Drug refractory epilepsy (RE) is a chronic neurological disease with varied etiology that represents a group of patients whose seizures do not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. The immune system may have a role in seizure and epilepsy development, but the specific mechanisms of inflammation that lead to epileptogenesis and contribute to RE are unknown. Here, we used mass cytometry to comprehensively study the immune system of pediatric patients with RE and compared their immune profile and function with patients with age-matched autoimmune encephalitis (AIE) and healthy controls. Patients with RE and AIE displayed similar immune profiles overall, with changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets and an unbalance toward pro-inflammatory IL-17 production. In addition, patients with RE uniquely showed an altered balance in natural killer cell subsets. A systems level intercellular network analysis identified rewiring of the immune system leading to loss of inhibitory/regulatory intercellular connections and emergence of pro-inflammatory pathogenic functions in neuro-inflammatory immune-cell networks in patients with AIE and RE. These data underscore the contribution of systemic inflammation to the pathogenesis of seizures and epileptogenesis and have direct translational implications in advancing diagnostics and therapeutics design.
Pavanish Kumar, Derrick Wei Shih Chan, Amanda Lim, Bhairav Paleja, Simon Ling, Lai Li Yun, Su Li Poh, Adeline Ngoh, Thaschawee Arkachaisri, Joo Guan Yeo, Salvatore Albani
Many lung diseases result from a failure of efficient regeneration of damaged alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) after lung injury. During regeneration, AEC2s proliferate to replace lost cells, after which proliferation halts and some AEC2s transdifferentiate into AEC1s to restore normal alveolar structure and function. Although the mechanisms underlying AEC2 proliferation have been studied, the mechanisms responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation are poorly understood. To identify candidate signaling pathways responsible for halting proliferation and inducing transdifferentiation, we performed single cell RNA sequencing on AEC2s during regeneration in a murine model of lung injury induced by intratracheal LPS. Unsupervised clustering revealed distinct subpopulations of regenerating AEC2s: proliferating, cell cycle arrest, and transdifferentiating. Gene expression analysis of these transitional subpopulations revealed that TGFβ signaling was highly upregulated in the cell cycle arrest subpopulation and relatively downregulated in transdifferentiating cells. In cultured AEC2s, TGFβ was necessary for cell cycle arrest but impeded transdifferentiation. We conclude that during regeneration after LPS-induced lung injury, TGFβ is a critical signal halting AEC2 proliferation but must be inactivated to allow transdifferentiation. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating alveolar regeneration and the pathogenesis of diseases resulting from a failure of regeneration.
Kent A. Riemondy, Nicole L. Jansing, Peng Jiang, Elizabeth F. Redente, Austin E. Gillen, Rui Fu, Alyssa J. Miller, Jason R. Spence, Anthony N. Gerber, Jay R. Hesselberth, Rachel L. Zemans
We have previously reported that the carboxy-terminal proteolytic cleavage product of the COL6α3 chain that we refer to as “endotrophin” has potent effects on transformed mammary ductal epithelial cells in rodents. Endotrophin (ETP) is abundantly expressed in adipose tissue. It is a chemoattractant for macrophages, exerts effects on endothelial cells and through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) enhances progression of tumor cells. In a recombinant form, human endotrophin exerts similar effects on human macrophages and endothelial cells as its rodent counterpart. It enhances EMT in human breast cancer cells and upon overexpression in tumor cells, the cells become chemoresistant. Here, we report the identification of endotrophin from human plasma. It is circulating at higher levels in breast cancer patients. We have developed neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against human endotrophin and provide evidence for the effectiveness of these antibodies to curb tumor growth and enhance chemosensitivity in a nude mouse model carrying human tumor cell lesions. Combined, the data validate endotrophin as a viable target for anti-tumor therapy for human breast cancer and opens the possibility for further use of these new reagents for anti-fibrotic approaches in liver, kidney, bone marrow and adipose tissue.
Dawei Bu, Clair Crewe, Christine M. Kusminski, Ruth Gordillo, Alexandra L. Ghaben, Min Kim, Jiyoung Park, Hui Deng, Wei Xiong, Xiao-Zheng Liu, Per Eystein Lønning, Nils Halberg, Adan Rios, Yujun Chang, Anneliese Gonzalez, Ningyan Zhang, Zhiqiang An, Philipp E. Scherer
In demyelinating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), demyelination of neuronal fibers impairs impulse conduction and causes axon degeneration. While neuronal activity stimulates oligodendrocyte production and myelination in normal conditions, it remains unclear whether the activity of demyelinated axons restores their loss-of-function in a harmful environment. To investigate this question, we established a model to induce a moderate optogenetic stimulation of demyelinated axons in the corpus callosum at the level of the motor cortex in which cortical circuit activation and locomotor effects were reduced in adult freely moving mice. We demonstrate that a moderate activation of demyelinated axons enhances the differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells onto mature oligodendrocytes, but only under a repeated stimulation paradigm. This activity-dependent increase in the oligodendrocyte pool promotes an extensive remyelination and functional restoration of conduction, as revealed by ultrastructural analyses and compound action potential recordings. Our findings reveal the need of preserving an appropriate neuronal activity in the damaged tissue to promote oligodendrocyte differentiation and remyelination, likely by enhancing axon-oligodendroglia interactions. Our results provide new perspectives for translational research using neuromodulation in demyelinating diseases.
Fernando C. Ortiz, Chloé Habermacher, Mariana Graciarena, Pierre-Yves Houry, Akiko Nishiyama, Brahim Nait-Oumesmar, Maria Cecilia Angulo
Changes in neuronal activity alter blood flow to match energy demand with the supply of oxygen and nutrients. This functional hyperemia is maintained by interactions between neurons, vascular cells, and glia. However, how changing neuronal activity prevalent at the onset of neurodegenerative disease affects neurovascular elements is unclear. Here, in mice with photoreceptor degeneration, a model of neuron-specific dysfunction, we combined assessment of visual function, neurovascular unit structure, and the blood-retina barrier permeability. We found that the rod loss paralleled remodeling of the neurovascular unit, comprised of photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, and Muller glia. When significant visual function was still present, blood flow became disrupted and blood-retina barrier began to fail, facilitating cone loss and vision decline. Thus, in contrast to the established view, vascular deficit in neuronal degeneration is not a late consequence of neuronal dysfunction, but is present early in the course of disease. These findings further establish the importance of vascular deficit and blood retina barrier function in neuron-specific loss, and highlight it as a target for early therapeutic intervention.
Elena Ivanova, Nazia M. Alam, Glen T. Prusky, Botir T. Sagdullaev
High autophagic activity in podocytes, terminally differentiated cells which serve as main components of the kidney filtration barrier, is essential for podocyte survival under various challenges. How podocytes maintain such a high level of autophagy, however, remains unclear. Here we report that signal regulatory protein α (SIRPα) plays a key role in promoting podocyte autophagy. Unlike other glomerular cells, podocytes strongly express SIRPα, which is, however, downregulated in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and mice with experimental nephropathy. Podocyte SIRPα levels are inversely correlated with the severity of podocyte injury and proteinuria but positively with autophagy. Compared to wild-type littermates, Sirpa-deficient mice display greater age-related podocyte injury and proteinuria and develop more rapid and severe renal injury in various models of experimental nephropathy. Mechanistically, podocyte SIRPα strongly reduces Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling, leading to an increase in autophagic activity. Our findings thus demonstrate a critical protective role of SIRPα in podocyte survival via maintaining autophagic activity.
Limin Li, Ying Liu, Shan Li, Yong Yang, Caihong Zeng, Weiwei Rong, Hongwei Liang, Mingchao Zhang, Xiaodong Zhu, Koby Kidder, Yuan Liu, Zhihong Liu, Ke Zen
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are key modulators of inflammation and are important for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. Adoptive immunotherapy with polyclonal Tregs holds promise in organ transplantation, graft-versus-host disease, and autoimmune diseases, but may be enhanced by antigen-specific, long-lived Treg cells. We modified primary human Tregs with chimeric antigen-receptors (CARs) bearing different costimulatory domains and performed in vitro analyses of their phenotype and function. While neither the presence of a CAR nor the type of costimulation domain influenced Foxp3 expression in Tregs, the costimulation domain of the CARs affected CAR Treg surface phenotype and functions such as cytokine production. Furthermore, signaling from the CD28 costimulation domain maintained CAR Treg suppressor function, whereas 4-1B costimulation did not. In vivo, CAR Tregs accumulated at sites expressing target antigen, and suppressed antigen specific effector T cell responses; however, only CAR Tregs with CD28 signaling domains were potent inhibitors of effector T cell mediated graft rejection in vivo. Our findings support the use of CD28 based CAR-Tregs for tissue specific immune suppression in the clinic.
Angela C. Boroughs, Rebecca C. Larson, Bryan D. Choi, Amanda A. Bouffard, Lauren S. Riley, Erik Schiferle, Anupriya S. Kulkarni, Curtis L. Cetrulo, David Ting, Bruce R. Blazar, Shadmehr Demehri, Marcela V. Maus
MHC I-restricted epitopes of chicken ovalbumin (OVA) were originally identified using CD8 T cells as probes. Here, using bioinformatics tools, we identify four additional epitopes in OVA in addition to a cryptic epitope. Each new epitope is presented in vivo, as deduced from the lack of CD8 response to it in OVA-transgenic mice. In addition, CD8 responses to the known and novel epitopes are examined in C57BL/6 mice exposed to the OVA-expressing tumor E.G7 in several ways. No responses to any epitope including SIINFEKL are detected in mice with growing E.G7 or mice immunized with the tumor. Only in E.G7-bearing mice treated with an anti-CTLA4 antibody which depletes tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells, CD8 responses to SIINFEKL and the novel epitope EKYNLTSVL are detected. Finally, all epitopes fails to treat mice with pre-existing tumors. These observations force an important re-consideration of the common assumptions about the therapeutic value of neoepitopes detected by CD8 responses in tumor-bearing hosts.
Sukrut Hemant Karandikar, John Sidney, Alessandro Sette, Mark Joseph Selby, Alan Jerry Korman, Pramod Kumar Srivastava
Because injured mitochondria can accelerate cell death through the elaboration of oxidative free radicals and other mediators, it is striking that proliferator gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC1α), a stimulator of increased mitochondrial abundance, protects stressed renal cells instead of potentiating injury. Here we report that PGC1α’s induction of lysosomes via transcription factor EB (TFEB) may be pivotal for kidney protection. CRISPR and stable gene transfer showed that PGC1α knockout tubular cells were sensitized to the genotoxic stressor cisplatin whereas transgenic cells were protected. The biosensor mtKeima unexpectedly revealed that cisplatin blunts mitophagy both in cells and mice. PGC1α not only counteracted this effect but also raised basal mitophagy, as did the downstream mediator nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). PGC1α did not consistently affect known autophagy pathways modulated by cisplatin. Instead RNA sequencing identified coordinated regulation of lysosomal biogenesis via TFEB. This effector pathway was sufficiently important that inhibition of TFEB or lysosomes unveiled a striking harmful effect of excess PGC1α in cells and conditional mice. These results uncover an unexpected effect of cisplatin on mitophagy and PGC1α’s exquisite reliance on lysosomes for kidney protection. Finally, the data illuminate TFEB as a novel target for renal tubular stress resistance.
Matthew R. Lynch, Mei T. Tran, Kenneth M. Ralto, Zsuzsanna K. Zsengeller, Vinod Raman, Swati S. Bhasin, Nuo Sun, Xiuying Chen, Daniel Brown, Ilsa I. Rovira, Kensei Taguchi, Craig R. Brooks, Isaac E. Stillman, Manoj K. Bhasin, Toren Finkel, Samir M. Parikh
AXL overexpression is a common resistance mechanism to anti-cancer therapies, including the resistance to BYL719 (Alpelisib) – the p110α isoform specific inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) – in esophagus and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC, HNSCC respectively). However, the mechanisms underlying AXL overexpression in resistance to BYL719 remain elusive. Here we demonstrated that the AP-1 transcription factors, c-JUN and c-FOS, regulate AXL overexpression in HNSCC and ESCC. The expression of AXL was correlated with that of c-JUN both in HNSCC patients and in HNSCC and ESCC cell lines. Silencing of c-JUN and c-FOS expression in tumor cells downregulated AXL expression and enhanced the sensitivity of human papilloma virus positive (HPVPos) and negative (HPVNeg) tumor cells to BYL719 in vitro. Blocking of the c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) using SP600125 in combination with BYL719 showed a synergistic anti-proliferative effect in vitro, which was accompanied by AXL downregulation and potent inhibition of the mTOR pathway. In vivo, the BYL719–SP600125 drug combination led to the arrest of tumor growth in cell line-derived and patient-derived xenograft models, and in syngeneic head and neck murine cancer models. Collectively, our data suggests that JNK inhibition in combination with anti-PI3K therapy is a new therapeutic strategy that should be tested in HPVPos and HPVNeg HNSCC and ESCC patients.
Mai Badarni, Manu Prasad, Noa Balaban, Jonathan Zorea, Ksenia M. Yegodayev, Ben-Zion Joshua, Anat Bahat Dinur, Reidar Grénman, Barak Rotblat, Limor Cohen, Moshe Elkabets
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