Latest issue: June 16, 2016


Recently published

Abstract

In human myocarditis and its sequela dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the mechanisms and immune phenotype governing disease and subsequent heart failure are not known. Here, we identified a Th17 cell immunophenotype of human myocarditis/DCM with elevated CD4+IL17+ T cells and Th17-promoting cytokines IL-6, TGF-β, and IL-23 as well as GM-CSF–secreting CD4+ T cells. The Th17 phenotype was linked with the effects of cardiac myosin on CD14+ monocytes, TLR2, and heart failure. Persistent heart failure was associated with high percentages of IL-17–producing T cells and IL-17–promoting cytokines, and the myocarditis/DCM phenotype included significantly low percentages of FOXP3+ Tregs, which may contribute to disease severity. We demonstrate a potentially novel mechanism in human myocarditis/DCM in which TLR2 peptide ligands from human cardiac myosin stimulated exaggerated Th17-related cytokines including TGF-β, IL-6, and IL-23 from myocarditic CD14+ monocytes in vitro, and an anti-TLR2 antibody abrogated the cytokine response. Our translational study explains how an immune phenotype may be initiated by cardiac myosin TLR ligand stimulation of monocytes to generate Th17-promoting cytokines and development of pathogenic Th17 cells in human myocarditis and heart failure, and provides a rationale for targeting IL-17A as a therapeutic option.

Authors

Jennifer M. Myers, Leslie T. Cooper, David C. Kem, Stavros Stavrakis, Stanley D. Kosanke, Ethan M. Shevach, DeLisa Fairweather, Julie A. Stoner, Carol J. Cox, Madeleine W. Cunningham

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Abstract

The mechanisms by which exercise mediates its multiple cardiac benefits are only partly understood. Prior comprehensive analyses of the cardiac transcriptional components and microRNAs dynamically regulated by exercise suggest that the CBP/p300-interacting protein CITED4 is a downstream effector in both networks. While CITED4 has documented functional consequences in neonatal cardiomyocytes in vitro, nothing is known about its effects in the adult heart. To investigate the impact of cardiac CITED4 expression in adult animals, we generated transgenic mice with regulated, cardiomyocyte-specific CITED4 expression. Cardiac CITED4 expression in adult mice was sufficient to induce an increase in heart weight and cardiomyocyte size with normal systolic function, similar to the effects of endurance exercise training. After ischemia-reperfusion, CITED4 expression did not change initial infarct size but mediated substantial functional recovery while reducing ventricular dilation and fibrosis. Forced cardiac expression of CITED4 also induced robust activation of the mTORC1 pathway after ischemic injury. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 abrogated CITED4’s effects in vitro and in vivo. Together, these data establish CITED4 as a regulator of mTOR signaling that is sufficient to induce physiologic hypertrophy at baseline and mitigate adverse ventricular remodeling after ischemic injury.

Authors

Vassilios J. Bezzerides, Colin Platt, Carolin Lerchenmüller, Kaavya Paruchuri, Nul Loren Oh, Chunyang Xiao, Yunshan Cao, Nina Mann, Bruce M. Spiegelman, Anthony Rosenzweig

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Abstract

Background. Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is caused by loss-of-function mutation(s) of the gene that encodes the tissue-nonspecific isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase (TNSALP). Consequently, cell-surface deficiency of TNSALP phosphohydrolase activity leads to extracellular accumulation of inorganic pyrophosphate, a natural substrate of TNSALP and inhibitor of mineralization. Children with HPP can manifest rickets, skeletal pain, deformity, fracture, muscle weakness, and premature deciduous tooth loss. Asfotase alfa is a recombinant, bone-targeted, human TNSALP injected s.c. to treat HPP. In 2012, we detailed the 1-year efficacy of asfotase alfa therapy for the life-threatening perinatal and infantile forms of HPP.

Methods. Here, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of asfotase alfa treatment administered to children 6–12 years of age at baseline who were substantially impaired by HPP. Two radiographic scales quantitated HPP skeletal disease, including comparisons to serial radiographs from similarly affected historical control patients.

