V-domain Immunoglobulin Suppressor of T cell Activation (VISTA) is an inhibitory immune-checkpoint molecule that suppresses CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation when expressed on antigen-presenting cells. Vsir -/- mice developed loss of peripheral tolerance and multi-organ chronic inflammatory phenotypes. Vsir -/- CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were hyper-responsive towards self-A nd foreign antigens. Whether or not VISTA regulates innate immunity is unknown. Using a murine model of psoriasis induced by TLR7 agonist imiquimod (IMQ), we show that VISTA deficiency exacerbated psoriasiform inflammation. Enhanced TLR7 signaling in Vsir -/- dendritic cells (DCs) led to the hyper-activation of Erk1/2 and Jnk1/2, and augmented the production of IL-23. IL-23, in turn, promoted the expression of IL-17A in both TCRγδ+ T cells and CD4+ Th17 cells. Furthermore, VISTA regulates the peripheral homeostasis of CD27- γδ T cells and their activation upon TCR-mediated or cytokine-mediated stimulation. IL-17A-producing CD27- γδ T cells were expanded in the Vsir -/- mice and amplified the inflammatory cascade. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated that VISTA critically regulates the inflammatory responses mediated by DCs and IL-17-producing TCRγδ+ and CD4+ Th17 T cells following TLR7 stimulation. Our finding provides a rationale for therapeutically enhancing VISTA-mediated pathways to benefit the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
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