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TRAF6 signaling in T cells is crucial for the pathogenicity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Kamiyama, N;Saechue, B;Sachi, N;Dewayani, A;Chalalai, T;Ozaka, S;Ariki, S;Soga, Y;Kagoshima, Y;Ekronarongchai, S;Hidano, S;Kobayashi, T;

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable chronic autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system (CNS). Although IL-17-producing helper T (Th17) cells are thought to be one of the exacerbating factors in MS, the underlying pathogenic mechanism is incompletely understood. TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) deficient T cells exhibited enhanced Th17 cell differentiation, however, the physiological relevance of TRAF6 in T cells remains unknown. Here, we induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in T cell-specific TRAF6 deficient (TRAF6?T) mice to investigate the role of TRAF6 in T cells during the course of MS using an EAE model. Although Th17 cell differentiation was enhanced in TRAF6?T mice, mutant mice were resistant to EAE. In contrast, TRAF6 loss did not affect regulatory T cell differentiation. Consistent with the severity of EAE, a small number of infiltrating T cells and a small area of demyelination were observed in the CNS of TRAF6?T mice. Moreover, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced IL-17 production in TRAF6-deficient T cells was significantly suppressed. We further confirmed low levels of CD69 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in Th17 cells of TRAF6?T mice than in wild-type mice. In contrast, the expression of IL-10 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 in T cells was significantly elevated in the absence of TRAF6 due to an enhanced T cell receptor signaling. Collectively, TRAF6 signaling in T cells contributes to the pathogenesis of EAE by regulating the pathogenicity and autoantigen reactivity of Th17 cells.