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Open Access Research article

Aberrant CD200/CD200R1 expression and function in systemic lupus erythematosus contributes to abnormal T-cell responsiveness and dendritic cell activity

Yang Li1, Li-dan Zhao1, Lu-sha Tong1, Su-ning Qian1, Yan Ren1, Lei Zhang1, Xin Ding1, Yang Chen1, Yan-xia Wang1, Wen Zhang1, Xiao-feng Zeng1, Feng-chun Zhang1, Fu-lin Tang1, Xuan Zhang1*, De-nian Ba2, Wei He2, Xue-tao Cao2 and Peter E Lipsky3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, 41# Da-Mu-Cang-Hu-Tong Street, Beijing 100032, China

2 Department of Immunology, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, #5 Dong-Dan-San-Tiao, Beijing 100005, China

3 Formerly National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R123  doi:10.1186/ar3853

Published: 23 May 2012

Abstract

Introduction

CD200 is a type I transmembrane glycoprotein that can regulate the activation threshold of inflammatory immune responses, polarize cytokine production, and maintain immune homeostasis. We therefore evaluated the functional status of CD200/CD200 receptor 1 (CD200R1) interactions in subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods

Serum CD200 level was detected by ELISA. The expression of CD200/CD200R1 by CD4+ T cells and dendritic cells (DCs) was examined by flow cytometry, and then compared between SLE patients and healthy controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stained with carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester and annexin V/propidium iodide for evaluation of the effect of CD200 on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition, the effect of CD200 on DC function was determined by transwell migration assay as well as by measurement of binding and phagocytosis of apoptotic cells.

Results

In SLE patients, the number of CD200+ cells and the level of soluble CD200 were significantly higher than in healthy controls, whereas the expression of CD200R1 by CD4+ T cells and DCs was decreased. Furthermore, the increased CD200 expression by early apoptotic cells contributed to their diminished binding and phagocytosis by DCs in SLE. Importantly, the engagement of CD200 receptor on CD4+ T cells with CD200-Fc fusion protein in vitro reduced the differentiation of T-helper type 17 cells and reversed the defective induction of CD4+CD25highFoxP3+ T cells by transforming growth factor beta in SLE patients. Conversely, blockade of CD200-CD200R1 interaction with anti-CD200R1 antibody promoted CD4+ T-cell proliferation.

Conclusion

CD200 and CD200R1 expression and function are abnormal in SLE and may contribute to the immunologic abnormalities in SLE.