Cell reports 18(12) 3005-3017 pii 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.079
Peripheral tolerance is crucial for avoiding activation of self-reactive T cells to tissue-restricted antigens. Sterile tissue injury can break peripheral tolerance, but it is unclear how autoreactive T cells get activated in response to self. An example of a sterile injury is myocardial infarction (MI). We hypothesized that tissue necrosis is an activator of dendritic cells (DCs), which control tolerance to self-antigens. DC subsets of a murine healthy heart consisted of IRF8-dependent conventional (c)DC1, IRF4-dependent cDC2, and monocyte-derived DCs. In steady state, cardiac self-antigen α-myosin was presented in the heart-draining mediastinal lymph node (mLN) by cDC1s, driving the proliferation of antigen-specific CD4(+) TCR-M T cells and their differentiation into regulatory cells (Tregs). Following MI, all DC subsets infiltrated the heart, whereas only cDCs migrated to the mLN. Here, cDC2s induced TCR-M proliferation and differentiation into interleukin-(IL)-17/interferon-(IFN)γ-producing effector cells. Thus, cardiac-specific autoreactive T cells get activated by mature DCs following myocardial infarction.