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
BACKGROUND. Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic. This study addressed the clinical and immunopathological characteristics of severe COVID-19. METHODS. Sixty-nine COVID-19 patients were classified into as severe and non-severe groups to analyze their clinical and laboratory characteristics. A panel of blood cytokines was quantified over time. Biopsy specimens from two deceased cases were obtained for immunopathological, ultrastructural, and in situ hybridization examinations. RESULTS. Circulating cytokines, including IL8, IL6, TNFα, IP10, MCP1, and RANTES, were significantly elevated in severe COVID-19 patients. Dynamic IL6 and IL8 were associated with disease progression. SARS-CoV-2 was demonstrated to infect type II, type I pneumocytes and endothelial cells, leading to severe lung damage through cell pyroptosis and apoptosis. In severe cases, lymphopenia, neutrophilia, depletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and massive macrophage and neutrophil infiltrates were observed in both blood and lung tissues. CONCLUSIONS. A panel of circulating cytokines could be used to predict disease deterioration and inform clinical interventions. Severe pulmonary damage was predominantly attributed to both SARS-CoV-2 caused cytopathy and immunopathologic damage. Strategies that encourage pulmonary recruitment and overactivation of inflammatory cells by suppressing cytokine storm might improve the outcomes of severe COVID-19 patients.
Shaohua Li, Lina Jiang, Xi Li, Fang Lin, Yijin Wang, Boan Li, Tianjun Jiang, Weimin An, Shuhong Liu, Hongyang Liu, Pengfei Xu, Lihua Zhao, Lixin Zhang, Jinsong Mu, Hongwei Wang, Jiarui Kang, Yan Li, Lei Huang, Caizhong Zhu, Shousong Zhao, Jiangyang Lu, Junsheng Ji, Jingmin Zhao
Refractory neonatal seizures do not respond to first-line anti-seizure medications (ASMs) like phenobarbital (PB), a positive allosteric modulator for GABAA receptors. GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition is dependent upon electroneutral cation-chloride transporter KCC2 which mediates neuronal chloride extrusion and its age-dependent increase, postnatally shifts GABAergic signaling from depolarizing to hyperpolarizing. BDNF-TrkB activation following excitotoxic injury recruits downstream targets like PLCγ1, leading to KCC2 hypofunction. Here, the anti-seizure efficacy of TrkB agonists LM22A-4, HIOC, and Deoxygedunin (DG), on PB-refractory seizures, and post-ischemic TrkB-pathway activation was investigated in a mouse model (CD-1, P7) of refractory neonatal seizures. LM, a BDNF loop II mimetic, rescued PB-refractory seizures in a sexually dimorphic manner. Efficacy was associated with a significant reduction in the post-ischemic phosphorylation of TrkB at Y816, a site known to mediate post-ischemic KCC2 hypofunction via PLCγ1 activation. LM rescued ischemia-induced pKCC2-S940 dephosphorylation, preserving its membrane stability. Full TrkB agonists HIOC and DG similarly rescued PB-refractoriness. Chemogenetic inactivation of TrkB significantly reduced post-ischemic neonatal seizure burdens at P7. Sex differences identified in developmental expression profiles of TrkB and KCC2 may underlie the sexually dimorphic efficacy of LM. These results support a novel role for the TrkB receptor in the emergence of age-dependent refractory neonatal seizures.
Pavel A. Kipnis, Brennan J. Sullivan, Brandon M. Carter, Shilpa Kadam
Colitis is associated with the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) by largely undefined mechanisms that are critical for understanding the link between inflammation and cancer. Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) marked by LGR5 expression are of importance in both the inflammatory response to colitis and progression to colitis-associated colon cancer (CACC). Here, we report in human MUC1-transgenic mouse models of CACC that targeting the MUC1-C oncogenic protein, which is upregulated in inflammation, suppresses the (i) Lgr5+ ISC population, (ii) induction of Myc and core pluripotency stem cell factors, and (iii) severity and progression of colitis to dysplasia and cancer. By extension to human colon cancer cells, we demonstrate that MUC1-C drives MYC, forms a complex with MYC on the LGR5 promoter and activates LGR5 expression. We also show in CRC cells that MUC1-C induces the cancer stem cell (CSC) markers (BMI1, ALDH1, FOXA1, LIN28B) and the OCT4, SOX2 and NANOG pluripotency factors. Consistent with conferring the CSC state, targeting MUC1-C suppresses the capacity of CRC cells to promote wound healing, invasion, self-renewal and tumorigenicity. In analysis of human tissues, MUC1 expression associates with activation of inflammatory pathways, development of colitis and aggressiveness of CRCs. These results collectively indicate that MUC1-C is of importance for integrating stemness and pluripotency in colitis and CRC. Of clinical relevance, the findings further indicate that MUC1-C represents a previously unrecognized target that is druggable for treating progression of colitis and CRC.
Wei Li, Ning Zhang, Caining Jin, Mark D. Long, Hasan Rajabi, Yota Yasumizu, Atsushi Fushimi, Nami Yamashita, Masayuki Hagiwara, Rongbin Zheng, Jin Wang, Ling Kui, Harpal Singh, Surender Kharbanda, Qiang Hu, Song Liu, Donald W. Kufe
Extramedullary hematopoietic cells are present in the liver of normal neonates in the first few days of life and persist in infants with biliary atresia. Based on a previous report that liver genes are enriched by erythroid pathways, we examined the liver gene expression pattern at diagnosis and found the top five enriched pathways are related to erythrocyte pathobiology in children who survived with the native liver beyond 2 years of age. Using immunostaining, anti-CD71 antibodies identified CD71+ erythroid cells among extramedullary hematopoietic cells in the livers at the time of diagnosis. In mechanistic experiments, the preemptive antibody depletion of hepatic CD71+ erythroid cells in neonatal mice rendered them resistant to rotavirus (RRV)-induced biliary atresia. The depletion of CD71+ erythroid cells increased the number of effector lymphocytes and delayed the RRV infection of livers and extrahepatic bile ducts. In co-culture experiments, CD71+ erythroid cells suppressed the activation of hepatic mononuclear cells. These data uncover an immunoregulatory role for CD71+ erythroid cells in the neonatal liver.
Li Yang, Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Jeremy M. Kinder, Sing Sing Way, Bryan Donnelly, Reena Mourya, Zhenhua Luo, Jorge A. Bezerra
Renal fibrosis features exaggerated inflammation, extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, and peritubular capillary loss. We previously showed that IL-10 stimulates high molecular weight hyaluronan (HMW-HA) expression by fibroblasts, and we hypothesize that HMW-HA attenuates renal fibrosis by reducing inflammation and ECM remodeling. We studied the effects of IL-10 overexpression on HA production and scarring in mouse models of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) and ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) to investigate whether IL-10 anti-fibrotic effects are HA-dependent. C57BL/6J mice were fed with the HA synthesis inhibitor, 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU), prior to UUO. We observed that in vivo injury increased intratubular spaces, ECM deposition, and HA expression at day 7 and onwards. IL-10 overexpression reduced renal fibrosis in both models, promoted HMW-HA synthesis and stability in UUO, and regulated cell proliferation in I/R. 4-MU inhibited IL-10-driven anti-fibrotic effects, indicating that HMW-HA is necessary for cytokine-mediated reduction of fibrosis. We also found that IL-10 induces in vitro HMW-HA production by renal fibroblasts via STAT3-dependent upregulation of HA synthase 2. We propose that IL-10-induced HMW-HA synthesis plays cytoprotective and anti-fibrotic roles in kidney injury, thereby revealing an effective strategy to attenuate renal fibrosis in obstructive and ischemic pathologies.
Xinyi Wang, Swathi Balaji, Emily H. Steen, Alexander J. Blum, Hui Li, Christina K. Chan, Scott R. Manson, Thomas C. Lu, Meredith M. Rae, Paul F. Austin, Thomas N. Wight, Paul L. Bollyky, Jizhong Cheng, Sundeep G. Keswani
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