STAT4 controls GM-CSF production by both Th1 and Th17 cells during EAE

Academic Article


  • Background: In experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, mice genetically deficient in the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) are resistant to disease. In contrast, deletion or inhibition of the Th1-associated cytokines IL-12 or IFN╬│ which act upstream and downstream of STAT4, respectively, does not ameliorate disease. These discordant findings imply that STAT4 may act in a non-canonical role during EAE. Recently, STAT4 has been shown to regulate GM-CSF production by CD4 T cells and this cytokine is necessary for the induction of EAE. However, it is not known if STAT4 controls GM-CSF production by both Th1 and Th17 effector CD4 T cells. Methods: This study utilized the MOG35-55 peptide immunization model of EAE. Intracellular cytokine staining and novel mixed bone marrow chimeric mice were used to study the CD4 T cell-intrinsic role of STAT4 during disease. STAT4 chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP-PCR) experiments were performed to show STAT4 directly interacts with the Csf2 gene loci. Results: Herein, we demonstrate that STAT4 controls CD4 T cell-intrinsic GM-CSF production by both Th1 and Th17 CD4 T cells during EAE as well as in vitro. Importantly, we show that STAT4 interacts with the Csf2 locus in MOG35-55-activated effector CD4 T cells demonstrating direct modulation of GM-CSF. Conclusions: Overall, these studies illustrate a previously unrecognized role of STAT4 to regulate GM-CSF production by not only Th1 cells, but also Th17 effector CD4 T cell subsets during EAE pathogenesis. Critically, these data highlight for the first time that STAT4 is able to modulate the effector profile of Th17 CD4 T cell subsets, which redefines our current understanding of STAT4 as a Th1-centric factor.
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    Author List

  • McWilliams IL; Rajbhandari R; Nozell S; Benveniste E; Harrington LE
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 1