Recent evidence emphasizes B-cells as a major regulatory cell type that plays an important role in limiting the pathogenic effects of ischemic stroke. The aim of the current study was to extend this initial observation to specifically examine the infiltration of regulatory B-cells and to determine if the effect of B-cells to limit the inflammatory response to cerebral ischemia is mediated by their action centrally or peripherally. Our data demonstrate the increased presence of a regulatory B-cell subset in the affected hemisphere of wild-type mice after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). We further explored the use of a novel method of stereotaxic cell delivery to bypass the blood brain barrier (BBB) and introduce CD19+ B cells directly into the striatum as compared to peripheral administration of B-cells. Infarct volumes after 60 minutes of MCAO and 48 hours of reperfusion were determined in B-cell deficient μMT−/− mice with and without replacement of either B-cells or medium. Infarct size was significantly decreased in cerebral cortex after intrastriatal transfer of 100,000 B-cells to μMT−/− mice vs. controls, with a comparable effect on infarct size as obtained by 50 million B-cells transferred intraperitoneally. These findings support the hypothesis that B-cells play a protective role against ischemic brain injury, and suggest that that B-cells may serve as a novel therapeutic agent for modulating the immune response in central nervous system inflammation after stroke.
regulatory B-cells; experimental stroke; intrastriatal transfer; uMT mice
Stroke severity is worsened by recruitment of inflammatory immune cells into the brain. This process depends in part on T cell activation, in which the B7 family of co-stimulatory molecules plays a pivotal role. Previous studies demonstrated more severe infarcts in mice lacking programmed death-1 (PD-1), a member of the B7 family, thus implicating PD-1 as a key factor in limiting stroke severity. The purpose of this study was to determine if this protective effect of PD-1 involves either of its ligands, PD-L1 or PD-L2.
Central nervous system (CNS) inflammation and infarct volume were evaluated in male PD-L1 and PD-L2 knockout (-/-) mice undergoing 60 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) followed by 96 hours of reperfusion and compared to wild-type (WT) C57BL/6J mice.
PD-L1-/- and PD-L2-/- mice had smaller total infarct volumes compared to WT mice. The PD-L1-/- and to a lesser extent PD-L2-/- mice had reduced levels of proinflammatory activated microglia and/or infiltrating monocytes and CD4+ T cells in the ischemic hemispheres. There was a reduction in ischemia-related splenic atrophy accompanied by lower activation status of splenic T cells and monocytes in the absence of PD-L1, suggesting a pathogenic rather than a regulatory role for both PD-1 ligands (PD-Ls). Suppressor T cells (IL-10-producing CD8+CD122+ T cells) trafficked to the brain in PD-L1-/- mice and there was decreased expression of CD80 on splenic antigen-presenting cells (APCs) as compared to the WT and PD-L2-/- mice.
Our novel observations are the first to implicate PD-L1 involvement in worsening outcome of experimental stroke. The presence of suppressor T cells in the right MCAO-inflicted hemisphere in mice lacking PD-L1 implicates these cells as possible key contributors for controlling adverse effects of ischemia. Increased expression of CD80 on APCs in WT and PD-L2-/- mice suggests an overriding interaction leading to T cell activation. Conversely, low CD80 expression by APCs, along with increased PD-1 and PD-L2 expression in PD-L1-/- mice suggests alternative T cell signaling pathways, leading to a suppressor phenotype. These results suggest that agents (for example antibodies) that can target and neutralize PD-L1/2 may have therapeutic potential for treatment of human stroke.
