Alloreactive T lymphocytes are the primary mediators of immune responses in transplantation, both in the graft-versus-host and host-versus-graft directions. While essentially all clones comprising the human T cell repertoire have been selected on self-peptide presented by self–human leukocyte antigens (self-HLAs), much remains to be understood about the nature of clones capable of responding to allo-HLA molecules. Quantitative tools to study these cells are critical to understand fundamental features of this important response; however, the large size and diversity of the alloreactive T cell repertoire in humans presents a great technical challenge. We have developed a high-throughput T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing approach to characterize the human alloresponse. We present a statistical method to model T cell clonal frequency distribution and quantify repertoire diversity. Using these approaches, we measured the diversity and frequency of distinct alloreactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations in HLA-mismatched responder-stimulator pairs. Our findings indicate that the alloimmune repertoire is highly specific for a given pair of individuals, that most alloreactive clones circulate at low frequencies, and that a high proportion of TCRs is likely able to recognize alloantigens.
Susan DeWolf, Boris Grinshpun, Thomas Savage, Sai Ping Lau, Aleksandar Obradovic, Brittany Shonts, Suxiao Yang, Heather Morris, Julien Zuber, Robert Winchester, Megan Sykes, Yufeng Shen
Brain death that occurs in the setting of deceased organ donation for transplantation is associated with systemic inflammation of unknown origin. It has recently been recognized that mitochondria-derived damage-associated molecular patterns (mtDAMPs) released into the circulation in the setting of trauma and tissue injury are associated with a systemic inflammatory response. We examined the blood of deceased organ donors and found elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that correlated with levels of mtDAMPs. We also found that donor neutrophils are activated and that donor plasma contains a neutrophil-activating factor that is blocked by cyclosporin H, a formyl peptide receptor-1 antagonist. Examination of donor plasma by electron microscopy and flow cytometry revealed that free- and membrane-bound mitochondria are elevated in donor plasma. Interestingly, we demonstrated a correlation between donor plasma mitochondrial DNA levels and early allograft dysfunction in liver transplant recipients, suggesting a role for circulating mtDAMPs in allograft outcomes. Current approaches to prolong allograft survival focus on immune suppression in the transplant recipient; our data indicate that targeting inflammatory factors in deceased donors prior to organ procurement is another potential strategy for improving transplant outcomes.
Justin Pollara, R. Whitney Edwards, Liwen Lin, Victoria A. Bendersky, Todd V. Brennan
Adeno-associated viral vector–mediated (AAV-mediated) expression of allogeneic major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC class I) in recipient liver induces donor-specific tolerance in mouse skin transplant models in which a class I allele (H-2Kb or H-2Kd) is mismatched between donor and recipient. Tolerance can be induced in mice primed by prior rejection of a donor-strain skin graft, as well as in naive recipients. Allogeneic MHC class I may be recognized by recipient T cells as an intact molecule (direct recognition) or may be processed and presented as an allogeneic peptide in the context of self-MHC (indirect recognition). The relative contributions of direct and indirect allorecognition to tolerance induction in this setting are unknown. Using hepatocyte-specific AAV vectors encoding WT allogeneic MHC class I molecules, or class I molecules containing a point mutation (D227K) that impedes direct recognition of intact allogeneic MHC class I by CD8+ T cells without hampering the presentation of processed peptides derived from allogeneic MHC class I, we show here that tolerance induction depends upon recognition of intact MHC class I. Indirect recognition alone yielded a modest prolongation of subsequent skin graft survival, attributable to the generation of CD4+ Tregs, but it was not sufficient to induce tolerance.
Moumita Paul-Heng, Mario Leong, Eithne Cunningham, Daniel L. J. Bunker, Katherine Bremner, Zane Wang, Chuanmin Wang, Szun Szun Tay, Claire McGuffog, Grant J. Logan, Ian E. Alexander, Min Hu, Stephen I. Alexander, Tim D. Sparwasser, Patrick Bertolino, David G. Bowen, G. Alex Bishop, Alexandra Sharland
Soluble cytokine receptors function as decoy receptors to attenuate cytokine-mediated signaling and modulate downstream cellular responses. Dysregulated overproduction of soluble receptors can be pathological, such as soluble ST2 (sST2), a prognostic biomarker in cardiovascular diseases, ulcerative colitis, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Although intervention using an ST2 antibody improves survival in murine GVHD models, sST2 is a challenging target for drug development because it binds to IL-33 via an extensive interaction interface. Here, we report the discovery of small-molecule ST2 inhibitors through a combination of high-throughput screening and computational analysis. After in vitro and in vivo toxicity assessment, 3 compounds were selected for evaluation in 2 experimental GVHD models. We show that the most effective compound, iST2-1, reduces plasma sST2 levels, alleviates disease symptoms, improves survival, and maintains graft-versus-leukemia activity. Our data suggest that iST2-1 warrants further optimization to develop treatment for inflammatory diseases mediated by sST2.
Abdulraouf M. Ramadan, Etienne Daguindau, Jason C. Rech, Krishnapriya Chinnaswamy, Jilu Zhang, Greg L. Hura, Brad Griesenauer, Zachary Bolten, Aaron Robida, Martha Larsen, Jeanne A. Stuckey, Chao-Yie Yang, Sophie Paczesny
Liver damage is typically inferred from serum measurements of cytoplasmic liver enzymes. DNA molecules released from dying hepatocytes are an alternative biomarker, unexplored so far, potentially allowing for quantitative assessment of liver cell death. Here we describe a method for detecting acute hepatocyte death, based on quantification of circulating, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments carrying hepatocyte-specific methylation patterns. We identified 3 genomic loci that are unmethylated specifically in hepatocytes, and used bisulfite conversion, PCR, and massively parallel sequencing to quantify the concentration of hepatocyte-derived DNA in mixed samples. Healthy donors had, on average, 30 hepatocyte genomes/ml plasma, reflective of basal cell turnover in the liver. We identified elevations of hepatocyte cfDNA in patients shortly after liver transplantation, during acute rejection of an established liver transplant, and also in healthy individuals after partial hepatectomy. Furthermore, patients with sepsis had high levels of hepatocyte cfDNA, which correlated with levels of liver enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients, in which elevated AST and ALT derive from damaged muscle rather than liver, did not have elevated hepatocyte cfDNA. We conclude that measurements of hepatocyte-derived cfDNA can provide specific and sensitive information on hepatocyte death, for monitoring human liver dynamics, disease, and toxicity.
Roni Lehmann-Werman, Judith Magenheim, Joshua Moss, Daniel Neiman, Ofri Abraham, Sheina Piyanzin, Hai Zemmour, Ilana Fox, Talya Dor, Markus Grompe, Giora Landesberg, Bao-Li Loza, Abraham Shaked, Kim Olthoff, Benjamin Glaser, Ruth Shemer, Yuval Dor
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation induced by the influx of donor-derived effector T cells (TE) into peripheral tissues. Current treatment strategies rely on targeting systemic T cells; however, the precise location and nature of instructions that program TE to become pathogenic and trigger injury are unknown. We therefore used weighted gene coexpression network analysis to construct an unbiased spatial map of TE differentiation during the evolution of GVHD and identified wide variation in effector programs in mice and humans according to location. Idiosyncrasy of effector programming in affected organs did not result from variation in T cell receptor repertoire or the selection of optimally activated TE. Instead, TE were reprogrammed by tissue-autonomous mechanisms in target organs for site-specific proinflammatory functions that were highly divergent from those primed in lymph nodes. In the skin, we combined the correlation-based network with a module-based differential expression analysis and showed that Langerhans cells provided in situ instructions for a Notch-dependent T cell gene cluster critical for triggering local injury. Thus, the principal determinant of TE pathogenicity in GVHD is the final destination, highlighting the need for target organ–specific approaches to block immunopathology while avoiding global immune suppression.
Pedro Santos e Sousa, Séverine Ciré, Thomas Conlan, Laura Jardine, Claire Tkacz, Ivana R. Ferrer, Cara Lomas, Sophie Ward, Heather West, Simone Dertschnig, Sven Blobner, Terry K. Means, Stephen Henderson, Daniel H. Kaplan, Matthew Collin, Vincent Plagnol, Clare L. Bennett, Ronjon Chakraverty
Early acute rejection of human allografts is mediated by circulating alloreactive host effector memory T cells (TEM). TEM infiltration typically occurs across graft postcapillary venules and involves sequential interactions with graft-derived endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes (PCs). While the role of ECs in allograft rejection has been extensively studied, contributions of PCs to this process are largely unknown. This study aimed to characterize the effects and mechanisms of interactions between human PCs and allogeneic TEM. We report that unstimulated PCs, like ECs, can directly present alloantigen to TEM, but while IFN-γ–activated ECs (γ-ECs) show increased ability to stimulate alloreactive T cells, IFN-γ–activated PCs (γ-PCs) instead suppress TEM proliferation but not cytokine production or signaling. RNA sequencing analysis of PCs, γ-PCs, ECs, and γ-ECs reveal induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) in γ-PCs to significantly higher levels than in γ-ECs that correlates with tryptophan depletion in vitro. Consistently, shRNA knockdown of IDO1 markedly reduces γ-PC–mediated immunoregulatory effects. Furthermore, human PCs express IDO1 in a skin allograft rejection humanized mouse model and in human renal allografts with acute T cell–mediated rejection. We conclude that immunosuppressive properties of human PCs are not intrinsic but instead result from IFN-γ–induced IDO1-mediated tryptophan depletion.
Rebecca Liu, Jonathan Merola, Thomas D. Manes, Lingfeng Qin, Gregory T. Tietjen, Francesc López-Giráldez, Verena Broecker, Caodi Fang, Catherine Xie, Ping-Min Chen, Nancy C. Kirkiles-Smith, Dan Jane-Wit, Jordan S. Pober
Recipient endogenous memory T cells with donor reactivity pose an important barrier to successful transplantation and costimulatory blockade–induced graft tolerance. Longer ischemic storage times prior to organ transplantation increase early posttransplant inflammation and negatively impact early graft function and long-term graft outcome. Little is known about the mechanisms enhancing endogenous memory T cell activation to mediate tissue injury within the increased inflammatory environment of allografts subjected to prolonged cold ischemic storage (CIS). Endogenous memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation is markedly increased within complete MHC-mismatched cardiac allografts subjected to prolonged versus minimal CIS, and the memory CD8+ T cells directly mediate CTLA-4Ig–resistant allograft rejection. Memory CD8+ T cell activation within allografts subjected to prolonged CIS requires memory CD4+ T cell stimulation of graft DCs to produce p40 homodimers, but not IL-12 p40/p35 heterodimers. Targeting p40 abrogates memory CD8+ T cell proliferation within the allografts and their ability to mediate CTLA-4Ig–resistant allograft rejection. These findings indicate a critical role for memory CD4+ T cell–graft DC interactions to increase the intensity of endogenous memory CD8+ T cell activation needed to mediate rejection of higher-risk allografts subjected to increased CIS.
Hidetoshi Tsuda, Charles A. Su, Toshiaki Tanaka, Katayoun Ayasoufi, Booki Min, Anna Valujskikh, Robert L. Fairchild
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
Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is acute lung injury within 72 hours of lung transplantation. We hypothesized that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) contributes to PGD by increasing lung microvascular permeability and tested this in patients, ex vivo human lungs, and cultured human lung microvascular endothelial cells. In a nested case control study of 40 patients with severe PGD at 72 hours and 80 matched controls without PGD, elevated preoperative CFH was independently associated with increased PGD risk (odds ratio [OR] 2.75, 95%CI, 1.23–6.16, P = 0.014). The effect of CFH on PGD was magnified by reperfusion fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ≥ 0.40 (OR 3.41, P = 0.031). Isolated perfused human lungs exposed to intravascular CFH (100 mg/dl) developed increased vascular permeability as measured by lung weight (CFH 14.4% vs. control 0.65%, P = 0.047) and extravasation of Evans blue–labeled albumin dye (EBD) into the airspace (P = 0.027). CFH (1 mg/dl) also increased paracellular permeability of human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell monolayers (hPMVECs). Hyperoxia (FiO2 = 0.95) increased human lung and hPMVEC permeability compared with normoxia (FiO2 = 0.21). Treatment with acetaminophen (15 μg/ml), a specific hemoprotein reductant, prevented CFH-dependent permeability in human lungs (P = 0.046) and hPMVECs (P = 0.037). In summary, CFH may mediate PGD through oxidative effects on microvascular permeability, which are augmented by hyperoxia and abrogated by acetaminophen.
Ciara M. Shaver, Nancy Wickersham, J. Brennan McNeil, Hiromasa Nagata, Adam Miller, Stuart R. Landstreet, Jamie L. Kuck, Joshua M. Diamond, David J. Lederer, Steven M. Kawut, Scott M. Palmer, Keith M. Wille, Ann Weinacker, Vibha N. Lama, Maria M. Crespo, Jonathan B. Orens, Pali D. Shah, Chadi A. Hage, Edward Cantu III, Mary K. Porteous, Gundeep Dhillon, John McDyer, Julie A. Bastarache, Jason D. Christie, Lorraine B. Ware, the Lung Transplant Outcomes Group (LTOG)
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