Celastrol Downmodulates Alpha-Synuclein-Specific T Cell Responses by Mediating Antigen Trafficking in Dendritic Cells

Lam NG, Xiaohui WANG, Chuanbin YANG, Chengfu SU, Min LI*, Allen Ka Loon CHEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the elderly. It is associated with motor dysfunction due to the accumulation of misfolded or aggregated fibrillar alpha-synuclein (α-syn) in the mid-brain. Current treatments are mainly focused on relieving the symptoms but are accompanied by side effects and are limited in halting disease progression. Increasing evidence points to peripheral immune cells underlying disease development, especially T cells contributing to α-syn-related neuroinflammation in PD. The onset of these cells is likely mediated by dendritic cells (DCs), whose role in α-syn-specific responses remain less studied. Moreover, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)-derived compounds that are candidates to treat PD may alleviate DC-T cell-mediated immune responses. Therefore, our study focused on the role of DC in response to fibrillar α-syn and subsequent induction of antigen-specific T cell responses, and the effect of TCM Curcumin-analog C1 and Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F-derived Celastrol. We found that although fibrillar α-syn did not induce significant inflammatory or T cell-mediating cytokines, robust pro-inflammatory T cell responses were found by co-culturing fibrillar α-syn-pulsed DCs with α-syn-specific CD4+ T cells. Celastrol, but not C1, reduced the onset of pro-inflammatory T cell differentiation, through promoting interaction of endosomal, amphisomal, and autophagic vesicles with fibrillar α-syn, which likely lead to its degradation and less antigen peptides available for presentation and T cell recognition. In conclusion, regulating the intracellular trafficking/processing of α-syn by DCs can be a potential approach to control the progression of PD, in which Celastrol is a potential candidate to accomplish this.
Original languageEnglish
Article number833515
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

User-Defined Keywords

  • CD4+ T cell subsets
  • Celastrol
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • autophagy
  • dendritic cell
  • endo-lysosomal pathway
  • α-synuclein
  • CD4 T cell subsets


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