Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a severe autoimmune disease involving blistering of the skin and mucous membranes. It is caused by autoantibodies against desmoglein 3 (Dsg3), an adhesion molecule critical for maintaining epithelial integrity in the skin, oral mucosa, and esophagus. Knowing the antigen targeted by the autoantibodies renders PV a valuable model of autoimmunity. Recently, a role for Dsg3-specific CD4+ T helper cells in autoantibody production was demonstrated in a mouse model of PV, but whether these cells exert cytotoxicity in the tissues is unclear. Here, we analyzed 3 Dsg3-specific TCRs using transgenic mice and retrovirus induction. Dsg3-specific transgenic (Dsg3H1) T cells underwent deletion in the presence of Dsg3 in vivo. Dsg3H1 T cells that developed in the absence of Dsg3 elicited a severe pemphigus-like phenotype when cotransferred into immunodeficient mice with B cells from Dsg3–/– mice. Strikingly, in addition to humoral responses, T cell infiltration of Dsg3-expressing tissues led to interface dermatitis, a distinct form of T cell–mediated autoimmunity that causes keratinocyte apoptosis and is seen in various inflammatory/autoimmune skin diseases, including paraneoplastic pemphigus. The use of retrovirally generated Dsg3-specific T cells revealed that interface dermatitis occurred in an IFN-γ– and TCR avidity–dependent manner. This model of autoimmunity demonstrates that T cells specific for a physiological skin-associated autoantigen are capable of inducing interface dermatitis and should provide a valuable tool for further exploring the immunopathophysiology of T cell–mediated skin diseases.
Hayato Takahashi, Michiyoshi Kouno, Keisuke Nagao, Naoko Wada, Tsuyoshi Hata, Shuhei Nishimoto, Yoichiro Iwakura, Akihiko Yoshimura, Taketo Yamada, Masataka Kuwana, Hideki Fujii, Shigeo Koyasu, Masayuki Amagai
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as common baldness, is characterized by a marked decrease in hair follicle size, which could be related to the loss of hair follicle stem or progenitor cells. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed bald and non-bald scalp from AGA individuals for the presence of hair follicle stem and progenitor cells. Cells expressing cytokeratin15 (KRT15), CD200, CD34, and integrin, α6 (ITGA6) were quantitated via flow cytometry. High levels of KRT15 expression correlated with stem cell properties of small cell size and quiescence. These KRT15hi stem cells were maintained in bald scalp samples. However, CD200hiITGA6hi and CD34hi cell populations — which both possessed a progenitor phenotype, in that they localized closely to the stem cell–rich bulge area but were larger and more proliferative than the KRT15hi stem cells — were markedly diminished. In functional assays, analogous CD200hiItga6hi cells from murine hair follicles were multipotent and generated new hair follicles in skin reconstitution assays. These findings support the notion that a defect in conversion of hair follicle stem cells to progenitor cells plays a role in the pathogenesis of AGA.
Luis A. Garza, Chao-Chun Yang, Tailun Zhao, Hanz B. Blatt, Michelle Lee, Helen He, David C. Stanton, Lee Carrasco, Jeffrey H. Spiegel, John W. Tobias, George Cotsarelis
Dysregulated angiogenesis is a hallmark of chronic inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis, a common skin disorder that affects approximately 2% of the population. Studying both human psoriasis in 2 complementary xenotransplantation models and psoriasis-like skin lesions in transgenic mice with epidermal expression of human TGF-β1, we have demonstrated that antiangiogenic non-viral somatic gene therapy reduces the cutaneous microvasculature and alleviates chronic inflammatory skin disorders. Transient muscular expression of the recombinant disintegrin domain (RDD) of metargidin (also known as ADAM-15) by in vivo electroporation reduced cutaneous angiogenesis and vascularization in all 3 models. As demonstrated using red fluorescent protein–coupled RDD, the treatment resulted in muscular expression of the gene product and its deposition within the cutaneous hyperangiogenic connective tissue. High-resolution ultrasound revealed reduced cutaneous blood flow in vivo after electroporation with RDD but not with control plasmids. In addition, angiogenesis- and inflammation-related molecular markers, keratinocyte proliferation, epidermal thickness, and clinical disease scores were downregulated in all models. Thus, non-viral antiangiogenic gene therapy can alleviate psoriasis and may do so in other angiogenesis-related inflammatory skin disorders.
John R. Zibert, Katrin Wallbrecht, Margarete Schön, Lluis M. Mir, Grete K. Jacobsen, Veronique Trochon-Joseph, Céline Bouquet, Louise S. Villadsen, Ruggero Cadossi, Lone Skov, Michael P. Schön
Amputation as a result of impaired wound healing is a serious complication of diabetes. Inadequate angiogenesis contributes to poor wound healing in diabetic patients. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) normally augment angiogenesis and wound repair but are functionally impaired in diabetics. Here we report that decreased expression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) in EPCs contributes to impaired would healing in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes. A decreased frequency of circulating EPCs was detected in type 2 diabetic (db/db) mice, and when isolated, these cells exhibited decreased expression and activity of MnSOD. Wound healing and angiogenesis were markedly delayed in diabetic mice compared with normal controls. For cell therapy, topical transplantation of EPCs onto excisional wounds in diabetic mice demonstrated that diabetic EPCs were less effective than normal EPCs at accelerating wound closure. Transplantation of diabetic EPCs after MnSOD gene therapy restored their ability to mediate angiogenesis and wound repair. Conversely, siRNA-mediated knockdown of MnSOD in normal EPCs reduced their activity in diabetic wound healing assays. Increasing the number of transplanted diabetic EPCs also improved the rate of wound closure. Our findings demonstrate that cell therapy using diabetic EPCs after ex vivo MnSOD gene transfer accelerates their ability to heal wounds in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes.
Eric J. Marrotte, Dan-Dan Chen, Jeffrey S. Hakim, Alex F. Chen
Pemphigus is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which antibodies specific for desmogleins (Dsgs) cause loss of keratinocyte cell adhesion and blisters. In order to understand how antibodies cause pathogenicity and whether there are commonalities among antibodies in different patients that could ultimately be used to target specific therapy against these antibodies, we characterized Dsg-specific mAbs cloned by phage display from 3 patients with pemphigus vulgaris and 2 with pemphigus foliaceus. Variable heavy chain gene usage was restricted, but similar genes were used for both pathogenic and nonpathogenic mAbs. However, the heavy chain complementarity-determining region 3 (H-CDR3) of most pathogenic, but not nonpathogenic, mAbs shared an amino acid consensus sequence. Randomization of the H-CDR3 and site-directed mutagenesis indicated that changes in this sequence could block pathogenicity but not necessarily binding. In addition, for 2 antibodies with longer H-CDR3s, a tryptophan was critical for pathogenicity but not binding, a result that is consistent with blocking the tryptophan acceptor site that is thought to be necessary for Dsg-mediated adhesion. These studies indicate that H-CDR3 is critical for pathogenicity of a human autoantibody, that a small region (even 1 amino acid) can mediate pathogenicity, and that pathogenicity can be uncoupled from binding in these antibodies.
Jun Yamagami, Aimee S. Payne, Stephen Kacir, Ken Ishii, Don L. Siegel, John R. Stanley
Primary human keratinocytes are useful for studying the pathogenesis of many different diseases of the cutaneous and mucosal epithelia. In addition, they can form organotypic tissue equivalents in culture that can be used as epidermal autografts for wound repair as well as for the delivery of gene therapy. However, primary keratinocytes have a finite lifespan in culture that limits their proliferative capacity and clinical use. Here, we report that treatment of primary keratinocytes (originating from 3 different anatomical sites) with Y-27632, a Rho kinase inhibitor, greatly increased their proliferative capacity and resulted in efficient immortalization without detectable cell crisis. More importantly, the immortalized cells displayed characteristics typical of primary keratinocytes; they had a normal karyotype and an intact DNA damage response and were able to differentiate into a stratified epithelium. This is the first example to our knowledge of a defined chemical compound mediating efficient cell immortalization, and this finding could have wide-ranging and profound investigational and medical applications.
Sandra Chapman, Xuefeng Liu, Craig Meyers, Richard Schlegel, Alison A. McBride
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of skin and soft tissue infections, and rapidly emerging antibiotic-resistant strains are creating a serious public health concern. If immune-based therapies are to be an alternative to antibiotics, greater understanding is needed of the protective immune response against S. aureus infection in the skin. Although neutrophil recruitment is required for immunity against S. aureus, a role for T cells has been suggested. Here, we used a mouse model of S. aureus cutaneous infection to investigate the contribution of T cells to host defense. We found that mice deficient in γδ but not αβ T cells had substantially larger skin lesions with higher bacterial counts and impaired neutrophil recruitment compared with WT mice. This neutrophil recruitment was dependent upon epidermal Vγ5+ γδ T cell production of IL-17, but not IL-21 and IL-22. Furthermore, IL-17 induction required IL-1, TLR2, and IL-23 and was critical for host defense, since IL-17R–deficient mice had a phenotype similar to that of γδ T cell–deficient mice. Importantly, γδ T cell–deficient mice inoculated with S. aureus and treated with a single dose of recombinant IL-17 had lesion sizes and bacterial counts resembling those of WT mice, demonstrating that IL-17 could restore the impaired immunity in these mice. Our study defines what we believe to be a novel role for IL-17–producing epidermal γδ T cells in innate immunity against S. aureus cutaneous infection.
John S. Cho, Eric M. Pietras, Nairy C. Garcia, Romela Irene Ramos, David M. Farzam, Holly R. Monroe, Julie E. Magorien, Andrew Blauvelt, Jay K. Kolls, Ambrose L. Cheung, Genhong Cheng, Robert L. Modlin, Lloyd S. Miller
The human epidermis serves 2 crucial barrier functions: it protects against water loss and prevents penetration of infectious agents and allergens. The physiology of the epidermis is maintained by a balance of protease and antiprotease activities, as illustrated by the rare genetic skin disease Netherton syndrome (NS), in which impaired inhibition of serine proteases causes severe skin erythema and scaling. Here, utilizing mass spectrometry, we have identified elastase 2 (ELA2), which we believe to be a new epidermal protease that is specifically expressed in the most differentiated layer of living human and mouse epidermis. ELA2 localized to keratohyalin granules, where it was found to directly participate in (pro-)filaggrin processing. Consistent with the observation that ELA2 was hyperactive in skin from NS patients, transgenic mice overexpressing ELA2 in the granular layer of the epidermis displayed abnormal (pro-)filaggrin processing and impaired lipid lamellae structure, which are both observed in NS patients. These anomalies led to dehydration, implicating ELA2 in the skin barrier defect seen in NS patients. Thus, our work identifies ELA2 as a major new epidermal protease involved in essential pathways for skin barrier function. These results highlight the importance of the control of epidermal protease activity in skin homeostasis and designate ELA2 as a major protease driving the pathogenesis of NS.
Chrystelle Bonnart, Céline Deraison, Matthieu Lacroix, Yoshikazu Uchida, Céline Besson, Aurélie Robin, Anaïs Briot, Marie Gonthier, Laurence Lamant, Pierre Dubus, Bernard Monsarrat, Alain Hovnanian
Anna Mandinova, Vihren Kolev, Victor Neel, Bing Hu, Wesley Stonely, Jocelyn Lieb, Xunwei Wu, Claudia Colli, Rong Han, Michael J. Pazin, Paola Ostano, Reinhard Dummer, Janice L. Brissette, G. Paolo Dotto
The Rho family GTPases Cdc42 and Rac1 are critical regulators of the actin cytoskeleton and are essential for skin and hair function. Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome family proteins act downstream of these GTPases, controlling actin assembly and cytoskeletal reorganization, but their role in epithelial cells has not been characterized in vivo. Here, we used a conditional knockout approach to assess the role of neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP), the ubiquitously expressed Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome–like (WASL) protein, in mouse skin. We found that N-WASP deficiency in mouse skin led to severe alopecia, epidermal hyperproliferation, and ulceration, without obvious effects on epidermal differentiation and wound healing. Further analysis revealed that the observed alopecia was likely the result of a progressive and ultimately nearly complete block in hair follicle (HF) cycling by 5 months of age. N-WASP deficiency also led to abnormal proliferation of skin progenitor cells, resulting in their depletion over time. Furthermore, N-WASP deficiency in vitro and in vivo correlated with decreased GSK-3β phosphorylation, decreased nuclear localization of β-catenin in follicular keratinocytes, and decreased Wnt-dependent transcription. Our results indicate a critical role for N-WASP in skin function and HF cycling and identify a link between N-WASP and Wnt signaling. We therefore propose that N-WASP acts as a positive regulator of β-catenin–dependent transcription, modulating differentiation of HF progenitor cells.
Anna Lyubimova, John J. Garber, Geeta Upadhyay, Andrey Sharov, Florentina Anastasoaie, Vijay Yajnik, George Cotsarelis, Gian Paolo Dotto, Vladimir Botchkarev, Scott B. Snapper