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Progesterone attenuates Th17-cell pathogenicity in autoimmune uveitis via Id2/Pim1 axis

Liu, X;Gu, C;Lv, J;Jiang, Q;Ding, W;Huang, Z;Liu, Y;Su, Y;Zhang, C;Xu, Z;Wang, X;Su, W;

Autoimmune uveitis (AU) is the most common ophthalmic autoimmune disease (AD) and is characterized by a complex etiology, high morbidity, and high rate of blindness. AU remission has been observed in pregnant female patients. However, the effects of progesterone (PRG), a critical hormone for reproduction, on the treatment of AU and the regulatory mechanisms remain unclear.To this end, we established experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) animal models and constructed a high-dimensional immune atlas of EAU-model mice undergoing PRG treatment to explore the underlying therapeutic mechanisms of PRG using single-cell RNA sequencing.We found that PRG ameliorated retinal lesions and inflammatory infiltration in EAU-model mice. Further single-cell analysis indicated that PRG reversed the EAU-induced expression of inflammatory genes (AP-1 family, S100a family, and Cxcr4) and pathological processes related to inflammatory cell migration, activation, and differentiation. Notably, PRG was found to regulate the Th17/Treg imbalance by increasing the reduced regulatory functional mediators of Tregs and diminishing the overactivation of pathological Th17 cells. Moreover, the Id2/Pim1 axis, IL-23/Th17/GM-CSF signaling, and enhanced Th17 pathogenicity during EAU were reversed by PRG treatment, resulting in the alleviation of EAU inflammation and treatment of AD.Our study provides a comprehensive single-cell map of the immunomodulatory effects of PRG therapy on EAU and elaborates on the possible therapeutic mechanisms, providing novel insights into its application for treating autoimmune diseases.