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1.  Polymorphisms in the CD1d promoter that regulate CD1d gene expression are associated with impaired NKT cell development1 
CD1d-restricted NKT cells comprise an innate-like T cell population that exerts significant influence over early events in the developing immune response. The frequency of NKT cells is highly variable in humans and in mice, but the basis for this variability remains unclear. Here, we report a striking deficiency of Type I NKT cells in the wild-derived inbred strains, PWD/PhJ, SPRET/EiJ, and CAST/EiJ. Investigation of the underlying basis for the lack of Type I NKT cells revealed that one strain, PWD/PhJ, exhibited a significant impairment in thymocyte and splenocyte CD1d gene and protein expression. Accordingly, both thymocytes and BMDCs from PWD mice exhibited a significant impairment in the ability to present α-galactosylceramide to NKT cells. The impaired PWD CD1d gene expression was due to impaired CD1d promoter activity. Fine-mapping of the promoter activity revealed that two single nucleotide substitutions at positions -331 and -164 in the proximal promoter were each sufficient to account for the diminished PWD CD1d promoter activity. Examination of the strain distribution pattern of these polymorphisms revealed that, of 19 strains analyzed, only PWD and PWK mice possessed both CD1d promoter polymorphisms. A subsequent examination of the PWK strain revealed that it also exhibited impaired thymocyte CD1d expression and very low numbers of NKT cells. Taken together, these results provide new insight into the control of CD1d gene expression, and have implications for the evolution of CD1d and Type I NKT cells.
PMCID: PMC3903119  PMID: 24307737
2.  Sex-specific control of CNS autoimmunity by p38 MAPK signaling in myeloid cells 
Annals of neurology  2014;75(1):50-66.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), characterized by a global increasing incidence driven by relapsing-remitting disease in females. p38 MAP kinase (MAPK) has been described as a key regulator of inflammatory responses in autoimmunity, but its role in the sexual dimorphism in MS or MS models remains unexplored.
Toward this end, we used experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the principal animal model of MS, combined with pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of p38 MAPK activity and transcriptomic analyses.
Pharmacologic inhibition of p38 MAPK selectively ameliorated EAE in female mice. Conditional deletion studies demonstrated that p38α signaling in macrophages/myeloid cells, but not T cells or dendritic cells, recapitulated this sexual dimorphism. Analysis of CNS inflammatory infiltrates showed that female, but not male mice lacking p38α in myeloid cells exhibited reduced immune cell activation compared with controls, while peripheral T cell priming was unaffected in both sexes. Transcriptomic analyses of myeloid cells revealed differences in p38α-controlled transcripts comprising female- and male-specific gene modules, with greater p38α dependence of pro-inflammatory gene expression in females.
Our findings demonstrate a key role for p38α in myeloid cells in CNS autoimmunity and uncover important molecular mechanisms underlying sex differences in disease pathogenesis. Taken together, our results suggest that the p38 MAPK signaling pathway represents a novel target for much needed disease modifying therapies for MS.
PMCID: PMC3945470  PMID: 24027119
3.  Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Inhibit Th2-Mediated Allergic Airways Inflammation in Mice 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2011;29(7):1137-1148.
Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) mitigate inflammation in mouse models of acute lung injury. However, specific mechanisms of BMSC actions on CD4 T lymphocyte-mediated inflammation in vivo remain poorly understood. Limited data suggests promotion of Th2 phenotype in models of Th1-mediated diseases. However whether this might alleviate or worsen Th2-mediated diseases such as allergic asthma is unknown. To ascertain the effects of systemic administration of BMSCs in a mouse model of Th2-mediated allergic airways inflammation, ovalbumin-induced allergic airways inflammation was induced in wild type C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice as well as in IFNγ receptor null mice. Effects of systemic administration during antigen sensitization of either syngeneic or allogeneic BMSC on airways hyper-reactivity, lung inflammation, antigen-specific CD4 T lymphocytes, and serum immunoglobulins were assessed. Both syngeneic and allogeneic BMSCs inhibited airways hyper-reactivity and lung inflammation through a mechanism partly dependent on IFNγ. However, contrary to existing data, BMSCs did not affect antigen-specific CD4 T lymphocyte proliferation but rather promoted Th1 phenotype in vivo as assessed by both ova-specific CD4 T lymphocyte cytokine production and ova-specific circulating immunoglobulins. BMSCs treated to prevent release of soluble mediators and a control cell population of primary dermal skin fibroblasts only partly mimicked the BMSC effects and in some cases worsened inflammation. In conclusion, BMSCs inhibit Th2-mediated allergic airways inflammation by influencing antigen-specific CD4 T lymphocyte differentiation. Promotion of a Th1 phenotype in antigen-specific CD4 T lymphocytes by BMSCs is sufficient to inhibit Th2-mediated allergic airways inflammation through an IFNγ-dependent process.
PMCID: PMC4201366  PMID: 21544902
mesenchymal stromal cell; allergic airways disease; CD4 lymphocyte
4.  Threonyl-tRNA synthetase overexpression correlates with angiogenic markers and progression of human ovarian cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):620.
Ovarian tumors create a dynamic microenvironment that promotes angiogenesis and reduces immune responses. Our research has revealed that threonyl-tRNA synthetase (TARS) has an extracellular angiogenic activity separate from its function in protein synthesis. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that TARS expression in clinical samples correlates with angiogenic markers and ovarian cancer progression.
Protein and mRNA databases were explored to correlate TARS expression with ovarian cancer. Serial sections of paraffin embedded ovarian tissues from 70 patients diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer and 12 control patients were assessed for expression of TARS, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and PECAM using immunohistochemistry. TARS secretion from SK-OV-3 human ovarian cancer cells was measured. Serum samples from 31 tissue-matched patients were analyzed by ELISA for TARS, CA-125, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).
There was a strong association between the tumor expression of TARS and advancing stage of epithelial ovarian cancer (p < 0.001). TARS expression and localization were also correlated with VEGF (p < 0.001). A significant proportion of samples included heavy TARS staining of infiltrating leukocytes which also correlated with stage (p = 0.017). TARS was secreted by ovarian cancer cells, and patient serum TARS was related to tumor TARS and angiogenic markers, but did not achieve significance with respect to stage. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models revealed a surprising inverse relationship between TARS expression and mortality risk in late stage disease (p = 0.062).
TARS expression is increased in epithelial ovarian cancer and correlates with markers of angiogenic progression. These findings and the association of TARS with disease survival provide clinical validation that TARS is associated with angiogenesis in ovarian cancer. These results encourage further study of TARS as a regulator of the tumor microenvironment and possible target for diagnosis and/or treatment in ovarian cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-620) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4155084  PMID: 25163878
Tumor microenvironment; Angiogenesis; tRNA synthetase; Serous papillary ovarian cancer; Database analysis; Multivariate Cox analysis
5.  Acute Inflammation induced by the biopsy of mouse mammary tumors promotes the development of metastasis 
Development of metastasis in peripheral tissues is a major problem in the fight to cure breast cancer. Although it is becoming evident that chronic inflammation can contribute to tumor progression and metastasis, the effect of acute inflammation in primary tumor is less known. Using mouse models for breast cancer here we show that biopsy of mammary tumors increases the frequency of lung metastases. This effect is associated with the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the lung and elevated levels of certain cytokines such as IL-6 in the lung airways. Antiinflammatory treatment prior to and after the biopsy reduces the development of metastases triggered by the biopsy. In addition, while lack of IL-6 does not affect primary tumor development, it protects from increasing number of metastases upon biopsy. Thus, our studies show that in addition to chronic inflammation, acute immune response caused by invasive procedures in the primary tumor may cause an increased risk on peripheral metastases, but the risk could be decreased by anti-inflammatory treatments.
PMCID: PMC4038002  PMID: 23715631
6.  The Emerging Role of p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase in Multiple Sclerosis and Its Models 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(19):3728-3734.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common disabling neurologic disease of young adults, is considered a classical T cell-mediated disease and is characterized by demyelination, axonal damage, and progressive neurological dysfunction. The currently available disease-modifying therapies are limited in their efficacy, and improved understanding of new pathways contributing to disease pathogenesis could reveal additional novel therapeutic targets. The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is known to be triggered by stress stimuli and to contribute to inflammatory responses. Importantly, a number of recent studies have identified this signaling pathway as a central player in MS and its principal animal model, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Here, we review the evidence from mouse and human studies supporting the role of p38 MAPK in regulating key immunopathogenic mechanisms underlying autoimmune inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and the potential of targeting this pathway as a disease-modifying therapy in MS.
PMCID: PMC3811866  PMID: 23897428
7.  MCJ/DnaJC15, an Endogenous Mitochondrial Repressor of the Respiratory Chain That Controls Metabolic Alterations 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(11):2302-2314.
Mitochondria are the main engine that generates ATP through oxidative phosphorylation within the respiratory chain. Mitochondrial respiration is regulated according to the metabolic needs of cells and can be modulated in response to metabolic changes. Little is known about the mechanisms that regulate this process. Here, we identify MCJ/DnaJC15 as a distinct cochaperone that localizes at the mitochondrial inner membrane, where it interacts preferentially with complex I of the electron transfer chain. We show that MCJ impairs the formation of supercomplexes and functions as a negative regulator of the respiratory chain. The loss of MCJ leads to increased complex I activity, mitochondrial membrane potential, and ATP production. Although MCJ is dispensable for mitochondrial function under normal physiological conditions, MCJ deficiency affects the pathophysiology resulting from metabolic alterations. Thus, enhanced mitochondrial respiration in the absence of MCJ prevents the pathological accumulation of lipids in the liver in response to both fasting and a high-cholesterol diet. Impaired expression or loss of MCJ expression may therefore result in a “rapid” metabolism that mitigates the consequences of metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3648061  PMID: 23530063
8.  Inflammatory Cytokines Overcome Age-Related Defects in CD4 T Cell Responses In Vivo1 
Age-related decreases in immune function are thought to contribute to the reduced efficacy of vaccinations seen in elderly populations. Our previous in vitro studies demonstrated that naive CD4 T cells from aged TCR-transgenic mice proliferate less than young cells and generate poorly functioning effectors due to decreased IL-2 production. In this current study, we show that this age-related defect in CD4 T cell response also occurs in vivo and that it is correlated with reduced NF-κB activation. After transfer to young hosts, CD4 T cells from aged transgenic mice proliferate less and produce reduced levels of IL-2 upon immunization with Ag and alum. Introducing a combination of the inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1, and IL-6, or the use of an adjuvant such as CFA that induces these cytokines, markedly enhanced responses of these aged CD4 T cells, so that they proliferated and produced IL-2 similar to young cells. This enhancement is correlated with the enhanced activation of the transcription factor NF-κB in aged cells. We suggest that induction of inflammatory cytokines via adjuvants may enhance the efficacy of vaccinations in elderly populations.
PMCID: PMC3752606  PMID: 15100256
9.  Translational control of NKT cell cytokine production by p38 MAP kinase 
NKT cells are known to rapidly produce a large amount of cytokines upon activation. Although a number of signaling pathways that regulate the development of NKT cells have been identified, the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of NKT cell cytokine production remain unclear. Here we show that the p38 MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway is dispensable for the development of NKT cells. However, NKT cell cytokine production and NKT-mediated liver damage are highly dependent on activation of this pathway. p38 MAPK does not substantially affect cytokine gene expression in NKT cells, but it regulates the synthesis of cytokine through the Mnk/eIF4E pathway. Thus, in addition to gene expression, translational regulation by p38 MAPK could be a novel mechanism that contributes to the overall production of cytokine by NKT cells.
PMCID: PMC3697841  PMID: 21368234
10.  IL-21R Expression on CD8+T Cells Promotes CD8+ T cell Activation in Coxsackievirus B3 Induced Myocarditis 
IL-21 is a multi-functional cytokine which can promote survival, proliferation and activation of T and B lymphocytes including CD8 T cells. Previous studies have shown that autoimmune CD8+ T cells are the primary pathogenic effector cell in coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) induced myocarditis in C57Bl/6 mice. To evaluate the role of IL-21 in promoting CD8+ T cell mediated cardiac injury in myocarditis, C57Bl/6 and IL-21RKO mice were infected with CVB3. IL-21RKO mice developed significantly less myocarditis than C57Bl/6 animals although cardiac virus titers were equivalent between the mouse strains. Numbers of CD8+IFNγ+ cells were decreased in IL-21RKO mice but numbers of either CD4+IFNγ+ or CD4+IL-4+ cells were not significantly different from C57Bl/6 animals indicating a selective effect of IL-21 signaling on the CD8+ T cell response. To confirm that IL-21 signaling exclusively functions at the level of the CD8+ T cell in CVB3 induced myocarditis, purified CD8+ cells were isolated from either C57Bl/6 or IL-21RKO donors and adoptively transferred into CD8KO recipients prior to CVB3 infection. CD8KO recipients given either C57Bl/6 or IL-21RKO CD8+ cells showed equivalent reconstitution of the CD8+ cells in the spleen but the recipients given C57Bl/6 CD8+ cells showed significantly greater myocarditis than recipients of IL-21RKO CD8+ cells. These data demonstrate that IL-21 signaling directly in the CD8+ cell population is required for CVB3-induced myocarditis.
PMCID: PMC3354021  PMID: 22465422
coxsackievirus B3; myocarditis; IL-21R; CD8 T cells; autoimmunity
11.  Interleukin-6 Receptor Blockade Selectively Reduces IL-21 Production by CD4 T Cells and IgG4 Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels are known to be increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody to the IL-6 receptor (IL-6R), reduces disease activity in RA, although its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Since IL-6 regulates cytokine production by CD4 T cells during activation, we investigated whether treatment with tocilizumab altered the phenotype and cytokine production by CD4 T cells in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We show here that tocilizumab treatment does not change the production of cytokines by naïve CD4 T cells. However, tocilizumab treatment causes a selective decrease of IL-21 production by memory/activated CD4 T cells. Since IL-21 is known to promote plasma cell differentiation, we examined the effect of tocilizumab on the production of autoantibodies. We show that there is a decrease in the levels of IgG4 anti-CCP antibodies, but there is no effect on IgG1 anti-CCP antibodies. In addition, we show that IL-21 is a powerful inducer of IgG4 production by B cells. Thus, IL-6 contributes to the presence of IgG4-specific anti-CCP autoantibodies in RA patients, likely through its effect on IL-21 production by CD4 T cells, and IL-6R blockade down-regulates this pathway.
PMCID: PMC3596713  PMID: 23493630
Interleukin-6; IL-6; IL-21; CD4 T; rheumatoid arthritis; IgG4; auti-CCP; tocilizumab
12.  Fungal Allergen β-Glucans Trigger p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase–Mediated IL-6 Translation in Lung Epithelial Cells 
In addition to immune cells, airway epithelial cells can contribute to and shape the immune response in the lung by secreting specific cytokines. IL-6 is a key factor in determining the effector fate of CD4+ T cells. Here we show that under basal conditions, the IL-6 gene is already highly expressed in lung epithelial cells, but not in immune cells resident in the lung. However, upon exposure of the lungs to fungal allergens, the direct contact of β-glucans present in the fungus cell wall with lung epithelial cells is sufficient to trigger the rapid synthesis and secretion of IL-6 protein. This posttranscriptional regulation of IL-6 in response to fungal extracts is mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. The inhalation of β-glucans with a nonallergenic antigen is sufficient to provide an adjuvant effect that leads to mucous hyperplasia in the airways. Thus, β-glucans may constitute a common determinant of the fungal and plant-derived allergens responsible for some of the pathological features in allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC3262672  PMID: 21642586
IL-6; p38 MAPK; lung epithelial cells; fungal allergens; β-glucans; asthma
13.  Essential role of IL-6 in protection against H1N1 influenza virus by promoting neutrophil survival in the lung 
Mucosal immunology  2012;5(3):258-266.
Influenza virus infection is considered a major worldwide public health problem. Seasonal infections with the most common influenza virus strains (e.g. H1N1) can usually be resolved, but they still cause a high rate of mortality. The factors that influence the outcome of the infection remain unclear. Here we show that deficiency of IL-6 or IL-6 receptor is sufficient for normally sublethal doses of H1N1 influenza A virus to cause death in mice. IL-6 is necessary for the resolution of influenza infection by protecting neutrophils from virus-induced death in the lung and by promoting neutrophil-mediated viral clearance. Loss of IL-6 results in persistence of influenza virus in the lung leading to pronounced lung damage and, ultimately, death. Thus, we demonstrate that IL-6 is a vital innate immune cytokine in providing protection against influenza A infection. Genetic or environmental factors that impair IL-6 production or signalling could increase mortality to influenza virus infection.