Co-inhibitory pathway; Inflammatory states; MCAO; Programmed death-1 ligand 1 and 2
Increased remissions in multiple sclerosis (MS) during late pregnancy may result from high levels of sex steroids such as estrogen and estriol. Estrogen (E2=17β-estradiol) protects against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), but the cellular basis for E2-induced protection remains unclear. Treatment with relatively low doses of E2 can protect against clinical and histological signs of MOG-35-55 induced EAE through mechanisms involving the PD-1 coinhibitory pathway and B-cells. The current study evaluated the contribution of PD-1 ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, on B-cells in E2-mediated protection against EAE in WT, PD-L1−/− and PD-L2−/− mice. Unlike PD-L2−/− mice that were fully protected against EAE after E2 treatment, E2-implanted PD-L1−/− mice were fully susceptible to EAE, with increased numbers of proliferating Th1/Th17 cells in the periphery and severe cellular infiltration and demyelination in the CNS. Moreover, transfer of B-cells from MOG-immunized PD-L1−/− or PD-L2−/− donors into E2-preconditioned B-cell deficient μMT−/− recipient mice revealed significantly reduced E2-mediated protection against EAE in recipients of PD-L1−/− B-cells, but near-complete protection in recipients of PD-L2−/− B-cells. We conclude that PD-1 interaction with PD-L1 but not PD-L2 on B-cells is crucial for E2-mediated protection in EAE and that strategies that enhance PD-1/PD-L1 interactions might potentiate E2 treatment effects in MS.
EAE; Multiple Sclerosis; Estrogen; PD-L; Regulatory B cells
Although inflammatory responses increase stroke severity, the role of immune cells specific for central nervous system (CNS) antigens remains controversial. Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) during stroke allows CNS antigens to leak into the peripheral circulation and enhances access of circulating leukocytes to the brain, including those specific for CNS antigens such as myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) that can induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We here demonstrate for the first time that myelin reactive splenocytes specific for MOG transferred into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice can migrate into the infarct hemisphere of recipients subjected to 60 minutes middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and 96 hours reperfusion; moreover these cells exacerbate infarct volume and worsen neurological deficits compared to animals transferred with naïve splenocytes. These findings indicate that autoimmunity in the CNS can exert detrimental injury on brain cells and worsen the damage from ischemic stroke.
experimental stroke; myelin reactive splenocytes; inflammatory responses; neurologic deficit
Relapse rates following current methamphetamine abuse treatments are very high (∼40–60%), and the neuropsychiatric impairments (e.g., cognitive deficits, mood disorders) that arise and persist during remission from methamphetamine addiction likely contribute to these high relapse rates. Pharmacotherapeutic development of medications to treat addiction has focused on neurotransmitter systems with only limited success, and there are no Food and Drug Administration approved pharmacotherapies for methamphetamine addiction. A growing literature shows that methamphetamine alters peripheral and central immune functions and that immune factors such as cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules play a role in the development and persistence of methamphetamine induced neuronal injury and neuropsychiatric impairments. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a new immunotherapy, partial MHC/neuroantigen peptide construct (RTL551; pI-Ab/mMOG-35-55), in treating learning and memory impairments induced by repeated methamphetamine exposure. C57BL/6J mice were exposed to two different methamphetamine treatment regimens (using repeated doses of 4 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg, s.c.). Cognitive performance was assessed using the Morris water maze and CNS cytokine levels were measured by multiplex assay. Immunotherapy with RTL551 improved the memory impairments induced by repeated methamphetamine exposure in both mouse models of chronic methamphetamine addiction. Treatment with RTL551 also attenuated the methamphetamine induced increases in hypothalamic interleukin-2 (IL-2) levels. Collectively, these initial results indicate that neuroimmune targeted therapies, and specifically RTL551, may have potential as treatments for methamphetamine-induced neuropsychiatric impairments.
