Islet transplantation is an effective therapy for achieving and maintaining normoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, the supply of transplantable human islets is limited. Upon removal from the pancreas, islets rapidly disintegrate and lose function, resulting in a short interval for studies of islet biology and pretransplantation assessment. Here, we developed a biomimetic platform that can sustain human islet physiology for a prolonged period ex vivo. Our approach involved the creation of a multichannel perifusion system to monitor dynamic insulin secretion and intracellular calcium flux simultaneously, enabling the systematic evaluation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion under multiple conditions. Using this tool, we developed a nanofibrillar cellulose hydrogel–based islet-preserving platform (iPreP) that can preserve islet viability, morphology, and function for nearly 12 weeks ex vivo, and with the ability to ameliorate glucose levels upon transplantation into diabetic hosts. Our platform has potential applications in the prolonged maintenance of human islets, providing an expanded time window for pretransplantation assessment and islet studies.
Yi-Ju Chen, Taiji Yamazoe, Karla F. Leavens, Fabian L. Cardenas-Diaz, Andrei Georgescu, Dongeun Huh, Paul Gadue, Ben Z. Stanger
Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against HIV-1 are under evaluation for both prevention and therapy. HIV-1 sequence diversity observed in most HIV-infected individuals and archived variations in critical bNAb epitopes present a major challenge for the clinical application of bNAbs, as preexistent resistant viral strains can emerge, resulting in bNAb failure to control HIV. In order to identify viral resistance in patients prior to antibody therapy and to guide the selection of effective bNAb combination regimens, we developed what we believe to be a novel Bayesian machine-learning model that uses HIV-1 envelope protein sequences and foremost approximated glycan occupancy information as variables to quantitatively predict the half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 126 neutralizing antibodies against a variety of cross clade viruses. We then applied this model to peripheral blood mononuclear cell–derived proviral Env sequences from 25 HIV-1–infected individuals mapping the landscape of neutralization resistance within each individual’s reservoir and determined the predicted ideal bNAb combination to achieve 100% neutralization at IC50 values <1 μg/ml. Furthermore, predicted cellular viral reservoir neutralization signatures of individuals before an analytical antiretroviral treatment interruption were consistent with the measured neutralization susceptibilities of the respective plasma rebound viruses, validating our model as a potentially novel tool to facilitate the advancement of bNAbs into the clinic.
Wen-Han Yu, David Su, Julia Torabi, Christine M. Fennessey, Andrea Shiakolas, Rebecca Lynch, Tae-Wook Chun, Nicole Doria-Rose, Galit Alter, Michael S. Seaman, Brandon F. Keele, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Boris Julg
Solid tumors impose immunological and physical barriers to the efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy that are not reflected in conventional pre-clinical testing against singularized tumor cells in two-dimensional culture. Here, we established microphysiologic three-dimensional (3D) lung and breast cancer models that resemble architectural and phenotypical features of primary tumors, and evaluated the anti-tumor function of ROR1-specific CAR T-cells. 3D tumors were established from A549 (non-small cell lung cancer) and MDA-MB-231 (triple-negative breast cancer) cell lines on a biological scaffold with intact basement membrane (BM) under static and dynamic culture conditions, which resulted in progressively increasing cell mass and invasive growth phenotype (dynamic>static; MDA-MB-231>A549). Treatment with ROR1-CAR T-cells conferred potent anti-tumor effects. In dynamic culture, CAR T-cells actively entered arterial medium flow, adhered to and infiltrated the tumor mass. ROR1-CAR T-cells penetrated deep into tumor tissue and eliminated multiple layers of tumor cells located above and below the BM. The microphysiologic 3D tumor models developed in this study are standardized scalable test systems that can be used either in conjunction with or in lieu of animal testing to interrogate the anti-tumor function of CAR T-cells, and to obtain proof-of-concept for their safety and efficacy prior to clinical application.
Lars Wallstabe, Claudia Göttlich, Lena C. Nelke, Johanna Kühnemundt, Thomas Schwarz, Thomas Nerreter, Hermann Einsele, Heike Walles, Gudrun Dandekar, Sarah L. Nietzer, Michael Hudecek
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) represent an easy, repeatable and representative access to information regarding solid tumors. However, their detection remains difficult because of their paucity, their short half-life, and the lack of reliable surface biomarkers. Flow cytometry (FC) is a fast, sensitive and affordable technique, ideal for rare cells detection. Adapted to CTCs detection (i.e. extremely rare cells), most FC-based techniques require a time-consuming pre-enrichment step, followed by a 2-hours staining procedure, impeding on the efficiency of CTCs detection. We overcame these caveats and reduced the procedure to less than one hour, with minimal manipulation. First, cells were simultaneously fixed, permeabilized, then stained. Second, using low-speed FC acquisition conditions and two discriminators (cell size and pan-cytokeratin expression), we suppressed the pre-enrichment step. Applied to blood from donors with or without known malignant diseases, this protocol ensures a high recovery of the cells of interest independently of their epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and can predict which samples are derived from cancer donors. This proof-of-concept study lays the bases of a sensitive tool to detect CTCs from a small amount of blood upstream of in-depth analyses.
Alexia Lopresti, Fabrice Malergue, François Bertucci, Maria Lucia Liberatoscioli, Severine Garnier, Quentin DaCosta, Pascal Finetti, Marine Gilabert, Jean Luc Raoul, Daniel Birnbaum, Claire Acquaviva, Emilie Mamessier
Atherosclerotic plaques feature local proliferation of leukocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and changes in cellular metabolism. Yet the relationship between glucose utilization and proliferation has been technically impossible to study directly in cells of atherosclerotic plaques in vivo. We used multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS), a quantitative imaging platform, to measure coincident cell division and glucose utilization at suborganelle resolution in atherosclerotic plaques. In established plaques, 65% of intimal foam cells and only 4% of medial VSMCs were labeled with 15N-thymidine after 1 week of isotope treatment. Dividing cells demonstrated heightened glucose labeling. MIMS detected 2H-glucose label in multiple subcellular compartments within foam cells, including lipid droplets, the cytosol, and chromatin. Unexpectedly, we identified an intensely focal region of 2H-label in VSMCs underlying plaques. This signal diminished in regions of aorta without atherosclerosis. In advanced plaques, 15N-thymidine and 2H-glucose labeling in foam cells and VSMCs significantly decreased. These data demonstrate marked heterogeneity in VSMC glucose metabolism that was dependent on both proliferative status and proximity of VSMCs to plaques. Furthermore, these results reveal how quantitative mass spectrometry coupled with isotope imaging can complement other methods used to study cell biology directly in the growing atherosclerotic plaque in vivo.
Christelle Guillermier, Sean P. Doherty, Adam G. Whitney, Vladimir R. Babaev, MacRae F. Linton, Matthew L. Steinhauser, Jonathan D. Brown
The adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of T cells targeting mutated neoantigens can cause objective responses in varieties of metastatic cancers, but the development of new T cell–based treatments relies on accurate animal models. To investigate the therapeutic effect of targeting a neoantigen with ACT, we used T cells from pmel-1 T cell receptor–transgenic mice, known to recognize a WT peptide, gp100, and a mutated version of the peptide that has higher avidity. We gene-engineered B16 cells to express the WT or mutated gp100 epitopes and found that pmel-1–specific T cells targeting a neoantigen tumor target augmented recognition as measured by IFN-γ production. Neoantigen expression by B16 also enhanced the capacity of pmel-1 T cells to trigger the complete and durable regression of large, established, vascularized tumor and required less lymphodepleting conditioning. Targeting neoantigen uncovered the possibility of using enforced expression of the IL-2Rα chain (CD25) in mutation-reactive CD8+ T cells to improve their antitumor functionality. These data reveal that targeting of “mutated-self” neoantigens may lead to improved efficacy and reduced toxicities of T cell–based cellular immunotherapies for patients with cancer.
Ken-ichi Hanada, Zhiya Yu, Gabrielle R. Chappell, Adam S. Park, Nicholas P. Restifo
Zebrafish are increasingly utilized to model cardiomyopathies and regeneration. Current methods evaluating cardiac function have known limitations, fail to reliably detect focal mechanics, and are not readily feasible in zebrafish. We developed a semiautomated, open-source method — displacement analysis of myocardial mechanical deformation (DIAMOND) — for quantitative assessment of 4D segmental cardiac function. We imaged transgenic embryonic zebrafish in vivo using a light-sheet fluorescence microscopy system with 4D cardiac motion synchronization. Our method permits the derivation of a transformation matrix to quantify the time-dependent 3D displacement of segmental myocardial mass centroids. Through treatment with doxorubicin, and by chemically and genetically manipulating the myocardial injury–activated Notch signaling pathway, we used DIAMOND to demonstrate that basal ventricular segments adjacent to the atrioventricular canal display the highest 3D displacement and are also the most susceptible to doxorubicin-induced injury. Thus, DIAMOND provides biomechanical insights into in vivo segmental cardiac function scalable to high-throughput research applications.
Junjie Chen, Yichen Ding, Michael Chen, Jonathan Gau, Nelson Jen, Chadi Nahal, Sally Tu, Cynthia Chen, Steve Zhou, Chih-Chiang Chang, Jintian Lyu, Xiaolei Xu, Tzung K. Hsiai, René R. Sevag Packard
Extracellular mRNAs (ex-mRNAs) potentially supersede extracellular miRNAs (ex-miRNAs) and other RNA classes as biomarkers. We performed conventional small-RNA-sequencing (sRNA-seq) and sRNA-seq with T4 polynucleotide kinase (PNK) end-treatment of total exRNA isolated from serum and platelet-poor EDTA, ACD, and heparin plasma to study the effect on ex-mRNA capture. Compared to conventional sRNA-seq PNK-treatment increased the detection of informative ex-mRNAs reads up to 50-fold. The exRNA pool was dominated by hematopoietic cells and platelets, with additional contribution from the liver. About 60% of the 15- to 42-nt reads originated from the coding sequences, in a pattern reminiscent of ribosome-profiling. Blood sample type had a considerable influence on the exRNA profile. On average approximately 350 to 1,100 distinct ex-mRNA transcripts were detected depending on plasma type. In serum, additional transcripts from neutrophils and hematopoietic cells increased this number to near 2,300. EDTA and ACD plasma showed a destabilizing effect on ex mRNA and non-coding RNA ribonucleoprotein complexes compared to other plasma types. In a proof-of-concept study, we investigated differences between the exRNA profiles of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and healthy controls. The improved tissue resolution of ex mRNAs after PNK-treatment enabled us to detect a neutrophil-signature in ACS that escaped detection by ex miRNA analysis.
Kemal M. Akat, Youngmin A. Lee, Arlene Hurley, Pavel Morozov, Klaas E.A. Max, Miguel Brown, Kimberly Bogardus, Anuoluwapo Sopeyin, Kai Hildner, Thomas G. Diacovo, Markus F. Neurath, Martin Borggrefe, Thomas Tuschl
The heterogeneity of individual cells in a tissue has been well characterized, largely using ex vivo approaches that do not permit longitudinal assessments of the same tissue over long periods of time. We demonstrate a potentially novel application of adaptive optics fluorescence microscopy to visualize and track the in situ mosaicism of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells directly in the human eye. After a short, dynamic period during which RPE cells take up i.v.-administered indocyanine green (ICG) dye, we observed a remarkably stable heterogeneity in the fluorescent pattern that gradually disappeared over a period of days. This pattern could be robustly reproduced with a new injection and follow-up imaging in the same eye out to at least 12 months, which enabled longitudinal tracking of RPE cells. Investigation of ICG uptake in primary human RPE cells and in a mouse model of ICG uptake alongside human imaging corroborated our findings that the observed mosaicism is an intrinsic property of the RPE tissue. We demonstrate a potentially novel application of fluorescence microscopy to detect subclinical changes to the RPE, a technical advance that has direct implications for improving our understanding of diseases such as oculocutaneous albinism, late-onset retinal degeneration, and Bietti crystalline dystrophy.
HaeWon Jung, Jianfei Liu, Tao Liu, Aman George, Margery G. Smelkinson, Sarah Cohen, Ruchi Sharma, Owen Schwartz, Arvydas Maminishkis, Kapil Bharti, Catherine Cukras, Laryssa A. Huryn, Brian P. Brooks, Robert Fariss, Johnny Tam
In clinical breast cancer intervention, selection of the optimal treatment protocol based on predictive biomarkers remains an elusive goal. Here, we present a modeling tool to predict the likelihood of breast cancer response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy using patient specific tumor vasculature biomarkers. A semi-automated analysis was implemented and performed on 3990 histological images from 48 patients, with 10–208 images analyzed for each patient. We applied a histology-based model to resected primary breast cancer tumors (n = 30), and then evaluated a cohort of patients (n = 18) undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy, collecting pre- and post-treatment pathology specimens and MRI data. We found that core biopsy samples can be used with acceptable accuracy (r = 0.76) to determine histological parameters representative of the whole tissue region. Analysis of model histology parameters obtained from tumor vasculature measurements, specifically diffusion distance divided by radius of drug source (L/rb) and blood volume fraction (BVF), provides a statistically significant separation of patients obtaining a pathologic complete response (pCR) from those that do not (Student’s t-test; P < 0.05). With this model, it is feasible to evaluate primary breast tumor vasculature biomarkers in a patient specific manner, thereby allowing a precision approach to breast cancer treatment.
Terisse A. Brocato, Ursa Brown-Glaberman, Zhihui Wang, Reed G. Selwyn, Colin M. Wilson, Edward F. Wyckoff, Lesley C. Lomo, Jennifer L. Saline, Anupama Hooda-Nehra, Renata Pasqualini, Wadih Arap, C. Jeffrey Brinker, Vittorio Cristini
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