Malaria eradication necessitates new tools to fight the evolving and complex Plasmodium pathogens. These tools include prophylactic drugs that eliminate Plasmodium liver stages and consequently prevent clinical disease, decrease transmission, and reduce the propensity for resistance development. Currently, the identification of these drugs relies on in vitro P. falciparum liver stage assays or in vivo causal prophylaxis assays using rodent malaria parasites; there is no method to directly test in vivo liver stage activity of candidate antimalarials against the human malaria–causing parasite P. falciparum. Here, we use a liver-chimeric humanized mouse (FRG huHep) to demonstrate in vivo P. falciparum liver stage development and describe the efficacy of clinically used and candidate antimalarials with prophylactic activity. We show that daily administration of atovaquone-proguanil (ATQ-PG; ATQ, 30 mg/kg, and PG, 10 mg/kg) protects 5 of 5 mice from liver stage infection, consistent with the use in humans as a causal prophylactic drug. Single-dose primaquine (60 mg/kg) has similar activity to that observed in humans, demonstrating the activity of this drug (and its active metabolites) in FRG huHep mice. We also show that DSM265, a selective Plasmodial dihydroorotate dehydrogenase inhibitor with causal prophylactic activity in humans, reduces liver stage burden in FRG huHep mice. Finally, we measured liver stage–to–blood stage transition of the parasite, the ultimate readout of prophylactic activity and measurement of infective capacity of parasites in the liver, to show that ATQ-PG reduces blood stage patency to below the limit of quantitation by quantitative PCR (qPCR). The FRG huHep model, thus, provides a platform for preclinical evaluation of drug candidates for liver stage causal prophylactic activity, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics studies, and biological studies to investigate the mechanism of action of liver stage active antimalarials.
Erika L. Flannery, Lander Foquet, Vorada Chuenchob, Matthew Fishbaugher, Zachary Billman, Mary Jane Navarro, William Betz, Tayla M. Olsen, Joshua Lee, Nelly Camargo, Thao Nguyen, Carola Schafer, Brandon K. Sack, Elizabeth M. Wilson, Jessica Saunders, John Bial, Brice Campo, Susan A. Charman, Sean C. Murphy, Margaret A. Phillips, Stefan H.I. Kappe, Sebastian A. Mikolajczak
Accurate HIV-1 incidence estimation is critical to the success of HIV-1 prevention strategies. Current assays are limited by high false recent rates (FRRs) in certain populations and a short mean duration of recent infection (MDRI). Dynamic early HIV-1 antibody response kinetics were harnessed to identify biomarkers for improved incidence assays. We conducted retrospective analyses on circulating antibodies from known recent and longstanding infections and evaluated binding and avidity measurements of Env and non-Env antigens and multiple antibody forms (i.e., IgG, IgA, IgG3, IgG4, dIgA, and IgM) in a diverse panel of 164 HIV-1–infected participants (clades A, B, C). Discriminant function analysis identified an optimal set of measurements that were subsequently evaluated in a 324-specimen blinded biomarker validation panel. These biomarkers included clade C gp140 IgG3, transmitted/founder clade C gp140 IgG4 avidity, clade B gp140 IgG4 avidity, and gp41 immunodominant region IgG avidity. MDRI was estimated at 215 day or alternatively, 267 days. FRRs in untreated and treated subjects were 5.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Thus, computational analysis of dynamic HIV-1 antibody isotype and antigen interactions during infection enabled design of a promising HIV-1 recency assay for improved cross-sectional incidence estimation.
Kelly E. Seaton, Nathan A. Vandergrift, Aaron W. Deal, Wes Rountree, John Bainbridge, Eduard Grebe, David A. Anderson, Sheetal Sawant, Xiaoying Shen, Nicole L. Yates, Thomas N. Denny, Hua-Xin Liao, Barton F. Haynes, Merlin L. Robb, Neil Parkin, Breno R. Santos, Nigel Garrett, Matthew A. Price, Denise Naniche, Ann C. Duerr, The CEPHIA group, Sheila Keating, Dylan Hampton, Shelley Facente, Kara Marson, Alex Welte, Christopher D. Pilcher, Myron S. Cohen, Georgia D. Tomaras
Oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) is a widely used model to study ischemia-driven neovascularization (NV) in the retina and to serve in proof-of-concept studies in evaluating antiangiogenic drugs for ocular, as well as nonocular, diseases. The primary parameters that are analyzed in this mouse model include the percentage of retina with vaso-obliteration (VO) and NV areas. However, quantification of these two key variables comes with a great challenge due to the requirement of human experts to read the images. Human readers are costly, time-consuming, and subject to bias. Using recent advances in machine learning and computer vision, we trained deep learning neural networks using over a thousand segmentations to fully automate segmentation in OIR images. While determining the percentage area of VO, our algorithm achieved a similar range of correlation coefficients to that of expert inter-human correlation coefficients. In addition, our algorithm achieved a higher range of correlation coefficients compared with inter-expert correlation coefficients for quantification of the percentage area of neovascular tufts. In summary, we have created an open-source, fully automated pipeline for the quantification of key values of OIR images using deep learning neural networks.
Sa Xiao, Felicitas Bucher, Yue Wu, Ariel Rokem, Cecilia S. Lee, Kyle V. Marra, Regis Fallon, Sophia Diaz-Aguilar, Edith Aguilar, Martin Friedlander, Aaron Y. Lee
Currently, there is a limited ability to interactively study developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology. We therefore combined light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) with virtual reality (VR) to provide a hybrid platform for 3D architecture and time-dependent cardiac contractile function characterization. By taking advantage of the rapid acquisition, high axial resolution, low phototoxicity, and high fidelity in 3D and 4D (3D spatial + 1D time or spectra), this VR-LSFM hybrid methodology enables interactive visualization and quantification otherwise not available by conventional methods, such as routine optical microscopes. We hereby demonstrate multiscale applicability of VR-LSFM to (a) interrogate skin fibroblasts interacting with a hyaluronic acid–based hydrogel, (b) navigate through the endocardial trabecular network during zebrafish development, and (c) localize gene therapy-mediated potassium channel expression in adult murine hearts. We further combined our batch intensity normalized segmentation algorithm with deformable image registration to interface a VR environment with imaging computation for the analysis of cardiac contraction. Thus, the VR-LSFM hybrid platform demonstrates an efficient and robust framework for creating a user-directed microenvironment in which we uncovered developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology with high spatiotemporal resolution.
Yichen Ding, Arash Abiri, Parinaz Abiri, Shuoran Li, Chih-Chiang Chang, Kyung In Baek, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Elias Sideris, Yilei Li, Juhyun Lee, Tatiana Segura, Thao P. Nguyen, Alexander Bui, René R. Sevag Packard, Peng Fei, Tzung K. Hsiai
It is currently controversially discussed whether mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) facilitate cartilage regeneration in vivo by a progenitor- or a nonprogenitor-mediated mechanism. Here, we describe a potentially novel unbiased in vivo cell tracking system based on transgenic donor and corresponding immunocompetent marker–tolerant recipient mouse and rat lines in inbred genetic backgrounds. Tolerance of recipients was achieved by transgenic expression of an immunologically neutral but physicochemically distinguishable variant of the marker human placental alkaline phosphatase (ALPP). In this dual transgenic system, donor lines ubiquitously express WT, heat-resistant ALPP protein, whereas recipient lines express a heat-labile ALPP mutant (ALPPE451G) resulting from a single amino acid substitution. Tolerance of recipient lines to ALPP-expressing cells and tissues was verified by skin transplantation. Using this model, we show that intraarticularly injected MSC contribute to regeneration of articular cartilage in full-thickness cartilage defects mainly via a nonprogenitor-mediated mechanism.
Daniela Zwolanek, María Satué, Verena Proell, José R. Godoy, Kathrin I. Odörfer, Magdalena Flicker, Sigrid C. Hoffmann, Thomas Rülicke, Reinhold G. Erben
We developed an in vitro model system where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional human hepatic organoids (HOs) through stages that resemble human liver during its embryonic development. The HOs consist of hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes, which are organized into epithelia that surround the lumina of bile duct–like structures. The organoids provide a potentially new model for liver regenerative processes, and were used to characterize the effect of different JAG1 mutations that cause: (a) Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a genetic disorder where NOTCH signaling pathway mutations impair bile duct formation, which has substantial variability in its associated clinical features; and (b) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is the most common form of a complex congenital heart disease, and is associated with several different heritable disorders. Our results demonstrate how an iPSC-based organoid system can be used with genome editing technologies to characterize the pathogenetic effect of human genetic disease-causing mutations.
Yuan Guan, Dan Xu, Phillip M. Garfin, Ursula Ehmer, Melissa Hurwitz, Greg Enns, Sara Michie, Manhong Wu, Ming Zheng, Toshihiko Nishimura, Julien Sage, Gary Peltz
Bone metastases (BoM) are a significant cause of morbidity in patients with estrogen receptor–positive (ER-positive) breast cancer; yet, characterizations of human specimens are limited. In this study, exome-capture RNA sequencing (ecRNA-seq) on aged (8–12 years), formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE), and decalcified cancer specimens was evaluated. Gene expression values and ecRNA-seq quality metrics from FFPE or decalcified tumor RNA showed minimal differences when compared with matched flash-frozen or nondecalcified tumors. ecRNA-seq was then applied on a longitudinal collection of 11 primary breast cancers and patient-matched synchronous or recurrent BoMs. Overtime, BoMs exhibited gene expression shifts to more Her2 and LumB PAM50 subtype profiles, temporally influenced expression evolution, recurrently dysregulated prognostic gene sets, and longitudinal expression alterations of clinically actionable genes, particularly in the CDK/Rb/E2F and FGFR signaling pathways. Taken together, this study demonstrates the use of ecRNA-seq on decade-old and decalcified specimens and defines recurrent longitudinal transcriptional remodeling events in estrogen-deprived breast cancers.
Nolan Priedigkeit, Rebecca J. Watters, Peter C. Lucas, Ahmed Basudan, Rohit Bhargava, William Horne, Jay K. Kolls, Zhou Fang, Margaret Q. Rosenzweig, Adam M. Brufsky, Kurt R. Weiss, Steffi Oesterreich, Adrian V. Lee
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
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) offers a cure for cancers that are refractory to chemotherapy and radiation. Most HSCT recipients develop chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), a systemic alloimmune attack on host organs. Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and symptoms, as biopsies are risky. T cells are central to the biology of cGVHD. We found that a low Treg/CD4+ T effector memory (Tem) ratio in circulation, lymphoid, and target organs identified early and established mouse cGVHD. Using deuterated water labeling to measure multicompartment in vivo kinetics of these subsets, we show robust Tem and Treg proliferation in lymphoid and target organs, while Tregs undergo apoptosis in target organs. Since deuterium enrichment into DNA serves as a proxy for cell proliferation, we developed a whole-body clinically relevant deuterium MRI approach to nonradioactively detect cGVHD and potentially allow imaging of other diseases characterized by rapidly proliferating cells.
Nataliya P. Buxbaum, Donald E. Farthing, Natella Maglakelidze, Martin Lizak, Hellmut Merkle, Andrea C. Carpenter, Brittany U. Oliver, Veena Kapoor, Ehydel Castro, Gregory A. Swan, Liliane M. dos Santos, Nicolas J. Bouladoux, Catherine V. Bare, Francis A. Flomerfelt, Michael A. Eckhaus, William G. Telford, Yasmine Belkaid, Remy J. Bosselut, Ronald E. Gress
A major challenge for studying authentic liver cell function and cell replacement therapies is that primary human hepatocytes rapidly lose their advanced function in conventional, 2-dimensional culture platforms. Here, we describe the fabrication of 3-dimensional hexagonally arrayed lobular human liver tissues inspired by the liver’s natural architecture. The engineered liver tissues exhibit key features of advanced differentiation, such as human-specific cytochrome P450–mediated drug metabolism and the ability to support efficient infection with patient-derived inoculums of hepatitis C virus. The tissues permit the assessment of antiviral agents and maintain their advanced functions for over 5 months in culture. This extended functionality enabled the prediction of a fatal human-specific hepatotoxicity caused by fialuridine (FIAU), which had escaped detection by preclinical models and short-term clinical studies. The results obtained with the engineered human liver tissue in this study provide proof-of-concept determination of human-specific drug metabolism, demonstrate the ability to support infection with human hepatitis virus derived from an infected patient and subsequent antiviral drug testing against said infection, and facilitate detection of human-specific drug hepatotoxicity associated with late-onset liver failure. Looking forward, the scalability and biocompatibility of the scaffold are also ideal for future cell replacement therapeutic strategies.
Soon Seng Ng, Anming Xiong, Khanh Nguyen, Marilyn Masek, Da Yoon No, Menashe Elazar, Eyal Shteyer, Mark A. Winters, Amy Voedisch, Kate Shaw, Sheikh Tamir Rashid, Curtis W. Frank, Nam Joon Cho, Jeffrey S. Glenn
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