Latest issue: September 22, 2016


Recently published

Abstract

Development of novel treatments for lymphedema has been limited by the fact that the pathophysiology of this disease is poorly understood. It remains unknown, for example, why limb swelling resulting from surgical injury resolves initially, but recurs in some cases months or years later. Finding answers for these basic questions has been hampered by the lack of adequate animal models. In the current study, we used Cre-lox mice that expressed the human diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) driven by a lymphatic-specific promoter in order to noninvasively ablate the lymphatic system of the hind limb. Animals treated in this manner developed lymphedema that was indistinguishable from clinical lymphedema temporally, radiographically, and histologically. Using this model and clinical biopsy specimens, we show that the initial resolution of edema after injury is dependent on the formation of collateral capillary lymphatics and that this process is regulated by M2-polarized macrophages. In addition, we show that despite these initial improvements in lymphatic function, persistent accumulation of CD4+ cells inhibits lymphangiogenesis and promotes sclerosis of collecting lymphatics, resulting in late onset of edema and fibrosis. Our findings therefore provide strong evidence that inflammatory changes after lymphatic injury play a key role in the pathophysiology of lymphedema.

Authors

Jason C. Gardenier, Geoffrey E. Hespe, Raghu P. Kataru, Ira L. Savetsky, Jeremy S. Torrisi, Gabriela D. García Nores, Joseph J. Dayan, David Chang, Jamie Zampell, Inés Martínez-Corral, Sagrario Ortega, Babak J. Mehrara

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Abstract

We created and tested multi-epitope DNA or protein vaccines with TLR4 ligand emulsion adjuvant (gluco glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant in a stable emulsion [GLA-SE]) for their ability to protect against Toxoplasma gondii in HLA transgenic mice. Our constructs each included 5 of our best down-selected CD8+ T cell–eliciting epitopes, a universal CD4+ helper T lymphocyte epitope (PADRE), and a secretory signal, all arranged for optimal MHC-I presentation. Their capacity to elicit immune and protective responses was studied using immunization of HLA-A*11:01 transgenic mice. These multi-epitope vaccines increased memory CD8+ T cells that produced IFN-γ and protected mice against parasite burden when challenged with T. gondii. Endocytosis of emulsion-trapped protein and cross presentation of the antigens must account for the immunogenicity of our adjuvanted protein. Thus, our work creates an adjuvanted platform assembly of peptides resulting in cross presentation of CD8+ T cell–eliciting epitopes in a vaccine that prevents toxoplasmosis.

Authors

Kamal El Bissati, Aziz A. Chentoufi, Paulette A. Krishack, Ying Zhou, Stuart Woods, Jitender P. Dubey, Lo Vang, Joseph Lykins, Kate E. Broderick, Ernest Mui, Yasuhiro Suzuki, Qila Sa, Stephanie Bi, Nestor Cardona, Shiv K. Verma, Laura Frazeck, Catherine A. Reardon, John Sidney, Jeff Alexander, Alessandro Sette, Tom Vedvick, Chris Fox, Jeffrey A. Guderian, Steven Reed, Craig W. Roberts, Rima McLeod

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Abstract

Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) is the most common, disruptive complication of Parkinson’s disease (PD) pharmacotherapy, yet despite decades of research, the changes in regional brain function underlying LID remain largely unknown. We previously found that the cerebral vasomotor and metabolic responses to levodopa are dissociated in PD subjects. Nonetheless, it is unclear whether levodopa-mediated dissociation is exaggerated in LID or distinguishes LID from non-LID subjects. To explore this possibility, we used dual-tracer positron emission tomography to quantify regional cerebral blood flow and metabolic activity in 28 PD subjects (14 LID, 14 non-LID), scanned before and during intravenous levodopa infusion. Levodopa-mediated dissociation was most prominent in the posterior putamen (P < 0.0001) and greater in LID than in non-LID and test-retest subjects. Strikingly, LID subjects also showed increased sensorimotor cortex (SMC) activity in the baseline, unmedicated state. Imaging data from an independent PD sample (106 subjects) linked these differences to loss of mesocortical dopamine terminals in advanced patients. In aggregate, the data suggest that LID results from an overactive vasomotor response to levodopa in the putamen on a background of disease-related increases in SMC activity. LID may thus be amenable to treatment that modulates the function of these 2 regions.

Authors

Vincent A. Jourdain, Chris C. Tang, Florian Holtbernd, Christian Dresel, Yoon Young Choi, Yilong Ma, Vijay Dhawan, David Eidelberg

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Abstract

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play a crucial role in the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. Quantitative and/or qualitative defects in Tregs result in diseases such as autoimmunity, allergy, malignancy, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a serious complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). We recently reported increased expression of autophagy-related genes (Atg) in association with enhanced survival of Tregs after SCT. Autophagy is a self-degradative process for cytosolic components that promotes cell homeostasis and survival. Here, we demonstrate that the disruption of autophagy within FoxP3+ Tregs (B6.Atg7fl/fl-FoxP3cre+) resulted in a profound loss of Tregs, particularly within the bone marrow (BM). This resulted in dysregulated effector T cell activation and expansion, and the development of enterocolitis and scleroderma in aged mice. We show that the BM compartment is highly enriched in TIGIT+ Tregs and that this subset is differentially depleted in the absence of autophagy. Moreover, following allogeneic SCT, recipients of grafts from B6.Atg7fl/fl-FoxP3cre+ donors exhibited reduced Treg reconstitution, exacerbated GVHD, and reduced survival compared with recipients of B6.WT-FoxP3cre+ grafts. Collectively, these data indicate that autophagy-dependent Tregs are critical for the maintenance of tolerance after SCT and that the promotion of autophagy represents an attractive immune-restorative therapeutic strategy after allogeneic SCT.

Authors

Laëtitia Le Texier, Katie E. Lineburg, Benjamin Cao, Cameron McDonald-Hyman, Lucie Leveque-El Mouttie, Jemma Nicholls, Michelle Melino, Blessy C. Nalkurthi, Kylie A. Alexander, Bianca Teal, Stephen J. Blake, Fernando Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, Christian R. Engwerda, Rachel D. Kuns, Steven W. Lane, Michele Teng, Charis Teh, Daniel Gray, Andrew D. Clouston, Susan K. Nilsson, Bruce R. Blazar, Geoffrey R. Hill, Kelli P.A. MacDonald

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Abstract

Diabetes is associated with altered cellular metabolism, but how altered metabolism contributes to the development of diabetic complications is unknown. We used the BKS db/db diabetic mouse model to investigate changes in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in kidney cortex, peripheral nerve, and retina. A systems approach using transcriptomics, metabolomics, and metabolic flux analysis identified tissue-specific differences, with increased glucose and fatty acid metabolism in the kidney, a moderate increase in the retina, and a decrease in the nerve. In the kidney, increased metabolism was associated with enhanced protein acetylation and mitochondrial dysfunction. To confirm these findings in human disease, we analyzed diabetic kidney transcriptomic data and urinary metabolites from a cohort of Southwestern American Indians. The urinary findings were replicated in 2 independent patient cohorts, the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy and the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes studies. Increased concentrations of TCA cycle metabolites in urine, but not in plasma, predicted progression of diabetic kidney disease, and there was an enrichment of pathways involved in glycolysis and fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Our findings highlight tissue-specific changes in metabolism in complication-prone tissues in diabetes and suggest that urinary TCA cycle intermediates are potential prognostic biomarkers of diabetic kidney disease progression.

Authors

Kelli M. Sas, Pradeep Kayampilly, Jaeman Byun, Viji Nair, Lucy M. Hinder, Junguk Hur, Hongyu Zhang, Chengmao Lin, Nathan R. Qi, George Michailidis, Per-Henrik Groop, Robert G. Nelson, Manjula Darshi, Kumar Sharma, Jeffrey R. Schelling, John R. Sedor, Rodica Pop-Busui, Joel M. Weinberg, Scott A. Soleimanpour, Steven F. Abcouwer, Thomas W. Gardner, Charles F. Burant, Eva L. Feldman, Matthias Kretzler, Frank C. Brosius III, Subramaniam Pennathur

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Abstract

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the US. The majority of COPD patients have symptoms of chronic bronchitis, which lacks specific therapies. A major impediment to therapeutic development has been the absence of animal models that recapitulate key clinical and pathologic features of human disease. Ferrets are well suited for the investigation of the significance of respiratory diseases, given prior data indicating similarities to human airway physiology and submucosal gland distribution. Here, we exposed ferrets to chronic cigarette smoke and found them to approximate complex clinical features of human COPD. Unlike mice, which develop solely emphysema, smoke-exposed ferrets exhibited markedly higher numbers of early-morning spontaneous coughs and sporadic infectious exacerbations as well as a higher level of airway obstruction accompanied by goblet cell metaplasia/hyperplasia and increased mucus expression in small airways, indicative of chronic bronchitis and bronchiolitis. Overall, we demonstrate the first COPD animal model exhibiting clinical and pathologic features of chronic bronchitis to our knowledge, providing a key advance that will greatly facilitate the preclinical development of novel treatments for this disease.

Authors

S. Vamsee Raju, Hyunki Kim, Stephen A. Byzek, Li Ping Tang, John E. Trombley, Patricia Jackson, Lawrence Rasmussen, J. Michael Wells, Emily Falk Libby, Erik Dohm, Lindy Winter, Sharon L. Samuel, Kurt R. Zinn, J. Edwin Blalock, Trenton R. Schoeb, Mark T. Dransfield, Steven M. Rowe

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Abstract

Oxidative stress is implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease that causes blindness. The biological and cellular mechanisms by which oxidative stress mediates neuronal cell death are largely unknown. In a mouse model of RP (rd10 mice), we show that oxidative DNA damage activates microglia through MutY homolog–mediated (MUYTH-mediated) base excision repair (BER), thereby exacerbating retinal inflammation and degeneration. In the early stage of retinal degeneration, oxidative DNA damage accumulated in the microglia and caused single-strand breaks (SSBs) and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activation. In contrast, Mutyh deficiency in rd10 mice prevented SSB formation in microglia, which in turn suppressed microglial activation and photoreceptor cell death. Moreover, Mutyh-deficient primary microglial cells attenuated the polarization to the inflammatory and cytotoxic phenotype under oxidative stress. Thus, MUTYH-mediated BER in oxidative microglial activation may be a novel target to dampen the disease progression in RP and other neurodegenerative disorders that are associated with oxidative stress.

Authors

Shunji Nakatake, Yusuke Murakami, Yasuhiro Ikeda, Noriko Morioka, Takashi Tachibana, Kohta Fujiwara, Noriko Yoshida, Shoji Notomi, Toshio Hisatomi, Shigeo Yoshida, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Koh-Hei Sonoda

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Abstract

Primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease (PPNAD) is a rare cause of ACTH-independent hypercortisolism. The disease is primarily caused by germline mutations of the protein kinase A (PKA) regulatory subunit 1A (PRKAR1A) gene, which induces constitutive activation of PKA in adrenocortical cells. Hypercortisolism is thought to result from PKA hyperactivity, but PPNAD tissues exhibit features of neuroendocrine differentiation, which may lead to stimulation of steroidogenesis by abnormally expressed neurotransmitters. We hypothesized that serotonin (5-HT) may participate in the pathophysiology of PPNAD-associated hypercortisolism. We show that PPNAD tissues overexpress the 5-HT synthesizing enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase type 2 (Tph2) and the serotonin receptors types 4, 6, and 7, leading to formation of an illicit stimulatory serotonergic loop whose pharmacological inhibition in vitro decreases cortisol production. In the human PPNAD cell line CAR47, the PKA inhibitor H-89 decreases 5-HT4 and 5-HT7 receptor expression. Moreover, in the human adrenocortical cell line H295R, inhibition of PRKAR1A expression increases the expression of Tph2 and 5-HT4/6/7 receptors, an effect that is blocked by H-89. These findings show that the serotonergic process observed in PPNAD tissues results from PKA activation by PRKAR1A mutations. They also suggest that Tph inhibitors may represent efficient treatments of hypercortisolism in patients with PPNAD.

Authors

Zakariae Bram, Estelle Louiset, Bruno Ragazzon, Sylvie Renouf, Julien Wils, Céline Duparc, Isabelle Boutelet, Marthe Rizk-Rabin, Rossella Libé, Jacques Young, Dennis Carson, Marie-Christine Vantyghem, Eva Szarek, Antoine Martinez, Constantine A. Stratakis, Jérôme Bertherat, Hervé Lefebvre

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Abstract

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) are the most common hospital-associated infections. Here, we report that bladder catheterization initiated a persistent sterile inflammatory reaction within minutes of catheter implantation. Catheterization resulted in increased expression of genes associated with defense responses and cellular migration, with ensuing rapid and sustained innate immune cell infiltration into the bladder. Catheterization also resulted in hypersensitivity to Enterococcus faecalis and uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) infection, in which colonization was achieved using an inoculum 100-fold lower than the ID90 for infection of an undamaged urothelium with the same uropathogens. As the time of catheterization increased, however, colonization by the Gram-positive uropathogen E. faecalis was reduced, whereas catheterization created a sustained window of vulnerability to infection for Gram-negative UPEC over time. As CAUTI contributes to poorer patient outcomes and increased health care expenditures, we tested whether a single prophylactic antibiotic treatment, concurrent with catheterization, would prevent infection. We observed that antibiotic treatment protected against UPEC and E. faecalis bladder and catheter colonization as late as 6 hours after implantation. Thus, our study has revealed a simple, safe, and immediately employable intervention, with the potential to decrease one of the most costly hospital-incurred infections, thereby improving patient and health care economic outcome.

Authors

Matthieu Rousseau, H.M. Sharon Goh, Sarah Holec, Matthew L. Albert, Rohan B.H. Williams, Molly A. Ingersoll, Kimberly A. Kline

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Abstract

Transgenic expression of key myelosupportive human cytokines in immune-deficient mice corrects for the lack of cross-species activities of stem cell factor (SCF), IL-3, and GM-CSF. When engrafted with human umbilical cord blood (UCB), these triple-transgenic mice produce BM and spleen grafts with much higher myeloid composition, relative to nontransgenic controls. Shortly after engraftment with UCB, these mice develop a severe, fatal macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) characterized by a progressive drop in rbc numbers, increased reticulocyte counts, decreased rbc half-life, progressive cytopenias, and evidence of chronic inflammation, including elevated human IL-6. The BM becomes strikingly hypocellular, and spleens are significantly enlarged with evidence of extramedullary hematopoiesis and activated macrophages engaged in hemophagocytosis. This manifestation of MAS does not respond to lymphocyte-suppressive therapies such as steroids, i.v. immunoglobulin, or antibody-mediated ablation of human B and T cells, demonstrating a lymphocyte-independent mechanism of action. In contrast, elimination of human myeloid cells using gemtuzumab ozogamicin (anti-CD33) completely reversed the disease. Additionally, the IL-6R antibody tocilizumab delayed progression and prolonged lifespan. This new model of MAS provides an opportunity for investigation of the mechanisms driving this disease and for the testing of directed therapies in a humanized mouse.

Authors

Mark Wunderlich, Courtney Stockman, Mahima Devarajan, Navin Ravishankar, Christina Sexton, Ashish R. Kumar, Benjamin Mizukawa, James C. Mulloy

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Abstract

Using mice rendered insulin resistant with high fat diets (HFD), we examined blood glucose levels and insulin resistance after i.v. delivery of an adeno-associated virus type 8 encoding murine urocortin 2 (AAV8.UCn2). A single i.v. injection of AAV8.UCn2-normalized blood glucose and glucose disposal within weeks, an effect that lasted for months. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps showed reduced plasma insulin, increased glucose disposal rates, and increased insulin sensitivity following UCn2 gene transfer. Mice with corticotropin-releasing hormone type 2-receptor deletion that were rendered insulin resistant by HFD showed no improvement in glucose disposal after UCn2 gene transfer, indicating that the effect requires UCn2’s cognate receptor. We also demonstrated increased glucose disposal after UCn2 gene transfer in db/db mice, a second model of insulin resistance. UCn2 gene transfer reduced fatty infiltration of the liver in both models of insulin resistance. UCn2 increases Glut4 translocation to the plasma membrane in skeletal myotubes in a manner quantitatively similar to insulin, indicating a mechanism through which UCn2 operates to increase insulin sensitivity. UCn2 gene transfer, in a dose-dependent manner, is insulin sensitizing and effective for months after a single injection. These findings suggest a potential long-term therapy for clinical type-2 diabetes.

Authors

Mei Hua Gao, Dimosthenis Giamouridis, N. Chin Lai, Evelyn Walenta, Vivian Almeida Paschoal, Young Chul Kim, Atsushi Miyanohara, Tracy Guo, Min Liao, Li Liu, Zhen Tan, Theodore P. Ciaraldi, Simon Schenk, Aditi Bhargava, Da Young Oh, H. Kirk Hammond

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Abstract

Transcriptome profiles derived from the site of human disease have led to the identification of genes that contribute to pathogenesis, yet the complex mixture of cell types in these lesions has been an obstacle for defining specific mechanisms. Leprosy provides an outstanding model to study host defense and pathogenesis in a human infectious disease, given its clinical spectrum, which interrelates with the host immunologic and pathologic responses. Here, we investigated gene expression profiles derived from skin lesions for each clinical subtype of leprosy, analyzing gene coexpression modules by cell-type deconvolution. In lesions from tuberculoid leprosy patients, those with the self-limited form of the disease, dendritic cells were linked with MMP12 as part of a tissue remodeling network that contributes to granuloma formation. In lesions from lepromatous leprosy patients, those with disseminated disease, macrophages were linked with a gene network that programs phagocytosis. In erythema nodosum leprosum, neutrophil and endothelial cell gene networks were identified as part of the vasculitis that results in tissue injury. The present integrated computational approach provides a systems approach toward identifying cell-defined functional networks that contribute to host defense and immunopathology at the site of human infectious disease.

