AS101 ameliorates experimental autoimmune uveitis by regulating Th1 and Th17 responses and inducing Treg cells

So Jin Bing, Itay Shemesh, Wai Po Chong, Reiko Horai, Yingyos Jittayasothorn, Phyllis B. Silver, Benjamin Sredni*, Rachel R. Caspi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


AS101 is an organotellurium compound with multifaceted immunoregulatory properties that is remarkable for its lack of toxicity. We tested the therapeutic effect of AS101 in experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), a model for human autoimmune uveitis. Unexpectedly, treatment with AS101 elicited Treg generation in vivo in otherwise unmanipulated mice. Mice immunized for EAU with the retinal antigen IRBP and treated with AS101 developed attenuated disease, as did AS101-treated recipients of retina-specific T cells activated in vitro. In both settings, eye-infiltrating effector T cells were decreased, whereas regulatory T (Treg) cells in the spleen were increased. Mechanistic studies in vitro revealed that AS101 restricted polarization of retina-specific T cells towards Th1 or Th17 lineage by repressing activation of their respective lineage-specific transcription factors and downstream signals. Retina-specific T cells polarized in vitro towards Th1 or Th17 in the presence of AS101 had impaired ability to induce EAU in naïve recipients. Finally, AS101 promoted differentiation of retina-specific T cells to Tregs in vitro independently of TGF-β. We conclude that AS101 modulates autoimmune T cells by inhibiting acquisition and expression of effector function and by promoting Treg generation, and suggest that AS101 could be useful as a therapeutic approach for autoimmune uveitis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


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