In this issue, Wu et al. report that overexpression of Nrf2, a transcription factor that regulates the response to oxidative stress, can rescue damage to the retinal pigment epithelium in mouse models of retinal degeneration. The cover image shows a scanning electron micrograph of retinal pigment epithelial villi.
The pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involves aberrant responses to cellular stress caused by chronic cigarette smoke (CS) exposure. However, not all smokers develop COPD and the critical mechanisms that regulate cellular stress responses to increase COPD susceptibility are not understood. Because microRNAs are well-known regulators of cellular stress responses, we evaluated microRNA expression arrays performed on distal parenchymal lung tissue samples from 172 subjects with and without COPD. We identified miR-24-3p as the microRNA that best correlated with radiographic emphysema and validated this finding in multiple cohorts. In a CS exposure mouse model, inhibition of miR-24-3p increased susceptibility to apoptosis, including alveolar type II epithelial cell apoptosis, and emphysema severity. In lung epithelial cells, miR-24-3p suppressed apoptosis through the BH3-only protein BIM and suppressed homology-directed DNA repair and the DNA repair protein BRCA1. Finally, we found BIM and BRCA1 were increased in COPD lung tissue, and BIM and BRCA1 expression inversely correlated with miR-24-3p. We concluded that miR-24-3p, a regulator of the cellular response to DNA damage, is decreased in COPD, and decreased miR-24-3p increases susceptibility to emphysema through increased BIM and apoptosis.
Jessica Nouws, Feng Wan, Eric Finnemore, Willy Roque, So-Jin Kim, Isabel Bazan, Chuan-xing Li, C. Magnus Skold, Qile Dai, Xiting Yan, Maurizio Chioccioli, Veronique Neumeister, Clemente J. Britto, Joann Sweasy, Ranjit Bindra, Åsa M. Wheelock, Jose L. Gomez, Naftali Kaminski, Patty J. Lee, Maor Sauler
Aberrant activation of NLRP3 inflammasome has been implicated in a variety of human inflammatory diseases, but currently, no pharmacological NLRP3 inhibitor has been approved. In this study, we showed that echinatin, the ingredient of the traditional herbal medicine licorice, effectively suppresses the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in vitro and in vivo. Further investigation revealed that echinatin exerts its inhibitory effect on NLRP3 inflammasome by binding to heat-shock protein 90 (HSP90), inhibiting its ATPase activity and disrupting the association between the cochaperone SGT1 and HSP90-NLRP3. Importantly, in vivo experiments demonstrated that administration of echinatin obviously inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation and ameliorates LPS-induced septic shock and dextran sodium sulfate–induced (DSS-induced) colitis in mice. Moreover, echinatin exerted favorable pharmacological effects on liver inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Collectively, our study identifies echinatin as a potentially novel inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome, and its use may be developed as a therapeutic approach for the treatment of NLRP3-driven diseases.
Guang Xu, Shubin Fu, Xiaoyan Zhan, Zhilei Wang, Ping Zhang, Wei Shi, Nan Qin, Yuanyuan Chen, Chunyu Wang, Ming Niu, Yuming Guo, Jiabo Wang, Zhaofang Bai, Xiaohe Xiao
To extract energy from stored lipids, fatty acids must first be liberated from triglyceride before their β-oxidation in mitochondria in a coordinated and stepwise manner. To determine the independent and interdependent roles of hepatic triglyceride hydrolysis and fatty acid oxidation, mice were generated with a liver-specific defect in triglyceride hydrolysis (AtglL–/–), fatty acid oxidation (Cpt2L–/–), or both (double knockout). The loss of either gene resulted in the compensatory increase in the other, demonstrating their coordination. The loss of individual components of fatty acid catabolism (carnitine palmitoyl transferase 2 [Cpt2], adipose triglyceride lipase [Atgl], and Pparα) resulted in largely independent effects on hepatocyte morphology, intermediary metabolism, and gene expression in response to fasting. However, high-fat feeding revealed the interdependent role of Atgl and Cpt2, as the loss of only one of the genes resulted in steatosis (fatty liver) but the loss of both components resulted in significant steatohepatitis (inflammation and fibrosis). Lipolysis and β-oxidation are intimately linked within a continuous pathway, and disruption of their coordination leads to unique cellular and molecular phenotypes that ultimately result in liver disease.
Ebru S. Selen, Joseph Choi, Michael J. Wolfgang
Reduced expression of the plasma membrane citrate transporter INDY (acronym I’m Not Dead, Yet) extends life span in lower organisms. Deletion of the mammalian Indy (mIndy) gene in rodents improves metabolism via mechanisms akin to caloric restriction, known to lower blood pressure (BP) by sympathoadrenal inhibition. We hypothesized that mIndy deletion attenuates sympathoadrenal support of BP. Continuous arterial BP and heart rate (HR) were reduced in mINDY-KO mice. Concomitantly, urinary catecholamine content was lower, and the decreases in BP and HR by mIndy deletion were attenuated after autonomic ganglionic blockade. Catecholamine biosynthesis pathways were reduced in mINDY-KO adrenals using unbiased microarray analysis. Citrate, the main mINDY substrate, increased catecholamine content in pheochromocytoma cells, while pharmacological inhibition of citrate uptake blunted the effect. Our data suggest that deletion of mIndy reduces sympathoadrenal support of BP and HR by attenuating catecholamine biosynthesis. Deletion of mIndy recapitulates beneficial cardiovascular and metabolic responses to caloric restriction, making it an attractive therapeutic target.
Diana M. Willmes, Martin Daniels, Anica Kurzbach, Stefanie Lieske, Nicole Bechmann, Tina Schumann, Christine Henke, Nermeen N. El-Agroudy, Andrey C. Da Costa Goncalves, Mirko Peitzsch, Anja Hofmann, Waldemar Kanczkowski, Kristin Kräker, Dominik N. Müller, Henning Morawietz, Andreas Deussen, Michael Wagner, Ali El-Armouche, Stephen L. Helfand, Stephan R. Bornstein, Rafael de Cabo, Michel Bernier, Graeme Eisenhofer, Jens Tank, Jens Jordan, Andreas L. Birkenfeld
Transient partial remission, a period of low insulin requirement experienced by most patients soon after diagnosis, has been associated with mechanisms of immune regulation. A better understanding of such natural mechanisms of immune regulation might identify new targets for immunotherapies that reverse type 1 diabetes (T1D). In this study, using Cox model multivariate analysis, we validated our previous findings that patients with the highest frequency of CD4+CD25+CD127hi (127-hi) cells at diagnosis experience the longest partial remission, and we showed that the 127-hi cell population is a mix of Th1- and Th2-type cells, with a significant bias toward antiinflammatory Th2-type cells. In addition, we extended these findings to show that patients with the highest frequency of 127-hi cells at diagnosis were significantly more likely to maintain β cell function. Moreover, in patients treated with alefacept in the T1DAL clinical trial, the probability of responding favorably to the antiinflammatory drug was significantly higher in those with a higher frequency of 127-hi cells at diagnosis than those with a lower 127-hi cell frequency. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that 127-hi cells maintain an antiinflammatory environment that is permissive for partial remission, β cell survival, and response to antiinflammatory immunotherapy.
Aditi Narsale, Breanna Lam, Rosa Moya, TingTing Lu, Alessandra Mandelli, Irene Gotuzzo, Benedetta Pessina, Gianmaria Giamporcaro, Rhonda Geoffrey, Kerry Buchanan, Mark Harris, Anne-Sophie Bergot, Ranjeny Thomas, Martin J. Hessner, Manuela Battaglia, Elisavet Serti, Joanna D. Davies
To date, there are no inhibitors that directly and specifically target activated STAT3 and c-Myc in the clinic. Although peptide-based inhibitors can selectively block activated targets, their clinical usage is limited because of low cell penetration and/or serum stability. Here, we generated cell-penetrating acetylated (acet.) STAT3, c-Myc, and Gp130 targeting peptides by attaching phosphorothioated (PS) polymer backbone to peptides. The cell-penetrating peptides efficiently penetrated cells and inhibited activation of the intended targets and their downstream genes. Locally or systemically treating tumor-bearing mice with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide at low concentrations effectively blocked STAT3 in vivo, resulting in significant antitumor effects in 2 human xenograft models. Moreover, PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide penetrated and activated splenic CD8+ T cells in vitro. Treating immune-competent mice bearing mouse melanoma with PS-acet.-STAT3 peptide inhibited STAT3 in tumor-infiltrating T cells, downregulating tumor-infiltrating CD4+ T regulatory cells while activating CD8+ T effector cells. Similarly, systemic injections of the cell-penetrating c-Myc and Gp130 peptides prevented pancreatic tumor growth and induced antitumor immune responses. Taken together, we have developed therapeutic peptides that effectively and specifically block challenging cancer targets, resulting in antitumor effects through both direct tumor cell killing and indirectly through antitumor immune responses.
Maryam Aftabizadeh, Yi-Jia Li, Qianqian Zhao, Chunyan Zhang, Nigus Ambaye, Jieun Song, Toshikage Nagao, Christoph Lahtz, Marwan Fakih, David K. Ann, Hua Yu, Andreas Herrmann
Severe acute pancreatitis (AP) is a life-threatening disease with up to 30% mortality. Therefore, prevention of AP aggravation and promotion of pancreatic regeneration are critical during the course and treatment of AP. Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is an established aggravating factor for AP that hinders pancreatic regeneration; however, its exact mechanism remains unclear. Using miRNA sequencing and further verification, we found that miRNA-153 (miR-153) was upregulated in the pancreas of HTG animal models and in the plasma of patients with HTG-AP. Increased miR-153 aggravated HTG-AP and delayed pancreatic repair via targeting TRAF3. Furthermore, miR-153 was transcriptionally suppressed by sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1c (SREBP1c), which was suppressed by lipoprotein lipase malfunction-induced HTG. Overexpressing SREBP1c suppressed miR-153 expression, alleviated the severity of AP, and facilitated tissue regeneration in vivo. Finally, therapeutic administration of insulin also protected against HTG-AP via upregulating SREBP1c. Collectively, our results not only provide evidence that HTG leads to the development of more severe AP and hinders pancreatic regeneration via inducing persistent dysregulation of SREBP1c/miR-153 signaling, but also demonstrate that SREBP1c activators, including insulin, might be used to treat HTG-AP in patients.
Juanjuan Dai, Mingjie Jiang, Yangyang Hu, Jingbo Xiao, Bin Hu, Jiyao Xu, Xiao Han, Shuangjun Shen, Bin Li, Zengkai Wu, Yan He, Yingchun Ren, Li Wen, Xingpeng Wang, Guoyong Hu
Pneumocystis is an important opportunistic fungus that causes pneumonia in children and immunocompromised individuals. Recent genomic data show that divergence of major surface glycoproteins may confer speciation and host range selectivity. On the other hand, immune clearance between mice and humans is well correlated. Thus, we hypothesized that humanize mice may provide information about human immune responses involved in controlling Pneumocystis infection. CD34-engrafted huNOG-EXL mice controlled fungal burdens to a greater extent than nonengrafted mice. Moreover, engrafted mice generated fungal-specific IgM. Fungal control was associated with a transcriptional signature that was enriched for genes associated with nonopsonic recognition of trophs (CD209) and asci (CLEC7A). These same genes were downregulated in CD4-deficient mice as well as twins with bare lymphocyte syndrome with Pneumocystis pneumonia.
Guixiang Dai, Alanna Wanek, Taylor Eddens, Paul Volden, Jay K. Kolls
The aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is an intracellular sensor of aromatic hydrocarbons that sits at the top of various immunomodulatory pathways. Here, we present evidence that AHR plays a role in controlling IL-17 responses and the development of pulmonary fibrosis in response to respiratory pathogens following bone marrow transplant (BMT). Mice infected intranasally with gamma-herpesvirus 68 (γHV-68) following BMT displayed elevated levels of the AHR ligand, kynurenine (kyn), in comparison with control mice. Inhibition or genetic ablation of AHR signaling resulted in a significant decrease in IL-17 expression as well as a reduction in lung pathology. Lung CD103+ DCs expressed AHR following BMT, and treatment of induced CD103+ DCs with kyn resulted in altered cytokine production in response to γHV-68. Interestingly, mice deficient in the kyn-producing enzyme indolamine 2-3 dioxygenase showed no differences in cytokine responses to γHV-68 following BMT; however, isolated pulmonary fibroblasts infected with γHV-68 expressed the kyn-producing enzyme tryptophan dioxygenase (TDO2). Our data indicate that alterations in the production of AHR ligands in response to respiratory pathogens following BMT results in a pro-Th17 phenotype that drives lung pathology. We have further identified the TDO2/AHR axis as a potentially novel form of intercellular communication between fibroblasts and DCs that shapes immune responses to respiratory pathogens.
Stephen J. Gurczynski, Nicolas L. Pereira, Steven M. Hrycaj, Carol Wilke, Rachel L. Zemans, Bethany B. Moore
The pathogenesis of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy remains poorly defined despite the substantial burden of maternal and neonatal morbidity associated with these conditions. In particular, the role of genetic variants as determinants of disease susceptibility is understudied. Storkhead-box protein 1 (STOX1) was first identified as a preeclampsia risk gene through family-based genetic linkage studies in which loss-of-function variants were proposed to underlie increased preeclampsia susceptibility. We generated a genetic Stox1 loss-of-function mouse model (Stox1 KO) to evaluate whether STOX1 regulates blood pressure in pregnancy. Pregnant Stox1-KO mice developed gestational hypertension evidenced by a significant increase in blood pressure compared with WT by E17.5. While severe renal, placental, or fetal growth abnormalities were not observed, the Stox1-KO phenotype was associated with placental vascular and extracellular matrix abnormalities. Mechanistically, we found that gestational hypertension in Stox1-KO mice resulted from activation of the uteroplacental renin-angiotensin system. This mechanism was supported by showing that treatment of pregnant Stox1-KO mice with an angiotensin II receptor blocker rescued the phenotype. Our study demonstrates the utility of genetic mouse models for uncovering links between genetic variants and effector pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
Jacqueline G. Parchem, Keizo Kanasaki, Soo Bong Lee, Megumi Kanasaki, Joyce L. Yang, Yong Xu, Kadeshia M. Earl, Rachel A. Keuls, Vincent H. Gattone II, Raghu Kalluri
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by small airway remodeling and alveolar emphysema due to environmental stresses such as cigarette smoking (CS). Oxidative stress is commonly implicated in COPD pathology, but recent findings suggest that one oxidant-producing NADPH oxidase homolog, dual oxidase 1 (DUOX1), is downregulated in the airways of patients with COPD. We evaluated lung tissue sections from patients with COPD for small airway epithelial DUOX1 protein expression, in association with measures of lung function and small airway and alveolar remodeling. We also addressed the impact of DUOX1 for lung tissue remodeling in mouse models of COPD. Small airway DUOX1 levels were decreased in advanced COPD and correlated with loss of lung function and markers of emphysema and remodeling. Similarly, DUOX1 downregulation in correlation with extracellular matrix remodeling was observed in a genetic model of COPD, transgenic SPC-TNF-α mice. Finally, development of subepithelial airway fibrosis in mice due to exposure to the CS-component acrolein, or alveolar emphysema induced by administration of elastase, were in both cases exacerbated in Duox1-deficient mice. Collectively, our studies highlight that downregulation of DUOX1 may be a contributing feature of COPD pathogenesis, likely related to impaired DUOX1-mediated innate injury responses involved in epithelial homeostasis.
Caspar Schiffers, Cheryl van de Wetering, Robert A. Bauer, Aida Habibovic, Milena Hristova, Christopher M. Dustin, Sara Lambrichts, Pamela M. Vacek, Emiel F.M. Wouters, Niki L. Reynaert, Albert van der Vliet
Tumor antigen–specific CD4 T cells accumulate at tumor sites, evoking their involvement in antitumor effector functions in situ. Contrary to CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocyte exhaustion, that of CD4 T cells remains poorly appreciated. Here, using phenotypic, transcriptomic, and functional approaches, we characterized CD4 T cell exhaustion in patients with head and neck, cervical, and ovarian cancer. We identified a CD4 tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) population, defined by high PD-1 and CD39 expression, which contained high proportions of cytokine-producing cells, although the quantity of cytokines produced by these cells was low, evoking an exhausted state. Terminal exhaustion of CD4 TILs was instated regardless of TIM-3 expression, suggesting divergence with CD8 T cell exhaustion. scRNA-Seq and further phenotypic analyses uncovered similarities with the CD8 T cell exhaustion program. In particular, PD-1hiCD39+ CD4 TILs expressed the exhaustion transcription factor TOX and the chemokine CXCL13 and were tumor antigen specific. In vitro, PD-1 blockade enhanced CD4 TIL activation, as evidenced by increased CD154 expression and cytokine secretion, leading to improved dendritic cell maturation and consequently higher tumor-specific CD8 T cell proliferation. Our data identify exhausted CD4 TILs as players in responsiveness to immune checkpoint blockade.
Camille-Charlotte Balança, Anna Salvioni, Clara-Maria Scarlata, Marie Michelas, Carlos Martinez-Gomez, Carlos Gomez-Roca, Victor Sarradin, Marie Tosolini, Carine Valle, Frédéric Pont, Gwénaël Ferron, Laurence Gladieff, Sébastien Vergez, Agnès Dupret-Bories, Eliane Mery, Philippe Rochaix, Jean-Jacques Fournié, Jean-Pierre Delord, Christel Devaud, Alejandra Martinez, Maha Ayyoub
BACKGROUND Neuronal hyperexcitability characterizes the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In animals, early misfolded tau and amyloid-β (Aβ) protein accumulation — both central to AD neuropathology — promote cortical excitability and neuronal network dysfunction. In healthy humans, misfolded tau and Aβ aggregates are first detected, respectively, in the brainstem and frontomedial and temporobasal cortices, decades prior to the onset of AD cognitive symptoms. Whether cortical excitability is related to early brainstem tau — and its associated neuroinflammation — and cortical Aβ aggregations remains unknown.METHODS We probed frontal cortex excitability, using transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with electroencephalography, in a sample of 64 healthy late-middle–aged individuals (50–69 years; 45 women and 19 men). We assessed whole-brain [18F]THK5351 PET uptake as a proxy measure of tau/neuroinflammation, and we assessed whole-brain Aβ burden with [18F]Flutemetamol or [18F]Florbetapir radiotracers.RESULTS We found that higher [18F]THK5351 uptake in a brainstem monoaminergic compartment was associated with increased cortical excitability (r = 0.29, P = 0.02). By contrast, [18F]THK5351 PET signal in the hippocampal formation, although strongly correlated with brainstem signal in whole-brain voxel-based quantification analyses (P value corrected for family-wise error [PFWE-corrected] < 0.001), was not significantly associated with cortical excitability (r = 0.14, P = 0.25). Importantly, no significant association was found between early Aβ cortical deposits and cortical excitability (r = –0.20, P = 0.11).CONCLUSION These findings reveal potential brain substrates for increased cortical excitability in preclinical AD and may constitute functional in vivo correlates of early brainstem tau accumulation and neuroinflammation in humans.TRIAL REGISTRATION EudraCT 2016-001436-35.FUNDING F.R.S.-FNRS Belgium, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, ULiège, Fondation Simone et Pierre Clerdent, European Regional Development Fund.
Maxime Van Egroo, Daphne Chylinski, Justinas Narbutas, Gabriel Besson, Vincenzo Muto, Christina Schmidt, Davide Marzoli, Paolo Cardone, Nora Vandeleene, Martin Grignard, André Luxen, Eric Salmon, Christian Lambert, Christine Bastin, Fabienne Collette, Christophe Phillips, Pierre Maquet, Mohamed Ali Bahri, Evelyne Balteau, Gilles Vandewalle
Psychological stress affects maternal gastrointestinal (GI) permeability, leading to low-grade inflammation, which can negatively affect fetal development. We investigated a panel of circulating markers as a biological signature of this stress exposure in pregnant women with and without the stress-related GI disorder irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Markers of GI permeability and inflammation were measured in plasma from healthy and IBS cohorts of women at 15 and 20 weeks’ gestation. Biomarkers were evaluated with respect to their degree of association to levels of stress, anxiety, and depression as indicated by responses from the Perceived Stress Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. High levels of stress were associated with elevations of soluble CD14, lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), and tumor necrosis factor–α, while anxiety was associated with elevated concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) in otherwise healthy pregnancies. Prenatal depression was associated with higher levels of soluble CD14, LBP, and CRP in the healthy cohort. High levels of prenatal anxiety and depression were also associated with lower concentrations of tryptophan and kynurenine, respectively, in the IBS cohort. These markers may represent a core maternal biological signature of active prenatal stress, which can be used to inform intervention strategies via stress reduction techniques or other lifestyle approaches. Such interventions may need to be tailored to reflect underlying GI conditions, such as IBS.
James M. Keane, Ali S. Khashan, Fergus P. McCarthy, Louise C. Kenny, James M. Collins, Sarah O’Donovan, Jillian Brown, John F. Cryan, Timothy G. Dinan, Gerard Clarke, Siobhain M. O’Mahony
Management of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) has been revolutionized by the identification of activating mutations in KIT and PDGFRA and clinical application of RTK inhibitors in advanced disease. Stratification of GISTs into molecularly defined subsets provides insight into clinical behavior and response to approved targeted therapies. Although these RTK inhibitors are effective in most GISTs, resistance remains a significant clinical problem. Development of effective treatment strategies for refractory GISTs requires identification of novel targets to provide additional therapeutic options. Global kinome profiling has the potential to identify critical signaling networks and reveal protein kinases essential in GISTs. Using multiplexed inhibitor beads and mass spectrometry, we explored the majority of the kinome in GIST specimens from the 3 most common molecular subtypes (KIT mutant, PDGFRA mutant, and succinate dehydrogenase deficient) to identify kinase targets. Kinome profiling with loss-of-function assays identified an important role for G2/M tyrosine kinase, Wee1, in GIST cell survival. In vitro and in vivo studies revealed significant efficacy of MK-1775 (Wee1 inhibitor) in combination with avapritinib in KIT mutant and PDGFRA mutant GIST cell lines as well as notable efficacy of MK-1775 as a monotherapy in the engineered PDGFRA mutant line. These studies provide strong preclinical justification for the use of MK-1775 in GIST.
Shuai Ye, Dinara Sharipova, Marya Kozinova, Lilli Klug, Jimson D’Souza, Martin G. Belinsky, Katherine J. Johnson, Margret B. Einarson, Karthik Devarajan, Yan Zhou, Samuel Litwin, Michael C. Heinrich, Ronald DeMatteo, Margaret von Mehren, James S. Duncan, Lori Rink
Hindered by a limited understanding of the mechanisms responsible for diabetic gastroenteropathy (DGE), management is symptomatic. We investigated the duodenal mucosal expression of protein-coding genes and microRNAs (miRNA) in DGE and related them to clinical features. The diabetic phenotype, gastric emptying, mRNA, and miRNA expression and ultrastructure of duodenal mucosal biopsies were compared in 39 DGE patients and 21 controls. Among 3175 differentially expressed genes (FDR < 0.05), several mitochondrial DNA–encoded (mtDNA-encoded) genes (12 of 13 protein coding genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation [OXPHOS], both rRNAs and 9 of 22 transfer RNAs) were downregulated; conversely, nuclear DNA–encoded (nDNA-encoded) mitochondrial genes (OXPHOS) were upregulated in DGE. The promoters of differentially expressed genes were enriched in motifs for transcription factors (e.g., NRF1), which regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Seventeen of 30 differentially expressed miRNAs targeted differentially expressed mitochondrial genes. Mitochondrial density was reduced and correlated with expression of 9 mtDNA OXPHOS genes. Uncovered by principal component (PC) analysis of 70 OXPHOS genes, PC1 was associated with neuropathy (P = 0.01) and delayed gastric emptying (P < 0.05). In DGE, mtDNA- and nDNA-encoded mitochondrial genes are reduced and increased — associated with reduced mitochondrial density, neuropathy, and delayed gastric emptying — and correlated with cognate miRNAs. These findings suggest that mitochondrial disturbances may contribute to delayed gastric emptying in DGE.
Susrutha Puthanmadhom Narayanan, Daniel O’Brien, Mayank Sharma, Karl Miller, Peter Adams, João F. Passos, Alfonso Eirin, Tamas Ordog, Adil E. Bharucha
BACKGROUND Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is an incurable disease that causes severe mucocutaneous fragility due to mutations in COL7A1 (encoding type VII collagen [C7]). In this phase I/IIa trial, we evaluated the safety and possible clinical efficacy of intravenous infusion of allogeneic human umbilical cord blood–derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUCB-MSCs) in patients with RDEB.METHODS Four adult and two pediatric patients with RDEB were treated with 3 intravenous injections of hUCB-MSCs (1 × 106 to 3 × 106 cells/kg) every 2 weeks and followed up for 8–24 months after treatment. The primary endpoint was safety. Secondary endpoints related to efficacy included clinical parameters, such as disease severity score, wound assessment, itch and pain score, and quality of life. C7 expression levels and inflammatory infiltrates in the skin, as well as serum levels of inflammatory markers and neuropeptides, were also assessed.RESULTS Intravenous hUCB-MSC infusions were well tolerated, without serious adverse events. Improvements in the Birmingham Epidermolysis Bullosa Severity Score, body surface area involvement, blister counts, pain, pruritus, and quality of life were observed with maximal effects at 56–112 days after treatment. hUCB-MSC administration induced M2 macrophage polarization and reduced mast cell infiltration in RDEB skin. Serum levels of substance P were decreased after therapy. Increased C7 expression was observed at the dermoepidermal junction in 1 of 6 patients at day 56.CONCLUSION To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial of systemic administration of allogeneic hUCB-MSCs in patients with RDEB, demonstrating safety and transient clinical benefits.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04520022.FUNDING This work was supported by Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Kangstem Biotech Co. Ltd.
Sang Eun Lee, Seung-Ju Lee, Song-Ee Kim, Kinam Kim, Boyoung Cho, Kyounghwan Roh, Soo-Chan Kim
The G/T transversion rs35705950, located approximately 3 kb upstream of the MUC5B start site, is the cardinal risk factor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Here, we investigate the function and chromatin structure of this –3 kb region and provide evidence that it functions as a classically defined enhancer subject to epigenetic programming. We use nascent transcript analysis to show that RNA polymerase II loads within 10 bp of the G/T transversion site, definitively establishing enhancer function for the region. By integrating Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) analysis of fresh and cultured human airway epithelial cells with nuclease sensitivity data, we demonstrate that this region is in accessible chromatin that affects the expression of MUC5B. Through applying paired single-nucleus RNA- and ATAC-seq to frozen tissue from IPF lungs, we extend these findings directly to disease, with results indicating that epigenetic programming of the –3 kb enhancer in IPF occurs in both MUC5B-expressing and nonexpressing lineages. In aggregate, our results indicate that the MUC5B-associated variant rs35705950 resides within an enhancer that is subject to epigenetic remodeling and contributes to pathologic misexpression in IPF.
Fabienne Gally, Sarah K. Sasse, Jonathan S. Kurche, Margaret A. Gruca, Jonathan H. Cardwell, Tsukasa Okamoto, Hong W. Chu, Xiaomeng Hou, Olivier B. Poirion, Justin Buchanan, Sebastian Preissl, Bing Ren, Sean P. Colgan, Robin D. Dowell, Ivana V. Yang, David A. Schwartz, Anthony N. Gerber
Extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 are associated with a much higher mortality rate than pulmonary manifestations. However, little is known about the pathogenesis of systemic complications of COVID-19. Here, we create a murine model of SARS-CoV-2–induced severe systemic toxicity and multiorgan involvement by expressing the human ACE2 transgene in multiple tissues via viral delivery, followed by systemic administration of SARS-CoV-2. The animals develop a profound phenotype within 7 days with severe weight loss, morbidity, and failure to thrive. We demonstrate that there is metabolic suppression of oxidative phosphorylation and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in multiple organs with neutrophilia, lymphopenia, and splenic atrophy, mirroring human COVID-19 phenotypes. Animals had a significantly lower heart rate, and electron microscopy demonstrated myofibrillar disarray and myocardial edema, a common pathogenic cardiac phenotype in human COVID-19. We performed metabolomic profiling of peripheral blood and identified a panel of TCA cycle metabolites that served as biomarkers of depressed oxidative phosphorylation. Finally, we observed that SARS-CoV-2 induces epigenetic changes of DNA methylation, which affects expression of immune response genes and could, in part, contribute to COVID-19 pathogenesis. Our model suggests that SARS-CoV-2–induced metabolic reprogramming and epigenetic changes in internal organs could contribute to systemic toxicity and lethality in COVID-19.
Shen Li, Feiyang Ma, Tomohiro Yokota, Gustavo Garcia Jr., Amelia Palermo, Yijie Wang, Colin Farrell, Yu-Chen Wang, Rimao Wu, Zhiqiang Zhou, Calvin Pan, Marco Morselli, Michael A. Teitell, Sergey Ryazantsev, Gregory A. Fishbein, Johanna ten Hoeve, Valerie A. Arboleda, Joshua Bloom, Barbara Dillon, Matteo Pellegrini, Aldons J. Lusis, Thomas G. Graeber, Vaithilingaraja Arumugaswami, Arjun Deb
Nrf2, a transcription factor that regulates the response to oxidative stress, has been shown to rescue cone photoreceptors and slow vision loss in mouse models of retinal degeneration (rd). The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is damaged in these models, but whether it also could be rescued by Nrf2 has not been previously examined. We used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) with an RPE-specific (Best1) promoter to overexpress Nrf2 in the RPE of rd mice. Control rd mice showed disruption of the regular array of the RPE, as well as loss of RPE cells. Cones were lost in circumscribed regions within the cone photoreceptor layer. Overexpression of Nrf2 specifically in the RPE was sufficient to rescue the RPE, as well as the disruptions in the cone photoreceptor layer. Electron microscopy showed compromised apical microvilli in control rd mice but showed preserved microvilli in Best1-Nrf2–treated mice. The rd mice treated with Best1-Nrf2 had slightly better visual acuity. Transcriptome profiling showed that Nrf2 upregulates multiple oxidative defense pathways, reversing declines seen in the glutathione pathway in control rd mice. In summary, Nrf2 overexpression in the RPE preserves RPE morphology and survival in rd mice, and it is a potential therapeutic for diseases involving RPE degeneration, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
David M. Wu, Xuke Ji, Maryna V. Ivanchenko, Michelle Chung, Mary Piper, Parimal Rana, Sean K. Wang, Yunlu Xue, Emma West, Sophia R. Zhao, Hongbin Xu, Marcelo Cicconet, Wenjun Xiong, Constance L. Cepko
Immune dysfunction is an important factor driving mortality and adverse outcomes after trauma but remains poorly understood, especially at the cellular level. To deconvolute the trauma-induced immune response, we applied single-cell RNA sequencing to circulating and bone marrow mononuclear cells in injured mice and circulating mononuclear cells in trauma patients. In mice, the greatest changes in gene expression were seen in monocytes across both compartments. After systemic injury, the gene expression pattern of monocytes markedly deviated from steady state with corresponding changes in critical transcription factors, which can be traced back to myeloid progenitors. These changes were largely recapitulated in the human single-cell analysis. We generalized the major changes in human CD14+ monocytes into 6 signatures, which further defined 2 trauma patient subtypes (SG1 vs. SG2) identified in the whole-blood leukocyte transcriptome in the initial 12 hours after injury. Compared with SG2, SG1 patients exhibited delayed recovery, more severe organ dysfunction, and a higher incidence of infection and noninfectious complications. The 2 patient subtypes were also recapitulated in burn and sepsis patients, revealing a shared pattern of immune response across critical illness. Our data will be broadly useful to further explore the immune response to inflammatory diseases and critical illness.
Tianmeng Chen, Matthew J. Delano, Kong Chen, Jason L. Sperry, Rami A. Namas, Ashley J. Lamparello, Meihong Deng, Julia Conroy, Lyle L. Moldawer, Philip A. Efron, Patricia Loughran, Christopher Seymour, Derek C. Angus, Yoram Vodovotz, Wei Chen, Timothy R. Billiar
Limited experimental evidence bridges nutrition and cancer immunosurveillance. Here, we show that ketogenic diet (KD) — or its principal ketone body, 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), most specifically in intermittent scheduling — induced T cell–dependent tumor growth retardation of aggressive tumor models. In conditions in which anti–PD-1 alone or in combination with anti–CTLA-4 failed to reduce tumor growth in mice receiving a standard diet, KD, or oral supplementation of 3HB reestablished therapeutic responses. Supplementation of KD with sucrose (which breaks ketogenesis, abolishing 3HB production) or with a pharmacological antagonist of the 3HB receptor GPR109A abolished the antitumor effects. Mechanistically, 3HB prevented the immune checkpoint blockade–linked upregulation of PD-L1 on myeloid cells, while favoring the expansion of CXCR3+ T cells. KD induced compositional changes of the gut microbiota, with distinct species such as Eisenbergiella massiliensis commonly emerging in mice and humans subjected to carbohydrate-low diet interventions and highly correlating with serum concentrations of 3HB. Altogether, these results demonstrate that KD induces a 3HB-mediated antineoplastic effect that relies on T cell–mediated cancer immunosurveillance.
Gladys Ferrere, Maryam Tidjani Alou, Peng Liu, Anne-Gaëlle Goubet, Marine Fidelle, Oliver Kepp, Sylvère Durand, Valerio Iebba, Aurélie Fluckiger, Romain Daillère, Cassandra Thelemaque, Claudia Grajeda-Iglesias, Carolina Alves Costa Silva, Fanny Aprahamian, Déborah Lefevre, Liwei Zhao, Bernhard Ryffel, Emeline Colomba, Monica Arnedos, Damien Drubay, Conrad Rauber, Didier Raoult, Francesco Asnicar, Tim Spector, Nicola Segata, Lisa Derosa, Guido Kroemer, Laurence Zitvogel