The cytokine TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its receptor Fn14 are involved in cell survival and cytokine production. The TWEAK/Fn14 pathway plays a role in the pathogenesis of spontaneous cutaneous lesions in the MRL/lpr lupus strain; however, the role of TWEAK/Fn14 in disease induced by ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation has not been explored. MRL/lpr Fn14 knockout (KO) was compared to MRL/lpr Fn14 wild-type (WT) mice following exposure to UVB. We found that irradiated MRL/lpr KO mice had significantly attenuated cutaneous disease when compared to their WT counterparts. There were also fewer infiltrating immune cells (CD3+, IBA-1+ and NGAL+) in the UVB-exposed skin of MRL/lpr Fn14KO mice, as compared to Fn14WT. Furthermore, we identified several macrophage-derived proinflammatory chemokines with elevated expression in MRL/lpr mice after UV exposure. Depletion of macrophages, using a CSF-1R inhibitor, was found to be protective against the development of skin lesions after UVB exposure. In combination with the phenotype of the MRL/lpr Fn14KO mice, these findings indicate a critical role for Fn14 and recruited macrophages in UVB-triggered cutaneous lupus. Our data strongly suggest that TWEAK/Fn14 signalling is important in the pathogenesis of UVB-induced cutaneous disease manifestations in the MRL/lpr model of lupus and further support this pathway as a possible target for therapeutic intervention.
- TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis
- cutaneous lupus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology