HMGB1 release triggered by the interaction of live retinal cells and uveitogenic T cells is Fas/FasL activation-dependent

Guomin Jiang, Yunsong Wang, Juan Yun, Amir Reza Hajrasouliha, Yuan Zhao, Deming Sun, Henry J. Kaplan, Hui Shao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background: It is not clear how invading autoreactive T cells initiate the pathogenic process inside the diseased organ in T cell-mediated organ-specific autoimmune disease. In experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) induced by adoptive transfer of interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP)-specific T cells in mice, we have previously reported that intraocular inflammation was initiated by infiltrating IRBP-specific T cells that directly interacted with retinal cells and resulted in the active release of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), an important member of damage associate molecular patterns (DAMPs). Furthermore, blockade of HMGB1 in our murine model reduced intraocular inflammation via suppression of IRBP-specific T cell functions. These results have demonstrated that HMGB1 is an early and critical mediator of induction of intraocular inflammation. The present study identified the cell surface molecule that triggers HMGB1 secretion. Methods: Retinal explants from Fas-deficient (Faslpr) and wild-type (Wt) C57BL/6 (B6) mice were cultured with activated IRBP 1-20 peptide-specific T cells or with a Fas-activating antibody (Jo2), and then the level of HMGB1 in culture supernatants were detected by ELISA. In addition, released HMGB1 was examined in the eye of Faslpr and Wt mice after IRBP-specific T cell transfer. Uveitis was evaluated in the IRBP-specific T cell transferred Faslpr mice after recombinant HMGB1 was restored within the eye and in the IRBP-specific T cell transferred Wt mice after they were treated with a Fas antagonist (Met12). Results: In contrast to retinal explants from Wt mice, those from Faslpr mice did not release HMGB1 after exposure to IRBP-specific T cells or to Jo2. The release of HMGB1 by Wt retinal explants was suppressed by Met 12. Moreover, after IRBP-specific T cell injection, Faslpr mice did not release HMGB1 in the eye or develop EAU, but intravitreous injection of HMGB1 resulted in intraocular inflammation. Finally, tEAU in Wt mice was attenuated by local treatment with Met 12. Unlike HMGB1, Fas-induced IL-1 and IL-18 were not essential for tEAU induction. Conclusion: Our results show that interaction of retinal cells with infiltrating uveitogenic T cells leads to rapid release of HMGB1 via the Fas/FasL inflammatory signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number179
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autoreactive T cells
  • Damage-associated molecular patterns
  • Fas
  • HMGB1
  • Immunoregulation
  • Uveitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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