Issue published June 22, 2022

  • On the cover: The tumor microenvironment landscape in nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer
  • Chen et al. characterize tumor microenvironment cell infiltration patterns of nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer and identify signatures associated with clinical response to different therapeutic regimens. Image credit: David A. Littman/Shutterstock.

Research Articles
Abstract

In situ vaccination has demonstrated the feasibility of priming local immunity for systemic antitumor responses. Although direct intratumoral (IT) delivery of adjuvant is the mainstay, tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs) also play essential roles in antitumor immunity. We report that directing an adjuvant to both tumors and TDLNs during in situ vaccination can induce robust antitumor responses. Conventional IT dosing leads to tumor-limited delivery of agents; however, delivery to both tumors and TDLNs can be ensured through a micellar formation. The peritumoral delivery of micellar MEDI9197 (mcMEDI), a toll-like receptor 7/8 agonist, induced significantly stronger innate and adaptive immune responses than those on conventional dosing. Optimal dosing was crucial because excessive or insufficient accumulation of the adjuvant in the TDLNs compromised therapeutic efficacy. The combination of local mcMEDI therapy significantly improved the efficacy of systemic anti–programmed death receptor 1 therapy. These data suggest that rerouting adjuvants to tumors and TDLNs can augment the therapeutic efficacy of in situ vaccination.

Authors

Moonkyoung Jeong, Heegon Kim, Junyong Yoon, Dong-Hyun Kim, Ji-Ho Park

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Abstract

The transcription factor STAT1 plays a critical role in modulating the differentiation of CD4+ T cells producing IL-17 and GM-CSF, which promote the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). The protective role of STAT1 in MS and EAE has been largely attributed to its ability to limit pathogenic Th cells and promote Tregs. Using mice with selective deletion of STAT1 in T cells (STAT1CD4-Cre), we identified a potentially novel mechanism by which STAT1 regulates neuroinflammation independently of Foxp3+ Tregs. STAT1-deficient effector T cells became the target of NK cell–mediated killing, limiting their capacity to induce EAE. STAT1-deficient T cells promoted their own killing by producing more IL-2 that, in return, activated NK cells. Elimination of NK cells restored EAE susceptibility in STAT1CD4-Cre mice. Therefore, our study suggests that the STAT1 pathway can be manipulated to limit autoreactive T cells during autoimmunity directed against the CNS.

Authors

Carlos A. Arbelaez, Pushpalatha Palle, Jonathan Charaix, Estelle Bettelli

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Abstract

Novel therapeutic strategies targeting glioblastoma (GBM) often fail in the clinic, partly because preclinical models in which hypotheses are being tested do not recapitulate human disease. To address this challenge, we took advantage of our previously developed spontaneous Qk/Trp53/Pten (QPP) triple-knockout model of human GBM, comparing the immune microenvironment of QPP mice with that of patient-derived tumors to determine whether this model provides opportunity for gaining insights into tumor physiopathology and preclinical evaluation of therapeutic agents. Immune profiling analyses and single-cell sequencing of implanted and spontaneous tumors from QPP mice and from patients with glioma revealed intratumoral immune components that were predominantly myeloid cells (e.g., monocytes, macrophages, and microglia), with minor populations of T, B, and NK cells. When comparing spontaneous and implanted mouse samples, we found more neutrophils and T and NK cells in the implanted model. Neutrophils and T and NK cells were increased in abundance in samples derived from human high-grade glioma compared with those derived from low-grade glioma. Overall, our data demonstrate that our implanted and spontaneous QPP models recapitulate the immunosuppressive myeloid-dominant nature of the tumor microenvironment of human gliomas. Our model provides a suitable tool for investigating the complex immune compartment of gliomas.

Authors

Daniel B. Zamler, Takashi Shingu, Laura M. Kahn, Kristin Huntoon, Cynthia Kassab, Martina Ott, Katarzyna Tomczak, Jintan Liu, Yating Li, Ivy Lai, Rocio Zorilla-Veloz, Cassian Yee, Kunal Rai, Betty Y.S. Kim, Stephanie S. Watowich, Amy B. Heimberger, Giulio F. Draetta, Jian Hu

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Abstract

The Aedes aegypti mosquito transmits both dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) . Individuals in endemic areas are at risk for infection with both viruses, as well as for repeated DENV infection. In the presence of anti-DENV antibodies, outcomes of secondary DENV infection range from mild to life threatening. Furthermore, the role of cross-reactive antibodies on the course of ZIKV infection remains unclear. We assessed the ability of cross-reactive DENV mAbs or polyclonal immunoglobulin isolated after DENV vaccination to upregulate type I IFN production by plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in response to both heterotypic DENV- and ZIKV-infected cells. We found a range in the ability of antibodies to increase pDC IFN production and a positive correlation between IFN production and the ability of an antibody to bind to the infected cell surface. Engagement of Fc receptors on the pDC and engagement of epitope on the infected cell by the Fab portion of the same antibody molecule was required to mediate increased IFN production by providing specificity to and promoting pDC sensing of DENV or ZIKV. This represents a mechanism independent of neutralization by which preexisting cross-reactive DENV antibodies could protect a subset of individuals from severe outcomes during secondary heterotypic DENV or ZIKV infection.

Authors

Laura K. Aisenberg, Kimberly E. Rousseau, Katherine Cascino, Guido Massaccesi, William H. Aisenberg, Wensheng Luo, Kar Muthumani, David B. Weiner, Stephen S. Whitehead, Michael A. Chattergoon, Anna P. Durbin, Andrea L. Cox

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Abstract

Nemaline myopathy (NM) is the most common congenital myopathy, characterized by extreme weakness of the respiratory, limb, and facial muscles. Pathogenic variants in Tropomyosin 2 (TPM2), which encodes a skeletal muscle–specific actin binding protein essential for sarcomere function, cause a spectrum of musculoskeletal disorders that include NM as well as cap myopathy, congenital fiber type disproportion, and distal arthrogryposis (DA). The in vivo pathomechanisms underlying TPM2-related disorders are unknown, so we expressed a series of dominant, pathogenic TPM2 variants in Drosophila embryos and found 4 variants significantly affected muscle development and muscle function. Transient overexpression of the 4 variants also disrupted the morphogenesis of mouse myotubes in vitro and negatively affected zebrafish muscle development in vivo. We used transient overexpression assays in zebrafish to characterize 2 potentially novel TPM2 variants and 1 recurring variant that we identified in patients with DA (V129A, E139K, A155T, respectively) and found these variants caused musculoskeletal defects similar to those of known pathogenic variants. The consistency of musculoskeletal phenotypes in our assays correlated with the severity of clinical phenotypes observed in our patients with DA, suggesting disrupted myogenesis is a potentially novel pathomechanism of TPM2 disorders and that our myogenic assays can predict the clinical severity of TPM2 variants.

Authors

Jennifer McAdow, Shuo Yang, Tiffany Ou, Gary Huang, Matthew B. Dobbs, Christina A. Gurnett, Michael J. Greenberg, Aaron N. Johnson

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Abstract

Thick, viscous respiratory secretions are a major pathogenic feature of COVID-19, but the composition and physical properties of these secretions are poorly understood. We characterized the composition and rheological properties (i.e., resistance to flow) of respiratory secretions collected from intubated COVID-19 patients. We found the percentages of solids and protein content were greatly elevated in COVID-19 compared with heathy control samples and closely resembled levels seen in cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease known for thick, tenacious respiratory secretions. DNA and hyaluronan (HA) were major components of respiratory secretions in COVID-19 and were likewise abundant in cadaveric lung tissues from these patients. COVID-19 secretions exhibited heterogeneous rheological behaviors, with thicker samples showing increased sensitivity to DNase and hyaluronidase treatment. In histologic sections from these same patients, we observed increased accumulation of HA and the hyaladherin versican but reduced tumor necrosis factor–stimulated gene-6 staining, consistent with the inflammatory nature of these secretions. Finally, we observed diminished type I interferon and enhanced inflammatory cytokines in these secretions. Overall, our studies indicated that increases in HA and DNA in COVID-19 respiratory secretion samples correlated with enhanced inflammatory burden and suggested that DNA and HA may be viable therapeutic targets in COVID-19 infection.

Authors

Michael J. Kratochvil, Gernot Kaber, Sally Demirdjian, Pamela C. Cai, Elizabeth B. Burgener, Nadine Nagy, Graham L. Barlow, Medeea Popescu, Mark R. Nicolls, Michael G. Ozawa, Donald P. Regula, Ana E. Pacheco-Navarro, Samuel Yang, Vinicio A. de Jesus Perez, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Andrew M. Peters, Bihong Zhao, Maximilian L. Buja, Pamela Y. Johnson, Robert B. Vernon, Thomas N. Wight, Stanford COVID-19 Biobank Study Group, Carlos E. Milla, Angela J. Rogers, Andrew J. Spakowitz, Sarah C. Heilshorn, Paul L. Bollyky

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Abstract

Recent studies highlighted the clinicopathologic importance of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in delineating molecular attributes and therapeutic potentials. However, the overall TME cell infiltration landscape in nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has not been comprehensively characterized. In this study, we used consensus non-negative matrix factorization molecular subtyping to determine TME cell infiltration patterns and identified 3 TME clusters (TME-C1, -C2, -C3) characterized by distinct clinicopathologic features, infiltrating cells, and biological processes. Proteomics analyses revealed that cyclic GMP-AMP–stimulator of interferon genes immune signaling–mediated protein and phosphorylation levels were significantly upregulated in inflammation-related TME-C2 clusters. The score extracted from the TME-related signature (TMEsig-score) divided patients with NSCLC into high- and low-score subgroups, where a high score was associated with favorable prognosis and immune infiltration. The genomic landscape revealed that patients with low TMEsig-score harbored more somatic copy number alterations and higher mutation frequency of driver genes involving STK11, KEAP1, SMARCA4, and others. Drug sensitivity analyses suggested that tumors with high TMEsig-score were responsible for favorable clinical response to immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment. In summary, this study highlights that comprehensive recognizing of the TME cell infiltration landscape will contribute to enhancing our understanding of TME immune regulation and promote effectiveness of precision biotherapy strategies.

Authors

Hao Chen, Tongchao Zhang, Yuan Zhang, Hao Wu, Zhen Fang, Yang Liu, Yang Chen, Zhe Wang, Shengtao Jia, Xingzhao Ji, Liang Shang, Fengying Du, Jin Liu, Ming Lu, Wei Chong

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Abstract

Cyclophosphamide (CPA) and doxorubicin (DOX) are key components of chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), although suboptimal outcomes are commonly associated with drug resistance and/or intolerable side effects. Through an approach combining high-throughput screening and chemical modification, we developed CN06 as a dual activator of the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). CN06 enhances CAR-induced bioactivation of CPA (a prodrug) by provoking hepatic expression of CYP2B6, while repressing DOX-induced cytotoxicity in cardiomyocytes in vitro via stimulating Nrf2-antioxidant signaling. Utilizing a multicellular coculture model incorporating human primary hepatocytes, TNBC cells, and cardiomyocytes, we show that CN06 increased CPA/DOX-mediated TNBC cell death via CAR-dependent CYP2B6 induction and subsequent conversion of CPA to its active metabolite 4-hydroxy-CPA, while protecting against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity by selectively activating Nrf2-antioxidant signaling in cardiomyocytes but not in TNBC cells. Furthermore, CN06 preserves the viability and function of human iPSC–derived cardiomyocytes by modulating antioxidant defenses, decreasing apoptosis, and enhancing the kinetics of contraction and relaxation. Collectively, our findings identify CAR and Nrf2 as potentially novel combined therapeutic targets whereby CN06 holds the potential to improve the efficacy/toxicity ratio of CPA/DOX-containing chemotherapy.

Authors

Sydney Stern, Dongdong Liang, Linhao Li, Ritika Kurian, Caitlin Lynch, Srilatha Sakamuru, Scott Heyward, Junran Zhang, Kafayat Ajoke Kareem, Young Wook Chun, Ruili Huang, Menghang Xia, Charles C. Hong, Fengtian Xue, Hongbing Wang

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Abstract

Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by dysregulated host response to an infection. The metabolic aberrations associated with sepsis underly an acute and organism-wide hyperinflammatory response and multiple organ dysfunction; however, crosstalk between systemic metabolomic alterations and metabolic reprogramming at organ levels remains unknown. We analyzed substrate utilization by the respiratory exchange ratio, energy expenditure, metabolomic screening, and transcriptional profiling in a cecal ligation and puncture model to show that sepsis increases circulating free fatty acids and acylcarnitines but decreases levels of amino acids and carbohydrates, leading to a drastic shift in systemic fuel preference. Comparative analysis of previously published metabolomics from septic liver indicated a positive correlation with hepatic and plasma metabolites during sepsis. In particular, glycine deficiency was a common abnormality of the plasma and liver during sepsis. Interrogation of the hepatic transcriptome in septic mice suggested that the septic liver may contribute to systemic glycine deficiency by downregulating genes involved in glycine synthesis. Interestingly, intraperitoneal injection of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) inhibitor dichloroacetate reversed sepsis-induced anorexia, energy imbalance, inflammation, dyslipidemia, hypoglycemia, and glycine deficiency. Collectively, our data indicated that PDK inhibition rescued systemic energy imbalance and metabolic dysfunction in sepsis partly through restoration of hepatic fuel metabolism.

Authors

Tae Seok Oh, Manal Zabalawi, Shalini Jain, David Long, Peter W. Stacpoole, Charles E. McCall, Matthew A. Quinn

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Abstract

Abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a dominant bacterium of the human microbiota that exhibits antiinflammatory effects, is decreased in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In humans, colonic lamina propria contains IL-10–secreting, Foxp3– Tregs characterized by a double expression of CD4 and CD8α (DP8α) and a specificity for F. prausnitzii. This Treg subset is decreased in IBD. The in vivo effect of DP8α cells has not been evaluated yet to our knowledge. Here, using a humanized model of a NSG immunodeficient mouse strain that expresses the HLA D–related allele HLA-DR*0401 but not murine class II (NSG-Ab° DR4) molecules, we demonstrated a protective effect of a HLA-DR*0401–restricted DP8α Treg clone combined with F. prausnitzii administration in a colitis model. In a cohort of patients with IBD, we showed an independent association between the frequency of circulating DP8α cells and disease activity. Finally, we pointed out a positive correlation between F. prausnitzii–specific DP8α Tregs and the amount of F. prausnitzii in fecal microbiota in healthy individuals and patients with ileal Crohn’s disease.

Authors

Sothea Touch, Emmanuelle Godefroy, Nathalie Rolhion, Camille Danne, Cyriane Oeuvray, Marjolène Straube, Chloé Galbert, Loïc Brot, Iria Alonso Salgueiro, Sead Chadi, Tatiana Ledent, Jean-Marc Chatel, Philippe Langella, Francine Jotereau, Frédéric Altare, Harry Sokol

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Abstract

Macrophages play a crucial role in the inflammatory response to the human stomach pathogen Helicobacter pylori, which infects half of the world’s population and causes gastric cancer. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of macrophage immunometabolism in their activation state and function. We have demonstrated that the cysteine-producing enzyme cystathionine γ-lyase (CTH) is upregulated in humans and mice with H. pylori infection. Here, we show that induction of CTH in macrophages by H. pylori promoted persistent inflammation. Cth–/– mice had reduced macrophage and T cell activation in H. pylori–infected tissues, an altered metabolome, and decreased enrichment of immune-associated gene networks, culminating in decreased H. pylori–induced gastritis. CTH is downstream of the proposed antiinflammatory molecule, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Whereas Cth–/– mice exhibited gastric SAM accumulation, WT mice treated with SAM did not display protection against H. pylori–induced inflammation. Instead, we demonstrated that Cth-deficient macrophages exhibited alterations in the proteome, decreased NF-κB activation, diminished expression of macrophage activation markers, and impaired oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis. Thus, through altering cellular respiration, CTH is a key enhancer of macrophage activation, contributing to a pathogenic inflammatory response that is the universal precursor for the development of H. pylori–induced gastric disease.

Authors

Yvonne L. Latour, Johanna C. Sierra, Jordan L. Finley, Mohammad Asim, Daniel P. Barry, Margaret M. Allaman, Thaddeus M. Smith, Kara M. McNamara, Paula B. Luis, Claus Schneider, Justin Jacobse, Jeremy A. Goettel, M. Wade Calcutt, Kristie L. Rose, Kevin L. Schey, Ginger L. Milne, Alberto G. Delgado, M. Blanca Piazuelo, Bindu D. Paul, Solomon H. Snyder, Alain P. Gobert, Keith T. Wilson

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Abstract

Disruption of the neurovascular unit (NVU) underlies the pathophysiology of various CNS diseases. One strategy to repair NVU dysfunction uses stem/progenitor cells to provide trophic support to the NVU’s functionally coupled and interdependent vasculature and surrounding CNS parenchyma. A subset of endothelial progenitor cells, endothelial colony-forming cells (ECFCs) with high expression of the CD44 hyaluronan receptor (CD44hi), provides such neurovasculotrophic support via a paracrine mechanism. Here, we report that bioactive extracellular vesicles from CD44hi ECFCs (EVshi) are paracrine mediators, recapitulating the effects of intact cell therapy in murine models of ischemic/neurodegenerative retinopathy; vesicles from ECFCs with low expression levels of CD44 (EVslo) were ineffective. Small RNA sequencing comparing the microRNA cargo from EVshi and EVslo identified candidate microRNAs that contribute to these effects. EVshi may be used to repair NVU dysfunction through multiple mechanisms to stabilize hypoxic vasculature, promote vascular growth, and support neural cells.

Authors

Kyle V. Marra, Edith Aguilar, Wei Guoqin, Ayumi Usui-Ouchi, Yochiro Ideguchi, Susumu Sakimoto, Martin Friedlander

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Abstract

Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) are transient ectopic lymphoid aggregates whose formation might be caused by chronic inflammation states, such as cancer. However, how TLS are induced in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and how they affect patient survival are not well understood. We investigated TLS distribution in relation to tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and related gene expression in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC) specimens. CXCL13 gene expression correlated with TLS presence and the infiltration of T cells and B cells, and it was a favorable prognostic factor for patients with HGSC. Coexistence of CD8+ T cells and B cell lineages in the TME significantly improved the prognosis of HGSC and was correlated with the presence of TLS. CXCL13 expression was predominantly coincident with CD4+ T cells in TLS and CD8+ T cells in TILs, and it shifted from CD4+ T cells to CD21+ follicular DCs as TLS matured. In a mouse ovarian cancer model, recombinant CXCL13 induced TLS and enhanced survival by the infiltration of CD8+ T cells. These results suggest that TLS formation was associated with CXCL13-producing CD4+ T cells and that TLS facilitated the coordinated antitumor response of cellular and humoral immunity in ovarian cancer.

Authors

Masayo Ukita, Junzo Hamanishi, Hiroyuki Yoshitomi, Koji Yamanoi, Shiro Takamatsu, Akihiko Ueda, Haruka Suzuki, Yuko Hosoe, Yoko Furutake, Mana Taki, Kaoru Abiko, Ken Yamaguchi, Hidekatsu Nakai, Tsukasa Baba, Noriomi Matsumura, Akihiko Yoshizawa, Hideki Ueno, Masaki Mandai

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Abstract

Pregnancy confers unique immune responses to infection and vaccination across gestation. To date, there are limited data comparing vaccine- and infection-induced neutralizing Abs (nAbs) against COVID-19 variants in mothers during pregnancy. We analyzed paired maternal and cord plasma samples from 60 pregnant individuals. Thirty women vaccinated with mRNA vaccines (from December 2020 through August 2021) were matched with 30 naturally infected women (from March 2020 through January 2021) by gestational age of exposure. Neutralization activity against the 5 SARS-CoV-2 spike sequences was measured by a SARS-CoV-2–pseudotyped spike virion assay. Effective nAbs against SARS-CoV-2 were present in maternal and cord plasma after both infection and vaccination. Compared with WT spike protein, these nAbs were less effective against the Delta and Mu spike variants. Vaccination during the third trimester induced higher cord-nAb levels at delivery than did infection during the third trimester. In contrast, vaccine-induced nAb levels were lower at the time of delivery compared with infection during the first trimester. The transfer ratio (cord nAb level divided by maternal nAb level) was greatest in mothers vaccinated in the second trimester. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or infection in pregnancy elicits effective nAbs with differing neutralization kinetics that are influenced by gestational time of exposure.

Authors

Yusuke Matsui, Lin Li, Mary Prahl, Arianna G. Cassidy, Nida Ozarslan, Yarden Golan, Veronica J. Gonzalez, Christine Y. Lin, Unurzul Jigmeddagva, Megan A. Chidboy, Mauricio Montano, Taha Y. Taha, Mir M. Khalid, Bharath Sreekumar, Jennifer M. Hayashi, Pei-Yi Chen, G. Renuka Kumar, Lakshmi Warrier, Alan H.B. Wu, Dongli Song, Priya Jegatheesan, Daljeet S. Rai, Balaji Govindaswami, Jordan Needens, Monica Rincon, Leslie Myatt, Ifeyinwa V. Asiodu, Valerie J. Flaherman, Yalda Afshar, Vanessa L. Jacoby, Amy P. Murtha, Joshua F. Robinson, Melanie Ott, Warner C. Greene, Stephanie L. Gaw

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Abstract

The ectonucleotidase CD39 functions as a checkpoint in purinergic signaling on effector T cells. By depleting eATP and initiating the generation of adenosine, it impairs memory cell development and contributes to T cell exhaustion, thereby causing defective tumor immunity and deficient T cell responses in older adults who have increased CD39 expression. Tuning enzymatic activity of CD39 and targeting the transcriptional regulation of ENTPD1 can be used to modulate purinergic signaling. Here, we describe that STAT6 phosphorylation downstream of IL-4 signaling represses CD39 expression on activated T cells by inducing a transcription factor network including GATA3, GFI1, and YY1. GATA3 suppresses ENTPD1 transcription through prevention of RUNX3 recruitment to the ENTPD1 promoter. Conversely, pharmacological STAT6 inhibition decreases T cell effector functions via increased CD39 expression, resulting in the defective signaling of P2X receptors by ATP and stimulation of A2A receptors by adenosine. Our studies suggest that inhibiting the STAT6 pathway to increase CD39 expression has the potential to treat autoimmune disease while stimulation of the pathway could improve T cell immunity.

Authors

Fengqin Fang, Wenqiang Cao, Yunmei Mu, Hirohisa Okuyama, Lingjie Li, Jingtao Qiu, Cornelia M. Weyand, Jörg J. Goronzy

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Sudden cardiac death (SCD) remains a worldwide public health problem in need of better noninvasive predictive tools. Current guidelines for primary preventive SCD therapies, such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), are based on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), but these guidelines are imprecise: fewer than 5% of ICDs deliver lifesaving therapy per year. Impaired cardiac metabolism and ATP depletion cause arrhythmias in experimental models, but to our knowledge a link between arrhythmias and cardiac energetic abnormalities in people has not been explored, nor has the potential for metabolically predicting clinical SCD risk.METHODS We prospectively measured myocardial energy metabolism noninvasively with phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy in patients with no history of significant arrhythmias prior to scheduled ICD implantation for primary prevention in the setting of reduced LVEF (≤35%).RESULTS By 2 different analyses, low myocardial ATP significantly predicted the composite of subsequent appropriate ICD firings for life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiac death over approximately 10 years. Life-threatening arrhythmia risk was approximately 3-fold higher in patients with low ATP and independent of established risk factors, including LVEF. In patients with normal ATP, rates of appropriate ICD firings were several-fold lower than reported rates of ICD complications and inappropriate firings.CONCLUSION To the best of our knowledge, these are the first data linking in vivo myocardial ATP depletion and subsequent significant arrhythmic events in people, suggesting an energetic component to clinical life-threatening ventricular arrhythmogenesis. The findings support investigation of metabolic strategies that limit ATP loss to treat or prevent life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and herald noninvasive metabolic imaging as a complementary SCD risk stratification tool.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00181233.FUNDING This work was supported by the DW Reynolds Foundation, the NIH (grants HL61912, HL056882, HL103812, HL132181, HL140034), and Russell H. Morgan and Clarence Doodeman endowments at Johns Hopkins.

Authors

T. Jake Samuel, Shenghan Lai, Michael Schär, Katherine C. Wu, Angela M. Steinberg, An-Chi Wei, Mark E. Anderson, Gordon F. Tomaselli, Gary Gerstenblith, Paul A. Bottomley, Robert G. Weiss

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Abstract

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are an increasingly common cause of respiratory infection in people with cystic fibrosis (PwCF). Relative to those with no history of NTM infection (CF-NTMNEG), PwCF and a history of NTM infection (CF-NTMPOS) are more likely to develop severe lung disease and experience complications over the course of treatment. In other mycobacterial infections (e.g., tuberculosis), an overexuberant immune response causes pathology and compromises organ function; however, since the immune profiles of CF-NTMPOS and CF-NTMNEG airways are largely unexplored, it is unknown which, if any, immune responses distinguish these cohorts or concentrate in damaged tissues. Here, we evaluated lung lobe–specific immune profiles of 3 cohorts (CF-NTMPOS, CF-NTMNEG, and non-CF adults) and found that CF-NTMPOS airways are distinguished by a hyperinflammatory cytokine profile. Importantly, the CF-NTMPOS airway immune profile was dominated by B cells, classical macrophages, and the cytokines that support their accumulation. These and other immunological differences between cohorts, including the near absence of NK cells and complement pathway members, were enriched in the most damaged lung lobes. The implications of these findings for our understanding of lung disease in PwCF are discussed, as are how they may inform the development of host-directed therapies to improve NTM disease treatment.

Authors

Don Hayes Jr., Rajni Kant Shukla, Yizi Cheng, Emrah Gecili, Marlena R. Merling, Rhonda D. Szczesniak, Assem G. Ziady, Jason C. Woods, Luanne Hall-Stoodley, Namal P.M. Liyanage, Richard T. Robinson

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Abstract

People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience episodic CNS white matter lesions instigated by autoreactive T cells. With age, patients with MS show evidence of gray matter demyelination and experience devastating nonremitting symptomology. What drives progression is unclear and studying this has been hampered by the lack of suitable animal models. Here, we show that passive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by an adoptive transfer of young Th17 cells induced a nonremitting clinical phenotype that was associated with persistent leptomeningeal inflammation and cortical pathology in old, but not young, SJL/J mice. Although the quantity and quality of T cells did not differ in the brains of old versus young EAE mice, an increase in neutrophils and a decrease in B cells were observed in the brains of old mice. Neutrophils were also found in the leptomeninges of a subset of progressive MS patient brains that showed evidence of leptomeningeal inflammation and subpial cortical demyelination. Taken together, our data show that while Th17 cells initiate CNS inflammation, subsequent clinical symptoms and gray matter pathology are dictated by age and associated with other immune cells, such as neutrophils.

Authors

Michelle Zuo, Naomi M. Fettig, Louis-Philippe Bernier, Elisabeth Pössnecker, Shoshana Spring, Annie Pu, Xianjie I. Ma, Dennis S.W. Lee, Lesley A. Ward, Anshu Sharma, Jens Kuhle, John G. Sled, Anne-Katrin Pröbstel, Brian A. MacVicar, Lisa C. Osborne, Jennifer L. Gommerman, Valeria Ramaglia

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Abstract

Understanding the reorganization of neural circuits spared after spinal cord injury in the motor cortex and spinal cord would provide insights for developing therapeutics. Using optogenetic mapping, we demonstrated a transhemispheric recruitment of neural circuits in the contralateral cortical M1/M2 area to improve the impaired forelimb function after a cervical 5 right-sided hemisection in mice, a model mimicking the human Brown-Séquard syndrome. This cortical reorganization can be elicited by a selective cortical optogenetic neuromodulation paradigm. Areas of whisker, jaw, and neck, together with the rostral forelimb area, on the motor cortex ipsilateral to the lesion were engaged to control the ipsilesional forelimb in both stimulation and nonstimulation groups 8 weeks following injury. However, significant functional benefits were only seen in the stimulation group. Using anterograde tracing, we further revealed a robust sprouting of the intact corticospinal tract in the spinal cord of those animals receiving optogenetic stimulation. The intraspinal corticospinal axonal sprouting correlated with the forelimb functional recovery. Thus, specific neuromodulation of the cortical neural circuits induced massive neural reorganization both in the motor cortex and spinal cord, constructing an alternative motor pathway in restoring impaired forelimb function.

Authors

Wei Wu, Tyler Nguyen, Josue D. Ordaz, Yiping Zhang, Nai-Kui Liu, Xinhua Hu, Yuxiang Liu, Xingjie Ping, Qi Han, Xiangbing Wu, Wenrui Qu, Sujuan Gao, Christopher B. Shields, Xiaoming Jin, Xiao-Ming Xu

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Abstract

Biological aging is the strongest factor associated with the clinical phenotype of multiple sclerosis (MS). Relapsing-remitting MS typically presents in the third or fourth decade, whereas the mean age of presentation of progressive MS (PMS) is 45 years old. Here, we show that experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), induced by the adoptive transfer of encephalitogenic CD4+ Th17 cells, was more severe, and less likely to remit, in middle-aged compared with young adult mice. Donor T cells and neutrophils were more abundant, while B cells were relatively sparse, in CNS infiltrates of the older mice. Experiments with reciprocal bone marrow chimeras demonstrated that radio-resistant, nonhematopoietic cells played a dominant role in shaping age-dependent features of the neuroinflammatory response, as well as the clinical course, during EAE. Reminiscent of PMS, EAE in middle-aged adoptive transfer recipients was characterized by widespread microglial activation. Microglia from older mice expressed a distinctive transcriptomic profile suggestive of enhanced chemokine synthesis and antigen presentation. Collectively, our findings suggest that drugs that suppress microglial activation, and acquisition or expression of aging-associated properties, may be beneficial in the treatment of progressive forms of inflammatory demyelinating disease.

Authors

Jeffrey R. Atkinson, Andrew D. Jerome, Andrew R. Sas, Ashley Munie, Cankun Wang, Anjun Ma, William D. Arnold, Benjamin M. Segal

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Abstract

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) results from expansion of a CD5+ B cell clone that requires interactions with other cell types, including T cells. Moreover, patients with CLL have elevated levels of circulating IL-17A+ and IL-17F+ CD4+ T (Th17) cells, with higher numbers of IL-17A+ Th17 cells correlating with better outcomes. We report that CLL Th17 cells expressed more miR155, a Th17-differentiation regulator, than control Th17 cells, despite naive CD4+ T (Tn) cell basal miR155 levels being similar in both. We also found that CLL cells directly regulated miR155 levels in Tn cells, thereby affecting Th17 differentiation, by documenting that coculturing Tn cells with resting or activated (Bact) CLL cells altered the magnitude and direction of T cell miR155 levels; CLL Bact cells promoted IL-17A+ and IL-17F+ T cell generation by an miR155-dependent mechanism, confirmed by miR155 inhibition; coculture of Tn cells with CLL Bact cells led to a linear correlation between the degree and direction of T cell miR155 expression changes and production of IL-17F but not IL-17A; and Bact cell–mediated changes in Tn cell miR155 expression correlated with outcome, irrespective of IGHV mutation status, a strong prognostic indicator. These results identify a potentially unrecognized CLL Bact cell–dependent mechanism, upregulation of Tn cell miR155 expression and subsequent enhancement of IL-17F+ Th17 generation, that favors better clinical courses.

Authors

Byeongho Jung, Gerardo Ferrer, Pui Yan Chiu, Rukhsana Aslam, Anita Ng, Florencia Palacios, Michael Wysota, Martina Cardillo, Jonathan E. Kolitz, Steven L. Allen, Jacqueline C. Barrientos, Kanti R. Rai, Nicholas Chiorazzi, Barbara Sherry

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Abstract

Infantile spasms syndrome (IS) is a devastating early-onset epileptic encephalopathy associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. When first-line treatment options, including adrenocorticotropic hormone and vigabatrin, are ineffective, the ketogenic diet (KD) is often employed to control seizures. Since the therapeutic impact of the KD is influenced by the gut microbiota, we examined whether targeted microbiota manipulation, mimicking changes induced by the KD, would be valuable in mitigating seizures. Employing a rodent model of symptomatic IS, we show that both the KD and antibiotic administration reduce spasm frequency and are associated with improved developmental outcomes. Spasm reductions were accompanied by specific gut microbial alterations, including increases in Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis. Mimicking the fecal microbial alterations in a targeted probiotic, we administered these species in a 5:1 ratio. Targeted probiotic administration reduced seizures and improved locomotor activities in control diet–fed animals, similar to KD-fed animals, while a negative control (Ligilactobacillus salivarius) had no impact. Probiotic administration also increased antioxidant status and decreased proinflammatory cytokines. Results suggest that a targeted probiotic reduces seizure frequency, improves locomotor activity in a rodent model of IS, and provides insights into microbiota manipulation as a potential therapeutic avenue for pediatric epileptic encephalopathies.

Authors

Chunlong Mu, Naghmeh Nikpoor, Thomas A. Tompkins, Anamika Choudhary, Melinda Wang, Wendie N. Marks, Jong M. Rho, Morris H. Scantlebury, Jane Shearer

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Abstract

Acute and chronic kidney injuries induce increased cell cycle progression in renal tubules. While increased cell cycle progression promotes repair after acute injury, the role of ongoing tubular cell cycle progression in chronic kidney disease is unknown. Two weeks after initiation of chronic kidney disease, we blocked cell cycle progression at G1/S phase by using an FDA-approved, selective inhibitor of CDK4/6. Blocking CDK4/6 improved renal function and reduced tubular injury and fibrosis in 2 murine models of chronic kidney disease. However, selective deletion of cyclin D1, which complexes with CDK4/6 to promote cell cycle progression, paradoxically increased tubular injury. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) for CCND1 (cyclin D1) and the CDK4/6 inhibitor CDKN2B were associated with eGFR in genome-wide association studies. Consistent with the preclinical studies, reduced expression of CDKN2B correlated with lower eGFR values, and higher levels of CCND1 correlated with higher eGFR values. CDK4/6 inhibition promoted tubular cell survival, in part, through a STAT3/IL-1β pathway and was dependent upon on its effects on the cell cycle. Our data challenge the paradigm that tubular cell cycle progression is beneficial in the context of chronic kidney injury. Unlike the reparative role of cell cycle progression following acute kidney injury, these data suggest that blocking cell cycle progression by inhibiting CDK4/6, but not cyclin D1, protects against chronic kidney injury.

Authors

Yosuke Osaki, Marika Manolopoulou, Alla V. Ivanova, Nicholas Vartanian, Melanie Phillips Mignemi, Justin Kern, Jianchun Chen, Haichun Yang, Agnes B. Fogo, Mingzhi Zhang, Cassianne Robinson-Cohen, Leslie S. Gewin

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Abstract

α-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a serine protease inhibitor that plays a pivotal role in maintaining lung homeostasis. The most common AAT allele associated with AAT deficiency (AATD) is PiZ. Z-AAT accumulates in cells due to misfolding, causing severe AATD. The major function of AAT is to neutralize neutrophil elastase in the lung. It is generally accepted that loss of antiprotease function is a major cause of COPD in individuals with AATD. However, it is now being recognized that the toxic gain-of-function effect of Z-AAT in macrophage likely contributes to lung disease. In the present study, we determined that TLR7 signaling is activated in Z-MDMs, and the expression level of NLRP3, one of the targets of TLR7 signaling, is significantly higher in Z- compared with M-MDMs. We also determined that the level of endosomal Alu RNA is significantly higher in Z-compared with M-MDMs. Alu RNA is a known endogenous ligand that activates TLR7 signaling. Z-AAT likely induces the expression of Alu elements in MDMs and accelerates monocyte death, leading to the higher level of endosomal Alu RNA in Z-MDMs. Taken together,this study identifies a mechanism responsible for the toxic gain of function of Z-AAT macrophages.

Authors

Jungnam Lee, Naweed Mohammad, Yuanqing Lu, Keunsoo Kang, Kyudong Han, Mark Brantly

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Abstract

Immunosuppressed patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) generate lower amounts of SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies after mRNA vaccination than healthy controls. We assessed SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 receptor binding domain–specific (S1-RBD–specific) B lymphocytes to identify the underlying cellular defects. Patients with IBD produced fewer anti–S1-RBD antibody–secreting B cells than controls after the first mRNA vaccination and lower amounts of total and neutralizing antibodies after the second. S1-RBD–specific memory B cells were generated to the same degree in IBD and control groups and were numerically stable for 5 months. However, the memory B cells in patients with IBD had a lower S1-RBD–binding capacity than those in controls, which is indicative of a defect in antibody affinity maturation. Administration of a third shot to patients with IBD elevated serum antibodies and generated memory B cells with a normal antigen-binding capacity. These results show that patients with IBD have defects in the formation of antibody-secreting B cells and affinity-matured memory B cells that are corrected by a third vaccination.

Authors

Kathryn A. Pape, Thamotharampillai Dileepan, William E. Matchett, Charles Ellwood, Samuel Stresemann, Amanda J. Kabage, Daria Kozysa, Clayton Evert, Michael Matson, Sharon Lopez, Peter D. Krueger, Carolyn T. Graiziger, Byron P. Vaughn, Eugenia Shmidt, Joshua Rhein, Timothy W. Schacker, Tyler D. Bold, Ryan A. Langlois, Alexander Khoruts, Marc K. Jenkins

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Abstract

Striated preferentially expressed protein kinase (SPEG), a myosin light chain kinase, is mutated in centronuclear myopathy (CNM) and/or dilated cardiomyopathy. No precise therapies are available against this disorder, and gene replacement therapy is not a feasible option due to the large size of SPEG. We evaluated the potential of dynamin-2 (DNM2) reduction as a potential therapeutic strategy as it has been shown to revert muscle phenotypes in mouse models of CNM caused by MTM1, DNM2, and BIN1 mutations. We determined that SPEGβ interacts with DNM2, and SPEG deficiency causes an increase in DNM2 levels. The DNM2 reduction strategy in Speg-KO mice was associated with an increase in life span, body weight, and motor performance. Additionally, it normalized the distribution of triadic proteins, triad ultrastructure, and triad number, and restored phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate levels in SPEG-deficient skeletal muscles. While DNM2 reduction rescued the myopathy phenotype, it did not improve cardiac dysfunction, indicating a differential tissue-specific function. Combining DNM2 reduction with other strategies may be needed to target both the cardiac and skeletal defects associated with SPEG deficiency. DNM2 reduction should be explored as a therapeutic strategy against other genetic myopathies (and dystrophies) associated with a high level of DNM2.

Authors

Qifei Li, Jasmine Lin, Jeffrey J. Widrick, Shiyu Luo, Gu Li, Yuanfan Zhang, Jocelyn Laporte, Mark A. Perrella, Xiaoli Liu, Pankaj B. Agrawal

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Abstract

Integrins, the principal extracellular matrix (ECM) receptors of the cell, promote cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation, which are key events for cancer growth and metastasis. To date, most integrin-targeted cancer therapeutics have disrupted integrin-ECM interactions, which are viewed as critical for integrin functions. However, such agents have failed to improve cancer patient outcomes. We show that the highly expressed integrin β1 subunit is required for lung adenocarcinoma development in a carcinogen-induced mouse model. Likewise, human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines with integrin β1 deletion failed to form colonies in soft agar and tumors in mice. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that these effects do not require integrin β1-mediated adhesion to ECM but are dependent on integrin β1 cytoplasmic tail-mediated activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Together, these studies support a critical role for integrin β1 in lung tumorigenesis that is mediated through constitutive, ECM-binding independent signaling involving the cytoplasmic tail.

Authors

Scott M. Haake, Erin J. Plosa, Jonathan A. Kropski, Lindsay A. Venton, Anupama Reddy, Fabian Bock, Betty T. Chang, Allen J. Luna, Kateryna Nabukhotna, Zhi-Qi Xu, Rebecca A. Prather, Sharon Lee, Harikrishna Tanjore, Vasiliy V. Polosukhin, Olga M. Viquez, Angela Jones, Wentian Luo, Matthew H. Wilson, W. Kimryn Rathmell, Pierre P. Massion, Ambra Pozzi, Timothy S. Blackwell, Roy Zent

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Abstract

Disrupted liver regeneration following hepatectomy represents an “undruggable” clinical challenge associated with poor patient outcomes. Yes-associated protein (YAP), a transcriptional co-activator which is repressed by the Hippo pathway, is instrumental in liver regeneration. We have previously described an alternative, Hippo-independent mechanism of YAP activation mediated by tyrosine-protein phosphatase non-receptor type 11 (SHP2) inhibition. Herein, we examined the effects of YAP activation with a selective SHP1/SHP2 inhibitor, NSC-87877, on liver regeneration in murine partial hepatectomy models. In our studies, NSC-87877 led to accelerated hepatocyte proliferation, improved liver regeneration, and decreased markers of injury following partial hepatectomy. The effects of NSC-87877 were lost in mice with hepatocyte-specific Yap/Taz deletion, which demonstrated dependence on these molecules for the enhanced regenerative response. Furthermore, administration of NSC-87877 to murine models of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis was associated with improved survival and decreased markers of injury post-hepatectomy. Evaluation of transcriptomic changes in the context of NSC-87877 administration revealed reduction in fibrotic signaling and augmentation of cell cycle signaling. Cytoprotective changes included downregulation of Nr4a1, an apoptosis inducer. Collectively, the data suggest that SHP2 inhibition induces a pro-proliferative and cytoprotective enhancement of liver regeneration dependent on YAP.

Authors

Ryan D. Watkins, EeeLN H. Buckarma, Jennifer L. Tomlinson, Chantal E. McCabe, Jennifer A. Yonkus, Nathan W. Werneburg, Rachel L. Bayer, Patrick P. Starlinger, Keith D. Robertson, Chen Wang, Gregory J. Gores, Rory L. Smoot

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Abstract

Current treatments fail to modify the underlying pathophysiology and disease progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), necessitating alternative therapies. Here, we show that COPD subjects have increased IL-36γ and decreased IL-36 receptor antagonist (IL-36Ra) in bronchoalveolar and nasal fluid compared to control subjects. IL-36γ is derived from small airway epithelial cells (SAEC) and further induced by a viral mimetic, whereas IL-36RA is derived from macrophages. IL-36γ stimulates release of the neutrophil chemoattractants CXCL1 and CXCL8, as well as elastolytic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) from small airway fibroblasts (SAF). Proteases released from COPD neutrophils cleave and activate IL-36γ thereby perpetuating IL-36 inflammation. Transfer of culture media from SAEC to SAF stimulated release of CXCL1, that was inhibited by exogenous IL-36RA. The use of a therapeutic antibody that inhibits binding to the IL-36 receptor (IL-36R) attenuated IL-36γ driven inflammation and cellular cross talk. We have demonstrated a mechanism for the amplification and propagation of neutrophilic inflammation in COPD and that blocking this cytokine family via a IL-36R neutralizing antibody could be a promising new therapeutic strategy in the treatment of COPD.

Authors

Jonathan R. Baker, Peter S. Fenwick, Carolin K. Koss, Harriet B. Owles, Sarah L. Elkin, Jay S. Fine, Matthew Thomas, Karim C. Kasmi, Peter J. Barnes, Louise E. Donnelly

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Abstract

Angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is a key mediator of vascular disease during sepsis, and elevated plasma levels of Ang-2 are associated with organ injury scores and poor clinical outcomes. We have previously observed that biomarkers of endothelial glycocalyx (EG) damage correlate with plasma Ang-2 levels, suggesting a potential mechanistic linkage between EG injury and Ang-2 expression during states of systemic inflammation. However, the cell signaling mechanisms regulating Ang-2 expression following EG damage are unknown. In the current study, we determined the temporal associations between plasma heparan sulfate (HS) levels as a marker of EG erosion and plasma Ang-2 levels in children with sepsis and in mouse models of sepsis. Secondly, we evaluated the role of shear stress-mediated 5’-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling in Ang-2 expression following enzymatic HS cleavage from the surface of human primary lung microvascular endothelial cells (HLMVEC). We found that plasma HS levels peak prior to plasma Ang-2 levels in children and mice with sepsis. Further, we discovered that impaired AMPK signaling contributes to increased Ang-2 expression following HS cleavage from flow conditioned HLMVECs, establishing a novel paradigm by which Ang-2 may be upregulated during sepsis.

Authors

Robert P. Richter, Amit R. Ashtekar, Lei Zheng, Danielle Pretorius, Tripathi Kaushlendra, Ralph D. Sanderson, Amit Gaggar, Jillian R. Richter

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