In this issue of JCI Insight, Roy et al. report protection against a lethal dose of ricin in rhesus macaques following treatment with a humanized monoclonal antibody against an immunodominant epitope on ricin’s enzymatic A chain. The cover image shows lung tissue from a ricin-treated animal, with infiltrating eosinophils stained with eosinophil major basic protein antibody (crimson).
In the skin, complex cellular networks maintain barrier function and immune homeostasis. Tightly regulated multicellular cascades are required to initiate innate and adaptive immune responses. Innate immune cells, particularly DCs and mast cells, are central to these networks. Early studies evaluated the function of these cells in isolation, but recent studies clearly demonstrate that cutaneous DCs (dermal DCs and Langerhans cells) physically interact with neighboring cells and are receptive to activation signals from surrounding cells, such as mast cells. These interactions amplify immune activation. In this review, we discuss the known functions of cutaneous DC populations and mast cells and recent studies highlighting their roles within cellular networks that determine cutaneous immune responses.
Tina L. Sumpter, Stephen C. Balmert, Daniel H. Kaplan
Acute lung injury (ALI) is characterized by exuberant proinflammatory responses and mitochondrial dysfunction. However, the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation in ALI is not well understood. In this report, we demonstrate a critical role for the mitochondrial NAD+-dependent deacetylase, sirtuin-3 (SIRT3), in regulating macrophage mitochondrial bioenergetics, ROS formation, and proinflammatory responses. We found that SIRT3 expression was significantly diminished in lungs of mice subjected to LPS-induced ALI. SIRT3-deficient mice (SIRT3–/–) develop more severe ALI compared with wild-type controls (SIRT3+/+). Macrophages obtained from SIRT3–/– mice show significant alterations in mitochondrial bioenergetic and redox homeostasis, in association with a proinflammatory phenotype characterized by NLRP3 inflammasome activation. The SIRT3 activator viniferin restored macrophage bioenergetic function in LPS-treated macrophages. Viniferin also reduced NLRP3 activation and the production of proinflammatory cytokines, effects that were absent in SIRT3–/– macrophages. In-vivo administration of viniferin reduced production of inflammatory mediators TNF-α, MIP-2, IL-6, IL-1β, and HMGB1, and diminished neutrophil influx and severity of endotoxin-mediated ALI; this protective effect of vinferin was abolished in SIRT3–/– mice. Taken together, our results show that the induction/activation of SIRT3 may serve as a new therapeutic strategy in ALI by modulating cellular bioenergetics, controlling inflammatory responses, and reducing the severity of lung injury.
Deepali Kurundkar, Ashish R. Kurundkar, Nathaniel B. Bone, Eugene J. Becker Jr., Wanqu Liu, Balu Chacko, Victor Darley-Usmar, Jaroslaw W. Zmijewski, Victor J. Thannickal
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is an intractable disorder with a poor prognosis. Although lung fibroblasts play a central role in PF, the key regulatory molecules involved in this process remain unknown. To address this issue, we performed a time-course transcriptome analysis on lung fibroblasts of bleomycin- and silica-treated murine lungs. We found gene modules whose expression kinetics were associated with the progression of PF and human idiopathic PF (IPF). Upstream analysis of a transcriptome network helped in identifying 55 hub transcription factors that were highly connected with PF-associated gene modules. Of these hubs, the expression of Srebf1 decreased in line with progression of PF and human IPF, suggesting its suppressive role in fibroblast activation. Consistently, adoptive transfer and genetic modification studies revealed that the hub transcription factor SREBP-1c suppressed PF-associated gene expression changes in lung fibroblasts and PF pathology in vivo. Moreover, therapeutic pharmacological activation of LXR, an SREBP-1c activator, suppressed the Srebf1-dependent activation of fibroblasts and progression of PF. Thus, SREBP-1c acts as a protective hub of lung fibroblast activation in PF. Collectively, the findings of the current study may prove to be valuable in the development of effective therapeutic strategies for PF.
Shigeyuki Shichino, Satoshi Ueha, Shinichi Hashimoto, Mikiya Otsuji, Jun Abe, Tatsuya Tsukui, Shungo Deshimaru, Takuya Nakajima, Mizuha Kosugi-Kanaya, Francis H.W. Shand, Yutaka Inagaki, Hitoshi Shimano, Kouji Matsushima
Podocyte injury is central to many forms of kidney disease, but transcriptional signatures reflecting podocyte injury and compensation mechanisms are challenging to analyze in vivo. Human kidney organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), a potentially new model for disease and regeneration, present an opportunity to explore the transcriptional plasticity of podocytes. Here, transcriptional profiling of more than 12,000 single cells from human PSC–derived kidney organoid cultures was used to identify robust and reproducible cell lineage gene expression signatures shared with developing human kidneys based on trajectory analysis. Surprisingly, the gene expression signature characteristic of developing glomerular epithelial cells was also observed in glomerular tissue from a kidney disease cohort. This signature correlated with proteinuria and inverse eGFR, and it was confirmed in an independent podocytopathy cohort. Three genes in particular were further characterized as potentially novel components of the glomerular disease signature. We conclude that cells in human PSC–derived kidney organoids reliably recapitulate the developmental transcriptional program of podocytes and other cell lineages in the human kidney and that transcriptional profiles seen in developing podocytes are reactivated in glomerular disease. Our findings demonstrate an approach to identifying potentially novel molecular programs involved in the pathogenesis of glomerulopathies.
Jennifer L. Harder, Rajasree Menon, Edgar A. Otto, Jian Zhou, Sean Eddy, Noel L. Wys, Christopher O’Connor, Jinghui Luo, Viji Nair, Cristina Cebrian, Jason R. Spence, Markus Bitzer, Olga G. Troyanskaya, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Roger C. Wiggins, Benjamin S. Freedman, Matthias Kretzler, European Renal cDNA Bank (ERCB), Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE)
Arterial stiffening is a consequence of aging and a cholesterol-independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Arterial stiffening and CVD show a sex bias, with men more susceptible than premenopausal women. How arterial stiffness and sex interact at a molecular level to confer risk of CVD is not well understood. Here, we used the sexual dimorphism in LDLR-null mice to show that the protective effect of female sex on atherosclerosis is linked to reduced aortic stiffness and reduced expression of matrix metalloproteinase-12 (MMP12) by lesional macrophages. Deletion of MMP12 in LDLR-null mice attenuated the male sex bias for both arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis, and these effects occurred despite high serum cholesterol. Mechanistically, we found that oxidized LDL stimulates secretion of MMP12 in human as well as mouse macrophages. Estrogen antagonizes this effect by downregulating MMP12 expression. Our data support cholesterol-independent causal relationships between estrogen, oxidized LDL–induced secretion of macrophage MMP12, and arterial stiffness that protect against atherosclerosis in females and emphasize that reduced MMP12 functionality can confer atheroprotection to males.
Shu-lin Liu, Anamika Bajpai, Elizabeth A. Hawthorne, Yongho Bae, Paola Castagnino, James Monslow, Ellen Puré, Kara L. Spiller, Richard K. Assoian
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most prevalent malignant brain tumor in children, accounting for 20% of all childhood brain tumors. The molecular profiling of MB into 4 major subgroups (WNT, SHH, Grp3, and Grp4) emphasizes the heterogeneity of MB and opens paths in which treatments may be targeted to molecularly aggressive and distinct tumors. Current therapeutic strategies for Group 3 MB are challenging and can be accompanied by long-term side effects from treatment. The involvement of altered epigenetic machinery in neoplastic transformation in MB has become more evident. Thus, we performed an epigenomic RNAi and chemical screen and identified SETD8/PRE-SET7/KMT5a as a critical player in maintaining proliferation and cell survival of MB cells. We have found that inhibition of SETD8 effects the migration/invasive ability of MB cells. SETD8 alters H4K20me chromatin occupancy at key genes involved in tumor invasiveness and pluripotency. Interestingly, these results link the aggressive and metastatic behavior of MYC-driven MB with SETD8 activity. Based on our results, we suggest that SETD8 has a critical role mediating Group 3 MB tumorigenesis. Establishing a role for SETD8 as a factor in MYC-driven MB has potential to lead to more effective therapies needed to improve outcomes in high-risk patients.
Bethany Veo, Etienne Danis, Angela Pierce, Ismail Sola, Dong Wang, Nicholas K. Foreman, Jian Jin, Anqi Ma, Natalie Serkova, Sujatha Venkataraman, Rajeev Vibhakar
In heart failure and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), the majority of patients have hypomagnesemia, and magnesium (Mg) supplementation has improved cardiac function and insulin resistance. Recently, we have shown that DM can cause cardiac diastolic dysfunction (DD). Therefore, we hypothesized that Mg supplementation would improve diastolic function in DM. High-fat diet–induced diabetic mouse hearts showed increased cardiac DD and hypertrophy. Mice with DM showed a significantly increased E/e’ ratio (the ratio of transmitral Doppler early filling velocity [E] to tissue Doppler early diastolic mitral annular velocity [e’]) in the echocardiogram, left ventricular end diastolic volume (LVEDV), incidence of DD, left ventricular posterior wall thickness in diastole (PWTd), and ratio of heart weight to tibia length (HW/TL) when compared with controls. DM mice also had hypomagnesemia. Ventricular cardiomyocytes isolated from DM mice exhibited decreased mitochondrial ATP production, a 1.7- ± 0.2-fold increase of mitochondrial ROS, depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. Dietary Mg administration (50 mg/ml in the drinking water) for 6 weeks increased plasma Mg concentration and improved cardiac function. At the cellular level, Mg improved mitochondrial function with increased ATP, decreased mitochondrial ROS and Ca2+ overload, and repolarized mitochondrial membrane potential. In conclusion, Mg supplementation improved mitochondrial function, reduced oxidative stress, and prevented DD in DM.
Man Liu, Euy-Myoung Jeong, Hong Liu, An Xie, Eui Young So, Guangbin Shi, Go Eun Jeong, Anyu Zhou, Samuel C. Dudley Jr.
Deposition of amyloid-β protein (Aβ) to form neuritic plaques is the characteristic neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aβ is generated from amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretase cleavages. BACE1 is the β-secretase and its inhibition induces severe side effects, whereas its homolog BACE2 normally suppresses Aβ by cleaving APP/Aβ at the θ-site (Phe20) within the Aβ domain. Here, we report that BACE2 also processes APP at the β site, and the juxtamembrane helix (JH) of APP inhibits its β-secretase activity, enabling BACE2 to cleave nascent APP and aggravate AD symptoms. JH-disrupting mutations and clusterin binding to JH triggered BACE2-mediated β-cleavage. Both BACE2 and clusterin were elevated in aged mouse brains, and enhanced β-cleavage during aging. Therefore, BACE2 contributes to AD pathogenesis as a conditional β-secretase and could be a preventive and therapeutic target for AD without the side effects of BACE1 inhibition.
Zhe Wang, Qin Xu, Fang Cai, Xi Liu, Yili Wu, Weihong Song
Smoking has historically been recognized as a negative prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This study aimed to assess the mutational differences between heavy smokers (>20 pack years) and never smokers among the HNSCC patients within The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Single nucleotide variation and copy number aberration differences between heavy smokers and never smokers were compared within human papillomavirus–positive (HPV-positive) (n = 67) and HPV-negative (n = 431) TCGA cohorts with HNSCC, and the impact of these mutations on survival were assessed. No genes were differentially mutated between smoking and never-smoking patients with HPV-positive tumors. By contrast, in HPV-negative tumors, NSD1 and COL1A11 were found to be more frequently mutated in heavy smokers, while CASP8 was more frequently altered in never smokers. HPV-negative patients with NSD1 mutations experienced significantly improved overall survival compared with NSD1 WT patients. This improved prognosis was validated in an independent cohort of 77 oral cavity cancer patients and a meta-analysis that included 2 additional data sets (688 total patients, hazard ratio for death 0.44, 95% CI, 0.30–0.65). NSD1 mutations are more common in HPV-negative heavy smokers, define a cohort with favorable prognosis, and may represent a clinically useful biomarker to guide treatment deintensification for HPV-negative patients.
Farhad Ghasemi, Stephenie D. Prokopec, Danielle MacNeil, Neil Mundi, Steven F. Gameiro, Christopher Howlett, William Stecho, Paul Plantinga, Nicole Pinto, Kara M. Ruicci, Mohammed Imran Khan, John Yoo, Kevin Fung, Axel Sahovaler, David A. Palma, Eric Winquist, Joe S. Mymryk, John W. Barrett, Paul C. Boutros, Anthony C. Nichols
BACKGROUND. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a deadly disease of the small pulmonary vasculature with an increased prevalence of insulin resistance (IR). Insulin regulates both glucose and lipid homeostasis. We sought to quantify glucose- and lipid-related IR in human PAH, testing the hypothesis that lipoprotein indices are more sensitive indices of IR in PAH. METHODS. Oral glucose tolerance testing in PAH patients and triglyceride-matched (TG-matched) controls and proteomic, metabolomics, and lipoprotein analyses were performed in PAH and controls. Results were validated in an external cohort and in explanted human PAH lungs. RESULTS. PAH patients were similarly glucose intolerant or IR by glucose homeostasis metrics compared with control patients when matched for the metabolic syndrome. Using the insulin-sensitive lipoprotein index, TG/HDL ratio, PAH patients were more commonly IR than controls. Proteomic and metabolomic analysis demonstrated separation between PAH and controls, driven by differences in lipid species. We observed a significant increase in long-chain acylcarnitines, phosphatidylcholines, insulin metabolism–related proteins, and in oxidized LDL receptor 1 (OLR1) in PAH plasma in both a discovery and validation cohort. PAH patients had higher lipoprotein axis–related IR and lipoprotein-based inflammation scores compared with controls. PAH patient lung tissue showed enhanced OLR1 immunostaining within plexiform lesions and oxidized LDL accumulation within macrophages. CONCLUSIONS. IR in PAH is characterized by alterations in lipid and lipoprotein homeostasis axes, manifest by elevated TG/HDL ratio, and elevated circulating medium- and long-chain acylcarnitines and lipoproteins. Oxidized LDL and its receptor OLR1 may play a role in a proinflammatory phenotype in PAH. FUNDING. NIH DK096994, HL060906, UL1 RR024975-01, UL1 TR000445-06, DK020593, P01 HL108800-01A1, and UL1 TR002243; American Heart Association 13FTF16070002.
Anna R. Hemnes, J. Matthew Luther, Christopher J. Rhodes, Jason P. Burgess, James Carlson, Run Fan, Joshua P. Fessel, Niki Fortune, Robert E. Gerszten, Stephen J. Halliday, Rezzan Hekmat, Luke Howard, John H. Newman, Kevin D. Niswender, Meredith E. Pugh, Ivan M. Robbins, Quanhu Sheng, Cyndya A. Shibao, Yu Shyr, Susan Sumner, Megha Talati, John Wharton, Martin R. Wilkins, Fei Ye, Chang Yu, James West, Evan L. Brittain
BACKGROUND. Weight gain and metabolic changes during treatment with antidepressant drugs have emerged as an important concern, particularly in long-term treatment. It is still a matter of ongoing debate whether weight gain and metabolic perturbations with antidepressant use are the consequence of increased appetite and weight gain, respectively, or represents direct pharmacological effects of the drug on metabolism. METHODS. We therefore conducted a proof-of-concept, open-label clinical trial, hypothesizing that in exceptionally healthy men no change of metabolic parameters would occur under mirtazapine, when environmental factors such as nutrition, sleep, and physical exercise were controlled and kept constant. Over a 3-week preparation phase, 10 healthy, young men were attuned to a standardized diet adjusted to their individual caloric need, to a regular sleep/wake cycle and moderate exercise. Continuing this protocol, we administered 30 mg mirtazapine daily for 7 days. RESULTS. While no significant weight gain or changes in resting energy expenditure were observed under these conditions, hunger and appetite for sweets increased with mirtazapine, accompanied by a shift in energy substrate partitioning towards carbohydrate substrate preference as assessed by indirect calorimetry. Furthermore, with mirtazapine, insulin and C-peptide release increased in response to a standardized meal. CONCLUSION. Our findings provide important insights into weight-independent metabolic changes associated with mirtazapine and allow a better understanding of the long-term metabolic effects observed in patients treated with antidepressant drugs. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00878540. FUNDING. Nothing to declare.
Johannes M. Hennings, Sarah Heel, Katharina Lechner, Manfred Uhr, Tatjana Dose, Ludwig Schaaf, Florian Holsboer, Susanne Lucae, Stephany Fulda, Stefan Kloiber
To address challenges in the diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction (CD) related to systemic lupus erythematosus–associated (SLE-associated) autoimmune mechanisms rather than confounding factors, we employed an integrated approach, using resting-state functional (FDG-PET) and structural (diffusion tensor imaging [DTI]) neuroimaging techniques and cognitive testing, in adult SLE patients with quiescent disease and no history of neuropsychiatric illness. We identified resting hypermetabolism in the sensorimotor cortex, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe of SLE subjects, in addition to validation of previously published resting hypermetabolism in the hippocampus, orbitofrontal cortex, and putamen/GP/thalamus. Regional hypermetabolism demonstrated abnormal interregional metabolic correlations, associated with impaired cognitive performance, and was stable over 15 months. DTI analyses demonstrated 4 clusters of decreased microstructural integrity in white matter tracts adjacent to hypermetabolic regions and significantly diminished connecting tracts in SLE subjects. Decreased microstructural integrity in the parahippocampal gyrus correlated with impaired spatial memory and increased serum titers of DNRAb, a neurotoxic autoantibody associated with neuropsychiatric lupus. These findings of regional hypermetabolism, associated with decreased microstructural integrity and poor cognitive performance and not associated with disease duration, disease activity, medications, or comorbid disease, suggest that this is a reproducible, stable marker for SLE-associated CD that may be may be used for early disease detection and to discriminate between groups, evaluate response to treatment strategies, or assess disease progression.
Meggan Mackay, An Vo, Chris C. Tang, Michael Small, Erik W. Anderson, Elisabeth J. Ploran, Justin Storbeck, Brittany Bascetta, Simran Kang, Cynthia Aranow, Carl Sartori, Philip Watson, Bruce T. Volpe, Betty Diamond, David Eidelberg
Psoralen plus UVA (PUVA) is an effective therapy for mycosis fungoides (MF), the skin-limited variant of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL). In low-burden patients, PUVA reduced or eradicated malignant T cells and induced clonal expansion of CD8+ T cells associated with malignant T cell depletion. High-burden patients appeared to clinically improve but large numbers of malignant T cells persisted in skin. Clinical improvement was linked to turnover of benign T cell clones but not to malignant T cell reduction. Benign T cells were associated with the Th2-recruiting chemokine CCL18 before therapy and with the Th1-recruiting chemokines CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11 after therapy, suggesting a switch from Th2 to Th1. Inflammation was correlated with OX40L and CD40L gene expression; immunostaining localized these receptors to CCL18-expressing c-Kit+ dendritic cells that clustered together with CD40+OX40+ benign and CD40+CD40L+ malignant T cells, creating a proinflammatory synapse in skin. Our data suggest that visible inflammation in CTCL results from the recruitment and activation of benign T cells by c-Kit+OX40L+CD40L+ dendritic cells and that this activation may provide tumorigenic signals. Targeting c-Kit, OX40, and CD40 signaling may be novel therapeutic avenues for the treatment of MF.
Pablo Vieyra-Garcia, Jack D. Crouch, John T. O’Malley, Edward W. Seger, Chao H. Yang, Jessica E. Teague, Anna Maria Vromans, Ahmed Gehad, Thet Su Win, Zizi Yu, Elizabeth L. Lowry, Jung-Im Na, Alain H. Rook, Peter Wolf, Rachael A. Clark
Host-commensal interactions are critical for the generation of robust inflammatory responses, yet the mechanisms leading to this effect remain poorly understood. Using a murine model of cytokine storm, we identified that host microbiota are required to sustain systemic TLR-driven immune responses. Mice treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics or raised in germ-free conditions responded normally to an initial TLR signal but failed to sustain production of proinflammatory cytokines following administration of repeated TLR signals in vivo. Mechanistically, host microbiota primed JAK signaling in myeloid progenitors to promote TLR-enhanced myelopoiesis, which is required for the accumulation of TLR-responsive monocytes. In the absence of TLR-enhanced monocytopoiesis, antibiotic-treated mice lost their ability to respond to repeated TLR stimuli and were protected from cytokine storm–induced immunopathology. These data reveal priming of TLR-enhanced myelopoiesis as a microbiota-dependent mechanism that regulates systemic inflammatory responses and highlight a role for host commensals in the pathogenesis of cytokine storm syndromes.
Lehn K. Weaver, Danielle Minichino, Chhanda Biswas, Niansheng Chu, Jung-Jin Lee, Kyle Bittinger, Sabrin Albeituni, Kim E. Nichols, Edward M. Behrens
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) is a serious disorder characterized by daytime hypercapnia, disordered breathing, and a reduction in chemosensitivity. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), a bariatric surgical procedure resulting in weight loss and weight-independent improvements in glucose metabolism, has been observed to substantially improve sleep-disordered breathing. However, it is unclear if the ventilatory effects of VSG are secondary to weight loss or the marked change in metabolic physiology. Using preclinical mouse models, we found that VSG leads to an improvement in the hypercapnic ventilatory response (HCVR) and reductions in circulating leptin levels independent of reductions in body mass, fat mass, and caloric intake. In the absence of leptin, VSG continues to improve body mass, fat mass, and glucose tolerance in ob/ob mice but no longer affects HCVR. However, the HCVR of ob/ob mice can be returned to wild-type levels with leptin treatment. These data demonstrate that VSG improves chemosensitivity and ventilatory drive via a leptin-dependent mechanism. Clinically, these data downgrade the relative contribution of physical, mechanical load in the pathogenesis of OHS, and instead point to physiological components of obesity, including alterations in leptin signaling, as key drivers in OHS.
Deanna M. Arble, Alan R. Schwartz, Vsevolod Y. Polotsky, Darleen A. Sandoval, Randy J. Seeley
Obese individuals are often at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular diseases such as angina, thereby requiring combination therapies for their comorbidities. Ranolazine is a second-line antianginal agent that also improves glycemia, and our aim was to determine whether ranolazine modifies the progression of obesity-induced NAFLD. Twelve-week-old C57BL/6J male mice were fed a low-fat or high-fat diet for 10 weeks and then treated for 30 days with either vehicle control or ranolazine (50 mg/kg via daily s.c. injection). Glycemia was monitored via glucose/pyruvate/insulin tolerance testing, whereas in vivo metabolism was assessed via indirect calorimetry. Hepatic triacylglycerol content was quantified via the Bligh and Dyer method. Consistent with previous reports, ranolazine treatment reversed obesity-induced glucose intolerance, which was associated with reduced body weight and hepatic steatosis, as well as increased hepatic pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity. Ranolazine’s actions on hepatic PDH activity may be directly mediated, as ranolazine treatment reduced PDH phosphorylation (indicative of increased PDH activity) in HepG2 cells. Therefore, in addition to mitigating angina, ranolazine also reverses NAFLD, which may contribute to its documented glucose-lowering actions, situating ranolazine as an ideal antianginal therapy for obese patients comorbid for NAFLD and T2D.
Rami Al Batran, Keshav Gopal, Hanin Aburasayn, Amina Eshreif, Malak Almutairi, Amanda A. Greenwell, Scott A. Campbell, Bruno Saleme, Emily A. Court, Farah Eaton, Peter E. Light, Gopinath Sutendra, John R. Ussher
Incidence of HPV+ oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has been increasing dramatically. Although long-term survival rates for these patients are high, they often suffer from permanent radiotherapy-related morbidity. This has prompted the development of de-escalation clinical protocols to reduce morbidity. However, a subset of patients do not respond even to standard therapy and have poor outcomes. It is unclear how to properly identify and treat the high- and low-risk HPV+ OPSCC patients. Since HPV positivity drives radiotherapy sensitivity, we hypothesized that variations in HPV biology may cause differences in treatment response and outcome. By analyzing gene expression data, we identified variations in HPV-related molecules among HPV+ OPSCC. A subset of tumors presented a molecular profile distinct from that of typical HPV+ tumors and exhibited poor treatment response, indicating molecular and clinical similarities with HPV– tumors. These molecular changes were also observed in vitro and correlated with radiation sensitivity. Finally, we developed a prognostic biomarker signature for identification of this subgroup of HPV+ OPSCC and validated it in independent cohorts of oropharyngeal and cervical carcinomas. These findings could translate to improved patient stratification for treatment deintensification and new therapeutic approaches for treatment-resistant HPV-related cancer.
Frederico O. Gleber-Netto, Xiayu Rao, Theresa Guo, Yuanxin Xi, Meng Gao, Li Shen, Kelly Erikson, Nene N. Kalu, Shuling Ren, Guorong Xu, Kathleen M. Fisch, Keiko Akagi, Tanguy Seiwert, Maura Gillison, Mitchell J. Frederick, Faye M. Johnson, Jing Wang, Jeffrey N. Myers, Joseph Califano, Heath D. Skinner, Curtis R. Pickering
Ricin toxin (RT) ranks at the top of the list of bioweapons of concern to civilian and military personnel alike, due to its high potential for morbidity and mortality after inhalation. In nonhuman primates, aerosolized ricin triggers severe acute respiratory distress characterized by perivascular and alveolar edema, neutrophilic infiltration, and severe necrotizing bronchiolitis and alveolitis. There are currently no approved countermeasures for ricin intoxication. Here, we report the therapeutic potential of a humanized mAb against an immunodominant epitope on ricin’s enzymatic A chain (RTA). Rhesus macaques that received i.v. huPB10 4 hours after a lethal dose of ricin aerosol exposure survived toxin challenge, whereas control animals succumbed to ricin intoxication within 30 hours. Antibody intervention at 12 hours resulted in the survival of 1 of 5 monkeys. Changes in proinflammatory cytokine, chemokine, and growth factor profiles in bronchial alveolar lavage fluids before and after toxin challenge successfully clustered animals by treatment group and survival, indicating a relationship between local tissue damage and experimental outcome. This study represents the first demonstration, to our knowledge, in nonhuman primates that the lethal effects of inhalational ricin exposure can be negated by a drug candidate, and it opens up a path forward for product development.
Chad J. Roy, Dylan J. Ehrbar, Natasha Bohorova, Ognian Bohorov, Do Kim, Michael Pauly, Kevin Whaley, Yinghui Rong, Fernando J. Torres-Velez, Ellen S. Vitetta, Peter J. Didier, Lara Doyle-Meyers, Larry Zeitlin, Nicholas J. Mantis
Mucus produced by submucosal glands is a key component of respiratory mucociliary transport (MCT). When it emerges from submucosal gland ducts, mucus forms long strands on the airway surface. However, the function of those strands is uncertain. To test the hypothesis that mucus strands facilitate transport of large particles, we studied newborn pigs. In ex vivo experiments, interconnected mucus strands moved over the airway surface, attached to immobile spheres, and initiated their movement by pulling them. Stimulating submucosal gland secretion with methacholine increased the percentage of spheres that moved and shortened the delay until mucus strands began moving spheres. To disrupt mucus strands, we applied reducing agents tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine and dithiothreitol. They decreased the fraction of moving spheres and delayed initiation of movement for spheres that did move. We obtained similar in vivo results with CT-based tracking of microdisks in spontaneously breathing pigs. Methacholine increased the percentage of microdisks moving and reduced the delay until they were propelled up airways. Aerosolized tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine prevented those effects. Once particles started moving, reducing agents did not alter their speed either ex vivo or in vivo. These findings indicate that submucosal glands produce mucus in the form of strands and that the strands initiate movement of large particles, facilitating their removal from airways.
Anthony J. Fischer, Maria I. Pino-Argumedo, Brieanna M. Hilkin, Cullen R. Shanrock, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Anna L. Chaly, Keyan Zarei, Patrick D. Allen, Lynda S. Ostedgaard, Eric A. Hoffman, David A. Stoltz, Michael J. Welsh, Mahmoud H. Abou Alaiwa
BACKGROUND. The West African Ebola virus epidemic from 2014–2016 highlighted the lack of knowledge about the pathogenicity of the virus and the factors responsible for outcome. A performant and rapid diagnosis is of crucial importance, as is overcoming the difficulty of providing high-quality patient management during such an extensive outbreak. Here, we propose to study the role of the immune mediators during Ebola virus disease and to define some molecules of importance in the outcome. METHODS. Plasma from Guinean patients sampled during the outbreak were analyzed using RT-qPCR, magnetic bead assay, ELISA, and high-quality statistical analyses. We also performed a transcriptomic analysis in leukocytes samples. Therefore, we deeply characterized the immune responses involved in Ebola virus disease. RESULTS. We evaluated the immune patterns depending on the outcome of the disease. Survivors presented an efficient and well-balanced immune response, whereas fatalities were characterized by an intense inflammatory response, overexpression of multiple cytokines, and a “chemokine storm.” The plasma concentration of most of the parameters tested increased until death. Statistical analyses also allowed us to define a panel of markers highly predictive of outcome. CONCLUSION. The immune response observed in fatalities was highly similar to that characterizing septic shock syndrome. Our results suggest that immune responses can play a major pathogenic role during severe Ebola virus infection and argue in favor of therapeutic approaches that act on both viral replication and the induction of shock syndrome. FUNDING. French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agence Française de Développement, and the Institut Pasteur.
Stéphanie Reynard, Alexandra Journeaux, Emilie Gloaguen, Justine Schaeffer, Hugo Varet, Natalia Pietrosemoli, Mathieu Mateo, Nicolas Baillet, Cédric Laouenan, Hervé Raoul, Jimmy Mullaert, Sylvain Baize
The extracellular matrix (ECM) in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) drives fibrosis progression; however, the ECM composition of the fibroblastic focus (the hallmark lesion in IPF) and adjacent regions remains incompletely defined. Herein, we serially sectioned IPF lung specimens constructed into tissue microarrays and immunostained for ECM components reported to be deregulated in IPF. Immunostained sections were imaged, anatomically aligned, and 3D reconstructed. The myofibroblast core of the fibroblastic focus (defined by collagen I, α-smooth muscle actin, and procollagen I immunoreactivity) was associated with collagens III, IV, V, and VI; fibronectin; hyaluronan; and versican immunoreactivity. Hyaluronan immunoreactivity was also present at the fibroblastic focus perimeter and at sites where early lesions appear to be forming. Fibrinogen immunoreactivity was often observed at regions of damaged epithelium lining the airspace and the perimeter of the myofibroblast core but was absent from the myofibroblast core itself. The ECM components of the fibroblastic focus were distributed in a characteristic and reproducible manner in multiple patients. This information can inform the development of high-fidelity model systems to dissect mechanisms by which the IPF ECM drives fibrosis progression.
Jeremy Herrera, Colleen Forster, Thomas Pengo, Angeles Montero, Joe Swift, Martin A. Schwartz, Craig A. Henke, Peter B. Bitterman
Exercise and heart disease both induce cardiac remodeling, but only disease causes fibrosis and compromises heart function. The cardioprotective benefits of exercise have been attributed to changes in cardiomyocyte physiology, but the impact of exercise on cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) is unknown. Here, RNA-sequencing reveals rapid divergence of CF transcriptional programs during exercise and disease. Among the differentially expressed programs, NRF2-dependent antioxidant genes — including metallothioneins (Mt1 and Mt2) — are induced in CFs during exercise and suppressed by TGF-β/p38 signaling in disease. In vivo, mice lacking Mt1/2 exhibit signs of cardiac dysfunction in exercise, including cardiac fibrosis, vascular rarefaction, and functional decline. Mechanistically, exogenous MTs derived from fibroblasts are taken up by cultured cardiomyocytes, reducing oxidative damage–dependent cell death. Importantly, suppression of MT expression is conserved in human heart failure. Taken together, this study defines the acute transcriptional response of CFs to exercise and disease and reveals a cardioprotective mechanism that is lost in disease.
Janet K. Lighthouse, Ryan M. Burke, Lissette S. Velasquez, Ronald A. Dirkx Jr., Alessandro Aiezza II, Christine S. Moravec, Jeffrey D. Alexis, Alex Rosenberg, Eric M. Small