Research ArticleImmunology

ROCK2 signaling is required to induce a subset of T follicular helper cells through opposing effects on STATs in autoimmune settings

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Science Signaling  19 Jul 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 437, pp. ra73
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad8953

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Preventing T cells from promoting autoimmunity

T follicular helper (TFH) cells are a subset of T cells that provide help to B cells to produce antibodies. Dysregulation of TFH cells is associated with autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). With T cells in culture, Weiss et al. found that KD025, a pharmacological inhibitor of the kinase ROCK2, blocked the generation and function of human TFH cells in response to the activation of peripheral blood T cells from active SLE patients. Unlike a general immunosuppressant, KD025 reduced TFH generation and ameliorated disease severity in a mouse model of SLE without interfering with other immune cells. Together, these data suggest that ROCK2 may be a therapeutic target in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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