Ma et al. identified 2 distinct histopathological phenotypes of severe alcoholic hepatitis, suggesting that different mechanisms drive liver failure among patients, and observed that neutrophilic NCF1-dependent ROS promotes alcoholic hepatitis progression. The cover image shows multiplex immunofluorescence staining of liver tissue from a patient with severe alcoholic hepatitis, revealing a large number of inflammatory cells surrounding hepatocytes.
Katsuyoshi Takata, Christian Steidl
Aging is characterized by the accumulation of damage to macromolecules and cell architecture that triggers a proinflammatory state in blood and solid tissues, termed inflammaging. Inflammaging has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many age-associated chronic diseases as well as loss of physical and cognitive function. The search for mechanisms that underlie inflammaging focused initially on the hallmarks of aging, but it is rapidly expanding in multiple directions. Here, we discuss the threads connecting cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction to impaired mitophagy and DNA damage, which may act as a hub for inflammaging. We explore the emerging multi-omics efforts that aspire to define the complexity of inflammaging — and identify molecular signatures and novel targets for interventions aimed at counteracting excessive inflammation and its deleterious consequences while preserving the physiological immune response. Finally, we review the emerging evidence that inflammation is involved in brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Our goal is to broaden the research agenda for inflammaging with an eye on new therapeutic opportunities.
Keenan A. Walker, Nathan Basisty, David M. Wilson III, Luigi Ferrucci
Cancer cells resist the immune response in a process known as immune editing or immune evasion. Therapies that target the immune system have revolutionized cancer treatment; however, immunotherapies have been ineffective for the majority of ovarian cancer cases. In this issue of the JCI, Chen, Xie, et al. hypothesized that hypomethylating agent (HMA) treatment would induce antitumor immunity to sensitize patients with ovarian cancer to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. The authors performed a phase II clinical trial to test the combination of guadecitabine, a second-generation HMA, along with pembrolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor of PD-1. The trial included a group of 35 patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. While the clinical benefit from the combined HMA plus immune checkpoint blockade regimen was lower than hoped, the correlate analyses gave important information about which patients with ovarian cancer may be more likely to respond to immune therapy.
Katherine B. Chiappinelli, Stephen B. Baylin
Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS) gene mutations are present in more than 90% of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs). KRASG12D is the most frequent alteration, promoting preneoplastic lesions and associating with a more aggressive phenotype. These tumors possess increased intratumoral lymphatic networks and frequent lymph node (LN) metastases. In this issue of the JCI, Luo, Li, et al. explored the relationship between the presence of the KRASG12D mutation and lymphangiogenesis in PDAC. The authors used in vitro and in vivo models and an elegant mechanistic approach to describe an alternative pathway for lymphangiogenesis promotion. KRASG12D induced SUMOylation of heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNPA1) via SAE1 and SUMO2 activation. SUMOylated hnRNPA1 was loaded into extracellular vesicles (EVs) and internalized by human endothelial lymphatic cells (HLEC). Further, SUMOylated hnRNPA1 promoted lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis by stabilizing prospero homeodomain protein 1 (PROX1) mRNA. These data provide mechanistic insight into cancer lymphangiogenesis with the potential for developing biomarkers and RAS pathway therapeutics.
Radu Pirlog, George A. Calin
Gastrointestinal (GI) motility requires coordination among several cell types in the intestinal epithelium and the neuromuscular apparatus. A disruption in GI motility was primarily attributed to disruption of this coordinated effort among different host cells, but recent studies have begun to uncover how the products of gut microbiota can alter GI motility by modulating the function of different host cells and the interactions among them. In this issue of the JCI, Chen, Qiu, et al. used a reverse translation approach, isolating a Shigella sp. — peristaltic contraction–inhibiting bacterium (PIB) — from a cohort of patients with intractable constipation. They identified an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), produced by this Shigella variant, as an important driver of constipation using a series of microbiologic, biochemical, and genetic manipulations combined with in vitro and in vivo studies. This finding advances the field, given that production of DPA is rare in the human gut and appears to have a distinct effect on GI physiology.
Yang Xiao, Purna C. Kashyap
Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have more than 100-fold increased risk of acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AMKL), but its pathogenesis is poorly understood. In this issue of the JCI, Arkoun et al. engineered stepwise DS-AMKL–associated mutations in GATA1, MPL, and SMC3 in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) clones from individuals with DS to dissect how each mutation affects gene expression control and megakaryocytic differentiation. The authors showed that the mutations cooperatively promote progression from transient myeloproliferative disorder to DS-AMKL. This study highlights the importance of mutation order and context in the perturbations of transcriptional and differentiation pathways involved in the evolution of hematologic malignancies, which will be critical for the development of preventative and therapeutic interventions.
Edward J. Evans Jr., James DeGregori
Intractable functional constipation (IFC) is the most severe form of constipation, but its etiology has long been unknown. We hypothesized that IFC is caused by refractory infection by a pathogenic bacterium. Here, we isolated from patients with IFC a Shigella species — peristaltic contraction–inhibiting bacterium (PIB) — that significantly inhibited peristaltic contraction of the colon by production of docosapentenoic acid (DPA). PIB colonized mice for at least 6 months. Oral administration of PIB was sufficient to induce constipation, which was reversed by PIB-specific phages. A mutated PIB with reduced DPA was incapable of inhibiting colonic function and inducing constipation, suggesting that DPA produced by PIB was the key mediator of the genesis of constipation. PIBs were detected in stools of 56% (38 of 68) of the IFC patients, but not in those of non-IFC or healthy individuals (0 of 180). DPA levels in stools were elevated in 44.12% (30 of 68) of the IFC patients but none of the healthy volunteers (0 of 97). Our results suggest that Shigella sp. PIB may be the critical causative pathogen for IFC, and detection of fecal PIB plus DPA may be a reliable method for IFC diagnosis and classification.
Xin Chen, Tian-Tian Qiu, Ye Wang, Li-Yang Xu, Jie Sun, Zhi-Hui Jiang, Wei Zhao, Tao Tao, Yu-Wei Zhou, Li-Sha Wei, Ye-Qiong Li, Yan-Yan Zheng, Guo-Hua Zhou, Hua-Qun Chen, Jian Zhang, Xiao-Bo Feng, Fang-Yu Wang, Ning Li, Xue-Na Zhang, Jun Jiang, Min-Sheng Zhu
Hepatic inflammation is culpable for the evolution of asymptomatic steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Hepatic inflammation results from abnormal macrophage activation. We found that FoxO1 links overnutrition to hepatic inflammation by regulating macrophage polarization and activation. FoxO1 was upregulated in hepatic macrophages, correlating with hepatic inflammation, steatosis, and fibrosis in mice and patients with NASH. Myeloid cell conditional FoxO1 knockout skewed macrophage polarization from proinflammatory M1 to the antiinflammatory M2 phenotype, accompanied by a reduction in macrophage infiltration in liver. These effects mitigated overnutrition-induced hepatic inflammation and insulin resistance, contributing to improved hepatic metabolism and increased energy expenditure in myeloid cell FoxO1–knockout mice on a high-fat diet. When fed a NASH-inducing diet, myeloid cell FoxO1–knockout mice were protected from developing NASH, culminating in a reduction in hepatic inflammation, steatosis, and fibrosis. Mechanistically, FoxO1 counteracts Stat6 to skew macrophage polarization from M2 toward the M1 signature to perpetuate hepatic inflammation in NASH. FoxO1 appears to be a pivotal mediator of macrophage activation in response to overnutrition and a therapeutic target for ameliorating hepatic inflammation to stem the disease progression from benign steatosis to NASH.
Sojin Lee, Taofeek O. Usman, Jun Yamauchi, Goma Chhetri, Xingchun Wang, Gina M. Coudriet, Cuiling Zhu, Jingyang Gao, Riley McConnell, Kyler Krantz, Dhivyaa Rajasundaram, Sucha Singh, Jon Piganelli, Alina Ostrowska, Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, Satdarshan P. Monga, Aatur D. Singhi, Radhika Muzumdar, Allan Tsung, H. Henry Dong
Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia of Down syndrome (DS-AMKL) is a model of clonal evolution from a preleukemic transient myeloproliferative disorder requiring both a trisomy 21 (T21) and a GATA1s mutation to a leukemia driven by additional driver mutations. We modeled the megakaryocyte differentiation defect through stepwise gene editing of GATA1s, SMC3+/–, and MPLW515K, providing 20 different T21 or disomy 21 (D21) induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) clones. GATA1s profoundly reshaped iPSC-derived hematopoietic architecture with gradual myeloid-to-megakaryocyte shift and megakaryocyte differentiation alteration upon addition of SMC3 and MPL mutations. Transcriptional, chromatin accessibility, and GATA1-binding data showed alteration of essential megakaryocyte differentiation genes, including NFE2 downregulation that was associated with loss of GATA1s binding and functionally involved in megakaryocyte differentiation blockage. T21 enhanced the proliferative phenotype, reproducing the cellular and molecular abnormalities of DS-AMKL. Our study provides an array of human cell–based models revealing individual contributions of different mutations to DS-AMKL differentiation blockage, a major determinant of leukemic progression.
Brahim Arkoun, Elie Robert, Fabien Boudia, Stefania Mazzi, Virginie Dufour, Aurélie Siret, Yasmine Mammasse, Zakia Aid, Matthieu Vieira, Imanci Aygun, Marine Aglave, Marie Cambot, Rachel Petermann, Sylvie Souquere, Philippe Rameau, Cyril Catelain, Romain Diot, Gérard Tachdjian, Olivier Hermine, Nathalie Droin, Najet Debili, Isabelle Plo, Sébastien Malinge, Eric Soler, Hana Raslova, Thomas Mercher, William Vainchenker
Human pluripotent stem cell–based (hPSC-based) replacement therapy holds great promise for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the heterogeneity of hPSC-derived donor cells and the low yield of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons after transplantation hinder its broad clinical application. Here, we have characterized the single-cell molecular landscape during mDA neuron differentiation. We found that this process recapitulated the development of multiple but adjacent fetal brain regions including the ventral midbrain, the isthmus, and the ventral hindbrain, resulting in a heterogenous donor cell population. We reconstructed the differentiation trajectory of the mDA lineage and identified calsyntenin 2 (CLSTN2) and protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type O (PTPRO) as specific surface markers of mDA progenitors, which were predictive of mDA neuron differentiation and could facilitate high enrichment of mDA neurons (up to 80%) following progenitor cell sorting and transplantation. Marker-sorted progenitors exhibited higher therapeutic potency in correcting motor deficits of PD mice. Different marker-sorted grafts had a strikingly consistent cellular composition, in which mDA neurons were enriched, while off-target neuron types were mostly depleted, suggesting stable graft outcomes. Our study provides a better understanding of cellular heterogeneity during mDA neuron differentiation and establishes a strategy to generate highly purified donor cells to achieve stable and predictable therapeutic outcomes, raising the prospect of hPSC-based PD cell replacement therapies.
Peibo Xu, Hui He, Qinqin Gao, Yingying Zhou, Ziyan Wu, Xiao Zhang, Linyu Sun, Gang Hu, Qian Guan, Zhiwen You, Xinyue Zhang, Wenping Zheng, Man Xiong, Yuejun Chen
Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is the leading cause of postoperative mortality in lung transplant recipients and the most important risk factor for development of chronic lung allograft dysfunction. The mechanistic basis for the variability in the incidence and severity of PGD between lung transplant recipients is not known. Using a murine orthotopic vascularized lung transplant model, we found that redundant activation of Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 (TLR2 and -4) on nonclassical monocytes activates MyD88, inducing the release of the neutrophil attractant chemokine CXCL2. Deletion of Itgam (encodes CD11b) in nonclassical monocytes enhanced their production of CXCL2 and worsened PGD, while a CD11b agonist, leukadherin-1, administered only to the donor lung prior to lung transplantation, abrogated CXCL2 production and PGD. The damage-associated molecular pattern molecule HMGB1 was increased in peripheral blood samples from patients undergoing lung transplantation after reperfusion and induced CXCL2 production in nonclassical monocytes via TLR4/MyD88. An inhibitor of HMGB1 administered to the donor and recipient prior to lung transplantation attenuated PGD. Our findings suggest that CD11b acts as a molecular brake to prevent neutrophil recruitment by nonclassical monocytes following lung transplantation, revealing an attractive therapeutic target in the donor lung to prevent PGD in lung transplant recipients.
Melissa Querrey, Stephen Chiu, Emilia Lecuona, Qiang Wu, Haiying Sun, Megan Anderson, Megan Kelly, Sowmya Ravi, Alexander V. Misharin, Daniel Kreisel, Ankit Bharat, G.R. Scott Budinger
The metabolic dependencies of cancer cells have substantial potential to be exploited to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Creatine riboside (CR) is identified as a urinary metabolite associated with risk and prognosis in lung and liver cancer. However, the source of high CR levels in patients with cancer as well as their implications for the treatment of these aggressive cancers remain unclear. By integrating multiomics data on lung and liver cancer, we have shown that CR is a cancer cell–derived metabolite. Global metabolomics and gene expression analysis of human tumors and matched liquid biopsies, together with functional studies, revealed that dysregulation of the mitochondrial urea cycle and a nucleotide imbalance were associated with high CR levels and indicators of a poor prognosis. This metabolic phenotype was associated with reduced immune infiltration and supported rapid cancer cell proliferation that drove aggressive tumor growth. CRhi cancer cells were auxotrophic for arginine, revealing a metabolic vulnerability that may be exploited therapeutically. This highlights the potential of CR not only as a poor-prognosis biomarker but also as a companion biomarker to inform the administration of arginine-targeted therapies in precision medicine strategies to improve survival for patients with cancer.
Amelia L. Parker, Leila Toulabi, Takahiro Oike, Yasuyuki Kanke, Daxeshkumar Patel, Takeshi Tada, Sheryse Taylor, Jessica A. Beck, Elise Bowman, Michelle L. Reyzer, Donna Butcher, Skyler Kuhn, Gary T. Pauly, Kristopher W. Krausz, Frank J. Gonzalez, S. Perwez Hussain, Stefan Ambs, Bríd M. Ryan, Xin Wei Wang, Curtis C. Harris
Mitochondrial stress triggers a response in the cell’s mitochondria and nucleus, but how these stress responses are coordinated in vivo is poorly understood. Here, we characterize a family with myopathy caused by a dominant p.G58R mutation in the mitochondrial protein CHCHD10. To understand the disease etiology, we developed a knockin (KI) mouse model and found that mutant CHCHD10 aggregated in affected tissues, applying a toxic protein stress to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Unexpectedly, the survival of CHCHD10-KI mice depended on a protective stress response mediated by the mitochondrial metalloendopeptidase OMA1. The OMA1 stress response acted both locally within mitochondria, causing mitochondrial fragmentation, and signaled outside the mitochondria, activating the integrated stress response through cleavage of DAP3-binding cell death enhancer 1 (DELE1). We additionally identified an isoform switch in the terminal complex of the electron transport chain as a component of this response. Our results demonstrate that OMA1 was critical for neonatal survival conditionally in the setting of inner mitochondrial membrane stress, coordinating local and global stress responses to reshape the mitochondrial network and proteome.
Mario K. Shammas, Xiaoping Huang, Beverly P. Wu, Evelyn Fessler, Insung Y. Song, Nicholas P. Randolph, Yan Li, Christopher K.E. Bleck, Danielle A. Springer, Carl Fratter, Ines A. Barbosa, Andrew F. Powers, Pedro M. Quirós, Carlos Lopez-Otin, Lucas T. Jae, Joanna Poulton, Derek P. Narendra
Lymph node (LN) metastasis occurs frequently in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and predicts poor prognosis for patients. The KRASG12D mutation confers an aggressive PDAC phenotype that is susceptible to lymphatic dissemination. However, the regulatory mechanism underlying KRASG12D mutation–driven LN metastasis in PDAC remains unclear. Herein, we found that PDAC with the KRASG12D mutation (KRASG12D PDAC) sustained extracellular vesicle–mediated (EV-mediated) transmission of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNPA1) in a SUMOylation-dependent manner and promoted lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, hnRNPA1 bound with SUMO2 at the lysine 113 residue via KRASG12D-induced hyperactivation of SUMOylation, which enabled its interaction with TSG101 to enhance hnRNPA1 packaging and transmission via EVs. Subsequently, SUMOylation induced EV-packaged-hnRNPA1 anchoring to the adenylate- and uridylate-rich elements of PROX1 in lymphatic endothelial cells, thus stabilizing PROX1 mRNA. Importantly, impeding SUMOylation of EV-packaged hnRNPA1 dramatically inhibited LN metastasis of KRASG12D PDAC in a genetically engineered KrasG12D/+ Trp53R172H/+ Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mouse model. Our findings highlight the mechanism by which KRAS mutant–driven SUMOylation triggers EV-packaged hnRNPA1 transmission to promote lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis, shedding light on the potential application of hnRNPA1 as a therapeutic target in patients with KRASG12D PDAC.
Yuming Luo, Zhihua Li, Yao Kong, Wang He, Hanhao Zheng, Mingjie An, Yan Lin, Dingwen Zhang, Jiabin Yang, Yue Zhao, Changhao Chen, Rufu Chen
Intrahepatic neutrophil infiltration has been implicated in severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) pathogenesis; however, the mechanism underlying neutrophil-induced injury in SAH remains obscure. This translational study aims to describe the patterns of intrahepatic neutrophil infiltration and its involvement in SAH pathogenesis. Immunohistochemistry analyses of explanted livers identified two SAH phenotypes despite a similar clinical presentation, one with high intrahepatic neutrophils (Neuhi), but low levels of CD8+ T cells, and vice versa. RNA-Seq analyses demonstrated that neutrophil cytosolic factor 1 (NCF1), a key factor in controlling neutrophilic ROS production, was upregulated and correlated with hepatic inflammation and disease progression. To study specifically the mechanisms related to Neuhi in AH patients and liver injury, we used the mouse model of chronic-plus-binge ethanol feeding and found that myeloid-specific deletion of the Ncf1 gene abolished ethanol-induced hepatic inflammation and steatosis. RNA-Seq analysis and the data from experimental models revealed that neutrophilic NCF1-dependent ROS promoted alcoholic hepatitis (AH) by inhibiting AMP-activated protein kinase (a key regulator of lipid metabolism) and microRNA-223 (a key antiinflammatory and antifibrotic microRNA). In conclusion, two distinct histopathological phenotypes based on liver immune phenotyping are observed in SAH patients, suggesting a separate mechanism driving liver injury and/or failure in these patients.
Jing Ma, Adrien Guillot, Zhihong Yang, Bryan Mackowiak, Seonghwan Hwang, Ogyi Park, Brandon J. Peiffer, Ali Reza Ahmadi, Luma Melo, Praveen Kusumanchi, Nazmul Huda, Romil Saxena, Yong He, Yukun Guan, Dechun Feng, Pau Sancho-Bru, Mengwei Zang, Andrew MacGregor Cameron, Ramon Bataller, Frank Tacke, Zhaoli Sun, Suthat Liangpunsakul, Bin Gao
In Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), both axonal and demyelinating variants can be mediated by complement-fixing anti–GM1 ganglioside autoantibodies that target peripheral nerve axonal and Schwann cell (SC) membranes, respectively. Critically, the extent of axonal degeneration in both variants dictates long-term outcome. The differing pathomechanisms underlying direct axonal injury and the secondary bystander axonal degeneration following SC injury are unresolved. To investigate this, we generated glycosyltransferase-disrupted transgenic mice that express GM1 ganglioside either exclusively in neurons [GalNAcT–/–-Tg(neuronal)] or glia [GalNAcT–/–-Tg(glial)], thereby allowing anti-GM1 antibodies to solely target GM1 in either axonal or SC membranes, respectively. Myelinated-axon integrity in distal motor nerves was studied in transgenic mice exposed to anti-GM1 antibody and complement in ex vivo and in vivo injury paradigms. Axonal targeting induced catastrophic acute axonal disruption, as expected. When mice with GM1 in SC membranes were targeted, acute disruption of perisynaptic glia and SC membranes at nodes of Ranvier (NoRs) occurred. Following glial injury, axonal disruption at NoRs also developed subacutely, progressing to secondary axonal degeneration. These models differentiate the distinctly different axonopathic pathways under axonal and glial membrane targeting conditions, and provide insights into primary and secondary axonal injury, currently a major unsolved area in GBS research.
Rhona McGonigal, Clare I. Campbell, Jennifer A. Barrie, Denggao Yao, Madeleine E. Cunningham, Colin L. Crawford, Simon Rinaldi, Edward G. Rowan, Hugh J. Willison
Background Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have modest activity in ovarian cancer (OC). To augment their activity, we used priming with the hypomethylating agent guadecitabine in a phase II study.Methods Eligible patients had platinum-resistant OC, normal organ function, measurable disease, and received up to 5 prior regimens. The treatment included guadecitabine (30 mg/m2) on days 1–4, and pembrolizumab (200 mg i.v.) on day 5, every 21 days. The primary endpoint was the response rate. Tumor biopsies, plasma, and PBMCs were obtained at baseline and after treatment.Results Among 35 evaluable patients, 3 patients had partial responses (8.6%), and 8 (22.9%) patients had stable disease, resulting in a clinical benefit rate of 31.4% (95% CI: 16.9%–49.3%). The median duration of clinical benefit was 6.8 months. Long-interspersed element 1 (LINE1) was hypomethylated in post-treatment PBMCs, and methylomic and transcriptomic analyses showed activation of antitumor immunity in post-treatment biopsies. High-dimensional immune profiling of PBMCs showed a higher frequency of naive and/or central memory CD4+ T cells and of classical monocytes in patients with a durable clinical benefit or response (CBR). A higher baseline density of CD8+ T cells and CD20+ B cells and the presence of tertiary lymphoid structures in tumors were associated with a durable CBR.Conclusion Epigenetic priming using a hypomethylating agent with an ICI was feasible and resulted in a durable clinical benefit associated with immune responses in selected patients with recurrent OC.Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02901899.Funding US Army Medical Research and Material Command/Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (USAMRMC/CDMRP) grant W81XWH-17-0141; the Diana Princess of Wales Endowed Professorship and LCCTRAC funds from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center; Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Immunotherapy Research funds; Astex Pharmaceuticals; Merck & Co.; National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH grants CCSG P30 CA060553, CCSG P30 CA060553, and CA060553.
Siqi Chen, Ping Xie, Matthew Cowan, Hao Huang, Horacio Cardenas, Russell Keathley, Edward J. Tanner, Gini F. Fleming, John W. Moroney, Alok Pant, Azza M. Akasha, Ramana V. Davuluri, Masha Kocherginsky, Bin Zhang, Daniela Matei