We previously demonstrated the therapeutic effects of MHC class II derived recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTL), single-chain two domain complexes of the α1 and β1 domains of MHC class II molecules genetically linked with an immunodominant peptide, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In the current study, we produced a monomeric murine I-Aq-derived RTL construct covalently linked with bovine collagen type II peptide (bCII257–270) suitable for use in DBA/1LacJ mice that develop collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), an animal model of human rheumatoid arthritis, after immunization with bCII protein in CFA. In this study, we demonstrate that the I-Aq-derived RTLs reduced the incidence of the disease, suppressed the clinical and histological signs of CIA and induced long-term modulation of T cells specific for arthritogenic Ags. Our results showed that the I-Aq/bCII257–270 molecule could systemically reduce proinflammatory IL-17 and IFN-γ production and significantly increase anti-inflammatory IL-10, IL-13, and FoxP3 gene expression in splenocytes. Moreover, I-Aq/bCII257–270 molecule could also selectively inhibit IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-23 expression in local joint tissue. This is the first report demonstrating effective prevention of joint inflammation and clinical signs of CIA with an I-Aq-derived RTL, thus supporting the possible clinical use of this approach for treating rheumatoid arthritis in humans.
Single-chain human recombinant T cell receptor ligands derived from the peptide binding/TCR recognition domain of human HLA-DR2b (DRA*0101/DRB1*1501) produced in Escherichia coli with and without amino-terminal extensions containing antigenic peptides have been described previously. While molecules with the native sequence retained biological activity, they formed higher order aggregates in solution. In this study, we used site-directed mutagenesis to modify the β-sheet platform of the DR2-derived RTLs, obtaining two variants that were monomeric in solution by replacing hydrophobic residues with polar (serine) or charged (aspartic acid) residues. Size exclusion chromatography and dynamic light scattering demonstrated that the modified RTLs were monomeric in solution, and structural characterization using circular dichroism demonstrated the highly ordered secondary structure of the RTLs. Peptide binding to the `empty' RTLs was quantified using biotinylated peptides, and functional studies showed that the modified RTLs containing covalently tethered peptides were able to inhibit antigen-specific T cell proliferation in vitro, as well as suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in vivo. These studies demonstrated that RTLs encoding the Ag-binding/TCR recognition domain of MHC class II molecules are innately very robust structures, capable of retaining potent biological activity separate from the Ig-fold domains of the progenitor class II structure, with prevention of aggregation accomplished by modification of an exposed surface that was buried in the progenitor structure.
major histocompatibility complex; protein structure; drug design; autoimmunity
Background and Purpose
Evaluation of infarct volumes and infiltrating immune cell populations in mice after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) strongly implicates a mixture of both pathogenic and regulatory immune cell subsets that affect stroke outcome. Our goal was to evaluate the contribution of the well-described co-inhibitory pathway, Programmed Death (PD)-1, to the development of MCAO.
Infarct volumes, functional outcomes and effects on infiltrating immune cell populations were compared in wild type C57BL/6 versus PD-1 deficient mice after 60min MCAO and 96h reperfusion.
The results clearly demonstrate a previously unrecognized activity of the PD-1 pathway to limit infarct volume, recruitment of inflammatory cells from the periphery, activation of macrophages and CNS microglia and functional neurological deficits. These regulatory functions were associated with increased percentages of circulating PD-Ligand (L)-1 and PD-L2 expressing CD19+ B-cells in blood, spleen and CNS with the capacity to inhibit activation of inflammatory T-cells and CNS macrophages and microglial cells through upregulated PD-1.
Our novel observations are the first to implicate PD-1 signaling as a major protective pathway for limiting CNS inflammation in MCAO. This inhibitory circuit would likely be pivotal in reducing stroke-associated TLR2- and TLR4-mediated release of neurotoxic factors by activated CNS microglia.
MCAO; inflammatory cells; Programmed Death-1; Co-inhibitory pathway
This study examined the neuroprotective effects of T-cell receptor ligand (RTL) on autoimmune optic neuritis in humanized HLA-DR3 mice. Such immunotherapy significantly suppressed inflammation, inhibited demyelination with signs of myelin recovery, and prevented axonal loss in the optic nerves.
Optic neuritis (ON) is a condition involving primary inflammation, demyelination, and axonal injury in the optic nerve and leads to apoptotic retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death, which contributes to the persistence of visual loss. Currently, ON has no effective treatment. The goal was to determine the effectiveness of immunotherapy with recombinant T-cell receptor ligand (RTL) in preventing ON in humanized HLA-DR2 transgenic mice.
