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
Poorly controlled diabetes leads to comorbidities and enhanced susceptibility to infections. While the immune components involved in wound healing in diabetes have been studied, the components involved in susceptibility to skin infections remain unclear. Here, we examined the effects of the inflammatory lipid mediator leukotriene B4 (LTB4) signaling through its receptor B leukotriene receptor 1 (BLT1) in the progression of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infection in 2 models of diabetes. Diabetic mice produced higher levels of LTB4 in the skin, which correlated with larger nonhealing lesion areas and increased bacterial loads compared with nondiabetic mice. High LTB4 levels were also associated with dysregulated cytokine and chemokine production, excessive neutrophil migration but impaired abscess formation, and uncontrolled collagen deposition. Both genetic deletion and topical pharmacological BLT1 antagonism restored inflammatory response and abscess formation, followed by a reduction in the bacterial load and lesion area in the diabetic mice. Macrophage depletion in diabetic mice limited LTB4 production and improved abscess architecture and skin host defense. These data demonstrate that exaggerated LTB4/BLT1 responses mediate a derailed inflammatory milieu that underlies poor host defense in diabetes. Prevention of LTB4 production/actions could provide a new therapeutic strategy to restore host defense in diabetes.
Stephanie L. Brandt, Sue Wang, Naiara N. Dejani, Nathan Klopfenstein, Seth Winfree, Luciano Filgueiras, Brian P. McCarthy, Paul R. Territo, C. Henrique Serezani
Epithelial cells are the first line of defense against external dangers, and contribute to induction of adaptive immunity including Th17 responses. However, it is unclear whether specific epithelial signaling pathways are essential for the development of robust IL-17–mediated immune responses. In mice, the development of psoriatic inflammation induced by imiquimod required keratinocyte TRAF6. Conditional deletion of TRAF6 in keratinocytes abrogated dendritic cell activation, IL-23 production, and IL-17 production by γδ T cells at the imiquimod-treated sites. In contrast, hapten-induced contact hypersensitivity and papain-induced IgE production were not affected by loss of TRAF6. Loss of psoriatic inflammation was not solely due to defective imiquimod sensing, as subcutaneous administration of IL-23 restored IL-17 production but did not reconstitute psoriatic pathology in the mutant animals. Thus, TRAF6 was required for the full development of IL-17–mediated inflammation. Therefore, epithelial TRAF6 signaling plays an essential role in both triggering and propagating IL-17–mediated psoriatic inflammation.
Reiko Matsumoto, Teruki Dainichi, Soken Tsuchiya, Takashi Nomura, Akihiko Kitoh, Matthew S. Hayden, Ken J. Ishii, Mayuri Tanaka, Tetsuya Honda, Gyohei Egawa, Atsushi Otsuka, Saeko Nakajima, Kenji Sakurai, Yuri Nakano, Takashi Kobayashi, Yukihiko Sugimoto, Kenji Kabashima
Innate DNA repair mechanisms play a critical role in protecting skin keratinocytes from UV mutagenesis and skin cancer development. We hypothesized that individuals who develop frequent skin cancers may harbor germline defects in DNA repair genes and have increased predisposition to internal malignancies. We enrolled 61 patients with unusually frequent basal cell carcinoma (BCC) development, seen at Stanford Hospital and Clinics from January 2005 until December 2015, for germline analysis of 29 DNA repair genes. In parallel, a case-control retrospective review was performed to interrogate the association of malignancies with frequent BCC development in a large US medical insurance claims database (Truven), which included 13,264 individuals with 6 or more BCCs from 2007 to 2011. 19.7% of the frequent BCC cohort harbored pathogenic mutations in DNA repair genes: APC, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, MUTYH, NBN, and PALB2. Individuals with 6 or more BCCs had an increased risk of other malignancies, with a 3.5-fold increase in the frequent BCC cohort and a 3.2-fold increase in the Truven database. Individuals who developed frequent BCCs have an increased prevalence of germline mutations in DNA repair genes and increased malignancy risk. Our data implicate frequent BCC development as an external marker of inherited cancer risk.
Hyunje G. Cho, Karen Y. Kuo, Shufeng Li, Irene Bailey, Sumaira Aasi, Anne Lynn S. Chang, Anthony E. Oro, Jean Y. Tang, Kavita Y. Sarin
Numerous studies of relatively few patients have linked T cell receptor (TCR) genes to psoriasis but have yielded dramatically conflicting results. To resolve these discrepancies, we have chosen to mine RNA-Seq datasets for patterns of TCR gene segment usage in psoriasis. A meta-analysis of 3 existing and 1 unpublished datasets revealed a statistically significant link between the relative expression of TRAJ23 and psoriasis and the psoriasis-associated cytokine IL-17A. TRGV5, a TCR-γ segment, was also associated with psoriasis but correlated instead with IL-36A, other IL-36 family members, and IL-17C (not IL-17A). In contrast, TRAJ39 was strongly associated with healthy skin. T cell diversity measurements and analysis of CDR3 sequences were also conducted, revealing no psoriasis-associated public CDR3 sequences. Finally, in comparison with the expression of TCR-αβ genes, the expression of TCR-γδ genes was relatively low but mildly elevated in psoriatic skin. These results have implications for the development of targeted therapies for psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases. Also, the techniques employed in this study have applications in other fields, such as cancer immunology and infectious disease.
Alexander A. Merleev, Alina I. Marusina, Chelsea Ma, James T. Elder, Lam C. Tsoi, Siba P. Raychauduri, Stephan Weidinger, Elizabeth A. Wang, Iannis E. Adamopoulos, Guillaume Luxardi, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Michiko Shimoda, Emanual Maverakis
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