In this issue, Xinyi Wang and colleagues use multiple models of kidney injury to show that IL-10 mediates protection against renal fibrosis via induction of high-molecular weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA). Together, the results of this study identify cytoprotective and antifibrotic effects of IL-10-induced HMW-HA that have potential to be therapeutically exploited. The cover image shows upregulation of hyaluronan-binding protein (HABP, brown) in murine kidney following unilateral ureteral obstruction.
BACKGROUND PD-1 and PD-L1 have been studied interchangeably in the clinic as checkpoints to reinvigorate T cells in diverse tumor types. Data for biologic effects of checkpoint blockade in human premalignancy are limited.METHODS We analyzed the immunologic effects of PD-L1 blockade in a clinical trial of atezolizumab in patients with asymptomatic multiple myeloma (AMM), a precursor to clinical malignancy. Genomic signatures of PD-L1 blockade in purified monocytes and T cells in vivo were also compared with those following PD-1 blockade in lung cancer patients. Effects of PD-L1 blockade on monocyte-derived DCs were analyzed to better understand its effects on myeloid antigen-presenting cells.RESULTS In contrast to anti–PD-1 therapy, anti–PD-L1 therapy led to a distinct inflammatory signature in CD14+ monocytes and increase in myeloid-derived cytokines (e.g., IL-18) in vivo. Treatment of AMM patients with atezolizumab led to rapid activation and expansion of circulating myeloid cells, which persisted in the BM. Blockade of PD-L1 on purified monocyte-derived DCs led to rapid inflammasome activation and synergized with CD40L-driven DC maturation, leading to greater antigen-specific T cell expansion.CONCLUSION These data show that PD-L1 blockade leads to distinct systemic immunologic effects compared with PD-1 blockade in vivo in humans, particularly manifest as rapid myeloid activation. These findings also suggest an additional role for PD-L1 as a checkpoint for regulating inflammatory phenotype of myeloid cells and antigen presentation in DCs, which may be harnessed to improve PD-L1–based combination therapies.TRIAL REGISTRATION NCT02784483.FUNDING This work is supported, in part, by funds from NIH/NCI (NCI CA197603, CA238471, and CA208328).
Noffar Bar, Federica Costa, Rituparna Das, Alyssa Duffy, Mehmet Samur, Samuel McCachren, Scott N. Gettinger, Natalia Neparidze, Terri L. Parker, Jithendra Kini Bailur, Katherine Pendleton, Richa Bajpai, Lin Zhang, Mina L. Xu, Tara Anderson, Nicola Giuliani, Ajay Nooka, Hearn J. Cho, Aparna Raval, Mala Shanmugam, Kavita M. Dhodapkar, Madhav V. Dhodapkar
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder caused by reduced expression of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMN has key functions in multiple RNA pathways, including the biogenesis of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins that are essential components of both major (U2-dependent) and minor (U12-dependent) spliceosomes. Here we investigated the specific contribution of U12 splicing dysfunction to SMA pathology through selective restoration of this RNA pathway in mouse models of varying phenotypic severity. We show that virus-mediated delivery of minor snRNA genes specifically improves select U12 splicing defects induced by SMN deficiency in cultured mammalian cells, as well as in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia of SMA mice without increasing SMN expression. This approach resulted in a moderate amelioration of several parameters of the disease phenotype in SMA mice, including survival, weight gain, and motor function. Importantly, minor snRNA gene delivery improved aberrant splicing of the U12 intron–containing gene Stasimon and rescued the severe loss of proprioceptive sensory synapses on SMA motor neurons, which are early signatures of motor circuit dysfunction in mouse models. Taken together, these findings establish the direct contribution of U12 splicing dysfunction to synaptic deafferentation and motor circuit pathology in SMA.
Erkan Y. Osman, Meaghan Van Alstyne, Pei-Fen Yen, Francesco Lotti, Zhihua Feng, Karen K.Y. Ling, Chien-Ping Ko, Livio Pellizzoni, Christian L. Lorson
The mortality of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction is linearly related to the infarct size. As regeneration of cardiomyocytes from cardiac progenitor cells is minimal in the mammalian adult heart, we have explored a new therapeutic approach, which leverages the capacity of nanomaterials to release chemicals over time to promote myocardial protection and infarct size reduction. Initial screening identified 2 chemicals, FGF1 and CHIR99021 (a Wnt1 agonist/GSK-3β antagonist), which synergistically enhance cardiomyocyte cell cycle in vitro. Poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid nanoparticles (NPs) formulated with CHIR99021 and FGF1 (CHIR + FGF1-NPs) provided an effective slow-release system for up to 4 weeks. Intramyocardial injection of CHIR + FGF1-NPs enabled myocardial protection via reducing infarct size by 20%–30% in mouse or pig models of postinfarction left ventricular (LV) remodeling. This LV structural improvement was accompanied by preservation of cardiac contractile function. Further investigation revealed that CHIR + FGF1-NPs resulted in a reduction of cardiomyocyte apoptosis and increase of angiogenesis. Thus, using a combination of chemicals and an NP-based prolonged-release system that works synergistically, this study demonstrates a potentially novel therapy for LV infarct size reduction in hearts with acute myocardial infarction.
