BACKGROUND Ceramides are sphingolipids that play causative roles in diabetes and heart disease, with their serum levels measured clinically as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD).METHODS We performed targeted lipidomics on serum samples from individuals with familial coronary artery disease (CAD) (n = 462) and population-based controls (n = 212) to explore the relationship between serum sphingolipids and CAD, using unbiased machine learning to identify sphingolipid species positively associated with CAD.RESULTS Nearly every sphingolipid measured (n = 30 of 32) was significantly elevated in subjects with CAD compared with measurements in population controls. We generated a novel sphingolipid-inclusive CAD risk score, termed SIC, that demarcates patients with CAD independently and more effectively than conventional clinical CVD biomarkers including serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This new metric comprises several minor lipids that likely serve as measures of flux through the ceramide biosynthesis pathway rather than the abundant deleterious ceramide species that are included in other ceramide-based scores.CONCLUSION This study validates serum ceramides as candidate biomarkers of CVD and suggests that comprehensive sphingolipid panels should be considered as measures of CVD.FUNDING The NIH (DK112826, DK108833, DK115824, DK116888, and DK116450); the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF 3-SRA-2019-768-A-B); the American Diabetes Association; the American Heart Association; the Margolis Foundation; the National Cancer Institute, NIH (5R00CA218694-03); and the Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA040214).
Annelise M. Poss, J. Alan Maschek, James E. Cox, Benedikt J. Hauner, Paul N. Hopkins, Steven C. Hunt, William L. Holland, Scott A. Summers, Mary C. Playdon
Omalizumab is an anti-IgE monoclonal antibody (mAb) approved for the treatment of severe asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria. Use of omalizumab is associated with reported side effects ranging from local skin inflammation at the injection site to systemic anaphylaxis. To date, the mechanisms through which omalizumab induces adverse reactions are still unknown. Here, we demonstrated that immune complexes formed between omalizumab and IgE can induce both skin inflammation and anaphylaxis through engagement of IgG receptors (FcγRs) in FcγR-humanized mice. We further developed an Fc-engineered mutant version of omalizumab, and demonstrated that this mAb is equally potent as omalizumab at blocking IgE-mediated allergic reactions, but does not induce FcγR-dependent adverse reactions. Overall, our data indicate that omalizumab can induce skin inflammation and anaphylaxis by engaging FcγRs, and demonstrate that Fc-engineered versions of the mAb could be used to reduce such adverse reactions.
Bianca Balbino, Pauline Herviou, Ophélie Godon, Julien Stackowicz, Odile Richard-Le Goff, Bruno Iannascoli, Delphine Sterlin, Sébastien Brûlé, Gael A. Millot, Faith M. Harris, Vera A. Voronina, Kari C. Nadeau, Lynn E. Macdonald, Andrew J. Murphy, Pierre Bruhns, Laurent L. Reber
A single subanesthetic dose of ketamine, an NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist, produces rapid and sustained antidepressant actions in depressed patients, addressing a major unmet need for the treatment of mood disorders. Ketamine produces a rapid increase in extracellular glutamate and synaptic formation in the prefrontal cortex, but the initial cellular trigger that initiates this increase and ketamine’s behavioral actions has not been identified. To address this question, we used a combination of viral shRNA and conditional mutation to produce cell-specific knockdown or deletion of a key NMDAR subunit, GluN2B, implicated in the actions of ketamine. The results demonstrated that the antidepressant actions of ketamine were blocked by GluN2B-NMDAR knockdown on GABA (Gad1) interneurons, as well as subtypes expressing somatostatin (Sst) or parvalbumin (Pvalb), but not glutamate principle neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Further analysis of GABA subtypes showed that cell-specific knockdown or deletion of GluN2B in Sst interneurons blocked or occluded the antidepressant actions of ketamine and revealed sex-specific differences that are associated with excitatory postsynaptic currents on mPFC principle neurons. These findings demonstrate that GluN2B-NMDARs on GABA interneurons are the initial cellular trigger for the rapid antidepressant actions of ketamine and show sex-specific adaptive mechanisms to GluN2B modulation.
Danielle M. Gerhard, Santosh Pothula, Rong-Jian Liu, Min Wu, Xiao-Yuan Li, Matthew J. Girgenti, Seth R. Taylor, Catharine H. Duman, Eric Delpire, Marina Picciotto, Eric S. Wohleb, Ronald S. Duman
Immune response to therapeutic enzymes poses a detriment to patient safety and treatment outcome. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is a standard therapeutic option for some types of mucopolysaccharidoses, including Morquio A syndrome caused by N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase (GALNS) deficiency. Current protocols tolerize patients using cytotoxic immunosuppressives, which can cause adverse effects. Here we show development of tolerance in Morquio A mice via oral delivery of peptide or GALNS for 10 days prior to ERT. Our results show that using an immunodominant peptide (I10) or the complete GALNS enzyme to orally induce tolerance to GALNS prior to ERT resulted in several improvements to ERT in mice: (a) decreased splenocyte proliferation after in vitro GALNS stimulation, (b) modulation of the cytokine secretion profile, (c) decrease in GALNS-specific IgG or IgE in plasma, (d) decreased GAG storage in liver, and (e) fewer circulating immune complexes in plasma. This model could be extrapolated to other lysosomal storage disorders in which immune response hinders ERT.
Angela C. Sosa, Barbara Kariuki, Qi Gan, Alan P. Knutsen, Clifford J. Bellone, Miguel A. Guzmán, Luis A. Barrera, Shunji Tomatsu, Anil K. Chauhan, Eric Armbrecht, Adriana M. Montaño
Cortical hyperexcitability and mislocalization of the RNA-binding protein TDP43 are highly conserved features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Nevertheless, the relationship between these phenomena remains poorly defined. Here, we showed that hyperexcitability recapitulates TDP43 pathology by upregulating shortened TDP43 (sTDP43) splice isoforms. These truncated isoforms accumulated in the cytoplasm and formed insoluble inclusions that sequestered full-length TDP43 via preserved N-terminal interactions. Consistent with these findings, sTDP43 overexpression was toxic to mammalian neurons, suggesting neurodegeneration arising from complementary gain- and loss-of-function mechanisms. In humans and mice, sTDP43 transcripts were enriched in vulnerable motor neurons, and we observed a striking accumulation of sTDP43 within neurons and glia of ALS patients. Collectively, these studies uncover a pathogenic role for alternative TDP43 isoforms in ALS, and implicate sTDP43 as a key contributor to the susceptibility of motor neurons in this disorder.
Kaitlin Weskamp, Elizabeth M. Tank, Roberto Miguez, Jonathon P. McBride, Nicolás B. Gómez, Matthew White, Ziqiang Lin, Carmen Moreno Gonzalez, Andrea Serio, Jemeen Sreedharan, Sami J. Barmada
Influenza A virus (IAV) is among the most common causes of pneumonia-related death worldwide. Pulmonary epithelial cells are the primary target for viral infection and replication and respond by releasing inflammatory mediators that recruit immune cells to mount the host response. Severe lung injury and death during IAV infection result from an exuberant host inflammatory response. The linear ubiquitin assembly complex (LUBAC), composed of SHARPIN, HOIL-1L, and HOIP, is a critical regulator of NF-κB–dependent inflammation. Using mice with lung epithelial–specific deletions of HOIL-1L or HOIP in a model of IAV infection, we provided evidence that, while a reduction in the inflammatory response was beneficial, ablation of the LUBAC-dependent lung epithelial–driven response worsened lung injury and increased mortality. Moreover, we described a mechanism for the upregulation of HOIL-1L in infected and noninfected cells triggered by the activation of type I IFN receptor and mediated by IRF1, which was maladaptive and contributed to hyperinflammation. Thus, we propose that lung epithelial LUBAC acts as a molecular rheostat that could be selectively targeted to modulate the immune response in patients with severe IAV-induced pneumonia.
Patricia L. Brazee, Luisa Morales-Nebreda, Natalia D. Magnani, Joe G.N. Garcia, Alexander V. Misharin, Karen M. Ridge, G.R. Scott Budinger, Kazuhiro Iwai, Laura A. Dada, Jacob I. Sznajder
Mechanisms mediating the cardioprotective actions of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) were unknown. Here, we show in both ex vivo and in vivo models of ischemic injury that treatment with GLP-1(28–36), a neutral endopeptidase–generated (NEP-generated) metabolite of GLP-1, was as cardioprotective as GLP-1 and was abolished by scrambling its amino acid sequence. GLP-1(28–36) enters human coronary artery endothelial cells (caECs) through macropinocytosis and acts directly on mouse and human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (caSMCs) and caECs, resulting in soluble adenylyl cyclase Adcy10–dependent (sAC-dependent) increases in cAMP, activation of protein kinase A, and cytoprotection from oxidative injury. GLP-1(28–36) modulates sAC by increasing intracellular ATP levels, with accompanying cAMP accumulation lost in sAC–/– cells. We identify mitochondrial trifunctional protein-α (MTPα) as a binding partner of GLP-1(28–36) and demonstrate that the ability of GLP-1(28–36) to shift substrate utilization from oxygen-consuming fatty acid metabolism toward oxygen-sparing glycolysis and glucose oxidation and to increase cAMP levels is dependent on MTPα. NEP inhibition with sacubitril blunted the ability of GLP-1 to increase cAMP levels in coronary vascular cells in vitro. GLP-1(28–36) is a small peptide that targets novel molecular (MTPα and sAC) and cellular (caSMC and caEC) mechanisms in myocardial ischemic injury.
M. Ahsan Siraj, Dhanwantee Mundil, Sanja Beca, Abdul Momen, Eric A. Shikatani, Talat Afroze, Xuetao Sun, Ying Liu, Siavash Ghaffari, Warren Lee, Michael B. Wheeler, Gordon Keller, Peter Backx, Mansoor Husain
Hematological malignancies have long been at the forefront of the development of novel immune-based treatment strategies. The earliest successful efforts originated from the extensive body of work in the field of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These efforts laid the foundation for the recent exciting era of cancer immunotherapy, which includes immune checkpoint blockade, personal neoantigen vaccines, and adoptive T cell transfer. At the heart of the specificity of these novel strategies is the recognition of target antigens presented by malignant cells to T cells. Here, we review the advances in systematic identification of minor histocompatibility antigens and neoantigens arising from personal somatic alterations or recurrent driver mutations. These exciting efforts pave the path for the implementation of personalized combinatorial cancer therapy.
Livius Penter, Catherine J. Wu
Thorsten M. Leucker, Steven P. Schulman, Gary Gerstenblith
The human lipidome comprises over tens of thousands of distinct lipid species in addition to total cholesterol and the other conventional lipid traits that are routinely measurable in the peripheral circulation. Of the lipid species considered to exhibit bioactive functions, sphingolipids are a class of molecules that have shown relevance to human disease risk and cardiovascular outcomes in particular. In this issue of the JCI, Poss et al. conducted targeted lipidomics in a case-control study involving over 600 individuals and found a sphingolipid profile that predicted coronary artery disease status. In the context of emerging evidence linking sphingolipid biology with cardiovascular pathophysiology, these results suggest the potential utility of serum sphingolipids as cholesterol-independent markers of risk and even future targets for optimizing cardiovascular health.
Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, Mohit Jain, Susan Cheng
The prion agent is unique in biology and is comprised of prion protein scrapie (PrPSc), a self-templating conformational variant of the host encoded prion protein cellular (PrPC). The deposition patterns of PrPSc in the CNS can vary considerably from a diffuse synaptic pattern to large plaque-like aggregates. Alterations of PrPC posttranslational processing can change PrPSc deposition patterns; however, the mechanism underlying these observations is unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Sevillano and authors determined that parenchymal PrPSc plaques of the mouse brain preferentially incorporated underglycosylated PrPC that had been liberated from the cell surface by the metalloproteinase, ADAM-10, in combination with heparin sulfate. These results provide mechanistic insight into the formation of PrPSc plaques and suggest that PrP posttranslational modifications direct pathogenicity as well as the rate of disease progression.
Jason C. Bartz
Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are common among proteins that aggregate in neurodegenerative disease, yet how PTMs impact the aggregate conformation and disease progression remains unclear. By engineering knockin mice expressing prion protein (PrP) lacking 2 N-linked glycans (Prnp180Q/196Q), we provide evidence that glycans reduce spongiform degeneration and hinder plaque formation in prion disease. Prnp180Q/196Q mice challenged with 2 subfibrillar, non–plaque-forming prion strains instead developed plaques highly enriched in ADAM10-cleaved PrP and heparan sulfate (HS). Intriguingly, a third strain composed of intact, glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) PrP was relatively unchanged, forming diffuse, HS-deficient deposits in both the Prnp180Q/196Q and WT mice, underscoring the pivotal role of the GPI-anchor in driving the aggregate conformation and disease phenotype. Finally, knockin mice expressing triglycosylated PrP (Prnp187N) challenged with a plaque-forming prion strain showed a phenotype reversal, with a striking disease acceleration and switch from plaques to predominantly diffuse, subfibrillar deposits. Our findings suggest that the dominance of subfibrillar aggregates in prion disease is due to the replication of GPI-anchored prions, with fibrillar plaques forming from poorly glycosylated, GPI-anchorless prions that interact with extracellular HS. These studies provide insight into how PTMs impact PrP interactions with polyanionic cofactors, and highlight PTMs as a major force driving the prion disease phenotype.
Alejandro M. Sevillano, Patricia Aguilar-Calvo, Timothy D. Kurt, Jessica A. Lawrence, Katrin Soldau, Thu H. Nam, Taylor Schumann, Donald P. Pizzo, Sofie Nyström, Biswa Choudhury, Hermann Altmeppen, Jeffrey D. Esko, Markus Glatzel, K. Peter R. Nilsson, Christina J. Sigurdson
Increases in the number of cell therapies in the preclinical and clinical phases have prompted the need for reliable and noninvasive assays to validate transplant function in clinical biomanufacturing. We developed a robust characterization methodology composed of quantitative bright-field absorbance microscopy (QBAM) and deep neural networks (DNNs) to noninvasively predict tissue function and cellular donor identity. The methodology was validated using clinical-grade induced pluripotent stem cell–derived retinal pigment epithelial cells (iPSC-RPE). QBAM images of iPSC-RPE were used to train DNNs that predicted iPSC-RPE monolayer transepithelial resistance, predicted polarized vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, and matched iPSC-RPE monolayers to the stem cell donors. DNN predictions were supplemented with traditional machine-learning algorithms that identified shape and texture features of single cells that were used to predict tissue function and iPSC donor identity. These results demonstrate noninvasive cell therapy characterization can be achieved with QBAM and machine learning.
Nicholas J. Schaub, Nathan A. Hotaling, Petre Manescu, Sarala Padi, Qin Wan, Ruchi Sharma, Aman George, Joe Chalfoun, Mylene Simon, Mohamed Ouladi, Carl G. Simon Jr., Peter Bajcsy, Kapil Bharti
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), a genetic bleeding disorder leading to systemic arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the ALK1/ENG/Smad1/5/8 pathway. Evidence suggests that HHT pathogenesis strongly relies on overactivated PI3K/Akt/mTOR and VEGFR2 pathways in endothelial cells (ECs). In the BMP9/10-immunoblocked (BMP9/10ib) neonatal mouse model of HHT, we report here that the mTOR inhibitor, sirolimus, and the receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, nintedanib, could synergistically fully block, but also reversed, retinal AVMs to avert retinal bleeding and anemia. Sirolimus plus nintedanib prevented vascular pathology in the oral mucosa, lungs, and liver of the BMP9/10ib mice, as well as significantly reduced gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia in inducible ALK1-deficient adult mice. Mechanistically, in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs, sirolimus and nintedanib blocked the overactivation of mTOR and VEGFR2, respectively. Furthermore, we found that sirolimus activated ALK2-mediated Smad1/5/8 signaling in primary ECs — including in HHT patient blood outgrowth ECs — and partially rescued Smad1/5/8 activity in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs. These data demonstrate that the combined correction of endothelial Smad1/5/8, mTOR, and VEGFR2 pathways opposes HHT pathogenesis. Repurposing of sirolimus plus nintedanib might provide therapeutic benefit in patients with HHT.
Santiago Ruiz, Haitian Zhao, Pallavi Chandakkar, Julien Papoin, Hyunwoo Choi, Aya Nomura-Kitabayashi, Radhika Patel, Matthew Gillen, Li Diao, Prodyot K. Chatterjee, Mingzhu He, Yousef Al-Abed, Ping Wang, Christine N. Metz, S. Paul Oh, Lionel Blanc, Fabien Campagne, Philippe Marambaud
Cancer immune evasion is achieved through multiple layers of immune tolerance mechanisms including immune editing, recruitment of tolerogenic immune cells, and secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines. Recent success with immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy suggests a dysfunctional immune synapse as a pivotal tolerogenic mechanism. Tumor cells express immune synapse proteins to suppress the immune system, which is often modulated by epigenetic mechanisms. When the methylation status of key immune synapse genes was interrogated, we observed disproportionately hypermethylated costimulatory genes and hypomethylation of immune checkpoint genes, which were negatively associated with functional T cell recruitment to the tumor microenvironment. Therefore, the methylation status of immune synapse genes reflects tumor immunogenicity and correlates with survival.
Anders Berglund, Matthew Mills, Ryan M. Putney, Imène Hamaidi, James Mulé, Sungjune Kim
The protein-protein interaction between menin and mixed lineage leukemia 1 (MLL1) plays a critical role in acute leukemias with translocations of the MLL1 gene or with mutations in the nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) gene. As a step toward clinical translation of menin-MLL1 inhibitors, we report development of MI-3454, a highly potent and orally bioavailable inhibitor of the menin-MLL1 interaction. MI-3454 profoundly inhibited proliferation and induced differentiation in acute leukemia cells and primary patient samples with MLL1 translocations or NPM1 mutations. When applied as a single agent, MI-3454 induced complete remission or regression of leukemia in mouse models of MLL1-rearranged or NPM1-mutated leukemia, including patient-derived xenograft models, through downregulation of key genes involved in leukemogenesis. We also identified MEIS1 as a potential pharmacodynamic biomarker of treatment response with MI-3454 in leukemia, and demonstrated that this compound is well tolerated and did not impair normal hematopoiesis in mice. Overall, this study demonstrates, for the first time to our knowledge, profound activity of the menin-MLL1 inhibitor as a single agent in clinically relevant PDX models of leukemia. These data provide a strong rationale for clinical translation of MI-3454 or its analogs for leukemia patients with MLL1 rearrangements or NPM1 mutations.
Szymon Klossowski, Hongzhi Miao, Katarzyna Kempinska, Tao Wu, Trupta Purohit, EunGi Kim, Brian M. Linhares, Dong Chen, Gloria Jih, Eric Perkey, Huang Huang, Miao He, Bo Wen, Yi Wang, Ke Yu, Stanley Chun-Wei Lee, Gwenn Danet-Desnoyers, Winifred Trotman, Malathi Kandarpa, Anitria Cotton, Omar Abdel-Wahab, Hongwei Lei, Yali Dou, Monica Guzman, Luke Peterson, Tanja Gruber, Sarah Choi, Duxin Sun, Pingda Ren, Lian-Sheng Li, Yi Liu, Francis Burrows, Ivan Maillard, Tomasz Cierpicki, Jolanta Grembecka
Leptomeningeal anastomoses or pial collateral vessels play a critical role in cerebral blood flow (CBF) restoration following ischemic stroke. The magnitude of this adaptive response is postulated to be controlled by the endothelium, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain under investigation. Here we demonstrated that endothelial genetic deletion, using EphA4fl/fl/Tie2-Cre and EphA4fl/fl/VeCahderin-CreERT2 mice and vessel painting strategies, implicated EphA4 receptor tyrosine kinase as a major suppressor of pial collateral remodeling, CBF, and functional recovery following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. Pial collateral remodeling is limited by the crosstalk between EphA4-Tie2 signaling in vascular endothelial cells, which is mediated through p-Akt regulation. Furthermore, peptide inhibition of EphA4 resulted in acceleration of the pial arteriogenic response. Our findings demonstrate that EphA4 is a negative regulator of Tie2 receptor signaling, which limits pial collateral arteriogenesis following cerebrovascular occlusion. Therapeutic targeting of EphA4 and/or Tie2 represents an attractive new strategy for improving collateral function, neural tissue health, and functional recovery following ischemic stroke.
Benjamin Okyere, William A. Mills III, Xia Wang, Michael Chen, Jiang Chen, Amanda Hazy, Yun Qian, John B. Matson, Michelle H. Theus
BACKGROUND Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is characterized by a severe impairment of HCV-specific CD4+ T cell help that is driven by chronic antigen stimulation. We aimed to study the fate of HCV-specific CD4+ T cells after virus elimination.METHODS HCV-specific CD4+ T cell responses were longitudinally analyzed using MHC class II tetramer technology, multicolor flow cytometry, and RNA sequencing in a cohort of patients chronically infected with HCV undergoing therapy with direct-acting antivirals. In addition, HCV-specific neutralizing antibodies and CXCL13 levels were analyzed.RESULTS We observed that the frequency of HCV-specific CD4+ T cells increased within 2 weeks after initiating direct-acting antiviral therapy. Multicolor flow cytometry revealed a downregulation of exhaustion and activation markers and an upregulation of memory-associated markers. Although cells with a Th1 phenotype were the predominant subset at baseline, cells with phenotypic and transcriptional characteristics of follicular T helper cells increasingly shaped the circulating HCV-specific CD4+ T cell repertoire, suggesting antigen-independent survival of this subset. These changes were accompanied by a decline of HCV-specific neutralizing antibodies and the germinal center activity.CONCLUSION We identified a population of HCV-specific CD4+ T cells with a follicular T helper cell signature that is maintained after therapy-induced elimination of persistent infection and may constitute an important target population for vaccination efforts to prevent reinfection and immunotherapeutic approaches for persistent viral infections.FUNDING Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the European Union, the Berta-Ottenstein-Programme for Advanced Clinician Scientists, and the ANRS.
Maike Smits, Katharina Zoldan, Naveed Ishaque, Zuguang Gu, Katharina Jechow, Dominik Wieland, Christian Conrad, Roland Eils, Catherine Fauvelle, Thomas F. Baumert, Florian Emmerich, Bertram Bengsch, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Maike Hofmann, Robert Thimme, Tobias Boettler
Signaling by the TGF-β superfamily is important in the regulation of hematopoiesis and is dysregulated in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs), contributing to ineffective hematopoiesis and clinical cytopenias. TGF-β, activins, and growth differentiation factors exert inhibitory effects on red cell formation by activating canonical SMAD2/3 pathway signaling. In this Review, we summarize evidence that overactivation of SMAD2/3 signaling pathways in MDSs causes anemia due to impaired erythroid maturation. We also describe the basis for biological activity of activin receptor ligand traps, novel fusion proteins such as luspatercept that are promising as erythroid maturation agents to alleviate anemia and related comorbidities in MDSs and other conditions characterized by impaired erythroid maturation.
Amit Verma, Rajasekhar N.V.S. Suragani, Srinivas Aluri, Nishi Shah, Tushar D. Bhagat, Mark J. Alexander, Rami Komrokji, Ravi Kumar
The advent of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provided a means for avoiding ethical concerns associated with the use of cells isolated from human embryos. The number of labs now using iPSCs to generate photoreceptor, retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE), and more recently choroidal endothelial cells has grown exponentially. However, for autologous cell replacement to be effective, manufacturing strategies will need to change. Many tasks carried out by hand will need simplifying and automating. In this issue of the JCI, Schaub and colleagues combined quantitative brightfield microscopy and artificial intelligence (deep neural networks and traditional machine learning) to noninvasively monitor iPSC-derived graft maturation, predict donor cell identity, and evaluate graft function prior to transplantation. This approach allowed the authors to preemptively identify and remove abnormal grafts. Notably, the method is (a) transferable, (b) cost- and time effective, (c) high throughput, and (d) useful for primary product validation.
Budd A. Tucker, Robert F. Mullins, Edwin M. Stone
Fibroblasts are key-effector cells in tissue remodeling. They remain persistently activated in fibrotic diseases, resulting in progressive deposition of extracellular matrix. Although fibroblast activation maybe initiated by external factors, prolonged activation can induce an “autonomous”, self-maintaining pro-fibrotic phenotype in fibroblasts. Accumulating evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations play a central role to establish this persistently activated pathologic phenotype of fibroblasts. We demonstrated that in fibrotic skin of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), a prototypical idiopathic fibrotic disease, transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) induced the expression of DNA-methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and DNMT1 in fibroblasts in a SMAD-dependent manner to silence the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) by promoter hypermethylation. Downregulation of SOCS3 facilitated activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) to promote fibroblast-to–myofibroblast transition, collagen release and fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. Re-establishment of the epigenetic control of STAT3 signaling by genetic or pharmacological inactivation of DNMT3A reversed the activated phenotype of SSc fibroblasts in tissue culture, inhibited TGFβ-dependent fibroblast activation and ameliorated experimental fibrosis in murine models. These findings identify a novel pathway of epigenetic imprinting of fibroblasts in fibrotic disease with translational implications for the development of new targeted therapies in fibrotic diseases.