PMCID: PMC3328598  PMID: 22294047
14.  Selective Accumulation of Th2-skewing Immature Erythroid Cells in Developing Neonatal Mouse Spleen 
Environmental factors likely regulate neonatal immunity and self-tolerance. However, evidence that the neonatal immune system is suppressed or deviated is varied depending on the antigen and the timing of antigen exposure relative to birth. These disparate findings may be related to the availability of the appropriate antigen presenting cells but also point to the possibility of homeostatic changes in non-lymphoid cells in the relevant lymphoid tissues. Here we show that, while leukocytes are the most abundant cell population present in spleen during the first 4-5 days after birth, a massive accumulation of nucleated immature erythroid population in the spleen takes places on day 6 after birth. Although the relative frequency of these immature erythorid cells slowly decreases during the development of neonates, they remain one of the most predominant populations up to three weeks of age. Importantly, we show that the immature erythroid cells from neonate spleen have the capacity to modulate the differentiation of CD4 T cells into effector cells and provide a bias towards a Th2 type instead of Th1 type. These nucleated erythroid cells can produce cytokines that participate in the Th2/Th1 balance, an important one being IL-6. Thus, the selective accumulation of immature erythroid cells in the spleen during a specific period of neonatal development may explain the apparent differences observed in the type(s) of immune responses generated in infants and neonates. These findings are potentially relevant to the better management of immune deficiency in and to the design of vaccination strategies for the young.
PMCID: PMC3371569  PMID: 22701342
Neonatal immunity; erythrocytes; T lymphocytes.
15.  Special issue on Interleukin-6 (IL-6) 
PMCID: PMC3491445  PMID: 23136550
16.  Role of IL-6 in Asthma and Other Inflammatory Pulmonary Diseases 
The incidence and severity of chronic lung diseases is growing and affects between 100 and 150 million people worldwide and is associated with a significant rate of mortality. Unfortunately, the initial cause that triggers most chronic lung diseases remains unknown and current available therapies only ameliorate, but do not cure the disease. Thus, there is a need for identification of new targets and development of novel therapies especially for those most severely affected. IL-6, like other inflammatory cytokines, has been shown to be elevated in different lung diseases, but it was considered a byproduct of ongoing inflammation in the lung. However, recent studies support a dissociation of IL-6 from inflammation in the lung and suggest that this cytokine plays an active role in pathogenesis of asthma and, in all likelihood, COPD. IL-6 may therefore be a germane target for treatment of these and other chronic lung disease. Here, we provide an overview of the studies in mouse models and human patients that provide support for the involvement of IL-6 in lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC3491451  PMID: 23136556
IL-6; chronic lung diseases
17.  IL-6 is required for airway mucus production induced by inhaled fungal allergens1 
Allergic asthma is caused by inhaled allergens and it is characterized by airway eosinophilia as well as mucus hypersecretion which can lead to airflow obstruction. Despite the association of increased IL-6 levels with human atopic asthma, the contribution of IL-6 to the development of allergic airway inflammation triggered by inhaled allergens remains unclear. In this study, we examined the role of IL-6 in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation induced by direct airway exposure to extracts of Aspergillus fumigatus, a common allergen in humans. We show here that inhaled A. fumigatus extracts rapidly triggers the production of IL-6 in the airways. IL-6 appears to be dispensable for the recruitment of eosinophils to the lung during the development of allergic airway inflammation. However, IL-6 is essential for mucus hypersecretion by airway epithelial cells triggered in response to inhaled A. fumigatus antigens. Impaired mucus production caused by IL-6 deficiency correlates with a severe reduction in the levels of IL-13, a major inducer of mucin glycoproteins. Thus, IL-6 is a key regulator of specific hallmark features of allergic airway inflammation, and it could be a potential target for pulmonary diseases that are associated with goblet cell metaplasia and mucus hypersecretion.
PMCID: PMC2929571  PMID: 19592651
Lung; Allergy; Fungal; Rodent; Cytokines
18.  Functional Cooperation of the Proapoptotic Bcl2 Family Proteins Bmf and Bim In Vivo ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;30(1):98-105.
Bcl2-modifying factor (Bmf) is a member of the BH3-only group of proapoptotic proteins. To test the role of Bmf in vivo, we constructed mice with a series of mutated Bmf alleles that disrupt Bmf expression, prevent Bmf phosphorylation by the c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) on Ser74, or mimic Bmf phosphorylation on Ser74. We report that the loss of Bmf causes defects in uterovaginal development, including an imperforate vagina and hydrometrocolpos. We also show that the phosphorylation of Bmf on Ser74 can contribute to a moderate increase in levels of Bmf activity. Studies of compound mutants with the related gene Bim demonstrated that Bim and Bmf exhibit partially redundant functions in vivo. Thus, developmental ablation of interdigital webbing on mouse paws and normal lymphocyte homeostasis require the cooperative activity of Bim and Bmf.
