Fulminant hepatitis (FH) is a clinical syndrome characterized by sudden and severe liver dysfunction. Dot1L, a histone methyltransferase, is implicated in various physiologic and pathologic processes, including transcription regulation and leukemia. However, the role of Dot1L in regulating inflammatory responses during FH remains elusive.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes)-primed, lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-induced FH was established in C57BL/6 mice and was treated with the Dot1L inhibitor EPZ-5676. Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) were depleted by anti-Gr-1 antibody to evaluate their therapeutic roles in Dot1L treatment of FH. Moreover, peripheral blood of patients suffered with FH and healthy controls was collected to determine the expression profile of Dot1L-SOCS1-iNOS axis in their MDSCs.
Here we identified that EPZ-5676, pharmacological inhibitor of Dot1L, attenuated the liver injury of mice subjected to FH. Dot1L inhibition led to decreased T helper (Th) 1 cell response and expansion of regulatory T cells (Tregs) during FH. Interestingly, Dot1L inhibition didn’t directly target T cells, but dramatically enhanced the immunosuppressive function of MDSCs. Mechanistically, Dot1L inhibition epigenetically suppressed SOCS1 expression, thus inducing inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression in a STAT1-dependent manner. Moreover, in human samples, the levels of Dot1L and SOCS1 expression were upregulated in MDSCs, accompanied by decreased expression of iNOS in patients with FH, compared with healthy controls.
Altogether, our findings established Dot1L as a critical regulator of MDSC immunosuppressive function for the first time, and highlighted the therapeutic potential of Dot1L inhibitor for FH treatment.