Inflammatory responses induce an identity crisis of alveolar macrophages, leading to pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.
Although overexpression of T-bet, a master transcription factor in type-1 helper T lymphocytes, has been reported in several hematologic and immune diseases, its role in their pathogenesis is not fully understood. In the present study, we used transgenic model mice (T-bet(tg/wt) and T-bet(tg/tg)) to investigate the effects of T-bet overexpression selectively in T lymphocytes on the development of hematologic and immune diseases. The results showed that T-bet overexpression in T cells spontaneously induced maturation arrest in the mononuclear phagocyte lineage, as well as spontaneous dermatitis and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP)-like disease in T-bet(tg/wt) and T-bet(tg/tg) mice, respectively. T-bet(tg/tg) alveoli with the PAP phenotype showed remarkable reorganization of alveolar mononuclear phagocyte subpopulations and impaired function, in addition to augmented T-cell infiltration. In addition, PAP development in T-bet(tg/tg) mice was found to be associated with increased migration of myeloid cells from the bone marrow into the peripheral blood. These findings reveal an unexpected link between T-bet overexpression in T lymphocytes and the development of PAP caused by reorganization of mononuclear phagocytes in the lung, and provide new insight into the molecular pathogenesis of secondary PAP accompanied by hematologic disorders.