Targeted depletion of lymphotoxin-alpha-expressing TH1 and TH17 cells inhibits autoimmune disease

Nat Med. 2009 Jul;15(7):766-73. doi: 10.1038/nm.1984. Epub 2009 Jun 28.


Uncontrolled T helper type 1 (T(H)1) and T(H)17 cells are associated with autoimmune responses. We identify surface lymphotoxin-alpha (LT-alpha) as common to T(H)0, T(H)1 and T(H)17 cells and employ a unique strategy to target these subsets using a depleting monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed to surface LT-alpha. Depleting LT-alpha-specific mAb inhibited T cell-mediated models of delayed-type hypersensitivity and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), preventive and therapeutic administration of LT-alpha-specific mAb inhibited disease, and immunoablated T cells expressing interleukin-17 (IL-17), interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), whereas decoy lymphotoxin-beta receptor (LT-betaR) fusion protein had no effect. A mutation in the Fc tail, rendering the antibody incapable of Fcgamma receptor binding and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity activity, abolished all in vivo effects. Efficacy in CIA was preceded by a loss of rheumatoid-associated cytokines IL-6, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha within joints. These data indicate that depleting LT-alpha-expressing lymphocytes with LT-alpha-specific mAb may be beneficial in the treatment of autoimmune disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Experimental / therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Interleukin-17 / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Depletion*
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Interleukin-17
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha