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TLR ligand ligation switches adenosine receptor usage of BMDCs leading to augmented Th17 responses in experimental autoimmune uveitis.


The extracellular level of adenosine increases greatly during inflammation, which modulates immune responses. We have previously reported that adenosine enhances Th17 responses while it suppresses Th1 responses. This study examined whether response of DC to adenosine contributes to the biased effect of adenosine and determined whether adenosine and TLR ligands have counteractive or synergistic effects on DC function. Our results show that adenosine is actively involved in both in vitro and in vivo activation of pathogenic T cells by DCs; however, under adenosine effect DCs' capability of promoting Th1 versus Th17 responses are dissociated. Moreover, activation of A2ARs on DCs inhibits Th1 responses whereas activation of A2BRs on DC enhances Th17 responses. An intriguing observation was that TLR engagement switches the adenosine receptor from A2ARs to A2BRs usage of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) and adenosine binding to BMDCs via A2BR converts adenosine's anti-to proinflammatory effect. The dual effects of adenosine and TLR ligand on BMDCs synergistically enhances the Th17 responses whereas the dual effect on Th1 responses is antagonistic. The results imply that Th17 responses will gain dominance when inflammatory environment accumulates both TLR ligands and adenosine and the underlying mechanisms include that TLR ligand exposure has a unique effect switching adenosine receptor usage of DCs from A2ARs to A2BRs, via which Th17 responses are promoted. Our observation should improve our understanding on the balance of Th1 and Th17 responses in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and other related diseases.

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