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CD8 T cell–Derived Perforin and TNF-α Are Crucial Mediators of Neuronal Destruction in Experimental Autoimmune Enteric Ganglionitis

Monica Sanchez-Ruiz, Ana-Maria Iorgu, Florian Küster, Martin Hellmich, Anna Brunn, Martina Deckert
Published: 1 June 2021
The American Journal of Pathology , Volume 191, pp 1064-1076; doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2021.02.021

Abstract: In neuron-specific ovalbumin-transgenic CKTAC mice, antigen-specific OT-I CD8 T cells home to the enteric nervous system, where they attack and destroy neurons of the myenteric and submucosal plexus. Clinically, experimental autoimmune enteric ganglionitis (EAEG) manifests with gastrointestinal dysmotility and rapidly progresses to lethal ileus. Although interferon-γ has been identified as capable of damaging neurons in EAEG, the role of perforin, Fas/FasL, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in this disease is still a matter of debate. Thus, CKTAC mice were adoptively transferred with either perforin−/– or wild-type OT-I CD8 T cells. In addition, CKTAC mice that had received wild-type OT-I CD8 T cells were treated by either anti–TNF-α or anti-FasL. Furthermore, wild-type OT-I CD8 T cells were adoptively transferred into CKTAC mice with neuron-specific deletion of Fas. Although neither inactivation of enteric neuronal Fas nor anti-FasL treatment improved the disease, the absence of perforin from OT-I CD8 T cells and anti–TNF-α treatment significantly ameliorated EAEG and prevented lethal ileus by rescue of enteric neurons. Thus, these experiments identify perforin and TNF-α as important in the pathogenesis of EAEG.
Keywords: antigen / perforin / TNF / neuron specific / OT I CD8 T cells / wild

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