Experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) serves as a model for human autoimmune uveitis and for cell-mediated autoimmunity in general. EAU induced in mice by immunization with the retinal Ag interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein in CFA is driven by the Th17 response. Oral calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3) prevented as well as partly reversed disease and suppressed immunological responses. In vitro, calcitriol directly suppressed IL-17 induction in purified naive CD4+ T cells without inhibiting Th17 lineage commitment, as reflected by unaltered RORγt, STAT3, and FoxP3 expression. In contrast, in vivo treatment with calcitriol of mice challenged for EAU impaired commitment to the Th17 lineage, as judged by reduction of both RORγt and IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. Innate immune response parameters in draining lymph nodes of treated mice were suppressed, as was production of IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-12/IL-23p40, but not IL-10, by explanted splenic dendritic cells (DC). Finally, supernatants of calcitriol-conditioned bone marrow-derived DC had reduced ability to support Th17 polarization of naive CD4+ T cells in vitro and in vivo. Thus, calcitriol appears to suppress autoimmunity by inhibiting the Th17 response at several levels, including the ability of DC to support priming of Th17 cells, the ability of CD4+ T cells to commit to the Th17 lineage, and the ability of committed Th17 T cells to produce IL-17.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy