Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
J Biol Chem 285:36158-36169, 2010
The immune system is complex, with multiple layers of regulation that serve to prevent the production of self-antigens. One layer of regulation involves regulatory T cells (Tregs) that play an essential role in maintaining peripheral self-tolerance. Patients with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis have decreased levels of HDL, suggesting that apoA-I concentrations may be important in preventing autoimmunity and the loss of self-tolerance. In published studies, hypercholesterolemic mice lacking HDL apoA-I or LDLr(-/-), apoA-I(-/-) (DKO), exhibit characteristics of autoimmunity in response to an atherogenic diet. This phenotype is characterized by enlarged cholesterol-enriched lymph nodes (LNs), as well as increased T cell activation, proliferation, and the production of autoantibodies in plasma. In this study, we investigated whether treatment of mice with lipid-free apoA-I could attenuate the autoimmune phenotype. To do this, DKO mice were first fed an atherogenic diet containing 0.1% cholesterol, 10% fat for 6 weeks, after which treatment with apoA-I was begun. Subcutaneous injections of 500 μg of lipid-free apoA-I was administered every 48 h during the treatment phase. These and control mice were maintained for an additional 6 weeks on the diet. At the end of the 12-week study, DKO mice showed decreased numbers of LN immune cells, whereas Tregs were proportionately increased. Accompanying this increase in Tregs was a decrease in the percentage of effector/effector memory T cells. Furthermore, lipid accumulation in LN and skin was reduced. These results suggest that treatment with apoA-I reduces inflammation in DKO mice by augmenting the effectiveness of the LN Treg response.
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