GPR15+ T cells are Th17 like, increased in smokers and associated with multiple sclerosis

Cecilie Ammitzbøll, Marina R von Essen, Lars Börnsen, Eva Rosa Petersen, Oskar McWilliam, Rikke Ratzer, Jeppe Romme Christensen, Annette B Oturai, Helle B Søndergaard, Finn Sellebjerg


Smoking is a risk factor for the development and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS); however, the pathogenic effects of smoking are poorly understood. We studied the smoking-associated chemokine receptor-like molecule GPR15 in relation to relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Using microarray analyses and qPCR we found elevated GPR15 in blood cells from smokers, and increased GPR15 expression in RRMS. By flow cytometry we detected increased frequencies of GPR15 expressing T and B cells in smokers, but no difference between patients with RRMS and healthy controls. However, after cell culture with the autoantigens myelin basic protein (MBP) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, frequencies of MBP-reactive and non-proliferating GPR15+CD4+ T cells were increased in patients with RRMS compared with healthy controls. GPR15+CD4+ T cells produced IL-17 and were enriched in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Furthermore, in the CSF of patients with RRMS, GPR15+ T cells were associated with CCR6+CXCR3+/CCR6-CXCR3+ phenotypes and correlated positively with concentrations of the newly identified GPR15-ligand (GPR15L), myelin degradation and disability. In conclusion, we have identified a proinflammatory cell type linking smoking with pathogenic immune cell functions in RRMS.

TidsskriftJournal of Autoimmunity
Sider (fra-til)114-121
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2019


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