Immune defense against pathogens often requires NO, synthesized by type 2 NO synthase (NOS2). To discern whether this axis could participate in an autoimmune response, we immunized NOS2-deficient mice with the autoantigen acetylcholine receptor, inducing muscle weakness characteristic of myasthenia gravis, a T cell-dependent Ab-mediated autoimmune disease. We found that the acetylcholine receptor-immunized NOS2-deficient mice developed an exacerbated form of myasthenia gravis, and demonstrated that NOS2 expression limits autoreactive T cell determinant spreading and diversification of the autoantibody repertoire, a process driven by macrophages. Thus, NOS2/NO is important for silencing autoreactive T cells and may restrict bystander autoimmune reactions following the innate immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy