Human TLR8 induces inflammatory bone marrow erythromyeloblastic islands and anemia in SLE-prone mice

Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Jul 26;6(10):e202302241. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202302241. Print 2023 Oct.


Anemia commonly occurs in systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease characterized by innate immune activation by nucleic acids. Overactivation of cytoplasmic sensors by self-DNA or RNA can cause erythroid cell death, while sparing other hematopoietic cell lineages. Whereas chronic inflammation is involved in this mechanism, less is known about the impact of systemic lupus erythematosus on the BM erythropoietic niche. We discovered that expression of the endosomal ssRNA sensor human TLR8 induces fatal anemia in Sle1.Yaa lupus mice. We observed that anemia was associated with a decrease in erythromyeloblastic islands and a block in differentiation at the CFU-E to proerythroblast transition in the BM. Single-cell RNAseq analyses of isolated BM erythromyeloblastic islands from human TLR8-expressing mice revealed that genes associated with essential central macrophage functions including adhesion and provision of nutrients were down-regulated. Although compensatory stress erythropoiesis occurred in the spleen, red blood cell half-life decreased because of hemophagocytosis. These data implicate the endosomal RNA sensor TLR8 as an additional innate receptor whose overactivation causes acquired failure of erythropoiesis via myeloid cell dysregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia* / etiology
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic*
  • Mice
  • RNA
  • Toll-Like Receptor 8


  • RNA
  • TLR8 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 8