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1.  Podoplanin negatively regulates CD4+ effector T cell responses 
Podoplanin (PDPN, also known as Gp38) is highly expressed on the surface of lymphatic endothelial cells, where it regulates development of lymphatic vessels. We have recently observed that PDPN is also expressed on effector T cells that infiltrate target tissues during autoimmune inflammation; however, the function of PDPN in T cells is largely unclear. Here, we demonstrated that global deletion of Pdpn results in exaggerated T cell responses and spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice with a susceptible genetic background. In contrast, T cell–specific overexpression of PDPN resulted in profound defects in IL-7–mediated T cell expansion and survival. Consequently, these animals exhibited a more rapid resolution of CNS inflammation, characterized by a reduced effector CD4+ T cell population in the CNS. Mice harboring a T cell–specific deletion of Pdpn developed exacerbated EAE, with increased accumulation of effector CD4+ T cells in the CNS. Transcriptional profiling of naturally occurring PDPN+ effector T cells in the CNS revealed increased expression of other inhibitory receptors, such as Pd1 and Tim3, and decreased expression of prosurvival factors, including Il7ra. Together, our data suggest that PDPN functions as an inhibitory molecule on T cells, thereby promoting tissue tolerance by limiting long-term survival and maintenance of CD4+ effector T cells in target organs.
PMCID: PMC4382244  PMID: 25415436
2.  A Novel CMKLR1 Small Molecule Antagonist Suppresses CNS Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e112925.
Therapies that target leukocyte trafficking pathways can reduce disease activity and improve clinical outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS). Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a widely studied animal model that shares many clinical and histological features with MS. Chemokine-like receptor-1 (CMKLR1) is a chemoattractant receptor that is expressed by key effector cells in EAE and MS, including macrophages, subsets of dendritic cells, natural killer cells and microglia. We previously showed that CMKLR1-deficient (CMKLR1 KO) mice develop less severe clinical and histological EAE than wild-type mice. In this study, we sought to identify CMKLR1 inhibitors that would pharmaceutically recapitulate the CMKLR1 KO phenotype in EAE. We identified 2-(α-naphthoyl) ethyltrimethylammonium iodide (α-NETA) as a CMKLR1 small molecule antagonist that inhibits chemerin-stimulated β-arrestin2 association with CMKLR1, as well as chemerin-triggered CMKLR1+ cell migration. α-NETA significantly delayed the onset of EAE induced in C57BL/6 mice by both active immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide 35-55 and by adoptive transfer of encephalitogenic T cells. In addition, α-NETA treatment significantly reduced mononuclear cell infiltrates within the CNS. This study provides additional proof-of-concept data that targeting CMKLR1:chemerin interactions may be beneficial in preventing or treating MS.
PMCID: PMC4249827  PMID: 25437209
3.  Immunodominant T-cell epitopes of MOG reside in its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains in EAE 
Studies evaluating T-cell recognition of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), have focused mostly on its 117 amino acid (aa) extracellular domain, especially peptide (p) 35-55. We characterized T-cell responses to the entire 218 aa MOG sequence, including its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains.
T-cell recognition in mice was examined using overlapping peptides and intact full-length mouse MOG. EAE was evaluated by peptide immunization and by adoptive transfer of MOG epitope-specific T cells. Frequency of epitope-specific T cells was examined by ELISPOT.
Three T-cell determinants of MOG were discovered in its transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains, p119–132, p181–195, and p186–200. Transmembrane MOG p119-132 induced clinical EAE, CNS inflammation, and demyelination as potently as p35-55 in C57BL/6 mice and other H-2b strains. p119-128 contained its minimal encephalitogenic epitope. p119-132 did not cause disease in EAE-susceptible non-H-2b strains, including Biozzi, NOD, and PL/J. MOG p119-132–specific T cells produced Th1 and Th17 cytokines and transferred EAE to wild-type recipient mice. After immunization with full-length MOG, a significantly higher frequency of MOG-reactive T cells responded to p119-132 than to p35-55, demonstrating that p119-132 is an immunodominant encephalitogenic epitope. MOG p181-195 did not cause EAE, and MOG p181-195–specific T cells could not transfer EAE into wild-type or highly susceptible T- and B-cell–deficient mice.
Transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of MOG contain immunodominant T-cell epitopes in EAE. A CNS autoantigen can also contain nonpathogenic stimulatory T-cell epitopes. Recognition that a myelin antigen contains multiple encephalitogenic and nonencephalitogenic determinants may have implications for therapeutic development in MS.
PMCID: PMC4202928  PMID: 25340074
4.  MHC class II–dependent B cell APC function is required for induction of CNS autoimmunity independent of myelin-specific antibodies 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(13):2921-2937.
Antigen presentation, but not antibody secretion, by B cells drives CNS autoimmunity induced by immunization with human MOG.
Whether B cells serve as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) for activation of pathogenic T cells in the multiple sclerosis model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is unclear. To evaluate their role as APCs, we engineered mice selectively deficient in MHC II on B cells (B–MHC II−/−), and to distinguish this function from antibody production, we created transgenic (Tg) mice that express the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)–specific B cell receptor (BCR; IgHMOG-mem) but cannot secrete antibodies. B–MHC II−/− mice were resistant to EAE induced by recombinant human MOG (rhMOG), a T cell– and B cell–dependent autoantigen, and exhibited diminished Th1 and Th17 responses, suggesting a role for B cell APC function. In comparison, selective B cell IL-6 deficiency reduced EAE susceptibility and Th17 responses alone. Administration of MOG-specific antibodies only partially restored EAE susceptibility in B–MHC II−/− mice. In the absence of antibodies, IgHMOG-mem mice, but not mice expressing a BCR of irrelevant specificity, were fully susceptible to acute rhMOG-induced EAE, also demonstrating the importance of BCR specificity. Spontaneous opticospinal EAE and meningeal follicle–like structures were observed in IgHMOG-mem mice crossed with MOG-specific TCR Tg mice. Thus, B cells provide a critical cellular function in pathogenesis of central nervous system autoimmunity independent of their humoral involvement, findings which may be relevant to B cell–targeted therapies.
PMCID: PMC3865476  PMID: 24323356
5.  SJL Mice Infected with Acanthamoeba castellanii Develop Central Nervous System Autoimmunity through the Generation of Cross-Reactive T Cells for Myelin Antigens 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98506.
We recently reported that Acanthamoeba castellanii (ACA), an opportunistic pathogen of the central nervous system (CNS) possesses mimicry epitopes for proteolipid protein (PLP) 139–151 and myelin basic protein 89–101, and that the epitopes induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in SJL mice reminiscent of the diseases induced with their corresponding cognate peptides. We now demonstrate that mice infected with ACA also show the generation of cross-reactive T cells, predominantly for PLP 139–151, as evaluated by T cell proliferation and IAs/dextramer staining. We verified that PLP 139–151-sensitized lymphocytes generated in infected mice contained a high proportion of T helper 1 cytokine-producing cells, and they can transfer disease to naïve animals. Likewise, the animals first primed with suboptimal dose of PLP 139–151 and later infected with ACA, developed EAE, suggesting that ACA infection can trigger CNS autoimmunity in the presence of preexisting repertoire of autoreactive T cells. Taken together, the data provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba infections, and the potential role of infectious agents with mimicry epitopes to self-antigens in the pathogenesis of CNS diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4039519  PMID: 24879066
6.  Uncovering Cryptic Glycan Markers in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) 
Drug development research  2014;75(3):172-188.
Strategy, Management and Health PolicyEnabling Technology, Genomics, ProteomicsPreclinical ResearchPreclinical Development Toxicology, Formulation Drug Delivery, PharmacokineticsClinical Development Phases I-III Regulatory, Quality, ManufacturingPostmarketing Phase IV
Using an integrated antigen microarray approach, we observed epitope-spreading of autoantibody responses to a variety of antigenic structures in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and in the serum of mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). These included previously described protein- and lipid-based antigenic targets and newly discovered autoimmunogenic sugar moieties, notably, autoantibodies specific for the oligomannoses in both MS patient CSF and the sera of mice with EAE. These glycans are often masked by other sugar moieties and belong to a class of cryptic autoantigens. We further determined that these targets are highly expressed on multiple cell types in MS and EAE lesions. Co-immunization of SJL/J mice with a Man9-KLH conjugate at the time of EAE induction elicited highly significant levels of anti-Man9-cluster autoantibodies. Nevertheless, this anti-glycan autoantibody response was associated with a significantly reduced clinical severity of EAE. The potential of these cryptic glycan markers and targeting antibodies for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions of neurological disorders has yet to be explored.
