Send to

Choose Destination
Lab Invest. 2012 Apr;92(4):556-70. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2011.189. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

Interleukin-1 receptor mediates the interplay between CD4+ T cells and ocular resident cells to promote keratinizing squamous metaplasia in Sjögren's syndrome.

Author information

Francis I Proctor Foundation, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Keratinizing squamous metaplasia (SQM) of the ocular mucosal epithelium is a blinding corneal disease characterized by the loss of conjunctival goblet cells (GCs), pathological ocular surface keratinization and tissue recruitment of immune cells. Using the autoimmune regulator (Aire)-deficient mouse as a model for Sjögren's syndrome (SS)-associated SQM, we identified CD4(+) T lymphocytes as the main immune effectors driving SQM and uncovered a pathogenic role for interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1, a pleiotropic cytokine family enriched in ocular epithelia, governs tissue homeostasis and mucosal immunity. Here, we used adoptive transfer of autoreactive CD4(+) T cells to dissect the mechanism whereby IL-1 promotes SQM. CD4(+) T cells adoptively transferred from both Aire knockout (KO) and Aire/IL-1 receptor type 1 (IL-1R1) double KO donors conferred SQM to severe-combined immunodeficiency (scid) recipients with functional IL-1R1, but not scid recipients lacking IL-1R1. In the lacrimal gland, IL-1R1 was primarily immunolocalized to ductal epithelium surrounded by CD4(+) T cells. In the eye, IL-1R1 was expressed on local mucosal epithelial and stromal cells, but not on resident antigen-presenting cells or infiltrating immune cells. In both tissues, autoreactive CD4(+) T-cell infiltration was only observed in the presence of IL-1R1-postive resident cells. Moreover, persistent activation of IL-1R1 signaling led to chronic immune-mediated inflammation by retaining CD4(+) T cells in the local microenvironment. Following IL-1R1-dependent infiltration of CD4(+) T cells, we observed SQM hallmarks in local tissues-corneal keratinization, conjunctival GC mucin acidification and epithelial cell hyperplasia throughout the ocular surface mucosa. Proinflammatory IL-1 expression in ocular epithelial cells significantly correlated with reduced tear secretion, while CD4(+) T-cell infiltration of the lacrimal gland predicted the development of ocular SQM. Collectively, data in this study indicated a central role for IL-1 in orchestrating a functional interplay between immune cells and resident cells of SS-targeted tissues in the pathogenesis of SQM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center