Issue published November 22, 2022

  • On the cover: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy drives intratumoral T cells toward a proinflammatory profile in pancreatic cancer
  • Heiduk et al. report that neoadjuvant chemotherapy promotes CD4+ T cell infiltration and proinflammatory cytokine production in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, suggesting a rationale for combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The cover image shows tumor cells (red) and T cells (green) in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Research Articles
Abstract

Recent studies have shown that cellular metabolism is tightly linked to the regulation of immune cells. Here, we show that activation of cholesterol metabolism, involving cholesterol uptake, synthesis, and autophagy/lipophagy, is integral to innate immune responses in macrophages. In particular, cholesterol accumulation within endosomes and lysosomes is a hallmark of the cellular cholesterol dynamics elicited by Toll-like receptor 4 activation and is required for amplification of myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (Myd88) signaling. Mechanistically, Myd88 binds cholesterol via its CLR recognition/interaction amino acid consensus domain, which promotes the protein’s self-oligomerization. Moreover, a novel supramolecular compound, polyrotaxane (PRX), inhibited Myd88‑dependent inflammatory macrophage activation by decreasing endolysosomal cholesterol via promotion of cholesterol trafficking and efflux. PRX activated liver X receptor, which led to upregulation of ATP binding cassette transporter A1, thereby promoting cholesterol efflux. PRX also inhibited atherogenesis in Ldlr–/– mice. In humans, cholesterol levels in circulating monocytes correlated positively with the severity of atherosclerosis. These findings demonstrate that dynamic changes in cholesterol metabolism are mechanistically linked to Myd88‑dependent inflammatory programs in macrophages and support the notion that cellular cholesterol metabolism is integral to innate activation of macrophages and is a potential therapeutic and diagnostic target for inflammatory diseases.

Authors

Sumio Hayakawa, Atsushi Tamura, Nikita Nikiforov, Hiroyuki Koike, Fujimi Kudo, Yinglan Cheng, Takuro Miyazaki, Marina Kubekina, Tatiana V. Kirichenko, Alexander N. Orekhov, Nobuhiko Yui, Ichiro Manabe, Yumiko Oishi

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Abstract

To determine the mechanisms that mediate resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) infection in household contacts (HHCs) of patients with tuberculosis (TB), we followed 452 latent TB infection–negative (LTBI–) HHCs for 2 years. Those who remained LTBI– throughout the study were identified as nonconverters. At baseline, nonconverters had a higher percentage of CD14+ and CD3–CD56+CD27+CCR7+ memory-like natural killer (NK) cells. Using a whole-transcriptome and metabolomic approach, we identified deoxycorticosterone acetate as a metabolite with elevated concentrations in the plasma of nonconverters, and further studies showed that this metabolite enhanced glycolytic ATP flux in macrophages and restricted M. tuberculosis growth by enhancing antimicrobial peptide production through the expression of the surface receptor sialic acid binding Ig-like lectin–14. Another metabolite, 4-hydroxypyridine, from the plasma of nonconverters significantly enhanced the expansion of memory-like NK cells. Our findings demonstrate that increased levels of specific metabolites can regulate innate resistance against M. tuberculosis infection in HHCs of patients with TB who never develop LTBI or active TB.

Authors

Deepak Tripathi, Kamakshi Prudhula Devalraju, Venkata Sanjeev Kumar Neela, Tanmoy Mukherjee, Padmaja Paidipally, Rajesh Kumar Radhakrishnan, Igor Dozmorov, Abhinav Vankayalapati, Mohammad Soheb Ansari, Varalakshmi Mallidi, Anvesh Kumar Bogam, Karan P. Singh, Buka Samten, Vijaya Lakshmi Valluri, Ramakrishna Vankayalapati

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis. At diagnosis, only 20% of patients with PDAC are eligible for primary resection. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy can enable surgical resection in 30%–40% of patients with locally advanced and borderline resectable PDAC. The effects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on the cytokine production of tumor-infiltrating T cells are unknown in PDAC.METHODS We performed multiplex immunofluorescence to investigate T cell infiltration in 91 patients with PDAC. Using flow cytometry, we analyzed tumor and matched blood samples from 71 patients with PDAC and determined the frequencies of T cell subsets and their cytokine profiles. Both cohorts included patients who underwent primary resection and patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgical resection.RESULTS In human PDAC, T cells were particularly enriched within the tumor stroma. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy markedly enhanced T cell density within the ductal area of the tumor. Whereas infiltration of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells was unaffected by neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the frequency of conventional CD4+ T cells was increased, and the proportion of Tregs was reduced in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment after neoadjuvant treatment. Moreover, neoadjuvant chemotherapy increased the production of proinflammatory cytokines by tumor-infiltrating T cells, with enhanced TNF-α and IL-2 and reduced IL-4 and IL-10 expression.CONCLUSION Neoadjuvant chemotherapy drives intratumoral T cells toward a proinflammatory profile. Combinational treatment strategies incorporating immunotherapy in neoadjuvant regimens may unleash more effective antitumor responses and improve prognosis of pancreatic cancer.FUNDING This work was supported by the Jung Foundation for Science and Research, the Monika Kutzner Foundation, the German Research Foundation (SE2980/5-1), the German Cancer Consortium, and the Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden.

Authors

Max Heiduk, Ioana Plesca, Jessica Glück, Luise Müller, David Digomann, Charlotte Reiche, Janusz von Renesse, Rahel Decker, Christoph Kahlert, Ulrich Sommer, Daniela E. Aust, Marc Schmitz, Jürgen Weitz, Lena Seifert, Adrian M. Seifert

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Abstract

The individual contribution of specific myeloid subsets such as CD1c+ conventional DC (cDC) to perpetuation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathology remains unclear. In addition, the specific innate sensors driving pathogenic activation of CD1c+ cDC in patients with RA and their functional implications have not been characterized. Here, we assessed phenotypical, transcriptional, and functional characteristics of CD1c+ and CD141+ cDC and monocytes from the blood and synovial fluid of patients with RA. Increased levels of CCR2 and the IgG receptor CD64 on circulating CD1c+ cDC was associated with the presence of this DC subset in the synovial membrane in patients with RA. Moreover, synovial CD1c+ cDC are characterized by increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and high abilities to induce pathogenic IFN-γ+IL-17+CD4+ T cells in vitro. Finally, we identified the crosstalk between Fcγ receptors and NLRC4 as a potential molecular mechanism mediating pathogenic activation, CD64 upregulation, and functional specialization of CD1c+ cDC in response to dsDNA-IgG in patients with RA.

Authors

Cristina Delgado-Arévalo, Marta Calvet-Mirabent, Ana Triguero-Martínez, Enrique Vázquez de Luis, Alberto Benguría-Filippini, Raquel Largo, Diego Calzada-Fraile, Olga Popova, Ildefonso Sánchez-Cerrillo, Ilya Tsukalov, Roberto Moreno-Vellisca, Hortensia de la Fuente, Gabriel Herrero-Beaumont, Almudena Ramiro, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid, Santos Castañeda, Ana Dopazo, Isidoro González Álvaro, Enrique Martin-Gayo

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Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) remains resistant to immune therapies, largely owing to robustly fibrotic and immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments. It has been postulated that excessive accumulation of immunosuppressive myeloid cells influences immunotherapy resistance, and recent studies targeting macrophages in combination with checkpoint blockade have demonstrated promising preclinical results. Yet our understanding of tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) function, complexity, and diversity in PDA remains limited. Our analysis reveals significant macrophage heterogeneity, with bone marrow–derived monocytes serving as the primary source for immunosuppressive TAMs. These cells also serve as a primary source of TNF-α, which suppresses expression of the alarmin IL-33 in carcinoma cells. Deletion of Ccr2 in genetically engineered mice decreased monocyte recruitment, resulting in profoundly decreased TNF-α and increased IL-33 expression, decreased metastasis, and increased survival. Moreover, intervention studies targeting CCR2 with a new orthosteric inhibitor (CCX598) rendered PDA susceptible to checkpoint blockade, resulting in reduced metastatic burden and increased survival. Our data indicate that this shift in antitumor immunity is influenced by increased levels of IL-33, which increases dendritic cell and cytotoxic T cell activity. These data demonstrate that interventions to disrupt infiltration of immunosuppressive macrophages, or their signaling, have the potential to overcome barriers to effective immunotherapeutics for PDA.

Authors

Ajay Dixit, Aaron Sarver, Jon Zettervall, Huocong Huang, Kexin Zheng, Rolf A. Brekken, Paolo P. Provenzano

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Abstract

Colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) is a severe complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). HIF-prolyl hydroxylases (PHD1, PHD2, and PHD3) control cellular adaptation to hypoxia and are considered promising therapeutic targets in IBD. However, their relevance in the pathogenesis of CAC remains elusive. We induced CAC in Phd1–/–, Phd2+/–, Phd3–/–, and WT mice with azoxymethane (AOM) and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Phd1–/– mice were protected against chronic colitis and displayed diminished CAC growth compared with WT mice. In Phd3–/– mice, colitis activity and CAC growth remained unaltered. In Phd2+/– mice, colitis activity was unaffected, but CAC growth was aggravated. Mechanistically, Phd2 deficiency (i) increased the number of tumor-associated macrophages in AOM/DSS-induced tumors, (ii) promoted the expression of EGFR ligand epiregulin in macrophages, and (iii) augmented the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 signaling, which at least in part contributed to aggravated tumor cell proliferation in colitis-associated tumors. Consistently, Phd2 deficiency in hematopoietic (Vav:Cre-Phd2fl/fl) but not in intestinal epithelial cells (Villin:Cre-Phd2fl/fl) increased CAC growth. In conclusion, the 3 different PHD isoenzymes have distinct and nonredundant effects, promoting (PHD1), diminishing (PHD2), or neutral (PHD3), on CAC growth.

Authors

Kilian B. Kennel, Julius Burmeister, Praveen Radhakrishnan, Nathalia A. Giese, Thomas Giese, Martin Salfenmoser, Jasper M. Gebhardt, Moritz J. Strowitzki, Cormac T. Taylor, Ben Wielockx, Martin Schneider, Jonathan M. Harnoss

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Abstract

Progressive fibrosis and maladaptive organ repair result in significant morbidity and millions of premature deaths annually. Senescent cells accumulate with aging and after injury and are implicated in organ fibrosis, but the mechanisms by which senescence influences repair are poorly understood. Using 2 murine models of injury and repair, we show that obstructive injury generated senescent epithelia, which persisted after resolution of the original injury, promoted ongoing fibrosis, and impeded adaptive repair. Depletion of senescent cells with ABT-263 reduced fibrosis in reversed ureteric obstruction and after renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. We validated these findings in humans, showing that senescence and fibrosis persisted after relieved renal obstruction. We next characterized senescent epithelia in murine renal injury using single-cell RNA-Seq. We extended our classification to human kidney and liver disease and identified conserved profibrotic proteins, which we validated in vitro and in human disease. We demonstrated that increased levels of protein disulfide isomerase family A member 3 (PDIA3) augmented TGF-β–mediated fibroblast activation. Inhibition of PDIA3 in vivo significantly reduced kidney fibrosis during ongoing renal injury and as such represented a new potential therapeutic pathway. Analysis of the signaling pathways of senescent epithelia connected senescence to organ fibrosis, permitting rational design of antifibrotic therapies.

Authors

Eoin D. O’Sullivan, Katie J. Mylonas, Rachel Bell, Cyril Carvalho, David P. Baird, Carolynn Cairns, Kevin M. Gallagher, Ross Campbell, Marie Docherty, Alexander Laird, Neil C. Henderson, Tamir Chandra, Kristina Kirschner, Bryan Conway, Gry H. Dihazi, Michael Zeisberg, Jeremy Hughes, Laura Denby, Hassan Dihazi, David A. Ferenbach

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Abstract

Acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) inflicted by alloreactive T cells primed in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) and subsequent damage to aGvHD target tissues. In recent years, Treg transfer and/or expansion has emerged as a promising therapy to modulate aGvHD. However, cellular niches essential for fostering Tregs to prevent aGvHD have not been explored. Here, we tested whether and to what extent MHC class II (MHCII) expressed on Ccl19+ fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) shape the donor CD4+ T cell response during aGvHD. Animals lacking MHCII expression on Ccl19-Cre–expressing FRCs (MHCIIΔCcl19) showed aberrant CD4+ T cell activation in the effector phase, resulting in exacerbated aGvHD that was associated with significantly reduced expansion of Foxp3+ Tregs and invariant NK T (iNKT) cells. Skewed Treg maintenance in MHCIIΔCcl19 mice resulted in loss of protection from aGvHD provided by adoptively transferred donor Tregs. In contrast, although FRCs upregulated costimulatory surface receptors, and although they degraded and processed exogenous antigens after myeloablative irradiation, FRCs were dispensable to activate alloreactive CD4+ T cells in 2 mouse models of aGvHD. In summary, these data reveal an immunoprotective, MHCII-mediated function of FRC niches in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) after allo-HCT and highlight a framework of cellular and molecular interactions that regulate CD4+ T cell alloimmunity.

Authors

Haroon Shaikh, Joern Pezoldt, Zeinab Mokhtari, Juan Gamboa Vargas, Duc-Dung Le, Josefina Peña Mosca, Estibaliz Arellano Viera, Michael A.G. Kern, Caroline Graf, Niklas Beyersdorf, Manfred B. Lutz, Angela Riedel, Maike Büttner-Herold, Alma Zernecke, Hermann Einsele, Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba, Burkhard Ludewig, Jochen Huehn, Andreas Beilhack

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Abstract

There are limited data on the link between cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) and severe hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes. Here, we evaluated the associations of CAN with severe hypoglycemia among 7,421 adults with type 2 diabetes from the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes study. CAN was defined using ECG-derived measures. Cox’s and Andersen-Gill regression models were used to generate HRs (HRs) for the first and recurrent severe hypoglycemic episodes, respectively. Over 4.7 years, there were 558 first and 811 recurrent hypoglycemic events. Participants with CAN had increased risks of a first episode or recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycemia. The intensity of glycemic management modified the CAN association with hypoglycemia. In the standard glycemic management group, compared with those of participants without CAN, HRs for a first severe hypoglycemia event and recurrent hypoglycemia were 1.58 and 1.96, respectively. In the intensive glycemic management group, HRs for a first severe hypoglycemia event and recurrent hypoglycemia were 1.10 and 1.24, respectively. In summary, CAN was independently associated with higher risks of a first hypoglycemia event and recurrent hypoglycemia among adults with type 2 diabetes, with the highest risk observed among those on standard glycemic management.

Authors

Arnaud D. Kaze, Matthew F. Yuyun, Rexford S. Ahima, Michael R. Rickels, Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui

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Abstract

BACKGROUND A patient-derived organoid (PDO) platform may serve as a promising tool for translational cancer research. In this study, we evaluated PDO’s ability to predict clinical response to gastrointestinal (GI) cancers.METHODS We generated PDOs from primary and metastatic lesions of patients with GI cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, colorectal adenocarcinoma, and cholangiocarcinoma. We compared PDO response with the observed clinical response for donor patients to the same treatments.RESULTS We report an approximately 80% concordance rate between PDO and donor tumor response. Importantly, we found a profound influence of culture media on PDO phenotype, where we showed a significant difference in response to standard-of-care chemotherapies, distinct morphologies, and transcriptomes between media within the same PDO cultures.CONCLUSION While we demonstrate a high concordance rate between donor tumor and PDO, these studies also showed the important role of culture media when using PDOs to inform treatment selection and predict response across a spectrum of GI cancers.TRIAL REGISTRATION Not applicable.FUNDING The Joan F. & Richard A. Abdoo Family Fund in Colorectal Cancer Research, GI Cancer program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic SPORE in Pancreatic Cancer, Center of Individualized Medicine (Mayo Clinic), Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (Mayo Clinic), Incyte Pharmaceuticals and Mayo Clinic Hepatobiliary SPORE, University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic Partnership, and the Early Therapeutic program (Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic).

Authors

Tara L. Hogenson, Hao Xie, William J. Phillips, Merih D. Toruner, Jenny J. Li, Isaac P. Horn, Devin J. Kennedy, Luciana L. Almada, David L. Marks, Ryan M. Carr, Murat Toruner, Ashley N. Sigafoos, Amanda N. Koenig-Kappes, Rachel L.O. Olson, Ezequiel J. Tolosa, Cheng Zhang, Hu Li, Jason D. Doles, Jonathan Bleeker, Michael T. Barrett, James H. Boyum, Benjamin R. Kipp, Amit Mahipal, Joleen M. Hubbard, Temperance J. Scheffler Hanson, Gloria M. Petersen, Surendra Dasari, Ann L. Oberg, Mark J. Truty, Rondell P. Graham, Michael J. Levy, Mojun Zhu, Daniel D. Billadeau, Alex A. Adjei, Nelson Dusetti, Juan L. Iovanna, Tanios S. Bekaii-Saab, Wen Wee Ma, Martin E. Fernandez-Zapico

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Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa undergoes diversification during infection of the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung. Understanding these changes requires model systems that capture the complexity of the CF lung environment. We previously identified loss-of-function mutations in the 2-component regulatory system sensor kinase gene pmrB in P. aeruginosa from CF lung infections and from experimental infection of mice. Here, we demonstrate that, while such mutations lowered in vitro minimum inhibitory concentrations for multiple antimicrobial classes, this was not reflected in increased antibiotic susceptibility in vivo. Loss of PmrB impaired aminoarabinose modification of LPS, increasing the negative charge of the outer membrane and promoting uptake of cationic antimicrobials. However, in vivo, this could be offset by increased membrane binding of other positively charged molecules present in lungs. The polyamine spermidine readily coated the surface of PmrB-deficient P. aeruginosa, reducing susceptibility to antibiotics that rely on charge differences to bind the outer membrane and increasing biofilm formation. Spermidine was elevated in lungs during P. aeruginosa infection in mice and during episodes of antimicrobial treatment in people with CF. These findings highlight the need to study antimicrobial resistance under clinically relevant environmental conditions. Microbial mutations carrying fitness costs in vitro may be advantageous during infection, where host resources can be utilized.

Authors

Chowdhury M. Hasan, Sian Pottenger, Angharad E. Green, Adrienne A. Cox, Jack S. White, Trevor Jones, Craig Winstanley, Aras Kadioglu, Megan H. Wright, Daniel R. Neill, Joanne L. Fothergill

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Abstract

A hallmark of HIV-1 infection is chronic inflammation, even in patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Chronic inflammation drives HIV-1 pathogenesis, leading to loss of CD4+ T cells and exhaustion of antiviral immunity. Therefore, strategies to safely reduce systematic inflammation are needed to halt disease progression and restore defective immune responses. Autophagy is a cellular mechanism for disposal of damaged organelles and elimination of intracellular pathogens. Autophagy is pivotal for energy homeostasis and plays critical roles in regulating immunity. However, how it regulates inflammation and antiviral T cell responses during HIV infection is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that autophagy is directly linked to IFN-I signaling, which is a key driver of immune activation and T cell exhaustion during chronic HIV infection. Impairment of autophagy leads to spontaneous IFN-I signaling, and autophagy induction reduces IFN-I signaling in monocytic cells. Importantly, in HIV-1–infected humanized mice, autophagy inducer rapamycin treatment significantly reduced persistent IFN-I–mediated inflammation and improved antiviral T cell responses. Cotreatment of rapamycin with ART led to significantly reduced viral rebound after ART withdrawal. Taken together, our data suggest that therapeutically targeting autophagy is a promising approach to treat persistent inflammation and improve immune control of HIV replication.

Authors

Wenli Mu, Valerie Rezek, Heather Martin, Mayra A. Carrillo, Shallu Tomer, Philip Hamid, Miguel A. Lizarraga, Tristan D. Tibbe, Otto O. Yang, Beth D. Jamieson, Scott G. Kitchen, Anjie Zhen

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Abstract

Neuropathic pain is a refractory condition that involves de novo protein synthesis in the nociceptive pathway. The mTOR is a master regulator of protein translation; however, mechanisms underlying its role in neuropathic pain remain elusive. Using the spared nerve injury–induced neuropathic pain model, we found that mTOR was preferentially activated in large-diameter dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and spinal microglia. However, selective ablation of mTOR in DRG neurons, rather than microglia, alleviated acute neuropathic pain in mice. We show that injury-induced mTOR activation promoted the transcriptional induction of neuropeptide Y (Npy), likely via signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation. NPY further acted primarily on Y2 receptors (Y2R) to enhance neuronal excitability. Peripheral replenishment of NPY reversed pain alleviation upon mTOR removal, whereas Y2R antagonists prevented pain restoration. Our findings reveal an unexpected link between mTOR and NPY/Y2R in promoting nociceptor sensitization and neuropathic pain.

Authors

Lunhao Chen, Yaling Hu, Siyuan Wang, Kelei Cao, Weihao Mai, Weilin Sha, Huan Ma, Ling-Hui Zeng, Zhen-Zhong Xu, Yong-Jing Gao, Shumin Duan, Yue Wang, Zhihua Gao

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Abstract

The DNA methyltransferase inhibitor decitabine has classically been used to reactivate silenced genes and as a pretreatment for anticancer therapies. In a variation of this idea, this study explores the concept of adding low-dose decitabine (DAC) following administration of chemotherapy to bolster therapeutic efficacy. We find that addition of DAC following treatment with the chemotherapy agent gemcitabine improves survival and slows tumor growth in a mouse model of high-grade sarcoma. Unlike prior studies in epithelial tumor models, DAC did not induce a robust antitumor T cell response in sarcoma. Furthermore, DAC synergizes with gemcitabine independently of the immune system. Mechanistic analyses demonstrate that the combination therapy induces biphasic cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Therapeutic efficacy was sequence dependent, with gemcitabine priming cells for treatment with DAC through inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase. This study identifies an apparently unique application of DAC to augment the cytotoxic effects of conventional chemotherapy in an immune-independent manner. The concepts explored in this study represent a promising paradigm for cancer treatment by augmenting chemotherapy through addition of DAC to increase tolerability and improve patient response. These findings have widespread implications for the treatment of sarcomas and other aggressive malignancies.

Authors

Wade R. Gutierrez, Amanda Scherer, Jeffrey D. Rytlewski, Emily A. Laverty, Alexa P. Sheehan, Gavin R. McGivney, Qierra R. Brockman, Vickie Knepper-Adrian, Grace A. Roughton, Dawn E. Quelle, David J. Gordon, Varun Monga, Rebecca D. Dodd

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Abstract

Therapeutics that inhibit IL-6 at different points in its signaling pathway are in clinical use, yet whether the immunological effects of these interventions differ based on their molecular target is unknown. We performed short-term interventions in individuals with type 1 diabetes using anti–IL-6 (siltuximab) or anti–IL-6 receptor (IL-6R; tocilizumab) therapies and investigated the impact of this in vivo blockade on T cell fate and function. Immune outcomes were influenced by the target of the therapeutic intervention (IL-6 versus IL-6R) and by peak drug concentration. Tocilizumab reduced ICOS expression on T follicular helper cell populations and T cell receptor–driven (TCR-driven) STAT3 phosphorylation. Siltuximab reversed resistance to Treg-mediated suppression and increased TCR-driven phosphorylated STAT3 and production of IL-10, IL-21, and IL-27 by T effectors. Together, these findings indicate that the context of IL-6 blockade in vivo drives distinct T cell–intrinsic changes that may influence therapeutic outcomes.

Authors

Cate Speake, Tania Habib, Katharina Lambert, Christian Hundhausen, Sandra Lord, Matthew J. Dufort, Samuel O. Skinner, Alex Hu, MacKenzie Kinsman, Britta E. Jones, Megan D. Maerz, Megan Tatum, Anne M. Hocking, Gerald T. Nepom, Carla J. Greenbaum, Jane H. Buckner

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Abstract

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis (DCM) is caused by Coccidioides, pathogenic fungi endemic to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Illness occurs in approximately 30% of those infected, less than 1% of whom develop disseminated disease. To address why some individuals allow dissemination, we enrolled patients with DCM and performed whole-exome sequencing. In an exploratory set of 67 patients with DCM, 2 had haploinsufficient STAT3 mutations, and defects in β-glucan sensing and response were seen in 34 of 67 cases. Damaging CLEC7A and PLCG2 variants were associated with impaired production of β-glucan–stimulated TNF-α from PBMCs compared with healthy controls. Using ancestry-matched controls, damaging CLEC7A and PLCG2 variants were overrepresented in DCM, including CLEC7A Y238* and PLCG2 R268W. A validation cohort of 111 patients with DCM confirmed the PLCG2 R268W, CLEC7A I223S, and CLEC7A Y238* variants. Stimulation with a DECTIN-1 agonist induced DUOX1/DUOXA1–derived hydrogen peroxide [H2O2] in transfected cells. Heterozygous DUOX1 or DUOXA1 variants that impaired H2O2 production were overrepresented in discovery and validation cohorts. Patients with DCM have impaired β-glucan sensing or response affecting TNF-α and H2O2 production. Impaired Coccidioides recognition and decreased cellular response are associated with disseminated coccidioidomycosis.

Authors

Amy P. Hsu, Agnieszka Korzeniowska, Cynthia C. Aguilar, Jingwen Gu, Eric Karlins, Andrew J. Oler, Gang Chen, Glennys V. Reynoso, Joie Davis, Alexandria Chaput, Tao Peng, Ling Sun, Justin B. Lack, Derek J. Bays, Ethan R. Stewart, Sarah E. Waldman, Daniel A. Powell, Fariba M. Donovan, Jigar V. Desai, Nima Pouladi, Debra A. Long Priel, Daisuke Yamanaka, Sergio D. Rosenzweig, Julie E. Niemela, Jennifer Stoddard, Alexandra F. Freeman, Christa S. Zerbe, Douglas B. Kuhns, Yves A. Lussier, Kenneth N. Olivier, Richard C. Boucher, Heather D. Hickman, Jeffrey Frelinger, Joshua Fierer, Lisa F. Shubitz, Thomas L. Leto, George R. Thompson III, John N. Galgiani, Michail S. Lionakis, Steven M. Holland

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Abstract

An animal model that fully recapitulates severe COVID-19 presentation in humans has been a top priority since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 in 2019. Although multiple animal models are available for mild to moderate clinical disease, models that develop severe disease are still needed. Mink experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 developed severe acute respiratory disease, as evident by clinical respiratory disease, radiological, and histological changes. Virus was detected in nasal, oral, rectal, and fur swabs. Deep sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from oral swabs and lung tissue samples showed repeated enrichment for a mutation in the gene encoding nonstructural protein 6 in open reading frame 1ab. Together, these data indicate that American mink develop clinical features characteristic of severe COVID-19 and, as such, are uniquely suited to test viral countermeasures.

Authors

Danielle R. Adney, Jamie Lovaglio, Jonathan E. Schulz, Claude Kwe Yinda, Victoria A. Avanzato, Elaine Haddock, Julia R. Port, Myndi G. Holbrook, Patrick W. Hanley, Greg Saturday, Dana Scott, Carl Shaia, Andrew M. Nelson, Jessica R. Spengler, Cassandra Tansey, Caitlin M. Cossaboom, Natalie M. Wendling, Craig Martens, John Easley, Seng Wai Yap, Stephanie N. Seifert, Vincent J. Munster

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Abstract

The aberrant activation of STAT3 is associated with the etiology and progression in a variety of malignant epithelial-derived tumors, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Due to the lack of an enzymatic catalytic site or a ligand-binding pocket, there are no small-molecule inhibitors directly targeting STAT3 that have been approved for clinical translation. Emerging proteolysis targeting chimeric (PROTAC) technology–based approach represents a potential strategy to overcome the limitations of conventional inhibitors and inhibit activation of STAT3 and downstream genes. In this study, the heterobifunctional small-molecule–based PROTACs are successfully prepared from toosendanin (TSN), with 1 portion binding to STAT3 and the other portion binding to an E3 ubiquitin ligase. The optimized lead PROTAC (TSM-1) exhibits superior selectivity, potency, and robust antitumor effects in STAT3-dependent HNSCC and CRC — especially in clinically relevant patient-derived xenografts (PDX) and patient-derived organoids (PDO). The following mechanistic investigation identifies the reduced expression of critical downstream STAT3 effectors, through which TSM-1 promotes cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in tumor cells. These findings provide the first demonstration to our knowledge of a successful PROTAC-targeting strategy in STAT3-dependent epithelial cancer.

Authors

Jinmei Jin, Yaping Wu, Zeng Zhao, Ye Wu, Yu-dong Zhou, Sanhong Liu, Qingyan Sun, Guizhu Yang, Jiayi Lin, Dale G. Nagle, Jiangjiang Qin, Zhiyuan Zhang, Hong-zhuan Chen, Weidong Zhang, Shuyang Sun, Xin Luan

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Abstract

Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder characterized by abnormal neurovascular and inflammatory conditions on the central face. Despite increasing evidence suggesting that rosacea is associated with metabolic disorders, the role of metabolism in rosacea pathogenesis remains unknown. Here, via a targeted metabolomics approach, we characterized significantly altered metabolic signatures in patients with rosacea, especially for amino acid-related metabolic pathways. Among these, glutamic acid and aspartic acid were highlighted and positively correlated with the disease severity in patients with rosacea. We further demonstrated that glutamic acid and aspartic acid can facilitate the development of erythema and telangiectasia, typical features of rosacea, in the skin of mice. Mechanistically, glutamic acid and aspartic acid stimulated the production of vasodilation-related neuropeptides from peripheral neurons and keratinocytes and induced the release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells and keratinocytes. Interestingly, we provided evidence showing that doxycycline can improve the symptoms of patients with rosacea possibly by targeting the amino acid metabolic pathway. These findings reveal that abnormal amino acid metabolism promotes neurovascular reactivity in rosacea and raise the possibility of targeting dysregulated metabolism as a promising strategy for clinical treatment.

Authors

Tangxiele Liu, Wenqin Xiao, Mengting Chen, Rui Mao, San Xu, Qinqin Peng, Zhixiang Zhao, Qian Wang, Hongfu Xie, Zhili Deng, Ji Li

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Abstract

Despite advances in ovarian cancer (OC) therapy, recurrent OC remains a poor-prognosis disease. Because of the close interaction between OC cells and the tumor microenvironment (TME), it is important to develop strategies that target tumor cells and engage components of the TME. A major obstacle in the development of OC therapies is the identification of targets with expression limited to tumor surface to avoid off-target interactions. The follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) has selective expression on ovarian granulosa cells and is expressed on 50%–70% of serous OCs. We generated mAbs targeting the external domain of FSHR using in vivo–expressed FSHR vector. By high-throughput flow analysis, we identified multiple clones and downselected D2AP11, a potent FSHR surface–targeted mAb. D2AP11 identifies important OC cell lines derived from tumors with different mutations, including BRCA1/2, and lines resistant to a wide range of therapies. We used D2AP11 to develop a bispecific T cell engager. In vitro addition of PBMCs and T cells to D2AP11-TCE induced specific and potent killing of different genetic and immune escape OC lines, with EC50s in the ng/ml range, and attenuated tumor burden in OC-challenged mouse models. These studies demonstrate the potential utility of biologics targeting FSHR for OC and perhaps other FSHR-positive cancers.

Authors

Devivasha Bordoloi, Pratik S. Bhojnagarwala, Alfredo Perales-Puchalt, Abhijeet J. Kulkarni, Xizhou Zhu, Kevin Liaw, Ryan P. O’Connell, Daniel H. Park, Daniel W. Kulp, Rugang Zhang, David B. Weiner

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Abstract

Sinoatrial node (SAN) cells are the heart’s primary pacemaker. Their activity is tightly regulated by β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) signaling. Adenylyl cyclase (AC) is a key enzyme in the β-AR pathway that catalyzes the production of cAMP. There are current gaps in our knowledge regarding the dominant AC isoforms and the specific roles of Ca2+-activated ACs in the SAN. The current study tests the hypothesis that distinct AC isoforms are preferentially expressed in the SAN and compartmentalize within microdomains to orchestrate heart rate regulation during β-AR signaling. In contrast to atrial and ventricular myocytes, SAN cells express a diverse repertoire of ACs, with ACI as the predominant Ca2+-activated isoform. Although ACI-KO (ACI–/–) mice exhibit normal cardiac systolic or diastolic function, they experience SAN dysfunction. Similarly, SAN-specific CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene silencing of ACI results in sinus node dysfunction. Mechanistically, hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated 4 (HCN4) channels form functional microdomains almost exclusively with ACI, while ryanodine receptor and L-type Ca2+ channels likely compartmentalize with ACI and other AC isoforms. In contrast, there were no significant differences in T-type Ca2+ and Na+ currents at baseline or after β-AR stimulation between WT and ACI–/– SAN cells. Due to its central characteristic feature as a Ca2+-activated isoform, ACI plays a unique role in sustaining the rise of local cAMP and heart rates during β-AR stimulation. The findings provide insights into the critical roles of the Ca2+-activated isoform of AC in sustaining SAN automaticity that is distinct from contractile cardiomyocytes.

Authors

Lu Ren, Phung N. Thai, Raghavender Reddy Gopireddy, Valeriy Timofeyev, Hannah A. Ledford, Ryan L. Woltz, Seojin Park, Jose L. Puglisi, Claudia M. Moreno, Luis Fernando Santana, Alana C. Conti, Michael I. Kotlikoff, Yang Kevin Xiang, Vladimir Yarov-Yarovoy, Manuela Zaccolo, Xiao-Dong Zhang, Ebenezer N. Yamoah, Manuel F. Navedo, Nipavan Chiamvimonvat

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Abstract

Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic and progressive interstitial lung disease associated with the decay of pulmonary function, which leads to a fatal outcome. As an essential epigenetic regulator of DNA methylation, the involvement of ubiquitin-like containing PHD and RING finger domains 1 (UHRF1) in fibroblast activation remains largely undefined in pulmonary fibrosis. In the present study, we found that TGF-β1–mediated upregulation of UHRF1 repressed beclin 1 via methylated induction of its promoter, which finally resulted in fibroblast activation and lung fibrosis both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, knockdown of UHRF1 significantly arrested fibroblast proliferation and reactivated beclin 1 in lung fibroblasts. Thus, intravenous administration of UHRF1 siRNA–loaded liposomes significantly protected mice against experimental pulmonary fibrosis. Accordingly, our data suggest that UHRF1 might be a novel potential therapeutic target in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis.

Authors

Demin Cheng, Yue Wang, Ziwei Li, Haojie Xiong, Wenqing Sun, Sichuan Xi, Siyun Zhou, Yi Liu, Chunhui Ni

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Abstract

Acquired aplastic anemia (AA) is caused by autoreactive T cell–mediated destruction of early hematopoietic cells. Somatic loss of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I alleles was identified as a mechanism of immune escape in surviving hematopoietic cells of some patients with AA. However, pathogenicity, structural characteristics, and clinical impact of specific HLA alleles in AA remain poorly understood. Here, we evaluated somatic HLA loss in 505 patients with AA from 2 multi-institutional cohorts. Using a combination of HLA mutation frequencies, peptide-binding structures, and association with AA in an independent cohort of 6,323 patients from the National Marrow Donor Program, we identified 19 AA risk alleles and 12 non-risk alleles and established a potentially novel AA HLA pathogenicity stratification. Our results define pathogenicity for the majority of common HLA-A/B alleles across diverse populations. Our study demonstrates that HLA alleles confer different risks of developing AA, but once AA develops, specific alleles are not associated with response to immunosuppression or transplant outcomes. However, higher pathogenicity alleles, particularly HLA-B*14:02, are associated with higher rates of clonal evolution in adult patients with AA. Our study provides insights into the immune pathogenesis of AA, opening the door to future autoantigen identification and improved understanding of clonal evolution in AA.

Authors

Timothy S. Olson, Benjamin F. Frost, Jamie L. Duke, Marian Dribus, Hongbo M. Xie, Zachary D. Prudowsky, Elissa Furutani, Jonas Gudera, Yash B. Shah, Deborah Ferriola, Amalia Dinou, Ioanna Pagkrati, Soyoung Kim, Yixi Xu, Meilun He, Shannon Zheng, Sally Nijim, Ping Lin, Chong Xu, Taizo A. Nakano, Joseph H. Oved, Beatriz M. Carreno, Yung-Tsi Bolon, Shahinaz M. Gadalla, Steven G.E. Marsh, Sophie Paczesny, Stephanie J. Lee, Dimitrios S. Monos, Akiko Shimamura, Alison A. Bertuch, Loren Gragert, Stephen R. Spellman, Daria V. Babushok

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Abstract

Consecutive mRNA vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 reinforced both innate and adaptive immune responses. However, it remains unclear whether the enhanced innate immune responses are mediated by epigenetic regulation and, if so, whether these effects persist. Using mass cytometry, RNA-Seq, and ATAC-Seq, we show that BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination upregulated antiviral and IFN-stimulated gene expression in monocytes with greater effects after the second vaccination than those after the first vaccination. Transcription factor–binding motif analysis also revealed enriched IFN regulatory factors and PU.1 motifs in accessible chromatin regions. Importantly, although consecutive BNT162b2 mRNA vaccinations boosted innate immune responses and caused epigenetic changes in isolated monocytes, we show that these effects occurred only transiently and disappeared 4 weeks after the second vaccination. Furthermore, single-cell RNA-Seq analysis revealed that a similar gene signature was impaired in the monocytes of unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 with acute respiratory distress syndrome. These results reinforce the importance of the innate immune response in the determination of COVID-19 severity but indicate that, unlike adaptive immunity, innate immunity is not unexpectedly sustained even after consecutive vaccination. This study, which focuses on innate immune memory, may provide novel insights into the vaccine development against infectious diseases.

Authors

Yuta Yamaguchi, Yasuhiro Kato, Ryuya Edahiro, Jonas N. Søndergaard, Teruaki Murakami, Saori Amiya, Shinichiro Nameki, Yuko Yoshimine, Takayoshi Morita, Yusuke Takeshima, Shuhei Sakakibara, Yoko Naito, Daisuke Motooka, Yu-Chen Liu, Yuya Shirai, Yasutaka Okita, Jun Fujimoto, Haruhiko Hirata, Yoshito Takeda, James B. Wing, Daisuke Okuzaki, Yukinori Okada, Atsushi Kumanogoh

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Abstract

Rest has long been considered beneficial to patient healing; however, remarkably, there are no evidence-based experimental models determining how it benefits disease outcomes. Here, we created an experimental rest model in mice that briefly extends the morning rest period. We found in 2 major cardiovascular disease conditions (cardiac hypertrophy, myocardial infarction) that imposing a short, extended period of morning rest each day limited cardiac remodeling compared with controls. Mechanistically, rest mitigates autonomic-mediated hemodynamic stress on the cardiovascular system, relaxes myofilament contractility, and attenuates cardiac remodeling genes, consistent with the benefits on cardiac structure and function. These same rest-responsive gene pathways underlie the pathophysiology of many major human cardiovascular conditions, as demonstrated by interrogating open-source transcriptomic data; thus, patients with other conditions may also benefit from a morning rest period in a similar manner. Our findings implicate rest as a key driver of physiology, creating a potentially new field — as broad and important as diet, sleep, or exercise — and provide a strong rationale for investigation of rest-based therapy for major clinical diseases.

Authors

Cristine J. Reitz, Mina Rasouli, Faisal J. Alibhai, Tarak N. Khatua, W. Glen Pyle, Tami A. Martino

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Abstract

The fluid covering the surface of airway epithelia represents a first barrier against pathogens. The chemical and physical properties of the airway surface fluid are controlled by the activity of ion channels and transporters. In cystic fibrosis (CF), loss of CFTR chloride channel function causes airway surface dehydration, bacterial infection, and inflammation. We investigated the effects of IL-17A plus TNF-α, 2 cytokines with relevant roles in CF and other chronic lung diseases. Transcriptome analysis revealed a profound change with upregulation of several genes involved in ion transport, antibacterial defense, and neutrophil recruitment. At the functional level, bronchial epithelia treated in vitro with the cytokine combination showed upregulation of ENaC channel, ATP12A proton pump, ADRB2 β-adrenergic receptor, and SLC26A4 anion exchanger. The overall result of IL-17A/TNF-α treatment was hyperviscosity of the airway surface, as demonstrated by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments. Importantly, stimulation with a β-adrenergic agonist switched airway surface to a low-viscosity state in non-CF but not in CF epithelia. Our study suggests that CF lung disease is sustained by a vicious cycle in which epithelia cannot exit from the hyperviscous state, thus perpetuating the proinflammatory airway surface condition.

Authors

Daniela Guidone, Martina Buccirossi, Paolo Scudieri, Michele Genovese, Sergio Sarnataro, Rossella De Cegli, Federico Cresta, Vito Terlizzi, Gabrielle Planelles, Gilles Crambert, Isabelle Sermet, Luis J.V. Galietta

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Abstract

Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLSs) are associated with anti-tumor response following immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy, but a commensurate observation of TLS is absent for immune related adverse events (irAEs) i.e. acute interstitial nephritis (AIN). We hypothesized that TLS-associated inflammatory gene signatures are present in AIN and performed NanoString-based gene expression and multiplex 12-chemokine profiling on paired kidney tissue, urine and plasma specimens of 36 participants who developed acute kidney injury (AKI) on ICI therapy: AIN (18), acute tubular necrosis (9), or HTN nephrosclerosis (9). Increased T and B cell scores, a Th1-CD8+ T cell axis accompanied by interferon-g and TNF superfamily signatures were detected in the ICI-AIN group. TLS signatures were significantly increased in AIN cases and supported by histopathological identification. Furthermore, urinary TLS signature scores correlated with ICI-AIN diagnosis but not paired plasma. Urinary CXCL9 correlated best to tissue CXCL9 expression (rho 0.75, p < 0.001) and the ability to discriminate AIN vs. non-AIN (AUC 0.781, p-value 0.003). For the first time, we report the presence of TLS signatures in irAEs, define distinctive immune signatures, identify chemokine markers distinguishing ICI-AIN from common AKI etiologies and demonstrate that urine chemokine markers may be used as a surrogate for ICI-AIN diagnoses.

