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Dimethyl fumarate alters intracellular Ca2+ handling in immune cells by redox-mediated pleiotropic effects

Herrmann, AK;Wllner, V;Moos, S;Graf, J;Chen, J;Kieseier, B;Kurschus, FC;Albrecht, P;Vangheluwe, P;Methner, A;

Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is widely used to treat the human autoimmune diseases multiple sclerosis (MS) and psoriasis. DMF causes short-term oxidative stress and activates the antioxidant response via the transcription factor Nrf2 but its immunosuppressive effect is not well understood. Immune cell activation depends on calcium signaling which itself is influenced by the cellular redox state. We therefore measured calcium, reactive oxygen species levels and glutathione content in lymphocytes from immunized mice before onset of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from MS patients treated with DMF, and in mouse splenocytes treated ex vivo with DMF. This demonstrated altered redox states and increased lymphocytic calcium levels in all model systems. DMF caused an immediate influx of calcium from the extracellular space, long-term increased cytosolic calcium levels and reduced calcium stored in intracellular stores. The DMF-elicited current had the electrophysiological characteristics of a transient receptor potential channel and the intracellular calcium levels were normalized by antagonists of TRPA1. Interestingly, the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase SERCA2b was downregulated but more active due to glutathionylation of the redox-sensitive cysteine 674. DMF therefore causes pleiotropic changes in cellular calcium homeostasis which are likely caused by redox-sensitive post-translational modifications. These changes probably contribute to its immunosuppressive effects. Copyright 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.