FcRγ promotes T cell apoptosis in Fas-deficient mice

Stephen C. Juvet, Christopher W. Thomson, Edward Y. Kim, Betty Joe, Oyedele Adeyi, Li Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Deficiency of Fas or its ligand leads to lymphocyte accumulation, lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, and autoimmunity in mice and humans. Although the Fas pathway is important for limiting the number of peripheral T cells, inactivation of other pro-apoptotic molecules can also perturb T cell homeostasis independently of and/or in concert with Fas deficiency. Here, we show that combined deficiency of Fas and the Fc receptor common γ signaling chain (FcRγ) results in worsened T cell accumulation in comparison with mice lacking Fas alone, with a particularly marked increase in the number of TCRαβ+CD4-CD8- double negative (DN) T cells. LPR FcRγ-/- mice exhibited reduced survival due to progressive lymphadenopathy. We further investigated the mechanisms whereby FcRγ deficiency promotes lymphoproliferative disease in Fas-mutant mice. Interestingly, there were no significant differences in T cell proliferation between LPR FcRγ+/+ and LPR FcRγ-/- mice in vivo and in vitro. However, FcRγ deletion resulted in significantly decreased peripheral T cell apoptosis. Importantly, the observed increase in apoptosis was restricted to a subset of FcRγ+ T cells. These T cells, but not those lacking FcRγ expression, exhibited increased activation of caspases 3 and 9, indicating a role for FcRγ in driving their apoptosis. FcRγ+ DN T cells also showed enhanced sensitivity to TCR restimulation-induced cell death (RICD) despite lacking Fas, suggesting that TCR stimulation of autoreactive T cells in vivo may serve to eliminate FcRγ+ T cells and thus exert partial control over lymphoproliferative disease. Hence, our data reveal a novel role for FcRγ in promoting peripheral T cell apoptosis in Fas-deficient mice, which may be of significant value in understanding autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-93
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
StatePublished - May 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome
  • Fas
  • FcRγ
  • T cells

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