BACKGROUND. HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) syndrome is a severe variant of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy affecting approximately 1% of all pregnancies, and has significant maternal and fetal morbidity. Previously, we showed that upregulation of the alternative pathway of complement (APC) plays a role in HELLP syndrome. We hypothesize that HELLP syndrome follows a 2-hit disease model similar to atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), requiring both genetic susceptibility and an environmental risk factor. Our objective was to perform a comparative analysis of the frequency of APC activation and germline mutations in affected women and to create a predictive model for identifying HELLP syndrome. METHODS. Pregnant women with HELLP syndrome, and healthy controls after 23 weeks of gestation were recruited, along with aHUS and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura participants. We performed a functional assay, the mHam, and targeted genetic sequencing in all groups. RESULTS. Significantly more participants with rare germline mutations in APC genes were present in the HELLP cohort compared with controls (46% versus 8%, P = 0.01). In addition, significantly more HELLP participants were positive for the mHam when compared with controls (62% versus 16%, P = 0.009). Testing positive for both a germline mutation and the mHam was highly predictive for the diagnosis of HELLP syndrome. CONCLUSION. HELLP syndrome is characterized by both activation of the APC and frequent germline mutations in APC genes. Similar to aHUS, treatment via complement inhibition to mitigate maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality may be possible. FUNDING. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute grants T32HL007525 and R01HL133113.
Arthur J. Vaught, Evan M. Braunstein, Jagar Jasem, Xuan Yuan, Igor Makhlin, Solange Eloundou, Andrea C. Baines, Samuel A. Merrill, Shruti Chaturvedi, Karin Blakemore, C. John Sperati, Robert A. Brodsky
BACKGROUND. Cirrhosis is associated with gut microbial changes, but current 16S rDNA techniques sequence both dead and live bacteria. We aimed to determine the rRNA content compared with DNA from the same stool sample to evaluate cirrhosis progression and predict hospitalizations. METHODS. Cirrhotics and controls provided stool for RNA and DNA analysis. Comparisons were made between cirrhotics/controls and within cirrhosis (compensated/decompensated, infected/uninfected, renal dysfunction/not, rifaximin use/not) with respect to DNA and RNA bacterial content using linear discriminant analysis. A separate group was treated with omeprazole for 14 days with longitudinal microbiota evaluation. Patients were followed for 90 days for hospitalizations. Multivariable models for hospitalizations with clinical data with and without DNA and RNA microbial data were created. RESULTS. Twenty-six controls and 154 cirrhotics (54 infected, 62 decompensated, 20 renal dysfunction, 18 rifaximin) were included. RNA and DNA analysis showed differing potentially pathogenic taxa but similar autochthonous taxa composition. Thirty subjects underwent the omeprazole study, which demonstrated differences between RNA and DNA changes. Thirty-six patients were hospitalized within 90 days. In the RNA model, MELD score and Enterococcus were independently predictive of hospitalizations, while in the DNA model MELD was predictive and Roseburia protective. In both models, adding microbiota significantly added to the MELD score in predicting hospitalizations. CONCLUSION. DNA and RNA analysis of the same stool sample demonstrated differing microbiota composition, which independently predicts the hospitalization risk in cirrhosis. RNA and DNA content of gut microbiota in cirrhosis are modulated differentially with disease severity, infections, and omeprazole use. TRIAL REGISTRATION. NCT01458990. FUNDING. VA Merit I0CX001076.
Jasmohan S. Bajaj, Leroy R. Thacker, Andrew Fagan, Melanie B. White, Edith A. Gavis, Phillip B. Hylemon, Robert Brown, Chathur Acharya, Douglas M. Heuman, Michael Fuchs, Swati Dalmet, Masoumeh Sikaroodi, Patrick M. Gillevet
BACKGROUND. A defining pathophysiologic feature of sepsis is profound apoptosis-induced death and depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is an antiapoptotic common γ-chain cytokine that is essential for lymphocyte proliferation and survival. Clinical trials of IL-7 in over 390 oncologic and lymphopenic patients showed that IL-7 was safe, invariably increased CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocyte counts, and improved immunity. METHODS. We conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of recombinant human IL-7 (CYT107) in patients with septic shock and severe lymphopenia. Twenty-seven patients at academic sites in France and the United States received CYT107 or placebo for 4 weeks. Primary aims were to determine the safety of CYT107 in sepsis and its ability to reverse lymphopenia. RESULTS. CYT107 was well tolerated without evidence of inducing cytokine storm or worsening inflammation or organ dysfunction. CYT107 caused a 3- to 4-fold increase in absolute lymphocyte counts and in circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that persisted for weeks after drug administration. CYT107 also increased T cell proliferation and activation. CONCLUSIONS. This is the first trial of an immunoadjuvant therapy targeting defects in adaptive immunity in patients with sepsis. CYT107 reversed the marked loss of CD4+ and CD8+ immune effector cells, a hallmark of sepsis and a likely key mechanism in its morbidity and mortality. CYT107 represents a potential new way forward in the treatment of patients with sepsis by restoring adaptive immunity. Such immune-based therapy should be broadly protective against diverse pathogens including multidrug resistant bacteria that preferentially target patients with impaired immunity. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Trials registered at clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02640807 and NCT02797431. FUNDING. Revimmune, NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences GM44118.
