The innate immune receptor Nlrp12 suppresses autoimmunity to the retina

Ellen J. Lee, Ruth J. Napier, Emily E. Vance, Sydney J. Lashley, Agnieszka D. Truax, Jenny P. Ting, Holly L. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Nod-like receptors (NLRs) are critical to innate immune activation and induction of adaptive T cell responses. Yet, their role in autoinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) remains incompletely defined. The NLR, Nlrp12, has been reported to both inhibit and promote neuroinflammation in an animal model of multiple sclerosis (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, EAE), where its T cell-specific role has been investigated. Uveitis resulting from autoimmunity of the neuroretina, an extension of the CNS, involves a breach in immune privilege and entry of T cells into the eye. Here, we examined the contribution of Nlrp12 in a T cell-mediated model of uveitis, experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). Methods: Mice were immunized with interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein peptide 1–20 (IRBP1–20) emulsified in Complete Freund’s adjuvant, CFA. Uveitis was evaluated by clinical and histopathological scoring, and comparisons were made in WT vs. Nlrp12−/− mice, lymphopenic Rag1−/− mice reconstituted with WT vs. Nlrp12−/− CD4+ T cells, or among bone marrow (BM) chimeric mice. Antigen-specific Th-effector responses were evaluated by ELISA and intracellular cytokine staining. Cellular composition of uveitic eyes from WT or Nlrp12−/− mice was compared using flow cytometry. Expression of Nlrp12 and of cytokines/chemokines within the neuroretina was evaluated by immunoblotting and quantitative PCR. Results: Nlrp12−/− mice developed exacerbated uveitis characterized by extensive vasculitis, chorioretinal infiltrates and photoreceptor damage. Nlrp12 was dispensable for T cell priming and differentiation of peripheral Th1 or Th17 cells, and uveitis in immunodeficient mice reconstituted with either Nlrp12−/− or WT T cells was similar. Collectively, this ruled out T cells as the source of Nlrp12-mediated protection to EAU. Uveitic Nlrp12−/− eyes had more pronounced myeloid cell accumulation than uveitic WT eyes. Transplantation of Nlrp12−/− BM resulted in increased susceptibility to EAU regardless of host genotype, but interestingly, a non-hematopoietic origin for Nlrp12 function was also observed. Indeed, Nlrp12 was found to be constitutively expressed in the neuroretina, where it suppressed chemokine/cytokine induction. Conclusions: Our data identify a combinatorial role for Nlrp12 in dampening autoimmunity of the neuroretina. These findings could provide a pathway for development of therapies for uveitis and potentially other autoinflammatory/autoimmune diseases of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number69
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Nlrp12
  • Nod-like receptor
  • Pattern recognition receptor
  • Uveitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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