Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by dystrophin deficiency resulting in progressive muscle weakness and fibrotic scarring. Muscle fibrosis impairs blood flow, hampering muscle repair and regeneration. Irrespective of the success of gene restoration, functional improvement is limited without reducing fibrosis. The levels of miR-29c, a known regulator of collagen, are reduced in DMD. Our goal is to develop translational, antifibrotic therapy by overexpressing miR-29c. We injected the gastrocnemius muscle with either self-complementary AAV.CMV.miR-29c or single-stranded AAV.MCK.micro-dystrophin alone or in combination in the
Kristin N. Heller, Joshua T. Mendell, Jerry R. Mendell, Louise R. Rodino-Klapac
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory CNS demyelinating disease in which remyelination largely fails. Transmembrane TNF (tmTNF) and TNF receptor 2 are important for remyelination in experimental MS models, but it is unknown whether soluble TNF (solTNF), a major proinflammatory factor, is involved in regeneration processes. Here, we investigated the specific contribution of solTNF to demyelination and remyelination in the cuprizone model. Treatment with XPro1595, a selective inhibitor of solTNF that crosses the intact blood-brain barrier (BBB), in cuprizone-fed mice did not prevent toxin-induced oligodendrocyte loss and demyelination, but it permitted profound early remyelination due to improved phagocytosis of myelin debris by CNS macrophages and prevented disease-associated decline in motor performance. The beneficial effects of XPro1595 were absent in TNF-deficient mice and replicated in tmTNF-knockin mice, showing that tmTNF is sufficient for the maintenance of myelin and neuroprotection. These findings demonstrate that solTNF inhibits remyelination and repair in a cuprizone demyelination model and suggest that local production of solTNF in the CNS might be one reason why remyelination fails in MS. These findings also suggest that disinhibition of remyelination by selective inhibitors of solTNF that cross the BBB might represent a promising approach for treatment in progressive MS.
Maria Karamita, Christopher Barnum, Wiebke Möbius, Malú G. Tansey, David E. Szymkowski, Hans Lassmann, Lesley Probert
Focal therapies play an important role in the treatment of cancers where palliation is desired, local control is needed, or surgical resection is not feasible. Pairing immunotherapy with such focal treatments is particularly attractive; however, there is emerging evidence that focal therapy can have a positive or negative impact on the efficacy of immunotherapy. Thermal ablation is an appealing modality to pair with such protocols, as tumors can be rapidly debulked (cell death occurring within minutes to hours), tumor antigens can be released locally, and treatment can be conducted and repeated without the concerns of radiation-based therapies. In a syngeneic model of epithelial cancer, we found that 7 days of immunotherapy (TLR9 agonist and checkpoint blockade), prior to thermal ablation, reduced macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and enhanced IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells, the M1 macrophage fraction, and PD-L1 expression on CD45+ cells. Continued treatment with immunotherapy alone or with immunotherapy combined with ablation (primed ablation) then resulted in a complete response in 80% of treated mice at day 90, and primed ablation expanded CD8+ T cells as compared with all control groups. When the tumor burden was increased by implantation of 3 orthotopic tumors, successive primed ablation of 2 discrete lesions resulted in survival of 60% of treated mice as compared with 25% of mice treated with immunotherapy alone. Alternatively, when immunotherapy was begun immediately after thermal ablation, the abscopal effect was diminished and none of the mice within the cohort exhibited a complete response. In summary, we found that immunotherapy begun before ablation can be curative and can enhance efficacy in the presence of a high tumor burden. Two mechanisms have potential to impact the efficacy of immunotherapy when begun immediately after thermal ablation: mechanical changes in the tumor microenvironment and inflammatory-mediated changes in immune phenotype.
Matthew T. Silvestrini, Elizabeth S. Ingham, Lisa M. Mahakian, Azadeh Kheirolomoom, Yu Liu, Brett Z. Fite, Sarah M. Tam, Samantha T. Tucci, Katherine D. Watson, Andrew W. Wong, Arta M. Monjazeb, Neil E. Hubbard, William J. Murphy, Alexander D. Borowsky, Katherine W. Ferrara
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of infantile death and is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1 (
Kevin A. Kaifer, Eric Villalón, Erkan Y. Osman, Jacqueline J. Glascock, Laura L. Arnold, D.D.W. Cornelison, Christian L. Lorson
Rat and human CD4+ and CD8+ Tregs expressing low levels of CD45RC have strong immunoregulatory properties. We describe here that human CD45 isoforms are nonredundant and identify distinct subsets of cells. We show that CD45RC is not expressed by CD4+ and CD8+ Foxp3+ Tregs, while CD45RA/RB/RO are. Transient administration of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting CD45RC in a rat cardiac allotransplantation model induced transplant tolerance associated with inhibition of allogeneic humoral responses but maintained primary and memory responses against cognate antigens. Anti-CD45RC mAb induced rapid death of CD45RChigh T cells through intrinsic cell signaling but preserved and potentiated CD4+ and CD8+ CD45RClow/– Tregs, which are able to adoptively transfer donor-specific tolerance to grafted recipients. Anti-CD45RC treatment results in distinct transcriptional signature of CD4+ and CD8+ CD45RClow/– Tregs. Finally, we demonstrate that anti-human CD45RC treatment inhibited graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in immune-humanized NSG mice. Thus, short-term anti-CD45RC is a potent therapeutic candidate to induce transplantation tolerance in human.
Elodie Picarda, Séverine Bézie, Laetitia Boucault, Elodie Autrusseau, Stéphanie Kilens, Dimitri Meistermann, Bernard Martinet, Véronique Daguin, Audrey Donnart, Eric Charpentier, Laurent David, Ignacio Anegon, Carole Guillonneau
Chronic urethral obstruction and the ensuing bladder wall remodeling can lead to diminished bladder smooth muscle (BSM) contractility and debilitating lower urinary tract symptoms. No effective pharmacotherapy exists to restore BSM contractile function. Neuropilin 2 (Nrp2) is a transmembrane protein that is highly expressed in BSM. Nrp2 deletion in mice leads to increased BSM contraction. We determined whether genetic ablation of Nrp2 could restore BSM contractility following obstruction. Partial bladder outlet obstruction (pBOO) was created by urethral occlusion in mice with either constitutive and ubiquitous, or inducible smooth muscle–specific deletion of Nrp2, and Nrp2-intact littermates. Mice without obstruction served as additional controls. Contractility was measured by isometric tension testing. Nrp2 deletion prior to pBOO increased force generation in BSM 4 weeks following surgery. Deletion of Nrp2 in mice already subjected to pBOO for 4 weeks showed increased contractility of tissues tested 6 weeks after surgery compared with nondeleted controls. Assessment of tissues from patients with urodynamically defined bladder outlet obstruction revealed reduced NRP2 levels in obstructed bladders with compensated compared with decompensated function, relative to asymptomatic controls. We conclude that downregulation of Nrp2 promotes BSM force generation. Neuropilin 2 may represent a novel target to restore contractility following obstruction.
Evalynn Vasquez, Vivian Cristofaro, Stefan Lukianov, Fiona C. Burkhard, Ali Hashemi Gheinani, Katia Monastyrskaya, Diane R. Bielenberg, Maryrose P. Sullivan, Rosalyn M. Adam
Canavan disease (CD) is a debilitating and lethal leukodystrophy caused by mutations in the aspartoacylase (
Dominic J. Gessler, Danning Li, Hongxia Xu, Qin Su, Julio Sanmiguel, Serafettin Tuncer, Constance Moore, Jean King, Reuben Matalon, Guangping Gao
BACKGROUND. In dilated cardiomyopathies (DCMs) changes in expression of protein-coding genes are associated with reverse remodeling, and these changes can be regulated by microRNAs (miRs). We tested the general hypothesis that dynamic changes in myocardial miR expression are predictive of β-blocker–associated reverse remodeling.
METHODS. Forty-three idiopathic DCM patients (mean left ventricular ejection fraction 0.24 ± 0.09) were treated with β-blockers. Serial ventriculography and endomyocardial biopsies were performed at baseline, and after 3 and 12 months of treatment. Changes in RT-PCR (candidate miRs) or array-measured miRs were compared based on the presence (R) or absence (NR) of a reverse-remodeling response, and a miR-mRNA-function pathway analysis (PA) was performed.
