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Arthritis Research & Therapy


In addition to activated T cells, the immune checkpoint inhibitor “V domain-containing Ig suppressor of T-cell activation” (VISTA) is expressed by myeloid cell types, including macrophages and neutrophils. The importance of VISTA expression by myeloid cells to antibody-induced arthritis and its potential for relevance in human disease was evaluated. Methods: VISTA was immunolocalized in normal and arthritic human synovial tissue sections and synovial tissue lysates were subjected to western blot analysis. The collagen antibody-induced arthritis model (CAIA) was performed with DBA/1 J mice treated with antibodies against VISTA and with VISTA-deficient mice (V-KO). Total mRNA from arthritic joints, spleens, and cultured macrophages was analyzed with NanoString arrays. Cytokines secreted by splenic inflammatory macrophages were determined. In-vitro chemotaxis and signal transduction assays were performed with cultured macrophages. Results: VISTA protein was localized to synovial membrane cells, neutrophils, and scattered cells in lymphocyte-rich foci and was detected by western blot analysis in normal synovium and synovium from rheumatoid arthritis patients. Deficiency of VISTA or treatment of mice with anti-VISTA monoclonal antibodies attenuated CAIA. Joint damage and MMP-3 expression were significantly reduced in V-KO mice. Surface expression of C5a receptor was reduced on monocytes, neutrophils, and cultured macrophages from V-KO. Upon Fc receptor engagement in vitro, gene expression by V-KO macrophages was altered profoundly compared to WT, including a significant induction of IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL1rn). Conclusions: VISTA expression supports immune-complex inflammation in CAIA and VISTA is expressed in human synovium. VISTA supports optimal responses to C5a and modulates macrophage responses to immune complexes.