V-domain immunoglobulin suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA) is a recently discovered immune checkpoint ligand that functions to suppress T cell activity. The therapeutic potential of activating this immune checkpoint pathway to reduce inflammatory responses remains untapped, largely due to the inability to derive agonists targeting its unknown receptor. A dimeric construct of the IgV domain of VISTA (VISTA-Fc) was shown to suppress the activation of T cells in vitro. However, this effect required its immobilization on a solid surface, suggesting that VISTA-Fc may display limited efficacy as a VISTA-receptor agonist in vivo. Herein, we have designed a stable pentameric VISTA construct (VISTA.COMP) by genetically fusing its IgV domain to the pentamerization domain from the cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). In contrast to VISTA-Fc, VISTA.COMP does not require immobilization to inhibit the proliferation of CD4+ T cells undergoing polyclonal activation. Furthermore, we show that VISTA.COMP, but not VISTA-Fc, functions as an immunosuppressive agonist in vivo capable of prolonging the survival of skin allografts in a mouse transplant model as well as rescuing mice from acute concanavalin-A–induced hepatitis. Collectively, we believe our data demonstrate that VISTA.COMP is a checkpoint receptor agonist and the first agent to our knowledge targeting the putative VISTA-receptor to suppress T cell–mediated immune responses.
Aaron Prodeus, Aws Abdul-Wahid, Amanda Sparkes, Nicholas W. Fischer, Marzena Cydzik, Nicholas Chiang, Mays Alwash, Alessandra Ferzoco, Nathalie Vacaresse, Michael Julius, Reginald M. Gorczysnki, Jean Gariépy
Alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are among the most frequent causes of chronic liver disease in the United States. Although the two entities are triggered by different etiologies — chronic alcohol consumption (ASH) and obesity-associated lipotoxicity (NASH) — they share overlapping histological and clinical features owing to common pathogenic mechanisms. These pathogenic processes include altered hepatocyte lipid metabolism, organelle dysfunction (i.e., ER stress), hepatocyte apoptosis, innate immune system activation, and hepatic stellate cell activation. Nonetheless, there are several disease-specific molecular signaling pathways, such as differential pathway activation downstream of TLR4 (MyD88-dependence in NASH versus MyD88-independence in ASH), inflammasome activation and IL-1β signaling in ASH, insulin resistance and lipotoxicity in NASH, and dysregulation of different microRNAs, which clearly highlight that ASH and NASH are two distinct biological entities. Both pathogenic similarities and differences have therapeutic implications. In this Review, we discuss these pathogenic mechanisms and their therapeutic implications for each disease, focusing on both shared and distinct targets.
Thomas Greuter, Harmeet Malhi, Gregory J. Gores, Vijay H. Shah
BACKGROUND. Right-sided heart failure is the leading cause of death in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Similar to left heart failure, sympathetic overactivation and β-adrenoreceptor (βAR) abnormalities are found in PAH. Based on successful therapy of left heart failure with β-blockade, the safety and benefits of the nonselective β-blocker/vasodilator carvedilol were evaluated in PAH. METHODS. PAH Treatment with Carvedilol for Heart Failure (PAHTCH) is a single-center, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Following 1-week run-in, 30 participants were randomized to 1 of 3 arms for 24 weeks: placebo, low-fixed-dose, or dose-escalating carvedilol. Outcomes included clinical measures and mechanistic biomarkers. RESULTS. Decreases in heart rate and blood pressure with carvedilol were well tolerated; heart rate correlated with carvedilol dose. Carvedilol-treated groups had no decrease in exercise capacity measured by 6-minute walk, but had lower heart rates at peak and after exercise, and faster heart rate recovery. Dose-escalating carvedilol was associated with reduction in right ventricular (RV) glycolytic rate and increase in βAR levels. There was no evidence of RV functional deterioration; rather, cardiac output was maintained. CONCLUSIONS. Carvedilol is likely safe in PAH over 6 months of therapy and has clinical and mechanistic benefits associated with improved outcomes. The data provide support for longer and larger studies to establish guidelines for use of β-blockers in PAH. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01586156 FUNDING. This project was supported by NIH R01HL115008 and R01HL60917 and in part by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, UL1TR000439.
Samar Farha, Didem Saygin, Margaret M. Park, Hoi I. Cheong, Kewal Asosingh, Suzy A.A. Comhair, Olivia R. Stephens, Emir C. Roach, Jacqueline Sharp, Kristin B. Highland, Frank P. DiFilippo, Donald R. Neumann, W.H. Wilson Tang, Serpil C. Erzurum
The chemokine receptor CCR6 marks subsets of T cells and innate lymphoid cells that produce IL-17 and IL-22, and as such may play a role in the recruitment of these cells to certain inflammatory sites. However, the precise role of CCR6 has been controversial, in part because no effective monoclonal antibody (mAb) inhibitors against this receptor exist for use in mouse models of inflammation. We circumvented this problem using transgenic mice expressing human CCR6 (hCCR6) under control of its native promoter (hCCR6-Tg/mCCR6–/–). We also developed a fully humanized mAb against hCCR6 with antagonistic activity. The expression pattern of hCCR6 in hCCR6-Tg/mCCR6–/– mice was consistent with the pattern observed in humans. In mouse models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and psoriasis, treatment with anti-hCCR6 mAb was remarkably effective in both preventive and therapeutic regimens. For instance, in the imiquimod model of psoriasis, anti-CCR6 completely abolished all signs of inflammation. Moreover, anti-hCCR6 attenuated clinical symptoms of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein–induced (MOG-induced) EAE and reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells in the central nervous system. CCR6 plays a critical role in Th17 type inflammatory reactions, and CCR6 inhibition may offer an alternative approach for the treatment of these lesions.
Remy Robert, Caroline Ang, Guizhi Sun, Laurent Juglair, Ee X. Lim, Linda J. Mason, Natalie L. Payne, Claude C.A. Bernard, Charles R. Mackay
Despite influencing many aspects of T cell biology, the kinetics of T cell receptor (TCR) binding to peptide-major histocompatibility molecules (pMHC) remain infrequently determined in patient monitoring or for adoptive T cell therapy. Using specifically designed reversible fluorescent pMHC multimeric complexes, we performed a comprehensive study of TCR-pMHC off-rates combined with various functional assays on large libraries of self/tumor– and virus-specific CD8+ T cell clones from melanoma patients and healthy donors. We demonstrate that monomeric TCR-pMHC dissociation rates accurately predict the extent of cytotoxicity, cytokine production, polyfunctionality, cell proliferation, activating/inhibitory receptor expression, and in vivo antitumor potency of naturally occurring antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Our data also confirm the superior binding avidities of virus-specific T cells as compared with self/tumor–specific T cell clonotypes (n > 300). Importantly, the TCR-pMHC off-rate is a more stable and robust biomarker of CD8+ T cell potency than the frequently used functional assays/metrics that depend on the T cell’s activation state, and therefore show major intra- and interexperimental variability. Taken together, our data show that the monomeric TCR-pMHC off-rate is highly useful for the ex vivo high-throughput functional assessment of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses and a strong candidate as a biomarker of T cell therapeutic efficacy.
Mathilde Allard, Barbara Couturaud, Laura Carretero-Iglesia, Minh Ngoc Duong, Julien Schmidt, Gwennaëlle C. Monnot, Pedro Romero, Daniel E. Speiser, Michael Hebeisen, Nathalie Rufer
BACKGROUND. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoid used in multiple sclerosis and intractable epilepsies. Preclinical studies show CBD has numerous cardiovascular benefits, including a reduced blood pressure (BP) response to stress. The aim of this study was to investigate if CBD reduces BP in humans. METHODS. Nine healthy male volunteers were given 600 mg of CBD or placebo in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Cardiovascular parameters were monitored using a finometer and laser Doppler. RESULTS. CBD reduced resting systolic BP (–6 mmHg; P < 0.05) and stroke volume (–8 ml; P < 0.05), with increased heart rate (HR) and maintained cardiac output. Subjects who had taken CBD had lower BP (–5 mmHg; P < 0.05, especially before and after stress), increased HR (+10 bpm; P < 0.01), decreased stroke volume (–13 ml; P < 0.01), and a blunted forearm skin blood flow response to isometric exercise. In response to cold stress, subjects who had taken CBD had blunted BP (–6 mmHg; P < 0.01) and increased HR (+7 bpm; P < 0.05), with lower total peripheral resistance. CONCLUSIONS. This data shows that acute administration of CBD reduces resting BP and the BP increase to stress in humans, associated with increased HR. These hemodynamic changes should be considered for people taking CBD. Further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders.
Khalid A. Jadoon, Garry D. Tan, Saoirse E. O’Sullivan
The tumor microenvironment imposes physical and functional constraints on the antitumor efficacy of adoptive T cell immunotherapy. Preclinical testing of different T cell preparations can help in the selection of efficient immune therapies, but in vivo models are expensive and cumbersome to develop, while classical in vitro 2D models cannot recapitulate the spatiotemporal dynamics experienced by T cells targeting cancer. Here, we describe an easily customizable 3D model, in which the tumor microenvironment conditions are modulated and the functionality of different T cell preparations is tested. We incorporate human cancer hepatocytes as a single cell or as tumor cell aggregates in a 3D collagen gel region of a microfluidic device. Human T cells engineered to express tumor-specific T cell receptors (TCR–T cells) are then added in adjacent channels. The TCR–T cells’ ability to migrate and kill the tumor target and the profile of soluble factors were investigated under conditions of varying oxygen levels and in the presence of inflammatory cytokines. We show that only the 3D model detects the effect that oxygen levels and the inflammatory environment impose on engineered TCR–T cell function, and we also used the 3D microdevice to analyze the TCR–T cell efficacy in an immunosuppressive scenario. Hence, we show that our microdevice platform enables us to decipher the factors that can alter T cell function in 3D and can serve as a preclinical assay to tailor the most efficient immunotherapy configuration for a specific therapeutic goal.
Andrea Pavesi, Anthony T. Tan, Sarene Koh, Adeline Chia, Marta Colombo, Emanuele Antonecchia, Carlo Miccolis, Erica Ceccarello, Giulia Adriani, Manuela T. Raimondi, Roger D. Kamm, Antonio Bertoletti
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by dystrophin deficiency resulting in progressive muscle weakness and fibrotic scarring. Muscle fibrosis impairs blood flow, hampering muscle repair and regeneration. Irrespective of the success of gene restoration, functional improvement is limited without reducing fibrosis. The levels of miR-29c, a known regulator of collagen, are reduced in DMD. Our goal is to develop translational, antifibrotic therapy by overexpressing miR-29c. We injected the gastrocnemius muscle with either self-complementary AAV.CMV.miR-29c or single-stranded AAV.MCK.micro-dystrophin alone or in combination in the
Kristin N. Heller, Joshua T. Mendell, Jerry R. Mendell, Louise R. Rodino-Klapac
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory CNS demyelinating disease in which remyelination largely fails. Transmembrane TNF (tmTNF) and TNF receptor 2 are important for remyelination in experimental MS models, but it is unknown whether soluble TNF (solTNF), a major proinflammatory factor, is involved in regeneration processes. Here, we investigated the specific contribution of solTNF to demyelination and remyelination in the cuprizone model. Treatment with XPro1595, a selective inhibitor of solTNF that crosses the intact blood-brain barrier (BBB), in cuprizone-fed mice did not prevent toxin-induced oligodendrocyte loss and demyelination, but it permitted profound early remyelination due to improved phagocytosis of myelin debris by CNS macrophages and prevented disease-associated decline in motor performance. The beneficial effects of XPro1595 were absent in TNF-deficient mice and replicated in tmTNF-knockin mice, showing that tmTNF is sufficient for the maintenance of myelin and neuroprotection. These findings demonstrate that solTNF inhibits remyelination and repair in a cuprizone demyelination model and suggest that local production of solTNF in the CNS might be one reason why remyelination fails in MS. These findings also suggest that disinhibition of remyelination by selective inhibitors of solTNF that cross the BBB might represent a promising approach for treatment in progressive MS.
Maria Karamita, Christopher Barnum, Wiebke Möbius, Malú G. Tansey, David E. Szymkowski, Hans Lassmann, Lesley Probert
Focal therapies play an important role in the treatment of cancers where palliation is desired, local control is needed, or surgical resection is not feasible. Pairing immunotherapy with such focal treatments is particularly attractive; however, there is emerging evidence that focal therapy can have a positive or negative impact on the efficacy of immunotherapy. Thermal ablation is an appealing modality to pair with such protocols, as tumors can be rapidly debulked (cell death occurring within minutes to hours), tumor antigens can be released locally, and treatment can be conducted and repeated without the concerns of radiation-based therapies. In a syngeneic model of epithelial cancer, we found that 7 days of immunotherapy (TLR9 agonist and checkpoint blockade), prior to thermal ablation, reduced macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and enhanced IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells, the M1 macrophage fraction, and PD-L1 expression on CD45+ cells. Continued treatment with immunotherapy alone or with immunotherapy combined with ablation (primed ablation) then resulted in a complete response in 80% of treated mice at day 90, and primed ablation expanded CD8+ T cells as compared with all control groups. When the tumor burden was increased by implantation of 3 orthotopic tumors, successive primed ablation of 2 discrete lesions resulted in survival of 60% of treated mice as compared with 25% of mice treated with immunotherapy alone. Alternatively, when immunotherapy was begun immediately after thermal ablation, the abscopal effect was diminished and none of the mice within the cohort exhibited a complete response. In summary, we found that immunotherapy begun before ablation can be curative and can enhance efficacy in the presence of a high tumor burden. Two mechanisms have potential to impact the efficacy of immunotherapy when begun immediately after thermal ablation: mechanical changes in the tumor microenvironment and inflammatory-mediated changes in immune phenotype.
Matthew T. Silvestrini, Elizabeth S. Ingham, Lisa M. Mahakian, Azadeh Kheirolomoom, Yu Liu, Brett Z. Fite, Sarah M. Tam, Samantha T. Tucci, Katherine D. Watson, Andrew W. Wong, Arta M. Monjazeb, Neil E. Hubbard, William J. Murphy, Alexander D. Borowsky, Katherine W. Ferrara
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