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In severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), viral pneumonia progresses to respiratory failure. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are extracellular webs of chromatin, microbicidal proteins, and oxidant enzymes that are released by neutrophils to contain infections. However, when not properly regulated, NETs have the potential to propagate inflammation and microvascular thrombosis — including in the lungs of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. We now report that sera from patients with COVID-19 have elevated levels of cell-free DNA, myeloperoxidase-DNA (MPO-DNA), and citrullinated histone H3 (Cit-H3); the latter 2 are specific markers of NETs. Highlighting the potential clinical relevance of these findings, cell-free DNA strongly correlated with acute-phase reactants, including C-reactive protein, D-dimer, and lactate dehydrogenase, as well as absolute neutrophil count. MPO-DNA associated with both cell-free DNA and absolute neutrophil count, while Cit-H3 correlated with platelet levels. Importantly, both cell-free DNA and MPO-DNA were higher in hospitalized patients receiving mechanical ventilation as compared with hospitalized patients breathing room air. Finally, sera from individuals with COVID-19 triggered NET release from control neutrophils in vitro. Future studies should investigate the predictive power of circulating NETs in longitudinal cohorts and determine the extent to which NETs may be novel therapeutic targets in severe COVID-19.
Yu Zuo, Srilakshmi Yalavarthi, Hui Shi, Kelsey Gockman, Melanie Zuo, Jacqueline A. Madison, Christopher Blair, Andrew Weber, Betsy J. Barnes, Mikala Egeblad, Robert J. Woods, Yogendra Kanthi, Jason S. Knight
Total views: 2785
The habenula (Hb) is a bilateral, evolutionarily conserved epithalamic structure connecting forebrain and midbrain structures that has gained attention for its roles in depression,(1) addiction,(2-5) rewards processing,(6) and motivation (7,8). Of its two major subdivisions, the medial (MHb) and lateral Hb (LHb), MHb circuitry and function is poorly understood relative to LHb (9). Prkar2a codes for cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) regulatory subunit IIα (RIIα), a component of the PKA holoenzyme at the center of one of the major cell-signaling pathways conserved across systems and species. Type 2 regulatory subunits (RIIα, RIIβ) determine the subcellular localization of PKA, and unlike other PKA subunits, Prkar2a has minimal brain expression except in the MHb (10). We previously showed that RIIα knockout (RIIαKO) mice resist diet-induced obesity (DIO) (11). In the present study, we report that RIIαKO mice have decreased consumption of palatable, “rewarding” foods and increased motivation for voluntary exercise. Prkar2a deficiency led to decreased habenular PKA enzymatic activity and impaired dendritic localization of PKA catalytic subunits in MHb neurons. Re-expression of Prkar2a in the Hb rescued this phenotype confirming differential roles for Prkar2a in regulating the drives for palatable foods and voluntary exercise. Our findings show that in the MHb decreased PKA signaling and dendritic PKA activity decrease motivation for food rewards while enhancing the motivation for exercise, a desirable combination of behaviors.
Edra London, Jason C. Wester, Michelle S. Bloyd, Shelby Bettencourt, Chris J. McBain, Constantine A. Stratakis
Total views: 2247
BACKGROUND. Weight gain and metabolic changes during treatment with antidepressant drugs have emerged as an important concern, particularly in long-term treatment. It is still a matter of ongoing debate whether weight gain and metabolic perturbations with antidepressant use are the consequence of increased appetite and weight gain, respectively, or represents direct pharmacological effects of the drug on metabolism. METHODS. We therefore conducted a proof-of-concept, open-label clinical trial, hypothesizing that in exceptionally healthy men no change of metabolic parameters would occur under mirtazapine, when environmental factors such as nutrition, sleep, and physical exercise were controlled and kept constant. Over a 3-week preparation phase, 10 healthy, young men were attuned to a standardized diet adjusted to their individual caloric need, to a regular sleep/wake cycle and moderate exercise. Continuing this protocol, we administered 30 mg mirtazapine daily for 7 days. RESULTS. While no significant weight gain or changes in resting energy expenditure were observed under these conditions, hunger and appetite for sweets increased with mirtazapine, accompanied by a shift in energy substrate partitioning towards carbohydrate substrate preference as assessed by indirect calorimetry. Furthermore, with mirtazapine, insulin and C-peptide release increased in response to a standardized meal. CONCLUSION. Our findings provide important insights into weight-independent metabolic changes associated with mirtazapine and allow a better understanding of the long-term metabolic effects observed in patients treated with antidepressant drugs. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00878540. FUNDING. Nothing to declare.
Johannes M. Hennings, Sarah Heel, Katharina Lechner, Manfred Uhr, Tatjana Dose, Ludwig Schaaf, Florian Holsboer, Susanne Lucae, Stephany Fulda, Stefan Kloiber
Total views: 2029
Newly emerging viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome CoVs (MERS-CoV), and H7N9, cause fatal acute lung injury (ALI) by driving hypercytokinemia and aggressive inflammation through mechanisms that remain elusive. In SARS-CoV/macaque models, we determined that anti–spike IgG (S-IgG), in productively infected lungs, causes severe ALI by skewing inflammation-resolving response. Alveolar macrophages underwent functional polarization in acutely infected macaques, demonstrating simultaneously both proinflammatory and wound-healing characteristics. The presence of S-IgG prior to viral clearance, however, abrogated wound-healing responses and promoted MCP1 and IL-8 production and proinflammatory monocyte/macrophage recruitment and accumulation. Critically, patients who eventually died of SARS (hereafter referred to as deceased patients) displayed similarly accumulated pulmonary proinflammatory, absence of wound-healing macrophages, and faster neutralizing antibody responses. Their sera enhanced SARS-CoV–induced MCP1 and IL-8 production by human monocyte–derived wound-healing macrophages, whereas blockade of FcγR reduced such effects. Our findings reveal a mechanism responsible for virus-mediated ALI, define a pathological consequence of viral specific antibody response, and provide a potential target for treatment of SARS-CoV or other virus-mediated lung injury.
Li Liu, Qiang Wei, Qingqing Lin, Jun Fang, Haibo Wang, Hauyee Kwok, Hangying Tang, Kenji Nishiura, Jie Peng, Zhiwu Tan, Tongjin Wu, Ka-Wai Cheung, Kwok-Hung Chan, Xavier Alvarez, Chuan Qin, Andrew Lackner, Stanley Perlman, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Zhiwei Chen
Total views: 1863
BACKGROUND Reprogramming of host metabolism supports viral pathogenesis by fueling viral proliferation, by providing, for example, free amino acids and fatty acids as building blocks.METHODS To investigate metabolic effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we evaluated serum metabolites of patients with COVID-19 (n = 33; diagnosed by nucleic acid testing), as compared with COVID-19–negative controls (n = 16).RESULTS Targeted and untargeted metabolomics analyses identified altered tryptophan metabolism into the kynurenine pathway, which regulates inflammation and immunity. Indeed, these changes in tryptophan metabolism correlated with interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Widespread dysregulation of nitrogen metabolism was also seen in infected patients, with altered levels of most amino acids, along with increased markers of oxidant stress (e.g., methionine sulfoxide, cystine), proteolysis, and renal dysfunction (e.g., creatine, creatinine, polyamines). Increased circulating levels of glucose and free fatty acids were also observed, consistent with altered carbon homeostasis. Interestingly, metabolite levels in these pathways correlated with clinical laboratory markers of inflammation (i.e., IL-6 and C-reactive protein) and renal function (i.e., blood urea nitrogen).CONCLUSION In conclusion, this initial observational study identified amino acid and fatty acid metabolism as correlates of COVID-19, providing mechanistic insights, potential markers of clinical severity, and potential therapeutic targets.FUNDING Boettcher Foundation Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award; National Institute of General and Medical Sciences, NIH; and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH.
Tiffany Thomas, Davide Stefanoni, Julie A. Reisz, Travis Nemkov, Lorenzo Bertolone, Richard O. Francis, Krystalyn E. Hudson, James C. Zimring, Kirk C. Hansen, Eldad A. Hod, Steven L. Spitalnik, Angelo D’Alessandro
Total views: 1243
While autoantibodies are used in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the function of B cells in the inflamed joint remains elusive. Extensive flow cytometric characterization and SPICE algorithm analyses of single-cell synovial tissue from patients with RA revealed the accumulation of switched and double-negative memory programmed death-1 receptor–expressing (PD-1–expressing) B cells at the site of inflammation. Accumulation of memory B cells was mediated by CXCR3, evident by the observed increase in CXCR3-expressing synovial B cells compared with the periphery, differential regulation by key synovial cytokines, and restricted B cell invasion demonstrated in response to CXCR3 blockade. Notably, under 3% O2 hypoxic conditions that mimic the joint microenvironment, RA B cells maintained marked expression of MMP-9, TNF, and IL-6, with PD-1+ B cells demonstrating higher expression of CXCR3, CD80, CD86, IL-1β, and GM-CSF than their PD-1– counterparts. Finally, following functional analysis and flow cell sorting of RA PD-1+ versus PD-1– B cells, we demonstrate, using RNA-Seq and emerging fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy of cellular NAD, a significant shift in metabolism of RA PD-1+ B cells toward glycolysis, associated with an increased transcriptional signature of key cytokines and chemokines that are strongly implicated in RA pathogenesis. Our data support the targeting of pathogenic PD-1+ B cells in RA as a focused, novel therapeutic option.
Achilleas Floudas, Nuno Neto, Viviana Marzaioli, Kieran Murray, Barry Moran, Michael G. Monaghan, Candice Low, Ronan H. Mullan, Navin Rao, Vinod Krishna, Sunil Nagpal, Douglas J. Veale, Ursula Fearon
Total views: 1139
COVID-19–associated morbidity and mortality have been attributed to a pathologic host response. Two divergent hypotheses have been proposed: hyperinflammatory cytokine storm; and failure of host protective immunity that results in unrestrained viral dissemination and organ injury. A key explanation for the inability to address this controversy has been the lack of diagnostic tools to evaluate immune function in COVID-19 infections. ELISpot, a highly sensitive, functional immunoassay, was employed in 27 patients with COVID-19, 51 patients with sepsis, 18 critically ill nonseptic (CINS) patients, and 27 healthy control volunteers to evaluate adaptive and innate immune status by quantitating T cell IFN-ɣ and monocyte TFN-α production. Circulating T cell subsets were profoundly reduced in COVID-19 patients. Additionally, stimulated blood mononuclear cells produced less than 40%–50% of the IFN-ɣ and TNF-α observed in septic and CINS patients, consistent with markedly impaired immune effector cell function. Approximately 25% of COVID-19 patients had increased IL-6 levels that were not associated with elevations in other canonical proinflammatory cytokines. Collectively, these findings support the hypothesis that COVID-19 suppresses host functional adaptive and innate immunity. Importantly, IL-7 administered ex vivo restored T cell IFN-ɣ production in COVID-19 patients. Thus, ELISpot may functionally characterize host immunity in COVID-19 and inform prospective therapies.
Kenneth E. Remy, Monty Mazer, David A. Striker, Ali H. Ellebedy, Andrew H. Walton, Jacqueline Unsinger, Teresa M. Blood, Philip A. Mudd, Daehan J. Yi, Daniel A. Mannion, Dale F. Osborne, R. Scott Martin, Nitin J. Anand, James P. Bosanquet, Jane Blood, Anne M. Drewry, Charles C. Caldwell, Isaiah R. Turnbull, Scott C. Brakenridge, Lyle L. Moldwawer, Richard S. Hotchkiss
Total views: 1040
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are high-flow lesions directly connecting arteries and veins. In the brain, AVM rupture can cause seizures, stroke, and death. Patients with AVMs exhibit reduced coverage of the vessels by pericytes, the mural cells of microvascular capillaries; however, the mechanism underlying this pericyte reduction and its association with AVM pathogenesis remains unknown. Notch signaling has been proposed to regulate critical pericyte functions. We hypothesized that Notch signaling in pericytes is crucial to maintain pericyte homeostasis and prevent AVM formation. We inhibited Notch signaling specifically in perivascular cells and analyzed the vasculature of these mice. The retinal vessels of mice with deficient perivascular Notch signaling developed severe AVMs, together with a significant reduction in pericytes and vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMC) in the arteries, while vSMCs were increased in the veins. Vascular malformations and pericyte loss were also observed in the forebrain of embryonic mice deficient for perivascular Notch signaling. Moreover, the loss of Notch signaling in pericytes downregulated Pdgfrb levels and increased pericyte apoptosis, pointing to a critical role for Notch in pericyte survival. Overall, our findings reveal a mechanism of AVM formation and highlight the Notch signaling pathway as an essential mediator in this process.
Taliha Nadeem, Wil Bogue, Bianca Bigit, Henar Cuervo
Total views: 984
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for solid tumors has shown limited efficacy in early-phase clinical studies. The majority of CARs encode CD28 and/or 41BB costimulatory endodomains, and we explored whether MyD88 and CD40 (MC) costimulatory endodomains in CARs could improve their antitumor activity. We generated CD28-, 41BB-, and MC-CAR T cells and demonstrated that MC-CAR T cells have greater proliferative capacity and antitumor activity in repeat stimulation assays and in tumor models in vivo. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that MC-CAR T cells expressed higher levels of MYB and FOXM1, key cell cycle regulators, and were activated at baseline. After stimulation, MC-CAR T cells remained in a less differentiated state than CD28- and 41BB-CAR T cells as judged by low levels of transcription factor TBET and B lymphocyte induced maturation protein 1 expression and lower cytolytic activity in comparison with CD28- and 41BB-CAR T cells. Thus, including MyD88 and CD40 signaling domains in CARs may improve current CAR T cell therapy approaches for solid tumors.
Brooke Prinzing, Patrick Schreiner, Matthew Bell, Yiping Fan, Giedre Krenciute, Stephen Gottschalk
Total views: 952
Rapid and specific antibody testing is crucial for improved understanding, control, and treatment of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Herein, we describe and apply a rapid, sensitive, and accurate virus neutralization assay for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The assay is based on an HIV-1 lentiviral vector that contains a secreted intron Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) or secreted nano-luciferase reporter cassette, pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein, and is validated with a plaque-reduction assay using an authentic, infectious SARS-CoV-2 strain. The assay was used to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum from individuals with a broad range of COVID-19 symptoms; patients included those in the intensive care unit (ICU), health care workers (HCWs), and convalescent plasma donors. The highest neutralizing antibody titers were observed among ICU patients, followed by general hospitalized patients, HCWs, and convalescent plasma donors. Our study highlights a wide phenotypic variation in human antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 and demonstrates the efficacy of a potentially novel lentivirus pseudotype assay for high-throughput serological surveys of neutralizing antibody titers in large cohorts.
Cong Zeng, John P. Evans, Rebecca Pearson, Panke Qu, Yi-Min Zheng, Richard T. Robinson, Luanne Hall-Stoodley, Jacob Yount, Sonal Pannu, Rama K. Mallampalli, Linda Saif, Eugene Oltz, Gerard Lozanski, Shan-Lu Liu
Total views: 906