The NF-kappaB transcription factor c-Rel is required for Th17 effector cell development in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Guobing Chen, Kristine Hardy, Eloisa Pagler, Lina Ma, Seungsoo Lee, Steven Gerondakis, Stephen Daley, M Shannon

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Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease involving effector Th subsets such as Th1 and Th17. In this study, we demonstrate that mice lacking the NF-I?B transcription factor family member c-Rel (rel-/-), which are known to be resistant to EAE, show impaired Th17 development. Mixed bone marrow chimeras and EAE adoptive transfer experiments show that the deficiency of effector Th17 cells in rel -/- mice is T cell intrinsic. Consistent with this finding, c-Rel was activated in response to TCR signaling in the early stages of Th17 development and controlled the expression of Rorc, which encodes the Th17 transcription factor retinoic acid-related orphan receptor I?t. CD28, but not IL-2, repression of Th17 development was dependent on c-Rel, implicating a dual role for c-Rel in modulating Th17 development. Adoptive transfer experiments also suggested that c-Rel control of regulatory T cell differentiation and homeostasis influences EAE development and severity by influencing the balance between Th17 and regulatory T cells. Collectively, our findings indicate that in addition to promoting Th1 differentiation, c-Rel regulates the development and severity of EAE via multiple mechanisms that impact on the generation of Th17 cells. Copyright A? 2011 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4483 - 4491
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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