T cells expressing the lupus susceptibility allele Pbx1d enhance autoimmunity and atherosclerosis in dyslipidemic mice

Wei Li, Ahmed S. Elshikha, Caleb Cornaby, Xiangyu Teng, Georges Abboud, Josephine Brown, Xueyang Zou, Leilani Zeumer-Spataro, Brian Robusto, Seung Chul Choi, Kristianna Fredenburg, Amy Major, Laurence Morel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) present a high incidence of atherosclerosis, which contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality in this autoimmune disease. An impaired balance between regulatory (Treg) and follicular helper (Tfh) CD4+ T cells is shared by both diseases. However, whether there are common mechanisms of CD4+ T cell dysregulation between SLE and atherosclerosis remains unclear. Pre-B cell leukemia transcription factor 1 isoform d (Pbx1d) is a lupus susceptibility gene that regulates Tfh cell expansion and Treg cell homeostasis. Here, we investigated the role of T cells overexpressing Pbx1d in low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice fed with a high-fat diet, an experimental model for atherosclerosis. Pbx1d-transgenic T cells exacerbated some phenotypes of atherosclerosis, which were associated with higher autoantibody production, increased Tfh cell frequency, and impaired Treg cell regulation, in Ldlr–/– mice as compared with control T cells. In addition, we showed that dyslipidemia and Pbx1dtransgenic expression independently impaired the differentiation and function of Treg cells in vitro, suggesting a gene/environment additive effect. Thus, our results suggest that the combination of Pbx1d expression in T cells and dyslipidemia exacerbates both atherosclerosis and autoimmunity, at least in part through a dysregulation of Treg cell homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere138274
JournalJCI Insight
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 4 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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