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Autoimmune Th17 cells induced synovial stromal and innate lymphoid cell secretion of the cytokine GM-CSF to initiate and augment autoimmune arthritis

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journal contribution
posted on 12.08.2020, 11:40 by K Hirota, M Hashimoto, Y Ito, M Matsuura, H Ito, M Tanaka, H Watanabe, G Kondoh, A Tanaka, K Yasuda, M Kopf, AJ Potocnik, B Stockinger, N Sakaguchi, S Sakaguchi
Despite the importance of Th17 cells in autoimmune diseases, it remains unclear how they control other inflammatory cells in autoimmune tissue damage. Using a model of spontaneous autoimmune arthritis, we showed that arthritogenic Th17 cells stimulated fibroblast-like synoviocytes via interleukin-17 (IL-17) to secrete the cytokine GM-CSF and also expanded synovial-resident innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in inflamed joints. Activated synovial ILCs, which expressed CD25, IL-33Ra, and TLR9, produced abundant GM-CSF upon stimulation by IL-2, IL-33, or CpG DNA. Loss of GM-CSF production by either ILCs or radio-resistant stromal cells prevented Th17 cell-mediated arthritis. GM-CSF production by Th17 cells augmented chronic inflammation but was dispensable for the initiation of arthritis. We showed that GM-CSF-producing ILCs were present in inflamed joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Thus, a cellular cascade of autoimmune Th17 cells, ILCs, and stromal cells, via IL-17 and GM-CSF, mediates chronic joint inflammation and can be a target for therapeutic intervention.