Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease, characterized by loss of tolerance toward self nuclear Ags. Systemic induction of type I IFNs plays a pivotal role in SLE, a major source of type I IFNs being the plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Several genes have been linked with susceptibility to SLE in genome-wide association studies. We aimed at exploring the role of one such gene, α/β-hydrolase domain-containing 6 (ABHD6), in regulation of IFN-α induction in SLE patients. We discovered a regulatory role of ABHD6 in human pDCs through modulating the local abundance of its substrate, the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG), and elucidated a hitherto unknown cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2)-mediated regulatory role of 2-AG on IFN-α induction by pDCs. We also identified an ABHD6High SLE endophenotype wherein reduced local abundance of 2-AG relieves the CB2-mediated steady-state resistive tuning on IFN-α induction by pDCs, thereby contributing to SLE pathogenesis.
Copyright © 2019 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.