Chengming Fan, Yasin Oduk, Meng Zhao, Xi Lou, Yawen Tang, Danielle Pretorius, Mani T. Valarmathi, Gregory P. Walcott, Jinfu Yang, Philippe Menasche, Prasanna Krishnamurthy, Wuqiang Zhu, Jianyi Zhang
Produced by senescent cells, the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) is a potential driver of age-related dysfunction. We tested whether circulating concentrations of SASP proteins reflect age and medical risk in humans. We first screened senescent endothelial cells, fibroblasts, preadipocytes, epithelial cells, and myoblasts to identify candidates for human profiling. We then tested associations between circulating SASP proteins and clinical data from individuals throughout the life span and older adults undergoing surgery for prevalent but distinct age-related diseases. A community-based sample of people aged 20–90 years (retrospective cross-sectional) was studied to test associations between circulating SASP factors and chronological age. A subset of this cohort aged 60–90 years and separate cohorts of older adults undergoing surgery for severe aortic stenosis (prospective longitudinal) or ovarian cancer (prospective case-control) were studied to assess relationships between circulating concentrations of SASP proteins and biological age (determined by the accumulation of age-related health deficits) and/or postsurgical outcomes. We showed that SASP proteins were positively associated with age, frailty, and adverse postsurgery outcomes. A panel of 7 SASP factors composed of growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), TNF receptor superfamily member 6 (FAS), osteopontin (OPN), TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1), ACTIVIN A, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (CCL3), and IL-15 predicted adverse events markedly better than a single SASP protein or age. Our findings suggest that the circulating SASP may serve as a clinically useful candidate biomarker of age-related health and a powerful tool for interventional human studies.
Marissa J. Schafer, Xu Zhang, Amanika Kumar, Elizabeth J. Atkinson, Yi Zhu, Sarah Jachim, Daniel L. Mazula, Ashley K. Brown, Michelle Berning, Zaira Aversa, Brian Kotajarvi, Charles J. Bruce, Kevin L. Greason, Rakesh M. Suri, Russell P. Tracy, Steven R. Cummings, Thomas A. White, Nathan K. LeBrasseur
Mechanisms of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell–mediated antitumor immunity and toxicity remain poorly characterized because few studies examine the intact tumor microenvironment (TME) following CAR T cell infusion. Axicabtagene ciloleucel is an autologous anti-CD19 CAR T cell therapy approved for patients with large B cell lymphoma. We devised multiplex immunostaining and ISH assays to interrogate CAR T cells and other immune cell infiltrates in biopsies of diffuse large B cell lymphoma following axicabtagene ciloleucel infusion. We found that a majority of intratumoral CAR T cells expressed markers of T cell activation but, unexpectedly, constituted ≤5% of all T cells within the TME 5 days or more after therapy. Large numbers of T cells without CAR were also activated within the TME after axicabtagene ciloleucel infusion; these cells were positive for Ki-67, IFN-γ, granzyme B (GzmB), and/or PD-1 and were found at the highest levels in biopsies with CAR T cells. Additionally, non-CAR immune cells were the exclusive source of IL-6, a cytokine associated with cytokine release syndrome, and were found at their highest numbers in biopsies with CAR T cells. These data suggest that intratumoral CAR T cells are associated with non-CAR immune cell activation within the TME with both beneficial and pathological effects.
Pei-Hsuan Chen, Mikel Lipschitz, Jason L. Weirather, Caron Jacobson, Philippe Armand, Kyle Wright, F. Stephen Hodi, Zachary J. Roberts, Stuart A. Sievers, John Rossi, Adrian Bot, William Go, Scott J. Rodig
The CD47/signal regulatory protein α (Cd47/SIRPα)interaction provides a macrophage immune checkpoint pathway that plays a critical role in cancer immune evasion across multiple cancers. Here, we report the engineering of a humanized anti-SIRPα monoclonal antibody (1H9) for antibody target cancer therapy. 1H9 has broad activity across a wide range of SIRPα variants. Binding of 1H9 to SIRPα blocks its interaction with CD47, thereby promoting macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of cancer cells. Preclinical studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrate that 1H9 synergizes with other therapeutic antibodies to promote phagocytosis of tumor cells and inhibit tumor growth in both syngeneic and xenograft tumor models, leading to survival benefit. Thus, 1H9 can potentially act as a universal agent to enhance therapeutic efficacy when used in combination with most tumor-targeting antibodies. We report a comparison of anti-SIRPα and anti-CD47 antibodies in CD47/SIRPα double-humanized mice and found that 1H9 exhibits a substantially reduced antigen sink effect due to the limited tissue distribution of SIRPα expression. Toxicokinetic studies in nonhuman primates show that 1H9 is well tolerated, with no treatment-related adverse effects noted. These data highlight the clinical potential of 1H9 as a pan-therapeutic with the desired properties when used in combination with tumor-targeting antibodies.
Jie Liu, Seethu Xavy, Shirley Mihardja, Sharline Chen, Kavitha Sompalli, Dongdong Feng, Timothy Choi, Balaji Agoram, Ravindra Majeti, Irving L. Weissman, Jens-Peter Volkmer
Oxidative stress and inadequate redox homeostasis is crucial for tumor initiation and progression. MTH1 (NUDT1) enzyme prevents incorporation of oxidized dNTPs by sanitizing the deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pool and is therefore vital for the survival of tumor cells. MTH1 inhibition has been found to inhibit the growth of several experimental tumors, but its role in mesothelioma progression remained elusive. Moreover, although MTH1 is nonessential to normal cells, its role in survival of host cells in tumor milieu, especially tumor endothelium, is unclear. We validated a clinically relevant MTH1 inhibitor (Karonudib) in mesothelioma treatment using human xenografts and syngeneic murine models. We show that MTH1 inhibition impedes mesothelioma progression and that inherent tumoral MTH1 levels are associated with a tumor’s response. We also identified tumor endothelial cells as selective targets of Karonudib and propose a model of intercellular signaling among tumor cells and bystander tumor endothelium. We finally determined the major biological processes associated with elevated MTH1 gene expression in human mesotheliomas.
Sophia F. Magkouta, Apostolos G. Pappas, Photene C. Vaitsi, Panagiotis C. Agioutantis, Ioannis S. Pateras, Charalampos A. Moschos, Marianthi P. Iliopoulou, Chrysavgi N. Kosti, Heleni V. Loutrari, Vassilis G. Gorgoulis, Ioannis T. Kalomenidis
Detecting, characterizing, and monitoring rare populations of cells can increase testing sensitivity, give insight into disease mechanism, and inform clinical decision making. One area that can benefit from increased resolution is management of cancers in clinical remission but with measurable residual disease (MRD) by multicolor FACS. Detecting and monitoring genomic clonal resistance to treatment in the setting of MRD is technically difficult and resource intensive due to the limited amounts of disease cells. Here, we describe limited-cell FACS sequencing (LC-FACSeq), a reproducible, highly sensitive method of characterizing clonal evolution in rare cells relevant to different types of acute and chronic leukemias. We demonstrate the utility of LC-FACSeq for broad multigene gene panels and its application for monitoring sequential acquisition of mutations conferring therapy resistance and clonal evolution in long-term ibrutinib treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This technique is generalizable for monitoring of other blood and marrow infiltrating cancers.
Eileen Y. Hu, James S. Blachly, Caner Saygin, Hatice G. Ozer, Stephanie E. Workman, Arletta Lozanski, Tzyy-Jye Doong, Chi-Ling Chiang, Seema Bhat, Kerry A. Rogers, Jennifer A. Woyach, Kevin R. Coombes, Daniel Jones, Natarajan Muthusamy, Gerard Lozanski, John C. Byrd
The RV144 HIV-1 vaccine trial results showed moderate reduction in viral infections among vaccinees as well as induction of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and vaccine-specific IgG and IgG3 responses directed at variable loop regions 1 and 2 of the HIV envelope protein. However, with the recent failure of the HVTN 702 clinical trial, comprehensive profiling of humoral immune responses may provide insight for these disappointing results. One of the changes included in the HVTN 702 study was the addition of a late boost, aimed at augmenting peak immunity and durability. The companion vaccine trial RV305 was designed to permit the evaluation of the immunologic impact of late boosting with either the boosting protein antigen alone, the canarypox viral vector ALVAC alone, or a combination of both. Although previous data showed elevated levels of IgG antibodies in both boosting arms, regardless of ALVAC-HIV vector incorporation, the effect on shaping antibody effector function remains unclear. Thus, here we analyzed the antibody and functional profile induced by RV305 boosting regimens and found that although IgG1 levels increased in both arms that included protein boosting, IgG3 levels were reduced compared with the original RV144 vaccine strategy. Most functional responses increased upon protein boosting, regardless of the viral vector-priming agent incorporation. These data suggest that the addition of a late protein boost alone is sufficient to increase functionally potent vaccine-specific antibodies previously associated with reduced risk of infection with HIV.
Stephanie Fischinger, Sally Shin, Carolyn M. Boudreau, Margaret Ackerman, Supachai Rerks-Ngarm, Punnee Pitisuttithum, Sorachai Nitayaphan, Jerome H. Kim, Merlin L. Robb, Nelson L. Michael, Robert J. O’Connell, Sandhya Vasan, Hendrik Streeck, Galit Alter
The autosomal codominant genetic disorder alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency (AATD) causes pulmonary and liver disease. Individuals homozygous for the mutant Z allele accumulate polymers of Z-AAT protein in hepatocytes, where AAT is primarily produced. This accumulation causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, oxidative stress, damage to mitochondria, and inflammation, leading to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The magnitude of AAT reduction and duration of response from first-generation intravenously administered RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic ARC-AAT and then with next-generation subcutaneously administered ARO-AAT were assessed by measuring AAT protein in serum of the PiZ transgenic mouse model and human volunteers. The impact of Z-AAT reduction by RNAi on liver disease phenotypes was evaluated in PiZ mice by measuring polymeric Z-AAT in the liver; expression of genes associated with fibrosis, autophagy, apoptosis, and redox regulation; inflammation; Z-AAT globule parameters; and tumor formation. Ultrastructure of the ER, mitochondria, and autophagosomes in hepatocytes was evaluated by electron microscopy. In mice, sustained RNAi treatment reduced hepatic Z-AAT polymer, restored ER and mitochondrial health, normalized expression of disease-associated genes, reduced inflammation, and prevented tumor formation. RNAi therapy holds promise for the treatment of patients with AATD-associated liver disease. ARO-AAT is currently in phase II/III clinical trials.
Christine I. Wooddell, Keith Blomenkamp, Ryan M. Peterson, Vladimir M. Subbotin, Christian Schwabe, James Hamilton, Qili Chu, Dawn R. Christianson, Julia O. Hegge, John Kolbe, Holly L. Hamilton, Maria F. Branca-Afrazi, Bruce D. Given, David L. Lewis, Edward Gane, Steven B. Kanner, Jeffrey H. Teckman
Dysregulated healing of injured mucosa is a hallmark of many pathological conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. Mucosal injury and chronic intestinal inflammation are also associated with alterations in epithelial glycosylation. Previous studies have revealed that inflammation-induced glycan sialyl Lewis A on epithelial CD44v6 acts as a ligand for transmigrating PMNs. Here we report that robust sialylated Lewis glycan expression was induced in colonic mucosa from individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease as well as in the colonic epithelium of mice with colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Targeting of sialylated epithelial Lewis glycans with mAb GM35 reduced disease activity and improved mucosal integrity during DSS-induced colitis in mice. Wound healing studies revealed increased epithelial proliferation and migration responses as well as improved mucosal repair after ligation of epithelial sialyl Lewis glycans. Finally, we showed that GM35-mediated increases in epithelial proliferation and migration were mediated through activation of kinases that signal downstream of CD44v6 (Src, FAK, Akt). These findings suggest that sialylated Lewis glycans on CD44v6 represent epithelial targets for improved recovery of intestinal barrier function and restitution of mucosal homeostasis after inflammation or injury.
Matthias Kelm, Miguel Quiros, Veronica Azcutia, Kevin Boerner, Richard D. Cummings, Asma Nusrat, Jennifer C. Brazil, Charles A. Parkos
Refractory neonatal seizures do not respond to first-line antiseizure medications like phenobarbital (PB), a positive allosteric modulator for GABAA receptors. GABAA receptor–mediated inhibition is dependent upon electroneutral cation-chloride transporter KCC2, which mediates neuronal chloride extrusion and its age-dependent increase and postnatally shifts GABAergic signaling from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing. Brain-derived neurotropic factor–tyrosine receptor kinase B activation (BDNF–TrkB activation) after excitotoxic injury recruits downstream targets like PLCγ1, leading to KCC2 hypofunction. Here, the antiseizure efficacy of TrkB agonists LM22A-4, HIOC, and deoxygedunin (DG) on PB-refractory seizures and postischemic TrkB pathway activation was investigated in a mouse model (CD-1, P7) of refractory neonatal seizures. LM, a BDNF loop II mimetic, rescued PB-refractory seizures in a sexually dimorphic manner. Efficacy was associated with a substantial reduction in the postischemic phosphorylation of TrkB at Y816, a site known to mediate postischemic KCC2 hypofunction via PLCγ1 activation. LM rescued ischemia-induced phospho–KCC2-S940 dephosphorylation, preserving its membrane stability. Full TrkB agonists HIOC and DG similarly rescued PB refractoriness. Chemogenetic inactivation of TrkB substantially reduced postischemic neonatal seizure burdens at P7. Sex differences identified in developmental expression profiles of TrkB and KCC2 may underlie the sexually dimorphic efficacy of LM. These results support a potentially novel role for the TrkB receptor in the emergence of age-dependent refractory neonatal seizures.
Pavel A. Kipnis, Brennan J. Sullivan, Brandon M. Carter, Shilpa D. Kadam
Type I IFN (IFN-I) production by plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) occurs during acute HIV-1 infection in response to TLR7 stimulation, but the role of pDC-derived IFN-I in controlling or promoting HIV-1 infection is ambiguous. We report here a sex-biased interferogenic phenotype for a frequent single-nucleotide polymorphism of human TLR7, rs179008, displaying an impact on key parameters of acute HIV-1 infection. We show allele rs179008 T to determine lower TLR7 protein abundance in cells from women, specifically — likely by diminishing TLR7 mRNA translation efficiency through codon usage. The hypomorphic TLR7 phenotype is mirrored by decreased TLR7-driven IFN-I production by female pDCs. Among women from the French ANRS PRIMO cohort of acute HIV-1 patients, carriage of allele rs179008 T associated with lower viremia, cell-associated HIV-1 DNA, and CXCL10 (IP-10) plasma concentrations. RNA viral load was decreased by 0.85 log10 (95% CI, −1.51 to −0.18) among T/T homozygotes, who also exhibited a lower frequency of acute symptoms. TLR7 emerges as an important control locus for acute HIV-1 viremia, and the clinical phenotype for allele rs179008 T, carried by 30%–50% of European women, supports a beneficial effect of toning down TLR7-driven IFN-I production by pDCs during acute HIV-1 infection.
Pascal Azar, José Enrique Mejía, Claire Cenac, Arnoo Shaiykova, Ali Youness, Sophie Laffont, Asma Essat, Jacques Izopet, Caroline Passaes, Michaela Müller-Trutwin, Pierre Delobel, Laurence Meyer, Jean-Charles Guéry
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) regulate immunity through myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which are a heterogeneous population of immature myeloid cells with phenotypic and functional diversity. Herein, we identified a distinct subset of MDSCs induced by MSCs in the BM under inflammatory conditions. MSCs directed the differentiation of Ly6Glo BM cells from CD11bhiLy6Chi cells to CD11bmidLy6Cmid cells both in cell contact–independent and –dependent manners upon GM-CSF stimulation in vitro and in mice with experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). RNA-Seq indicated that MSC-induced CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells had a distinct transcriptome profile from CD11bhiLy6ChiLy6Glo cells. Phenotypic, molecular, and functional analyses showed that CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells differed from CD11bhiLy6ChiLy6Glo cells by low expression of MHC class II and costimulatory molecules and proinflammatory cytokines, high production of immunoregulatory molecules, lack of change in response to LPS, and inhibition of T cell proliferation and activation. Consequently, adoptive transfer of MSC-induced CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells significantly attenuated the development of EAU in mice. Further mechanistic study revealed that suppression of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and HGF secretion in MSCs by siRNA transfection partially reversed the effects of MSCs on MDSC differentiation. Altogether, data demonstrate that MSCs drive the differentiation of BM cells toward CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo MDSCs, in part through HGF and COX-2/PGE2, leading to resolution of ocular autoimmune inflammation.
Hyun Ju Lee, Jung Hwa Ko, Hyeon Ji Kim, Hyun Jeong Jeong, Joo Youn Oh
BACKGROUND Prediction of adverse outcomes in cerebral malaria (CM) is difficult. We hypothesized that cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels would facilitate identification of severe and potentially fatal CM cases.METHODS In this retrospective study, plasma from Malawian children with CM (n = 134), uncomplicated malaria (UM, n = 77), and healthy controls (HC, n = 60) was assayed for cfDNA using a fluorescence assay. Host and parasite cfDNA was measured by quantitative PCR. Immune markers were determined by ELISA, Luminex, or cytometric bead array.RESULTS Total cfDNA increased with malaria severity (HC versus UM, P < 0.001; HC versus CM, P < 0.0001; UM versus CM, P < 0.0001), was elevated in retinopathy-positive (Ret+) CM relative to Ret– CM (7.66 versus 5.47 ng/μL, P = 0.027), and differentiated Ret+ fatal cases from survivors (AUC 0.779; P < 0.001). cfDNA levels in patients with non–malarial febrile illness (NMF, P = 0.25) and non–malarial coma (NMC, P = 0.99) were comparable with UM. Host DNA, rather than parasite DNA, was the major cfDNA contributor (UM, 268 versus 67 pg/μL; CM, 2824 versus 463 pg/μL). Host and parasite cfDNA distinguished CM by retinopathy (host, AUC 0.715, P = 0.0001; parasite, AUC 0.745, P = 0.0001), but only host cfDNA distinguished fatal cases (AUC 0.715, P = 0.0001). Total cfDNA correlated with neutrophil markers IL-8 (rs = 0.433, P < 0.0001) and myeloperoxidase (rs = 0.683, P < 0.0001).CONCLUSION Quantifying plasma cfDNA is a simple assay useful in identifying children at risk for fatal outcome and has promise as a point-of-care assay. Elevated cfDNA suggests a link with host inflammatory pathways in fatal CM.FUNDING NIH NCATS (AK), Burroughs-Wellcome (AK), and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (SJR).
Iset Medina Vera, Anne Kessler, Li-Min Ting, Visopo Harawa, Thomas Keller, Dylan Allen, Madi Njie, McKenze Moss, Monica Soko, Ajisa Ahmadu, Innocent Kadwala, Stephen Ray, Tonney S. Nyirenda, Wilson L. Mandala, Terrie E. Taylor, Stephen J. Rogerson, Karl B. Seydel, Kami Kim
Renal fibrosis features exaggerated inflammation, extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, and peritubular capillary loss. We previously showed that IL-10 stimulates high–molecular weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA) expression by fibroblasts, and we hypothesize that HMW-HA attenuates renal fibrosis by reducing inflammation and ECM remodeling. We studied the effects of IL-10 overexpression on HA production and scarring in mouse models of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) and ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) to investigate whether IL-10 antifibrotic effects are HA dependent. C57BL/6J mice were fed with the HA synthesis inhibitor, 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU), before UUO. We observed that in vivo injury increased intratubular spaces, ECM deposition, and HA expression at day 7 and onward. IL-10 overexpression reduced renal fibrosis in both models, promoted HMW-HA synthesis and stability in UUO, and regulated cell proliferation in I/R. 4-MU inhibited IL-10–driven antifibrotic effects, indicating that HMW-HA is necessary for cytokine-mediated reduction of fibrosis. We also found that IL-10 induces in vitro HMW-HA production by renal fibroblasts via STAT3-dependent upregulation of HA synthase 2. We propose that IL-10–induced HMW-HA synthesis plays cytoprotective and antifibrotic roles in kidney injury, thereby revealing an effective strategy to attenuate renal fibrosis in obstructive and ischemic pathologies.
Xinyi Wang, Swathi Balaji, Emily H. Steen, Alexander J. Blum, Hui Li, Christina K. Chan, Scott R. Manson, Thomas C. Lu, Meredith M. Rae, Paul F. Austin, Thomas N. Wight, Paul L. Bollyky, Jizhong Cheng, Sundeep G. Keswani
In pulmonary hypertension and certain forms of congenital heart disease, ventricular pressure overload manifests at birth and is an obligate hemodynamic abnormality that stimulates myocardial fibrosis, which leads to ventricular dysfunction and poor clinical outcomes. Thus, an attractive strategy is to attenuate the myocardial fibrosis to help preserve ventricular function. Here, by analyzing RNA-sequencing databases and comparing the transcript and protein levels of fibrillar collagen in WT and global-knockout mice, we found that slit guidance ligand 3 (SLIT3) was present predominantly in fibrillar collagen–producing cells and that SLIT3 deficiency attenuated collagen production in the heart and other nonneuronal tissues. We then performed transverse aortic constriction or pulmonary artery banding to induce left and right ventricular pressure overload, respectively, in WT and knockout mice. We discovered that SLIT3 deficiency abrogated fibrotic and hypertrophic changes and promoted long-term ventricular function and overall survival in both left and right ventricular pressure overload. Furthermore, we found that SLIT3 stimulated fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen production, which coincided with the transcription and nuclear localization of the mechanotransducer yes-associated protein 1. These results indicate that SLIT3 is important for regulating fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen synthesis in an autocrine manner, making it a potential therapeutic target for fibrotic diseases, especially myocardial fibrosis and adverse remodeling induced by persistent afterload elevation.
Lianghui Gong, Shuyun Wang, Li Shen, Catherine Liu, Mena Shenouda, Baolei Li, Xiaoxiao Liu, John A. Shaw, Alan L. Wineman, Yifeng Yang, Dingding Xiong, Anne Eichmann, Sylvia M. Evans, Stephen J. Weiss, Ming-Sing Si
Colitis is associated with the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) by largely undefined mechanisms that are critical for understanding the link between inflammation and cancer. Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) marked by leucine-rich repeat–containing G protein–coupled receptor 5 (LGR5) expression are of importance in both the inflammatory response to colitis and progression to colitis-associated colon cancer (CACC). Here, we report in human mucin 1–transgenic (MUC1-transgenic) mouse models of CACC, targeting the MUC1-C oncogenic protein suppresses the (a) Lgr5+ ISC population, (b) induction of Myc and core pluripotency stem cell factors, and (c) severity and progression of colitis to dysplasia and cancer. By extension to human colon cancer cells, we demonstrate that MUC1-C drives MYC, forms a complex with MYC on the LGR5 promoter, and activates LGR5 expression. We also show in CRC cells that MUC1-C induces cancer stem cell (CSC) markers (BMI1, ALDH1, FOXA1, LIN28B) and the OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG pluripotency factors. Consistent with conferring the CSC state, targeting MUC1-C suppresses the capacity of CRC cells to promote wound healing, invasion, self-renewal, and tumorigenicity. In analysis of human tissues, MUC1 expression associates with activation of inflammatory pathways, development of colitis, and aggressiveness of CRCs. These results collectively indicate that MUC1-C is of importance for integrating stemness and pluripotency in colitis and CRC. Of clinical relevance, the findings further indicate that MUC1-C represents a potentially previously unrecognized target that is druggable for treating progression of colitis and CRC.
Wei Li, Ning Zhang, Caining Jin, Mark D. Long, Hasan Rajabi, Yota Yasumizu, Atsushi Fushimi, Nami Yamashita, Masayuki Hagiwara, Rongbin Zheng, Jin Wang, Ling Kui, Harpal Singh, Surender Kharbanda, Qiang Hu, Song Liu, Donald Kufe
BACKGROUND Malaria pathogenicity is determined, in part, by the adherence of Plasmodium falciparum–infected erythrocytes to the microvasculature mediated via specific interactions between P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein (PfEMP1) variant domains and host endothelial receptors. Naturally acquired antibodies against specific PfEMP1 variants can play an important role in clinical protection against malaria.METHODS We evaluated IgG responses against a repertoire of PfEMP1 CIDR domain variants to determine the rate and order of variant-specific antibody acquisition and their association with protection against febrile malaria in a prospective cohort study conducted in an area of intense, seasonal malaria transmission.RESULTS Using longitudinal data, we found that IgG antibodies against the pathogenic domain variants CIDRα1.7 and CIDRα1.8 were acquired the earliest. Furthermore, IgG antibodies against CIDRγ3 were associated with reduced prospective risk of febrile malaria and recurrent malaria episodes.CONCLUSION This study provides evidence that acquisition of IgG antibodies against PfEMP1 variants is ordered and demonstrates that antibodies against CIDRα1 domains are acquired the earliest in children residing in an area of intense, seasonal malaria transmission. Future studies will need to validate these findings in other transmission settings and determine the functional activity of these naturally acquired CIDR variant–specific antibodies.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01322581.FUNDING Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH.
Nyamekye Obeng-Adjei, Daniel B. Larremore, Louise Turner, Aissata Ongoiba, Shanping Li, Safiatou Doumbo, Takele B. Yazew, Kassoum Kayentao, Louis H. Miller, Boubacar Traore, Susan K. Pierce, Caroline O. Buckee, Thomas Lavstsen, Peter D. Crompton, Tuan M. Tran
Abnormal subretinal neovascularization is a characteristic of vision-threatening retinal diseases, including macular telangiectasia (MacTel) and retinal angiomatous proliferation (RAP). Subretinal neovascular tufts and photoreceptor dysfunction are observed in very-low-density lipoprotein receptor (Vldlr–/–) mutant mice. These changes mirror those observed in patients with MacTel and RAP, but the pathogenesis is largely unknown. In this study, we show that retinal microglia were closely associated with retinal neovascular tufts in Vldlr–/– mice and retinal tissue from patients with MacTel; ablation of microglia/macrophages dramatically prevented formation of retinal neovascular tufts and improved neuronal function, as assessed by electroretinography. Vldlr–/– mice with retinal pigmented epithelium–specific (RPE-specific) Vegfa had greatly reduced subretinal infiltration of microglia/macrophages, subsequently reducing neovascular tufts. These findings highlight the contribution of microglia/macrophages to the pathogenesis of neovascularization, provide valuable clues regarding potential causative cellular mechanisms for subretinal neovascularization in patients with MacTel and RAP and suggest that targeting microglia activation may be a therapeutic option in these diseases.
Ayumi Usui-Ouchi, Yoshihiko Usui, Toshihide Kurihara, Edith Aguilar, Michael I. Dorrell, Yoichiro Ideguchi, Susumu Sakimoto, Stephen Bravo, Martin Friedlander
Imprinted genes are highly expressed in the hypothalamus; however, whether specific imprinted genes affect hypothalamic neuromodulators and their functions is unknown. It has been suggested that Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS), a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by lack of paternal expression at chromosome 15q11–q13, is characterized by hypothalamic insufficiency. Here, we investigate the role of the paternally expressed Snord116 gene within the context of sleep and metabolic abnormalities of PWS, and we report a significant role of this imprinted gene in the function and organization of the 2 main neuromodulatory systems of the lateral hypothalamus (LH) — namely, the orexin (OX) and melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) — systems. We observed that the dynamics between neuronal discharge in the LH and the sleep-wake states of mice with paternal deletion of Snord116 (PWScrm+/p–) are compromised. This abnormal state–dependent neuronal activity is paralleled by a significant reduction in OX neurons in the LH of mutant mice. Therefore, we propose that an imbalance between OX- and MCH-expressing neurons in the LH of mutant mice reflects a series of deficits manifested in the PWS, such as dysregulation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, food intake, and temperature control.
Marta Pace, Matteo Falappa, Andrea Freschi, Edoardo Balzani, Chiara Berteotti, Viviana Lo Martire, Fatemeh Kaveh, Eivind Hovig, Giovanna Zoccoli, Roberto Amici, Matteo Cerri, Alfonso Urbanucci, Valter Tucci
Acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) remains a major impediment to successful allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). To solve this problem, a greater knowledge of factors that regulate the differentiation of donor T cells toward cytotoxic cells or Tregs is necessary. We report that the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) is critical for regulating this differentiation and that its manipulation can control aGvHD without impairing the graft-versus-tumor (GvT) effect. Donor T cell β2-AR expression and signaling is associated with decreased aGvHD when compared with recipients of β2-AR–/– donor T cells. We determined that β2-AR activation skewed CD4+ T cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo toward Tregs rather than the T helper 1 (Th1) phenotype. Treatment of allo-HCT recipients with a selective β2-agonist (bambuterol) ameliorated aGvHD severity. This was associated with increased Tregs, decreased cytotoxic T cells, and increased donor BM–derived myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in allogeneic and humanized xenogeneic aGvHD models. β2-AR signaling resulted in increased Treg generation through glycogen synthase kinase-3 activation. Bambuterol preserved the GvT effect by inducing NKG2D+ effector cells and central memory T cells. These data reveal how β-AR signaling can be targeted to ameliorate GvHD severity while preserving GvT effect.
Hemn Mohammadpour, Joseph L. Sarow, Cameron R. MacDonald, George L. Chen, Jingxin Qiu, Umesh C. Sharma, Xuefang Cao, Megan M. Herr, Theresa E. Hahn, Bruce R. Blazar, Elizabeth A. Repasky, Philip L. McCarthy
BACKGROUND. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a pandemic. This study addresses the clinical and immunopathological characteristics of severe COVID-19. METHODS. Sixty-nine patients with COVID-19 were classified into severe and nonsevere groups to analyze their clinical and laboratory characteristics. A panel of blood cytokines was quantified over time. Biopsy specimens from 2 deceased cases were obtained for immunopathological, ultrastructural, and in situ hybridization examinations. RESULTS. Circulating cytokines, including IL-8, IL-6, TNF-α, IP10, MCP1, and RANTES, were significantly elevated in patients with severe COVID-19. Dynamic IL-6 and IL-8 were associated with disease progression. SARS-CoV-2 was demonstrated to infect type II and type I pneumocytes and endothelial cells, leading to severe lung damage through cell pyroptosis and apoptosis. In severe cases, lymphopenia, neutrophilia, depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and massive macrophage and neutrophil infiltrates were observed in both blood and lung tissues. CONCLUSIONS. A panel of circulating cytokines could be used to predict disease deterioration and inform clinical interventions. Severe pulmonary damage was predominantly attributed to both cytopathy caused by SARS-CoV-2 and immunopathologic damage. Strategies that prohibit pulmonary recruitment and overactivation of inflammatory cells by suppressing cytokine storm might improve the outcomes of patients with severe COVID-19.
Shaohua Li, Lina Jiang, Xi Li, Fang Lin, Yijin Wang, Boan Li, Tianjun Jiang, Weimin An, Shuhong Liu, Hongyang Liu, Pengfei Xu, Lihua Zhao, Lixin Zhang, Jinsong Mu, Hongwei Wang, Jiarui Kang, Yan Li, Lei Huang, Caizhong Zhu, Shousong Zhao, Jiangyang Lu, Junsheng Ji, Jingmin Zhao
Lupus nephritis, one of the most serious manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), has a heterogeneous clinical and pathological presentation. For example, proliferative nephritis identifies a more aggressive disease class that requires immunosuppression. However, the current classification system relies on the static appearance of histopathological morphology, which does not capture differences in the inflammatory response. Therefore, a biomarker grounded in the disease biology is needed in order to understand the molecular heterogeneity of lupus nephritis and identify immunologic mechanism and pathways. Here, we analyzed the patterns of 1000 urine protein biomarkers in 30 patients with active lupus nephritis. We found that patients stratify over a chemokine gradient inducible by IFN-γ. Higher values identified patients with proliferative lupus nephritis. After integrating the urine proteomics with the single-cell transcriptomics of kidney biopsies, we observed that the urinary chemokines defining the gradient were predominantly produced by infiltrating CD8+ T cells, along with natural killer and myeloid cells. The urine chemokine gradient significantly correlated with the number of kidney-infiltrating CD8+ cells. These findings suggest that urine proteomics can capture the complex biology of the kidney in lupus nephritis. Patient-specific pathways could be noninvasively tracked in the urine in real time, enabling diagnosis and personalized treatment.
Andrea Fava, Jill Buyon, Chandra Mohan, Ting Zhang, H. Michael Belmont, Peter Izmirly, Robert Clancy, Jose Monroy Trujillo, Derek Fine, Yuji Zhang, Laurence Magder, Deepak A. Rao, Arnon Arazi, Celine C. Berthier, Anne Davidson, Betty Diamond, Nir Hacohen, David Wofsy, William Apruzzese, the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in SLE network, Soumya Raychaudhuri, Michelle Petri
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of human coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The virus rapidly spread globally, resulting in a public health crisis including almost 5 million cases and 323,256 deaths as of May 21, 2020. Here, we describe the identification and evaluation of commercially available reagents and assays for the molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 in infected FFPE cell pellets. We identified a suitable rabbit polyclonal anti–SARS-CoV spike protein antibody and a mouse monoclonal anti–SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein (NP) antibody for cross-detection of the respective SARS-CoV-2 proteins by IHC and immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Next, we established RNAscope in situ hybridization (ISH) to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Furthermore, we established a multiplex FISH (mFISH) to detect positive-sense SARS-CoV-2 RNA and negative-sense SARS-CoV-2 RNA (a replicative intermediate indicating viral replication). Finally, we developed a dual staining assay using IHC and ISH to detect SARS-CoV-2 antigen and RNA in the same FFPE section. It is hoped that these reagents and assays will accelerate COVID-19 pathogenesis studies in humans and in COVID-19 animal models.
Jun Liu, April M. Babka, Brian J. Kearney, Sheli R. Radoshitzky, Jens H. Kuhn, Xiankun Zeng
Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) regulates diverse biological functions, including modulation of cellular responses involved in tumorigenesis. Genetic mutations and altered IRF1 function are associated with several cancers. Although the function of IRF1 in the immunobiology of cancer is emerging, IRF1-specific mechanisms regulating tumorigenesis and tissue homeostasis in vivo are not clear. Here, we found that mice lacking IRF1 were hypersusceptible to colorectal tumorigenesis. IRF1 functions in both the myeloid and epithelial compartments to confer protection against AOM/DSS-induced colorectal tumorigenesis. We further found that IRF1 also prevents tumorigenesis in a spontaneous mouse model of colorectal cancer. The attenuated cell death in the colons of Irf1–/– mice was due to defective pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis (PANoptosis). IRF1 does not regulate inflammation and the inflammasome in the colon. Overall, our study identified IRF1 as an upstream regulator of PANoptosis to induce cell death during colitis-associated tumorigenesis.
Rajendra Karki, Bhesh Raj Sharma, Ein Lee, Balaji Banoth, R.K. Subbarao Malireddi, Parimal Samir, Shraddha Tuladhar, Harisankeerth Mummareddy, Amanda R. Burton, Peter Vogel, Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti