Review

Abstract

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) causes significant visual loss on a global scale. Treatments for the vision-threatening complications of diabetic macular edema (DME) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) have greatly improved over the past decade. However, additional therapeutic options are needed that take into account pathology associated with vascular, glial, and neuronal components of the diabetic retina. Recent work indicates that diabetes markedly impacts the retinal neurovascular unit and its interdependent vascular, neuronal, glial, and immune cells. This knowledge is leading to identification of new targets and therapeutic strategies for preventing or reversing retinal neuronal dysfunction, vascular leakage, ischemia, and pathologic angiogenesis. These advances, together with approaches embracing the potential of preventative or regenerative medicine, could provide the means to better manage DR, including treatment at earlier stages and more precise tailoring of treatments based on individual patient variations.

Authors

Elia J. Duh, Jennifer K. Sun, Alan W. Stitt

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Abstract

Pathogenic fungi cause a wide range of syndromes in immune-competent and immune-compromised individuals, with life-threatening disease primarily seen in humans with HIV/AIDS and in patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies for cancer, autoimmunity, and end-organ failure. The discovery that specific primary immune deficiencies manifest with fungal infections and the development of animal models of mucosal and invasive mycoses have facilitated insight into fungus-specific recognition, signaling, effector pathways, and adaptive immune responses. Progress in deciphering the molecular and cellular basis of immunity against fungi is guiding preclinical studies into vaccine and immune reconstitution strategies for vulnerable patient groups. Furthermore, recent work has begun to address the role of endogenous fungal communities in human health and disease. In this review, we summarize a contemporary understanding of protective immunity against fungi.

Authors

Michail S. Lionakis, Iliyan D. Iliev, Tobias M. Hohl

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Abstract

Lung transplantation, a cure for a number of end-stage lung diseases, continues to have the worst long-term outcomes when compared with other solid organ transplants. Preclinical modeling of the most common and serious lung transplantation complications are essential to better understand and mitigate the pathophysiological processes that lead to these complications. Various animal and in vitro models of lung transplant complications now exist and each of these models has unique strengths. However, significant issues, such as the required technical expertise as well as the robustness and clinical usefulness of these models, remain to be overcome or clarified. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) convened a workshop in March 2016 to review the state of preclinical science addressing the three most important complications of lung transplantation: primary graft dysfunction (PGD), acute rejection (AR), and chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). In addition, the participants of the workshop were tasked to make consensus recommendations on the best use of these complimentary models to close our knowledge gaps in PGD, AR, and CLAD. Their reviews and recommendations are summarized in this report. Furthermore, the participants outlined opportunities to collaborate and directions to accelerate research using these preclinical models.

Authors

Vibha N. Lama, John A. Belperio, Jason D. Christie, Souheil El-Chemaly, Michael C. Fishbein, Andrew E. Gelman, Wayne W. Hancock, Shaf Keshavjee, Daniel Kreisel, Victor E. Laubach, Mark R. Looney, John F. McDyer, Thalachallour Mohanakumar, Rebecca A. Shilling, Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, David S. Wilkes, Jerry P. Eu, Mark R. Nicolls

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Abstract

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a multifaceted vascular disease where development and severity are determined by both genetic and environmental factors. Over the past decade, there has been an acceleration of the discovery of molecular effectors that mediate PH pathogenesis, including large numbers of microRNA molecules that are expressed in pulmonary vascular cell types and exert system-wide regulatory functions in all aspects of vascular health and disease. Due to the inherent pleiotropy, overlap, and redundancy of these molecules, it has been challenging to define their integrated effects on overall disease manifestation. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of the roles of microRNAs in PH with an emphasis on potential methods to discern the hierarchical motifs governing their multifunctional and interconnected activities. Deciphering this higher order of regulatory structure will be crucial for overcoming the challenges of developing these molecules as biomarkers or therapeutic targets, in isolation or combination.

Authors

Vinny Negi, Stephen Y. Chan

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Abstract

Despite the rising incidence of autoimmunity, therapeutic options for patients with autoimmune disease still rely on decades-old immunosuppressive strategies that risk severe and potentially fatal complications. Thus, novel therapeutic approaches for autoimmune diseases are greatly needed in order to minimize treatment-related toxicity. Such strategies would ideally target only the autoreactive immune components to preserve beneficial immunity. Here, we review how several decades of basic, translational, and clinical research on the immunology of pemphigus vulgaris (PV), an autoantibody-mediated skin disease, have enabled the development of targeted immunotherapeutic strategies. We discuss research to elucidate the pathophysiology of PV and how the knowledge afforded by these studies has led to the preclinical and clinical testing of targeted approaches to neutralize autoantibodies, to induce antigen-specific tolerance, and to specifically eliminate autoreactive B cells in PV.

Authors

Christoph T. Ellebrecht, Aimee S. Payne

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