Increased GITRL Impairs the Function of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells and Exacerbates Primary Sjögren Syndrome [AUTOIMMUNITY]

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Although the expansion of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) has been reported in autoimmune disorders, it is largely unclear how MDSCs contribute to the development of primary Sjögren syndrome (pSS). In this study, we found significantly increased MDSCs with gradually diminished suppressive capacity during disease development in mice with experimental Sjögren syndrome (ESS). The ligand for glucocorticoid-induced TNFR family–related protein (GITRL) was increased along ESS progression, whereas the increased GITRL was found to attenuate the immunosuppressive function of MDSCs. Moreover, blocking GITR signal in MDSCs significantly restored their immunosuppressive function and alleviated ESS progression in mice. In pSS patients, expanded MDSCs were found to express low levels of arginase. Significantly increased serum GITRL levels were closely correlated with patients with higher Sjögren syndrome disease activity index. Furthermore, treatment with recombinant GITRL markedly reduced the immunosuppressive function of human MDSCs. Together, our studies have demonstrated a critical role of GITRL in modulating the suppressive function of MDSCs, which may facilitate the validation of GITRL as a therapeutic target for the treatment of pSS.

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