Special Issue "The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus"

A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Anselm Mak Website E-Mail
Associate Professor, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore City, Singapore
Interests: systemic lupus erythematosus; inflammation; autoimmunity; T cells; cognition; meta-analyses

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune condition with a complicated pathophysiology that is not completely understood. While many molecular pathways and cellular alterations have been postulated and published in the literature, a number of clinical trials addressing these potentially pathological mechanisms have disappointingly failed to reach their respective primary endpoints, leading to the current paucity of targeted therapeutic agents that are capable of decelerating and even terminating the disease process and damage.

Nevertheless, some early and promising signals such as the success of the manipulation of the BAFF/ARPIL system, antagonization of IL-12/23 and the use of IL-2 in the management of SLE are currently in the pipeline for further evaluation for the clinical management of SLE. Obviously, these potential successes will not materialize if the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of these new targets that are involved in the pathophysiology of SLE are not fully explored, vigorously tested and meticulously monitored.

This Special Issue of Cells aims to summarize the cutting-edge knowledge on the molecular and cellular basis of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of SLE, in the hope of expanding the treatment armamentarium and ultimately, personalized treatment for patients with SLE.

We are looking forward to your significant contributions.

Dr. Anselm Mak
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Signaling pathways related to SLE
  • Molecular alterations related to SLE
  • Cell-surface, cytosolic and nuclear-membrane receptors related to SLE
  • SLE-related cytokines and chemokines in SLE
  • Cell–cell interactions in SLE
  • Mechanisms of organ involvement and damage in SLE

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Lipocalin-2 (Lcn-2) Attenuates Polymicrobial Sepsis with LPS Preconditioning (LPS Tolerance) in FcGRIIb Deficient Lupus Mice
Cells 2019, 8(9), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8091064 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
In patients with active lupus, spontaneous endotoxemia and possibly tolerance to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a potentially adverse complication. Similarly, previous reports have demonstrated that FcGRIIb deficient mice (FcGRIIb-/-; a lupus mouse model) are susceptible to LPS tolerance-induced decreased cytokine responses that inadequate for [...] Read more.
In patients with active lupus, spontaneous endotoxemia and possibly tolerance to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a potentially adverse complication. Similarly, previous reports have demonstrated that FcGRIIb deficient mice (FcGRIIb-/-; a lupus mouse model) are susceptible to LPS tolerance-induced decreased cytokine responses that inadequate for the organismal control. Thus, understanding the relationship between FcGRIIb and LPS tolerance could improve the therapeutic strategy for lupus. LPS tolerance can be induced through sequential LPS stimulations in either cells or a model organism. In RAW264.7 (a mouse macrophage cell-line), sequential LPS stimulation induced the secretion of Lipocalin-2 (Lcn-2) despite reduced cytokine secretion and severe energy depletion, as measured by the extracellular flux analysis, typical of LPS tolerance. In contrast, treatment with recombinant Lcn-2 (rLcn-2) attenuated LPS tolerance, as shown by an increase in secreted cytokines and altered macrophage polarization toward M1 (increased iNOS and TNF-α) in RAW264.7 cells. These results suggest a role of Lcn-2 in LPS tolerance attenuation. In bone marrow derived macrophages, Lcn-2 level was similar in LPS tolerant FcGRIIb-/- and wild-type (WT) cells despite the increased LPS tolerance of FcGRIIb-/- cells, suggesting relatively low basal levels of Lcn-2 produced in FcGRIIb-/- cells. In addition, attenuation of LPS tolerance effectuated by granulocyte-monocyte colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) reduced Lcn-2 in both cell types, implying an inverse correlation between Lcn-2 and the severity of LPS tolerance. Consequently, rLcn-2 improved LPS tolerance only in FcGRIIb-/- macrophages and attenuated disease severity of cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) sepsis pre-conditioning with sequential LPS injection (LPS-CLP model) only in FcGRIIb-/- mice, but not in WT mice. To summarize, inadequate Lcn-2 production in FcGRIIb-/- macrophage might, at least in part, be responsible for the inordinate LPS tolerance compared with WT cells. Additionally, supplementation of rLcn-2 attenuates LPS tolerance in FcGRIIb-/- macrophages in vitro, and in FcGRIIb-/- mice with LPS-CLP sepsis in vivo. In conclusion, Lcn-2 secreted by macrophages is possibly an autocrine signal to counter the reduced cytokine secretion in LPS tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessArticle
Sh3bp2 Gain-Of-Function Mutation Ameliorates Lupus Phenotypes in B6.MRL-Faslpr Mice
Cells 2019, 8(5), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8050402 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
SH3 domain-binding protein 2 (SH3BP2) is an adaptor protein that is predominantly expressed in immune cells, and it regulates intracellular signaling. We had previously reported that a gain-of-function mutation in SH3BP2 exacerbates inflammation and bone loss in murine arthritis models. Here, we explored [...] Read more.
SH3 domain-binding protein 2 (SH3BP2) is an adaptor protein that is predominantly expressed in immune cells, and it regulates intracellular signaling. We had previously reported that a gain-of-function mutation in SH3BP2 exacerbates inflammation and bone loss in murine arthritis models. Here, we explored the involvement of SH3BP2 in a lupus model. Sh3bp2 gain-of-function (P416R knock-in; Sh3bp2KI/+) mice and lupus-prone B6.MRL-Faslpr mice were crossed to yield double-mutant (Sh3bp2KI/+Faslpr/lpr) mice. We monitored survival rates and proteinuria up to 48 weeks of age and assessed renal damage and serum anti-double-stranded DNA antibody levels. Additionally, we analyzed B and T cell subsets in lymphoid tissues by flow cytometry and determined the expression of apoptosis-related molecules in lymph nodes. Sh3bp2 gain-of-function mutation alleviated the poor survival rate, proteinuria, and glomerulosclerosis and significantly reduced serum anti-dsDNA antibody levels in Sh3bp2KI/+Faslpr/lpr mice. Additionally, B220+CD4CD8 T cell population in lymph nodes was decreased in Sh3bp2KI/+Faslpr/lpr mice, which is possibly associated with the observed increase in cleaved caspase-3 and tumor necrosis factor levels. Sh3bp2 gain-of-function mutation ameliorated clinical and immunological phenotypes in lupus-prone mice. Our findings offer better insight into the unique immunopathological roles of SH3BP2 in autoimmune diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Progress of Investigating the CD137-CD137L Axis as a Potential Target for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Cells 2019, 8(9), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8091044 - 06 Sep 2019
Abstract
Costimulatory molecules facilitate cross-talks among leukocytes via mutual stimulatory and inhibitory signalling, contributing to diverse immunological outcomes in normal physiological responses and pathological conditions. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex multi-systemic autoimmune condition in which cellular communication through the involvement of costimulatory [...] Read more.
Costimulatory molecules facilitate cross-talks among leukocytes via mutual stimulatory and inhibitory signalling, contributing to diverse immunological outcomes in normal physiological responses and pathological conditions. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex multi-systemic autoimmune condition in which cellular communication through the involvement of costimulatory molecules is crucial in driving proinflammatory responses from the stage of autoantigen presentation to the subsequent process of pathogenic autoantibody production. While the physiology of the costimulatory systems including OX40-OX40L, CD28/CTLA-4-CD80/86, ICOS-B7RP1 and CD70-CD27 has been relatively well studied in SLE, recent data on the immunopathology of the CD137-CD137 ligand (CD137L) system in murine lupus models and patients with SLE highlight the critical role of this costimulatory system in initiating and perpetuating the diverse clinical and serological phenotypes of SLE. CD137, a membrane-bound receptor which belongs to the tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is mainly expressed on activated T cells. Activation of the CD137 receptor via its interaction with CD137L which is expressed on antigen present cells (APC) including B cells, triggers bi-directional signalling; that is, signalling through CD137 as well as signalling through CD137L (reverse signalling), which further activates T cells and polarizes them to the Th1/Tc1 pathway. Further, via reverse CD137L signalling it enhances differentiation and maturation of the APC, particularly of dendritic cells, which subsequently drive proinflammatory cytokine production. In this review, recent data including our experience in the manipulation of CD137L signalling pertaining to the pathophysiology of SLE will be critically reviewed. More in-depth understanding of the biology of the CD137-CD137L co-stimulation system opens an opportunity to identify new prognostic biomarkers and the design of novel therapeutic approaches for advancing the management of SLE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessReview
Signaling Pathways of Type I and Type III Interferons and Targeted Therapies in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Cells 2019, 8(9), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8090963 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
Type I and type III interferons (IFNs) share several properties in common, including the induction of signaling pathways, the activation of gene transcripts, and immune responses, against viral infection. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular basis of innate and adaptive immunity [...] Read more.
Type I and type III interferons (IFNs) share several properties in common, including the induction of signaling pathways, the activation of gene transcripts, and immune responses, against viral infection. Recent advances in the understanding of the molecular basis of innate and adaptive immunity have led to the re-examination of the role of these IFNs in autoimmune diseases. To date, a variety of IFN-regulated genes, termed IFN signature genes, have been identified. The expressions of these genes significantly increase in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), highlighting the role of type I and type III IFNs in the pathogenesis of SLE. In this review, we first discussed the signaling pathways and the immunoregulatory roles of type I and type III IFNs. Next, we discussed the roles of these IFNs in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, including SLE. In SLE, IFN-stimulated genes induced by IFN signaling contribute to a positive feedback loop of autoimmunity, resulting in perpetual autoimmune inflammation. Based on this, we discussed the use of several specific IFN blocking strategies using anti-IFN-α antibodies, anti-IFN-α receptor antibodies, and IFN-α-kinoid or downstream small molecules, which intervene in Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathways, in clinical trials for SLE patients. Hopefully, the development of novel regimens targeting IFN signaling pathways will shed light on promising future therapeutic applications for SLE patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessReview
Pathogenic and Therapeutic Relevance of JAK/STAT Signaling in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Integration of Distinct Inflammatory Pathways and the Prospect of Their Inhibition with an Oral Agent
Cells 2019, 8(8), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8080898 - 15 Aug 2019
Abstract
Four Janus kinases (JAKs) (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, TYK2) and seven signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) (STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, STAT4, STAT5A, STAT5B, STAT6) mediate the signal transduction of more than 50 cytokines and growth factors in many different cell types. Located intracellularly [...] Read more.
Four Janus kinases (JAKs) (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, TYK2) and seven signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) (STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, STAT4, STAT5A, STAT5B, STAT6) mediate the signal transduction of more than 50 cytokines and growth factors in many different cell types. Located intracellularly and downstream of cytokine receptors, JAKs integrate and balance the actions of various signaling pathways. With distinct panels of STAT-sensitive genes in different tissues, this highly heterogeneous system has broad in vivo functions playing a crucial role in the immune system. Thus, the JAK/STAT pathway is critical for resisting infection, maintaining immune tolerance, and enforcing barrier functions and immune surveillance against cancer. Breakdowns of this system and/or increased signal transduction may lead to autoimmunity and other diseases. Accordingly, the recent development and approval of the first small synthetic molecules targeting JAK molecules have opened new therapeutic avenues of potentially broad therapeutic relevance. Extensive data are now available regarding the JAK/STAT pathway in rheumatoid arthritis. Dysregulation of the cytokines is also a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and targeting the JAK/STAT proteins allows simultaneous suppression of multiple cytokines. Evidence from in vitro studies and animal models supports a pivotal role also in the pathogenesis of cutaneous lupus and SLE. This has important therapeutic implications, given the current paucity of targeted therapies especially in the latter. Herein, we summarize the currently available literature in experimental SLE, which has led to the recent promising Phase II clinical trial of a JAK inhibitor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
