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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
Lungs allografts have worse long-term survival compared with other organ transplants. This is most likely due to their unique immunoregulation that may not respond to traditional immunosuppression. For example, local NO generation by inducible NOS (iNOS) is critical for lung allograft acceptance but associates with rejection of other solid organs. The source of NO in accepting lung allografts remains unknown. Here, we report that, unlike the case for other pulmonary processes in which myeloid cells control NO generation, recipient-derived eosinophils play a critical and nonredundant role in iNOS-mediated lung allograft acceptance. Depletion of eosinophils reduces NO levels to that of recipients with global deletion of iNOS and leads to a costimulatory blockade–resistant form of rejection. Furthermore, NO production by eosinophils depends on Th1 polarization by inflammatory mediators, such as IFN-γ and TNF-α. Neutralization of such mediators abrogates eosinophil suppressive capacity. Our data point to what we believe to be a unique and previously unrecognized role of eosinophil polarization in mediating allograft tolerance and put into perspective the use of high-dose eosinophil-ablating corticosteroids after lung transplantation.
Oscar Okwudiri Onyema, Yizhan Guo, Qing Wang, Mark H. Stoler, Christine Lau, Kang Li, Christopher Daniel Nazaroff, Xingan Wang, Wenjun Li, Daniel Kreisel, Andrew E. Gelman, James J. Lee, Elizabeth A. Jacobsen, Alexander Sasha Krupnick
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