Monocyte-derived macrophages aggravate pulmonary vasculitis via cGAS/STING/IFN-mediated nucleic acid sensing

Nina Kessler, Susanne F. Viehmann, Calvin Krollmann, Karola Mai, Katharina M. Kirschner, Hella Luksch, Prasanti Kotagiri, Alexander M.C. Böhner, Dennis Huugen, Carina C. de Oliveira Mann, Simon Otten, Stefanie A.I. Weiss, Thomas Zillinger, Kristiyana Dobrikova, Dieter E. Jenne, Rayk Behrendt, Andrea Ablasser, Eva Bartok, Gunther Hartmann, Karl Peter HopfnerPaul A. Lyons, Peter Boor, Angela Rösen-Wolff, Lino L. Teichmann, Peter Heeringa, Christian Kurts, Natalio Garbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Autoimmune vasculitis is a group of life-threatening diseases, whose underlying pathogenic mechanisms are incompletely understood, hampering development of targeted therapies. Here, we demonstrate that patients suffering from anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)–associated vasculitis (AAV) showed increased levels of cGAMP and enhanced IFN-I signature. To identify disease mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets, we developed a mouse model for pulmonary AAV that mimics severe disease in patients. Immunogenic DNA accumulated during disease onset, triggering cGAS/STING/IRF3-dependent IFN-I release that promoted endothelial damage, pulmonary hemorrhages, and lung dysfunction. Macrophage subsets played dichotomic roles in disease. While recruited monocyte-derived macrophages were major disease drivers by producing most IFN-β, resident alveolar macrophages contributed to tissue homeostasis by clearing red blood cells and limiting infiltration of IFN-β–producing macrophages. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of STING, IFNAR-I, or its downstream JAK/STAT signaling reduced disease severity and accelerated recovery. Our study unveils the importance of STING/IFN-I axis in promoting pulmonary AAV progression and identifies cellular and molecular targets to ameliorate disease outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20220759
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


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