Functionally distinct T-helper (Th) subsets orchestrate immune responses. Maintenance of homeostasis through the tight control of inflammatory Th cells is crucial to avoid autoimmune inflammation. Activation-Induced Cell Death (AICD) regulates homeostasis of T cells, and it has never been investigated in human Th cells. We generated stable clones of inflammatory Th subsets involved in autoimmune diseases, such as Th1, Th17 and Th1/17 cells, from healthy donors (HD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and we measured AICD. We find that human Th1 cells are sensitive, whereas Th17 and Th1/17 are resistant, to AICD. In particular, Th1 cells express high level of FAS-ligand (FASL), which interacts with FAS and leads to caspases' cleavage and ultimately to cell death. In contrast, low FASL expression in Th17 and Th1/17 cells blunts caspase 8 activation and thus reduces cell death. Interestingly, Th cells obtained from healthy individuals and MS patients behave similarly, suggesting that this mechanism could explain the persistence of inflammatory IL-17-producing cells in autoimmune diseases, such as MS, where their generation is particularly substantial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research