Clara Dees, Sebastian Pötter, Yun Zhang, Christina Bergmann, Xiang Zhou, Markus Luber, Thomas Wohlfahrt, Emmanuel Karouzakis, Andreas Ramming, Kolja Gelse, Akihiko Yoshimura, Rudolf Jaenisch, Oliver Distler, Georg Schett, Jörg H.W. Distler
Colitis caused by C. difficile infection is an increasing cause of human morbidity and mortality, especially after antibiotic use in healthcare settings. The natural immunity of newborn infants and protective host immune mediators against C. difficile infection are not fully understood, with data suggesting that inflammation can be either protective or pathogenic. Here we show an essential role for IL-17A produced by γδ T cells in host defense against C. difficile infection. Fecal extracts of children with C. difficile infection showed increased IL-17A and T cell receptor γ-chain expression, and IL-17 production by intestinal γδ T cells was efficiently induced after infection in mice. C. difficile induced tissue inflammation and mortality were each significantly increased in mice deficient in IL-17A or γδ T cells. neonatal mice, with naturally expanded ROR-γ+ γδ T cells poised for IL-17 production were resistant to C. difficile infection, whereas eliminating γδ T cells or IL-17A each efficiently overturned neonatal resistance against infection. These results reveal an expanded role for IL-17 producing γδ T cells in neonatal host defense against infection and provide a mechanistic explanation for the clinically observed resistance of infants to C. difficile colitis.
Yee-Shiuan Chen, Iuan-Bor Chen, Giang Pham, Tzu-Yu Shao, Hansraj Bangar, Sing Sing Way, David B. Haslam
Background. Preclinical experiments have shown that donor blood cells, modified in vitro by an alkylating agent (MIC, modified immune cells), induced long-term specific immunosuppression against the allogeneic donor. Methods. In this phase-I trial, patients received either 1.5x106 MIC per kg b.w. on day -2 (N=3, group A), or 1.5x108 MIC per kg b.w. on day -2 (N=3, group B) or day -7 (N=4, group C) before living donor kidney transplantation in addition to post-transplant immunosuppression. Primary outcome measure was the frequency of adverse events (AE) until day 30 (study phase) with follow-up to day 360. Results. MIC infusions were extremely well tolerated. During the study phase, a total of 69 AE occurred in 10 treated patients which were unlikely/not related to MIC infusion. No donor-specific human leukocyte antigen antibodies or rejection episodes were noted even though the patients received up to 1.3x1010 of donor mononuclear cells prior to transplantation. Group C patients with low immunosuppression during follow-up showed no in vitro reactivity against stimulatory donor blood cells on day 360 while reactivity against third party cells was preserved. Frequencies of CD19+CD24highCD38high transitional B lymphocytes (Breg) increased from a median of 6% before MIC infusion to 20% on day 180, which was 19- and 68-fold higher, respectively, than in two independent cohorts of transplanted controls. The majority of Breg produced immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. MIC-treated patients showed the Immune Tolerance Network operational tolerance signature. Conclusion. MIC administration was safe and could be a future tool for the targeted induction of tolerogenic Breg.