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in humanized HLA-DR2 (DRβ1*1501) transgenic mice. Five consecutive doses of RTL342M were administrated at the onset of ON. The development of autoimmune ON was assessed by histopathology at different time points. The levels of myelin loss, axonal loss, and RGC damage were examined by immunofluorescence.
HLA-DR2 mice developed chronic ON 2 days before EAE characterized by progressive neurodegeneration in both organs. RTL342M significantly suppressed inflammation in the optic nerve and spinal cord and provided protection for at least 30 days. Examination of myelin loss showed a marked suppression of demyelination and an increase in myelin recovery in the optic nerve. Moreover, RTL342M treatment revealed a neuroprotective effect on optic nerve axons and RGCs in retinas at postimmunization (PI) day 62.
RTL342M suppressed clinical and histologic signs of EAE/ON by preventing the recruitment of inflammatory cells into the optic nerve and showed neuroprotective effects against ON. However, to achieve full therapeutic benefit, more doses may be needed. These findings suggest a possible clinical application of this novel class of T-cell-tolerizing drugs for patients with optic neuritis.
Evaluation of infarct volumes and infiltrating immune cell populations in mice after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) strongly implicates a mixture of both pathogenic and regulatory immune cell subsets in stroke pathogenesis and recovery. Our goal was to evaluate the contribution of B-cells to the development of MCAO by comparing infarct volumes and functional outcomes in WT versus B-cell deficient μMT−/− mice. The results clearly demonstrate larger infarct volumes, higher mortality, more severe functional deficits and increased numbers of activated T-cells, macrophages, microglial cells and neutrophils in the affected brain hemisphere of MCAO-treated μMT−/− vs. WT mice. These MCAO-induced changes were completely prevented in B-cell restored μMT−/− mice after transfer of highly purified WT GFP+ B-cells that were detected in the periphery, but not the CNS. In contrast, transfer of B-cells from IL-10−/− mice had no effect on infarct volume when transferred into μMT−/− mice. These findings strongly support a previously unrecognized activity of IL-10-secreting WT B-cells to limit infarct volume, mortality rate, recruitment of inflammatory cells and functional neurological deficits 48h after MCAO. Our novel observations are the first to implicate IL-10-secreting B-cells as a major regulatory cell type in stroke and suggest that enhancement of regulatory B-cells might have application as a novel therapy for this devastating neurologic condition.
Stroke induces a biphasic effect on the peripheral immune response that involves early activation of peripheral leukocytes followed by severe immunosuppression and atrophy of the spleen. Peripheral immune cells, including T lymphocytes, migrate to the brain and exacerbate the developing infarct. Recombinant T-cell receptor (TCR) Ligand (RTL)551 is designed as a partial TCR agonist for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-reactive T cells and has demonstrated the capacity to limit infarct volume and inflammation in brain when administered to mice undergoing middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The goal of this study was to determine if RTL551 could retain protection when given within the therapeutically relevant 4h time window currently in clinical practice for stroke patients. RTL551 was administered subcutaneously 4h after MCAO, with repeated doses every 24h until the time of euthanasia. Cell numbers were assessed in the brain, blood, spleen and lymph nodes and infarct size was measured after 24 and 96h reperfusion. RTL551 reduced infarct size in both cortex and striatum at 24h and in cortex at 96h after MCAO and inhibited the accumulation of inflammatory cells in brain at both time points. At 24h post-MCAO, RTL551 reduced the frequency of the activation marker, CD44, on T-cells in blood and in the ischemic hemisphere. Moreover, RTL551 reduced expression of the chemokine receptors, CCR5 in lymph nodes and spleen, and CCR7 in the blood and lymph nodes. These data demonstrate effective treatment of experimental stroke with RTL551 within a therapeutically relevant 4h time window through immune regulation of myelin-reactive inflammatory T-cells.
