Background: Recently, a novel humanized mouse model for systemic sclerosis (SSc) was established by transferring peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with SSc to Rag2−/−Il2rg−/− immunodeficient mice. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of T and B cells in this humanized mouse model. Methods: T and B cells were depleted in vitro from freshly isolated PBMC using anti-CD3 and anti-CD19 magnetic microbeads, respectively. Subsequently, PBMC and T or B cell-depleted PBMC were transferred into Rag2−/−/Il2rg−/− mice via intraperitoneal injection. Twelve weeks after the transfer, mice were sacrificed and evaluated. Results: Mice transferred with whole PBMC from SSc patients developed systemic inflammation in the lungs, kidneys, and liver, and 6 out of 11 mice died or had to be sacrificed during the experiment. By contrast, such inflammation and death were not observed in mice transferred with corresponding T or B cell-depleted PBMC. In line with this finding, transfer with whole PBMC restored the splenic white pulp composing of human T, B, and plasma cells and led to the production of a considerable amount of human autoantibodies in recipient mice, while those immunological features were rarely observed in mice that received T or B cell-depleted PBMC. In contrast to our previous findings demonstrating a transfer of the protective effect of a B cell therapy into the mouse, treatment of SSc patients with chemical immunosuppressive drugs did not affect the pathogenicity of PBMC. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that both T and B cells are indispensable for the pathogenesis of the PBMC transfer-induced mouse model for SSc.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)