YinYang1 deficiency ameliorates joint inflammation in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis by modulating Th17 cell activation
© 2018 European Federation of Immunological Societies Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor that functions in cooperation with various cofactors to regulate gene expression. In the immune system, YY1 enhances cytokine production and T helper (Th) 2 effector cell differentiation, resulting in the activation of inflammation. However, no studies have reported the role of YY1 in Th17 cell regulation, which is implicated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the expression of YY1 in Th17 cells in vitro and revealed increased levels of YY1 mRNA and protein. To elucidate the function of YY1 pathogenesis in RA, we used a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model with YY1 deficiency. Deficiency of YY1 reduced the severity of arthritis and joint destruction. Moreover, Th17 cells were dramatically reduced in YY1-deficient mice. The cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 was decreased in YY1-deficient CD4+ T cells ex vivo and in vivo. Interestingly, the level of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), tumor necrosis factor-α IL-17, IL-6, and IL-1β were markedly decreased in YY1-deficient mice with CIA. The cytokine-inducing function of YY1 was more specific to IL-17 than to interferon-γ. YY1 plays a role in Th17 cell differentiation and RA pathogenesis. Our findings suggest that future RA therapies should target the regulatory mechanism involved in Th17 cell differentiation, in which YY1 may cooperate with the STAT3 signaling pathway.