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Blood. 2011 Jun 16;117(24):6582-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-01-329607. Epub 2011 May 6.

Disruption of MyD88 signaling suppresses hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in mice.

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Department of Genetics, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare inflammatory disorder with a poor prognosis for affected individuals. To find a means of suppressing the clinical phenotype, we investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to HLH in Unc13d(jinx/jinx) mice, in which cytolytic function of NK and CD8(+) T cells is impaired. Unc13d(jinx/jinx) mutants infected with lymphochoriomeningitis virus (LCMV) present typical clinical features of HLH, including splenomegaly, elevated serum IFNγ, and anemia. Proteins mediating cell-cell contact, cytokine signaling or Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling were analyzed. We show that neither the integrin CD18, which is involved in adhesion between antigen-presenting cells and effector T cells, nor tumor necrosis factor (TNF) made nonredundant contributions to the disease phenotype. Disruption of IFNγ signaling reduced immune cell activation in Unc13d(jinx/jinx) mice, but also resulted in uncontrolled viral proliferation and exaggerated release of inflammatory cytokines. Abrogating the function of myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88) in Unc13d(jinx/jinx) mice suppressed immune cell activation and controlled cytokine production in an IL-1 receptor 1 (IL-1R1)-independent way. Our findings implicate MyD88 as the key initiator of myeloid and lymphoid proliferation in HLH, and suggest that blockade of this signaling molecule may reduce immunopathology in patients.

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