Bruno Francois, Robin Jeannet, Thomas Daix, Andrew H. Walton, Matthew S. Shotwell, Jacqueline Unsinger, Guillaume Monneret, Thomas Rimmelé, Teresa Blood, Michel Morre, Anne Gregoire, Gail A. Mayo, Jane Blood, Scott K. Durum, Edward R. Sherwood, Richard S. Hotchkiss
BACKGROUND. Constitutive activation of ERK1/2 occurs in various cancers, and its reactivation is a well-described resistance mechanism to MAPK inhibitors. ERK inhibitors may overcome the limitations of MAPK inhibitor blockade. The dual mechanism inhibitor SCH772984 has shown promising preclinical activity across various BRAFV600/RAS-mutant cancer cell lines and human cancer xenografts. METHODS. We have developed an orally bioavailable ERK inhibitor, MK-8353; conducted preclinical studies to demonstrate activity, pharmacodynamic endpoints, dosing, and schedule; completed a study in healthy volunteers (P07652); and subsequently performed a phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors (MK-8353-001). In the P07652 study, MK-8353 was administered as a single dose in 10- to 400-mg dose cohorts, whereas in the MK-8353-001 study, MK-8353 was administered in 100- to 800-mg dose cohorts orally twice daily. Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and antitumor activity were analyzed. RESULTS. MK-8353 exhibited comparable potency with SCH772984 across various preclinical cancer models. Forty-eight patients were enrolled in the P07652 study, and twenty-six patients were enrolled in the MK-8353-001 study. Adverse events included diarrhea (44%), fatigue (40%), nausea (32%), and rash (28%). Dose-limiting toxicity was observed in the 400-mg and 800-mg dose cohorts. Sufficient exposure to MK-8353 was noted that correlated with biological activity in preclinical data. Three of fifteen patients evaluable for treatment response in the MK-8353-001 study had partial response, all with BRAFV600-mutant melanomas. CONCLUSION. MK-8353 was well tolerated up to 400 mg twice daily and exhibited antitumor activity in patients with BRAFV600-mutant melanoma. However, antitumor activity was not particularly correlated with pharmacodynamic parameters. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01358331. FUNDING. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc., and NIH (P01 CA168585 and R35 CA197633).
Stergios J. Moschos, Ryan J. Sullivan, Wen-Jen Hwu, Ramesh K. Ramanathan, Alex A. Adjei, Peter C. Fong, Ronnie Shapira-Frommer, Hussein A. Tawbi, Joseph Rubino, Thomas S. Rush III, Da Zhang, Nathan R. Miselis, Ahmed A. Samatar, Patrick Chun, Eric H. Rubin, James Schiller, Brian J. Long, Priya Dayananth, Donna Carr, Paul Kirschmeier, W. Robert Bishop, Yongqi Deng, Alan Cooper, Gerald W. Shipps, Blanca Homet Moreno, Lidia Robert, Antoni Ribas, Keith T. Flaherty
BACKGROUND. Subspecies of HDL contain apolipoprotein E (apoE) and/or apoCIII. Both proteins have properties that could affect HDL metabolism. The relation between HDL metabolism and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is not well understood. METHODS. Eighteen participants were given a bolus infusion of [D3]L-leucine to label endogenous proteins on HDL. HDL was separated into subspecies containing apoE and/or apoCIII and then into 4 sizes. Metabolic rates for apoA-I in HDL subspecies and sizes were determined by interactive modeling. The concentrations of apoE in HDL that contain or lack apoCIII were measured in a prospective study in Denmark including 1,949 incident CHD cases during 9 years. RESULTS. HDL containing apoE but not apoCIII is disproportionately secreted into the circulation, actively expands while circulating, and is quickly cleared. These are key metabolic steps in reverse cholesterol transport, which may protect against atherosclerosis. ApoCIII on HDL strongly attenuates these metabolic actions of HDL apoE. In the epidemiological study, the relation between HDL apoE concentration and CHD significantly differed depending on whether apoCIII was present. HDL apoE was associated significantly with lower risk of CHD only in the HDL subspecies lacking apoCIII. CONCLUSIONS. ApoE and apoCIII on HDL interact to affect metabolism and CHD. ApoE promotes metabolic steps in reverse cholesterol transport and is associated with lower risk of CHD. ApoCIII, when coexisting with apoE on HDL, abolishes these benefits. Therefore, differences in metabolism of HDL subspecies pertaining to reverse cholesterol transport are reflected in differences in association with CHD. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01399632. FUNDING. This work was supported by NIH grant R01HL095964 to FMS and by a grant to the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center (8UL1TR0001750) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science.
Allyson M. Morton, Manja Koch, Carlos O. Mendivil, Jeremy D. Furtado, Anne Tjønneland, Kim Overvad, Liyun Wang, Majken K. Jensen, Frank M. Sacks
BACKGROUND. Accumulation of diacylglycerol (DAG) and sphingolipids is thought to promote skeletal muscle insulin resistance by altering cellular signaling specific to their location. However,the subcellular localization of bioactive lipids in human skeletal muscle is largely unknown. METHODS. We evaluated subcellular localization of skeletal muscle DAGs and sphingolipids in lean individuals (n = 15), endurance-trained athletes (n = 16), and obese men and women with (n = 12) and without type 2 diabetes (n = 15). Muscle biopsies were fractionated into sarcolemmal, cytosolic, mitochondrial/ER, and nuclear compartments. Lipids were measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, and insulin sensitivity was measured using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. RESULTS. Sarcolemmal 1,2-DAGs were not significantly related to insulin sensitivity. Sarcolemmal ceramides were inversely related to insulin sensitivity, with a significant relationship found for the C18:0 species. Sarcolemmal sphingomyelins were also inversely related to insulin sensitivity, with the strongest relationships found for the C18:1, C18:0, and C18:2 species. In the mitochondrial/ER and nuclear fractions, 1,2-DAGs were positively related to, while ceramides were inversely related to, insulin sensitivity. Cytosolic lipids as well as 1,3-DAG, dihydroceramides, and glucosylceramides in any compartment were not related to insulin sensitivity. All sphingolipids but only specific DAGs administered to isolated mitochondria decreased mitochondrial state 3 respiration. CONCLUSION. These data reveal previously unknown differences in subcellular localization of skeletal muscle DAGs and sphingolipids that relate to whole-body insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function in humans. These data suggest that whole-cell concentrations of lipids obscure meaningful differences in compartmentalization and suggest that subcellular localization of lipids should be considered when developing therapeutic interventions to treat insulin resistance. FUNDING. National Institutes of Health General Clinical Research Center (RR-00036), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (R01DK089170), NIDDK (T32 DK07658), and Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center (P30DK048520).
Leigh Perreault, Sean A. Newsom, Allison Strauss, Anna Kerege, Darcy E. Kahn, Kathleen A. Harrison, Janet K. Snell-Bergeon, Travis Nemkov, Angelo D’Alessandro, Matthew R. Jackman, Paul S. MacLean, Bryan C. Bergman
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
BACKGROUND. In type 1 diabetes (T1D), adjuvant treatment with inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), which dilate the efferent arteriole, is associated with prevention of progressive albuminuria and renal dysfunction. Uncertainty still exists as to why some individuals with long-standing T1D develop diabetic kidney disease (DKD) while others do not (DKD resistors). We hypothesized that those with DKD would be distinguished from DKD resistors by the presence of RAAS activation. METHODS. Renal and systemic hemodynamic function was measured before and after exogenous RAAS stimulation by intravenous infusion of angiotensin II (ANGII) in 75 patients with prolonged T1D durations and in equal numbers of nondiabetic controls. The primary outcome was change in renal vascular resistance (RVR) in response to RAAS stimulation, a measure of endogenous RAAS activation. RESULTS. Those with DKD had less change in RVR following exogenous RAAS stimulation compared with DKD resistors or controls (19%, 29%, 31%, P = 0.008, DKD vs. DKD resistors), reflecting exaggerated endogenous renal RAAS activation. All T1D participants had similar changes in renal efferent arteroilar resistance (9% vs. 13%, P = 0.37) irrespective of DKD status, which reflected less change versus controls (20%, P = 0.03). In contrast, those with DKD exhibited comparatively less change in afferent arteriolar vascular resistance compared with DKD resistors or controls (33%, 48%, 48%, P = 0.031, DKD vs. DKD resistors), indicating higher endogenous RAAS activity. CONCLUSION. In long-standing T1D, the intrarenal RAAS is exaggerated in DKD, which unexpectedly predominates at the afferent rather than the efferent arteriole, stimulating vasoconstriction. FUNDING. JDRF operating grant 17-2013-312.
Julie A. Lovshin, Geneviève Boulet, Yuliya Lytvyn, Leif E. Lovblom, Petter Bjornstad, Mohammed A. Farooqi, Vesta Lai, Leslie Cham, Josephine Tse, Andrej Orszag, Daniel Scarr, Alanna Weisman, Hillary A. Keenan, Michael H. Brent, Narinder Paul, Vera Bril, Bruce A. Perkins, David Z.I. Cherney
BACKGROUND. In patients with limited response to conventional therapeutics, repositioning of already approved drugs can bring new, more effective options. Current drug repositioning methods, however, frequently rely on retrospective computational analyses and genetic testing — time consuming methods that delay application of repositioned drugs. Here, we show how proteomic analysis of liquid biopsies successfully guided treatment of neovascular inflammatory vitreoretinopathy (NIV), an inherited autoinflammatory disease with otherwise poor clinical outcomes. METHODS. Vitreous biopsies from NIV patients were profiled by an antibody array for expression of 200 cytokine-signaling proteins. Non-NIV controls were compared with NIV samples from various stages of disease progression. Patterns were identified by 1-way ANOVA, hierarchical clustering, and pathway analysis. Subjects treated with repositioned therapies were followed longitudinally. RESULTS. Proteomic profiles revealed molecular pathways in NIV pathologies and implicated superior and inferior targets for therapy. Anti-VEGF injections resolved vitreous hemorrhages without the need for vitrectomy surgery. Methotrexate injections reversed inflammatory cell reactions without the side effects of corticosteroids. Anti–IL-6 therapy prevented recurrent fibrosis and retinal detachment where all prior antiinflammatory interventions had failed. The cytokine array also showed that TNF-α levels were normal and that corticosteroid-sensitive pathways were absent in fibrotic NIV, helping explain prior failure of these conventional therapeutic approaches. CONCLUSIONS. Personalized proteomics can uncover highly personalized therapies for autoinflammatory disease that can be timed with specific pathologic activities. This precision medicine strategy can also help prevent delivery of ineffective drugs. Importantly, proteomic profiling of liquid biopsies offers an endpoint analysis that can directly guide treatment using available drugs.
Gabriel Velez, Alexander G. Bassuk, Diana Colgan, Stephen H. Tsang, Vinit B. Mahajan
BACKGROUND. Systemic inflammation and muscle wasting are highly prevalent and coexist in patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD). We aimed to determine the effects of systemic inflammation on skeletal muscle protein metabolism in MHD patients. METHODS. Whole body and skeletal muscle protein turnover were assessed by stable isotope kinetic studies. We incorporated expressions of E1, E214K, E3αI, E3αII, MuRF-1, and atrogin-1 in skeletal muscle tissue from integrin β1 gene KO CKD mice models. RESULTS. Among 129 patients with mean (± SD) age 47 ± 12 years, 74% were African American, 73% were male, and 22% had diabetes mellitus. Median high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration was 13 (interquartile range 0.8, 33) mg/l. There were statistically significant associations between hs-CRP and forearm skeletal muscle protein synthesis, degradation, and net forearm skeletal muscle protein balance (P < 0.001 for all). The associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for clinical and demographic confounders, as well as in sensitivity analysis, excluding patients with diabetes mellitus. In attempting to identify potential mechanisms involved in this correlation, we show increased expressions of E1, E214K, E3αI, E3αII, MuRF-1, and atrogin-1 in skeletal muscle tissue obtained from an animal model of chronic kidney disease. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that systemic inflammation is a strong and independent determinant of skeletal muscle protein homeostasis in MHD patients, providing rationale for further studies using anticytokine therapies in patients with underlying systemic inflammation. FUNDING. This study was in part supported by NIH grants R01 DK45604 and 1K24 DK62849, the Clinical Translational Science Award UL1-TR000445 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the Veterans Administration Merit Award I01 CX000414, the SatelliteHealth Normon Coplon Extramural Grant Program, and the FDA grant 000943.
Serpil M. Deger, Adriana M. Hung, Jorge L. Gamboa, Edward D. Siew, Charles D. Ellis, Cindy Booker, Feng Sha, Haiming Li, Aihua Bian, Thomas G. Stewart, Roy Zent, William E. Mitch, Naji N. Abumrad, T. Alp Ikizler
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