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Immune modulation and prevention of autoimmune disease by repeated sequences from parasites linked to self antigens

Authors

  • F. Puentes
  • K. Dickhaut
  • M. Hofstaetter
  • J. Pfeil
  • U. Lauer
  • A. Hamann
  • U. Hoffmann
  • K. Falk
  • O. Roetzschke

Journal

  • Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology

Citation

  • J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 11 (4): 749-762

Abstract

  • Parasite proteins containing repeats are essential invasion ligands, important for their ability to evade the host immune system and to induce immunosuppression. Here, the intrinsic suppressive potential of repetitive structures within parasite proteins was exploited to induce immunomodulation in order to establish self-tolerance in an animal model of autoimmune neurological disease. We tested the tolerogenic potential of fusion proteins containing repeat sequences of parasites linked to self-antigens. The fusion constructs consist of a recombinant protein containing repeat sequences derived from the S-antigen protein (SAg) of Plasmodium falciparum linked to a CD4 T cell epitope of myelin. They were tested for their efficacy to control the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), In addition, we used the DO11.10 transgenic mouse model to study the immune mechanisms involved in tolerance induced by SAg fusion proteins. We found that repeated sequences of P. falciparum SAg protein linked to self-epitopes markedly protected mice from EAE. These fusion constructs were powerful tolerizing agents not only in a preventive setting but also in the treatment of ongoing disease. The tolerogenic effect was shown to be antigen-specific and strongly dependent on the physical linkage of the T cell epitope to the parasite structure and on the action of anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10 and TGF-{beta}. Other mechanisms include down-regulation of TNF-{alpha} accompanied by increased numbers of FoxP3(+) cells. This study describes the use of repetitive structures from parasites linked to defined T cell epitopes as an effective method to induce antigen-specific tolerance with potential applicability for the treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases.


DOI

doi:10.1007/s11481-016-9701-x