Objective: IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a fibro-inflammatory condition that can affect multiple organs. We previously demonstrated that TLR7-transgenic C57BL/6 mice showed elevated serum IgG1 levels and inflammation with fibrosis in the salivary glands (SGs), lungs, and pancreas. Moreover, we observed extensive Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR-7)–positive CD163+ M2 macrophage infiltration in SGs from IgG4-RD patients. We undertook this study to examine the fibrotic mechanism via the TLR-7 pathway. Methods: Gene expression in SGs from human TLR7-transgenic mice and IgG4-RD patients was analyzed using DNA microarrays. We extracted the common up-regulated TLR-7–related genes in SGs from TLR7-transgenic mice and IgG4-RD patients. Finally, we investigated the interaction between CD163+ M2 macrophages and fibroblasts before and after stimulation with the TLR-7 agonist loxoribine. Results: In TLR7-transgenic mice and IgG4-RD patients, IRAK3 and IRAK4 were significantly overexpressed. Real-time polymerase chain reaction validated the up-regulation of only IRAK4 in IgG4-RD patients compared with the other groups (P < 0.05). Interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase 4 (IRAK4) was strongly detected in and around germinal centers in SGs from patients with IgG4-related dacryoadenitis and sialadenitis alone. Double immunofluorescence staining showed that IRAK4-positive cells were mainly colocalized with CD163+ M2 macrophages in SGs (P < 0.05). After stimulation with loxoribine, CD163+ M2 macrophages exhibited significantly enhanced expression of IRAK4 and NF-κB and increased supernatant concentrations of fibrotic cytokines. Finally, we confirmed that the number of fibroblasts was increased by culture with the supernatant of CD163+ M2 macrophages following stimulation with loxoribine (P < 0.05). Conclusion: CD163+ M2 macrophages promote fibrosis in IgG4-RD by increasing the production of fibrotic cytokines via TLR-7/IRAK4/NF-κB signaling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy