The efficacy of B cell depletion therapies in diseases such as nephrotic syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis suggests a broader role in B cells in human disease than previously recognized. In some of these diseases, such as the minimal change disease subtype of nephrotic syndrome, pathogenic antibodies and immune complexes are not involved. We hypothesized that B cells, activated in the kidney, might produce cytokines capable of directly inducing cell injury and proteinuria. To directly test our hypothesis, we targeted a model antigen to the kidney glomerulus and showed that transfer of antigen-specific B cells could induce glomerular injury and proteinuria. This effect was mediated by IL-4, as transfer of IL-4–deficient B cells did not induce proteinuria. Overexpression of IL-4 in mice was sufficient to induce kidney injury and proteinuria and could be attenuated by JAK kinase inhibitors. Since IL-4 is a specific activator of STAT6, we analyzed kidney biopsies and demonstrated STAT6 activation in up to 1 of 3 of minimal change disease patients, suggesting IL-4 or IL-13 exposure in these patients. These data suggest that the role of B cells in nephrotic syndrome could be mediated by cytokines.
Alfred H.J. Kim, Jun-Jae Chung, Shreeram Akilesh, Ania Koziell, Sanjay Jain, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Mark J. Miller, Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, Jeffrey H. Miner, Andrey S. Shaw
An ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA) is a life-threatening disease whose molecular basis is poorly understood. Mutations in NOTCH1 have been linked to bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which is associated with AscAA. Here, we describe a potentially novel role for Notch1 in AscAA. We found that Notch1 haploinsufficiency exacerbated the aneurysmal aortic root dilation seen in the Marfan syndrome mouse model and that heterozygous deletion of Notch1 in the second heart field (SHF) lineage recapitulated this exacerbated phenotype. Additionally, Notch1+/– mice in a predominantly 129S6 background develop aortic root dilation, indicating that loss of Notch1 is sufficient to cause AscAA. RNA sequencing analysis of the Notch1.129S6+/– aortic root demonstrated gene expression changes consistent with AscAA. These findings are the first to our knowledge to demonstrate an SHF lineage–specific role for Notch1 in AscAA and suggest that genes linked to the development of BAV may also contribute to the associated aortopathy.
Sara N. Koenig, Stephanie LaHaye, James D. Feller, Patrick Rowland, Kan N. Hor, Aaron J. Trask, Paul M.L. Janssen, Freddy Radtke, Brenda Lilly, Vidu Garg
The microbiome affects development and activity of the immune system, and may modulate immune therapies, but there is little direct information about this control in vivo. We studied how the microbiome affects regulation of human immune cells in humanized mice. When humanized mice were treated with a cocktail of 4 antibiotics, there was an increase in the frequency of effector T cells in the gut wall, circulating levels of IFN-γ, and appearance of anti-nuclear antibodies. Teplizumab, a non–FcR-binding anti-CD3ε antibody, no longer delayed xenograft rejection. An increase in CD8+ central memory cells and IL-10, markers of efficacy of teplizumab, were not induced. IL-10 levels were only decreased when the mice were treated with all 4 but not individual antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment affected CD11b+CD11c+ cells, which produced less IL-10 and IL-27, and showed increased expression of CD86 and activation of T cells when cocultured with T cells and teplizumab. Soluble products in the pellets appeared to be responsible for the reduced IL-27 expression in DCs. Similar changes in IL-10 induction were seen when human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were cultured with human stool samples. We conclude that changes in the microbiome may impact the efficacy of immunosuppressive medications by altering immune regulatory pathways.
Elke Gülden, Nalini K. Vudattu, Songyan Deng, Paula Preston-Hurlburt, Mark Mamula, James C. Reed, Sindhu Mohandas, Betsy C. Herold, Richard Torres, Silvio M. Vieira, Bentley Lim, Jose D. Herazo-Maya, Martin Kriegel, Andrew L. Goodman, Chris Cotsapas, Kevan C. Herold
The secretion of insulin and glucagon from the pancreas and the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) from the gastrointestinal tract is essential for glucose homeostasis. Several novel treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes (T2D) mimic GLP-1 actions or inhibit incretin degradation (DPP4 inhibitors), but none is thus far aimed at increasing the secretion of endogenous incretins. In order to identify new potential therapeutic targets for treatment of T2D, we performed a meta-analysis of a GWAS and an exome-wide association study of circulating insulin, glucagon, GIP, and GLP-1 concentrations measured during an oral glucose tolerance test in up to 7,828 individuals. We identified 6 genome-wide significant functional loci associated with plasma incretin concentrations in or near the SLC5A1 (encoding SGLT1), GIPR, ABO, GLP2R, F13A1, and HOXD1 genes and studied the effect of these variants on mRNA expression in pancreatic islet and on metabolic phenotypes. Immunohistochemistry showed expression of GIPR, ABO, and HOXD1 in human enteroendocrine cells and expression of ABO in pancreatic islets, supporting a role in hormone secretion. This study thus provides candidate genes and insight into mechanisms by which secretion and breakdown of GIP and GLP-1 are regulated.
Peter Almgren, Andreas Lindqvist, Ulrika Krus, Liisa Hakaste, Emilia Ottosson-Laakso, Olof Asplund, Emily Sonestedt, Rashmi B. Prasad, Esa Laurila, Marju Orho-Melander, Olle Melander, Tiinamaija Tuomi, Jens Juul Holst, Peter M. Nilsson, Nils Wierup, Leif Groop, Emma Ahlqvist
Infantile hemangioma (IH) is a vascular tumor that begins with rapid vascular proliferation shortly after birth, followed by vascular involution in early childhood. We have found that NOTCH3, a critical regulator of mural cell differentiation and maturation, is expressed in hemangioma stem cells (HemSCs), suggesting that NOTCH3 may function in HemSC-to–mural cell differentiation and pathological vessel stabilization. Here, we demonstrate that NOTCH3 is expressed in NG2+PDGFRβ+ perivascular HemSCs and CD31+GLUT1+ hemangioma endothelial cells (HemECs) in proliferating IHs and becomes mostly restricted to the αSMA+NG2loPDGFRβlo mural cells in involuting IHs. NOTCH3 knockdown in HemSCs inhibited in vitro mural cell differentiation and perturbed αSMA expression. In a mouse model of IH, NOTCH3 knockdown or systemic expression of the NOTCH3 inhibitor, NOTCH3 Decoy, significantly decreased IH blood flow, vessel caliber, and αSMA+ perivascular cell coverage. Thus, NOTCH3 is necessary for HemSC-to–mural cell differentiation, and adequate perivascular cell coverage of IH vessels is required for IH vessel stability.
Andrew K. Edwards, Kyle Glithero, Peter Grzesik, Alison A. Kitajewski, Naikhoba C.O. Munabi, Krista Hardy, Qian Kun Tan, Michael Schonning, Thaned Kangsamaksin, Jan K. Kitajewski, Carrie J. Shawber, June K. Wu
Maternal obesity is a global health problem that increases offspring obesity risk. The metabolic pathways underlying early developmental programming in human infants at risk for obesity remain poorly understood, largely due to barriers in fetal/infant tissue sampling. Utilizing umbilical cord–derived mesenchymal stem cells (uMSC) from offspring of normal weight and obese mothers, we tested whether energy metabolism and gene expression differ in differentiating uMSC myocytes and adipocytes, in relation to maternal obesity exposures and/or neonatal adiposity. Biomarkers of incomplete β-oxidation were uniquely positively correlated with infant adiposity and maternal lipid levels in uMSC myocytes from offspring of obese mothers only. Metabolic and biosynthetic processes were enriched in differential gene expression analysis related to maternal obesity. In uMSC adipocytes, maternal obesity and lipids were associated with downregulation in multiple insulin-dependent energy-sensing pathways including PI3K and AMPK. Maternal lipids correlated with uMSC adipocyte upregulation of the mitochondrial respiratory chain but downregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Overall, our data revealed cell-specific alterations in metabolism and gene expression that correlated with maternal obesity and adiposity of their offspring, suggesting tissue-specific metabolic and regulatory changes in these newborn cells. We provide important insight into potential developmental programming mechanisms of increased obesity risk in offspring of obese mothers.
Peter R. Baker II, Zachary Patinkin, Allison L.B. Shapiro, Becky A. De La Houssaye, Michael Woontner, Kristen E. Boyle, Lauren Vanderlinden, Dana Dabelea, Jacob E. Friedman
The complex signaling networks of the tumor microenvironment that facilitate tumor growth and progression toward metastatic disease are becoming a focus of potential therapeutic options. The chemokine IL-8 is overexpressed in multiple cancer types, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), where it promotes the acquisition of mesenchymal features, stemness, resistance to therapies, and the recruitment of immune-suppressive cells to the tumor site. The present study explores the utility of a clinical-stage monoclonal antibody that neutralizes IL-8 (HuMax-IL8) as a potential therapeutic option for TNBC. HuMax-IL8 was shown to revert mesenchymalization in claudin-low TNBC models both in vitro and in vivo as well as to significantly decrease the recruitment of polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs) at the tumor site, an effect substantiated when used in combination with docetaxel. In addition, HuMax-IL8 enhanced the susceptibility of claudin-low breast cancer cells to immune-mediated lysis with NK and antigen-specific T cells in vitro. These results demonstrate the multifaceted way in which neutralizing this single chemokine reverts mesenchymalization, decreases recruitment of MDSCs at the tumor site, assists in immune-mediated killing, and forms the rationale for using HuMax-IL8 in combination with chemotherapy or immune-based therapies for the treatment of TNBC.
Charli Dominguez, Kristen K. McCampbell, Justin M. David, Claudia Palena
Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes regulate the formation of eicosanoids and lysophospholipids that contribute to allergic airway inflammation. Secreted PLA2 group X (sPLA2-X) was recently found to be increased in the airways of asthmatics and is highly expressed in airway epithelial cells and macrophages. In the current study, we show that allergen exposure increases sPLA2-X in humans and in mice, and that global deletion of Pla2g10 results in a marked reduction in airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), eosinophil and T cell trafficking to the airways, airway occlusion, generation of type-2 cytokines by antigen-stimulated leukocytes, and antigen-specific immunoglobulins. Further, we found that Pla2g10–/– mice had reduced IL-33 levels in BALF, fewer type-2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) in the lung, less IL-33–induced IL-13 expression in mast cells, and a marked reduction in both the number of newly recruited macrophages and the M2 polarization of these macrophages in the lung. These results indicate that sPLA2-X serves as a central regulator of both innate and adaptive immune response to proteolytic allergen.
James D. Nolin, Ying Lai, Herbert Luke Ogden, Anne M. Manicone, Ryan C. Murphy, Dowon An, Charles W. Frevert, Farideh Ghomashchi, Gajendra S. Naika, Michael H. Gelb, Gail M. Gauvreau, Adrian M. Piliponsky, William A. Altemeier, Teal S. Hallstrand
Neurogenic heterotopic ossification (NHO) is the formation of ectopic bone generally in muscles surrounding joints following spinal cord or brain injury. We investigated the mechanisms of NHO formation in 64 patients and a mouse model of spinal cord injury–induced NHO. We show that marrow from human NHOs contains hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niches, in which mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and endothelial cells provide an environment supporting HSC maintenance, proliferation, and differentiation. The transcriptomic signature of MSCs from NHOs shows a neuronal imprinting associated with a molecular network required for HSC support. We demonstrate that oncostatin M (OSM) produced by activated macrophages promotes osteoblastic differentiation and mineralization of human muscle-derived stromal cells surrounding NHOs. The key role of OSM was confirmed using an experimental model of NHO in mice defective for the OSM receptor (OSMR). Our results provide strong evidence that macrophages contribute to NHO formation through the osteogenic action of OSM on muscle cells within an inflammatory context and suggest that OSM/OSMR could be a suitable therapeutic target. Altogether, the evidence of HSCs in ectopic bones growing at the expense of soft tissue in spinal cord/brain-injured patients indicates that inflammation and muscle contribute to HSC regulation by the brain-bone-blood triad.
Frédéric Torossian, Bernadette Guerton, Adrienne Anginot, Kylie A. Alexander, Christophe Desterke, Sabrina Soave, Hsu-Wen Tseng, Nassim Arouche, Laetitia Boutin, Irina Kulina, Marjorie Salga, Beulah Jose, Allison R. Pettit, Denis Clay, Nathalie Rochet, Erica Vlachos, Guillaume Genet, Charlotte Debaud, Philippe Denormandie, François Genet, Natalie A. Sims, Sébastien Banzet, Jean-Pierre Levesque, Jean-Jacques Lataillade, Marie-Caroline Le Bousse-Kerdilès
Accumulation of lipid droplets and inflammatory cell infiltration is the hallmark of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The roles of noncoding RNAs in NASH are less known. We aim to elucidate the function of miR-141/200c in diet-induced NASH. WT and miR-141/200c–/– mice were fed a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet for 2 weeks to assess markers of steatosis, liver injury, and inflammation. Hepatic miR-141 and miR-200c RNA levels were highly induced in human patients with NASH fatty liver and in WT MCD mice. miR-141/200c–/– MCD mice had reduced liver weights and triglyceride (TG) levels, which was associated with increased microsomal TG transfer protein (MTTP) and PPARα but reduced SREBP1c and FAS expression. Inflammation was attenuated and F4/80 macrophage activation was suppressed in miR-141/200c–/– mice, as evidenced by decreased serum aminotransferases and IL-6 and reduced hepatic proinflammatory, neutrophil, and profibrotic genes. Treatment with LPS in BM-derived macrophages isolated from miR-200c/141–/– mice polarized macrophages toward the M2 antiinflammatory state by increasing Arg1 and IL-10 levels while decreasing the M1 marker iNOS. In addition, elevated phosphorylated AMPK (p-AMPK), p-AKT, and p-GSK3β and diminished TLR4 and p-mTOR/p-4EBP1 proteins were observed. Lipidomics and metabolomics revealed alterations of TG and phosphatidylcholine (PC) lipid species by miR-141/200c deficiency. In summary, miR-141/200c deficiency diminished NASH-associated hepatic steatosis and inflammation by reprogramming lipid and inflammation signaling pathways.
Melanie Tran, Sang-Min Lee, Dong-Ju Shin, Li Wang
In the course of modeling the naturally occurring tumor immunity seen in patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD), we discovered an unexpectedly high threshold for breaking CD8+ cytotoxic T cell (CTL) tolerance to the PCD autoantigen, CDR2. While CDR2 expression was previously found to be strictly restricted to immune-privileged cells (cerebellum, testes, and tumors), unexpectedly we have found that T cells also express CDR2. This expression underlies inhibition of CTL activation; CTLs that respond to epithelial cells expressing CDR2 fail to respond to T cells expressing CDR2. This was a general phenomenon, as T cells presenting influenza (flu) antigen also fail to activate otherwise potent flu-specific CTLs either in vitro or in vivo. Moreover, transfer of flu peptide–pulsed T cells into flu-infected mice inhibits endogenous flu-specific CTLs. Our finding that T cells serve as a site of immune privilege, inhibiting effector CTL function, uncovers an autorepressive loop with general biologic and clinical relevance.
Nathalie E. Blachère, Dana E. Orange, Emily C. Gantman, Bianca D. Santomasso, Graeme C. Couture, Teresa Ramirez-Montagut, John Fak, Kevin J. O’Donovan, Zhong Ru, Salina Parveen, Mayu O. Frank, Michael J. Moore, Robert B. Darnell
The development of a highly effective vaccine remains a key strategic goal to aid the control and eventual eradication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In recent years, the reticulocyte-binding protein homolog 5 (RH5) has emerged as the most promising blood-stage P. falciparum candidate antigen to date, capable of conferring protection against stringent challenge in Aotus monkeys. We report on the first clinical trial to our knowledge to assess the RH5 antigen — a dose-escalation phase Ia study in 24 healthy, malaria-naive adult volunteers. We utilized established viral vectors, the replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus serotype 63 (ChAd63), and the attenuated orthopoxvirus modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), encoding RH5 from the 3D7 clone of P. falciparum. Vaccines were administered i.m. in a heterologous prime-boost regimen using an 8-week interval and were well tolerated. Vaccine-induced anti-RH5 serum antibodies exhibited cross-strain functional growth inhibition activity (GIA) in vitro, targeted linear and conformational epitopes within RH5, and inhibited key interactions within the RH5 invasion complex. This is the first time to our knowledge that substantial RH5-specific responses have been induced by immunization in humans, with levels greatly exceeding the serum antibody responses observed in African adults following years of natural malaria exposure. These data support the progression of RH5-based vaccines to human efficacy testing.
Ruth O. Payne, Sarah E. Silk, Sean C. Elias, Kazutoyo Miura, Ababacar Diouf, Francis Galaway, Hans de Graaf, Nathan J. Brendish, Ian D. Poulton, Oliver J. Griffiths, Nick J. Edwards, Jing Jin, Geneviève M. Labbé, Daniel G.W. Alanine, Loredana Siani, Stefania Di Marco, Rachel Roberts, Nicky Green, Eleanor Berrie, Andrew S. Ishizuka, Carolyn M. Nielsen, Martino Bardelli, Frederica D. Partey, Michael F. Ofori, Lea Barfod, Juliana Wambua, Linda M. Murungi, Faith H. Osier, Sumi Biswas, James S. McCarthy, Angela M. Minassian, Rebecca Ashfield, Nicola K. Viebig, Fay L. Nugent, Alexander D. Douglas, Johan Vekemans, Gavin J. Wright, Saul N. Faust, Adrian V.S. Hill, Carole A. Long, Alison M. Lawrie, Simon J. Draper
Advanced basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) circumvent Smoothened (SMO) inhibition by activating GLI transcription factors to sustain the high levels of Hedgehog (HH) signaling required for their survival. Unfortunately, there is a lack of efficacious therapies. We performed a gene expression–based drug repositioning screen in silico and identified the FDA-approved histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, vorinostat, as a top therapeutic candidate. We show that vorinostat only inhibits proliferation of BCC cells in vitro and BCC allografts in vivo at high dose, limiting its usefulness as a monotherapy. We leveraged this in silico approach to identify drug combinations that increase the therapeutic window of vorinostat and identified atypical PKC Ɩ/ʎ (aPKC) as a HDAC costimulator of HH signaling. We found that aPKC promotes GLI1-HDAC1 association in vitro, linking two positive feedback loops. Combination targeting of HDAC1 and aPKC robustly inhibited GLI1, lowering drug doses needed in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo in patient-derived BCC explants. We identified a bioavailable and selective small-molecule aPKC inhibitor, bringing the pharmacological blockade of aPKC and HDAC1 into the realm of clinical possibility. Our findings provide a compelling rationale and candidate drugs for combined targeting of HDAC1 and aPKC in HH-dependent cancers.
Amar N. Mirza, Micah A. Fry, Nicole M. Urman, Scott X. Atwood, Jon Roffey, Gregory R. Ott, Bin Chen, Alex Lee, Alexander S. Brown, Sumaira Z. Aasi, Tyler Hollmig, Mark A. Ator, Bruce D. Dorsey, Bruce R. Ruggeri, Craig A. Zificsak, Marina Sirota, Jean Y. Tang, Atul Butte, Ervin Epstein, Kavita Y. Sarin, Anthony E. Oro
Tregs hold great promise as a cellular therapy for multiple immunologically mediated diseases, given their ability to control immune responses. The success of such strategies depends on the expansion of healthy, suppressive Tregs ex vivo and in vivo following the transfer. In clinical studies, levels of transferred Tregs decline sharply in the blood within a few days of the transfer. Tregs have a high rate of apoptosis. Here, we describe a new mechanism of Treg self-inflicted damage. We show that granzymes A and -B (GrA and GrB), which are highly upregulated in human Tregs upon stimulation, leak out of cytotoxic granules to induce cleavage of cytoplasmic and nuclear substrates, precipitating apoptosis in target cells. GrA and GrB substrates were protected from cleavage by inhibiting granzyme activity in vitro. Additionally, we show — by using cytometry by time of flight (CYTOF) — an increase in GrB-expressing Tregs in the peripheral blood and renal allografts of transplant recipients undergoing rejection. These GrB-expressing Tregs showed an activated phenotype but were significantly more apoptotic than non–GrB expressing Tregs. This potentially novel finding improves our understanding of Treg survival and suggests that manipulating Gr expression or activity might be useful for designing more effective Treg therapies.
Esilida Sula Karreci, Siawosh K. Eskandari, Farokh Dotiwala, Sujit K. Routray, Ahmed T. Kurdi, Jean Pierre Assaker, Pavlo Luckyanchykov, Albana B. Mihali, Omar Maarouf, Thiago J. Borges, Abdullah Alkhudhayri, Kruti R. Patel, Amr Radwan, Irene Ghobrial, Martina McGrath, Anil Chandraker, Leonardo V. Riella, Wassim Elyaman, Reza Abdi, Judy Lieberman, Jamil Azzi