Article Text

OP0058 CCR6+ T-cells in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  1. K.N. Sustal,
  2. G. Almanzar,
  3. R. Trippen,
  4. K. Höfner,
  5. M. Prelog
  1. Department of Pediatrics, University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Germany


Background Previous studies have demonstrated a plasticity of effector-T-cells regarding CCR6 expression in autoimmune disorders. In healthy humans, CCR6+ T-cells have been shown to belong mainly to the Th17 phenotype (characterized by IL-17 production) and CCR6- T-cells to the Th1 phenotype (IFNγ production).

Objectives The present study was aimed to investigate the CCR6+ T-cell phenotype and its plasticity in children with Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Methods Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of children with JIA (n=25 in clinical remission on medication; n=10 with disease flare) and age-matched healthy donors (HD) (n=21) were analyzed by flowcytometry to assess the phenotype, cytokine production and proliferation of T-cells expressing the chemokine receptor CCR6+. CCR6+ T-cells were separated via magnetic bead isolation.

Results The proportion of CCR6+ T-cells (CD4+ gate) was significantly increased in patients with disease flare (mean 6.3±3.7%) compared to those in remission (3.3±2.7%) or HD (4.0±1.9%) (p<0.05). Regarding the phenotype, almost all CCR6+ T-cells expressed RORgt and CD45RO, but some were CCR7- (77%). Additionally, in JIA patients in remission, about 12.5% of CCR6+ T-cells showed CD161 expression, a marker for the concomitant Th1/Th17 phenotype found in some cases of adult arthritis. CCR6- T-cells were mainly CD45RA+ (50%) and CCR7+ (51.3%), but lost CD161 expression (2.2%). Separated CCR6+ T-cells of JIA patients showed a 17.7-fold higher IL-17 production compared to CCR6- T-cells. However, no significant difference in IFNγ production was determined between CCR6+ or CCR6- T-cell subsets.

Conclusions Our preliminary results confirmed that the CCR6+ T-cell-pool mainly represents the IL-17-producing T-cell subset in JIA patients with disease flare, as well as in remission. Whether CCR6+ T-cells in JIA patients appear to be stable under various cytokine milieus or treatments with biologicals and, thus, offer to be a promising target for future therapies has to be investigated.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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