HLA-G is involved in maternal-fetal immune tolerance and is reported to be a natural tolerogenic molecule. Seven-spliced isoforms including dimeric and β2m-free forms have been identified. The major isoform, HLA-G1 (and its soluble type HLA-G5), binds to the inhibitory immune receptors, leukocyte immunoglobulin (Ig)-like receptor (LILR) B1 and LILRB2. We previously reported that HLA-G1 also binds to paired Ig-like receptor (PIR)-B, a mouse homolog of LILRBs, and had a significant immunosuppressive effect in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mice. Although HLA-G2 and its soluble form HLA-G6 bind specifically to LILRB2, its functional characteristics are largely unknown. In this study, we report the significant immunosuppressive effect of HLA-G2 dimer in CIA mice. Surface plasmon resonance analysis revealed a specific interaction of HLA-G2 with PIR-B. CIA mice were administered HLA-G2 protein subcutaneously once in the left footpad and clinical severity was evaluated in a double-blind study. A single administration of HLA-G2 maintained a suppressive effect for over 1 month. These results suggested that the HLA-G2 protein might be a useful biopharmaceutical for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by binding to inhibitory PIR-B.
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