Authors

Megan S. Inkeles, Rosane M.B. Teles, Delila Pouldar, Priscila R. Andrade, Cressida A. Madigan, David Lopez, Mike Ambrose, Mahdad Noursadeghi, Euzenir N. Sarno, Thomas H. Rea, Maria T. Ochoa, M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe, William R. Swindell, Tom H.M. Ottenhoff, Annemieke Geluk, Barry R. Bloom, Matteo Pellegrini, Robert L. Modlin

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss mediated by CD8+ T cells. There are no reliably effective therapies for AA. Based on recent developments in the understanding of the pathomechanism of AA, JAK inhibitors appear to be a therapeutic option; however, their efficacy for the treatment of AA has not been systematically examined.

METHODS. This was a 2-center, open-label, single-arm trial using the pan-JAK inhibitor, tofacitinib citrate, for AA with >50% scalp hair loss, alopecia totalis (AT), and alopecia universalis (AU). Tofacitinib (5 mg) was given twice daily for 3 months. Endpoints included regrowth of scalp hair, as assessed by the severity of alopecia tool (SALT), duration of hair growth after completion of therapy, and disease transcriptome.

RESULTS. Of 66 subjects treated, 32% experienced 50% or greater improvement in SALT score. AA and ophiasis subtypes were more responsive than AT and AU subtypes. Shorter duration of disease and histological peribulbar inflammation on pretreatment scalp biopsies were associated with improvement in SALT score. Drug cessation resulted in disease relapse in 8.5 weeks. Adverse events were limited to grade I and II infections. An AA responsiveness to JAK/STAT inhibitors score was developed to segregate responders and nonresponders, and the previously developed AA disease activity index score tracked response to treatment.

CONCLUSIONS. At the dose and duration studied, tofacitinib is a safe and effective treatment for severe AA, though it does not result in a durable response. Transcriptome changes reveal unexpected molecular complexity within the disease.

TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02197455 and NCT02312882.

FUNDING. This work was supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases National Institutes of Health grant R01 AR47223 and U01 AR67173, the National Psoriasis Foundation, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Fernström Foundation, the Locks of Love Foundation, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, and the Ranjini and Ajay Poddar Resource Fund for Dermatologic Diseases Research.

Authors

Milène Kennedy Crispin, Justin M. Ko, Brittany G. Craiglow, Shufeng Li, Gautam Shankar, Jennifer R. Urban, James C. Chen, Jane E. Cerise, Ali Jabbari, Mårten C.G. Winge, M. Peter Marinkovich, Angela M. Christiano, Anthony E. Oro, Brett A. King

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Alopecia areata (AA) is a common autoimmune disease with a lifetime risk of 1.7%; there are no FDA-approved treatments for AA. We previously identified a dominant IFN-γ transcriptional signature in cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) in human and mouse AA skin and showed that treatment with JAK inhibitors induced durable hair regrowth in mice by targeting this pathway. Here, we investigated the use of the oral JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe AA.

METHODS. We initiated an open-label clinical trial of 12 patients with moderate-to-severe AA, using oral ruxolitinib, 20 mg twice per day, for 3–6 months of treatment followed by 3 months follow-up off drug. The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects with 50% or greater hair regrowth from baseline to end of treatment.

RESULTS. Nine of twelve patients (75%) demonstrated a remarkable response to treatment, with average hair regrowth of 92% at the end of treatment. Safety parameters remained largely within normal limits, and no serious adverse effects were reported. Gene expression profiling revealed treatment-related downregulation of inflammatory markers, including signatures for CTLs and IFN response genes and upregulation of hair-specific markers.

CONCLUSION. In this pilot study, 9 of 12 patients (75%) treated with ruxolitinib showed significant scalp hair regrowth and improvement of AA. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to further assess the safety and efficacy of ruxolitinib in the treatment of AA.

TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01950780.

FUNDING. Locks of Love Foundation, the Alopecia Areata Initiative, NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research/Columbia University Medical Center Clinical and Translational Science Award (CUMC CTSA).

Authors

Julian Mackay-Wiggan, Ali Jabbari, Nhan Nguyen, Jane E. Cerise, Charlotte Clark, Grace Ulerio, Megan Furniss, Roger Vaughan, Angela M. Christiano, Raphael Clynes

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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.