Open AccessReview
The Potential Use of Metformin, Dipyridamole, N-Acetylcysteine and Statins as Adjunctive Therapy for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Cells 2019, 8(4), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8040323 - 06 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that can potentially affect every single organ during the course of the disease, leading to increased morbidity and mortality, and reduced health-related quality of life. While curative treatment is currently non-existent for SLE, [...] Read more.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that can potentially affect every single organ during the course of the disease, leading to increased morbidity and mortality, and reduced health-related quality of life. While curative treatment is currently non-existent for SLE, therapeutic agents such as glucocorticoids, mycophenolate, azathioprine, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide and various biologics are the mainstay of treatment based on their immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive properties. As a result of global immunosuppression, the side-effect profile of the current therapeutic approach is unfavourable, with adverse effects including myelosuppression, infection and malignancies. Hydroxychloroquine, one of the very few Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications for the treatment of SLE, has been shown to offer a number of therapeutic benefits to SLE patients independent of its immunomodulatory effect. As such, it is worth exploring drugs similar to hydroxychloroquine that confer additional clinical benefits unrelated to immunosuppressive mechanisms. Indeed, apart from hydroxychloroquine, a number of studies have explored the use of a few conventionally non-immunosuppressive drugs that are potentially useful in the management of SLE. In this review, non-immunosuppressive therapeutic agents, namely metformin, dipyridamole, N-acetylcysteine and statins, will be critically discussed with regard to their mechanisms of action and efficacy pertaining to their potential therapeutic role in SLE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessReview
Immune Profiling and Precision Medicine in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Cells 2019, 8(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8020140 - 10 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a wide range of clinical symptoms. Enormous progress has been made in the immunological and genetic understanding of SLE. However, the biology of disease heterogeneity in SLE has remained largely unexplored. Human immune profiling [...] Read more.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a wide range of clinical symptoms. Enormous progress has been made in the immunological and genetic understanding of SLE. However, the biology of disease heterogeneity in SLE has remained largely unexplored. Human immune profiling studies, helped by recent technological advances especially in single-cell and “omics” analyses, are now shedding light on the cellular and molecular basis of clinical symptoms and disease flares in individual patients. Peripheral blood immunophenotyping analysis with flow cytometry or mass cytometry are identifying responsible cell subsets and markers characteristic of disease heterogeneity. Transcriptome analysis is discovering molecular networks responsible for disease activity, disease subtype and future relapse. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the immune profiling analysis of SLE patients and discuss how they will be used for future precision medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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Open AccessReview
Epigenetically Altered T Cells Contribute to Lupus Flares
Cells 2019, 8(2), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8020127 - 05 Feb 2019
Abstract
Lupus flares when genetically predisposed people encounter exogenous agents such as infections and sun exposure and drugs such as procainamide and hydralazine, but the mechanisms by which these agents trigger the flares has been unclear. Current evidence indicates that procainamide and hydralazine, as [...] Read more.
Lupus flares when genetically predisposed people encounter exogenous agents such as infections and sun exposure and drugs such as procainamide and hydralazine, but the mechanisms by which these agents trigger the flares has been unclear. Current evidence indicates that procainamide and hydralazine, as well as inflammation caused by the environmental agents, can cause overexpression of genes normally silenced by DNA methylation in CD4+ T cells, converting them into autoreactive, proinflammatory cytotoxic cells that are sufficient to cause lupus in mice, and similar cells are found in patients with active lupus. More recent studies demonstrate that these cells comprise a distinct CD4+ T cell subset, making it a therapeutic target for the treatment of lupus flares. Transcriptional analyses of this subset reveal proteins uniquely expressed by this subset, which may serve as therapeutic to deplete these cells, treating lupus flares. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular and Cellular Basis for Lupus)
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