A mouse model of clonal CD8+ T lymphocyte-mediated alopecia areata progressing to alopecia universalis.

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Alopecia Areata, Animals, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Hair Follicle, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Humans, Interleukin-10, Interleukin-17, Interleukin-4, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Rats, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta

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J Immunol 2012 Jan 1; 188(1):477-86


Alopecia areata is among the most prevalent autoimmune diseases, yet compared with other autoimmune conditions, it is not well studied. This in part results from limitations in the C3H/HeJ mouse and DEBR rat model systems most commonly used to study the disease, which display a low frequency and late onset. We describe a novel high-incidence model for spontaneous alopecia areata. The 1MOG244 T cell expresses dual TCRA chains, one of which, when combined with the single TCRB present, promotes the development of CD8(+) T cells with specificity for hair follicles. Retroviral transgenic mice expressing this TCR develop spontaneous alopecia areata at nearly 100% incidence. Disease initially follows a reticular pattern, with regionally cyclic episodes of hair loss and regrowth, and ultimately progresses to alopecia universalis. Alopecia development is associated with CD8(+) T cell activation, migration into the intrafollicular region, and hair follicle destruction. The disease may be adoptively transferred with T lymphocytes and is class I and not class II MHC-dependent. Pathologic T cells primarily express IFNG and IL-17 early in disease, with dramatic increases in cytokine production and recruitment of IL-4 and IL-10 production with disease progression. Inhibition of individual cytokines did not significantly alter disease incidence, potentially indicating redundancy in cytokine responses. These results therefore characterize a new high-incidence model for alopecia areata in C57BL/6J mice, the first to our knowledge to apply a monoclonal TCR, and indicate that class I MHC-restricted CD8(+) T lymphocytes can independently mediate the pathologic response.