CCR9/CXCR5 Co-Expressing CD4 T Cells Are Increased in Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome and Are Enriched in PD-1/ICOS-Expressing Effector T Cells

Anneline C. Hinrichs, Aike A. Kruize, Floris P.J.G. Lafeber, Helen L. Leavis, Joel A.G. van Roon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) is an autoimmune disease characterised by B cell hyperactivity. CXCR5+ follicular helper T cells (Tfh), CXCR5-PD-1hi peripheral helper T cells (Tph) and CCR9+ Tfh-like cells have been implicated in driving B cell hyperactivity in pSS; however, their potential overlap has not been evaluated. Our aim was to study the overlap between the two CXCR5- cell subsets and to study their PD-1/ICOS expression compared to “true” CXCR5/PD-1/ICOS-expressing Tfh cells. CXCR5- Tph and CCR9+ Tfh-like cell populations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of pSS patients and healthy controls (HC) were compared using flow cytometry. PD-1/ICOS expression from these cell subsets was compared to each other and to CXCR5+ Tfh cells, taking into account their differentiation status. CXCR5- Tph cells and CCR9+ Tfh-like cells, both in pSS patients and HC, showed limited overlap. PD-1/ICOS expression was higher in memory cells expressing CXCR5 or CCR9. However, the highest expression was found in CXCR5/CCR9 co-expressing T cells, which are enriched in the circulation of pSS patients. CXCR5- Tph and CCR9+ Tfh-like cells are two distinct cell populations that both are enriched in pSS patients and can drive B cell hyperactivity in pSS. The known upregulated expression of CCL25 and CXCL13, ligands of CCR9 and CXCR5, at pSS inflammatory sites suggests concerted action to facilitate the migration of CXCR5+CCR9+ T cells, which are characterised by the highest frequencies of PD-1/ICOS-positive cells. Hence, these co-expressing effector T cells may significantly contribute to the ongoing immune responses in pSS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11952
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume24
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • CXCR5/CCR9 T cells
  • ICOS
  • PD-1
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS)
  • Tfh
  • Tph

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