A distinct T follicular helper cell subset infiltrates the brain in murine neuropsychiatric lupus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neuropsychiatric symptoms in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are not uncommon, yet the mechanisms underlying disease initiation and progression in the brain are incompletely understood. Although the role of T cells in other lupus target organs such as the kidney is well defined, which T cells contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric SLE is not known. The present study was aimed at characterizing the CD4 T cell populations that are present in the choroid plexus (CP) of MRL/MpJ-faslpr mice, the primary site of brain infiltration in this classic lupus mouse model which exhibits a prominent neurobehavioral phenotype. T cells infiltrating the CP of MRL/MpJ-faslpr mice were characterized and subset identification was done by multiparameter flow cytometry. We found that the infiltrating CD4 T cells are activated and have an effector phenotype. Importantly, CD4 T cells have a T follicular helper cell (TFH) like phenotype, as evidenced by their surface markers and signature cytokine, IL-21. In addition, CD4 TFH cells also secrete significant levels of IFN-γ and express Bcl-6, thereby conforming to a potentially pathogenic T helper population that can drive the disease progression. Interestingly, the regulatory axis comprising CD4 T regulatory cells is diminished. These results suggest that accumulation of CD4 TFH in the brain of MRL/MpJ-faslpr mice may contribute to the neuropsychiatric manifestations of SLE, and point to this T cell subset as a possible novel therapeutic candidate.

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Choroid plexus
  • MRL/lpr
  • Neuropsychiatric lupus
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • T follicular helper cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology