The JAK inhibitor, tofacitinib, reduces the T cell stimulatory capacity of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells

Satoshi Kubo, Kunihiro Yamaoka, Masahiro Kondo, Kaoru Yamagata, Jidong Zhao, Shigeru Iwata, Yoshiya Tanaka
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2014, 73 (12): 2192-8

OBJECTIVE: Tofacitinib, which is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, has shown clinical effects in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. JAKs are important kinases in lymphocyte differentiation; however, their function in dendritic cells (DCs) is unknown. In this study, the function of JAKs in DCs was investigated with tofacitinib.

METHODS: The effects of tofacitinib on the maturation of human monocyte-derived DCs induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation were investigated. In addition, its effects on T cell stimulatory capability was investigated by coculturing with naïve CD45RA-positive T cells.

RESULTS: Tofacitinib decreased expression of CD80/CD86 in a concentration-dependent manner in LPS-stimulated DCs; however, it did not affect HLA-DR expression. Tofacitinib suppressed tumour necrosis factor, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1β production without affecting transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and IL-10 production. Meanwhile, CD80/CD86 expression in DCs was enhanced by type I interferon (IFN) stimulation, and the LPS-induced CD80/CD86 expression was inhibited by an antibody to type I IFN receptor. Furthermore, tofacitinib suppressed production of type I IFN and activation of interferon regulatory factor (IRF)-7, which is a transcription factor involved in CD80/CD86 and type I IFN expression. Tofacitinib also decreased the T cell stimulatory capability of DCs and increased expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO)-1 and IDO-2.

CONCLUSIONS: Tofacitinib, a JAK1/JAK3 inhibitor, affected the activities of human DCs. It decreased CD80/CD86 expression and T cell stimulatory capability through suppression of type I IFN signalling. These results suggest a novel mode of action for tofacitinib and a pivotal role for JAKs in the differentiation of DCs.

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