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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Immunology - Rheumatology

Normalization of the Lymph Node T Cell Stromal Microenvironment in lpr/lpr Mice Is Associated with SU5416-Induced Reduction in Autoantibodies
Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Author: Susan Chyou et al.

by Susan Chyou, Sha Tian, Eric H. Ekland, Theresa T. Lu

The vascular-stromal elements of lymph nodes can play important roles in regulating the activities of the lymphocytes within. During model immune responses, the vascular-stromal compartment has been shown to undergo proliferative expansion and functional alterations. The state of the vascular-stromal compartment and the potential importance of this compartment in a spontaneous, chronic model of autoimmunity have not been well studied. Here, we characterize the vascular expansion in MRL-lpr/lpr lymph nodes and attempt to ask whether inhibiting this expansion can interfere with autoantibody generation. We show that characteristics of vascular expansion in enlarging MRL-lpr/lpr lymph nodes resemble that of the VEGF-dependent expansion that occurs in wild-type mice after model immunization. Surprisingly, treatment with SU5416, an inhibitor of VEGF and other receptor tyrosine kinases, did not have sustained effects in inhibiting vascular growth, but attenuated the anti-dsDNA response and altered the phenotype of the double negative T cells that are expanded in these mice. In examining for anatomic correlates of these immunologic changes, we found that the double negative T cells are localized within ectopic follicles around a central B cell patch and that these T cell-rich areas lack the T zone stromal protein ER-TR7 as well as other elements of a normal T zone microenvironment. SU5416 treatment disrupted these follicles and normalized the association between T zone microenvironmental elements and T cell-rich areas. Recent studies have shown a regulatory role for T zone stromal elements. Thus, our findings of the association of anti-dsDNA responses, double negative T cell phenotype, and altered lymphocyte microenvironment suggest the possibility that lymphocyte localization in ectopic follicles protects them from regulation by T zone stromal elements and functions to maintain autoimmune responses. Potentially, altering the lymphocyte microenvironment that is set up by the vascular-stromal compartment can be a means by which to control undesired autoimmune responses.
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