Dendritic cells (DCs)are central regulators of tolerance versus immunity. The outcome depends amongst others on DC subset and activation status. Whereas CD11b+ type 2 conventional DCs (cDC2s)initiate proinflammatory helper T (Th)-cell responses, CD103+ cDC1s are crucial for regulatory T-cell (Treg)induction and CD8+ T-cell activation. DC activation is controlled by the transcription factor NF-κB. Ablation of A20/Tnfaip3, a critical regulator of NF-κB activation, in DCs leads to constitutive DC activation and development of systemic autoimmunity. We hypothesized that the activation status of cDCs controls the development of autoimmunity. To target cDCs, DNGR1(Clec9a)-cre-mediated excision of A20/Tnfaip3 was used through generation of Tnfaip3fl/flxClec9a+/cre (Tnfaip3DNGR1−KO)mice. Immune cell activation was evaluated at 31-weeks of age. We found that DNGR1-cre-mediated deletion of A20/Tnfaip3 resulted in liver pathology characterized by inflammatory infiltrates adjacent to the portal triads. Both cDC subsets as well as monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs)in Tnfaip3DNGR1−KO livers harbored an activated phenotype. Specifically, the costimulatory molecule CD40 in liver cDCs and moDCs was regulated by A20/Tnfaip3 expression. Livers from Tnfaip3DNGR1−KO mice had augmented proportions of Th1, Th17, Treg, and follicular Th (Tfh)-cells compared to control mice, accompanied by an increase in IgA-producing plasma cells. Serum IgA from Tnfaip3DNGR1−KO mice recognized self-proteins, specifically cytoplasmic proteins in liver periportal regions. These data show that enhanced activation of cDCs and moDCs, due to A20/Tnfaip3 ablation, promotes the development of organ-specific autoimmunity but not systemic autoimmunity. This model could be useful to examine the pathobiological processes contributing to autoimmune liver diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy