Latest issue: November 16, 2017

In the issue

Abstract

Tregs hold great promise as a cellular therapy for multiple immunologically mediated diseases, given their ability to control immune responses. The success of such strategies depends on the expansion of healthy, suppressive Tregs ex vivo and in vivo following the transfer. In clinical studies, levels of transferred Tregs decline sharply in the blood within a few days of the transfer. Tregs have a high rate of apoptosis. Here, we describe a new mechanism of Treg self-inflicted damage. We show that granzymes A and -B (GrA and GrB), which are highly upregulated in human Tregs upon stimulation, leak out of cytotoxic granules to induce cleavage of cytoplasmic and nuclear substrates, precipitating apoptosis in target cells. GrA and GrB substrates were protected from cleavage by inhibiting granzyme activity in vitro. Additionally, we show — by using cytometry by time of flight (CYTOF) — an increase in GrB-expressing Tregs in the peripheral blood and renal allografts of transplant recipients undergoing rejection. These GrB-expressing Tregs showed an activated phenotype but were significantly more apoptotic than non–GrB expressing Tregs. This potentially novel finding improves our understanding of Treg survival and suggests that manipulating Gr expression or activity might be useful for designing more effective Treg therapies.

Authors

Esilida Sula Karreci, Siawosh K. Eskandari, Farokh Dotiwala, Sujit K. Routray, Ahmed T. Kurdi, Jean Pierre Assaker, Pavlo Luckyanchykov, Albana B. Mihali, Omar Maarouf, Thiago J. Borges, Abdullah Alkhudhayri, Kruti R. Patel, Amr Radwan, Irene Ghobrial, Martina McGrath, Anil Chandraker, Leonardo V. Riella, Wassim Elyaman, Reza Abdi, Judy Lieberman, Jamil Azzi

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Abstract

Although recent evidence has pointed to the role of organ- and pathogenesis-specific macrophage subsets, it is still unclear which subsets are critically involved in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Using melanocortin-4 receptor–deficient (MC4R-KO) mice fed Western diet (WD), which exhibit liver phenotypes similar to those of human NASH, we found a histological structure, termed hepatic crown-like structure (hCLS), in which CD11c+ macrophages surround dead/dying hepatocytes, a prominent feature of NASH. Here, we demonstrate that hCLS-constituting macrophages could be a novel macrophage subset that drives hepatocyte death-triggered liver fibrosis. In an “inducible NASH model,” hepatocyte death induces hCLS formation and liver fibrosis sequentially in the short term. In combination with the long-term WD feeding model, we also showed that resident macrophages are a major cellular source of CD11c+ macrophages constituting hCLS, which exhibited gene expression profiles distinct from CD11c– macrophages scattered in the liver. Moreover, depletion of CD11c+ macrophages abolished hCLS formation and fibrogenesis in NASH. Our clinical data suggest the role of CD11c+ macrophages in the disease progression from simple steatosis to NASH. This study sheds light on the role of resident macrophages, in addition to recruited macrophages, in the pathogenesis of NASH.

Authors

Michiko Itoh, Takayoshi Suganami, Hideaki Kato, Sayaka Kanai, Ibuki Shirakawa, Takeru Sakai, Toshihiro Goto, Masahiro Asakawa, Isao Hidaka, Hiroshi Sakugawa, Koji Ohnishi, Yoshihiro Komohara, Kenichi Asano, Isao Sakaida, Masato Tanaka, Yoshihiro Ogawa

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Abstract

A role of B cells in multiple sclerosis (MS) is well established, but there is limited understanding of their involvement during active disease. Here, we examined cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood (PB) B cells in treatment-naive patients with MS or high-risk clinically isolated syndrome. Using flow cytometry, we found increased CSF lymphocytes with a disproportionate increase of B cells compared with T cells in patients with gadolinium-enhancing (Gd+) lesions on brain MRI. Ig gene heavy chain variable region (Ig-VH) repertoire sequencing of CSF and PB B cells revealed clonal relationships between intrathecal and peripheral B cell populations, which could be consistent with migration of B cells to and activation in the CNS in active MS. In addition, we found evidence for bystander immigration of B cells from the periphery, which could be supported by a CXCL13 gradient between CSF and blood. Understanding what triggers B cells to migrate and home to the CNS may ultimately aid in the rational selection of therapeutic strategies to limit progression in MS.

Authors

Erica L. Eggers, Brady A. Michel, Hao Wu, Sheng-zhi Wang, Carolyn J. Bevan, Aya Abounasr, Natalie S. Pierson, Antje Bischof, Max Kazer, Elizabeth Leitner, Ariele L. Greenfield, Stanislas Demuth, Michael R. Wilson, Roland G. Henry, Bruce A.C. Cree, Stephen L. Hauser, H.-Christian von Büdingen

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Abstract

The neutrophil chemoattractant proline-glycine-proline (PGP) is generated from collagen by matrix metalloproteinase-8/9 (MMP-8/9) and prolyl endopeptidase (PE), and it is concomitantly degraded by extracellular leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) to limit neutrophilia. Components of cigarette smoke can acetylate PGP, yielding a species (AcPGP) that is resistant to LTA4H-mediated degradation and can, thus, support a sustained neutrophilia. In this study, we sought to elucidate if an antiinflammatory system existed to degrade AcPGP that is analogous to the PGP-LTA4H axis. We demonstrate that AcPGP is degraded through a previously unidentified action of the enzyme angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Pulmonary ACE is elevated during episodes of acute inflammation, as a consequence of enhanced vascular permeability, to ensure the efficient degradation of AcPGP. Conversely, we suggest that this pathway is aberrant in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) enabling the accumulation of AcPGP. Consequently, we identify a potentially novel protective role for AcPGP in limiting pulmonary fibrosis and suggest the pathogenic function attributed to ACE in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) to be a consequence of overzealous AcPGP degradation. Thus, AcPGP seemingly has very divergent roles: it is pathogenic in its capacity to drive neutrophilic inflammation and matrix degradation in the context of COPD, but it is protective in its capacity to limit fibrosis in IPF.

Authors

Philip J. O’Reilly, Qiang Ding, Samia Akthar, Guoqiang Cai, Kristopher R. Genschmer, Dhiren F. Patel, Patricia L. Jackson, Liliana Viera, Mojtaba Roda, Morgan L. Locy, Ellen A. Bernstein, Clare M. Lloyd, Kenneth E. Bernstein, Robert J. Snelgrove, J. Edwin Blalock

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Abstract

Three Akt isoforms, encoded by 3 separate genes, are expressed in mammals. While the roles of Akt1 and Akt2 in metabolism are well established, it is not yet known whether Akt3 plays a role in metabolic diseases. We now report that Akt3 protects mice from high-fat diet–induced obesity by suppressing an alternative pathway of adipogenesis via with no lysine protein kinase-1 (WNK1) and serum/glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1). We demonstrate that Akt3 specifically phosphorylates WNK1 at T58 and promotes its degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. A lack of Akt3 in adipocytes increases the WNK1 protein level, leading to activation of SGK1. SGK1, in turn, promotes adipogenesis by phosphorylating and inhibiting transcription factor FOXO1 and, subsequently, activating the transcription of PPARγ in adipocytes. Akt3-deficient mice have an increased number of adipocytes and, when fed a high-fat diet, display increased weight gain, white adipose tissue expansion, and impaired glucose homeostasis. Pharmacological blockade of SGK1 in high-fat diet–fed Akt3-deficient mice suppressed adipogenesis, prevented excessive weight gain and adiposity, and ameliorated metabolic parameters. Thus, Akt3/WNK1/SGK1 represents a potentially novel signaling pathway controlling the development of obesity.

Authors

Liang Ding, Lifang Zhang, Sudipta Biswas, Rebecca C. Schugar, J. Mark Brown, Tatiana Byzova, Eugene Podrez

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Systemic inflammation and muscle wasting are highly prevalent and coexist in patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD). We aimed to determine the effects of systemic inflammation on skeletal muscle protein metabolism in MHD patients. METHODS. Whole body and skeletal muscle protein turnover were assessed by stable isotope kinetic studies. We incorporated expressions of E1, E214K, E3αI, E3αII, MuRF-1, and atrogin-1 in skeletal muscle tissue from integrin β1 gene KO CKD mice models. RESULTS. Among 129 patients with mean (± SD) age 47 ± 12 years, 74% were African American, 73% were male, and 22% had diabetes mellitus. Median high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration was 13 (interquartile range 0.8, 33) mg/l. There were statistically significant associations between hs-CRP and forearm skeletal muscle protein synthesis, degradation, and net forearm skeletal muscle protein balance (P < 0.001 for all). The associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for clinical and demographic confounders, as well as in sensitivity analysis, excluding patients with diabetes mellitus. In attempting to identify potential mechanisms involved in this correlation, we show increased expressions of E1, E214K, E3αI, E3αII, MuRF-1, and atrogin-1 in skeletal muscle tissue obtained from an animal model of chronic kidney disease. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that systemic inflammation is a strong and independent determinant of skeletal muscle protein homeostasis in MHD patients, providing rationale for further studies using anticytokine therapies in patients with underlying systemic inflammation. FUNDING. This study was in part supported by NIH grants R01 DK45604 and 1K24 DK62849, the Clinical Translational Science Award UL1-TR000445 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the Veterans Administration Merit Award I01 CX000414, the SatelliteHealth Normon Coplon Extramural Grant Program, and the FDA grant 000943.

Authors

Serpil M. Deger, Adriana M. Hung, Jorge L. Gamboa, Edward D. Siew, Charles D. Ellis, Cindy Booker, Feng Sha, Haiming Li, Aihua Bian, Thomas G. Stewart, Roy Zent, William E. Mitch, Naji N. Abumrad, T. Alp Ikizler

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Abstract

While the prevalence of osteoporosis is growing rapidly with population aging, therapeutic options remain limited. Here, we identify potentially novel roles for CaV1.2 L-type voltage–gated Ca2+ channels in osteogenesis and exploit a transgenic gain-of-function mutant CaV1.2 to stem bone loss in ovariectomized female mice. We show that endogenous CaV1.2 is expressed in developing bone within proliferating chondrocytes and osteoblasts. Using primary BM stromal cell (BMSC) cultures, we found that Ca2+ influx through CaV1.2 activates osteogenic transcriptional programs and promotes mineralization. We used Prx1-, Col2a1-, or Col1a1-Cre drivers to express an inactivation-deficient CaV1.2 mutant in chondrogenic and/or osteogenic precursors in vivo and found that the resulting increased Ca2+ influx markedly thickened bone not only by promoting osteogenesis, but also by inhibiting osteoclast activity through increased osteoprotegerin secretion from osteoblasts. Activating the CaV1.2 mutant in osteoblasts at the time of ovariectomy stemmed bone loss. Together, these data highlight roles for CaV1.2 in bone and demonstrate the potential dual anabolic and anticatabolic therapeutic actions of tissue-specific CaV1.2 activation in osteoblasts.

Authors

Chike Cao, Yinshi Ren, Adam S. Barnett, Anthony J. Mirando, Douglas Rouse, Se Hwan Mun, Kyung-Hyun Park-Min, Amy L. McNulty, Farshid Guilak, Courtney M. Karner, Matthew J. Hilton, Geoffrey S. Pitt

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Abstract

W-18 (4-chloro-N-[1-[2-(4-nitrophenyl)ethyl]-2-piperidinylidene]-benzenesulfonamide) and W-15 (4-chloro-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)-2-piperidinylidene]-benzenesulfonamide) represent two emerging drugs of abuse chemically related to the potent opioid agonist fentanyl (N-(1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperidinyl)-N-phenylpropanamide). Here, we describe the comprehensive pharmacological profiles of W-18 and W-15, as examination of their structural features predicted that they might lack opioid activity. We found W-18 and W-15 to be without detectible activity at μ, δ, κ, and nociception opioid receptors in a variety of assays. We also tested W-18 and W-15 for activity as allosteric modulators at opioid receptors and found them devoid of significant positive or negative allosteric modulatory activity. Comprehensive profiling at essentially all the druggable GPCRs in the human genome using the PRESTO-Tango platform revealed no significant activity. Weak activity at the sigma receptors and the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor was found for W-18 (Ki = 271 nM). W-18 showed no activity in either the radiant heat tail-flick or the writhing assays and also did not induce classical opioid behaviors. W-18 is extensively metabolized, but its metabolites also lack opioid activity. Thus, although W-18 and W-15 have been suggested to be potent opioid agonists, our results reveal no significant activity at these or other known targets for psychoactive drugs.

Authors

Xi-Ping Huang, Tao Che, Thomas J. Mangano, Valerie Le Rouzic, Ying-Xian Pan, Michael D. Cameron, Michael H. Baumann, Gavril W. Pasternak, Bryan L. Roth

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Abstract

Despite initial remission after successful treatments, B lymphoma patients often encounter relapses and resistance causing high mortality. Thus, there is a need to develop therapies that prevent relapse by providing long-term protection and, ultimately, lead to functional cure. In this study, our goal was to develop a simple, clinically relevant, and easily translatable therapeutic vaccine that provides durable immune protection against aggressive B cell lymphoma and identify critical immune biomarkers that are predictive of long-term survival. In a delayed-treatment, aggressive, murine model of A20 B lymphoma that mimics human diffuse large B cell lymphoma, we show that therapeutic A20 lysate vaccine adjuvanted with an NKT cell agonist, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), provides long-term immune protection against lethal tumor challenges and the antitumor immunity is primarily CD8 T cell dependent. Using experimental and computational methods, we demonstrate that the initial strength of germinal center reaction and the magnitude of class-switching into a Th1 type humoral response are the best predictors for the long-term immunity of B lymphoma lysate vaccine. Our results not only provide fundamentally insights for successful immunotherapy and long-term protection against B lymphomas, but also present a simple, therapeutic vaccine that can be translated easily due to the facile and inexpensive method of preparation.

Authors

Pallab Pradhan, Jardin Leleux, Jiaying Liu, Krishnendu Roy

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Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease.

Authors

Shunmoogum A. Patten, Dina Aggad, Jose Martinez, Elsa Tremblay, Janet Petrillo, Gary A.B. Armstrong, Alexandre La Fontaine, Claudia Maios, Meijiang Liao, Sorana Ciura, Xiao-Yan Wen, Victor Rafuse, Justin Ichida, Lorne Zinman, Jean-Pierre Julien, Edor Kabashi, Richard Robitaille, Lawrence Korngut, J. Alexander Parker, Pierre Drapeau

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JCI Insight is a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society for Clinical Investigation dedicated to well-executed preclinical and clinical research studies. The journal was founded in 2016 and is headed by Editor in Chief Howard Rockman.

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