We have developed a systems biology concept to explain the origin of systemic autoimmunity. From our studies of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) we have concluded that this disease is the inevitable consequence of over-stimulating the host's immune system by repeated exposure to antigen to levels that surpass a critical threshold, which we term the system's "self-organized criticality". We observed that overstimulation of CD4 T cells in mice led to the development of autoantibody-inducing CD4 T cells (aiCD4 T) capable of generating various autoantibodies and pathological lesions identical to those observed in SLE. We show here that this is accompanied by the significant expansion of a novel population of effector T cells characterized by expression of programmed death-1 (PD-1)-positive, CD27low, CD127low, CCR7low and CD44highCD62Llow markers, as well as increased production of IL-2 and IL-6. In addition, repeated immunization caused the expansion of CD8 T cells into fully-matured cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) that express Ly6ChighCD122high effector and memory markers. Thus, overstimulation with antigen leads to the expansion of a novel effector CD4 T cell population that expresses an unusual memory marker, PD-1, and that may contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE.
|Journal||Kobe Journal of Medical Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes