Scleraxis is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that plays a central role in promoting tenocyte proliferation and matrix synthesis during embryonic tendon development. However, the role of scleraxis in the growth and adaptation of adult tendons is not known. We hypothesized that scleraxis is required for tendon growth in response to mechanical loading, and that scleraxis promotes the specification of progenitor cells into tenocytes. We conditionally deleted scleraxis in adult mice using a tamoxifen-inducible Cre-recombinase expressed from the Rosa26 locus (ScxΔ), and then induced tendon growth in Scx+ and ScxΔ adult mice via plantaris tendon mechanical overload. Compared to the wild type Scx+ group, ScxΔ mice demonstrated blunted tendon growth. Transcriptional and proteomic analyses revealed significant reductions in cell proliferation, protein synthesis, and extracellular matrix genes and proteins. Our results indicate that scleraxis is required for mechanically-stimulated adult tendon growth by causing the commitment of CD146+ pericytes into the tenogenic lineage, and by promoting the initial expansion of newly committed tenocytes and the production of extracellular matrix proteins.
Jonathan P. Gumucio, Martin M. Schonk, Yalda A. Kharaz, Eithne Comerford, Christopher L. Mendias
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) regulate immunity through myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) which are a heterogeneous population of immature myeloid cells with phenotypic and functional diversity. Herein, we identified a distinct subset of MDSCs induced by MSCs in the BM under inflammatory conditions. MSCs directed the differentiation of Ly6Glo BM cells from CD11bhiLy6Chi to CD11bmidLy6Cmid cells both in cell contact-independent and -dependent manners upon GM-CSF stimulation in vitro and in mice with experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). RNA sequencing indicated that MSC-induced CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells had a distinct transcriptome profile from CD11bhiLy6ChiLy6Glo cells. Phenotypic, molecular, and functional analyses showed that CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells differed from CD11bhiLy6ChiLy6Glo cells by low expression of MHC class II, co-stimulatory molecules, and pro-inflammatory cytokines, high production of immunoregulatory molecules, indifference to LPS, and inhibition of T cell proliferation and activation. Consequently, adoptive transfer of MSC-induced CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo cells significantly attenuated the development of EAU in mice. Further mechanistic study revealed that suppression of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and HGF secretion in MSCs by siRNA transfection partially reversed the effects of MSCs on MDSC differentiation. Altogether, data demonstrate that MSCs drive the differentiation of BM cells toward CD11bmidLy6CmidLy6Glo MDSCs in part through HGF and COX-2/PGE2, leading to resolution of ocular autoimmune inflammation.
Hyun Ju Lee, Jung Hwa Ko, Hyeon Ji Kim, Hyun Jeong Jeong, Joo Youn Oh
The mortality of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is linearly related to the infarct size. As regeneration of cardiomyocytes from cardiac progenitor cells is minimal in the mammalian adult heart, we have explored a new therapeutic approach which leverages the capacity of nanomaterials to release chemicals over time to promote myocardial protection and infarct size reduction. Initial screening identified two chemicals, FGF1 and CHIR99021 (a Wnt1 agonist/GSK-3ß antagonist) which synergistically enhance cardiomyocyte cell cycle in vitro. Poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles (NP) formulated with CHIR99021 and FGF1 (CHIR+FGF1-NPs) provided an effective slow release system for up to 4 weeks. Intramyocardial injection of CHIR+FGF1-NPs enabled myocardial protection via reducing infarct size by 20% to 30% in mouse or pig models of postinfarction LV remodeling. This LV structural improvement was accompanied by a significant preservation of cardiac contractile function. Further investigation revealed that CHIR+FGF1-NPs resulted in a significant reduction of cardiomyocyte apoptosis and increase of angiogenesis. Thus, using a combination of chemicals and a NP-based prolonged release system that work synergistically, this study demonstrates a novel therapy for LV infarct size reduction in hearts with acute myocardial infarction.
Chengming Fan, Yasin Oduk, Meng Zhao, Xi Lou, Yawen Tang, Danielle Pretorius, Mani T. Valarmathi, Gregory P. Walcott, Jingfu Yang, Philippe Menasche, Prasanna Krishnamurthy, Wuqiang Zhu, Jianyi Zhang
Alopecia areata (AA) is one of the most common autoimmune conditions, presenting initially with loss of hair without other overt skin changes. The unremarkable appearance of the skin surface contrasts with the complex immune activity occurring at the hair follicle. AA pathogenesis is due to the loss of immune privilege of the hair follicle leading to autoimmune attack. Although the literature has focused on CD8+ T cells, vital roles for CD4+ T cells and antigen-presenting cells have been suggested. Here, we use single-cell sequencing to reveal distinct expression profiles of immune cells in murine AA. We found clonal expansions of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, with shared clonotypes across varied transcriptional states. The murine AA data were used to generate highly predictive models of human AA disease. Finally, single-cell sequencing of T cells in human AA recapitulated the clonotypic findings and the gene expression of the predictive models.
Nicholas Borcherding, Sydney B. Crotts, Luana S. Ortolan, Nicholas Henderson, Nicholas L. Bormann, Ali Jabbari
Background: HVTN 098, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, evaluated the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of PENNVAX®-GP HIV DNA vaccine, administered with or without plasmid IL-12 (pIL-12), via intradermal (ID) or intramuscular (IM) electroporation (EP) in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults. The study tested whether PENNVAX®-GP delivered via ID/EP at 1/5th the dose could elicit equivalent immune responses to delivery via IM/EP, and if inclusion of pIL-12 provided additional benefit. Methods: Participants received DNA encoding HIV-1 env/gag/pol in three groups: 1.6mg ID (ID no IL-12 group, n=20), 1.6mg ID + 0.4mg pIL-12 (ID+IL-12 group, n=30), 8mg IM + 1mg pIL-12 (IM+IL-12 group, n=30) or placebo (n=9) via EP at 0, 1, 3 and 6 months. Results of cellular and humoral immunogencity assessments are reported. Results: Following vaccination, the frequency of responders (response rate) to any HIV protein based on CD4+ T-cells expressing IFN-γ and/or IL-2 was 96% for both the ID+IL-12 and IM+IL-12 groups; CD8+ T-cell response rates were 64% and 44%, respectively. For ID delivery, the inclusion of pIL-12 increased CD4+ T-cell response rate from 56% to 96%. The frequency of responders was similar (>90%) for IgG binding Ab to gp140 consensus Env across all groups, but the magnitude was higher in the ID+IL-12 group compared to the IM+IL-12 group. Conclusion: PENNVAX®-GP DNA induced robust cellular and humoral immune responses, demonstrating that immunogenicity of DNA vaccines can be enhanced by EP route and inclusion of pIL-12. ID/EP was dose-sparing, inducing equivalent, or in some aspects superior, immune responses compared to IM/EP. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02431767 Funding: This work was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, https://www.niaid.nih.gov/) U.S. Public Health Service Grants UM1 AI068618 [LC: HIV 75 Vaccine Trials Network], UM1 AI068614 [LOC: HIV Vaccine Trials Network], UM1 AI068635 76 [SDMC: HIV Vaccine Trials Network], , U01 AI069418-ˇ08 [Emory-ˇCDC Clinical Trials Unit], UM AI069511 [University of Rochester HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit], UM1 AI069439 77 [Vanderbilt Clinical Trial Unit], UM1 AI069481 [Seattle-ˇLausanne Clinical Trials Unit] and HVDDT Contract HHSN2722008000063C (Inovio Pharmaceuticals). This work was also supported, in part, by IPCAVD award U19 AI09646-ˇ03 (DBW) and NIH award P01 AI120756 (GDT). The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAID or the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Stephen DeRosa, Srilatha Edupuganti, Yunda Huang, Xue Han, Marnie Elizaga, Edith Swann, Laura Polakowski, Spyros A. Kalams, Michael C. Keefer, Janine Maenza, Yiwen Lu, Megan C. Wise, Jian Yan, Matthew P. Morrow, Amir S. Khan, Jean Boyer, Laurent M. Humeau, Scott White, Michael N. Pensiero, Niranjan Y. Sardesai, Mark Bagarazzi, David B. Weiner, Guido Ferrari, Georgia Tomaras, David Montefiori, Lawrence Corey, M. Juliana McElrath
Acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) remains a major impediment to successful allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). To solve this problem, a greater knowledge of factors which regulate the differentiation of donor T cells toward cytotoxic or regulatory cells is necessary. We report that the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) is critical for regulating this differentiation, and that its manipulation can control aGvHD without impairing the graft-versus-tumor (GvT) effect. Donor T cell β2-AR expression and signaling is associated with decreased aGvHD when compared to recipients of β2-AR–/– donor T cells. We determined that β2-AR activation skewed CD4+ T cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo toward regulatory T cells (Tregs) rather than the T helper 1 (Th1) phenotype. Treatment of allo-HCT recipients with a selective β2-agonist, (bambuterol) ameliorated aGvHD severity. This was associated with increased Tregs, decreased cytotoxic T cells, and increased donor bone marrow-derived myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in allogeneic and humanized xenogeneic aGvHD models. β2-AR signaling resulted in increased Treg generation through glycogen synthase kinase-3 activation. Bambuterol preserved the GvT effect by inducing NKG2D+ effector cells and central memory T cells. These data reveal how β-AR signaling can be targeted to ameliorate GvHD severity while preserving GvT effect.
Hemn Mohammadpour, Joseph L. Sarow, Cameron R. MacDonald, George L. Chen, Jingxin Qiu, Umesh C. Sharma, Xuefang Cao, Megan M. Herr, Theresa E. Hahn, Bruce R. Blazar, Elizabeth A. Repasky, Philip L. McCarthy
Abnormal subretinal neovascularization is characteristic of vision-threatening retinal diseases including macular telangiectasia (MacTel) and retinal angiomatous proliferation (RAP). Subretinal neovascular tufts and photoreceptor dysfunction are observed in very low-density lipoprotein receptor mutant mice (Vldlr–/–). These changes mirror those observed in MacTel and RAP patients, but the pathogenesis is largely unknown. In this study, we show that retinal microglia are closely associated with retinal neovascular tufts in Vldlr–/– mice and retinal tissue from MacTel patients; ablation of microglia/macrophages dramatically prevents formation of retinal neovascular tufts and improves neuronal function as assessed by electroretinography. VMD2-driven retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE)-specific knockouts of VEGF greatly reduced subretinal infiltration of microglia/macrophages, subsequently reducing NV tufts. These findings highlight the contribution of microglia/macrophages to the pathogenesis of NV, provide valuable clues regarding potential causative cellular mechanisms for subretinal neovascularization in MacTel and RAP patients, and suggest that targeting microglia activation may be a therapeutic option in these diseases.
Ayumi Usui-Ouchi, Yoshihiko Usui, Toshihide Kurihara, Edith Aguilar, Michael I. Dorrell, Yoichiro Ideguchi, Susumu Sakimoto, Stephen Bravo, Martin Friedlander
In pulmonary hypertension and certain forms of congenital heart disease, ventricular pressure overload manifests at birth and is an obligate hemodynamic abnormality that stimulates myocardial fibrosis which leads to ventricular dysfunction and poor clinical outcomes. Thus, an attractive strategy is to attenuate the myocardial fibrosis to help preserve ventricular function. Here, by analyzing RNA-sequencing databases and comparing the transcript and protein levels of fibrillar collagen in wild-type and global knockout mice, we found that SLIT3 was predominantly present in fibrillar collagen-producing cells and that SLIT3 deficiency attenuated collagen production in the heart and other non-neuronal tissues. We then performed transverse aortic constriction or pulmonary artery banding in wild-type and knockout mice to induce left and right ventricular pressure overload, respectively. We discovered that SLIT3 deficiency abrogates fibrotic and hypertrophic changes and promotes long-term ventricular function and overall survival in both left and right ventricular pressure overload. Furthermore, we found that SLIT3 stimulated fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen production, which coincided with the transcription and nuclear localization of the mechanotransducer YAP1. These results indicate that SLIT3 is important for regulating fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen synthesis in an autocrine manner, making it a potential therapeutic target for fibrotic diseases, especially myocardial fibrosis and adverse remodeling induced by persistent afterload elevation.
Lianghui Gong, Shuyun Wang, Li Shen, Catherine Liu, Mena Shenouda, Baolei Li, Xiaoxiao Liu, John Shaw, Alan Wineman, Yifeng Yang, Dingding Xiong, Anne Eichmann, Sylvia M. Evans, Stephen J. Weiss, Ming-Sing Si
The SIRPα-CD47 interaction provides a macrophage immune checkpoint pathway that plays a critical role in cancer immune evasion across multiple cancers. Here, we report the engineering of a humanized anti-SIRPα monoclonal antibody (1H9) for antibody target cancer therapy. 1H9 has broad activity across a wide range of SIRPα variants. Binding of 1H9 to SIRPα blocks its interaction with CD47, thereby promoting macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of cancer cells. Pre-clinical studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrate that 1H9 synergizes with other therapeutic antibodies to promote phagocytosis of tumor cells and inhibit tumor growth in both syngeneic and xenograft tumor models, leading to survival benefit. Thus, 1H9 can potentially act as a universal agent to enhance therapeutic efficacy when used in combination with most tumor-targeting antibodies. We report for the first time, a comparison of anti-SIRPα and anti-CD47 antibodies in CD47/SIRPα double humanized mice, and found that 1H9 exhibits a substantially reduced antigen-sink effect due to the limited tissue distribution of SIRPα expression. Toxicokinetic studies in non-human primates show that 1H9 is well tolerated with no treatment-related adverse effects noted. These data highlight the clinical potential of 1H9 as a pan-therapeutic with the desired properties when used in combination with tumor-targeting antibodies.
Jie Liu, Seethu Xavy, Shirley Mihardja, Sharline Chen, Kavitha Sompalli, Dongdong Feng, Timothy S. Choi, Balaji Agoram, Ravindra Majeti, Irving L. Weissman, Jens-Peter Volkmer
Dysregulated healing of injured mucosa is a hallmark of many pathological conditions including inflammatory bowel disease. Mucosal injury and chronic inflammation including persistent neutrophil (PMN) infiltration are also associated with alterations in epithelial glycosylation. Previous studies have revealed the inflammation induced glycan sLea on epithelial CD44v6 acts as a ligand for transmigrating PMN. Furthermore, blocking sLea-mediated binding interactions with the mAb GM35 reduced PMN transepithelial migration. Here we report that robust sialylated Lewis glycan expression is induced in colonic mucosa from individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) as well as in colonic epithelium of mice with DSS colitis. Targeting of sialylated epithelial Lewis glycans with mAb GM35 reduced disease activity and improved mucosal integrity during DSS induced colitis in mice. Wound healing studies revealed increased epithelial proliferation and migration responses as well as improved mucosal repair following ligation of epithelial sialyl Lewis glycans. Finally, we show GM35-mediated increases in epithelial proliferation and migration are mediated through activation of kinases that signal downstream of CD44v6 (Src, FAK, Akt). These findings suggest that sialylated Lewis glycans on epithelial CD44v6 may represent targets for improved recovery of epithelial barrier function and restitution of mucosal homeostasis following intestinal inflammation or injury
Matthias Kelm, Miguel Quiros, Veronica Azcutia, Kevin Boerner, Richard D. Cummings, Asma Nusrat, Jennifer C. Brazil, Charles A. Parkos
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