Cornelia Weyand

Publication Details

  • Telomerase insufficiency in rheumatoid arthritis PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Fujii, H., Shao, L., Colmegna, I., Goronzy, J. J., Weyand, C. M. 2009; 106 (11): 4360-4365

    Abstract:

    In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chronically stimulated T lymphocytes sustain tissue-destructive joint inflammation. Both naïve and memory T cells in RA are prematurely aged with accelerated loss of telomeres suggesting excessive proliferative pressure or inadequate telomeric maintenance. Upon stimulation, RA naïve CD4 T cells are defective in up-regulating telomerase activity (P < 0.0001) due to insufficient induction of the telomerase component human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT); T cell activation and cell cycle progression are intact. Telomerase insufficiency does not affect memory T cells or CD34 hematopoietic stem cells and is present in untreated patients and independent from disease activity. Knockdown of hTERT in primary human T cells increases apoptotic propensity (P = 0.00005) and limits clonal burst (P = 0.0001) revealing a direct involvement of telomerase in T cell fate decisions. Naïve RA CD4 T cells stimulated through the T cell receptor are highly susceptible to apoptosis, expanding to smaller clonal size. Overexpression of ectopic hTERT in naïve RA T cells conveys apoptotic resistance (P = 0.008) and restores proliferative expansion (P < 0.0001). Telomerase insufficiency in RA results in excessive T cell loss, undermining homeostatic control of the naive T cell compartment and setting the stage for lymphopenia-induced T cell repertoire remodeling. Restoring defective telomerase activity emerges as a therapeutic target in resetting immune abnormalities in RA.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0811332106

    View details for Web of Science ID 000264278800056

    View details for PubMedID 19255426

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