Christian Morath, Anita Schmitt, Christian Kleist, Volker Daniel, Gerhard Opelz, Caner Süsal, Eman H. Ibrahim, Florian Kälble, Claudius Speer, Christian Nusshag, Luiza Pego da Silva, Claudia Sommerer, Lei Wang, Ming Ni, Angela Hückelhoven-Krauss, David Czock, Uta Merle, Arianeb Mehrabi, Anja Sander, Matthes Hackbusch, Christoph Eckert, Rüdiger Waldherr, Paul Schnitzler, Carsten Müller-Tidow, Jörg D. Hoheisel, Shakhawan A. Mustafa, Mohamed S.S. Alhamdani, Andrea S Bauer, Jochen Reiser, Martin Zeier, Michael Schmitt, Matthias Schaier, Peter Terness
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease whose pathogenesis is poorly understood and lacks effective therapies. We undertook quantitative analyses of T cell infiltrates in the skin of thirty-five untreated patients with early diffuse SSc and here show that CD4+ cytotoxic T cells and CD8+ T cells contribute prominently to these infiltrates. We also observed an accumulation of apoptotic cells in SSc tissues, suggesting that recurring cell death may contribute to tissue damage and remodeling in this fibrotic disease. HLA-DR expressing endothelial cells were frequent targets of apoptosis in SSc, consistent with the prominent vasculopathy seen in patients with this disease. A circulating effector population of cytotoxic CD4+ T cells, which exhibited signatures of enhanced metabolic activity, was clonally expanded in systemic sclerosis patients. These data suggest that cytotoxic T cells may induce the apoptotic death of endothelial and other cells in systemic sclerosis. Cell loss driven by immune cells may be followed by overly exuberant tissue repair processes that lead to fibrosis and tissue dysfunction..
Takashi Maehara, Naoki Kaneko, Cory Adam Perugino, Hamid Mattoo, Jesper Kers, Hugues Allard-Chamard, Vinay S. Mahajan, Hang Liu, Samuel J.H. Murphy, Musie Ghebremichael, David A. Fox, Aimee S. Payne, Robert Lafyatis, John H. Stone, Dinesh Khanna, Shiv Pillai
Increased microvascular permeability to plasma proteins and neutrophil emigration are hallmarks of innate immunity and key features of numerous inflammatory disorders. Whilst neutrophils can promote microvascular leakage, the impact of vascular permeability on neutrophil trafficking is unknown. Here, through the application of confocal intravital microscopy, we reported that vascular permeability enhancing stimuli caused a significant frequency of neutrophil reverse transendothelial cell migration (rTEM). Furthermore, mice with a selective defect in microvascular permeability enhancement (VEC-Y685F-ki) showed reduced incidence of rTEM. Mechanistically, elevated vascular leakage promoted movement of interstitial chemokines into the blood stream, a response that supported abluminal-to-luminal neutrophil TEM. Through development of an in vivo cell labelling method we provided direct evidence for the systemic dissemination of rTEM neutrophils, showed them to exhibit an activated phenotype and capable of trafficking to the lungs where their presence was aligned with regions of vascular injury. Collectively, we demonstrated that increased microvascular leakage reverses the localisation of directional cues across venular walls, thus causing neutrophils engaged in diapedesis to re-enter the systemic circulation. This cascade of events offers a mechanism to explain how local tissue inflammation and vascular permeability can induce downstream pathological effects in remote organs, most notably in the lungs.
Charlotte Owen-Woods, Régis Joulia, Anna Barkaway, Loïc Rolas, Bin Ma, Astrid Fee Nottebaum, Kenton P. Arkill, Monja Stein, Tamara Girbl, Matthew Golding, David O. Bates, Dietmar Vestweber, Mathieu-Benoit Voisin, Sussan Nourshargh
CD4+ T cells play an important role in clearing respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and better characterization of their responses may be critical to designing effective vaccines. In this issue, Guvenel et al. inoculated healthy volunteers with RSV to track T cell activation, proliferation, and recruitment prior to infection and throughout the course of disease. The study, which details a number of insights into the activity of bronchial-resident CD4+ T cells and their recognition of RSV antigens, lays the groundwork for developing more effective long-term RSV vaccination strategies. The cover image is an artistic rendering of RSV, with fusion proteins and attachment proteins depicted in purple and red, respectively. Image credit: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock.
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Obesity often occurs with a quintessential array of metabolic abnormalities: elevations in blood pressure, visceral fat, and circulating blood lipids, and, importantly, insulin resistance. Together, this constellation of conditions constitutes the metabolic syndrome and forecasts an individual’s increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Although metabolic syndrome presents as dysfunction across multiple tissues, its onset stems from pathological increases in adipose tissue. The 9 review in this series, conceptualized by series editor Philipp Scherer, delve into the complex biology underlying the metabolic syndrome. These reviews address adipocyte and beta cell dysfunction in the metabolic syndrome; the functions of adipose tissue fibrosis, the microbiome, and exosomal communication in obesity; and the concepts we use to define metabolic health.