- Impaired antibody response causes persistence of prototypic T cell-contained virus (2009)
- CD8 T cells are recognized key players in control of persistent virus infections, but increasing evidence suggests that assistance from other immune mediators is also needed. Here, we investigated whether specific antibody responses contribute to control of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a prototypic mouse model of systemic persistent infection. Mice expressing transgenic B cell receptors of LCMV-unrelated specificity, and mice unable to produce soluble immunoglobulin M (IgM) exhibited protracted viremia or failed to resolve LCMV. Virus control depended on immunoglobulin class switch, but neither on complement cascades nor on Fc receptor gamma chain or Fc gamma receptor IIB. Cessation of viremia concurred with the emergence of viral envelope-specific antibodies, rather than with neutralizing serum activity, and even early nonneutralizing IgM impeded viral persistence. This important role for virus-specific antibodies may be similarly underappreciated in other primarily T cell–controlled infections such as HIV and hepatitis C virus, and we suggest this contribution of antibodies be given consideration in future strategies for vaccination and immunotherapy.
- Breaking tolerance to the natural human liver autoantigen cytochrome P450 2D6 by virus infection (2009)
- Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver disease of unknown etiology, characterized by a loss of tolerance against hepatocytes leading to the progressive destruction of hepatic parenchyma and cirrhosis. Clinical signs for AIH are interface hepatitis and portal plasma cell infiltration, hypergammaglobulinemia, and autoantibodies. Based on serological markers AIH is defined in subtypes. The hallmark of AIH type 2 are type 1 liver/kidney microsomal autoantibodies (LKM-1), whereas AIH type 1 is characterized by the presence of anti-nuclear (ANA) and/or anti-smooth muscular (SMA) autoantibodies. The major autoantigen recognized specifically by LKM-1 autoantibodies was identified as the 2D6 isoform of the cytochrome P450 enzyme family (CYP2D6). Not much is known about the etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of AIH so far and most animal models available result in only transient hepatic liver damage after a rather complex initiation method. It was the aim of my project to generate a novel animal model for AIH that reflects the chronic and progressive destruction of the liver characteristic for the human disease while using a defined and feasible initiating event to further analyze the pathogenic mechanisms leading to the autoimmune-mediated destruction of the liver. Therefore, mice transgenically expressing the human CYP2D6 in the liver and wild-type mice were infected with a liver-tropic adenovirus expressing the human CYP2D6 (Ad-2D6). Selftolerance to CYP2D6 was broken in Ad-2D6-infected mice, resulting in persistent autoimmune liver damage, apparent by cellular infiltration, hepatic fibrosis and necrosis. Similar to type 2 AIH patients, Ad-2D6-infected mice generated LKM-1-like antibodies recognizing the same immunodominant epitope of CYP2D6. Taken together, we could introduce a new animal model that reflects the persistent autoimmune-mediated liver damage as well as the serological marker characteristic for AIH type 2 and we could demonstrate that chronic autoimmune diseases targeting the liver can be triggered by molecular mimicry occurring in the context of a hepatotropic viral infection.
- Blockade but not overexpression of the junctional adhesion molecule C influences virus-induced type 1 diabetes in mice (2013)
- Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas. Recruitment of inflammatory cells is prerequisite to beta-cell-injury. The junctional adhesion molecule (JAM) family proteins JAM-B and JAM–C are involved in polarized leukocyte transendothelial migration and are expressed by vascular endothelial cells of peripheral tissue and high endothelial venules in lympoid organs. Blocking of JAM-C efficiently attenuated cerulean-induced pancreatitis, rheumatoid arthritis or inflammation induced by ischemia and reperfusion in mice. In order to investigate the influence of JAM-C on trafficking and transmigration of antigen-specific, autoaggressive T-cells, we used transgenic mice that express a protein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) as a target autoantigen in the β-cells of the islets of Langerhans under the rat insulin promoter (RIP). Such RIP-LCMV mice turn diabetic after infection with LCMV. We found that upon LCMV-infection JAM-C protein was upregulated around the islets in RIP-LCMV mice. JAM-C expression correlated with islet infiltration and functional beta-cell impairment. Blockade with a neutralizing anti-JAM-C antibody reduced the T1D incidence. However, JAM-C overexpression on endothelial cells did not accelerate diabetes in the RIP-LCMV model. In summary, our data suggest that JAM-C might be involved in the final steps of trafficking and transmigration of antigen-specific autoaggressive T-cells to the islets of Langerhans.
- Early production of IL-22 but not IL-17 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to live Borrelia burgdorferi: the role of monocytes and interleukin-1 (2010)
- If insufficiently treated, Lyme borreliosis can evolve into an inflammatory disorder affecting skin, joints, and the CNS. Early innate immunity may determine host responses targeting infection. Thus, we sought to characterize the immediate cytokine storm associated with exposure of PBMC to moderate levels of live Borrelia burgdorferi. Since Th17 cytokines are connected to host defense against extracellular bacteria, we focused on interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-22. Here, we report that, despite induction of inflammatory cytokines including IL-23, IL-17 remained barely detectable in response to B. burgdorferi. In contrast, T cell-dependent expression of IL-22 became evident within 10 h of exposure to the spirochetes. This dichotomy was unrelated to interferon-gamma but to a large part dependent on caspase-1 and IL-1 bioactivity derived from monocytes. In fact, IL-1beta as a single stimulus induced IL-22 but not IL-17. Neutrophils display antibacterial activity against B. burgdorferi, particularly when opsonized by antibodies. Since neutrophilic inflammation, indicative of IL-17 bioactivity, is scarcely observed in Erythema migrans, a manifestation of skin inflammation after infection, protective and antibacterial properties of IL-22 may close this gap and serve essential functions in the initial phase of spirochete infection.
- Breaking tolerance to the natural human liver autoantigen cytochrome P450 2D6 by virus infection (2008)
- Autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis, often have severe consequences for the patient. Because of a lack of appropriate animal models, not much is known about their potential viral etiology. Infection by liver-tropic viruses is one possibility for the breakdown of self-tolerance. Therefore, we infected mice with adenovirus Ad5 expressing human cytochrome P450 2D6 (Ad-2D6). Ad-2D6–infected mice developed persistent autoimmune liver disease, apparent by cellular infiltration, hepatic fibrosis, “fused” liver lobules, and necrosis. Similar to type 2 AIH patients, Ad-2D6–infected mice generated type 1 liver kidney microsomal–like antibodies recognizing the immunodominant epitope WDPAQPPRD of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Interestingly, Ad-2D6–infected wild-type FVB/N mice displayed exacerbated liver damage when compared with transgenic mice expressing the identical human CYP2D6 protein in the liver, indicating the presence of a stronger immunological tolerance in CYP2D6 mice. We demonstrate for the first time that infection with a virus expressing a natural human autoantigen breaks tolerance, resulting in a chronic form of severe, autoimmune liver damage. Our novel model system should be instrumental for studying mechanisms involved in the initiation, propagation, and precipitation of virus-induced autoimmune liver diseases.