BACKGROUND. Topical calcipotriol plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) combination is an effective immunotherapy against actinic keratosis (AK), which is a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). However, the long-term effectiveness of calcipotriol plus 5-FU treatment for SCC prevention is unknown. METHODS. We performed a blinded prospective cohort study on participants of a randomized double-blind clinical trial in which a 4-day course of topical calcipotriol plus 5-FU combination was compared to Vaseline plus 5-FU (control) for AK treatment. SCC and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) incidences were assessed at 1, 2, and 3 years after trial. Tissues were analyzed for calcipotriol plus 5-FU–induced T cell immunity in the skin. RESULTS. Calcipotriol plus 5-FU–induced tissue-resident memory T (Trm) cell formation in face and scalp skin associated with significantly higher erythema scores compared with control (P < 0.01). Importantly, more participants in the test cohort remained SCC-free over the more than 1,500-day follow-up period (P = 0.0765), and significantly fewer developed SCC on the treated face and scalp within 3 years (2 of 30 [7%] versus 11 of 40 [28%] in control group, hazard ratio 0.215 [95% CI: 0.048–0.972], P = 0.032). Accordingly, significantly more epidermal Trm cells persisted in the calcipotriol plus 5-FU–treated face and scalp skin compared with control (P = 0.0028). There was no significant difference in BCC incidence between the treatment groups. CONCLUSION. A short course of calcipotriol plus 5-FU treatment on the face and scalp is associated with induction of robust T cell immunity and Trm formation against AKs and significantly lowers the risk of SCC development within 3 years of treatment. FUNDING. This research was supported by internal academic funds and by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Sidney Kimmel Foundation, Cancer Research Institute, and NIH.
Abby R. Rosenberg, Mary Tabacchi, Kenneth H. Ngo, Michael Wallendorf, Ilana S. Rosman, Lynn A. Cornelius, Shadmehr Demehri
Genomic studies revealed the existence of health- and acne-associated P. acnes strains and suggested novel approaches for broadening understanding of acne vulgaris. However, clinical association of P. acnes with disease or health has yet to be corroborated experimentally. Current animal models of acne do not closely mimic human disease and have unclear translational value. We have developed a murine model of acne by combining P. acnes inoculation with topical application of a synthetic human sebum. We showed that human sebum promoted persistence of intradermally injected P. acnes with little loss of viability after 1 week and permitted use of more physiologic inoculums. Application of acne-associated P. acnes RT4/5 strains led to development of moderate to severe skin pathology compared with application of health-associated type II P. acnes strains (RT2/6). RT4/5 P. acnes strains uniformly induced higher levels of KC (IL-8), IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in vitro and in vivo compared with type II P. acnes strains. Overall, our data provide immunopathologic corroboration of health and disease association of clinical P. acnes strains and inform on a platform to query putative virulence factors uncovered by genomic studies.
Stacey L. Kolar, Chih-Ming Tsai, Juan Torres, Xuemo Fan, Huiying Li, George Y. Liu
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin inflammatory diseases worldwide. The vitamin D3 analog calcipotriol has been used alone or in combination with corticosteroids in treating plaque psoriasis, but how it suppresses psoriatic inflammation has not been fully understood. Using an experimental mouse psoriasis model, we show that topical calcipotriol inhibited the pivotal IL-23/IL-17 axis and neutrophil infiltration in psoriatic skin, and interestingly, such effects were mediated through the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in keratinocytes (KCs). We further reveal that IL-36α and IL-36γ, which have recently emerged as key players in psoriasis pathogenesis, were effectively repressed by calcipotriol via direct VDR signaling in mouse KCs. Accordingly, calcipotriol treatment suppressed IL-36α/γ expression in lesional skin from patients with plaque psoriasis, which was accompanied by a reduced IL-23/IL-17 expression. In contrast, dexamethasone indirectly reduced IL-36α/γ expression in mouse psoriatic skin through immune cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that calcipotriol and dexamethasone, in combination, synergistically suppressed the expression of IL-36α/γ, IL-23, and IL-17 in the established mouse psoriasis. Our findings indicate that the combination of calcipotriol and corticosteroid efficiently disrupts the IL-36 and IL-23/IL-17 positive feedback loop, thus revealing a mechanism underlying the superior efficacy of calcipotriol and corticosteroid combination therapy for psoriasis.
Beatriz Germán, Ruicheng Wei, Pierre Hener, Christina Martins, Tao Ye, Cornelia Gottwick, Jianying Yang, Julien Seneschal, Katia Boniface, Mei Li
Among other cells, macrophages regulate the inflammatory and reparative phases during wound healing but genetic determinants and detailed molecular pathways that modulate these processes are not fully elucidated. Here, we took advantage of normal variation in wound healing in 1,378 genetically outbred mice, and carried out macrophage RNA-sequencing profiling of mice with extreme wound healing phenotypes (i.e., slow and fast healers, n = 146 in total). The resulting macrophage coexpression networks were genetically mapped and led to the identification of a unique module under strong trans-acting genetic control by the Runx2 locus. This macrophage-mediated healing network was specifically enriched for cholesterol and fatty acid biosynthetic processes. Pharmacological blockage of fatty acid synthesis with cerulenin resulted in delayed wound healing in vivo, and increased macrophage infiltration in the wounded skin, suggesting the persistence of an unresolved inflammation. We show how naturally occurring sequence variation controls transcriptional networks in macrophages, which in turn regulate specific metabolic pathways that could be targeted in wound healing.
Marta Bagnati, Aida Moreno-Moral, Jeong-Hun Ko, Jérôme Nicod, Nathan Harmston, Martha Imprialou, Laurence Game, Jesus Gil, Enrico Petretto, Jacques Behmoaras
Current clinical methods for the evaluation of lymphatic vessel function, crucial for early diagnosis and evaluation of treatment-response of several pathological conditions, in particular of post-surgical lymphedema, are based on complex and mainly qualitative imaging techniques. To address this unmet medical need, we established a simple strategy for the painless and quantitative assessment of cutaneous lymphatic function. We prepared a lymphatic-specific tracer formulation, consisting of the clinically approved near-infrared fluorescent dye, indocyanine green, and the solubilizing surfactant Kolliphor HS15. The tracer is non-invasively delivered to the dermal layer of the skin using MicronJet600TM hollow microneedles, and the fluorescence signal decay at the injection site is measured over time using a custom-made, portable detection device. The decay rate of fluorescence signal in the skin was used as a direct measure of lymphatic vessel drainage function. With this new method, we could quantify impaired lymphatic clearance in transgenic mice lacking dermal lymphatics and distinguish distinct lymphatic clearance patterns in pigs in different body locations and under manual stimulus. Overall, this method has the potential for becoming a non-invasive and quantitative clinical “office-test” for lymphatic function assessment.
Anna K. Polomska, Steven T. Proulx, Davide Brambilla, Daniel Fehr, Mathias Bonmarin, Simon Brändli, Mirko Meboldt, Christian Steuer, Tsvetina Vasileva, Nils Reinke, Jean-Christophe Leroux, Michael Detmar
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
VEGF-C is an important mediator of lymphangiogenesis and has been shown to alleviate chronic inflammation in a variety of disease models. In this study, we investigated whether targeted delivery of VEGF-C to sites of inflammation and site-specific activation of lymphatic vessels would represent a clinically feasible strategy for treating chronic skin inflammation. To this end, we generated a fusion protein consisting of human VEGF-C fused to the F8 antibody (F8-VEGF-C), which is specific for the alternatively spliced, angiogenesis-marking extradomain A (EDA) of fibronectin. In two mouse models of psoriasis-like skin inflammation, mediated by transgenic VEGF-A overexpression or repeated application of imiquimod, intravenous treatment with F8-VEGF-C but not with untargeted VEGF-C significantly reduced ear skin edema and was as effective as the clinically used TNF-α receptor-Fc fusion protein (TNFR-Fc). Treatment with F8-VEGF-C led to a marked expansion of lymphatic vessels in the inflamed skin and significantly improved lymphatic drainage function. At the same time, treatment with F8-VEGF-C significantly reduced leukocyte numbers, including CD4+ and γδ T cells. In sum, our results reveal that targeted delivery of VEGF-C and site-specific induction of lymphatic vessels represent a potentially new and promising approach for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Simon Schwager, Silvana Renner, Teresa Hemmerle, Sinem Karaman, Steven T. Proulx, Roman Fetz, Alexandra Michaela Golding-Ochsenbein, Philipp Probst, Cornelia Halin, Dario Neri, Michael Detmar
In this study we evaluated the role of hyaluronan (HA) in reactive adipogenesis, a local expansion of preadipocytes that provides host defense by release of antimicrobial peptides. We observed that HA accumulated during maturation of adipocytes in vitro and was associated with increased expression of preadipocyte factor 1, zinc finger protein 423, and early B cell factor 1. Although HA is normally abundant in the extracellular matrix, a further increase in HA staining occurred in mice at sites of reactive adipogenesis following injury of colon by dextran sodium sulfate or injury of skin from infection with Staphylococcus aureus. HA also abundantly accumulated around adipocytes seen in the colons of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. This HA was necessary for adipocyte maturation because digestion of HA by administration of soluble hyaluronidase or transgenic expression of hyaluronidase 1 inhibited adipogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, hyaluronidase also suppressed inflammation of both skin and colon and decreased antimicrobial peptide expression by developing preadipocytes. This resulted in increased bacterial transit across the epithelial barrier despite decreased tissue injury from inflammation. These observations suggest HA plays an important role in reactive adipogenesis and host defense after injury.
Tatsuya Dokoshi, Ling-juan Zhang, Teruaki Nakatsuji, Christopher A. Adase, James A. Sanford, Rudolph D. Paladini, Hiroki Tanaka, Mikihiro Fujiya, Richard L. Gallo
Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease in which cytotoxic T cells specifically target growing hair follicles. We used high-throughput TCR sequencing in the C3H/HeJ mouse model of AA and in human AA patients to gain insight into pathogenic T cell populations and their dynamics, which revealed clonal CD8+ T cell expansions in lesional skin. In the C3H/HeJ model, we observed interindividual sharing of TCRβ chain protein sequences, which strongly supports a model of antigenic drive in AA. The overlap between the lesional TCR repertoire and a population of CD8+NKG2D+ T cells in skin-draining lymph nodes identified this subset as pathogenic effectors. In AA patients, treatment with the oral JAK inhibitor tofacitinib resulted in a decrease in clonally expanded CD8+ T cells in the scalp but also revealed that many expanded lesional T cell clones do not completely disappear from either skin or blood during treatment with tofacitinib, which may explain in part the relapse of disease after stopping treatment.
Annemieke de Jong, Ali Jabbari, Zhenpeng Dai, Luzhou Xing, Dustin Lee, Mei Mei Li, Madeleine Duvic, Maria Hordinsky, David A. Norris, Vera Price, Julian Mackay-Wiggan, Raphael Clynes, Angela M. Christiano
Organ transplant recipients (OTRs) on cyclosporine A (CSA) are prone to catastrophic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Allograft-sparing, cancer-targeting systemic treatments are unavailable. We have shown increased risk for catastrophic SCC in OTRs via CSA-mediated induction of IL-22. Herein, we found that CSA drives SCC proliferation and tumor growth through IL-22 and JAK/STAT pathway induction. We in turn inhibited SCC growth with an FDA-approved JAK1/2 inhibitor, ruxolitinib. In human SCC cells, the greatest proliferative response to IL-22 and CSA treatment occurred in nonmetastasizing lines. IL-22 treatment upregulated JAK1 and STAT1/3 in A431 SCC cells. JAK/STAT pathway genes were highly expressed in tumors from a cohort of CSA-exposed OTRs and in SCC with high risk for metastasis. Compared with immunocompetent SCC, genes associated with innate immunity, response to DNA damage, and p53 regulation were differentially expressed in SCC from OTRs. In nude mice engrafted with human A431 cells, IL-22 and CSA treatment increased tumor growth and upregulated IL-22 receptor, JAK1, and STAT1/3 expression. Ruxolitinib treatment significantly reduced tumor volume and reversed the accelerated tumor growth. CSA and IL-22 exacerbate aggressive behavior in SCC. Targeting the IL-22 axis via selective JAK/STAT inhibition may reduce the progression of aggressive SCC in OTRs, without compromising immunosuppression.
Melody Abikhair Burgo, Nazanin Roudiani, Jie Chen, Alexis L. Santana, Nicole Doudican, Charlotte Proby, Diane Felsen, John A. Carucci
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