PMCID: PMC4019697  PMID: 24648292
glycomics; biomarkers; multiple sclerosis; encephalomyelitis; cryptic glycans; cerebrospinal fluid; autoantibodies
7.  Defective sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) phosphorylation exacerbates TH17-mediated autoimmune neuroinflammation 
Nature immunology  2013;14(11):1166-1172.
Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signaling regulates lymphocyte egress from lymphoid organs into systemic circulation. Sphingosine phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) agonist, FTY-720 (Gilenya™) arrests immune trafficking and prevents multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses. However, alternative mechanisms of S1P-S1P1 signaling have been reported. Phosphoproteomic analysis of MS brain lesions revealed S1P1 phosphorylation on S351, a residue crucial for receptor internalization. Mutant mice harboring a S1pr1 gene encoding phosphorylation-deficient receptors [S1P1(S5A)] developed severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) due to T helper (TH) 17-mediated autoimmunity in the peripheral immune and nervous system. S1P1 directly activated Janus-like kinase–signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (JAK-STAT3) pathway via interleukin 6 (IL-6). Impaired S1P1 phosphorylation enhances TH17 polarization and exacerbates autoimmune neuroinflammation. These mechanisms may be pathogenic in MS.
PMCID: PMC4014310  PMID: 24076635
8.  Tob1 plays a critical role in the activation of encephalitogenic T cells in CNS autoimmunity 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(7):1301-1309.
Loss of antiproliferative gene TOB1 results in more severe EAE driven by augmented pathogenic T cell responses.
Reliable biomarkers corresponding to disease progression or therapeutic responsiveness in multiple sclerosis (MS) have not been yet identified. We previously reported that low expression of the antiproliferative gene TOB1 in CD4+ T cells of individuals presenting with an initial central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating event (a clinically isolated syndrome), correlated with high risk for progression to MS. We report that experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in Tob1−/− mice was associated with augmented CNS inflammation, increased infiltrating CD4+ and CD8+ T cell counts, and increased myelin-reactive Th1 and Th17 cells, with reduced numbers of regulatory T cells. Reconstitution of Rag1−/− mice with Tob1−/− CD4+ T cells recapitulated the aggressive EAE phenotype observed in Tob1−/− mice. Furthermore, severe spontaneous EAE was observed when Tob1−/− mice were crossed to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein–specific T cell receptor transgenic (2D2) mice. Collectively, our results reveal a critical role for Tob1 in adaptive T cell immune responses that drive development of EAE, thus providing support for the development of Tob1 as a biomarker for demyelinating disease activity.
PMCID: PMC3698524  PMID: 23797093
9.  Aspergillus fumigatus Invasion Increases with Progressive Airway Ischemia 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77136.
Despite the prevalence of Aspergillus-related disease in immune suppressed lung transplant patients, little is known of the host-pathogen interaction. Because of the mould’s angiotropic nature and because of its capacity to thrive in hypoxic conditions, we hypothesized that the degree of Aspergillus invasion would increase with progressive rejection-mediated ischemia of the allograft. To study this relationship, we utilized a novel orthotopic tracheal transplant model of Aspergillus infection, in which it was possible to assess the effects of tissue hypoxia and ischemia on airway infectivity. Laser Doppler flowmetry and FITC-lectin were used to determine blood perfusion, and a fiber optic microsensor was used to measure airway tissue oxygen tension. Fungal burden and depth of invasion were graded using histopathology. We demonstrated a high efficacy (80%) for producing a localized fungal tracheal infection with the majority of infection occurring at the donor-recipient anastomosis; Aspergillus was more invasive in allogeneic compared to syngeneic groups. During the study period, the overall kinetics of both non-infected and infected allografts was similar, demonstrating a progressive loss of perfusion and oxygenation, which reached a nadir by days 10-12 post-transplantation. The extent of Aspergillus invasion directly correlated with the degree of graft hypoxia and ischemia. Compared to the midtrachea, the donor-recipient anastomotic site exhibited lower perfusion and more invasive disease; a finding consistent with clinical experience. For the first time, we identify ischemia as a putative risk factor for Aspergillus invasion. Therapeutic approaches focused on preserving vascular health may play an important role in limiting Aspergillus infections.
PMCID: PMC3796538  PMID: 24155924
10.  Bat3 Protects T cell Responses by Repressing Tim-3-Mediated Exhaustion and Death 
Nature medicine  2012;18(9):1394-1400.
T cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain-containing-3 (Tim-3) is an inhibitory receptor expressed on exhausted T cells during HIV-1 and HCV infection. By contrast, Tim-3 expression and function are defective in multiple human autoimmune diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms governing Tim-3 function remain poorly understood. Here we show that HLA-B-associated transcript 3 (Bat3) binds to, and represses the function of Tim-3. Bat3-deficient T cells display elevated expression of exhaustion markers, and knocking down Bat3 in myelin antigen-specific CD4+ T cells dramatically inhibits the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis while promoting the expansion of a dysfunctional Tim-3hiIFNγlo CD4+ cell population. Furthermore, exhausted Tim-3+ T cells from murine tumors and HIV-1-infected individuals display substantially reduced Bat3 expression and targeted deletion of Bat3 induces an exhausted phenotype in T cells. These data indicate that Bat3 acts as a molecular safety catch that inhibits Tim-3-dependent cell death/exhaustion, suggesting that Bat3 may represent a viable therapeutic target in autoimmune disorders, chronic infections and cancers.
PMCID: PMC3491118  PMID: 22863785
11.  Amyloid Fibrils Composed of Hexameric Peptides Attenuate Neuroinflammation 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(179):179ra42.
Amyloid forming proteins Tau, alpha B crystallin, and amyloid P protein are all found in lesions of multiple sclerosis (MS). Our previous work established that amyloidogenic peptides from the small heat shock protein, alpha B crystallin(HspB5), and from amyloid β fibrils, characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, were therapeutic in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), reflecting aspects of the pathology of MS. To understand the molecular basis for the therapeutic effect, a set of amyloidogenic peptides composed of six amino acids, including those from tau, amyloid β A4, major prion protein (PrP), HspB5, amylin, serum amyloid P (SAP), and insulin B chain were shown to be anti-inflammatory, capable of reducing serological levels of IL-6, and attenuating paralysis in EAE. The chaperone function of the fibrils correlates with the therapeutic outcome. Fibrils composed of Tau 623–628 precipitated 49 plasma proteins, including apolipoprotein B-100, clusterin, transthyretin, and complement C3, supporting the hypothesis that the fibrils are active biological agents. Amyloid fibrils thus may provide benefit in MS and other neuroinflammatory disorders.
PMCID: PMC3684024  PMID: 23552370
Small heat shock proteins; chaperone; amyloid fibrils; inflammation; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
12.  Induction and molecular signature of pathogenic TH17 cells 
Nature immunology  2012;13(10):991-999.
Interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing TH17 cells are often present at the sites of tissue inflammation in autoimmune diseases, which has lead to the conclusion that TH17 are main drivers of autoimmune tissue injury. However, not all TH17 cells are pathogenic, in fact TH17 generated with TGF-β1 and IL-6 produce IL-17 but do not readily induce autoimmune disease without further exposure to IL-23. Here we show that TGF-β3, produced by developing TH17 cells, is dependent on IL-23, which together with IL-6 induces highly pathogenic TH17 cells. Moreover, TGF-β3-induced TH17 cells are functionally and molecularly distinct from TGF-β1-induced TH17 cells and possess a molecular signature that defines pathogenic effector TH17 cells in autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3459594  PMID: 22961052
13.  A transgenic model of central nervous system autoimmunity mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T and B cells 
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a widely used model of multiple sclerosis (MS). In NOD mice, EAE develops as a relapsing-remitting disease that transitions to a chronic progressive disease, making the NOD model the only mouse model that recapitulates the full clinical disease course observed in most MS patients. We have generated a T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic mouse that expresses the alpha and beta chains of a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) 35–55-reactive TCR (1C6) on the NOD background. 1C6 TCR transgenic mice spontaneously generate both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that recognize MOG and produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, allowing for the first time the simultaneous examination of myelin-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the same host. 1C6 CD8+ T cells alone can induce optic neuritis and mild EAE with delayed onset; however, 1C6 CD4+ T cells alone induce severe EAE and predominate in driving disease when both cell types are present. When 1C6 mice are crossed with mice bearing an immunoglobulin heavy chain specific for MOG, the mice develop spontaneous EAE with high incidence but surprisingly the disease pattern does not resemble the Neuromyelitis optica (NMO)-like disease observed in mice bearing CD4+ T cells and B cells reactive to MOG on the C57BL/6 background. Collectively our data show that while myelin-reactive CD8+ T cells contribute to disease, disease is primarily driven by myelin-reactive CD4+ T cells and that the co-existence of myelin-reactive T and B cells does not necessarily result in a distinct pathological phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3288950  PMID: 22279107
14.  Janus-like opposing roles of CD47 in autoimmune brain inflammation in humans and mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(7):1325-1334.
CD47 exerts different effects on disease in distinct cell types and locations and during different stages of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Comparison of transcriptomic and proteomic data from pathologically similar multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions reveals down-regulation of CD47 at the messenger RNA level and low abundance at the protein level. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrate that CD47 is expressed in normal myelin and in foamy macrophages and reactive astrocytes within active MS lesions. We demonstrate that CD47−/− mice are refractory to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), primarily as the result of failure of immune cell activation after immunization with myelin antigen. In contrast, blocking with a monoclonal antibody against CD47 in mice at the peak of paralysis worsens EAE severity and enhances immune activation in the peripheral immune system. In vitro assays demonstrate that blocking CD47 also promotes phagocytosis of myelin and that this effect is dependent on signal regulatory protein α (SIRP-α). Immune regulation and phagocytosis are mechanisms for CD47 signaling in autoimmune neuroinflammation. Depending on the cell type, location, and disease stage, CD47 has Janus-like roles, with opposing effects on EAE pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3405500  PMID: 22734047
15.  Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Ameliorate Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis 
Journal of clinical immunology  2011;31(6):1010-1020.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system characterized by neuroinflammation and demyelination. Although considered a T cell-mediated disease, multiple sclerosis involves the activation of both adaptive and innate immune cells, as well as resident cells of the central nervous system, which synergize in inducing inflammation and thereby demyelination. Differentiation, survival, and inflammatory functions of innate immune cells and of astrocytes of the central nervous system are regulated by tyrosine kinases. Here, we show that imatinib, sorafenib, and GW2580—small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors can each—prevent the development of disease and treat established disease in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. In vitro, imatinib and sorafenib inhibited astrocyte proliferation mediated by the tyrosine kinase platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), whereas GW2580 and sorafenib inhibited macrophage tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production mediated by the tyrosine kinases c-Fms and PDGFR, respectively. In vivo, amelioration of disease by GW2580 was associated with a reduction in the proportion of macrophages and T cells in the CNS infiltrate, as well as a reduction in the levels of circulating TNF. Our findings suggest that GW2580 and the FDA-approved drugs imatinib and sorafenib have potential as novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune demyelinating disease.
PMCID: PMC3225802  PMID: 21847523
Imatinib; sorafenib; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; tyrosine kinase inhibitors; macrophages; TNF; astrocyte proliferation
16.  Myelin-specific regulatory T cells accumulate in the CNS but fail to control autoimmune inflammation 
Nature medicine  2007;13(4):423-431.
Treatment with ex vivo–generated regulatory T cells (T-reg) has been regarded as a potentially attractive therapeutic approach for autoimmune diseases. However, the dynamics and function of T-reg in autoimmunity are not well understood. Thus, we developed Foxp3gfp knock-in (Foxp3gfp.KI) mice and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35–55/IAb (MHC class II) tetramers to track autoantigen-specific effector T cells (T-eff) and T-reg in vivo during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for multiple sclerosis. MOG tetramer–reactive, Foxp3+ T-reg expanded in the peripheral lymphoid compartment and readily accumulated in the central nervous system (CNS), but did not prevent the onset of disease. Foxp3+ T cells isolated from the CNS were effective in suppressing naive MOG-specific T cells, but failed to control CNS-derived encephalitogenic T-eff that secreted interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Our data suggest that in order for CD4+Foxp3+ T-reg to effectively control autoimmune reactions in the target organ, it may also be necessary to control tissue inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3427780  PMID: 17384649
17.  Th17 Cells Induce Ectopic Lymphoid Follicles in Central Nervous System Tissue Inflammation 
Immunity  2011;35(6):986-996.
Ectopic lymphoid follicles are hallmarks of chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and myasthenia gravis. However, the effector cells and mechanisms that induce their development are unknown. Here we showed that in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of MS, Th17 cells specifically induced ectopic lymphoid follicles in the central nervous system (CNS). Development of ectopic lymphoid follicles was partly dependent on the cytokine interleukin 17 (IL-17) and on the cell surface molecule Podoplanin (Pdp), which was expressed on Th17 cells, but not on other effector T cell subsets. Pdp was also crucial for the development of secondary lymphoid structures: Pdp-deficient mice lacked peripheral lymph nodes and had a defect in forming normal lymphoid follicles and germinal centers in spleen and lymph node remnants. Thus, Th17 cells are uniquely endowed to induce tissue inflammation, characterized by ectopic lymphoid follicles within the target organ.
PMCID: PMC3422678  PMID: 22177922
18.  Apparent Expression of Varicella-Zoster Virus Proteins in Latency Resulting from Reactivity of Murine and Rabbit Antibodies with Human Blood Group A Determinants in Sensory Neurons 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(1):578-583.
Analyses of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) protein expression during latency have been discordant, with rare to many positive neurons detected. We show that ascites-derived murine and rabbit antibodies specific for VZV proteins in vitro contain endogenous antibodies that react with human blood type A antigens in neurons. Apparent VZV neuronal staining and blood type A were strongly associated (by a χ2 test, α = 0.0003). Adsorption of ascites-derived monoclonal antibodies or antiserum with type A erythrocytes or the use of in vitro-derived VZV monoclonal antibodies eliminated apparent VZV staining. Animal-derived antibodies must be screened for anti-blood type A reactivity to avoid misidentification of viral proteins in the neurons of the 30 to 40% of individuals who are blood type A.
PMCID: PMC3255922  PMID: 22013055
19.  Laquinimod, a Quinoline-3-Carboxamide, Induces Type II Myeloid Cells That Modulate Central Nervous System Autoimmunity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33797.
Laquinimod is a novel oral drug that is currently being evaluated for the treatment of relapsing-remitting (RR) multiple sclerosis (MS). Using the animal model for multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we examined how laquinimod promotes immune modulation. Oral laquinimod treatment reversed established RR-EAE and was associated with reduced central nervous system (CNS) inflammation, decreased Th1 and Th17 responses, and an increase in regulatory T cells (Treg). In vivo laquinimod treatment inhibited donor myelin-specific T cells from transferring EAE to naive recipient mice. In vivo laquinimod treatment altered subpopulations of myeloid antigen presenting cells (APC) that included a decrease in CD11c+CD11b+CD4+ dendritic cells (DC) and an elevation of CD11bhiGr1hi monocytes. CD11b+ cells from these mice exhibited an anti-inflammatory type II phenotype characterized by reduced STAT1 phosphorylation, decreased production of IL-6, IL-12/23 and TNF, and increased IL-10. In adoptive transfer, donor type II monocytes from laquinimod-treated mice suppressed clinical and histologic disease in recipients with established EAE. As effects were observed in both APC and T cell compartments, we examined whether T cell immune modulation occurred as a direct effect of laquinimod on T cells, or as a consequence of altered APC function. Inhibition of Th1 and Th17 differentiation was observed only when type II monocytes or DC from laquinimod-treated mice were used as APC, regardless of whether myelin-specific T cells were obtained from laquinimod-treated or untreated mice. Thus, laquinimod modulates adaptive T cell immune responses via its effects on cells of the innate immune system, and may not influence T cells directly.
PMCID: PMC3316495  PMID: 22479444
20.  Tim-3/galectin-9 pathway: regulation of Th1 immunity through promotion of CD11b+Ly-6G+ myeloid cells 
IFN-γ plays a central role in anti-tumor immunity. Tim-3 is expressed on IFN-γ-producing Th1 cells; upon interaction with its ligand, galectin-9, it terminates Th1 immunity. Here, we show that transgenic over-expression of Tim-3 on T cells results in an increase in CD11b+Ly-6G+ cells and inhibition of immune responses. Molecular characterization of CD11b+Ly-6G+ cells reveals a phenotype consistent with granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). Accordingly, we find that modulation of the Tim-3/galectin-9 pathway impacts on tumor growth. Similarly, overexpression of Tim-3 ligand, galectin-9, results in an increase in CD11b+Ly-6G+ cells and inhibition of immune responses. Loss of Tim-3 restores normal levels of CD11b+Ly-6G+ cells and normal immune responses in galectin-9 transgenic mice. Our data uncover a novel mechanism by which the Tim-3/galectin-9 pathway regulates immune responses and identifies this pathway as a therapeutic target in diseases where MDSC are disadvantageous.
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 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 United States National Institutes of Health or any other third party. The final, citable version of record can be found at
PMCID: PMC2925247  PMID: 20574007
21.  Enhanced expression of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase leads to prolonged in vivo cell cycle progression and up-regulation of mitochondrial thioredoxin 
Free radical biology & medicine  2010;48(11):1501-1512.
Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is an important mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme, and elevated MnSOD levels have been shown to reduce tumor growth in part by suppressing cell proliferation. Studies with fibroblasts have shown that increased MnSOD expression prolongs cell cycle transition time in G1/S and favors entrance into the quiescent state. To determine if the same effect occurs during tissue regeneration in vivo, we used a transgenic mouse system with liver-specific MnSOD expression and a partial hepatectomy paradigm to induce synchronized in vivo cell proliferation during liver regeneration. We show in this experimental system that a 2.6 fold increase in MnSOD activities leads to delayed entry into S phase, as measured by reduction in bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation, and decreased expression of proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Thus, compared to control mice with baseline MnSOD levels, transgenic mice with increased MnSOD expression in the liver have 23% fewer BrdU positive cells and a marked attenuation of PCNA expression. The increase in MnSOD activity also leads to an increase of the mitochondrial form of thioredoxin (thioredoxin 2), but not of several other peroxidases examined, suggesting the importance of thioredoxin 2 in maintaining redox balance in mitochondria with elevated levels of MnSOD.
PMCID: PMC2945707  PMID: 20188820
MnSOD; partial hepatectomy; mitochondria; thioredoxin 2; liver regeneration; cell cycle progression
22.  Aberrant mitochondrial fission in neurons induced by protein kinase Cδ under oxidative stress conditions in vivo 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(2):256-265.
Impaired mitochondrial fusion/fission plays a causal role in neuronal death. This study delineated a PKCδ-related signaling cascade in which excessive mitochondrial fission is induced during oxidative stress. Moreover, a selective peptide inhibitor of PKCδ inhibits impaired mitochondrial fission under these pathological conditions.
Neuronal cell death in a number of neurological disorders is associated with aberrant mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial degeneration. However, the triggers for this mitochondrial dysregulation are not known. Here we show excessive mitochondrial fission and mitochondrial structural disarray in brains of hypertensive rats with hypertension-induced brain injury (encephalopathy). We found that activation of protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) induced aberrant mitochondrial fragmentation and impaired mitochondrial function in cultured SH-SY5Y neuronal cells and in this rat model of hypertension-induced encephalopathy. Immunoprecipitation studies indicate that PKCδ binds Drp1, a major mitochondrial fission protein, and phosphorylates Drp1 at Ser 579, thus increasing mitochondrial fragmentation. Further, we found that Drp1 Ser 579 phosphorylation by PKCδ is associated with Drp1 translocation to the mitochondria under oxidative stress. Importantly, inhibition of PKCδ, using a selective PKCδ peptide inhibitor (δV1-1), reduced mitochondrial fission and fragmentation and conferred neuronal protection in vivo and in culture. Our study suggests that PKCδ activation dysregulates the mitochondrial fission machinery and induces aberrant mitochondrial fission, thus contributing to neurological pathology.
PMCID: PMC3020920  PMID: 21119009
23.  Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor δ limits the expansion of pathogenic Th cells during central nervous system autoimmunity 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(8):1599-1608.
Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptors (PPARs; PPAR-α, PPAR-δ, and PPAR-γ) comprise a family of nuclear receptors that sense fatty acid levels and translate this information into altered gene transcription. Previously, it was reported that treatment of mice with a synthetic ligand activator of PPAR-δ, GW0742, ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), indicating a possible role for this nuclear receptor in the control of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune inflammation. We show that mice deficient in PPAR-δ (PPAR-δ−/−) develop a severe inflammatory response during EAE characterized by a striking accumulation of IFN-γ+IL-17A− and IFN-γ+IL-17A+ CD4+ cells in the spinal cord. The preferential expansion of these T helper subsets in the CNS of PPAR-δ−/− mice occurred as a result of a constellation of immune system aberrations that included higher CD4+ cell proliferation, cytokine production, and T-bet expression and enhanced expression of IL-12 family cytokines by myeloid cells. We also show that the effect of PPAR-δ in inhibiting the production of IFN-γ and IL-12 family cytokines is ligand dependent and is observed in both mouse and human immune cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that PPAR-δ serves as an important molecular brake for the control of autoimmune inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2916127  PMID: 20624891
24.  Interleukin 4 inhibits TGF-β-induced-Foxp3+T cells and generates, in combination with TGF-β, Foxp3− effector T cells that produce interleukins 9 and 10 
Nature immunology  2008;9(12):1347-1355.
Foxp3 is a key transcription factor involved in the generation and function of regulatory T (Treg) cells. Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) induces Foxp3, which generates inducible Foxp3+ Treg cells from naïve T cells, and interleukin 6 (IL-6) inhibits the generation of inducible Treg cells and induces T helper cells that produce IL-17 (TH-17 cells). However, a role for IL-4 in the generation of TGF-β-induced Treg cells and/or the generation of effector CD4+ T helper cells has not been studied. Here, we show that IL-4 blocked the generation of TGF-β-induced Foxp3+ Treg cells. Instead, IL-4 induced a population of T helper cells that predominantly produce IL-9 and IL-10. The IL-9+IL-10+ T cells did not exhibit any regulatory properties in spite of producing large quantities of IL-10. Adoptive transfer of IL-9+IL-10+producing T cells into RAG-1-deficient mice induced colitis and peripheral neuritis. Interestingly, the severity of tissue inflammation was aggravated when IL-9+IL-10+ T cells were co-transferred with CD45RBhi CD4+ effector T cells into RAG-1-deficient mice, which indicated that IL-9+IL-10+ T cells do not display any suppressive function and therefore constitute a unique population of IL-10-producing helper-effector T cells that promote tissue inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2999006  PMID: 18997793
25.  Th1, Th17 and Th9 effector cells induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis with different pathological phenotypes1 
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a model of human multiple sclerosis (MS) induced by auto-reactive T helper cells that mediate tissue inflammation and demyelination in the CNS. Initially, IFN-γ-producing Th1 cells and, more recently, IL-17-producing Th17 cells with specificity for myelin antigens have been implicated in EAE induction, but whether Th17 cells are encephalitogenic has been controversial. Moreover, a new effector T cell subset, Th9 cells, has been identified, however, the ability of this T cell subset to induce EAE has not been investigated.
Here, we have developed protocols to generate myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-specific Th17, Th1, Th2, and Th9 cells in vitro, so that we could directly compare and characterize the encephalitogenic activity of each of these subsets upon adoptive transfer. We show that MOG-specific Th1, Th17, and Th9 cells but not Th2 cells induce EAE upon adoptive transfer. Importantly, each T cell subset induced disease with a different pathological phenotype.
These data demonstrate that different effector T cell subsets with specificity for myelin antigens can induce CNS autoimmunity and that the pathological heterogeneity in MS lesions might in part be due to multiple distinct myelin-reactive effector T cells.
PMCID: PMC2921715  PMID: 19890056

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