Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are an increasingly common cause of respiratory infection in people with cystic fibrosis (PwCF). Relative to those with no history of NTM infection (CF-NTMNEG), PwCF and a history of NTM infection (CF-NTMPOS) are more likely to develop severe lung disease and experience complications over the course of treatment. In other mycobacterial infections (e.g. tuberculosis), an overexuberant immune response causes pathology and compromises organ function; however, since the immune profiles of CF-NTMPOS and CF-NTMNEG airways are largely unexplored, it is unknown which if any immune responses distinguish these cohorts or concentrate in damaged tissues. Here we evaluated lung lobe-specific immune profiles of three cohorts (CF-NTMPOS, CF-NTMNEG, and non-CF adults) and found that CF-NTMPOS airways are distinguished by a hyper-inflammatory cytokine profile. Importantly, the CF-NTMPOS airway immune profile was dominated by B cells, classical macrophages and the cytokines which support their accumulation. These and other immunological differences between cohorts, including the near absence of NK cells and complement pathway members, were enriched in the most damaged lung lobes. The implications of these findings for our understanding of lung disease in PwCF are discussed, as are how they may inform the development of host-directed therapies to improve NTM disease treatment.
Don Hayes, Jr., Rajni Kant Shukla, Yizi Cheng, Emrah Gecili, Marlena R. Merling, Rhonda D. Szczesniak, Assem G Ziady, Jason C. Woods, Luanne Hall-Stoodley, Namal P.M. Liyanage, Richard T. Robinson
Studies have demonstrated the phenotypic heterogeneity of vascular endothelial cells (ECs) within a vascular bed; however, little is known about how distinct endothelial subpopulations in a particular organ respond to an inflammatory stimulus. We performed single cell RNA-sequencing of 35,973 lung ECs obtained during the baseline state as well as post-injury time points following inflammatory lung injury induced by lipopolysaccharide. Seurat clustering and gene expression pathway analysis identified two major subpopulations in the lung microvascular endothelium, a subpopulation enriched for expression of immune response genes such as major histocompatibility complex genes (immuneEC) and another defined by increased expression of vascular development genes such as Sox17 (devEC). The presence of immuneEC and devEC subpopulations was also observed in non-human primate lungs infected with SARS-CoV-2 and murine lungs infected with H1N1 influenza virus. Following the peak of inflammatory injury, we observed the emergence of a proliferative lung EC subpopulation. Overexpression of Sox17 prevented inflammatory activation in ECs. Thus, there appears to be a” division of labor” within the lung microvascular endothelium with some ECs showing propensity for inflammatory signaling and others for endothelial regeneration. These results provide underpinnings for the development of targeted therapies to limit inflammatory lung injury and promote regeneration.
Lianghui Zhang, Shang Gao, Zachary White, Yang Dai, Asrar B. Malik, Jalees Rehman
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease with limited treatment options. The role of the developmental transcription factor Sine Oculis homeobox homolog 1 (SIX1) in the pathophysiology of lung fibrosis is not known. IPF lung tissue samples and IPF-derived alveolar type II cells (AT2) showed a significant increase in SIX1 mRNA and protein levels, and the SIX1 transcriptional co-activators EYA1 and EYA2 were elevated. Six1 was also upregulated in bleomycin (BLM)-treated mice and in a model of spontaneous lung fibrosis driven by deletion of Telomeric Repeat Binding Factor 1 (Trf1) in AT2 cells. Conditional deletion of Six1 in AT2 cells prevented or halted BLM-induced lung fibrosis as measured by a significant reduction in histological burden of fibrosis, reduced fibrotic mediator expression and improved lung function. These effects were associated with increased macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in lung epithelial cells in vivo following SIX1 overexpression in BLM-induced fibrosis. A MIF promoter-driven luciferase assay demonstrated direct binding of Six1 to the 5’-TCAGG-3’ consensus sequence of the MIF promoter, identifying a likely mechanism of SIX1-driven MIF expression in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis, and providing a novel pathway for targeting in IPF therapy.
Cory Wilson, Tinne C.J. Mertens, Pooja Shivshankar, Weizen Bi, Scott D. Collum, Nancy Wareing, Junsuk Ko, Tingting Weng, Ram P. Naikawadi, Paul J. Wolters, Pascal Maire, Soma S.K. Jyothula, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, Dewei Ren, Nathan D. Elrod, Eric J. Wagner, Howard J. Huang, Burton F. Dickey, Heide L. Ford, Harry Karmouty-Quintana
Sex/gender disparity in asthma is recognized, and suggests a modulatory role for sex-steroids, particularly estrogen. However, studies including our own show a dichotomous role for estrogen in airway remodeling, making it unclear whether sex hormones are protective or detrimental in asthma, and suggesting a need to explore mechanisms upstream or independent of estrogen. We hypothesize that Kisspeptin (Kp)/KISS1R signaling serves this role. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) is a key structural cell type that contributes to remodeling in asthma. We explored the role of Kp/KISS1R in regulating ASM proliferation. We report novel data that Kp and KISS1R are expressed in human airways, especially ASM, with lower expression in ASM from females compared to males, and asthmatics showing lowest expression compared to non-asthmatics. Proliferation studies showed that cleaved forms of Kp, particularly Kp-10 mitigates PDGF-induced ASM proliferation. Pharmacological inhibition and shRNA knockdown of KISS1R increased basal ASM proliferation, further amplified by PDGF. The anti-proliferative effect of Kp-10 in ASM was found to be mediated by inhibition of MAPK-ERK-Akt pathways, with altered expression of PCNA, C/EBP-alpha, Ki-67, Cyclin-D1, and Cyclin-E leading to cell-cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase. Overall, we demonstrate the importance of Kp/KISS1R signaling in regulating ASM proliferation and a potentially novel therapeutic avenue to blunt remodeling in asthma.
Niyati A. Borkar, Nilesh Sudhakar Ambhore, Rama Satyanarayana Raju Kalidhindi, Christina M. Pabelick, Y.S. Prakash, Venkatachalem Sathish
The lung airways are constantly exposed to inhaled toxic substances, resulting in cellular damage that is repaired by local expansion of resident bronchiolar epithelial club cells. Disturbed bronchiolar epithelial damage repair lays at the core of many prevalent lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and lung cancer. However, it is still not known how bronchiolar club cell energy-metabolism contributes to this process. Here we show that Adipose TriGlyceride Lipase (ATGL), the rate-limiting enzyme for intracellular lipolysis, is critical for normal club cell function in mice. Deletion of the gene encoding ATGL, Pnpla2 (Atgl), induced substantial triglyceride accumulation, decreased mitochondrial numbers and decreased mitochondrial respiration in club cells. This defect manifested as bronchiolar epithelial thickening and increased airway resistance under baseline conditions. After naphthalene induced epithelial denudation, a regenerative defect was apparent. Mechanistically, dysfunctional PPARα lipid-signaling underlies this phenotype because, (i) ATGL was needed for PPARα lipid-signalling in regenerating bronchioles, and (ii) administration of the specific PPARα agonist WY14643 restored normal bronchiolar club cell ultrastructure and regenerative potential. Our data emphasize the importance of the cellular energy-metabolism for lung epithelial regeneration and highlight the significance of ATGL mediated lipid catabolism for lung health.
Manu Manjunath Kanti, Isabelle Striessnig-Bina, Beatrix I. Wieser, Silvia Schauer, Gerd Leitinger, Thomas O. Eichmann, Martina Schweiger, Margit Winkler, Elke Winter, Andrea Lana, Iris Kufferath, Leigh M. Marsh, Grazyna Kwapiszewska, Rudolf Zechner, Gerald Hoefler, Paul W. Vesely
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder caused by biallelic mutations of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. Converging evidence suggests that CF carriers with only 1 defective CFTR copy are at increased risk for CF-related conditions and pulmonary infections, but the molecular mechanisms underpinning this effect remain unknown. We performed transcriptomic profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of CF child-parent trios (proband, father, and mother) and healthy control (HC) PBMCs or THP-1 cells incubated with the plasma of these participants. Transcriptomic analyses revealed suppression of cytokine-enriched immune-related genes (IL-1β, CXCL8, CREM), implicating lipopolysaccharide tolerance in innate immune cells (monocytes) of CF probands and their parents. These data suggest that a homozygous as well as a heterozygous CFTR mutation can modulate the immune/inflammatory system. This conclusion is further supported by the finding of lower numbers of circulating monocytes in CF probands and their parents, compared with HCs, and the abundance of mononuclear phagocyte subsets, which correlated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, lung disease severity, and CF progression in the probands. This study provides insight into demonstrated CFTR-related innate immune dysfunction in individuals with CF and carriers of a CFTR mutation that may serve as a target for personalized therapy.
Xi Zhang, Camille M. Moore, Laura D. Harmacek, Joanne Domenico, Vittobai Rashika Rangaraj, Justin E. Ideozu, Jennifer R. Knapp, Katherine J. Woods, Stephanie Jump, Shuang Jia, Jeremy W. Prokop, Russell Bowler, Martin J. Hessner, Erwin W. Gelfand, Hara Levy
BACKGROUND. The value of the soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-products (sRAGE) as a biomarker in COVID-19 is not well understood. We tested the association between plasma sRAGE and illness severity, viral burden, and clinical outcomes in non-mechanically ventilated hospitalized COVID-19 patients. METHODS. Baseline sRAGE was measured among participants enrolled in the ACTIV-3/TICO trial of bamlanivimab for hospitalized COVID-19. Spearman rank correlation was used to assess the relationship between sRAGE and other plasma biomarkers, including viral nucleocapsid antigen. Fine-Gray models adjusted for baseline supplemental oxygen requirement, antigen level, positive endogenous antibody response, gender, age, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, renal impairment, and log2-transformed IL-6 level were used to assess the association between baseline sRAGE and time to sustained recovery. Cox regression adjusted for the same factors was used to assess the association between sRAGE and mortality. RESULTS. Among 277 participants, baseline sRAGE was strongly correlated with viral plasma antigen concentration (ρ = 0.57). There was a weaker correlation between sRAGE and biomarkers of systemic inflammation such as IL-6 (ρ = 0.36) and CRP (ρ = 0.20). Participants with plasma sRAGE in the highest quartile had a significantly lower rate of sustained recovery (adjusted recovery rate ratio 0.64 [95% CI 0.43-0.90]) and a higher unadjusted risk of death (HR 4.70 [95% CI 2.01-10.99]) compared with participants in the lower quartiles. CONCLUSIONS. Elevated plasma sRAGE in hospitalized, non-ventilated patients with COVID-19 was an indicator of both clinical illness severity and plasma viral load and was associated with a lower likelihood of sustained recovery. These novel results indicate that plasma sRAGE may be a promising biomarker for COVID-19 prognostication and clinical trial enrichment.
Katherine D. Wick, Lianne Siegel, James D. Neaton, Cathryn Oldmixon, Jens Lundgren, Robin L. Dewar, H. Clifford Lane, B. Taylor Thompson, Michael A. Matthay
Fibrotic diseases account for nearly half of all deaths in the developed world. Despite its importance, the pathogenesis of fibrosis remains poorly understood. Recently, the two mechanosensitive transcription cofactors YAP and TAZ have emerged as important profibrotic regulators in multiple murine tissues. Despite this growing recognition, a number of important questions remain unanswered, including which cell types require YAP/TAZ activation for fibrosis to occur and the time course of this activation. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the role that myofibroblast YAP and TAZ play in organ fibrosis and the kinetics of their activation. Using analyses of cells, as well as multiple murine and human tissues, we demonstrated that myofibroblast YAP and TAZ were activated early after organ injury and that this activation was sustained. We further demonstrated the critical importance of myofibroblast YAP/TAZ in driving progressive scarring in the kidney, lung, and liver, using multiple transgenic models in which YAP and TAZ were either deleted or hyperactivated. Taken together, these data establish the importance of early injury-induced myofibroblast YAP and TAZ activation as a key event driving fibrosis in multiple organs. This information should help guide the development of new antifibrotic YAP/TAZ inhibition strategies.
Xiaolin He, Monica F. Tolosa, Tianzhou Zhang, Santosh Kumar Goru, Luisa Ulloa Severino, Paraish S. Misra, Caitríona M. McEvoy, Lauren Caldwell, Stephen G. Szeto, Feng Gao, Xiaolan Chen, Cassandra Atin, Victoria Ki, Noah Vukosa, Catherine Hu, Johnny Zhang, Christopher Yip, Adriana Krizova, Jeffrey L. Wrana, Darren A. Yuen
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an aging-associated disease characterized by the accumulation of myofibroblasts and progressive lung scarring. To identify transcriptional gene programs driving persistent lung fibrosis in aging, we performed RNA-seq on lung fibroblasts isolated from young and aged mice during the early resolution phase post-bleomycin injury. We discovered that relative to injured young fibroblasts, injured aged fibroblasts exhibited a pro-fibrotic state characterized by elevated expression of genes implicated in inflammation, matrix remodeling, and cell survival. We identified pro-viral integration site of Moloney murine leukemia virus 1 (PIM1) and its target Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells-1 (NFATc1) as putative drivers of the sustained pro-fibrotic gene signatures in injured aged fibroblasts. PIM1 and NFATc1 transcripts were enriched in a pathogenic fibroblast population recently discovered in IPF lungs, and their protein expression was abundant in fibroblastic foci. Overexpression of PIM1 in normal human lung fibroblasts in vitro potentiated their fibrogenic activation in a NFATc1-dependent manner. Pharmacological inhibition of PIM1 attenuated IPF fibroblast activation and sensitized them to apoptotic stimuli. Inhibition of PIM1 signaling in IPF lung explants ex vivo inhibited pro-survival gene expression and collagen secretion, suggesting that targeting this pathway may represent a therapeutic strategy to block IPF progression.
Tho X. Pham, Jisu Lee, Jiazhen Guan, Nunzia Caporarello, Jeffrey A. Meridew, Dakota L. Jones, Qi Tan, Steven K. Huang, Daniel J. Tschumperlin, Giovanni Ligresti
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) results in catastrophic lung failure and has an urgent, unmet need for improved early recognition and therapeutic development. Neutrophil influx is a hallmark of ARDS and is associated with the release of tissue-destructive immune effectors, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and membrane-anchored metalloproteinase disintegrins (ADAMs). Here, we observed using intravital microscopy that Adam8–/– mice had impaired neutrophil transmigration. In mouse pneumonia models, both genetic deletion and pharmacologic inhibition of ADAM8 attenuated neutrophil infiltration and lung injury while improving bacterial containment. Unexpectedly, the alterations of neutrophil function were not attributable to impaired proteolysis but resulted from reduced intracellular interactions of ADAM8 with the actin-based motor molecule Myosin1f that suppressed neutrophil motility. In 2 ARDS cohorts, we analyzed lung fluid proteolytic signatures and identified that ADAM8 activity was positively correlated with disease severity. We propose that in acute inflammatory lung diseases such as pneumonia and ARDS, ADAM8 inhibition might allow fine-tuning of neutrophil responses for therapeutic gain.
Catharina Conrad, Daniela Yildiz, Simon J. Cleary, Andreas Margraf, Lena Cook, Uwe Schlomann, Barry Panaretou, Jessica L. Bowser, Harry Karmouty-Quintana, Jiwen Li, Nathaniel K. Berg, Samuel C. Martin, Ahmad Aljohmani, S. Farshid Moussavi-Harami, Kristin M. Wang, Jennifer J. Tian, Mélia Magnen, Colin Valet, Longhui Qiu, Jonathan P. Singer, Holger K. Eltzschig, CAPSys Study Group, Wilhelm Bertrams, Susanne Herold, Norbert Suttorp, Bernd Schmeck, Zachary T. Ball, Alexander Zarbock, Mark R. Looney, Jörg W. Bartsch
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