NK cell–based immunotherapies have been gaining traction in the clinic for treatment of cancer. IL-15 is currently being used in number of clinical trials to improve NK cell expansion and function. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of repetitive IL-15 exposure on NK cells. An in vitro model in which human NK cells are continuously (on on on) or intermittently (on off on) treated with IL-15 was used to explore this question. After treatment, cells were evaluated for proliferation, survival, cell cycle gene expression, function, and metabolic processes. Our data indicate that continuous treatment of NK cells with IL-15 resulted in decreased viability and a cell cycle arrest gene expression pattern. This was associated with diminished signaling, decreased function both in vitro and in vivo, and reduced tumor control. NK cells continuously treated with IL-15 also displayed a reduced mitochondrial respiration profile when compared with NK cells treated intermittently with IL-15. This profile was characterized by a decrease in the spare respiratory capacity that was dependent on fatty acid oxidation (FAO). Limiting the strength of IL-15 signaling via utilization of an mTOR inhibitor rescued NK cell functionality in the group continuously treated with IL-15. The findings presented here show that human NK cells continuously treated with IL-15 undergo a process consistent with exhaustion that is accompanied by a reduction in FAO. These findings should inform IL-15–dosing strategies in NK cell cancer immunotherapeutic settings.
Martin Felices, Alexander J. Lenvik, Ron McElmurry, Sami Chu, Peter Hinderlie, Laura Bendzick, Melissa A. Geller, Jakub Tolar, Bruce R. Blazar, Jeffrey S. Miller
Neutrophils dominate the early immune response in pathogen-induced acute lung injury, but efforts to harness their responses have not led to therapeutic advancements. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) have been proposed as an innate defense mechanism responsible for pathogen clearance, but there are concerns that NETs may induce collateral damage to host tissues. Here, we detected NETs in abundance in mouse models of severe bacterial pneumonia/acute lung injury and in human subjects with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from pneumonia or sepsis. Decreasing NETs reduced lung injury and improved survival after DNase I treatment or with partial protein arginine deiminase 4 deficiency (PAD4+/–). Complete PAD4 deficiency (PAD4–/–) reduced NETs and lung injury but was counterbalanced by increased bacterial load and inflammation. Importantly, we discovered that the lipoxin pathway could be a potent modulator of NET formation, and that mice deficient in the lipoxin receptor (Fpr2–/–) produced excess NETs leading to increased lung injury and mortality. Lastly, we observed in humans that increased plasma NETs were associated with ARDS severity and mortality, and lower plasma DNase I levels were associated with the development of sepsis-induced ARDS. We conclude that a critical balance of NETs is necessary to prevent lung injury and to maintain microbial control, which has important therapeutic implications.
Emma Lefrançais, Beñat Mallavia, Hanjing Zhuo, Carolyn S. Calfee, Mark R. Looney
Intestinal epithelial cells condition tolerogenic properties in DCs. Aqueous-deficient dry eye is associated with goblet cell (GC) loss and increased IFN-γ expression in the conjunctiva. We hypothesized that loss of GCs reduces tolerance-inducing properties of antigen presenting cells (APCs) in the conjunctiva and draining nodes. Mice lacking the SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor (Spdef) that is required for GC differentiation had an increased frequency of macrophages in the conjunctiva and CD11b+CD11c+ DCs in the conjunctiva and draining nodes, and these cells had greater IL-12 expression than WT mice. Conditioned media from cultured WT conjunctival GCs suppressed LPS-induced IL-12 production by conjunctival APCs. OVA antigen–specific OTII CD4+ T cells primed by Spdef-KO draining lymph node APCs showed greater proliferation, lower frequency of Foxp3+, increased frequency of IFN-γ+ and IL-17+ cells, and greater IFN-γ production than those primed by WT APCs. The immune tolerance to OVA antigen topically applied to the conjunctiva measured by cutaneous delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction, OVA-specific T cell proliferation, Foxp3 induction, and IFN-γ production observed in WT mice was lost in the Spdef-KO mice. We concluded that conjunctival GCs condition tolerogenic properties in APCs that suppress IL-12 production and Th1 polarization.
Byung Yi Ko, Yangyan Xiao, Flavia L. Barbosa, Cintia S. de Paiva, Stephen C. Pflugfelder
The role of proinflammation, and specifically TNF-α, on downstream fibrosis and healing after cardiac injury remains unknown. Using iRhom2-deficient mice, which lack myeloid-specific shedding of TNF-α, we reveal increased macrophages (MΦs) that were skewed towards a more proinflammatory (M1) state at day 4, followed by more reparative, antiinflammatory (M2) state at day 7 after myocardial infarction (MI). However, associated functional cytokine expression was significantly reduced in iRhom2-mutant M1 and M2 MΦs, respectively. A dampened proinflammatory signature in iRhom2-deficient mice during the acute phase of injury and subsequent changes in MΦ polarization were associated with reduced phagocytosis and a more sparse distribution within the scar region. This resulted in impaired collagen deposition and fibrosis, and increased left ventricular remodelling and mortality in iRhom2-deficient mice after MI. Our findings reveal a requirement for an iRhom2-mediated proinflammatory response during downstream scarring and fibrosis, which is driven in part by TNF-α signaling. These conclusions challenge the existing model that infarct repair is determined exclusively by antiinflammatory signaling of M2 MΦs, and as such we propose an alternative view of immunomodulation to maintain effective healing after infarction.
Damien N. Barnette, Thomas J. Cahill, Mala Gunadasa-Rohling, Carolyn A. Carr, Matthew Freeman, Paul R. Riley
BACKGROUND. DC-based tumor vaccines have had limited clinical success thus far. SOCS1, a key inhibitor of inflammatory cytokine signaling, is an immune checkpoint regulator that limits DC immunopotency. METHODS. We generated a genetically modified DC (gmDC) vaccine to perform immunotherapy. The adenovirus (Ad-siSSF) delivers two tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), survivin and MUC1; secretory bacterial flagellin for DC maturation; and an RNA interference moiety to suppress SOCS1. A 2-stage phase I trial was performed for patients with relapsed acute leukemia after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: in stage 1, we compared the safety and efficacy between gmDC treatment (23 patients) and standard donor lymphocyte infusion (25 patients); in stage 2, we tested the efficacy of the gmDC vaccine for 12 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with early molecular relapse. RESULTS. gmDCs elicited potent TAA-specific CTL responses in vitro, and the immunostimulatory activity of gmDC vaccination was demonstrated in rhesus monkeys. A stage 1 study established that this combinatory gmDC vaccine is safe in acute leukemia patients and yielded improved survival rate. In stage 2, we observed a complete remission rate of 83% in 12 relapsed AML patients. Overall, no grade 3 or grade 4 graft-versus-host disease incidence was detected in any of the 35 patients enrolled. CONCLUSIONS. This study, with combinatory modifications in DCs, demonstrates the safety and efficacy of SOCS1-silenced DCs in treating relapsed acute leukemia. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01956630. FUNDING. National Institute of Health (R01CA90427); the Key New Drug Development and Manufacturing Program of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” of China (2011ZX09102-001-29); and Clinical Application Research of Beijing (Z131107002213148).
Danhong Wang, Xue F. Huang, Bangxing Hong, Xiao-Tong Song, Liangding Hu, Min Jiang, Bin Zhang, Hongmei Ning, Yuhang Li, Chen Xu, Xiao Lou, Botao Li, Zhiyong Yu, Jiangwei Hu, Jianlin Chen, Fan Yang, Haiyan Gao, Guoliang Ding, Lianming Liao, Lisa Rollins, Lindsey Jones, Si-Yi Chen, Hu Chen
Sensing of pathogens by host pattern recognition receptors is essential for activating the immune response during infection. We used a nonlethal murine model of malaria (Plasmodium yoelii 17XNL) to assess the contribution of the pattern recognition receptor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) to the development of humoral immunity. Despite previous reports suggesting a critical, intrinsic role for cGAS in early B cell responses, cGAS-deficient (cGAS–/–) mice had no defect in the early expansion or differentiation of Plasmodium-specific B cells. As the infection proceeded, however, cGAS–/– mice exhibited higher parasite burdens and aberrant germinal center and memory B cell formation when compared with littermate controls. Antimalarial drugs were used to further demonstrate that the disrupted humoral response was not B cell intrinsic but instead was a secondary effect of a loss of parasite control. These findings therefore demonstrate that cGAS-mediated innate-sensing contributes to parasite control but is not intrinsically required for the development of humoral immunity. Our findings highlight the need to consider the indirect effects of pathogen burden in investigations examining how the innate immune system affects the adaptive immune response.
William O. Hahn, Noah S. Butler, Scott E. Lindner, Holly M. Akilesh, D. Noah Sather, Stefan H.I. Kappe, Jessica A. Hamerman, Michael Gale Jr., W. Conrad Liles, Marion Pepper
Late allograft failure is characterized by cumulative subclinical insults manifesting over many years. Although immunomodulatory therapies targeting host T cells have improved short-term survival rates, rates of chronic allograft loss remain high. We hypothesized that other immune cell types may drive subclinical injury, ultimately leading to graft failure. We collected whole-genome transcriptome profiles from 15 independent cohorts composed of 1,697 biopsy samples to assess the association of an inflammatory macrophage polarization–specific gene signature with subclinical injury. We applied penalized regression to a subset of the data sets and identified a 3-gene inflammatory macrophage–derived signature. We validated discriminatory power of the 3-gene signature in 3 independent renal transplant data sets with mean AUC of 0.91. In a longitudinal cohort, the 3-gene signature strongly correlated with extent of injury and accurately predicted progression of subclinical injury 18 months before clinical manifestation. The 3-gene signature also stratified patients at high risk of graft failure as soon as 15 days after biopsy. We found that the 3-gene signature also distinguished acute rejection (AR) accurately in 3 heart transplant data sets but not in lung transplant. Overall, we identified a parsimonious signature capable of diagnosing AR, recognizing subclinical injury, and risk-stratifying renal transplant patients. Our results strongly suggest that inflammatory macrophages may be a viable therapeutic target to improve long-term outcomes for organ transplantation patients.
Tej D. Azad, Michele Donato, Line Heylen, Andrew B. Liu, Shai S. Shen-Orr, Timothy E. Sweeney, Jonathan Scott Maltzman, Maarten Naesens, Purvesh Khatri
T cell receptor (TCR) affinity is a critical factor of Treg lineage commitment, but whether self-reactivity is a determining factor in peripheral Treg function remains unknown. Here, we report that a high degree of self-reactivity is crucial for tissue-specific Treg function in autoimmunity. Based on high expression of CD5, we identified a subset of self-reactive Tregs expressing elevated levels of T-bet, GITR, CTLA-4, and ICOS, which imparted significant protection from autoimmune diabetes. We observed that T-bet expression in Tregs, necessary for control of Th1 autoimmunity, could be induced in an IFNγ-independent fashion and, unlike in conventional T cells (Tconv), was strongly correlated with the strength of TCR signaling. The level of CD5 similarly identified human Tregs with an increased functional profile, suggesting that CD5hi Tregs may constitute an efficacious subpopulation appropriate for use in adoptive Treg therapies for treatment of inflammatory conditions. Overall, this work establishes an instrumental role of high TCR self-reactivity in driving Treg function.
Maran L. Sprouse, Marissa A. Scavuzzo, Samuel Blum, Ivan Shevchenko, Thomas Lee, George Makedonas, Malgorzata Borowiak, Matthew L. Bettini, Maria Bettini
B cells play an important role in type 1 diabetes (T1D) development. However, the role of B cell activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) in diabetes development is not clear. We hypothesized that AID is important in the immunopathogenesis of T1D. To test this hypothesis, we generated AID-deficient (AID–/–) NOD mice. We found that AID–/–NOD mice developed accelerated T1D, with worse insulitis and high levels of anti-insulin autoantibody in the circulation. Interestingly, neither maternal IgG transferred through placenta, nor IgA transferred through milk affected the accelerated diabetes development. AID–/–NOD mice showed increased activation and proliferation of B and T cells. We found enhanced T-B cell interactions in AID–/–NOD mice, with increased T-bet and IFN-γ expression in CD4+ T cells in the presence of AID–/– B cells. Moreover, excessive lymphoid expansion was observed in AID–/–NOD mice. Importantly, antigen-specific BDC2.5 CD4+ T cells caused more rapid onset of diabetes when cotransferred with AID–/– B cells than when cotransferred with AID+/+ B cells. Thus, our study provides insights into the role of AID in T1D. Our data also suggest that AID is a negative regulator of immune tolerance and ablation of AID can lead to exacerbated islet autoimmunity and accelerated T1D development.
Qiyuan Tan, Ningwen Tai, Yangyang Li, James Pearson, Sean Pennetti, Zhiguang Zhou, F. Susan Wong, Li Wen
Memory T cells pose a significant problem to successful therapeutic control of unwanted immune responses during autoimmunity and transplantation, as they are differentially controlled by cosignaling receptors such as CD28 and CTLA-4. Treatment with abatacept and belatacept impede CD28 signaling by binding to CD80 and CD86, but they also have the unintended consequence of blocking the ligands for CTLA-4, a process that may inadvertently boost effector responses. Here, we show that a potentially novel anti-CD28 domain antibody (dAb) that selectively blocks CD28 but preserves CTLA-4 coinhibition confers improved allograft survival in sensitized recipients as compared with CTLA-4 Ig. However, both CTLA-4 Ig and anti-CD28 dAb similarly and significantly reduced the accumulation of donor-reactive CD8+ memory T cells, demonstrating that regulation of the expansion of CD8+ memory T cell populations is controlled in part by CD28 signals and is not significantly impacted by CTLA-4. In contrast, selective CD28 blockade was superior to CTLA-4 Ig in inhibiting IFN-γ, TNF, and IL-2 production by CD8+ memory T cells, which in turn resulted in reduced recruitment of innate CD11b+ monocytes into allografts. Importantly, this superiority was CTLA-4 dependent, demonstrating that effector function of CD8+ memory T cells is regulated by the balance of CD28 and CTLA-4 signaling.
Danya Liu, I. Raul Badell, Mandy L. Ford
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