The tumor microenvironment imposes physical and functional constraints on the antitumor efficacy of adoptive T cell immunotherapy. Preclinical testing of different T cell preparations can help in the selection of efficient immune therapies, but in vivo models are expensive and cumbersome to develop, while classical in vitro 2D models cannot recapitulate the spatiotemporal dynamics experienced by T cells targeting cancer. Here, we describe an easily customizable 3D model, in which the tumor microenvironment conditions are modulated and the functionality of different T cell preparations is tested. We incorporate human cancer hepatocytes as a single cell or as tumor cell aggregates in a 3D collagen gel region of a microfluidic device. Human T cells engineered to express tumor-specific T cell receptors (TCR–T cells) are then added in adjacent channels. The TCR–T cells’ ability to migrate and kill the tumor target and the profile of soluble factors were investigated under conditions of varying oxygen levels and in the presence of inflammatory cytokines. We show that only the 3D model detects the effect that oxygen levels and the inflammatory environment impose on engineered TCR–T cell function, and we also used the 3D microdevice to analyze the TCR–T cell efficacy in an immunosuppressive scenario. Hence, we show that our microdevice platform enables us to decipher the factors that can alter T cell function in 3D and can serve as a preclinical assay to tailor the most efficient immunotherapy configuration for a specific therapeutic goal.
Andrea Pavesi, Anthony T. Tan, Sarene Koh, Adeline Chia, Marta Colombo, Emanuele Antonecchia, Carlo Miccolis, Erica Ceccarello, Giulia Adriani, Manuela T. Raimondi, Roger D. Kamm, Antonio Bertoletti
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) offers a cure for cancers that are refractory to chemotherapy and radiation. Most HSCT recipients develop chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), a systemic alloimmune attack on host organs. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and symptoms, as biopsies are risky. T cells are central to the biology of cGVHD. We found that a low Treg/CD4+ T effector memory (Tem) ratio in circulation, lymphoid, and target organs identified early and established mouse cGVHD. Using deuterated water labeling to measure multicompartment in vivo kinetics of these subsets, we show robust Tem and Treg proliferation in lymphoid and target organs, while Tregs undergo apoptosis in target organs. Since deuterium enrichment into DNA serves as a proxy for cell proliferation, we developed a whole-body clinically relevant deuterium MRI approach to nonradioactively detect cGVHD and potentially allow imaging of other diseases characterized by rapidly proliferating cells.
Nataliya P. Buxbaum, Donald E. Farthing, Natella Maglakelidze, Martin Lizak, Hellmut Merkle, Andrea C. Carpenter, Brittany U. Oliver, Veena Kapoor, Ehydel Castro, Gregory A. Swan, Liliane M. dos Santos, Nicolas J. Bouladoux, Catherine V. Bare, Francis A. Flomerfelt, Michael A. Eckhaus, William G. Telford, Yasmine Belkaid, Remy J. Bosselut, Ronald E. Gress
A major challenge for studying authentic liver cell function and cell replacement therapies is that primary human hepatocytes rapidly lose their advanced function in conventional, 2-dimensional culture platforms. Here, we describe the fabrication of 3-dimensional hexagonally arrayed lobular human liver tissues inspired by the liver’s natural architecture. The engineered liver tissues exhibit key features of advanced differentiation, such as human-specific cytochrome P450–mediated drug metabolism and the ability to support efficient infection with patient-derived inoculums of hepatitis C virus. The tissues permit the assessment of antiviral agents and maintain their advanced functions for over 5 months in culture. This extended functionality enabled the prediction of a fatal human-specific hepatotoxicity caused by fialuridine (FIAU), which had escaped detection by preclinical models and short-term clinical studies. The results obtained with the engineered human liver tissue in this study provide proof-of-concept determination of human-specific drug metabolism, demonstrate the ability to support infection with human hepatitis virus derived from an infected patient and subsequent antiviral drug testing against said infection, and facilitate detection of human-specific drug hepatotoxicity associated with late-onset liver failure. Looking forward, the scalability and biocompatibility of the scaffold are also ideal for future cell replacement therapeutic strategies.
