Autoimmune hypophysitis (AH) is thought to be an autoimmune disease characterized by lymphocytic infiltration of the pituitary gland. Among AH pathologies, lymphocytic infundibulo-neurohypophysitis (LINH) involves infiltration of the neurohypophysis and/or the hypothalamic infundibulum, causing central diabetes insipidus resulting from insufficiency of arginine vasopressin secretion. The pathophysiological and pathogenetic mechanisms underlying LINH are largely unknown. Clinically, differentiating LINH from other pituitary diseases accompanied by mass lesions, including tumours, has often been difficult, because of similar clinical manifestations. We recently reported that rabphilin-3A is an autoantigen and that anti-rabphilin-3A antibodies constitute a possible diagnostic marker for LINH. However, the involvement of rabphilin-3A in the pathogenesis of LINH remains to be elucidated. This study was undertaken to explore the role of rabphilin-3A in lymphocytic neurohypophysitis and to investigate the mechanism. We found that immunization of mice with rabphilin-3A led to neurohypophysitis. Lymphocytic infiltration was observed in the neurohypophysis and supraoptic nucleus 1 month after the first immunization. Mice immunized with rabphilin-3A showed an increase in the volume of urine that was hypotonic as compared with control mice. Administration of a cocktail of monoclonal anti-rabphilin-3A antibodies did not induce neurohypophysitis. However, abatacept, which is a chimeric protein that suppresses T-cell activation, decreased the number of T cells specific for rabphilin-3A in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). It ameliorated lymphocytic infiltration of CD3+ T cells in the neurohypophysis of mice that had been immunized with rabphilin-3A. Additionally, there was a linear association between the number of T cells specific for rabphilin-3A in PBMCs and the number of CD3+ T cells infiltrating the neurohypophysis. In conclusion, we suggest that rabphilin-3A is a pathogenic antigen, and that T cells specific for rabphilin-3A are involved in the pathogenesis of neurohypophysitis in mice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine