Antiangiogenic treatments have been shown to improve response to immunotherapy in genetic models of cancer; however, attempts to target the tumor microenvironment in colorectal cancer have not yet been successful. In this issue, Ragusa et al. reveal that loss of Prox1 in murine intestinal tumors promotes angiogenesis and stromal development, leading to enhanced tumor progression and resistance to chemotherapy. They further show that combining an antiangiogenic therapy with a CD40-activating therapy can normalize angiogenesis, reduce fibrosis, and elicit T cell—mediated cancer killing in an Apc-deficient model of colorectal cancer. The cover image conveys the fibrotic nature of the Apc-mutant intestinal tumors, showing tumor epithelial cells (E-cadherin, white; Ki67, green) surrounded by stroma (α-SMA, red). Image credit: Simone Ragusa.
Thorsten M. Leucker, Steven P. Schulman, Gary Gerstenblith
Sallie R. Permar, Rebecca A. Ward, Katherine J. Barrett, Stephanie A. Freel, Rasheed A. Gbadegesin, Christopher D. Kontos, Patrick J. Hu, Katherine E. Hartmann, Christopher S. Williams, Jatin M. Vyas
Sickle cell anemia is a unique disease dominated by hemolytic anemia and vaso-occlusive events. The latter trigger a version of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) pathobiology that is singular in its origin, cyclicity, complexity, instability, perpetuity, and breadth of clinical consequences. Specific clinical features are probably attributable to local I/R injury (e.g., stroke syndromes) or remote organ injury (e.g., acute chest syndrome) or the systematization of inflammation (e.g., multifocal arteriopathy). Indeed, by fashioning an underlying template of endothelial dysfunction and vulnerability, the robust inflammatory systematization no doubt contributes to all sickle pathology. In this Review, we highlight I/R–targeting therapeutics shown to improve microvascular blood flow in sickle transgenic mice undergoing I/R, and we suggest how such insights might be translated into human therapeutic strategies.
Robert P. Hebbel, John D. Belcher, Gregory M. Vercellotti
The functional state of the preexisting T cells in the tumor microenvironment is a key determinant for effective antitumor immunity and immunotherapy. Increasing evidence suggests that immunosenescence is an important state of T cell dysfunction that is distinct from exhaustion, a key strategy used by malignant tumors to evade immune surveillance and sustain the suppressive tumor microenvironment. Here, we discuss the phenotypic and functional characteristics of senescent T cells and their role in human cancers. We also explore the possible mechanisms and signaling pathways responsible for induction of T cell senescence by malignant tumors, and then discuss potential strategies to prevent and/or reverse senescence in tumor-specific T cells. A better understanding of these critical issues should provide novel strategies to enhance cancer immunotherapy.
Xia Liu, Daniel F. Hoft, Guangyong Peng
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 heparan 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
Therapy with antineoplastic agents that inhibit EGFR and MEK is frequently limited by cutaneous adverse reactions, most commonly acne-like eruptions. In this issue of the JCI, Satoh et al. define a mechanism for acneiform skin toxicity wherein EGFR/MEK inhibitors cooperate with the skin commensal Cutibacterium acnes to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes via the combined actions of Krüppel-like factor 4 and NF-κB transcription factors at the IL-36γ promoter, resulting in neutrophil recruitment. In addition to elucidating why EGFR/MEK inhibitor–induced rashes are often pustular and folliculocentric, this mechanism provides justification for the long-standing practice of management with antibiotic therapy.
Allison C. Billi, Mrinal K. Sarkar, Johann E. Gudjonsson
Certain matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family proteins have been associated with cell proliferation and invasion in aggressive cancers. However, attempts to target the MMPs with the hope of treating tumors have thus far failed. In this issue of the JCI, Ragusa and coworkers identified an intestinal cancer subgroup of slow-growing, chemotherapy-resistant, and very aggressive matrix-rich tumors that mimic a hard-to-treat colorectal cancer subtype in humans. These tumors showed downregulated levels of the transcription factor prospero homeobox protein 1 (PROX1), which relieved repression of the matrix metalloproteinase MMP14. Upregulated MMP14 levels correlated with blood vessel dysfunction and a lack of cytotoxic T cells. Notably, blockade of proangiogenic factors in combination with stimulation of the CD40 pathway in the mouse cancer model boosted cytotoxic T cell infiltration. The study illustrates how combinatorial treatments for aggressive, T cell–deficient cancers can launch an antitumor immune response.
Aneurysms are common in the abdominal and thoracic regions of the aorta and can cause death due to dissection or rupture. Traditionally, thoracic aortic aneurysms have been labeled as a degenerative disease, characterized by alterations in extracellular matrix and loss of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in the medial layer of the aortic wall. In this issue of the JCI, Li and colleagues introduce an unconventional concept by demonstrating that mTOR-dependent proliferative SMCs render the aortic wall vulnerable to dilatation and dissection rather than prevent disease progression. These vascular SMCs, termed degradative SMCs, compromise the medial properties and function of the aortic wall by enhanced proteolytic and phagocytic activity; however, the cells do not transdifferentiate into macrophages. The degradative SMC phenotype also worsens atherosclerotic disease and could thus be considered as a therapeutic target for diverse aortic diseases.
Maarten Hulsmans, Matthias Nahrendorf
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging arbovirus, endemic in many parts of the world, that is spread by travelers and adapts to new mosquito vectors that live in temperate climates. CHIKV replicates in many host tissues and initially causes a self-limiting febrile illness similar to dengue. However, in 30%–40% of cases, CHIKV also causes long-term painful and debilitating muscle and joint pain, the pathogenesis of which remains unknown. In this issue of the JCI, Lentscher et al. engineered a skeletal muscle–restricted CHIKV to show that while musculoskeletal disease requires viral replication in affected muscle, muscular pathology is mediated by host immunological factors. These findings de-link viral replication and disease symptoms, illuminate the virus-host interplay in CHIKV symptomatology, and raise the possibility that immune modulation is a therapeutic option. The results also highlight possible solutions to existing vaccine barriers and provide insights that may apply to other viral diseases.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a highly debilitating disease with heterogeneous constitutional and neurological complaints. Infection-like symptoms often herald disease onset, but no pathogen or immune defect has been conclusively linked. In this issue of the JCI, Mandarano et al. illuminate bioenergetic derangements of ME/CFS T cell subsets. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells had impaired resting glycolysis. CD8+ cells additionally showed activation-related metabolic remodeling deficits and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential; a subset had increased resting mitochondrial mass. Immune senescence and exhaustion paradigms offer only partial explanations. Hence, unique mechanisms of disrupted immunometabolism may underlie the complex neuroimmune dysfunction of ME/CFS.
The rapid rise in circulating fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) associated with kidney injury results in calcitriol deficiency, altered calcium homeostasis, and secondary hyperparathyroidism, and may contribute to cardiovascular complications and death. However, the mechanisms of increased FGF23 in states of kidney injury remain unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Simic et al. screened plasma taken from the renal vein of patients undergoing cardiac catheterization and identified glycerol-3-phosphate (G-3-P) as the most significant correlate of simultaneous arterial FGF23 levels. When G-3-P was administered to mice, FGF23 production increased in bone. In a series of elegant mouse studies, the authors discovered a pathway linking increased G-3-P to increased FGF23 via increases in lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), which activates the LPA receptor 1 in FGF23-secreting cells in the bone and bone marrow. Although the authors present human data that broadly support the results from the mouse models, further research is needed to determine whether targeting the G-3-P/FGF23 pathway has the potential to modify FGF23-related complications in the clinic.
Alexander Grabner, Myles Wolf
Mosquito-transmitted Plasmodium falciparum infection can cause human cerebral malaria (HCM) with high mortality rates. The abundance of infected red blood cells that accumulate in the cerebral vasculature of patients has led to the belief that these brain-sequestered cells solely cause pathogenesis. However, animal models suggest that CD8+ T cells migrate to and accumulate in the brain, directly contributing to experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) mortality. In this issue of the JCI, Riggle et al. explored the brain vasculature from 34 children who died from HCM or other causes and frequently found CD3+ CD8+ T cells in contact with endothelial cells. Further, the authors show that coinfection with HIV enhanced such CD3+ CD8+ T cell luminal distribution. These findings suggest that the mouse model for cerebral malaria may accurately reflect human disease pathology. This study sheds new light on the mechanisms behind blood-brain barrier breakdown in this complicated neurological disease and opens up alternative approaches for treatment.
Laurent Rénia, Georges E.R. Grau, Samuel C. Wassmer
The ATP-sensitive K+ channel (KATP) is formed by the association of four inwardly rectifying K+ channel (Kir6.x) pore subunits with four sulphonylurea receptor (SUR) regulatory subunits. Kir6.x or SUR mutations result in KATP channelopathies, which reflect the physiological roles of these channels, including but not limited to insulin secretion, cardiac protection, and blood flow regulation. In this issue of the JCI, McClenaghan et al. explored one of the channelopathies, namely Cantu syndrome (CS), which is a result of one kind of KATP channel mutation. Using a knockin mouse model, the authors demonstrated that gain-of-function KATP mutations in vascular smooth muscle resulted in cardiac remodeling. Moreover, they were able to reverse the cardiovascular phenotypes by administering the KATP channel blocker glibenclamide. These results exemplify how genetic mutations can have an impact on developmental trajectories, and provide a therapeutic approach to mitigate cardiac hypertrophy in cases of CS.
Guiling Zhao, Aaron Kaplan, Maura Greiser, W. Jonathan Lederer
Cantu syndrome (CS) is a complex disorder caused by gain-of-function (GoF) mutations in ABCC9 and KCNJ8, which encode the SUR2 and Kir6.1 subunits, respectively, of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) KATP channels. CS includes dilated vasculature, marked cardiac hypertrophy, and other cardiovascular abnormalities. There is currently no targeted therapy, and it is unknown whether cardiovascular features can be reversed once manifest. Using combined transgenic and pharmacological approaches in a knockin mouse model of CS, we have shown that reversal of vascular and cardiac phenotypes can be achieved by genetic downregulation of KATP channel activity specifically in VSM, and by chronic administration of the clinically used KATP channel inhibitor, glibenclamide. These findings demonstrate that VSM KATP channel GoF underlies CS cardiac enlargement and that CS-associated abnormalities are reversible, and provide evidence of in vivo efficacy of glibenclamide as a therapeutic agent in CS.
Conor McClenaghan, Yan Huang, Zihan Yan, Theresa M. Harter, Carmen M. Halabi, Rod Chalk, Attila Kovacs, Gijs van Haaften, Maria S. Remedi, Colin G. Nichols
Staphylococcus aureus remains a leading cause of human infection. These infections frequently recur when the skin is a primary site of infection, especially in infants and children. In contrast, invasive staphylococcal disease is less commonly associated with reinfection, suggesting that tissue-specific mechanisms govern the development of immunity. Knowledge of how S. aureus manipulates protective immunity has been hampered by a lack of antigen-specific models to interrogate the T cell response. Using a chicken egg OVA–expressing S. aureus strain to analyze OVA-specific T cell responses, we demonstrated that primary skin infection was associated with impaired development of T cell memory. Conversely, invasive infection induced antigen-specific memory and protected against reinfection. This defect in adaptive immunity following skin infection was associated with a loss of DCs, attributable to S. aureus α-toxin (Hla) expression. Gene- and immunization-based approaches to protect against Hla during skin infection restored the T cell response. Within the human population, exposure to α-toxin through skin infection may modulate the establishment of T cell–mediated immunity, adversely affecting long-term protection. These studies prompt consideration that vaccination targeting S. aureus may be most effective if delivered prior to initial contact with the organism.
