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Am J Pathol. 2009 Mar;174(3):944-56. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.080562. Epub 2009 Jan 29.

Critical roles of lysosomal acid lipase in T cell development and function.

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  • 1The Center for Immunobiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) cleaves cholesteryl esters and triglycerides to generate free fatty acids and cholesterol in lysosomes. In LAL gene-knockout (lal(-/-)) mice, blockage of cholesteryl ester and triglyceride metabolism led to abnormal organization of the thymus and spleen, as well as neutral lipid accumulation in these organs. LAL deficiency impaired T cell development in the thymus. Peripheral T cells were reduced dramatically in lal(-/-) mice, due largely to increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation of lal(-/-) T cells in the thymus and peripheral compartments. These lal(-/-) T cells lost the ability to respond to T cell receptor stimulation, including reduced expression of cell surface receptor CD69, abolishment of T cell proliferation, and decreased expression of T lymphokines after stimulation by either anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 or phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate and ionomycin. Differentiation of Th1 and Th2 CD4(+) effector lymphocytes by T cell receptor stimulation was blocked in lal(-/-) mice. The ratio of CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Tregs to CD4(+) T cells was increased in lal(-/-) spleens. Bone marrow chimeras demonstrated retardation of T cell development and maturation in lal(-/-) mice due to defects in T cell precursors. Therefore, LAL, its downstream genes, and lipid mediators all play essential roles in development, homeostasis, and function of T cells. The altered development and function of lal(-/-) T cells contributes to disease formation in various organs during LAL deficiency.

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