Article

The Immunoregulatory Enzyme IDO Paradoxically Drives B Cell-Mediated Autoimmunity

The Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Wynnewood, PA 19096, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 07/2009; 182(12):7509-17. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.0804328
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and debilitating inflammatory autoimmune disease of unknown etiology. As with a variety of autoimmune disorders, evidence of elevated tryptophan catabolism has been detected in RA patients indicative of activation of the immunomodulatory enzyme IDO. However, the role that IDO plays in the disease process is not well understood. The conceptualization that IDO acts solely to suppress effector T cell activation has led to the general assumption that inhibition of IDO activity should exacerbate autoimmune disorders. Recent results in cancer models, however, suggest a more complex role for IDO as an integral component of the inflammatory microenvironment necessary for supporting tumor outgrowth. This has led us to investigate the involvement of IDO in the pathological inflammation associated with RA. Using the K/BxN murine RA model and IDO inhibitor 1-methyl-tryptophan, we found that inhibiting IDO activity had the unexpected consequence of ameliorating, rather than exacerbating arthritis symptoms. 1-Methyl tryptophan treatment led to decreased autoantibody titers, reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines, and an attenuated disease course. This alleviation of arthritis was not due to an altered T cell response, but rather resulted from a diminished autoreactive B cell response, thus demonstrating a previously unappreciated role for IDO in stimulating B cell responses. Our findings raise the question of how an immunosuppressive enzyme can paradoxically drive autoimmunity. We suggest that IDO is not simply immunosuppressive, but rather plays a more complex role in modulating inflammatory responses, in particular those that are driven by autoreactive B cells.

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Available from: George C Prendergast, Jun 03, 2015
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