Soon Seng Ng, Anming Xiong, Khanh Nguyen, Marilyn Masek, Da Yoon No, Menashe Elazar, Eyal Shteyer, Mark A. Winters, Amy Voedisch, Kate Shaw, Sheikh Tamir Rashid, Curtis W. Frank, Nam Joon Cho, Jeffrey S. Glenn
Intestinal tuft cells are a rare, poorly understood cell type recently shown to be a critical mediator of type 2 immune response to helminth infection. Here, we present advances in segmentation algorithms and analytical tools for multiplex immunofluorescence (MxIF), a platform that enables iterative staining of over 60 antibodies on a single tissue section. These refinements have enabled a comprehensive analysis of tuft cell number, distribution, and protein expression profiles as a function of anatomical location and physiological perturbations. Based solely on DCLK1 immunoreactivity, tuft cell numbers were similar throughout the mouse small intestine and colon. However, multiple subsets of tuft cells were uncovered when protein coexpression signatures were examined, including two new intestinal tuft cell markers, Hopx and EGFR phosphotyrosine 1068. Furthermore, we identified dynamic changes in tuft cell number, composition, and protein expression associated with fasting and refeeding and after introduction of microbiota to germ-free mice. These studies provide a foundational framework for future studies of intestinal tuft cell regulation and demonstrate the utility of our improved MxIF computational methods and workflow for understanding cellular heterogeneity in complex tissues in normal and disease states.
Eliot T. McKinley, Yunxia Sui, Yousef Al-Kofahi, Bryan A. Millis, Matthew J. Tyska, Joseph T. Roland, Alberto Santamaria-Pang, Christina L. Ohland, Christian Jobin, Jeffrey L. Franklin, Ken S. Lau, Michael J. Gerdes, Robert J. Coffey
Accurate and high-quality curation of lipidomic datasets generated from plasma, cells, or tissues is becoming essential for cell biology investigations and biomarker discovery for personalized medicine. However, a major challenge lies in removing artifacts otherwise mistakenly interpreted as real lipids from large mass spectrometry files (>60 K features), while retaining genuine ions in the dataset. This requires powerful informatics tools; however, available workflows have not been tailored specifically for lipidomics, particularly discovery research. We designed LipidFinder, an open-source Python workflow. An algorithm is included that optimizes analysis based on users’ own data, and outputs are screened against online databases and categorized into LIPID MAPS classes. LipidFinder outperformed three widely used metabolomics packages using data from human platelets. We show a family of three 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid phosphoinositides (16:0/, 18:1/, 18:0/12-HETE-PI) generated by thrombin-activated platelets, indicating crosstalk between eicosanoid and phosphoinositide pathways in human cells. The software is available on GitHub (https://github.com/cjbrasher/LipidFinder), with full userguides.
Anne O’Connor, Christopher J. Brasher, David A. Slatter, Sven W. Meckelmann, Jade I. Hawksworth, Stuart M. Allen, Valerie B. O’Donnell
Quantification of stable isotope tracers has revealed the dynamic state of living tissues. A new form of imaging mass spectrometry quantifies isotope ratios in domains much smaller than a cubic micron, enabling measurement of cell turnover and metabolism with stable isotope tracers at the single-cell level with a methodology we refer to as multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry. In a first-in-human study, we utilize stable isotope tracers of DNA synthesis and de novo lipogenesis to prospectively measure cell birth and adipocyte lipid turnover. In a study of healthy adults, we elucidate an age-dependent decline in new adipocyte generation and adipocyte lipid turnover. A linear regression model suggests that the aging effect could be mediated by a decline in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This study therefore establishes a method for measurement of cell turnover and metabolism in humans with subcellular resolution while implicating the growth hormone/IGF-1 axis in adipose tissue aging.
