Keratinocytes have a pivotal role in the regulation of immune responses, but the impact of antigen presentation by these cells is still poorly understood, particularly in a situation where the antigen will be presented only in adult life. Here, we generated a transgenic mouse model in which keratinocytes exclusively present a myelin basic protein (MBP) peptide covalently linked to the major histocompatibility complex class II beta-chain, solely under inflammatory conditions. In these mice, inflammation caused by epicutaneous contact sensitizer treatment resulted in keratinocyte-mediated expansion of MBP-specific CD4(+) T cells in the skin. Moreover, repeated contact sensitizer application preceding a systemic MBP immunization reduced the reactivity of the respective CD4(+) T cells and lowered the symptoms of the resulting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. This downregulation was CD4(+) T-cell-mediated and dependent on the presence of the immune modulator Dickkopf-3. Thus, presentation of a neo self-antigen by keratinocytes in the inflamed, adult skin can modulate CD4(+) T-cell auto-aggression at a distal organ.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published