Background & Aims
Immunodeficiency and autoimmune sequelae, including colitis, develop in patients and mice deficient in Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASP), a hematopoietic-specific intracellular signaling molecule that regulates the actin cytoskeleton. Development of colitis in WASP-deficient mice requires lymphocytes; transfer of T cells is sufficient to induce colitis in immunodeficient mice. We investigated the interactions between innate and adaptive immune cells in mucosal regulation during development of T-cell-mediated colitis in mice with WASP-deficient cells of the innate immune system.
Naïve and/or regulatory CD4+ T cells were transferred from 129 SvEv mice into RAG-2 deficient (RAG-2 KO) mice or mice lacking WASP and RAG-2 (WRDKO). Animals were observed for the development of colitis; effector and regulatory functions of innate immune and T cells were analyzed with in vivo and in vitro assays.
Transfer of unfractionated CD4+ T cells induced severe colitis in WRDKO, but not RAG-2 KO, mice. Naïve wild-type T cells had higher levels of effector activity and regulatory T cells had reduced suppressive function when transferred into WRDKO mice compared to RAG-2 KO mice. Regulatory T-cell proliferation, generation, and maintenance of FoxP3 expression were reduced in WRDKO recipients, and associated with reduced numbers of CD103+ tolerogenic dendritic cells and levels of interleukin (IL)-10. Administration of IL-10 prevented induction of colitis following transfer of T cells into WRDKO mice.
Defective interactions between WASP-deficient innate immune cells and normal T cells disrupt mucosal regulation, potentially by altering the functions of tolerogenic dendritic cells, production of IL-10, and homeostasis of regulatory T cells.