Christelle Guillermier, Pouneh K. Fazeli, Soomin Kim, Mingyue Lun, Jonah P. Zuflacht, Jessica Milian, Hang Lee, Hugues Francois-Saint-Cyr, Francois Horreard, David Larson, Evan D. Rosen, Richard T. Lee, Claude P. Lechene, Matthew L. Steinhauser
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
Functional intestines are composed of cell types from all 3 primary germ layers and are generated through a highly orchestrated and serial developmental process. Directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) has been shown to yield gut-specific cell types; however, these structures do not reproduce critical functional interactions between cell types of different germ layers. Here, we developed a simple protocol for the generation of mature functional intestinal organoids from hPSCs under xenogeneic-free conditions. The stem cell–derived gut organoids produced here were found to contain distinct types of intestinal cells, including enterocytes, goblet cells, Paneth cells, and enteroendocrine cells, that were derived from all 3 germ layers; moreover, they demonstrated intestinal functions, including peptide absorption, and showed innervated bowel movements in response to stimulation with histamine and anticholinergic drugs. Importantly, the gut organoids obtained using this xenogeneic-free system could be stably maintained in culture for prolonged periods and were successfully engrafted in vivo. Our xenogeneic-free approach for generating gut organoids from hPSCs provides a platform for studying human intestinal diseases and for pharmacological testing.
Hajime Uchida, Masakazu Machida, Takumi Miura, Tomoyuki Kawasaki, Takuya Okazaki, Kengo Sasaki, Seisuke Sakamoto, Noriaki Ohuchi, Mureo Kasahara, Akihiro Umezawa, Hidenori Akutsu
Optical imaging methods have been developed to measure lymphatic function in skin; however, the lymphatic system of many organs is not accessible to this technology. Since lymphatic transport of macromolecules from any organ proceeds to the blood circulation, we aimed to develop a method that can measure lymphatic function by monitoring the fluorescence in a superficial vein of an interstitially injected tracer. We selected a 40-kDa PEGylated near-infrared dye conjugate, as it showed lymphatic system–specific uptake and extended circulation in blood. Lymphatic transport to blood from subcutaneous tissue required a transit time before signal enhancement was seen in blood followed by a steady rise in signal over time. Increased lymphatic transport was apparent in awake mice compared with those under continuous anesthesia. The methods were validated in K14-VEGFR-3-Fc and K14-VEGF-C transgenic mice with loss and gain of lymphatic function, respectively. Reduced lymphatic transport to blood was also found in aged mice. The technique was also able to measure lymphatic transport from the peritoneal cavity, a location not suitable for optical imaging. The method is a promising, simple approach for assessment of lymphatic function and for monitoring of therapeutic regimens in mouse models of disease and may have potential for clinical translation.
Steven T. Proulx, Qiaoli Ma, Diana Andina, Jean-Christophe Leroux, Michael Detmar
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
Systemic mitochondrial energy deficiency is implicated in the pathophysiology of many age-related human diseases. Currently available tools to estimate mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) capacity in skeletal muscle in vivo lack high anatomic resolution. Muscle groups vary with respect to their contractile and metabolic properties. Therefore, muscle group–specific estimates of OXPHOS would be advantageous. To address this need, a noninvasive creatine chemical exchange saturation transfer (CrCEST) MRI technique has recently been developed, which provides a measure of free creatine. After exercise, skeletal muscle can be imaged with CrCEST in order to make muscle group–specific measurements of OXPHOS capacity, reflected in the recovery rate (τCr) of free Cr. In this study, we found that individuals with genetic mitochondrial diseases had significantly (
Catherine DeBrosse, Ravi Prakash Reddy Nanga, Neil Wilson, Kevin D’Aquilla, Mark Elliott, Hari Hariharan, Felicia Yan, Kristin Wade, Sara Nguyen, Diana Worsley, Chevonne Parris-Skeete, Elizabeth McCormick, Rui Xiao, Zuela Zolkipli Cunningham, Lauren Fishbein, Katherine L. Nathanson, David R. Lynch, Virginia A. Stallings, Marc Yudkoff, Marni J. Falk, Ravinder Reddy, Shana E. McCormack
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.
