Bachelor of Medicine, Unlisted School (2004)
Doctor, Fudan University (2013)
Immune aging manifests with a combination of failing adaptive immunity and insufficiently restrained inflammation. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), T cell aging occurs prematurely, but the mechanisms involved and their contribution to tissue-destructive inflammation remain unclear. We found that RA CD4(+) T cells showed signs of aging during their primary immune responses and differentiated into tissue-invasive, proinflammatory effector cells. RA T cells had low expression of the double-strand-break repair nuclease MRE11A, leading to telomeric damage, juxtacentromeric heterochromatin unraveling, and senescence marker upregulation. Inhibition of MRE11A activity in healthy T cells induced the aging phenotype, whereas MRE11A overexpression in RA T cells reversed it. In human-synovium chimeric mice, MRE11A(low) T cells were tissue-invasive and pro-arthritogenic, and MRE11A reconstitution mitigated synovitis. Our findings link premature T cell aging and tissue-invasiveness to telomere deprotection and heterochromatin unpacking, identifying MRE11A as a therapeutic target to combat immune aging and suppress dysregulated tissue inflammation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.09.013
View details for PubMedID 27742546
Immune aging results in progressive loss of both protective immunity and T cell-mediated suppression, thereby conferring susceptibility to a combination of immunodeficiency and chronic inflammatory disease. Here, we determined that older individuals fail to generate immunosuppressive CD8+CCR7+ Tregs, a defect that is even more pronounced in the age-related vasculitic syndrome giant cell arteritis. In young, healthy individuals, CD8+CCR7+ Tregs are localized in T cell zones of secondary lymphoid organs, suppress activation and expansion of CD4 T cells by inhibiting the phosphorylation of membrane-proximal signaling molecules, and effectively inhibit proliferative expansion of CD4 T cells in vitro and in vivo. We identified deficiency of NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) as the molecular underpinning of CD8 Treg failure in the older individuals and in patients with giant cell arteritis. CD8 Tregs suppress by releasing exosomes that carry preassembled NOX2 membrane clusters and are taken up by CD4 T cells. Overexpression of NOX2 in aged CD8 Tregs promptly restored suppressive function. Together, our data support NOX2 as a critical component of the suppressive machinery of CD8 Tregs and suggest that repairing NOX2 deficiency in these cells may protect older individuals from tissue-destructive inflammatory disease, such as large-vessel vasculitis.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI84181
View details for Web of Science ID 000375182100029
View details for PubMedID 27088800