The Transcription Factor Ets1 Suppresses T Follicular Helper Type 2 Cell Differentiation to Halt the Onset of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Journal: Immunity

Published: 2018-12-18

DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.10.012

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 12

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Research Highlight

A new therapeutic lead for lupus

© TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

A new study explains why a single faulty gene can lead to lupus — a potentially fatal chronic disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues.

A team led by researchers at the Institute for Basic Science engineered various strains of mice, each with a different immune cell population that lacked a working copy of Ets1, a gene linked to lupus in people. Only those mice with Ets1-deficient helper T cells developed a lupus-like autoimmune condition. Those animals showed a proliferation of an immune cell known as a T follicular helper type 2 (Tfh2) cell.

The researchers found that Ets1 normally blocks Tfh2 expansion and an immune signalling molecule called interleukin-4 activates the process. They also demonstrated that blocking interleukin-4 helped reduce Tfh2 levels and ameliorate lupus progression in the mouse model.

The team found that the frequency of Tfh2 cells tracks with disease severity in lupus-affected individuals, suggesting that targeting IL-4 could offer therapeutic benefit to patients.

Supported content

  1. Immunity 49, 1034–1048.e8 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.10.012
Institutions Share
Academy of Immunology and Microbiology (AIM), IBS, South Korea 0.63
Department of Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology (IBB), POSTECH, South Korea 0.21
Ajou University School of Medicine (AUSOM), South Korea 0.17

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