In this issue, Dey et al. report that depletion of miR-29a/b1 cluster exacerbates the pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis in mice due to alterations in fibroinflammatory pathways. The cover image shows the pancreas of a miR-29a/b1–KO mouse with acute pancreatitis, with staining of infiltrating macrophages (brown).
Understanding the presence and durability of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the airways is required to provide insights on the ability of individuals to neutralize the virus locally and prevent viral spread. Here, we longitudinally assessed both systemic and airway immune responses upon SARS-CoV-2 infection in a clinically well-characterized cohort of 147 infected individuals representing the full spectrum of COVID-19 severity; from asymptomatic infection to fatal disease. In addition, we evaluated how SARS-CoV-2 vaccination influenced the antibody responses in a subset of these individuals during convalescence as compared to naïve individuals. Not only systemic but also airway antibody responses correlated with the degree of COVID-19 disease severity. However, while systemic IgG levels were durable for up to 8 months, airway IgG and IgA had declined significantly within 3 months. After vaccination, there was an increase in both systemic and airway antibodies, in particular IgG, often exceeding the levels found during acute disease. In contrast, naïve individuals showed low airway antibodies after vaccination. In the former COVID-19 patients, airway antibody levels were significantly elevated after the boost vaccination, highlighting the importance of prime and boost vaccination also for previously infected individuals to obtain optimal mucosal protection.
Alberto Cagigi, Meng Yu, Björn Österberg, Julia Svensson, Sara Falck-Jones, Sindhu Vangeti, Eric Åhlberg, Lida Azizmohammadi, Anna Warnqvist, Ryan Falck-Jones, Pia C. Gubisch, Mert Ödemis, Farangies Ghafoor, Mona Eisele, Klara Lenart, Max Bell, Niclas Johansson, Jan Albert, Jörgen Sälde, Deleah D. Pettie, Michael P. Murphy, Lauren Carter, Neil P. King, Sebastian Ols, Johan Normark, Clas Ahlm, Mattias N. Forsell, Anna Färnert, Karin Loré, Anna Smed-Sörensen
BACKGROUND. Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a rare, devastating, and life-threatening inherited skin fragility disorder due to a lack of functional type VII collagen, for which no effective therapy exists. ABCB5-positive dermal mesenchymal stem cells (ABCB5+ MSCs) possess immunomodulatory capacities, a favorable skin homing potential and the ability to secrete type VII collagen. In a COL7A1–/– mouse model of RDEB, treatment with ABCB5+ MSCs markedly extended the animals’ lifespans. METHODS. In this international, multicentric, single-arm, phase I/IIa clinical trial, 16 patients (aged 4–36 years) enrolled into four age cohorts received three intravenous infusions of 2×106 ABCB5+ MSCs/kg on days 0, 17 and 35. Patients were followed up for 12 weeks regarding efficacy and 12 months regarding safety. RESULTS. At 12 weeks, statistically significant median (IQR) reductions in the Epidermolysis Bullosa Disease Activity and Scarring Index activity (EBDASI activity) score of 13.0% (2.9%-30%; P = 0.049) and the Instrument for Scoring Clinical Outcome of Research for Epidermolysis Bullosa clinician (iscorEB c) score of 18.2% (4.1%-41.7%; P = 0.037) were observed. Reductions in itch and pain numerical rating scale scores were greatest on day 35, amounting to 37.5% (0.0%-42.9%; P = 0.033) and 25.0% (-8.4%-46.4%; P = 0.168), respectively. Three adverse events were considered related to the cell product, one mild lymphadenopathy and two hypersensitivity reactions. The latter two were serious but resolved without sequelae shortly after withdrawal of treatment. CONCLUSION. This trial demonstrates good tolerability, manageable safety and potential efficacy of intravenous ABCB5+ MSCs as a readily available disease-modifying therapy for RDEB and provides a rationale for further clinical evaluation. TRIAL REGISTRATION. clinicaltrials.gov NCT03529877; EudraCT 2018-001009-98 FUNDING. The trial was sponsored by RHEACELL GmbH & Co. KG, Heidelberg, Germany. Contributions by NY Frank and MH Frank to this work were supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Eye Institute (NEI) grants RO1EY025794 and R24EY028767.
Dimitra Kiritsi, Kathrin Dieter, Elke Niebergall-Roth, Silvia Fluhr, Cristina Daniele, Jasmina Esterlechner, Samar Sadeghi, Seda Ballikaya, Leoni Erdinger, Franziska Schauer, Stella Gewert, Martin Laimer, Johann W. Bauer, Alain Hovnanian, Giovanna Zambruno, May El Hachem, Emmanuelle Bourrat, Maria Papanikolaou, Gabriela Petrof, Sophie Kitzmüller, Christen L. Ebens, Markus H. Frank, Natasha Y. Frank, Christoph Ganss, Anna E. Martinez, John A. McGrath, Jakub Tolar, Mark A. Kluth
Lung allograft rejection results in the accumulation of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (LMW-HA), which further propagates inflammation and tissue injury. We have previously shown that therapeutic lymphangiogenesis in a murine model of lung allograft rejection reduced tissue LMW-HA and was associated with improved transplant outcomes. Herein we investigated the use of 4-Methylumbelliferone, a known inhibitor of HA synthesis, to alleviate acute allograft rejection in a murine model of lung transplantation. We found that treating mice with 4MU from day 20-30 post-transplant was sufficient to significantly improve outcomes, characterized by a reduction in T-cell mediated lung inflammation, LMW-HA content, and improved pathology scores. In vitro, 4MU directly attenuated activation, proliferation, and differentiation of naïve CD4+ T-cells into Th1 cells. As 4MU has already been demonstrated to be safe for human use, we believe examining 4MU for the treatment of acute lung allograft rejection may be of clinical significance.
Jewel Imani, Kaifeng Liu, Ye Cui, Jean-Pierre Assaker, Junwen Han, Auyon J. Ghosh, Julie Ng, Shikshya Shrestha, Anthony M. Lamattina, Pierce H. Louis, Anne Hentschel, Anthony J. Esposito, Ivan O. Rosas, Xiaoli Liu, Mark A. Perrella, Jamil Azzi, Gary Visner, Souheil El-Chemaly
Patients with acute leukemia who are unable to achieve complete remission prior to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) have dismal outcomes with relapse rates well in excess of 60%. Haplo-identical SCT (haplo-SCT) may allow enhanced graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects by virtue of HLA class I/II donor-host disparities but typically requires intensive immune-suppression with post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PT-Cy) to prevent lethal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Here we demonstrate in preclinical models that glucocorticoid administration from day -1 to +5 inhibits alloantigen presentation by professional recipient antigen presenting cells in the gastrointestinal tract and prevents donor T-cell priming and subsequent expansion therein. In contrast, direct glucocorticoid signaling of donor T-cells promotes chemokine and integrin signatures permissive of preferential circulation and migration into the bone marrow, promoting donor T-cell residency. This results in significant reductions in GVHD whilst promoting potent GVL effects (relapse in recipients receiving glucocorticoids, vehicle or PT-Cy was 12%, 56% and 100% respectively). Intriguingly, patients with acute myeloid leukemia not in remission that received unmanipulated haplo-SCT and peri-transplant glucocorticoids also had an unexpectedly low relapse rate at 1 year (32%: 95% CI, 18%-47%) with high overall survival at 3 years (58%: 95% CI, 38-74%). These data highlight a potentially simple and effective approach to prevent relapse in patients with otherwise incurable leukemia that could be studied in prospective randomized trials.
Takayuki Inoue, Motoko Koyama, Katsuji Kaida, Kazuhiro Ikegame, Kathleen S. Ensbey, Luke Samson, Shuichiro Takahashi, Ping Zhang, Simone A. Minnie, Satoshi Maruyama, Shinichi Ishii, Takashi Daimon, Takahiro Fukuda, Hirohisa Nakamae, Takahide Ara, Yumiko Maruyama, Ken Ishiyama, Tatsuo Ichinohe, Yoshiko Atsuta, Bruce R. Blazar, Scott N. Furlan, Hiroyasu Ogawa, Geoffrey R. Hill
Genetic variants in Granulin (GRN), which encodes the secreted glycoprotein Progranulin (PGRN), are associated with several neurodegenerative diseases including frontotemporal lobar degeneration, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. These genetic alterations manifest in pathological changes due to a reduction of PGRN expression; therefore, identifying factors that can modulate PGRN levels in vivo would enhance our understanding of PGRN in neurodegeneration, and could reveal novel potential therapeutic targets. Here, we report that modulation of the endocytosis-lysosomal pathway via reduction of Nemo-like kinase (Nlk) in microglia, and not neurons, can alter total brain Pgrn levels in mice. We demonstrate that Nlk reduction promotes Pgrn degradation by enhancing its trafficking through endocytosis-lysosomal pathway, specifically in microglia. Furthermore, genetic interaction studies in mice showed that Nlk heterozygosity in Grn haploinsufficient mice further reduces Pgrn levels and induces neuropathological phenotypes associated with PGRN deficiency. Our results reveal a new mechanism for Pgrn level regulation in the brain through the active catabolism by microglia and provide insights into the pathophysiology of PGRN-associated diseases.
Tingting Dong, Leon Tejwani, Youngseob Jung, Hiroshi Kokubu, Kimberly Luttik, Terri M. Driessen, Janghoo Lim
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