Authors

Shailbala Singh, James P. Long, Amanda Tchakarov, Yanlan Dong, Cassian Yee, Jamie S. Lin

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Abstract

Elevated circulating dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 is a biomarker for liver disease, but its involvement in gluconeogenesis and in metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) progression remains unclear. Here we identified that DPP4 in hepatocytes but not Tie2+ endothelial cells regulates the local bioactivity of incretin hormones and gluconeogenesis. However, the complete absence of DPP4 (Dpp4-/-) in aged mice with metabolic syndrome accelerates liver fibrosis without altering dyslipidemia and steatosis. Analysis of transcripts from the livers of whole body Dpp4-/- displayed enrichment for inflammasome, p53, and senescence programs compared to littermate controls. High-fat high-cholesterol (HFHC)-feeding decreased Dpp4 expression in F4/80+ cells, with only minor changes in immune signaling. Moreover, in a lean mouse model of severe non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (Pemt -/-) mice fed with HFHC diet, we observed a 4-fold increase in circulating DPP4, disassociating its release from obesity. Lastly, we evaluated DPP4 levels in patients with hepatitis C infection with dysglycemia (HOMA-IR > 2) who underwent direct antiviral treatment (with or without ribavirin). DPP4 protein levels decreased with viral clearance, and DPP4 activity levels were reduced at longer-term follow-up in ribavirin-treated patients, although metabolic factors did not improve. These data suggest elevations in DPP4 during HCV infection are not primarily regulated by metabolic disturbances.

Authors

Natasha A. Trzaskalski, Branka Vulesevic, My-Anh Nguyen, Natasha Jeraj, Evgenia Fadzeyeva, Nadya M. Morrow, Cassandra A.A. Locatelli, Nicole Travis, Antonio A. Hanson, Julia R.C. Nunes, Conor O'Dwyer, Jelske N. Van der Veen, Ilka Lorenzen-Schmidt, Rick Seymour, Serena M. Pulente, Andrew C. Clément, Angela M. Crawley, René L. Jacobs, Mary-Anne Doyle, Curtis L. Cooper, Kyoung-Han Kim, Morgan D. Fullerton, Erin E. Mulvihill

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Abstract

Ciprofloxacin use may be associated with adverse aortic events. However, the mechanism underlying the effect of ciprofloxacin on the progression of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is not well understood. Using an in vitro microphysiological model, we treated human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) derived from patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV)- or tricuspid aortic valve (TAV)-associated TAAs with ciprofloxacin. TAA C57/BL6 mouse models were utilized to verify the effects of ciprofloxacin exposure. In the microphysiological model, real-time polymerase chain reaction, western blotting, and RNA sequencing showed that ciprofloxacin exposure was associated with a downregulated contractile phenotype, an upregulated inflammatory reaction, and extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation in the normal HASMCs derived from the non-diseased aorta. Ciprofloxacin induced mitochondrial dysfunction in the HASMCs and further increased apoptosis by activating the ERK1/2 and P38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways. These adverse effects appeared to be more severe in the HASMCs derived from BAV- and TAV-associated TAAs than in the normal HASMCs when the ciprofloxacin concentration exceeded 100 µg/mL. In the aortic walls of the TAA-induced mice, ECM degradation and apoptosis were aggravated after ciprofloxacin exposure. Therefore, ciprofloxacin should be used with caution in patients with BAV- or TAV-associated TAAs.

Authors

Bitao Xiang, Mieradilijiang Abudupataer, Gang Liu, Xiaonan Zhou, Dingqian Liu, Shichao Zhu, Yang Ming, Xiujie Yin, Shiqiang Yan, Yongxin Sun, Hao Lai, Chunsheng Wang, Jun Li, Kai Zhu

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Abstract

Severe lung damage in COVID-19 involves complex interactions between diverse populations of immune and stromal cells. In this study, we used a spatial transcriptomics approach to delineate the cells, pathways and genes present across the spectrum of histopathological damage in COVID-19 lung tissue. We applied correlation network-based approaches to deconvolve gene expression data from 46 areas of interest covering >62,000 cells within well preserved lung samples from three patients. Despite substantial inter-patient heterogeneity, we discovered evidence for a common immune cell signaling circuit in areas of severe tissue that involves crosstalk between cytotoxic lymphocytes and pro-inflammatory macrophages. Expression of IFNG by cytotoxic lymphocytes was associated with induction of chemokines including CXCL9, CXCL10 and CXCL11 which are known to promote the recruitment of CXCR3+ immune cells. The tumour necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily members BAFF (TNFSF13B) and TRAIL (TNFSF10) were found to be consistently upregulated in the areas with severe tissue damage. We used published spatial and single cell SARS-CoV-2 datasets to confirm our findings in the lung tissue from additional cohorts of COVID-19 patients. The resulting model of severe COVID-19 immune-mediated tissue pathology may inform future therapeutic strategies.

Authors

Amy R. Cross, Carlos E. de Andrea, María Villalba-Esparza, Manuel F. Landecho, Lucia Cerundolo, Praveen Weeratunga, Rachel E. Etherington, Laura Denney, Graham Ogg, Ling-Pei Ho, Ian S.D. Roberts, Joanna Hester, Paul Klenerman, Ignacio Melero, Stephen N. Sansom, Fadi Issa

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Abstract

Vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMC) exert a critical role in sensing and maintaining vascular integrity. These cells abundantly express the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1), a large endocytic and signaling receptor that recognizes numerous ligands including ApoE-rich lipoproteins, proteases, and protease-inhibitor complexes. We observed the spontaneous formation of aneurysms in the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) of both male and female mice in which LRP1 was genetically deleted in v SMC (smLRP1-/- mice). Quantitative proteomics revealed elevated abundance of several proteins in smLRP1-/- mice that are known to be induced by angiotensin II (AngII)-mediated signaling, suggesting that this pathway is dysregulated. Administration of losartan, an AngII type I receptor antagonist, or an angiotensinogen antisense oligonucleotide to reduce plasma angiotensinogen concentrations restored the normal SMA phenotype in smLRP1-/- mice and prevented aneurysm formation. Additionally, employing a vascular injury model, we noted excessive vascular remodeling and neointima formation in smLRP1-/- mice that was restored by losartan administration. Together, these findings reveal that LRP1 regulates vascular integrity and remodeling of the SMA by attenuating excessive AngII-mediated signaling.

Authors

Jackie M. Zhang, Dianaly T. Au, Hisashi Sawada, Michael K. Franklin, Jessica J. Moorleghen, Deborah A. Howatt, Pengjun Wang, Brittany O. Aicher, Brian Hampton, Mary Migliorini, Fenge Ni, Adam E. Mullick, Mashhood M. Wani, Areck A. Ucuzian, Hong S. Lu, Selen C. Muratoglu, Alan Daugherty, Dudley K. Strickland

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