Brandon Lee, Reuben Olaniyi, Jakub M. Kwiecinski, Juliane Bubeck Wardenburg
BACKGROUND Cerebral malaria (CM) accounts for nearly 400,000 deaths annually in African children. Current dogma suggests that CM results from infected RBC (iRBC) sequestration in the brain microvasculature and resulting sequelae. Therapies targeting these events have been unsuccessful; findings in experimental models suggest that CD8+ T cells drive disease pathogenesis. However, these data have largely been ignored because corroborating evidence in humans is lacking. This work fills a critical gap in our understanding of CM pathogenesis that is impeding development of therapeutics.METHODS Using multiplex immunohistochemistry, we characterized cerebrovascular immune cells in brain sections from 34 children who died from CM or other causes. Children were grouped by clinical diagnosis (CM+ or CM–), iRBC sequestration (Seqhi, Seqlo, Seq0) and HIV status (HIV+ or HIV–).RESULTS We identified effector CD3+CD8+ T cells engaged on the cerebrovasculature in 69% of CM+ HIV– children. The number of intravascular CD3+CD8+ T cells was influenced by CM status (CM+ > CM–, P = 0.004) and sequestration level (Seqhi > Seqlo, P = 0.010). HIV coinfection significantly increased T cell numbers (P = 0.017) and shifted cells from an intravascular (P = 0.004) to perivascular (P < 0.0001) distribution.CONCLUSION Within the studied cohort, CM is associated with cerebrovascular engagement of CD3+CD8+ T cells, which is exacerbated by HIV coinfection. Thus, CD3+CD8+ T cells are highly promising targets for CM adjunctive therapy, opening new avenues for the treatment of this deadly disease.FUNDING This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health.
Brittany A. Riggle, Monica Manglani, Dragan Maric, Kory R. Johnson, Myoung-Hwa Lee, Osorio Lopes Abath Neto, Terrie E. Taylor, Karl B. Seydel, Avindra Nath, Louis H. Miller, Dorian B. McGavern, Susan K. Pierce
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
Understanding the circuits that promote an efficient resolution of inflammation is crucial to deciphering the molecular and cellular processes required to promote tissue repair. Macrophages play a central role in the regulation of inflammation, resolution, and repair/regeneration. Using a model of skeletal muscle injury and repair, herein we identified annexin A1 (AnxA1) as the extracellular trigger of macrophage skewing toward a pro-reparative phenotype. Brought into the injured tissue initially by migrated neutrophils, and then overexpressed in infiltrating macrophages, AnxA1 activated FPR2/ALX receptors and the downstream AMPK signaling cascade, leading to macrophage skewing, dampening of inflammation, and regeneration of muscle fibers. Mice lacking AnxA1 in all cells or only in myeloid cells displayed a defect in this reparative process. In vitro experiments recapitulated these properties, with AMPK-null macrophages lacking AnxA1-mediated polarization. Collectively, these data identified the AnxA1/FPR2/AMPK axis as an important pathway in skeletal muscle injury regeneration.
Simon McArthur, Gaëtan Juban, Thomas Gobbetti, Thibaut Desgeorges, Marine Theret, Julien Gondin, Juliana E. Toller-Kawahisa, Chris P. Reutelingsperger, Bénédicte Chazaud, Mauro Perretti, Rémi Mounier
Dopamine receptor D1 modulates glutamatergic transmission in cortico-basal ganglia circuits and represents a major target of L-DOPA therapy in Parkinson’s disease. Here we show that D1 and metabotropic glutamate type 5 (mGlu5) receptors can form previously unknown heteromeric entities with distinctive functional properties. Interacting with Gq proteins, cell-surface D1-mGlu5 heteromers exacerbated PLC signaling and intracellular calcium release in response to either glutamate or dopamine. In rodent models of Parkinson’s disease, D1-mGlu5 nanocomplexes were strongly upregulated in the dopamine-denervated striatum, resulting in a synergistic activation of PLC signaling by D1 and mGlu5 receptor agonists. In turn, D1-mGlu5–dependent PLC signaling was causally linked with excessive activation of extracellular signal–regulated kinases in striatal neurons, leading to dyskinesia in animals treated with L-DOPA or D1 receptor agonists. The discovery of D1-mGlu5 functional heteromers mediating maladaptive molecular and motor responses in the dopamine-denervated striatum may prompt the development of new therapeutic principles for Parkinson’s disease.
Irene Sebastianutto, Elise Goyet, Laura Andreoli, Joan Font-Ingles, David Moreno-Delgado, Nathalie Bouquier, Céline Jahannault-Talignani, Enora Moutin, Luisa Di Menna, Natallia Maslava, Jean-Philippe Pin, Laurent Fagni, Ferdinando Nicoletti, Fabrice Ango, M. Angela Cenci, Julie Perroy
High levels of ecto-5′-nucleotidase (CD73) have been implicated in immune suppression and tumor progression, and have also been observed in cancer patients who progress on anti–PD-1 immunotherapy. Although regulatory T cells can express CD73 and inhibit T cell responses via the production of adenosine, less is known about CD73 expression in other immune cell populations. We found that tumor-infiltrating NK cells upregulate CD73 expression and the frequency of these CD73-positive NK cells correlated with larger tumor size in breast cancer patients. In addition, the expression of multiple alternative immune checkpoint receptors including LAG-3, VISTA, PD-1, and PD-L1 was significantly higher in CD73-positive NK cells than in CD73-negative NK cells. Mechanistically, NK cells transport CD73 in intracellular vesicles to the cell surface and the extracellular space via actin polymerization–dependent exocytosis upon engagement of 4-1BBL on tumor cells. These CD73-positive NK cells undergo transcriptional reprogramming and upregulate IL-10 production via STAT3 transcriptional activity, suppressing CD4-positive T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production. Taken together, our results support the notion that tumors can hijack NK cells as a means to escape immunity and that CD73 expression defines an inducible population of NK cells with immunoregulatory properties within the tumor microenvironment.
Shi Yong Neo, Ying Yang, Julien Record, Ran Ma, Xinsong Chen, Ziqing Chen, Nicholas P. Tobin, Emily Blake, Christina Seitz, Ron Thomas, Arnika Kathleen Wagner, John Andersson, Jana de Boniface, Jonas Bergh, Shannon Murray, Evren Alici, Richard Childs, Martin Johansson, Lisa S. Westerberg, Felix Haglund, Johan Hartman, Andreas Lundqvist
Mutations in APC promote colorectal cancer (CRC) progression through uncontrolled WNT signaling. Patients with desmoplastic CRC have a significantly worse prognosis and do not benefit from chemotherapy, but the mechanisms underlying the differential responses of APC-mutant CRCs to chemotherapy are not well understood. We report that expression of the transcription factor prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) was reduced in desmoplastic APC-mutant human CRCs. In genetic Apc-mutant mouse models, loss of Prox1 promoted the growth of desmoplastic, angiogenic, and immunologically silent tumors through derepression of Mmp14. Although chemotherapy inhibited Prox1-proficient tumors, it promoted further stromal activation, angiogenesis, and invasion in Prox1-deficient tumors. Blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and angiopoietin-2 (ANGPT2) combined with CD40 agonistic antibodies promoted antiangiogenic and immunostimulatory reprogramming of Prox1-deficient tumors, destroyed tumor fibrosis, and unleashed T cell–mediated killing of cancer cells. These results pinpoint the mechanistic basis of chemotherapy-induced hyperprogression and illustrate a therapeutic strategy for chemoresistant and desmoplastic CRCs.
Simone Ragusa, Borja Prat-Luri, Alejandra González-Loyola, Sina Nassiri, Mario Leonardo Squadrito, Alan Guichard, Sabrina Cavin, Nikolce Gjorevski, David Barras, Giancarlo Marra, Matthias P. Lutolf, Jean Perentes, Emily Corse, Roberta Bianchi, Laureline Wetterwald, Jaeryung Kim, Guillermo Oliver, Mauro Delorenzi, Michele De Palma, Tatiana V. Petrova
The drug efflux pump ABCB1 is a key driver of chemoresistance, and high expression predicts treatment failure in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, we identified and functionally validated the network of enhancers that controls expression of ABCB1. We show that exposure of leukemia cells to daunorubicin activated an integrated stress response–like transcriptional program to induce ABCB1 through remodeling and activation of an ATF4-bound, stress-responsive enhancer. Protracted stress primed enhancers for rapid increases in activity following re-exposure of cells to daunorubicin, providing an epigenetic memory of prior drug treatment. In primary human AML, exposure of fresh blast cells to daunorubicin activated the stress-responsive enhancer and led to dose-dependent induction of ABCB1. Dynamic induction of ABCB1 by diverse stressors, including chemotherapy, facilitated escape of leukemia cells from targeted third-generation ABCB1 inhibition, providing an explanation for the failure of ABCB1 inhibitors in clinical trials. Stress-induced upregulation of ABCB1 was mitigated by combined use of the pharmacologic inhibitors U0126 and ISRIB, which inhibit stress signaling and have potential for use as adjuvants to enhance the activity of ABCB1 inhibitors.
Mark S. Williams, Fabio M.R. Amaral, Fabrizio Simeoni, Tim C.P. Somervaille
Smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation has been thought to limit the progression of thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD) because loss of medial cells associates with advanced disease. We investigated effects of SMC proliferation in the aortic media by conditional disruption of Tsc1, which hyperactivates mTOR complex 1. Consequent SMC hyperplasia led to progressive medial degeneration and TAAD. In addition to diminished contractile and synthetic functions, fate-mapped SMCs displayed increased proteolysis, endocytosis, phagocytosis, and lysosomal clearance of extracellular matrix and apoptotic cells. SMCs acquired a limited repertoire of macrophage markers and functions via biogenesis of degradative organelles through an mTOR/β-catenin/MITF–dependent pathway, but were distinguishable from conventional macrophages by an absence of hematopoietic lineage markers and certain immune effectors even in the context of hyperlipidemia. Similar mTOR activation and induction of a degradative SMC phenotype in a model of mild TAAD due to Fbn1 mutation greatly worsened disease with near-uniform lethality. The finding of increased lysosomal markers in medial SMCs from clinical TAAD specimens with hyperplasia and matrix degradation further supports the concept that proliferation of degradative SMCs within the media causes aortic disease, thus identifying mTOR-dependent phenotypic modulation as a therapeutic target for combating TAAD.
Guangxin Li, Mo Wang, Alexander W. Caulk, Nicholas A. Cilfone, Sharvari Gujja, Lingfeng Qin, Pei-Yu Chen, Zehua Chen, Sameh Yousef, Yang Jiao, Changshun He, Bo Jiang, Arina Korneva, Matthew R. Bersi, Guilin Wang, Xinran Liu, Sameet Mehta, Arnar Geirsson, Jeffrey R. Gulcher, Thomas W. Chittenden, Michael Simons, Jay D. Humphrey, George Tellides
Current antiangiogenic therapy is limited by its cytostatic property, scarce drug delivery to the tumor, and side toxicity. To address these limitations, we unveiled the role of ZEB1, a tumor endothelium–enriched zinc-finger transcription factor, during tumor progression. We discovered that the patients who had lung adenocarcinomas with high ZEB1 expression in tumor endothelium had increased prevalence of metastases and markedly reduced overall survival after the diagnosis of lung cancer. Endothelial ZEB1 deletion in tumor-bearing mice diminished tumor angiogenesis while eliciting persistent tumor vascular normalization by epigenetically repressing TGF-β signaling. This consequently led to improved blood and oxygen perfusion, enhanced chemotherapy delivery and immune effector cell infiltration, and reduced tumor growth and metastasis. Moreover, targeting vascular ZEB1 remarkably potentiated the anticancer activity of nontoxic low-dose cisplatin. Treatment with low-dose anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (anti–PD-1) antibody elicited tumor regression and markedly extended survival in ZEB1-deleted mice, conferring long-term protective anticancer immunity. Collectively, we demonstrated that inactivation of endothelial ZEB1 may offer alternative opportunities for cancer therapy with minimal side effects. Targeting endothelium-derived ZEB1 in combination with conventional chemotherapy or immune checkpoint blockade therapy may yield a potent and superior anticancer effect.
Rong Fu, Yi Li, Nan Jiang, Bo-Xue Ren, Chen-Zi Zang, Li-Juan Liu, Wen-Cong Lv, Hong-Mei Li, Stephen Weiss, Zheng-Yu Li, Tao Lu, Zhao-Qiu Wu
Paucity of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein triggers the oft-fatal infantile-onset motor neuron disorder, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Augmenting the protein is one means of treating SMA and recently led to FDA approval of an intrathecally delivered SMN-enhancing oligonucleotide currently in use. Notwithstanding the advent of this and other therapies for SMA, it is unclear whether the paralysis associated with the disease derives solely from dysfunctional motor neurons that may be efficiently targeted by restricted delivery of SMN-enhancing agents to the nervous system, or stems from broader defects of the motor unit, arguing for systemic SMN repletion. We investigated the disease-contributing effects of low SMN in one relevant peripheral organ — skeletal muscle — by selectively depleting the protein in only this tissue. We found that muscle deprived of SMN was profoundly damaged. Although a disease phenotype was not immediately obvious, persistent low levels of the protein eventually resulted in muscle fiber defects, neuromuscular junction abnormalities, compromised motor performance, and premature death. Importantly, restoring SMN after the onset of muscle pathology reversed disease. Our results provide the most compelling evidence yet for a direct contributing role of muscle in SMA and argue that an optimal therapy for the disease must be designed to treat this aspect of the dysfunctional motor unit.
Jeong-Ki Kim, Narendra N. Jha, Zhihua Feng, Michelle R. Faleiro, Claudia A. Chiriboga, Lan Wei-Lapierre, Robert T. Dirksen, Chien-Ping Ko, Umrao R. Monani
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
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
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can affect the central nervous system (CNS). The role of microglia in CNS-GVHD remains undefined. In agreement with microglia activation, we found that profound morphological changes and MHC-II and CD80 upregulation occurred upon GVHD induction. RNA sequencing–based analysis of purified microglia obtained from mice with CNS-GVHD revealed TNF upregulation. Selective TNF gene deletion in microglia of Cx3cr1creER Tnffl/– mice reduced MHC-II expression and decreased CNS T cell infiltrates and VCAM-1+ endothelial cells. GVHD increased microglia TGF-β–activated kinase-1 (TAK1) activation and NF-κB/p38 MAPK signaling. Selective Tak1 deletion in microglia using Cx3cr1creER Tak1fl/fl mice resulted in reduced TNF production and microglial MHC-II and improved neurocognitive activity. Pharmacological TAK1 inhibition reduced TNF production and MHC-II expression by microglia, Th1 and Th17 T cell infiltrates, and VCAM-1+ endothelial cells and improved neurocognitive activity, without blocking graft-versus-leukemia effects. Consistent with these findings in mice, we observed increased activation and TNF production of microglia in the CNS of GVHD patients. In summary, we prove a role for microglia in CNS-GVHD, identify the TAK1/TNF/MHC-II axis as a mediator of CNS-GVHD, and provide a TAK1 inhibitor–based approach against GVHD-induced neurotoxicity.
Nimitha R. Mathew, Janaki M. Vinnakota, Petya Apostolova, Daniel Erny, Shaimaa Hamarsheh, Geoffroy Andrieux, Jung-Seok Kim, Kathrin Hanke, Tobias Goldmann, Louise Chappell-Maor, Nadia El-Khawanky, Gabriele Ihorst, Dominik Schmidt, Justus Duyster, Jürgen Finke, Thomas Blank, Melanie Boerries, Bruce R. Blazar, Steffen Jung, Marco Prinz, Robert Zeiser
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
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
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
Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) attrition is considered the key event underlying progressive BM failure (BMF) in Fanconi anemia (FA), the most frequent inherited BMF disorder in humans. However, despite major advances, how the cellular, biochemical, and molecular alterations reported in FA lead to HSC exhaustion remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrated in human and mouse cells that loss-of-function of FANCA or FANCC, products of 2 genes affecting more than 80% of FA patients worldwide, is associated with constitutive expression of the transcription factor microphthalmia (MiTF) through the cooperative, unscheduled activation of several stress-signaling pathways, including the SMAD2/3, p38 MAPK, NF-κB, and AKT cascades. We validated the unrestrained Mitf expression downstream of p38 in Fanca–/– mice, which display hallmarks of hematopoietic stress, including loss of HSC quiescence, DNA damage accumulation in HSCs, and reduced HSC repopulation capacity. Importantly, we demonstrated that shRNA-mediated downregulation of Mitf expression or inhibition of p38 signaling rescued HSC quiescence and prevented DNA damage accumulation. Our data support the hypothesis that HSC attrition in FA is the consequence of defects in the DNA-damage response combined with chronic activation of otherwise transiently activated signaling pathways, which jointly prevent the recovery of HSC quiescence.
Alessia Oppezzo, Julie Bourseguin, Emilie Renaud, Patrycja Pawlikowska, Filippo Rosselli
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
Despite advancements in targeting the immune checkpoints program cell death protein 1 (PD-1), programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), and cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) for cancer immunotherapy, a large number of patients and cancer types remain unresponsive. Current immunotherapies focus on modulating an antitumor immune response by directly or indirectly expanding antitumor CD8 T cells. A complementary strategy might involve inhibition of Tregs that otherwise suppress antitumor immune responses. Here, we sought to identify functional immune molecules preferentially expressed on tumor-infiltrating Tregs. Using genome-wide RNA-Seq analysis of purified Tregs sorted from multiple human cancer types, we identified a conserved Treg immune checkpoint signature. Using immunocompetent murine tumor models, we found that antibody-mediated depletion of 4-1BB–expressing cells (4-1BB is also known as TNFRSF9 or CD137) decreased tumor growth without negatively affecting CD8 T cell function. Furthermore, we found that the immune checkpoint 4-1BB had a high selectivity for human tumor Tregs and was associated with worse survival outcomes in patients with multiple tumor types. Thus, antibody-mediated depletion of 4-1BB–expressing Tregs represents a strategy with potential activity across cancer types.
Zachary T. Freeman, Thomas R. Nirschl, Daniel H. Hovelson, Robert J. Johnston, John J. Engelhardt, Mark J. Selby, Christina M. Kochel, Ruth Y. Lan, Jingyi Zhai, Ali Ghasemzadeh, Anuj Gupta, Alyza M. Skaist, Sarah J. Wheelan, Hui Jiang, Alexander T. Pearson, Linda A. Snyder, Alan J. Korman, Scott A. Tomlins, Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, Charles G. Drake
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MEK inhibitors (EGFRi/MEKi) are beneficial for the treatment of solid cancers but are frequently associated with severe therapy-limiting acneiform skin toxicities. The underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Using gene expression profiling we identified IL-36γ and IL-8 as candidate drivers of EGFRi/MEKi skin toxicity. We provide molecular and translational evidence that EGFRi/MEKi in concert with the skin commensal bacterium Cutibacterium acnes act synergistically to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes and subsequently IL-8, leading to cutaneous neutrophilia. IL-36γ expression was the combined result of C. acnes–induced NF-κB activation and EGFRi/MEKi–mediated expression of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), due to the presence of both NF-κB and KLF4 binding sites in the human IL-36γ gene promoter. EGFRi/MEKi increased KLF4 expression by blockade of the EGFR/MEK/ERK pathway. These results provide an insight into understanding the pathological mechanism of the acneiform skin toxicities induced by EGFRi/MEKi and identify IL-36γ and the transcription factor KLF4 as potential therapeutic targets.
Takashi K. Satoh, Mark Mellett, Barbara Meier-Schiesser, Gabriele Fenini, Atsushi Otsuka, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Tamara Rordorf, Julia-Tatjana Maul, Jürg Hafner, Alexander A. Navarini, Emmanuel Contassot, Lars E. French
Epigenetic integrity is critical for many eukaryotic cellular processes. An important question is how different epigenetic regulators control development and influence disease. Lysine acetyltransferase 8 (KAT8) is critical for acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4K16), an evolutionarily conserved epigenetic mark. It is unclear what roles KAT8 plays in cerebral development and human disease. Here, we report that cerebrum-specific knockout mice displayed cerebral hypoplasia in the neocortex and hippocampus, along with improper neural stem and progenitor cell (NSPC) development. Mutant cerebrocortical neuroepithelia exhibited faulty proliferation, aberrant neurogenesis, massive apoptosis, and scant H4K16 propionylation. Mutant NSPCs formed poor neurospheres, and pharmacological KAT8 inhibition abolished neurosphere formation. Moreover, we describe KAT8 variants in 9 patients with intellectual disability, seizures, autism, dysmorphisms, and other anomalies. The variants altered chromobarrel and catalytic domains of KAT8, thereby impairing nucleosomal H4K16 acetylation. Valproate was effective for treating epilepsy in at least 2 of the individuals. This study uncovers a critical role of KAT8 in cerebral and NSPC development, identifies 9 individuals with KAT8 variants, and links deficient H4K16 acylation directly to intellectual disability, epilepsy, and other developmental anomalies.
Lin Li, Mohammad Ghorbani, Monika Weisz-Hubshman, Justine Rousseau, Isabelle Thiffault, Rhonda E. Schnur, Catherine Breen, Renske Oegema, Marjan M.M. Weiss, Quinten Waisfisz, Sara Welner, Helen Kingston, Jordan A. Hills, Elles M.J. Boon, Lina Basel-Salmon, Osnat Konen, Hadassa Goldberg-Stern, Lily Bazak, Shay Tzur, Jianliang Jin, Xiuli Bi, Michael Bruccoleri, Kirsty McWalter, Megan T. Cho, Maria Scarano, G. Bradley Schaefer, Susan S. Brooks, Susan Starling Hughes, K.L.I. van Gassen, Johanna M. van Hagen, Tej K. Pandita, Pankaj B. Agrawal, Philippe M. Campeau, Xiang-Jiao Yang
Ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus are associated with loss of function of glycine decarboxylase (Gldc) in mice and in humans suffering from non-ketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), a neurometabolic disorder characterized by accumulation of excess glycine. Here, we showed that ventriculomegaly in Gldc-deficient mice is preceded by stenosis of the Sylvian aqueduct and malformation or absence of the subcommissural organ and pineal gland. Gldc functions in the glycine cleavage system, a mitochondrial component of folate metabolism, whose malfunction results in accumulation of glycine and diminished supply of glycine-derived 1-carbon units to the folate cycle. We showed that inadequate 1-carbon supply, as opposed to excess glycine, is the cause of hydrocephalus associated with loss of function of the glycine cleavage system. Maternal supplementation with formate prevented both ventriculomegaly, as assessed at prenatal stages, and postnatal development of hydrocephalus in Gldc-deficient mice. Furthermore, ventriculomegaly was rescued by genetic ablation of 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (Mthfr), which results in retention of 1-carbon groups in the folate cycle at the expense of transfer to the methylation cycle. In conclusion, a defect in folate metabolism can lead to prenatal aqueduct stenosis and resultant hydrocephalus. These defects are preventable by maternal supplementation with formate, which acts as a 1-carbon donor.
Chloe Santos, Yun Jin Pai, M. Raasib Mahmood, Kit-Yi Leung, Dawn Savery, Simon N. Waddington, Andrew J. Copp, Nicholas D.E. Greene
BACKGROUND An increase in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) is the hallmark feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is decreased by weight loss. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributes to steatosis in individuals with NAFLD. The physiological factors that stimulate hepatic DNL and the effect of weight loss on hepatic DNL are not clear.METHODS Hepatic DNL, 24-hour integrated plasma insulin and glucose concentrations, and both liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were determined in individuals who were lean (n = 14), obese with normal IHTG content (n = 26), or obese with NAFLD (n = 27). Hepatic DNL was assessed using the deuterated water method corrected for the potential confounding contribution of adipose tissue DNL. Liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity was assessed using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in conjunction with glucose tracer infusion. Six subjects in the obese-NAFLD group were also evaluated before and after a diet-induced weight loss of 10%.RESULTS The contribution of hepatic DNL to IHTG-palmitate was 11%, 19%, and 38% in the lean, obese, and obese-NAFLD groups, respectively. Hepatic DNL was inversely correlated with hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, but directly correlated with 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, in conjunction with a decrease in hepatic DNL and 24-hour plasma glucose and insulin concentrations.CONCLUSIONS These data suggest hepatic DNL is an important regulator of IHTG content and that increases in circulating glucose and insulin stimulate hepatic DNL in individuals with NAFLD. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, at least in part, by decreasing hepatic DNL.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02706262.FUNDING This study was supported by NIH grants DK56341 (Nutrition Obesity Research Center), DK20579 (Diabetes Research Center), DK52574 (Digestive Disease Research Center), and RR024992 (Clinical and Translational Science Award), and by grants from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, the College of Natural Resources of UCB, and the Pershing Square Foundation.
Gordon I. Smith, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Mihoko Yoshino, George G. Schweitzer, Maria Chondronikola, Joseph W. Beals, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Edna Nyangau, Tyler Field, Claude B. Sirlin, Saswata Talukdar, Marc K. Hellerstein, Samuel Klein
Cancer cachexia is a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality, with no efficacious treatment or management strategy. Despite cachexia sharing pathophysiological features with a number of neuromuscular wasting conditions, including age-related sarcopenia, the mechanisms underlying cachexia remain poorly understood. Studies of related conditions suggest that pathological targeting of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) may play a key role in cachexia, but this has yet to be investigated in human patients. Here, high-resolution morphological analyses were undertaken on NMJs of rectus abdominis obtained from patients undergoing upper GI cancer surgery compared with controls (N = 30; n = 1,165 NMJs). Cancer patients included those with cachexia and weight-stable disease. Despite the low skeletal muscle index and significant muscle fiber atrophy (P < 0.0001) in patients with cachexia, NMJ morphology was fully conserved. No significant differences were observed in any of the pre- and postsynaptic variables measured. We conclude that NMJs remain structurally intact in rectus abdominis in both cancer and cachexia, suggesting that denervation of skeletal muscle is not a major driver of pathogenesis. The absence of NMJ pathology is in stark contrast to what is found in related conditions, such as age-related sarcopenia, and supports the hypothesis that intrinsic changes within skeletal muscle, independent of any changes in motor neurons, represent the primary locus of neuromuscular pathology in cancer cachexia.
Ines Boehm, Janice Miller, Thomas M. Wishart, Stephen J. Wigmore, Richard J.E. Skipworth, Ross A. Jones, Thomas H. Gillingwater
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus capable of causing a severe and often debilitating rheumatic syndrome in humans. CHIKV replicates in a wide variety of cell types in mammals, which has made attributing pathologic outcomes to replication at specific sites difficult. To assess the contribution of CHIKV replication in skeletal muscle cells to pathogenesis, we engineered a CHIKV strain exhibiting restricted replication in these cells via incorporation of target sequences for skeletal muscle cell–specific miR-206. This virus, which we term SKE, displayed diminished replication in skeletal muscle cells in a mouse model of CHIKV disease. Mice infected with SKE developed less severe disease signs, including diminished swelling in the inoculated foot and less necrosis and inflammation in the interosseous muscles. SKE infection was associated with diminished infiltration of T cells into the interosseous muscle as well as decreased production of Il1b, Il6, Ip10, and Tnfa transcripts. Importantly, blockade of the IL-6 receptor led to diminished swelling of a control CHIKV strain capable of replication in skeletal muscle, reducing swelling to levels observed in mice infected with SKE. These data implicate replication in skeletal muscle cells and release of IL-6 as important mediators of CHIKV disease.
Anthony J. Lentscher, Mary K. McCarthy, Nicholas A. May, Bennett J. Davenport, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Krishnan Raghunathan, Nicole McAllister, Laurie A. Silva, Thomas E. Morrison, Terence S. Dermody
BACKGROUND DICER1 is the only miRNA biogenesis component associated with an inherited tumor syndrome, featuring multinodular goiter (MNG) and rare pediatric-onset lesions. Other susceptibility genes for familial forms of MNG likely exist.METHODS Whole-exome sequencing of a kindred with early-onset MNG and schwannomatosis was followed by investigation of germline pathogenic variants that fully segregated with the disease. Genome-wide analyses were performed on 13 tissue samples from familial and nonfamilial DGCR8-E518K–positive tumors, including MNG, schwannomas, papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs), and Wilms tumors. miRNA profiles of 4 tissue types were compared, and sequencing of miRNA, pre-miRNA, and mRNA was performed in a subset of 9 schwannomas, 4 of which harbor DGCR8-E518K.RESULTS We identified c.1552G>A;p.E518K in DGCR8, a microprocessor component located in 22q, in the kindred. The variant identified is a somatic hotspot in Wilms tumors and has been identified in 2 PTCs. Copy number loss of chromosome 22q, leading to loss of heterozygosity at the DGCR8 locus, was found in all 13 samples harboring c.1552G>A;p.E518K. miRNA profiling of PTCs, MNG, schwannomas, and Wilms tumors revealed a common profile among E518K hemizygous tumors. In vitro cleavage demonstrated improper processing of pre-miRNA by DGCR8-E518K. MicroRNA and RNA profiling show that this variant disrupts precursor microRNA production, impacting populations of canonical microRNAs and mirtrons.CONCLUSION We identified DGCR8 as the cause of an unreported autosomal dominant mendelian tumor susceptibility syndrome: familial multinodular goiter with schwannomatosis.FUNDING Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Compute Canada, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Mia Neri Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Cassa di Sovvenzioni e Risparmio fra il Personale della Banca d’Italia, and the KinderKrebsInitiative Buchholz/Holm-Seppensen.
Barbara Rivera, Javad Nadaf, Somayyeh Fahiminiya, Maria Apellaniz-Ruiz, Avi Saskin, Anne-Sophie Chong, Sahil Sharma, Rabea Wagener, Timothée Revil, Vincenzo Condello, Zineb Harra, Nancy Hamel, Nelly Sabbaghian, Karl Muchantef, Christian Thomas, Leanne de Kock, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Angelia V. Bassenden, Hannah Rabenstein, Ozgur Mete, Ralf Paschke, Marc P. Pusztaszeri, Werner Paulus, Albert Berghuis, Jiannis Ragoussis, Yuri E. Nikiforov, Reiner Siebert, Steffen Albrecht, Robert Turcotte, Martin Hasselblatt, Marc R. Fabian, William D. Foulkes
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex disease with no known cause or mechanism. There is an increasing appreciation for the role of immune and metabolic dysfunction in the disease. ME/CFS has historically presented in outbreaks, often has a flu-like onset, and results in inflammatory symptoms. Patients suffer from severe fatigue and postexertional malaise. There is little known about the metabolism of specific immune cells in patients with ME/CFS. To investigate immune metabolism in ME/CFS, we isolated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from 53 patients with ME/CFS and 45 healthy controls. We analyzed glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in resting and activated T cells, along with markers related to cellular metabolism and plasma cytokines. We found that ME/CFS CD8+ T cells had reduced mitochondrial membrane potential compared with those from healthy controls. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from patients with ME/CFS had reduced glycolysis at rest, whereas CD8+ T cells also had reduced glycolysis following activation. Patients with ME/CFS had significant correlations between measures of T cell metabolism and plasma cytokine abundance that differed from correlations seen in healthy control subjects. Our data indicate that patients have impaired T cell metabolism consistent with ongoing immune alterations in ME/CFS that may illuminate the mechanism behind this disease.
Alexandra H. Mandarano, Jessica Maya, Ludovic Giloteaux, Daniel L. Peterson, Marco Maynard, C. Gunnar Gottschalk, Maureen R. Hanson
Notch signaling is a highly conserved intercellular pathway with tightly regulated and pleiotropic roles in normal tissue development and homeostasis. Dysregulated Notch signaling has also been implicated in human disease, including multiple forms of cancer, and represents an emerging therapeutic target. Successful development of such therapeutics requires a detailed understanding of potential on-target toxicities. Here, we identify autosomal dominant mutations of the canonical Notch ligand Jagged1 (or JAG1) as a cause of peripheral nerve disease in 2 unrelated families with the hereditary axonal neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 (CMT2). Affected individuals in both families exhibited severe vocal fold paresis, a rare feature of peripheral nerve disease that can be life-threatening. Our studies of mutant protein posttranslational modification and localization indicated that the mutations (p.Ser577Arg, p.Ser650Pro) impair protein glycosylation and reduce JAG1 cell surface expression. Mice harboring heterozygous CMT2-associated mutations exhibited mild peripheral neuropathy, and homozygous expression resulted in embryonic lethality by midgestation. Together, our findings highlight a critical role for JAG1 in maintaining peripheral nerve integrity, particularly in the recurrent laryngeal nerve, and provide a basis for the evaluation of peripheral neuropathy as part of the clinical development of Notch pathway–modulating therapeutics.
Jeremy M. Sullivan, William W. Motley, Janel O. Johnson, William H. Aisenberg, Katherine L. Marshall, Katy E.S. Barwick, Lingling Kong, Jennifer S. Huh, Pamela C. Saavedra-Rivera, Meriel M. McEntagart, Marie-Helene Marion, Lucy A. Hicklin, Hamid Modarres, Emma L. Baple, Mohamed H. Farah, Aamir R. Zuberi, Cathleen M. Lutz, Rachelle Gaudet, Bryan J. Traynor, Andrew H. Crosby, Charlotte J. Sumner
Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a bone-derived hormone that controls blood phosphate levels by increasing renal phosphate excretion and reducing 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D] production. Disorders of FGF23 homeostasis are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but a fundamental understanding of what regulates FGF23 production is lacking. Because the kidney is the major end organ of FGF23 action, we hypothesized that it releases a factor that regulates FGF23 synthesis. Using aptamer-based proteomics and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry–based (LC-MS–based) metabolomics, we profiled more than 1600 molecules in renal venous plasma obtained from human subjects. Renal vein glycerol-3-phosphate (G-3-P) had the strongest correlation with circulating FGF23. In mice, exogenous G-3-P stimulated bone and bone marrow FGF23 production through local G-3-P acyltransferase–mediated (GPAT-mediated) lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) synthesis. Further, the stimulatory effect of G-3-P and LPA on FGF23 required LPA receptor 1 (LPAR1). Acute kidney injury (AKI), which increases FGF23 levels, rapidly increased circulating G-3-P in humans and mice, and the effect of AKI on FGF23 was abrogated by GPAT inhibition or Lpar1 deletion. Together, our findings establish a role for kidney-derived G-3-P in mineral metabolism and outline potential targets to modulate FGF23 production during kidney injury.
Petra Simic, Wondong Kim, Wen Zhou, Kerry A. Pierce, Wenhan Chang, David B. Sykes, Najihah B. Aziz, Sammy Elmariah, Debby Ngo, Paola Divieti Pajevic, Nicolas Govea, Bryan R. Kestenbaum, Ian H. de Boer, Zhiqiang Cheng, Marta Christov, Jerold Chun, David E. Leaf, Sushrut S. Waikar, Andrew M. Tager, Robert E. Gerszten, Ravi I. Thadhani, Clary B. Clish, Harald Jüppner, Marc N. Wein, Eugene P. Rhee
BACKGROUND In retinitis pigmentosa (RP), rod photoreceptors degenerate from 1 of many mutations, after which cones are compromised by oxidative stress. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduces oxidative damage and increases cone function/survival in RP models. We tested the safety, tolerability, and visual function effects of oral NAC in RP patients.METHODS Subjects (n = 10 per cohort) received 600 mg (cohort 1), 1200 mg (cohort 2), or 1800 mg (cohort 3) NAC bid for 12 weeks and then tid for 12 weeks. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), macular sensitivity, ellipsoid zone (EZ) width, and aqueous NAC were measured. Linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the rates of changes during the treatment period.RESULTS There were 9 drug-related gastrointestinal adverse events that resolved spontaneously or with dose reduction (maximum tolerated dose 1800 mg bid). During the 24-week treatment period, mean BCVA significantly improved at 0.4 (95% CI: 0.2–0.6, P < 0.001), 0.5 (95% CI: 0.3–0.7, P < 0.001), and 0.2 (95% CI: 0.02–0.4, P = 0.03) letters/month in cohorts 1, 2, and 3, respectively. There was no significant improvement in mean sensitivity over time in cohorts 1 and 2, but there was in cohort 3 (0.15 dB/month, 95% CI: 0.04–0.26). There was no significant change in mean EZ width in any cohort.CONCLUSION Oral NAC is safe and well tolerated in patients with moderately advanced RP and may improve suboptimally functioning macular cones. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial is needed to determine if oral NAC can provide long-term stabilization and/or improvement in visual function in patients with RP.TRIAL REGISTRATION NCT03063021.FUNDING Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Wallace, Rami and Eitan Armon, Marc Sumerlin, Cassandra Hanley, and Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Peter A. Campochiaro, Mustafa Iftikhar, Gulnar Hafiz, Anam Akhlaq, Grace Tsai, Dagmar Wehling, Lili Lu, G. Michael Wall, Mandeep S. Singh, Xiangrong Kong