MHC class II-derived recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTLs) modulate the behavior of pathogenic T cells and can reverse clinical and histological signs of autoimmune disease in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), and are currently in clinical trials for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). To expand the utility of these rationally-designed biologics and explore their mechanism(s) of activity in vivo, we have engineered RTL constructs bearing cysteine-tethered antigenic peptides and demonstrate that the appropriate cysteine-tethered RTLs effectively treat EAE. The data presented here suggests that the mechanism by which antigen-specific tolerance induction by RTLs bearing cysteine-tethered antigenic peptides in vivo involves delivery of RTL/antigen to endosomal compartments for processing and re-presentation by full-length MHC class II, with RTLs bearing cysteine-tethered antigenic peptides requiring gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiol-reductase (GILT) for therapeutic activity.
EAE; GILT mice; RTL550-CYS-Mog; MHC Class II
Antigen presenting cell-associated four-domain MHC class-II molecules play a central role in activating autoreactive CD4+ T-cells involved in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). In contrast, two-domain MHC-II structures with the same covalently-attached self peptide (Recombinant T-cell receptor Ligands=RTLs) can regulate pathogenic CD4+ T-cells and reverse clinical signs of experimental autoimmune diseases. RTL1000, comprised of the β1α1 domains of HLA-DR2 linked to the encephalitogenic human MOG-35-55 peptide, was recently shown to be safe and well-tolerated in a Phase I clinical trial in MS. To evaluate the opposing biological effects of four- vs. two-domain class-II structures, we screened phage Fab antibodies (Abs) for neutralizing activity of RTL1000. . Five different TCR-like Abs were identified that could distinguish between the two- vs. four-domain MHC peptide complexes, while the cognate TCR was unable to make such a distinction. Moreover, Fab detection of native two-domain HLA-DR structures in human plasma implies that there are naturally-occurring regulatory MHC-peptide complexes. These results demonstrate for the first time distinct conformational determinants characteristic of activating vs. tolerogenic MHC-peptide complexes involved in human autoimmunity.
Autoimmunity; Recombinant Antibodies; Immune tolerance; MHC class II
Background. Recombinant T-cell receptor ligand 1000 (RTL1000) is a single-chain protein construct containing the outer two domains of HLA-DR2 linked to myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein- (MOG-) 35–55 peptide. Analogues of RTL1000 induce T-cell tolerance, reverse clinical and histological disease, and promote repair in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in DR2 transgenic, C57BL/6, and SJL/J mice. Objective. Determining the maximum tolerated dose, safety, and tolerability of RTL1000 in multiple sclerosis (MS) subjects. Methods. This was a multicenter, Phase I dose-escalation study in HLA-DR2+ MS subjects. Consecutive cohorts received RTL1000 doses of 2, 6, 20, 60, 200, and 100 mg, respectively. Subjects within each cohort randomly received a single intravenous infusion of RTL1000 or placebo at a 4 : 2 ratio. Safety monitoring included clinical, laboratory, and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluations. Results. Thirty-four subjects completed the protocol. All subjects tolerated the 2–60 mg doses of RTL1000. Doses ≥100 mg caused hypotension and diarrhea in 3 of 4 subjects, leading to discontinuation of further enrollment. Conclusions. The maximum tolerated dose of RTL1000 in MS subjects is 60 mg, comparable to effective RTL doses in EAE. RTL1000 is a novel approach for MS treatment that may induce immunoregulation without immunosuppression and promote neural repair.
