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Immune Autoregulatory CD8 T Cells Require IFN-γ Responsiveness to Optimally Suppress Central Nervous System Autoimmunity


Abstract

Investigating the complex cellular interplay controlling immunopathogenic and immunoregulatory responses is critical for understanding multiple sclerosis (MS) and for developing successful immunotherapies. Our group has demonstrated that CNS myelin-specific CD8 T cells unexpectedly harbor immune regulatory capacity in both mouse and human. In particular, PLP178-191–specific CD8 T cells (PLP-CD8) robustly suppress the MS mouse model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. We have recently shown that this depends on PLP-CD8 elaborating IFN-γ and perforin in a coordinated suppression program over time. However, the cellular target and downstream effects of CD8 T cell–derived IFN-γ remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that although wild-type (WT) PLP-CD8 were robustly suppressive in IFN-γR–deficient mice, IFN-γR–deficient PLP-CD8 exhibited suboptimal suppression in WT mice. Compared with WT counterparts, IFN-γR–deficient PLP-CD8 were defective in suppressing disease in IFN-γ–deficient recipients, a scenario in which the only IFN-γ available to WT PLP-CD8 is that which they produce themselves. Further, we found that IFN-γR–deficient PLP-CD8 exhibited altered granzyme/IFN-γ profiles, altered migration in recipients, and deficits in killing capacity in vivo. Collectively, this work suggests that IFN-γ responsiveness allows myelin-specific CD8 T cells to optimally perform autoregulatory function in vivo. These insights may help elucidate future adoptive immunotherapeutic approaches for MS patients.

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