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
The prevalence of fatty liver reaches alarming proportions. Fatty liver increases the risk for insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although extensively studied in a preclinical setting, the lack of noninvasive methodologies hampers our understanding of which pathways promote hepatic fat accumulation in humans. Dietary fat retention is one of the pathways that may lead to fatty liver. The low (1.1%) natural abundance (NA) of carbon-13 (13C) allows use of 13C-enriched lipids for in vivo MR studies. Successful implementation of such methodology, however, is challenging due to low sensitivity of 13C-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C-MRS). Here, we investigated the use of 1-dimensional gradient enhanced heteronuclear single quantum coherence (ge-HSQC) spectroscopy for the in vivo detection of hepatic 1H-[13C]-lipid signals after a single high-fat meal with 13C-labeled fatty acids in 5 lean and 6 obese subjects. Postprandial retention of orally administered 13C-labeled fatty acids was significant (
Lucas Lindeboom, Robin A. de Graaf, Christine I. Nabuurs, Petronella A. van Ewijk, Matthijs K.C. Hesselink, Joachim E. Wildberger, Patrick Schrauwen, Vera B. Schrauwen-Hinderling
Current methods of drug screening in human blood focus on the immediate products of the affected pathway and mostly rely on approaches that lack sensitivity and the capacity for multiplex analysis. We have developed a sensitive and selective method based on ultra-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry to scan the effect of drugs on the bioactive eicosanoid lipidome in vitro and ex vivo. Using small sample sizes, we can reproducibly measure a broad spectrum of eicosanoids in human blood and capture drug-induced substrate rediversion and unexpected shifts in product formation. Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an antiinflammatory drug target alternative to COX-1/-2. Contrasting effects of targeting mPGES-1 versus COX-1/-2, due to differential substrate shifts across the lipidome, were observed and can be used to rationalize and evaluate drug combinations. Finally, the in vitro results were extrapolated to ex vivo studies by administration of the COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, to volunteers, illustrating how this approach can be used to integrate preclinical and clinical studies during drug development.
Liudmila L. Mazaleuskaya, John A. Lawson, Xuanwen Li, Gregory Grant, Clementina Mesaros, Tilo Grosser, Ian A. Blair, Emanuela Ricciotti, Garret A. FitzGerald
Constitutively active splice variants of androgen receptor (AR-Vs) lacking ligand-binding domain (LBD) are a mechanism of resistance to androgen receptor LBD–targeted (AR LBD–targeted) therapies for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). There is a strong unmet clinical need to identify prostate cancer patients with AR-V–positive lesions to determine whether they will benefit from further AR LBD–targeting therapies or should receive taxanes or investigational drugs like EPI-506 or galeterone. Both EPI-506 (NCT02606123) and galeterone (NCT02438007) are in clinical trials and are proposed to have efficacy against lesions that are positive for AR-Vs. AR activation function-1 (AF-1) is common to the N-terminal domains of full-length AR and AR-Vs. Here, we provide proof of concept for developing imaging compounds that directly bind AR AF-1 to detect both AR-Vs and full-length AR. 123I-EPI-002 had specific binding to AR AF-1, which enabled direct visualization of CRPC xenografts that express full-length AR and AR-Vs. Our findings highlight the potential of 123I-EPI-002 as an imaging agent for the detection of full-length AR and AR-Vs in CRPC.
Yusuke Imamura, Amy H. Tien, Jinhe Pan, Jacky K. Leung, Carmen A. Banuelos, Kunzhong Jian, Jun Wang, Nasrin R. Mawji, Javier Garcia Fernandez, Kuo-Shyan Lin, Raymond J. Andersen, Marianne D. Sadar
DC-based vaccines that initiate T cell responses are well tolerated and have demonstrated efficacy for tumor immunotherapy, with the potential to be combined with other therapies. Targeting vaccine antigens (Ag) directly to the DCs in vivo is more effective than cell-based therapies in mouse models and is therefore a promising strategy to translate to humans. The human CD141+ DCs are considered the most clinically relevant for initiating CD8+ T cell responses critical for killing tumors or infected cells, and they specifically express the C-type lectin-like receptor CLEC9A that facilitates presentation of Ag by these DCs. We have therefore developed a human chimeric Ab that specifically targets CLEC9A on CD141+ DCs in vitro and in vivo. These human chimeric Abs are highly effective at delivering Ag to DCs for recognition by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Given the importance of these cellular responses for antitumor or antiviral immunity, and the superior specificity of anti-CLEC9A Abs for this DC subset, this approach warrants further development for vaccines.
Kirsteen M. Tullett, Ingrid M. Leal Rojas, Yoshihito Minoda, Peck S. Tan, Jian-Guo Zhang, Corey Smith, Rajiv Khanna, Ken Shortman, Irina Caminschi, Mireille H. Lahoud, Kristen J. Radford
The phenotypic diversity of cancer results from genetic and nongenetic factors. Most studies of cancer heterogeneity have focused on DNA alterations, as technologies for proteomic measurements in clinical specimen are currently less advanced. Here, we used a multiplexed immunofluorescence staining platform to measure the expression of 27 proteins at the single-cell level in formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded samples from treatment-naive stage II/III human breast cancer. Unsupervised clustering of protein expression data from 638,577 tumor cells in 26 breast cancers identified 8 clusters of protein coexpression. In about one-third of breast cancers, over 95% of all neoplastic cells expressed a single protein coexpression cluster. The remaining tumors harbored tumor cells representing multiple protein coexpression clusters, either in a regional distribution or intermingled throughout the tumor. Tumor uptake of the radiotracer 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose was associated with protein expression clusters characterized by hormone receptor loss,
Anup Sood, Alexandra M. Miller, Edi Brogi, Yunxia Sui, Joshua Armenia, Elizabeth McDonough, Alberto Santamaria-Pang, Sean Carlin, Aleksandra Stamper, Carl Campos, Zhengyu Pang, Qing Li, Elisa Port, Thomas G. Graeber, Nikolaus Schultz, Fiona Ginty, Steven M. Larson, Ingo K. Mellinghoff
Ab-producing plasma cells (PCs) serve as key participants in countering pathogenic challenges as well as being contributors to autoimmune and malignant disorders. Thus far, only a limited number of PC–specific markers have been identified. The characterization of the unique variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR) Abs that are made by evolutionarily distant jawless vertebrates prompted us to investigate whether VLR Abs could detect novel PC antigens that have not been recognized by conventional Abs. Here, we describe a monoclonal lamprey Ab, VLRB MM3, that was raised against primary multiple myeloma cells. VLRB MM3 recognizes a unique epitope of the CD38 ectoenzyme that is present on plasmablasts and PCs from healthy individuals and on most, but not all, multiple myelomas. Binding by the VLRB MM3 Ab coincides with CD38 dimerization and NAD glycohydrolase activity. Our data demonstrate that the lamprey VLRB MM3 Ab is a unique reagent for the identification of plasmablasts and PCs, with potential applications in the diagnosis and therapeutic intervention of PC or autoimmune disorders.
Cuiling Yu, Yanling Liu, Justin Tze Ho Chan, Jiefei Tong, Zhihua Li, Mengyao Shi, Dariush Davani, Marion Parsons, Srijit Khan, Wei Zhan, Shuya Kyu, Eyal Grunebaum, Paolo Campisi, Evan J. Propst, David L. Jaye, Suzanne Trudel, Michael F. Moran, Mario Ostrowski, Brantley R. Herrin, F. Eun-Hyung Lee, Ignacio Sanz, Max D. Cooper, Götz R.A. Ehrhardt
The intrathecal (IT) dosing route offers a seemingly obvious solution for delivering drugs directly to the central nervous system. However, gaps in understanding drug molecule behavior within the anatomically and kinetically unique environment of the mammalian IT space have impeded the establishment of pharmacokinetic principles for optimizing regional drug exposure along the neuraxis. Here, we have utilized high-resolution single-photon emission tomography with X-ray computed tomography to study the behavior of multiple molecular imaging tracers following an IT bolus injection, with supporting histology, autoradiography, block-face tomography, and MRI. Using simultaneous dual-isotope imaging, we demonstrate that the regional CNS tissue exposure of molecules with varying chemical properties is affected by IT space anatomy, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics, CSF clearance routes, and the location and volume of the injected bolus. These imaging approaches can be used across species to optimize the safety and efficacy of IT drug therapy for neurological disorders.
Daniel A. Wolf, Jacob Y. Hesterman, Jenna M. Sullivan, Kelly D. Orcutt, Matthew D. Silva, Merryl Lobo, Tyler Wellman, Jack Hoppin, Ajay Verma
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