Increased remissions in multiple sclerosis (MS) during pregnancy suggest that elevated levels of sex steroids exert immunoregulatory activity. Estrogen (E2=17β-estradiol) protects against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), but the cellular basis for E2-induced protection remains unclear. Studies demonstrate that depletion of B cells prior to induction of EAE exacerbates disease severity, implicating regulatory B cells. We thus evaluated pathogenic and E2-induced protective mechanisms in B cell deficient (µMT−/−) mice. EAE-protective effects of E2 were abrogated in µMT−/−) mice, with no reduction in disease severity, cellular infiltration or pro-inflammatory factors in the CNS compared to untreated controls. E2 treatment of WT mice selectively up-regulated expression of PD-L1 on B cells and increased the percentage of IL-10-producing CD1dhighCD5+ regulatory B cells. Upregulation of PD-L1 was critical for E2-mediated protection since E2 did not inhibit EAE in PD-L1−/− mice. Direct treatment of B cells with E2 significantly reduced proliferation of MOG35–55-specific T cells that required ERα. These results demonstrate for the first time a requirement for B cells in E2-mediated protection against EAE involving direct E2 effects on regulatory B cells mediated through ERα and the PD-1/PD-L1 negative co-stimulatory pathway. E2-primed B cells may represent an important regulatory mechanism in MS and have strong implications for women receiving current MS therapies that cause B-cell depletion.
EAE; Multiple Sclerosis; Estrogen; Regulatory B cells
Experimental cerebral ischemic stroke is exacerbated by inflammatory T-cells and is accompanied by systemic increases in CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T-cells (Treg). To determine their effect on ischemic brain injury, Treg were depleted in Foxp3DTR mice prior to stroke induction. In contrast to a recent Nature Medicine report, our results demonstrate unequivocally that Treg depletion did not affect stroke infarct volume, thus failing to implicate this regulatory pathway in limiting stroke damage.
Cerebral ischemia; T lymphocyte; T regulatory cells; middle cerebral artery occlusion; stroke
A human Recombinant T-cell receptor Ligand (RTL1000) consisting of DR2 α1 and β1 domains linked covalently to MOG-35-55 peptide can reverse clinical and histological signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and was evaluated for safety in a Phase 1 randomized, placebo-controlled, escalating dose study in 34 subjects with multiple sclerosis (MS). RTL1000 was safe and well tolerated at a dose of ≤60mg that is well within the effective dose range for EAE and did not cause worsening of MS disease at doses ≤200mg. RTL1000 represents a novel approach for the treatment of MS that promises potent immunoregulation and CNS repair without global immunosuppression.
Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE); Multiple Sclerosis (MS); Recombinant T cell receptor Ligand (RTL); neuroprotection; clinical trial
A key target for novel stroke therapy is the regulation of post-ischemic inflammatory mechanisms. Recent evidence emphasizes the role of T lymphocytes of differing subtypes in the evolution is ischemic brain damage. We have recently demonstrated the benefit of myelin antigen-specific immunodulatory agents known as recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTLs) in a standard murine model of focal stroke. The aim of the current study was to extend this initial observation to RTL treatment in a therapeutically relevant timing after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) and verify functional benefit to complement histological outcome measures. We observed that the administration of mouse-specific RTL551 reduced infarct size and improved sensorimotor outcome when administered within a 3 h post-ischemic therapeutic window. RTL551 treatment reduced cortical, caudate putamen, and total infarct volume as compared to vehicle-treated mice. Using a standard behavioral testing repertoire, we observed that RTL551 reduced sensorimotor impairment 3 days after MCAO. Humanized RTL1000 (HLA-DR2 moiety linked to hMOG-35-55 peptide) also reduced infarct size in HLA-DR2 transgenic mice. These data indicate that this neuroantigen-specific immunomodulatory agent reduces damage when administered in a therapeutically relevant reperfusion timeframe.
Cerebral ischemia; Cerebral infarction; Inflammation; T lymphocyte; Immunotherapy; Mouse; Middle cerebral artery occlusion; Stroke
Recombinant T cell ligands (RTLs) ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in antigen specific manner. We evaluated effects of RTL401 (I-As α1β1 + PLP-139-151) on splenocytes from mice with EAE to study RTL- T cell-tolerance-inducing mechanisms. RTLs bound to B, macrophages and DCs, through RTL-MHC-α1β1 moiety. RTL binding reduced CD11b expression on splenic macrophages/DC, and RTL401-conditioned macrophages/DC, not B cells, inhibited T cell activation. Reduced ability of RTL- incubated splenocytes to transfer EAE was likely mediated through macrophages/DC, since B cells were unnecessary for RTL treatment of EAE. These results demonstrate novel pathway of T cell regulation by RTL bound APCs.
EAE; RTLs; tolerance; APCs
Reduced risk and severity of stroke in adult females is thought to depend on normal endogenous levels of estrogen, a well-known neuroprotectant and immunomodulator. In male mice, experimental stroke induces immunosuppression of the peripheral immune system, characterized by a reduction in spleen size and cell numbers and decreased cytokine and chemokine expression. However, stroke-induced immunosuppression has not been evaluated in female mice. To test the hypothesis that estradiol (E2) deficiency exacerbates immunosuppression after focal stroke in females, we evaluated the effect of middle cerebral artery occlusion on infarct size and peripheral and CNS immune responses in ovariectomized mice with or without sustained, controlled levels of 17-β–E2 administered by s.c. implant or the putative membrane estrogen receptor agonist, G1. Both E2- and G1-replacement decreased infarct volume and partially restored splenocyte numbers. Moreover, E2-replacement increased splenocyte proliferation in response to stimulation with anti-CD3/CD28 Abs and normalized aberrant mRNA expression for cytokines, chemokines, and chemokine receptors and percentage of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T regulatory cells observed in E2-deficient animals. These beneficial changes in peripheral immunity after E2 replacement were accompanied by a profound reduction in expression of the chemokine, MIP-2, and a 40-fold increased expression of CCR7 in the lesioned brain hemisphere. These results demonstrate for the first time that E2 replacement in ovariectomized female mice improves stroke-induced peripheral immunosuppression.
Recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTLs) that target encephalitogenic T-cells can reverse clinical and histological signs of EAE, and are currently in clinical trials for treatment of multiple sclerosis. To evaluate possible regulatory mechanisms, we tested effects of RTL therapy on expression of pathogenic and effector T-cell maturation markers, CD226, T-bet and CD44, by CD4+ Th1 cells early after treatment of MOG-35-55 peptide-induced EAE in C57BL/6 mice. We showed that 1–5 daily injections of RTL551 (two-domain I-Ab covalently linked to MOG-35-55 peptide), but not the control RTL550 (“empty” two-domain I-Ab without a bound peptide) or Vehicle, reduced clinical signs of EAE, prevented trafficking of cells outside the spleen, significantly reduced the frequency of CD226 and T-bet expressing CD4+ T-cells in blood and inhibited expansion of CD44 expressing CD4+ T-cells in blood and spleen. Concomitantly, RTL551 selectively reduced CNS inflammatory lesions, absolute numbers of CNS infiltrating T-bet expressing CD4+ T-cells and IL-17 and IFN-γ secretion by CNS derived MOG-35-55 reactive cells cultured ex vivo. These novel results demonstrate that a major effect of RTL therapy is to attenuate Th1 specific changes in CD4+ T-cells during EAE and prevent expansion of effector T-cells that mediate clinical signs and CNS inflammation in EAE.
Increasing evidence suggests that in addition to T cell dependent effector mechanisms, autoantibodies are also involved in the pathogenesis of MS, including demyelinating antibodies specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). Our previous studies have demonstrated that recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTLs) are very effective for treating T cell mediated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In order to expand the scope of RTL therapy in MS patients, it was of interest to study RTL treatment of EAE involving a demyelinating antibody component. Therefore, we evaluated the therapeutic effects of RTL551, specific for T cells reactive to mouse (m)MOG-35-55 peptide, on EAE induced with recombinant human (rh)MOG in C57BL/6 mice. We report that RTL551 therapy can reverse disease progression and reduce demyelination and axonal damage induced by rhMOG without suppressing the anti-MOG antibody response. This result suggests that T cell mediated inflammation and associated blood-brain barrier dysfunction are the central contributors to EAE pathogenesis, and that successful regulation of these key players restricts potential damage by demyelinating antibodies. The results of our study lend support for the use of RTL therapy for treatment of MS subjects whose disease includes inflammatory T cells as well as those with an additional antibody component.
EAE; MS; recombinant human MOG; CNS damage
The regulatory role of programmed death 1 (PD-1) was investigated in the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Typical EAE could be induced by immunization without pertussis toxin (PTX) in PD-1-null but not in wild-type (WT) mice. However, both strains developed a similar EAE phenotype when immunized with PTX or by adoptive transfer of pathogenic T cells. In WT mice that did not develop EAE after immunization without PTX, the frequency of CD4+FoxP3+ Treg cells was boosted in the periphery but not in the thymus. This increase in Treg frequency was abrogated by PD-1 deficiency or inclusion of PTX. In addition, PD-1 expression was critical to in vitro conversion of naïve myelin-specific CD4 T cells into Treg cells and was directly related to Treg suppressive activity. Finally, PD-1 was markedly down-modulated in the periphery of WT mice after administration of PTX. Therefore, down-modulation of PD-1 in Treg cells may abrogate Treg-mediated immune suppression, permitting the activation of myelin-reactive T cells and induction of EAE.
multiple sclerosis; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; programmed death 1; regulatory T cells; pertussis toxin
The inflammatory status of the brain in patients as well as animal models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been extensively studied. Accumulation of activated microglia producing TNF-α and MCP-1 contribute to the pathology of the disease. However, little is known about the changes in the spleen and associated peripheral immunity that might contribute to AD pathology. The goal of this study was to characterize phenotypic and functional changes in spleen, blood and brain cell populations that contribute to development of an AD-like disease in a triple transgenic (3xTg-AD) mouse model. The 3xTg-AD mice had increased percentages of brain Gr-1+ granulocytes, dendritic cells and macrophages, spleen and blood derived CD8+Ly6C+ memory T cells and CCR6+ B cells, as well as increased levels of secreted IL-6. Brain tissue from older 12 month old symptomatic 3xTg-AD female mice exhibited highly elevated mRNA expression of CCR6 compared to WT mice. Importantly, this pronounced increase in expression of CCR6 was also detected in brain and spleen tissue from pre-symptomatic 5-6 month old 3xTg-AD females and males. Our data demonstrate increased expression of CCR6 in the brain and peripheral immune organs of both pre-symptomatic and symptomatic 3xTg-AD mice, strongly suggesting an ongoing inflammatory process that precedes onset of clinical AD-like disease.
Alzheimer's disease; CCR6; 3xTg-AD mice; inflammation
Recombinant T cell receptor ligands (RTLs) are bio-engineered molecules that may serve as novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). RTLs contain membrane distal α1 plus β1 domains of class II major histocompatibility complex linked covalently to specific peptides that can be used to regulate T cell responses and inhibit experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The mechanisms by which RTLs impede local recruitment and retention of inflammatory cells in the CNS, however, are not completely understood.
We have recently shown that RTLs bind strongly to B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells, but not to T cells, in an antigenic-independent manner, raising the question whether peripheral blood cells express a distinct RTL-receptor. Our study was designed to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which RTLs bind human blood platelets, and the ability of RTL to modulate platelet function.
Our data demonstrate that human blood platelets support binding of RTL. Immobilized RTL initiated platelet intracellular calcium mobilization and lamellipodia formation through a pathway dependent upon Src and PI3 kinases signaling. The presence of RTL in solution reduced platelet aggregation by collagen, while treatment of whole blood with RTL prolonged occlusive thrombus formation on collagen.
Platelets, well-known regulators of hemostasis and thrombosis, have been implicated in playing a major role in inflammation and immunity. This study provides the first evidence that blood platelets express a functional RTL-receptor with a putative role in modulating pathways of neuroinflammation.