Paramount to the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors is proper selection of patients with adequate tumor immunogenicity and a robust but suppressed immune infiltrate. In colon cancer, immune-based therapies are approved for patients with DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiencies, in whom accumulation of genetic mutations results in increased neoantigen expression, triggering an immune response that is suppressed by the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway. Here, we report that characterization of the microenvironment of MMR-deficient metastatic colorectal cancer using multiplex fluorescent immunohistochemistry (mfIHC) identified increased infiltration of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which were more often engaged with epithelial cells (ECs) and improved overall survival. A subset of patients with intact MMR but a similar immune microenvironment to MMR-deficient patients was identified and found to universally express high levels of PD-L1, suggesting that they may represent a currently untreated, checkpoint inhibitor–responsive population. Further, PD-L1 expression on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the tumor microenvironment (TME) resulted in impaired CTL/EC engagement and enhanced infiltration and engagement of Tregs. Characterization of the TME by mfIHC highlights the interconnection between immunity and immunosuppression in metastatic colon cancer and may better stratify patients for receipt of immunotherapies.
Jenny Lazarus, Tomasz Maj, J. Joshua Smith, Mirna Perusina Lanfranca, Arvind Rao, Michael I. D’Angelica, Lawrence Delrosario, Alexander Girgis, Casey Schukow, Jinru Shia, Ilona Kryczek, Jiaqi Shi, Isaac Wasserman, Howard Crawford, Hari Nathan, Marina Pasca Di Magliano, Weiping Zou, Timothy L. Frankel
Allograft tolerance, in which a graft is accepted without long-term immunosuppression, could overcome numerous obstacles in transplantation. Human allograft tolerance has been intentionally induced across HLA barriers via combined kidney and bone marrow transplantation (CKBMT) with a regimen that induces only transient chimerism. Tregs are enriched early after CKBMT. While deletional tolerance contributes to long-term tolerance, the role of Tregs remains unclear. We have optimized a method for identifying the donor-specific Treg repertoire and used it to interrogate the fate of donor-specific Tregs after CKBMT. We expanded Tregs with several different protocols. Using functional analyses and T cell receptor sequencing, we found that expanding sorted Tregs with activated donor B cells identified the broadest Treg repertoire with the greatest potency and donor specificity of suppression. This method outperformed both alloantigen stimulation with CTLA4Ig and sequencing of CFSElo cells from the primary mixed lymphocyte reaction. In 3 tolerant and 1 nontolerant CKBMT recipients, we sequenced donor-specific Tregs before transplant and tracked them after transplant. Preexisting donor-specific Tregs were expanded at 6 months after CKBMT in tolerant patients and were reduced in the nontolerant patient. These results suggest that early expansion of donor-specific Tregs is involved in tolerance induction following CKBMT.
Thomas M. Savage, Brittany A. Shonts, Aleksandar Obradovic, Susan Dewolf, Saiping Lau, Julien Zuber, Michael T. Simpson, Erik Berglund, Jianing Fu, Suxiao Yang, Siu-Hong Ho, Qizhi Tang, Laurence A. Turka, Yufeng Shen, Megan Sykes
Tissue-resident memory T cells (TRMs) accelerate pathogen clearance through rapid and enhanced functional responses in situ. TRMs are prevalent in diverse anatomic sites throughout the human lifespan, yet their phenotypic and functional diversity has not been fully described. Here, we identify subpopulations of human TRMs based on the ability to efflux fluorescent dyes [efflux(+) TRMs] located within mucosal and lymphoid sites with distinct transcriptional profiles, turnover, and functional capacities. Compared with efflux(–) TRMs, efflux(+) TRMs showed transcriptional and phenotypic features of quiescence including reduced turnover, decreased expression of exhaustion markers, and increased proliferative capacity and signaling in response to homeostatic cytokines. Moreover, upon activation, efflux(+) TRMs secreted lower levels of inflammatory cytokines such as IFN-γ and IL-2 and underwent reduced degranulation. Interestingly, analysis of TRM subsets following activation revealed that both efflux(+) and efflux(–) TRMs undergo extensive transcriptional changes following TCR ligation but retain core TRM transcriptional properties including retention markers, suggesting that TRMs carry out effector function in situ. Overall, our results suggest a model for tissue-resident immunity wherein heterogeneous subsets have differential capacities for longevity and effector function.
Brahma V. Kumar, Radomir Kratchmarov, Michelle Miron, Dustin J. Carpenter, Takashi Senda, Harvey Lerner, Amy Friedman, Steven L. Reiner, Donna L. Farber
Anemia is a major complication of malaria, driven largely by loss of uninfected RBCs during infection. RBC clearance through loss of complement regulatory proteins (CRPs) is a significant contributor to anemia in Plasmodium falciparum infection, but its role in Plasmodium vivax infection is unknown. CRP loss increases RBC susceptibility to macrophage clearance, a process that is also regulated by CD47. We compared CRPs and CD47 expression on infected and uninfected RBCs in adult patients with vivax and falciparum malaria and different anemia severities from Papua, Indonesia. Complement activation and parasite-specific complement-fixing antibodies were measured by ELISA. Levels of CR1 and CD55 were reduced in severe anemia in both falciparum and vivax malaria. Loss of CRPs and CD47 was restricted to uninfected RBCs, with infected RBCs having higher expression. There was no association among complement-fixing antibodies, complement activation, and CRP loss. Our findings demonstrate that CRP loss is a pan-species, age-independent mechanism of malarial anemia. Higher levels of CRP and CD47 expression on infected RBCs suggest that parasites are protected from complement-mediated destruction and macrophage clearance. Lack of associations between protective antibodies and CRP loss highlight that complement pathogenic and protective pathways are distinct mechanisms during infection.
Damian A. Oyong, Enny Kenangalem, Jeanne R. Poespoprodjo, James G. Beeson, Nicholas M. Anstey, Ric N. Price, Michelle J. Boyle
Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is a debilitating pediatric autoimmune disease manifesting with characteristic rash and muscle weakness. To delineate signaling abnormalities in JDM, mass cytometry was performed with PBMCs from treatment-naive JDM patients and controls. NK cell percentages were lower while frequencies of naive B cells and naive CD4+ T cells were higher in JDM patients than in controls. These cell frequency differences were attenuated with cessation of active disease. A large number of signaling differences were identified in treatment-naive JDM patients compared with controls. Classification models incorporating feature selection demonstrated that differences in phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2) phosphorylation comprised 10 of 12 features (i.e., phosphoprotein in a specific immune cell subset) distinguishing the 2 groups. Because NK cells represented 5 of these 12 features, further studies focused on the PLCγ2 pathway in NK cells, which is responsible for stimulating calcium flux and cytotoxic granule movement. No differences were detected in upstream signaling or total PLCγ2 protein levels. Hypophosphorylation of PLCγ2 and downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase 2 were partially attenuated with cessation of active disease. PLCγ2 hypophosphorylation in treatment-naive JDM patients resulted in decreased calcium flux. The identification of dysregulation of PLCγ2 phosphorylation and decreased calcium flux in NK cells provides potential mechanistic insight into JDM pathogenesis.
Allison A. Throm, Joshua B. Alinger, Jeanette T. Pingel, Allyssa L. Daugherty, Lauren M. Pachman, Anthony R. French
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has few therapeutic options, and alternative approaches are urgently needed. Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) is becoming an exciting target for therapeutic adjuvants. However, STING resides inside the cell, and the intracellular delivery of CDNs, such as cGAMP, is required for the optimal activation of STING. We show that liposomal nanoparticle-delivered cGAMP (cGAMP-NP) activates STING more effectively than soluble cGAMP. These particles induce innate and adaptive host immune responses to preexisting tumors in both orthotopic and genetically engineered models of basal-like TNBC. cGAMP-NPs also reduce melanoma tumor load, with limited responsivity to anti–PD-L1. Within the tumor microenvironment, cGAMP-NPs direct both mouse and human macrophages (M), reprograming from protumorigenic M2-like phenotype toward M1-like phenotype; enhance MHC and costimulatory molecule expression; reduce M2 biomarkers; increase IFN-γ–producing T cells; augment tumor apoptosis; and increase CD4+ and CD8+ T cell infiltration. Activated T cells are required for tumor suppression, as their depletion reduces antitumor activity. Importantly, cGAMP-NPs prevent the formation of secondary tumors, and a single dose is sufficient to inhibit TNBC. These data suggest that a minimal system comprised of cGAMP-NP alone is sufficient to modulate the tumor microenvironment to effectively control PD-L1–insensitive TNBC.
Ning Cheng, Rebekah Watkins-Schulz, Robert D. Junkins, Clément N. David, Brandon M. Johnson, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Kevin J. Peine, David B. Darr, Hong Yuan, Karen P. McKinnon, Qi Liu, Lei Miao, Leaf Huang, Eric M. Bachelder, Kristy M. Ainslie, Jenny P-Y Ting
Asthma is one of the most common immunological diseases and is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), mucus overproduction, and airway eosinophilia. Although mouse models have provided insight into the mechanisms by which type-2 cytokines induce asthmatic airway inflammation, differences between the rodent and human immune systems hamper efforts to improve understanding of human allergic diseases. In this study, we aim to establish a preclinical animal model of asthmatic airway inflammation using humanized IL-3/GM-CSF or IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg NOD/Shi-scid-IL2rγnull (NOG) mice and investigate the roles of human type-2 immune responses in the asthmatic mice. Several important characteristics of asthma — such as AHR, goblet cell hyperplasia, T cell infiltration, IL-13 production, and periostin secretion — were induced in IL-3/GM-CSF Tg mice by intratracheally administered human IL-33. In addition to these characteristics, human eosinophilic inflammation was observed in IL-3/GM-CSF/IL-5 Tg mice. The asthmatic mechanisms of the humanized mice were driven by activation of human Th2 and mast cells by IL-33 stimulation. Furthermore, treatment of the humanized mice with an anti–human IL-13 antibody significantly suppressed these characteristics. Therefore, the humanized mice may enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of allergic disorders and facilitate the preclinical development of new therapeutics for IL-33–mediated type-2 inflammation in asthma.
Ryoji Ito, Shuichiro Maruoka, Kaori Soda, Ikumi Katano, Kenji Kawai, Mika Yagoto, Asami Hanazawa, Takeshi Takahashi, Tomoyuki Ogura, Motohito Goto, Riichi Takahashi, Shota Toyoshima, Yoshimichi Okayama, Kenji Izuhara, Yasuhiro Gon, Shu Hashimoto, Mamoru Ito, Satoshi Nunomura
Glioblastoma (GBM) remains uniformly lethal, and despite a large accumulation of immune cells in the microenvironment, there is limited antitumor immune response. To overcome these challenges, a comprehensive understanding of GBM systemic immune response during disease progression is required. Here, we integrated multiparameter flow cytometry and mass cytometry TOF (CyTOF) analysis of patient blood to determine changes in the immune system among tumor types and over disease progression. Utilizing flow cytometry analysis in a cohort of 259 patients ranging from benign to malignant primary and metastatic brain tumors, we found that GBM patients had a significant elevation in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in peripheral blood but not immunosuppressive Tregs. In GBM patient tissue, we found that increased MDSC levels in recurrent GBM portended poor prognosis. CyTOF analysis of peripheral blood from newly diagnosed GBM patients revealed that reduced MDSCs over time were accompanied by a concomitant increase in DCs. GBM patients with extended survival also had reduced MDSCs, similar to the levels of low-grade glioma (LGG) patients. Our findings provide a rationale for developing strategies to target MDSCs, which are elevated in GBM patients and predict poor prognosis.
Tyler J. Alban, Alvaro G. Alvarado, Mia D. Sorensen, Defne Bayik, Josephine Volovetz, Emily Serbinowski, Erin E. Mulkearns-Hubert, Maksim Sinyuk, James S. Hale, Giovana R. Onzi, Mary McGraw, Pengjing Huang, Matthew M. Grabowski, Connor A. Wathen, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Tomas Radivoyevitch, Harley I. Kornblum, Bjarne W. Kristensen, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Justin D. Lathia
Cancer incidence increases with age, but paradoxically, cancers have been found to grow more quickly in young mice compared with aged ones. The cause of differential tumor growth has been debated and, over time, attributed to faster tumor cell proliferation, decreased tumor cell apoptosis, and/or increased angiogenesis in young animals. Despite major advances in our understanding of tumor immunity over the past 2 decades, little attention has been paid to comparing immune cell populations in young and aged mice. Using mouse colon adenocarcinoma model MC38 implanted in young and mature mice, we show that age substantially influences the number of tumor-infiltrating cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, which control cancer progression. The different tumor growth pace in young and mature mice was abrogated in RAG1null mice, which lack mature T and B lymphocytes, and upon selective depletion of endogenous CD8+ cells. Transcriptome analysis further indicated that young mice have decreased levels of the Itga4 gene (CD49d, VLA-4) in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes when compared with mature mice. Hypothesizing that VLA-4 can have a tumor-protective effect, we depleted the protein, which resulted in accelerated tumor growth in mature mice. These observations may explain the paradoxical growth rates observed in murine cancers, point to the central role of VLA-4 in controlling tumor growth, and open new venues to therapeutic manipulation.
Juhyun Oh, Angela Magnuson, Christophe Benoist, Mikael J. Pittet, Ralph Weissleder
BACKGROUND. Our understanding of phenotypic and functional signatures of CD8+ T cell dysfunction in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is limited. Deciphering these deranged T cell functional states and how they are impacted by induction chemotherapy is essential for incorporation of novel immune-based strategies to restore and maintain antileukemia immunity. METHODS. We utilized high-dimensional immunophenotyping, gene expression, and functional studies to characterize peripheral blood and bone marrow CD8+ T cells in 72 AML patients at diagnosis and after induction chemotherapy. RESULTS. Our data suggest that multiple aspects of deranged T cell function are operative in AML at diagnosis, with exhaustion and senescence being the dominant processes. Following treatment, the phenotypic and transcriptional profile of CD8+ T cells diverged between responders and nonresponders. Response to therapy correlated with upregulation of costimulatory, and downregulation of apoptotic and inhibitory, T cell signaling pathways, indicative of restoration of T cell function. In functional studies, AML blasts directly altered CD8+ T cell viability, expansion, co-signaling and senescence marker expression. This CD8+ T cell dysfunction was in part reversible upon PD-1 blockade or OX40 costimulation in vitro. CONCLUSION. Our findings highlight the uniqueness of AML in sculpting CD8+ T cell responses and the plasticity of their signatures upon chemotherapy response, providing a compelling rationale for integration of novel immunotherapies to augment antileukemia immunity. FUNDING. This work was supported by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society grant no. 6449-13; NIH grants UM1-CA186691 and R01-HL110907-01; the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation New Investigator Award/Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation; the Vienna Fund for Innovative Cancer Research; and by fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Swedish Society for Medical Research.
Hanna A. Knaus, Sofia Berglund, Hubert Hackl, Amanda L. Blackford, Joshua F. Zeidner, Raúl Montiel-Esparza, Rupkatha Mukhopadhyay, Katrina Vanura, Bruce R. Blazar, Judith E. Karp, Leo Luznik, Ivana Gojo
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