Doctor of Philosophy, Fudan University (2013)
Microvascular networks in the adventitia of large arteries control access of inflammatory cells to the inner wall layers (media and intima) and thus protect the immune privilege of the aorta and its major branches. In autoimmune vasculitis giant cell arteritis (GCA), CD4 T helper 1 (TH1) and TH17 cells invade into the wall of the aorta and large elastic arteries to form tissue-destructive granulomas. Whether the disease microenvironment provides instructive cues for vasculitogenic T cells is unknown. We report that adventitial microvascular endothelial cells (mvECs) perform immunoregulatory functions by up-regulating the expression of the Notch ligand Jagged1. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), abundantly present in GCA patients' blood, induced Jagged1 expression, allowing mvECs to regulate effector T cell induction via the Notch-mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1) pathway. We found that circulating CD4 T cells in GCA patients have left the quiescent state, actively signal through the Notch pathway, and differentiate into TH1 and TH17 effector cells. In an in vivo model of large vessel vasculitis, exogenous VEGF functioned as an effective amplifier to recruit and activate vasculitogenic T cells. Thus, systemic VEGF co-opts endothelial Jagged1 to trigger aberrant Notch signaling, biases responsiveness of CD4 T cells, and induces pathogenic effector functions. Adventitial microvascular networks function as an instructive tissue niche, which can be exploited to target vasculitogenic immunity in large vessel vasculitis.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal3322
View details for PubMedID 28724574
Pathogenic T cells in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) infiltrate non-lymphoid tissue sites, maneuver through extracellular matrix and form lasting inflammatory microstructures. Here we found that RA T cells abundantly express the podosome scaffolding protein TKS5, which enables them to form tissue-invasive membrane structures. TKS5 overexpression was regulated by the intracellular metabolic environment of RA T cells-specifically, by reduced glycolytic flux that led to deficiencies in ATP and pyruvate. ATP(lo)pyruvate(lo) conditions triggered fatty acid biosynthesis and the formation of cytoplasmic lipid droplets. Restoration of pyruvate production or inhibition of fatty acid synthesis corrected the tissue-invasiveness of RA T cells in vivo and reversed their proarthritogenic behavior. Thus, metabolic control of T cell locomotion provides new opportunities to interfere with T cell invasion into specific tissue sites.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ni.3808
View details for PubMedID 28737753
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5568495
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
Giant cell arteritis is an autoimmune disease defined by explicit tissue tropism to the walls of medium and large arteries. Pathognomic inflammatory lesions are granulomatous in nature, emphasizing the functional role of CD4T cells and macrophages. Evidence for a pathogenic role of antibodies and immune complexes is missing. Analysis of T cell populations in giant cell arteritis, both in the tissue lesions and in the circulation, has supported a model of broad, polyclonal T cell activation, involving an array of functional T cell lineages. The signature of T cell cytokines produced by vasculitic lesions is typically multifunctional, including IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-21, and GM-CSF, supportive for a general defect in T cell regulation. Recent data describing the lack of a lymph node-based population of anti-inflammatory T cells in giant cell arteritis patients offers a fresh look at the immunopathology of this vasculitis. Due to defective CD8(+)NOX2(+) regulatory T cells, giant cell arteritis patients appear unable to curtail clonal expansion within the CD4T cell compartment, resulting in widespread CD4T cell hyperimmunity. Why unopposed expansion of committed CD4 effector T cells would lead to invasion of the walls of medium and large arteries needs to be explored in further investigations.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbspin.2016.07.005
View details for PubMedID 27663755
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