PMCID: PMC2798311  PMID: 19841067
19.  Elevation of IL-6 in the allergic asthmatic airway is independent of inflammation but associates with loss of central airway function 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):28.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that is characterized by a Th2-type of immune response with increasing evidence for involvement of Th17 cells. The role of IL-6 in promoting effector T cell subsets suggest that IL-6 may play a functional role in asthma. Classically IL-6 has been viewed as an inflammatory marker, along with TNFα and IL-1β, rather than as regulatory cytokine.
To investigate the potential relationship between IL-6 and other proinflammatory cytokines, Th2/Th17 cytokines and lung function in allergic asthma, and thus evaluate the potential role of IL-6 in this disease.
Cytokine levels in induced sputum and lung function were measured in 16 healthy control and 18 mild-moderate allergic asthmatic subjects.
The levels of the proinflammatory biomarkers TNFα and IL-1β were not different between the control and asthmatic group. In contrast, IL-6 levels were specifically elevated in asthmatic subjects compared with healthy controls (p < 0.01). Hierarchical regression analysis in the total study cohort indicates that the relationship between asthma and lung function could be mediated by IL-6. Among Th2 cytokines only IL-13 (p < 0.05) was also elevated in the asthmatic group, and positively correlated with IL-6 levels (rS = 0.53, p < 0.05).
In mild-moderate asthma, IL-6 dissociates from other proinflammatory biomarkers, but correlates with IL-13 levels. Furthermore, IL-6 may contribute to impaired lung function in allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC2842243  PMID: 20205953
20.  The effects of IL-6 on CD4 T cell responses 
Cytokines have long been known to profoundly influence the adaptive immune response by determining CD4 T cell differentiation. Although IL-6 has been initially characterized as a B cell growth factor and inducer of antibody production research from our lab and others has revealed over the last years that IL-6 also plays a significant role in CD4 T cell differentiation. This review highlights the variety of ways in which IL-6 affects CD4 effector functions and how this may contribute to different types of diseases.
PMCID: PMC2660866  PMID: 18845487
IL-6; IL-6R; CD4 T cell differentiation; T helper response; Th1/Th2/Th17; IL-21; autoimmune disease; allergic airway inflammation
IP3 receptors (IP3Rs) regulate the release of Ca++ from intracellular stores in response to IP3. Little is known about the regulation of IP3R expression and their role during the activation of CD4 T cells. In this study we show that mouse naïve CD4 T cells express IP3R1, IP3R2 and IP3R3, but gene expression of IP3R3, primarily, is downregulated upon activation due to loss of the Ets-1 transcription factor. Downregulation of IP3R expression in activated CD4 T cells is associated with the failure of T cell receptor ligation to trigger Ca++ release in these cells. We also show that downregulation of specific IP3Rs in activated CD4 T cells correlates with the requirement of IP3R-mediated Ca++ release only for the induction, but not for the maintenance of IL-2 and IFNγ expression. Interestingly, while inhibition of IP3R function early during activation blocks IL-2 and IFNγ production, it promotes the production of IL-17 by CD4 T cells. Thus, IP3Rs play a key role in the activation and differentiation of CD4 T cells. The immunosuppressive effect of pharmacological blockers of these receptors may be complicated by promoting the development of inflammatory CD4 T cells.
PMCID: PMC2756541  PMID: 19050248
T cells; Cell activation; Cytokines; Transcription factors; Gene regulation
22.  Th2 Allergic Immune Response to Inhaled Fungal Antigens is Modulated By TLR-4-Independent Bacterial Products 
European journal of immunology  2009;39(3):776-788.
Allergic airway disease is characterized by eosinophilic inflammation, mucus hypersecretion and increased airway resistance. Fungal antigens are ubiquitous within the environment and are well know triggers of allergic disease. Bacterial products are also frequently encountered within the environment and may alter the immune response to certain antigens. The consequence of simultaneous exposure to bacterial and fungal products on the lung adaptive immune response has not been explored. Here we show that oropharyngeal aspiration of fungal lysates (Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus) promotes airway eosinophilia, secretion of Th2 cytokines and mucus cell metaplasia. In contrast, oropharyngeal exposure to bacterial lysates (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) promotes airway inflammation characterized by neutrophils, Th1 cytokine secretion and no mucus production. More importantly, administration of bacterial lysates together with fungal lysates deviates the adaptive immune response to a Th1 type associated with neutrophilia and diminished mucus production. The immunomodulatory effect that bacterial lysates have on the response to fungi is TLR4-independent but MyD88 dependent. Thus, different types of microbial products within the airway can alter the host's adaptive immune response, and potentially impact the development of allergic airway disease to environmental fungal antigens.
PMCID: PMC2750775  PMID: 19224641
T helper cells; Lung inflammation; cytokines; immune responses; eosinophils
23.  The induction of antibody production by IL-6 is indirectly mediated by IL-21 produced by CD4+ T cells 
Interleukin (IL) 6 is a proinflammtory cytokine produced by antigen-presenting cells and nonhematopoietic cells in response to external stimuli. It was initially identified as a B cell growth factor and inducer of plasma cell differentiation in vitro and plays an important role in antibody production and class switching in vivo. However, it is not clear whether IL-6 directly affects B cells or acts through other mechanisms. We show that IL-6 is sufficient and necessary to induce IL-21 production by naive and memory CD4+ T cells upon T cell receptor stimulation. IL-21 production by CD4+ T cells is required for IL-6 to promote B cell antibody production in vitro. Moreover, administration of IL-6 with inactive influenza virus enhances virus-specific antibody production, and importantly, this effect is dependent on IL-21. Thus, IL-6 promotes antibody production by promoting the B cell helper capabilities of CD4+ T cells through increased IL-21 production. IL-6 could therefore be a potential coadjuvant to enhance humoral immunity.
PMCID: PMC2626667  PMID: 19139170
24.  Soluble IL-6R is produced by IL-6R ectodomain shedding in activated CD4 T cells 
IL-6 trans-signaling via the soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R) plays an important role in the progression of several autoimmune diseases and cancer by providing IL-6-responsiveness to cells lacking IL-6R. However, the potential sources of sIL-6R are less understood. In this study we show that sIL-6R is produced by both naïve and memory CD4 T cells upon TCR activation. The production of sIL-6R by activated CD4 T cells is mediated by shedding of the membrane-bound IL-6R and this process correlates with the expression of the metalloproteinase ADAM17 in these cells. In contrast to CD4 T cells, CD8 T cells do not express ADAM17 and their production of sIL-6R is negligible. Thus, during an immune response CD4 T cells are an important source of sIL-6R. Production of sIL-6R by autoreactive CD4 T cells may contribute to their role in the development of autoimmune disease by conferring IL-6-responsiveness to cells lacking IL-6R such as synoviocytes.
PMCID: PMC2692633  PMID: 18490707
T cells; cytokine receptors; cell activation; rheumatoid arthritis; cytokines
25.  Autoimmune Disease-Associated Alleles Affect Histamine Receptor H1 Protein Trafficking and Cell Surface Expression 
Structural polymorphisms (L263P, M313V and S331P) in the third intracellular loop of the murine histamine receptor H1 (H1R) are candidates for Bphs, a shared autoimmune disease locus in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) and experimental allergic orchitis. The P-V-P haplotype is associated with increased disease susceptibility (H1RS) whereas the L-M-S haplotype is associated with less severe disease (H1RR). Here we show that selective reexpression of the H1RS allele in T cells fully complements EAE susceptibility and the production of disease associated cytokines while selective reexpression of the H1RR allele does not. Mechanistically, we show that the two H1R alleles exhibit differential cell surface expression and altered intracellular trafficking, with the H1RR allele being retained within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Moreover, we show that all three residues (L-M-S) comprising the H1RR haplotype are required for altered expression. These data are the first to demonstrate that structural polymorphisms influencing cell surface expression of a G-protein coupled receptor in T cells regulates immune functions and autoimmune disease susceptibility.
This is an author-produced version of a manuscript accepted for publication in The Journal of Immunology (The JI). The American Association of Immunologists, Inc. (AAI), publisher of The JI, holds the copyright to this manuscript. This version of the manuscript has not yet been copyedited or subjected to editorial proofreading by The JI; hence, it may differ from the final version published in The JI (online and in print). AAI (The JI) is not liable for errors or omissions in this author-produced version of the manuscript or in any version derived from it by the U.S. National Institutes of Health or any other third party. The final, citable version of record can be found at
PMCID: PMC2543130  PMID: 18490747
Histamine receptor 1; EAE/MS; GPCR; receptor trafficking; autoimmunity

Results 1-25 (32)