Objective: Gut-derived innate lymphoid cell 3 (ILC3) has been shown to participate in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). CX3 CR1+ mononuclear phagocytes (MNPs) have been demonstrated to modulate ILC3 function in the gut. This study was undertaken to investigate the role of proinflammatory CX3 CR1+CD59+ MNPs in modulating ILC3 function in AS patients.
Methods: MNP subsets in the blood of AS patients and controls were analyzed by flow cytometry. The presence of CX3 CR1+CD59+ cells in tissue was confirmed by confocal microscopy. Expression of the proinflammatory chemokines CX3 CL1 and CCL2 and decoy receptor 6 (DcR-6) was analyzed. Peripheral CX3 CR1+CD59+ cells were cocultured with ILC3, and changes in their frequency were evaluated by flow cytometry. Transcriptome analysis of circulating CX3 CR1+ monocytes was also performed.
Results: DcR-6 deficiency and CCL2 overexpression were observed in inflamed tissues from AS patients. In the gut, the proinflammatory CX3 CR1+CD59+ MNP population was expanded, correlated with the presence of bacteria, and produced high levels of tumor necrosis factor-like molecule 1A (TL1A) and interleukin-23 (IL-23). MNPs positive for CD11b, CD11c, and major histocompatibility complex class II, predominantly expressing CX3 CR1, were also expanded in the small intestines of treatment-naive SKG relative to BALB/c mice. The frequency of gut-derived CX3 CR1+CD59+CCR9+TL1A+IL-23+ MNPs was significantly higher in the peripheral blood and synovial fluid of AS patients than controls. CCR9+CX3 CR1+CD59+ monocytes were also expanded in AS synovial and bone marrow samples. Transcriptome analysis of isolated CX3 CR1+CD59+ monocytes demonstrated a specific proinflammatory profile in AS. Isolated proinflammatory CX3 CR1+CD59+ MNPs from AS patients induced the expansion and activation of ILC3.
Conclusion: Proinflammatory CX3 CR1+CD59+TL1A+IL-23+ MNPs are expanded in AS patients and display a specific proinflammatory transcriptome profile. Given the ability of these cells to support ILC3 expansion, they may promote a sustained proinflammatory status in AS.
© 2018, American College of Rheumatology.