoimmune response leads to increased mobilization of MDSCs in the periphery in an MCP-1–dependent manner and subsequent amelioration of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3586977  PMID: 23382560
3.  Osteopontin has a crucial role in allergic airway disease through regulation of dendritic cell subsets 
Nature medicine  2007;13(5):570-578.
Osteopontin (Opn) is important for T helper type 1 (TH1) immunity and autoimmunity. However, the role of this cytokine in TH2-mediated allergic disease as well as its effects on primary versus secondary antigenic encounters remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that OPN is expressed in the lungs of asthmatic individuals and that Opn-s, the secreted form of Opn, exerts opposing effects on mouse TH2 effector responses and subsequent allergic airway disease: pro-inflammatory at primary systemic sensitization, and anti-inflammatory during secondary pulmonary antigenic challenge. These effects of Opn-s are mainly mediated by the regulation of TH2-suppressing plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DCs) during primary sensitization and TH2-promoting conventional DCs during secondary antigenic challenge. Therapeutic administration of recombinant Opn during pulmonary secondary antigenic challenge decreased established TH2 responses and protected mice from allergic disease. These effects on TH2 allergic responses suggest that Opn-s is an important therapeutic target and provide new insight into its role in immunity.
PMCID: PMC3384679  PMID: 17435770
4.  Activin-A induces regulatory T cells that suppress T helper cell immune responses and protect from allergic airway disease 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(8):1769-1785.
Activin-A is a pleiotropic cytokine that participates in developmental, inflammatory, and tissue repair processes. Still, its effects on T helper (Th) cell–mediated immunity, critical for allergic and autoimmune diseases, are elusive. We provide evidence that endogenously produced activin-A suppresses antigen-specific Th2 responses and protects against airway hyperresponsiveness and allergic airway disease in mice. Importantly, we reveal that activin-A exerts suppressive function through induction of antigen-specific regulatory T cells that suppress Th2 responses in vitro and upon transfer in vivo. In fact, activin-A also suppresses Th1-driven responses, pointing to a broader immunoregulatory function. Blockade of interleukin 10 and transforming growth factor β1 reverses activin-A–induced suppression. Remarkably, transfer of activin-A–induced antigen-specific regulatory T cells confers protection against allergic airway disease. This beneficial effect is associated with dramatically decreased maturation of draining lymph node dendritic cells. Therapeutic administration of recombinant activin-A during pulmonary allergen challenge suppresses Th2 responses and protects from allergic disease. Finally, we demonstrate that immune cells infiltrating the lungs from individuals with active allergic asthma, and thus nonregulated inflammatory response, exhibit significantly decreased expression of activin-A's responsive elements. Our results uncover activin-A as a novel suppressive factor for Th immunity and a critical controller of allergic airway disease.
PMCID: PMC2722168  PMID: 19620629

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