RESULTS. At 3 months, 2 candidate miRs were selectively changed in Rs, decreases in miR-208a-3p and miR-591. PA revealed changes in miR-mRNA interactions predictive of decreased apoptosis and myocardial cell death. At 12 months, 5 miRs exhibited selective changes in Rs (decreases in miR-208a-3p, -208b-3p, 21-5p, and 199a-5p; increase in miR-1-3p). PA predicted decreases in apoptosis, cardiac myocyte cell death, hypertrophy, and heart failure, with increases in contractile and overall cardiac functions.
CONCLUSIONS. In DCMs, myocardial miRs predict the time-dependent reverse-remodeling response to β-blocker treatment, and likely regulate the expression of remodeling-associated miRs.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01798992.
FUNDING. NIH 2R01 HL48013, 1R01 HL71118 (Bristow, PI); sponsored research agreements from Glaxo-SmithKline and AstraZeneca (Bristow, PI); NIH P20 HL101435 (Lowes, Port multi-PD/PI); sponsored research agreement from Miragen Therapeutics (Port, PI).
Carmen C. Sucharov, David P. Kao, J. David Port, Anis Karimpour-Fard, Robert A. Quaife, Wayne Minobe, Karin Nunley, Brian D. Lowes, Edward M. Gilbert, Michael R. Bristow
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal progressive fibrotic lung disease characterized by the presence of invasive myofibroblasts in the lung. Currently, there are only two FDA-approved drugs (pirfenidone and nintedanib) for the treatment of IPF. There are no defined criteria to guide specific drug therapy. New methodologies are needed not only to predict personalized drug therapy, but also to screen novel molecules that are on the horizon for treatment of IPF. We have developed a model system that exploits the invasive phenotype of IPF lung tissue. This ex vivo 3D model uses lung tissue from patients to develop pulmospheres. Pulmospheres are 3D spheroids composed of cells derived exclusively from primary lung biopsies and inclusive of lung cell types reflective of those in situ, in the patient. We tested the pulmospheres of 20 subjects with IPF and 9 control subjects to evaluate the responsiveness of individual patients to antifibrotic drugs. Clinical parameters and outcomes were also followed in the same patients. Our results suggest that pulmospheres simulate the microenvironment in the lung and serve as a personalized and predictive model for assessing responsiveness to antifibrotic drugs in patients with IPF.
Ranu Surolia, Fu Jun Li, Zheng Wang, Huashi Li, Gang Liu, Yong Zhou, Tracy Luckhardt, Sejong Bae, Rui-ming Liu, Sunad Rangarajan, Joao de Andrade, Victor J. Thannickal, Veena B. Antony
Approximately 50% of high-grade serous ovarian cancers (HGSOCs) have defects in genes involved in homologous recombination (HR) (i.e.,
Erin George, Hyoung Kim, Clemens Krepler, Brandon Wenz, Mehran Makvandi, Janos L. Tanyi, Eric Brown, Rugang Zhang, Patricia Brafford, Stephanie Jean, Robert H. Mach, Yiling Lu, Gordon B. Mills, Meenhard Herlyn, Mark Morgan, Xiaochen Zhang, Robert Soslow, Ronny Drapkin, Neil Johnson, Ying Zheng, George Cotsarelis, Katherine L. Nathanson, Fiona Simpkins
Regeneration of hepatic sinusoidal vasculature is essential for non-fibrotic liver regrowth and restoration of its metabolic capacity. However, little is known about how this specialized vascular niche is regenerated. Here we show that activation of endothelial sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1P1) by its natural ligand bound to HDL (HDL-S1P) induces liver regeneration and curtails fibrosis. In mice lacking HDL-S1P, liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy was impeded and associated with aberrant vascular remodeling, thrombosis and peri-sinusoidal fibrosis. Notably, this “maladaptive repair” phenotype was recapitulated in mice that lack S1P1 in the endothelium. Reciprocally, enhanced plasma levels of HDL-S1P or administration of SEW2871, a pharmacological agonist specific for S1P1 enhanced regeneration of metabolically functional vasculature and alleviated fibrosis in mouse chronic injury and cholestasis models. This study shows that natural and pharmacological ligands modulate endothelial S1P1 to stimulate liver regeneration and inhibit fibrosis, suggesting that activation of this pathway may be a novel therapeutic strategy for liver fibrosis.
Bi-Sen Ding, Catherine H. Liu, Yue Sun, Yutian Chen, Steven L. Swendeman, Bongnam Jung, Deebly Chavez, Zhongwei Cao, Christina Christoffersen, Lars Bo Nielsen, Susan R. Schwab, Shahin Rafii, Timothy Hla
Muscle trauma is highly morbid due to intramuscular scarring, or fibrosis, and muscle atrophy. Studies have shown that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) reduce muscle atrophy. However, increased BMP signaling at muscle injury sites causes heterotopic ossification, as seen in patients with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), or patients with surgically placed BMP implants for bone healing. We use a genetic mouse model of hyperactive BMP signaling to show the development of intramuscular fibrosis surrounding areas of ectopic bone following muscle injury. Rapamycin, which we have previously shown to eliminate ectopic ossification in this model, also eliminates fibrosis without reducing osteogenic differentiation, suggesting clinical value for patients with FOP and with BMP implants. Finally, we use reporter mice to show that BMP signaling is positively associated with myofiber cross-sectional area. These findings underscore an approach in which 2 therapeutics (rapamycin and BMP ligand) can offset each other, leading to an improved outcome.
Shailesh Agarwal, David Cholok, Shawn Loder, John Li, Christopher Breuler, Michael T. Chung, Hsiao Hsin Sung, Kavitha Ranganathan, Joe Habbouche, James Drake, Joshua Peterson, Caitlin Priest, Shuli Li, Yuji Mishina, Benjamin Levi
Noonan syndrome (NS) is a common autosomal dominant disorder that presents with short stature, craniofacial dysmorphism, and cardiac abnormalities. Activating mutations in the
Jae-Sung Yi, Yan Huang, Andrea T. Kwaczala, Ivana Y. Kuo, Barbara E. Ehrlich, Stuart G. Campbell, Frank J. Giordano, Anton M. Bennett
A barrier to drug development for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the absence of translational preclinical human-relevant systems. An in vitro liver model was engineered to incorporate hepatic sinusoidal flow, transport, and lipotoxic stress risk factors (glucose, insulin, free fatty acids) with cocultured primary human hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and macrophages. Transcriptomic, lipidomic, and functional endpoints were evaluated and compared with clinical data from NASH patient biopsies. The lipotoxic milieu promoted hepatocyte lipid accumulation (4-fold increase,
Ryan E. Feaver, Banumathi K. Cole, Mark J. Lawson, Stephen A. Hoang, Svetlana Marukian, Brett R. Blackman, Robert A. Figler, Arun J. Sanyal, Brian R. Wamhoff, Ajit Dash
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease and one of the leading inherited causes of infant mortality. SMA results from insufficient levels of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, and studies in animal models of the disease have shown that increasing SMN protein levels ameliorates the disease phenotype. Our group previously identified and optimized a new series of small molecules, with good potency and toxicity profiles and reasonable pharmacokinetics, that were able to increase SMN protein levels in SMA patient–derived cells. We show here that ML372, a representative of this series, almost doubles the half-life of residual SMN protein expressed from the SMN2 locus by blocking its ubiquitination and subsequent degradation by the proteasome. ML372 increased SMN protein levels in muscle, spinal cord, and brain tissue of SMA mice. Importantly, ML372 treatment improved the righting reflex and extended survival of a severe mouse model of SMA. These results demonstrate that slowing SMN degradation by selectively inhibiting its ubiquitination can improve the motor phenotype and lifespan of SMA model mice.
Mahlet B. Abera, Jingbo Xiao, Jonathan Nofziger, Steve Titus, Noel Southall, Wei Zheng, Kasey E. Moritz, Marc Ferrer, Jonathan J. Cherry, Elliot J. Androphy, Amy Wang, Xin Xu, Christopher Austin, Kenneth H. Fischbeck, Juan J. Marugan, Barrington G. Burnett
Clinical monitoring of adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) utilizes serial blood analyses to discern T cell activity. While useful, these data are 1-dimensional and lack spatiotemporal information related to treatment efficacy or toxicity. We utilized a human genetic reporter, somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2), and PET, to quantitatively and longitudinally visualize whole-body T cell distribution and antitumor dynamics using a clinically approved radiotracer. Initial evaluations determined that SSTR2-expressing T cells were detectable at low densities with high sensitivity and specificity. SSTR2-based PET was applied to ACT of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting intercellular adhesion molecule-1, which is overexpressed in anaplastic thyroid tumors. Timely CAR T cell infusions resulted in survival of tumor-bearing mice, while later infusions led to uniform death. Real-time PET imaging revealed biphasic T cell expansion and contraction at tumor sites among survivors, with peak tumor burden preceding peak T cell burden by several days. In contrast, nonsurvivors displayed unrelenting increases in tumor and T cell burden, indicating that tumor growth was outpacing T cell killing. Thus, longitudinal PET imaging of SSTR2-positive ACT dynamics enables prognostic, spatiotemporal monitoring with unprecedented clarity and detail to facilitate comprehensive therapy evaluation with potential for clinical translation.
Yogindra Vedvyas, Enda Shevlin, Marjan Zaman, Irene M. Min, Alejandro Amor-Coarasa, Spencer Park, Susan Park, Keon-Woo Kwon, Turner Smith, Yonghua Luo, Dohyun Kim, Young Kim, Benedict Law, Richard Ting, John Babich, Moonsoo M. Jin
Marc A. Simon, Rebecca R. Vanderpool, Mehdi Nouraie, Timothy N. Bachman, Pamela M. White, Masataka Sugahara, John Gorcsan III, Ed L. Parsley, Mark T. Gladwin
There continues to be a need for immunotherapies to treat type 1 diabetes in the clinic. We previously reported that nondepleting anti-CD4 and -CD8 Ab treatment effectively reverses diabetes in new-onset NOD mice. A key feature of the induction of remission is the egress of the majority of islet-resident T cells. How this occurs is undefined. Herein, the effects of coreceptor therapy on islet T cell retention were investigated. Bivalent Ab binding to CD4 and CD8 blocked TCR signaling and T cell cytokine production, while indirectly downregulating islet chemokine expression. These processes were required for T cell retention, as ectopic IFN-γ or CXCL10 inhibited Ab-mediated T cell purging. Importantly, treatment of humanized mice with nondepleting anti–human CD4 and CD8 Ab similarly reduced tissue-infiltrating human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. These findings demonstrate that Ab binding of CD4 and CD8 interrupts a feed-forward circuit by suppressing T cell–produced cytokines needed for expression of chemotactic cues, leading to rapid T cell egress from the islets. Coreceptor therapy therefore offers a robust approach to suppress T cell–mediated pathology by purging T cells in an inflammation-dependent manner.
Aaron J. Martin, Matthew Clark, Gregory Gojanovich, Fatima Manzoor, Keith Miller, Douglas E. Kline, Y. Maurice Morillon, Bo Wang, Roland Tisch
Processing by the proprotein convertase furin is believed to be critical for the biological activity of multiple proteins involved in hemostasis, including coagulation factor VIII (FVIII). This belief prompted the retention of the furin recognition motif (amino acids 1645–1648) in the design of B-domain–deleted FVIII (FVIII-BDD) products in current clinical use and in the drug development pipeline, as well as in experimental FVIII gene therapy strategies. Here, we report that processing by furin is in fact deleterious to FVIII-BDD secretion and procoagulant activity. Inhibition of furin increases the secretion and decreases the intracellular retention of FVIII-BDD protein in mammalian cells. Our new variant (FVIII-ΔF), in which this recognition motif is removed, efficiently circumvents furin. FVIII-ΔF demonstrates increased recombinant protein yields, enhanced clotting activity, and higher circulating FVIII levels after adeno-associated viral vector–based liver gene therapy in a murine model of severe hemophilia A (HA) compared with FVIII-BDD. Moreover, we observed an amelioration of the bleeding phenotype in severe HA dogs with sustained therapeutic FVIII levels after FVIII-ΔF gene therapy at a lower vector dose than previously employed in this model. The immunogenicity of FVIII-ΔF did not differ from that of FVIII-BDD as a protein or a gene therapeutic. Thus, contrary to previous suppositions, FVIII variants that can avoid furin processing are likely to have enhanced translational potential for HA therapy.
Joshua I. Siner, Benjamin J. Samelson-Jones, Julie M. Crudele, Robert A. French, Benjamin J. Lee, Shanzhen Zhou, Elizabeth Merricks, Robin Raymer, Timothy C. Nichols, Rodney M. Camire, Valder R. Arruda
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.
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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