[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thymic involution is a prominent characteristic of an aging immune system. When thymic function is reduced/absent, the peripheral T cell pool is subject to the laws of peripheral T cell homeostasis that favor survival/expansion of T cell receptors with relatively higher functional avidity for self-peptide/MHC complexes. Due to difficulties in assessing the TCR avidity in polyclonal population of T cells, it is currently not known whether high avidity T cells preferentially survive in aging individuals, and what impact this might have on the function of the immune system and development of autoimmune diseases.
The phenotype of T cells from aged mice (18-24 months) indicating functional TCR avidity (CD3 and CD5 expression) correlates with the level of preserved thymic function. In mice with moderate thymic output (> 30% of peripheral CD62L(hi) T cells), T cells displayed CD3(low)CD5(hi) phenotype characteristic for high functional avidity. In old mice with drastically low numbers of CD62L(hi) T cells reduced CD5 levels were found. After adult thymectomy, T cells of young mice developed CD3(low)CD5(hi) phenotype, followed by a CD3(low)CD5(low) phenotype. Spleens of old mice with the CD3(low)/CD5(hi) T cell phenotype displayed increased levels of IL-10 mRNA, and their T cells could be induced to secrete IL-10 in vitro. In contrast, downmodulation of CD5 was accompanied with reduced IL-10 expression and impaired anti-CD3 induced proliferation. Irrespective of the CD3/CD5 phenotype, reduced severity of experimental allergic myelitis occurred in old mice. In MTB TCRβ transgenic mice that display globally elevated TCR avidity for self peptide/MHC, identical change patterns occurred, only at an accelerated pace.
These findings suggest that age-associated dysfunctions of the immune system could in part be due to functional erosion of T cells devised to protect the hosts from the prolonged exposure to T cells with high-avidity for self.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T cells with high avidity for antigens are thought to mediate more effective immunity against foreign antigens and cause more severe autoimmunity. The impact of T cell receptor (TCR) avidity on the development of lupus has not been investigated. We took advantage of a transgenic mouse strain (designated MTB) that has a diverse T cell population and a globally stronger reactivity to self. [MTBxBXSB]F1 mice displayed accelerated lupus relative to the [WTxBXSB]F1 controls. The severity of lupus and the activation of T cells subsided with aging, when elevated IL-10 production by Tr1 cells was observed. Thus, chronic high avidity interactions of T cells with self-antigens can lead to an age associated increase in IL-10 production. This could explain the age-associated reduction of the incidence of lupus, as well as other autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the principle of Tr1 differentiation based on diverse T cells with high avidity for self may potentially be used as a therapeutic strategy in the treatment of lupus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) who receive red blood cell (RBC) transfusions have a higher rate of anti-RBC (allo and auto) antibody development than other transfused subjects. We hypothesized that an incidence and/or kinetics of RBC-specific antibody formation in SCD patients is influenced by a linked inheritance of the hemoglobin beta S (HbbetaS) allele and a polymorphism rs660C/T in the neighboring Ro52 gene. We found that 75% of C/T heterozygous and only 30.8% of T/T homozygous patients that developed antibodies were first transfused before the age of five. In addition, there was a significant inverse correlation between time of exposure to antigen or number of transfusions received and the age when T/T patients received first transfusion, indicating progressive development of competence of their immune system. In contrast, this correlation was not observed in patients with C/T genotype. Finally, increased expression of Ro52 was associated with the presence of the T/T genotype. These results suggest that rs660 polymorphism is a marker of efficiency of tolerance induction in early childhood and immune competence development to RBC antigens in SCD patients of pre-teen/teen age.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reactivity to self-peptide/MHC complexes is required for selection of the TCR repertoire in the thymus but can also promote autoimmunity. Reduced TCR sensitivity of mature T cells is thought to help control the autoreactivity in peripheral T cells. The molecular basis for reduced sensitivity of peripheral T cells is not known. We found that peripheral T cells, but not immature thymocytes, lacking IFN-gamma-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase (GILT) display increased sensitivity to TCR ligation. GILT-/- peripheral T cells express reduced levels of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase 2 and consequently display higher levels of reactive oxygen radicals and ERK1/2 phosphorylation following activation. The increased sensitivity of GILT-deficient T cells results in a more severe hyperglycemia associated with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. GILT expression levels progressively increase in T cells with maturation. These data suggest that regulation of GILT expression may be a mechanism of T cell differentiation-associated changes in sensitivity to TCR engagement.
The Journal of Immunology 02/2009; 182(2):746-50. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.182.2.746 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Central tolerance plays a significant role in preventing autoimmune diseases by eliminating T cells with high and intermediate avidity for self. To determine the manner of setting the threshold for deletion, we created a unique transgenic mouse strain with a diverse T cell population and globally increased TCR avidity for self-peptide/MHC complexes. Despite the adaptations aimed at reducing T cell reactivity (reduced TCR levels and increased levels of TCR signaling inhibitor CD5), transgenic mice displayed more severe experimental allergic encephalomyelitis and lupus. The numbers and activity of natural (CD4(+)CD25(+)) regulatory T cells were not altered. These findings demonstrate that the threshold for deletion is adaptable, allowing survival of T cells with higher avidity when TCR avidity is globally increased.
The Journal of Immunology 12/2008; 181(10):6770-8. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.181.10.6770 · 4.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gamma interferon-inducible thiol reductase (GILT) is an enzyme involved in the initial steps of antigen processing and presentation. Recently we have shown that GILT is also expressed in mouse T cells, where it exerts an inhibitory role on T cell activation. In this study, we identified mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2) as one of the key intermediaries affected by GILT expression in fibroblasts. Expression and activity of SOD2 is reduced in the absence of GILT because of reduced SOD2 protein stability. The forced increase in SOD2 expression in the absence of GILT restores fibroblast proliferation to wild-type levels. Thus, GILT appears to have a fundamental role in cellular proliferation mediated through its influence on SOD2 protein activity and expression.