Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Caspase-1-independent IL-1 release mediates blister formation in autoantibody-induced tissue injury through modulation of endothelial adhesion molecules.

PMID 25795756


Although reports documented aberrant cytokine expression in autoimmune bullous dermatoses (AIBDs), cytokine-targeting therapies have not been established in these disorders. We showed previously that IL-6 treatment protected against tissue destruction in experimental epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA), an AIBD caused by autoantibodies to type VII collagen (COL7). The anti-inflammatory effects of IL-6 were mediated by induction of IL-1ra, and prophylactic IL-1ra administration prevented blistering. In this article, we demonstrate elevated serum concentrations of IL-1β in both mice with experimental EBA induced by injection of anti-COL7 IgG and in EBA patients. Increased IL-1α and IL-1β expression also was observed in the skin of anti-COL7 IgG-injected wild-type mice compared with the significantly less diseased IL-1R-deficient or wild-type mice treated with the IL-1R antagonist anakinra or anti-IL-1β. These findings suggested that IL-1 contributed to recruitment of inflammatory cells into the skin. Accordingly, the expression of ICAM-1 was decreased in IL-1R-deficient and anakinra-treated mice injected with anti-COL7. This effect appeared to be specifically attributable to IL-1 because anakinra blocked the upregulation of different endothelial adhesion molecules on IL-1-stimulated, but not on TNF-α-stimulated, cultured endothelial cells. Interestingly, injection of caspase-1/11-deficient mice with anti-COL7 IgG led to the same extent of skin lesions as in wild-type mice. Collectively, our data suggest that IL-1, independently of caspase-1, contributes to the pathogenesis of EBA. Because anti-IL-1β in a prophylactic setting and anakinra in a quasi-therapeutic setting (i.e., when skin lesions had already developed) improved experimental EBA, IL-1 appears to be a potential therapeutic target for EBA and related AIBDs.