Table_4_The Type I Interferon Pathway Is Upregulated in the Cutaneous Lesions and Blood of Multibacillary Leprosy Patients With Erythema Nodosum Lepro.DOCX (28.89 kB)
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Table_4_The Type I Interferon Pathway Is Upregulated in the Cutaneous Lesions and Blood of Multibacillary Leprosy Patients With Erythema Nodosum Leprosum.DOCX

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posted on 06.06.2022, 12:40 authored by Thabatta Leal Silveira Andrezo Rosa, Mayara Abud Mendes, Natasha Ribeiro Cardoso Linhares, Thais Fernanda Rodrigues, André Alves Dias, Thyago Leal-Calvo, Mariana Gandini, Helen Ferreira, Fabrício da Mota Ramalho Costa, Anna Maria Sales, Thaís Porto Amadeu, Veronica Schmitz, Roberta Olmo Pinheiro, Luciana Silva Rodrigues, Milton Ozório Moraes, Maria Cristina Vidal Pessolani

In leprosy patients, acute inflammatory episodes, known as erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), are responsible for high morbidity and tissue damage that occur during the course of Mycobacterium leprae infection. In a previous study, we showed evidence implicating DNA-sensing via TLR9 as an important inflammatory pathway in ENL. A likely important consequence of TLR9 pathway activation is the production of type I interferons (IFN-I) by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), also implicated in the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory diseases. In this study, we investigated whether the IFN-I pathway is activated during ENL. Blood samples and skin lesions from multibacillary patients diagnosed with ENL were collected and the expression of genes of the IFN-I pathway and interferon-stimulated genes were compared with samples collected from non-reactional multibacillary (NR) patients. Whole blood RNAseq analysis suggested higher activation of the IFN-I pathway in ENL patients, confirmed by RT-qPCR. Likewise, significantly higher mRNA levels of IFN-I-related genes were detected in ENL skin biopsies when compared to NR patient lesions. During thalidomide administration, the drug of choice for ENL treatment, a decrease in the mRNA and protein levels of some of these genes both in the skin and blood was observed. Indeed, in vitro assays showed that thalidomide was able to block the secretion of IFN-I by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to M. leprae sonicate or CpG-A, a TLR9 ligand. Finally, the decreased frequencies of peripheral pDCs in ENL patients, along with the higher TLR9 expression in ENL pDCs and the enrichment of CD123+ cells in ENL skin lesions, suggest the involvement of these cells as IFN-I producers in this type of reaction. Taken together, our data point to the involvement of the pDC/type I IFN pathway in the pathogenesis of ENL, opening new avenues in identifying biomarkers for early diagnosis and new therapeutic targets for the better management of this reactional episode.

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