Results. Twelve children receiving treatment were studied for 5 years. The 6-month primary endpoint was met, showing significant radiographic improvement. Additional significant improvements included patient growth, strength, motor function, agility, and quality of life, which for most patients meant achieving normal values for age- and sex-matched peers that were sustained at 5 years of treatment. For most, pain and disability resolved. Mild to moderate injection-site reactions were common and were sometimes associated with lipohypertrophy. Low anti–asfotase alfa antibody titers were noted in all patients. No evidence emerged for clinically important ectopic calcification or treatment resistance.

Conclusions. Asfotase alfa enzyme replacement therapy has substantial and sustained efficacy with a good safety profile for children suffering from HPP.

Trial Registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00952484 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00952484) and NCT01203826 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01203826).

Funding. Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Authors

Michael P. Whyte, Katherine L. Madson, Dawn Phillips, Amy L. Reeves, William H. McAlister, Amy Yakimoski, Karen E. Mack, Kim Hamilton, Kori Kagan, Kenji P. Fujita, David D. Thompson, Scott Moseley, Tatjana Odrljin, Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg

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Abstract

Tregs imprint an early immunotolerant tumor environment that prevents effective antitumor immune responses. Using transcriptomics of tumor tissues, we identified early upregulation of VEGF and TGF-β pathways compatible with tolerance imprinting. Silencing of VEGF or TGF-β in tumor cells induced early and pleiotropic modulation of immune-related transcriptome signatures in tumor tissues. These were surprisingly similar for both silenced tumors and related to common downstream effects on Tregs. Silencing of VEGF or TGF-β resulted in dramatically delayed tumor growth, associated with decreased Tregs and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and increased effector T cell activation in tumor infiltrates. Strikingly, co-silencing of TGF-β and VEGF led to a substantial spontaneous tumor eradication rate and the combination of their respective inhibitory drugs was synergistic. VEGF and/or TGF-β silencing also restored tumor sensitivity to tumor-specific cell therapies and markedly improved the efficacy of anti–PD-1/anti–CTLA-4 treatment. Thus, TGF-β and VEGF cooperatively control the tolerant environment of tumors and are targets for improved cancer immunotherapies.

Authors

Tristan Courau, Djamel Nehar-Belaid, Laura Florez, Béatrice Levacher, Thomas Vazquez, Faustine Brimaud, Bertrand Bellier, David Klatzmann

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Abstract

Vertebrate life critically depends on renal filtration and excretion of low molecular weight waste products. This process is controlled by a specialized cell-cell contact between podocyte foot processes: the slit diaphragm (SD). Using a comprehensive set of targeted KO mice of key SD molecules, we provided genetic, functional, and high-resolution ultrastructural data highlighting a concept of a flexible, dynamic, and multilayered architecture of the SD. Our data indicate that the mammalian SD is composed of NEPHRIN and NEPH1 molecules, while NEPH2 and NEPH3 do not participate in podocyte intercellular junction formation. Unexpectedly, homo- and heteromeric NEPHRIN/NEPH1 complexes are rarely observed. Instead, single NEPH1 molecules appear to form the lower part of the junction close to the glomerular basement membrane with a width of 23 nm, while single NEPHRIN molecules form an adjacent junction more apically with a width of 45 nm. In both cases, the molecules are quasiperiodically spaced 7 nm apart. These structural findings, in combination with the flexibility inherent to the repetitive Ig folds of NEPHRIN and NEPH1, indicate that the SD likely represents a highly dynamic cell-cell contact that forms an adjustable, nonclogging barrier within the renal filtration apparatus.

Authors

Florian Grahammer, Christoph Wigge, Christoph Schell, Oliver Kretz, Jaakko Patrakka, Simon Schneider, Martin Klose, Sebastian J. Arnold, Anja Habermann, Ricarda Bräuniger, Markus M. Rinschen, Linus Völker, Andreas Bregenzer, Dennis Rubbenstroth, Melanie Boerries, Dontscho Kerjaschki, Jeffrey H. Miner, Gerd Walz, Thomas Benzing, Alessia Fornoni, Achilleas S. Frangakis, Tobias B. Huber

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Abstract

Airway and/or lung remodeling, involving exaggerated extracellular matrix (ECM) protein deposition, is a critical feature common to pulmonary diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Fibulin-1 (Fbln1), an important ECM protein involved in matrix organization, may be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. We found that Fbln1 was increased in COPD patients and in cigarette smoke–induced (CS-induced) experimental COPD in mice. Genetic or therapeutic inhibition of Fbln1c protected against CS-induced airway fibrosis and emphysema-like alveolar enlargement. In experimental COPD, this occurred through disrupted collagen organization and interactions with fibronectin, periostin, and tenascin-c. Genetic inhibition of Fbln1c also reduced levels of pulmonary inflammatory cells and proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines (TNF-α, IL-33, and CXCL1) in experimental COPD. Fbln1c–/– mice also had reduced airway remodeling in experimental chronic asthma and pulmonary fibrosis. Our data show that Fbln1c may be a therapeutic target in chronic respiratory diseases.

Authors

Gang Liu, Marion A. Cooley, Andrew G. Jarnicki, Alan C-Y. Hsu, Prema M. Nair, Tatt Jhong Haw, Michael Fricker, Shaan L. Gellatly, Richard Y. Kim, Mark D. Inman, Gavin Tjin, Peter A.B. Wark, Marjorie M. Walker, Jay C. Horvat, Brian G. Oliver, W. Scott Argraves, Darryl A. Knight, Janette K. Burgess, Philip M. Hansbro

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Abstract

Fingolimod (FTY720, Gilenya), a sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor (S1PR) modulator, is one of the first-line immunomodulatory therapies for treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Human S1PR1 variants have been reported to have functional heterogeneity in vitro, suggesting that S1PR1 function may influence FTY720 efficacy. In this study, we examined the influence of S1PR1 phosphorylation on response to FTY720 in neuroinflammation. We found that mice carrying a phosphorylation-defective S1pr1 gene [S1PR1(S5A) mice] were refractory to FTY720 treatment in MOG35-55-immunized and Th17-mediated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) models. Long-term treatment with FTY720 induced significant lymphopenia and suppressed Th17 response in the peripheral immune system via downregulating STAT3 phosphorylation in both WT and S1PR1(S5A) mice. However, FTY720 did not effectively prevent neuroinflammation in the S1PR1(S5A) EAE mice as a result of encephalitogenic cells expressing C-C chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6). Combined treatment with FTY720 and anti-CCR6 delayed disease progression in S1PR1(S5A) EAE mice, suggesting that CCR6-mediated cell trafficking can overcome the effects of FTY720. This work may have translational relevance regarding FTY720 efficacy in MS patients and suggests that cell type–specific therapies may enhance therapeutic efficacy in MS.

Authors

Hsing-Chuan Tsai, Yingxiang Huang, Christopher S. Garris, Monica A. Moreno, Christina W. Griffin, May H. Han

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Abstract

Mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPSII) is an X-linked lysosomal storage disease characterized by severe neurologic and somatic disease caused by deficiency of iduronate-2-sulfatase (IDS), an enzyme that catabolizes the glycosaminoglycans heparan and dermatan sulphate. Intravenous enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) currently constitutes the only approved therapeutic option for MPSII. However, the inability of recombinant IDS to efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits ERT efficacy in treating neurological symptoms. Here, we report a gene therapy approach for MPSII through direct delivery of vectors to the CNS. Through a minimally invasive procedure, we administered adeno-associated virus vectors encoding IDS (AAV9-Ids) to the cerebrospinal fluid of MPSII mice with already established disease. Treated mice showed a significant increase in IDS activity throughout the encephalon, with full resolution of lysosomal storage lesions, reversal of lysosomal dysfunction, normalization of brain transcriptomic signature, and disappearance of neuroinflammation. Moreover, our vector also transduced the liver, providing a peripheral source of therapeutic protein that corrected storage pathology in visceral organs, with evidence of cross-correction of nontransduced organs by circulating enzyme. Importantly, AAV9-Ids-treated MPSII mice showed normalization of behavioral deficits and considerably prolonged survival. These results provide a strong proof of concept for the clinical translation of our approach for the treatment of Hunter syndrome patients with cognitive impairment.

Authors

Sandra Motas, Virginia Haurigot, Miguel Garcia, Sara Marcó, Albert Ribera, Carles Roca, Xavier Sánchez, Víctor Sánchez, Maria Molas, Joan Bertolin, Luca Maggioni, Xavier León, Jesús Ruberte, Fatima Bosch

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Abstract

Despite identification of causal genes for various lipodystrophy syndromes, the molecular basis of some peculiar lipodystrophies remains obscure. In an African-American pedigree with a novel autosomal dominant, atypical familial partial lipodystrophy (FPLD), we performed linkage analysis for candidate regions and whole-exome sequencing to identify the disease-causing mutation. Affected adults reported marked loss of fat from the extremities, with excess fat in the face and neck at age 13–15 years, and developed metabolic complications later. A heterozygous g.112837956C>T mutation on chromosome 10 (c.202C>T, p.Leu68Phe) affecting a highly conserved residue in adrenoceptor α 2A (ADRA2A) was found in all affected subjects but not in unaffected relatives. ADRA2A is the main presynaptic inhibitory feedback G protein–coupled receptor regulating norepinephrine release. Activation of ADRA2A inhibits cAMP production and reduces lipolysis in adipocytes. As compared with overexpression of a wild-type ADRA2A construct in human embryonic kidney–293 cells and differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, the mutant ADRA2A produced more cAMP and glycerol, which were resistant to the effects of the α2-adrenergic receptor agonist clonidine and the α2-adrenergic receptor antagonist yohimbine, suggesting loss of function. We conclude that heterozygous p.Leu68Phe ADRA2A mutation causes a rare atypical FPLD, most likely by inducing excessive lipolysis in some adipose tissue depots.

Authors

Abhimanyu Garg, Shireesha Sankella, Chao Xing, Anil K. Agarwal

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Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex systemic autoimmune disease driven by both innate and adaptive immune cells. African Americans tend to present with more severe disease at an earlier age compared with patients of European ancestry. In order to better understand the immunological differences between African American and European American patients, we analyzed the frequencies of B cell subsets and the expression of B cell activation markers from a total of 68 SLE patients and 69 normal healthy volunteers. We found that B cells expressing the activation markers CD86, CD80, PD1, and CD40L, as well as CD19+CD27IgD double-negative B cells, were enriched in African American patients vs. patients of European ancestry. In addition to increased expression of CD40L, surface levels of CD40 on B cells were lower, suggesting the engagement of the CD40 pathway. In vitro experiments confirmed that CD40L expressed by B cells could lead to CD40 activation and internalization on adjacent B cells. To conclude, these results indicate that, compared with European American patients, African American SLE patients present with a particularly active B cell component, possibly via the activation of the CD40/CD40L pathway. These data may help guide the development of novel therapies.

Authors

Laurence C. Menard, Sium Habte, Waldemar Gonsiorek, Deborah Lee, Dana Banas, Deborah A. Holloway, Nataly Manjarrez-Orduno, Mark Cunningham, Dawn Stetsko, Francesca Casano, Selena Kansal, Patricia M. Davis, Julie Carman, Clarence K. Zhang, Ferva Abidi, Richard Furie, Steven G. Nadler, Suzanne J. Suchard

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Variable response to chemotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) represents a major treatment challenge. Clinical and genetic features incompletely predict outcome. The value of clinical epigenetic assays for risk classification has not been extensively explored. We assess the prognostic implications of a clinical assay for multilocus DNA methylation on adult patients with de novo AML.

METHODS. We performed multilocus DNA methylation assessment using xMELP on samples and calculated a methylation statistic (M-score) for 166 patients from UPENN with de novo AML who received induction chemotherapy. The association of M-score with complete remission (CR) and overall survival (OS) was evaluated. The optimal M-score cut-point for identifying groups with differing survival was used to define a binary M-score classifier. This classifier was validated in an independent cohort of 383 patients from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Trial 1900 (E1900; NCT00049517).

RESULTS. A higher mean M-score was associated with death and failure to achieve CR. Multivariable analysis confirmed that a higher M-score was associated with death (P = 0.011) and failure to achieve CR (P = 0.034). Median survival was 26.6 months versus 10.6 months for low and high M-score groups. The ability of the M-score to perform as a classifier was confirmed in patients ≤ 60 years with intermediate cytogenetics and patients who achieved CR, as well as in the E1900 validation cohort.

CONCLUSION. The M-score represents a valid binary prognostic classifier for patients with de novo AML. The xMELP assay and associated M-score can be used for prognosis and should be further investigated for clinical decision making in AML patients.

Authors

Marlise R. Luskin, Phyllis A. Gimotty, Catherine Smith, Alison W. Loren, Maria E. Figueroa, Jenna Harrison, Zhuoxin Sun, Martin S. Tallman, Elisabeth M. Paietta, Mark R. Litzow, Ari M. Melnick, Ross L. Levine, Hugo F. Fernandez, Selina M. Luger, Martin Carroll, Stephen R. Master, Gerald B.W. Wertheim

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Abstract

Radiation therapy (RT), a critical modality in the treatment of lung cancer, induces direct tumor cell death and augments tumor-specific immunity. However, despite initial tumor control, most patients suffer from locoregional relapse and/or metastatic disease following RT. The use of immunotherapy in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) could potentially change this outcome by enhancing the effects of RT. Here, we report significant (up to 70% volume reduction of the target lesion) and durable (up to 12 weeks) tumor regressions in conditional Kras-driven genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) of NSCLC treated with radiotherapy and a programmed cell death 1 antibody (αPD-1). However, while αPD-1 therapy was beneficial when combined with RT in radiation-naive tumors, αPD-1 therapy had no antineoplastic efficacy in RT-relapsed tumors and further induced T cell inhibitory markers in this setting. Furthermore, there was differential efficacy of αPD-1 plus RT among Kras-driven GEMMs, with additional loss of the tumor suppressor serine/threonine kinase 11/liver kinase B1 (Stk11/Lkb1) resulting in no synergistic efficacy. Taken together, our data provide evidence for a close interaction among RT, T cells, and the PD-1/PD-L1 axis and underscore the rationale for clinical combinatorial therapy with immune modulators and radiotherapy.

Authors

Grit S. Herter-Sprie, Shohei Koyama, Houari Korideck, Josephine Hai, Jiehui Deng, Yvonne Y. Li, Kevin A. Buczkowski, Aaron K. Grant, Soumya Ullas, Kevin Rhee, Jillian D. Cavanaugh, Neermala Poudel Neupane, Camilla L. Christensen, Jan M. Herter, G. Mike Makrigiorgos, F. Stephen Hodi, Gordon J. Freeman, Glenn Dranoff, Peter S. Hammerman, Alec C. Kimmelman, Kwok-Kin Wong

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Abstract

Novel, tumor-specific drugs are urgently needed for a breakthrough in cancer therapy. Herein, we generated a first-in-class humanized antibody (PRL3-zumab) against PRL-3, an intracellular tumor-associated phosphatase upregulated in multiple human cancers, for unconventional cancer immunotherapies. We focused on gastric cancer (GC), wherein elevated PRL-3 mRNA levels significantly correlated with shortened overall survival of GC patients. PRL-3 protein was overexpressed in 85% of fresh-frozen clinical gastric tumor samples examined but not in patient-matched normal gastric tissues. Using human GC cell lines, we demonstrated that PRL3-zumab specifically blocked PRL-3+, but not PRL-3, orthotopic gastric tumors. In this setting, PRL3-zumab had better therapeutic efficacy as a monotherapy, rather than simultaneous combination with 5-fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil alone. PRL3-zumab could also prevent PRL-3+ tumor recurrence. Mechanistically, we found that intracellular PRL-3 antigens could be externalized to become “extracellular oncotargets” that serve as bait for PRL3-zumab binding to potentially bridge and recruit immunocytes into tumor microenvironments for killing effects on cancer cells. In summary, our results document a comprehensive cancer therapeutic approach to specific antibody-targeted therapy against the PRL-3 oncotarget as a case study for developing antibodies against other intracellular targets in drug discovery.

Authors

Min Thura, Abdul Qader Omer Al-Aidaroos, Wei Peng Yong, Koji Kono, Abhishek Gupta, You Bin Lin, Kousaku Mimura, Jean Paul Thiery, Boon Cher Goh, Patrick Tan, Ross Soo, Cheng William Hong, Lingzhi Wang, Suling Joyce Lin, Elya Chen, Sun Young Rha, Hyun Cheol Chung, Jie Li, Sayantani Nandi, Hiu Fung Yuen, Shu-Dong Zhang, Yeoh Khay Guan, Jimmy So, Qi Zeng

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Abstract

Mosaicism is increasingly recognized as a cause of developmental disorders with the advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS). Mosaic mutations of PIK3CA have been associated with the widest spectrum of phenotypes associated with overgrowth and vascular malformations. We performed targeted NGS using 2 independent deep-coverage methods that utilize molecular inversion probes and amplicon sequencing in a cohort of 241 samples from 181 individuals with brain and/or body overgrowth. We identified PIK3CA mutations in 60 individuals. Several other individuals (n = 12) were identified separately to have mutations in PIK3CA by clinical targeted-panel testing (n = 6), whole-exome sequencing (n = 5), or Sanger sequencing (n = 1). Based on the clinical and molecular features, this cohort segregated into three distinct groups: (a) severe focal overgrowth due to low-level but highly activating (hotspot) mutations, (b) predominantly brain overgrowth and less severe somatic overgrowth due to less-activating mutations, and (c) intermediate phenotypes (capillary malformations with overgrowth) with intermediately activating mutations. Sixteen of 29 PIK3CA mutations were novel. We also identified constitutional PIK3CA mutations in 10 patients. Our molecular data, combined with review of the literature, show that PIK3CA-related overgrowth disorders comprise a discontinuous spectrum of disorders that correlate with the severity and distribution of mutations.

Authors

Ghayda Mirzaa, Andrew E. Timms, Valerio Conti, Evan August Boyle, Katta M. Girisha, Beth Martin, Martin Kircher, Carissa Olds, Jane Juusola, Sarah Collins, Kaylee Park, Melissa Carter, Ian Glass, Inge Krägeloh-Mann, David Chitayat, Aditi Shah Parikh, Rachael Bradshaw, Erin Torti, Steve Braddock, Leah Burke, Sondhya Ghedia, Mark Stephan, Fiona Stewart, Chitra Prasad, Melanie Napier, Sulagna Saitta, Rachel Straussberg, Michael Gabbett, Bridget C. O’Connor, Catherine E. Keegan, Lim Jiin Yin, Angeline Hwei Meeng Lai, Nicole Martin, Margaret McKinnon, Marie-Claude Addor, Luigi Boccuto, Charles E. Schwartz, Agustina Lanoel, Robert L. Conway, Koenraad Devriendt, Katrina Tatton-Brown, Mary Ella Pierpont, Michael Painter, Lisa Worgan, James Reggin, Raoul Hennekam, Karen Tsuchiya, Colin C. Pritchard, Mariana Aracena, Karen W. Gripp, Maria Cordisco, Hilde Van Esch, Livia Garavelli, Cynthia Curry, Anne Goriely, Hulya Kayserilli, Jay Shendure, John Graham Jr., Renzo Guerrini, William B. Dobyns

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About JCI Insight

The American Society for Clinical Investigation and Journal of Clinical Investigation are pleased to launch JCI Insight, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to biomedical research, ranging from preclinical to clinical studies. Headed by Editor in Chief Howard Rockman, JCI Insight provides the research community with a broad forum to publish well-executed, high-quality, and insightful research articles across biomedical specialties.