Background: Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Anti-viral immune response is crucial to achieve pathogen clearance, however in some patients an excessive and aberrant host immune response can lead to an acute respiratory distress syndrome. The comprehension of the mechanisms that regulate pathogen elimination, immunity, and pathology is essential to better characterize disease progression and widen the spectrum of therapeutic options. Methods: We performed a flow cytometric characterization of immune cells subsets from 30 COVID-19 patients and correlated these data with clinical outcomes. Results: COVID-19 patients showed decreased numbers of circulating T, B and NK cells, and exhibited a skewing of CD8+ T cells towards a terminally differentiated/senescent phenotype. In agreement, T CD4+, T CD8+ but also NK cells displayed reduced anti-viral cytokine production capability. Moreover, a reduced cytotoxic potential was identified in COVID-19 patients, particularly in those that required intensive care. The latter group of patients showed also increased serum IL-6 levels, that correlated to the frequency of granzyme-expressing NK cells. Off-label treatment with tocilizumab restored the cytotoxic potential of NK cells. Conclusion: In conclusion, the association between IL-6 serum levels and the impairment of cytotoxic activity suggests the possibility that targeting this cytokine may restore anti-viral mechanisms. Funding: This study was supported by funds of Dept. of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of University of Florence (ex-60%) derived from Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (Italy).
Alessio Mazzoni, Lorenzo Salvati, Laura Maggi, Manuela Capone, Anna Vanni, Michele Spinicci, Jessica Mencarini, Roberto Caporale, Benedetta Peruzzi, Alberto Antonelli, Michele Trotta, Lorenzo Zammarchi, Luca Ciani, Leonardo Gori, Chiara Lazzeri, Andrea Matucci, Alessandra Vultaggio, Oliviero Rossi, Fabio Almerigogna, Paola Parronchi, Paolo Fontanari, Federico Lavorini, Adriano Peris, Gian Maria Rossolini, Alessandro Bartoloni, Sergio Romagnani, Francesco Liotta, Francesco Annunziato, Lorenzo Cosmi
Background From March 2-April 12, 2020, New York City (NYC) experienced exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic due to novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known regarding how physicians have been affected. We aimed to characterize COVID-19 impact on NYC resident physicians. Methods IRB-exempt and expedited cross-sectional analysis through survey to NYC residency program directors (PDs) April 3–12, 2020, encompassing events from March 2–April 12, 2020. Results From an estimated 340 residency programs around NYC, recruitment yielded 91 responses, representing 24 specialties and 2,306 residents. 45.1% of programs reported at least one resident with confirmed COVID-19: 101 resident physicians were confirmed COVID-19-positive, with an additional 163 residents presumed positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms but awaiting or unable to obtain testing. Two COVID-19-positive residents were hospitalized, with one in intensive care. Among specialties with >100 residents represented, negative binomial regression indicated that infection risk differed by specialty (p=0.039). 80% of programs reported quarantining a resident. 90/91 programs reported reuse or extended mask use, and 43 programs reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal. 65 programs (74.7%) have redeployed residents elsewhere to support COVID-19 efforts. Conclusion Many resident physicians around NYC have been affected by COVID-19 through direct infection, quarantine, or redeployment. Lack of access to testing and concern regarding suboptimal PPE are common among residency programs. Infection risk may differ by specialty. Funding AHA, MPB, RWSC, CGM, LRDG, JDH: NEI Core Grant P30EY019007, RPB Unrestricted Grant. ACP and JS: Parker Family Chair. SXX: University of Pennsylvania.
Mark P. Breazzano, Junchao Shen, Aliaa H. Abdelhakim, Lora Dagi Glass, Jason Horowitz, Sharon X. Xie, C. Gustavo De Moraes, Alice Chen-Plotkin, Royce W.S. Chen
In COVID-19, complement activation may contribute to hemostatic activation leading to pathological features such as microvascular injury and coagulopathy.
Wen-Chao Song, Garret A. FitzGerald
Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is a recessive neurodevelopmental ciliopathy, characterized by a pathognomonic hindbrain malformation. All known JBTS-genes encode proteins involved in the structure or function of primary cilia, ubiquitous antenna-like organelles essential for cellular signal transduction. Here, we use the recently identified JBTS-associated protein ARMC9 in tandem-affinity purification and yeast two-hybrid screens to identify a novel ciliary module whose dysfunction underlies JBTS. In addition to known JBTS-associated proteins CEP104 and CSPP1, we identify CCDC66 and TOGARAM1 as ARMC9 interaction partners. We show that TOGARAM1 variants cause JBTS and disrupt TOGARAM1 interaction with ARMC9. Using a combination of protein interaction analyses and characterization of patient-derived fibroblasts, CRISPR/Cas9-engineered zebrafish and hTERT-RPE1 cells, we demonstrate that dysfunction of ARMC9 or TOGARAM1 results in short cilia with decreased axonemal acetylation and polyglutamylation, but relatively intact transition zone function. Aberrant cold- and serum-induced ciliary loss in both ARMC9 and TOGARAM1 patient cell lines suggests a role for this new JBTS-associated protein module in ciliary stability.
Brooke L. Latour, Julie C. Van De Weghe, Tamara D.S. Rusterholz, Stef J.F. Letteboer, Arianna Gomez, Ranad Shaheen, Matthias Gesemann, Arezou Karamzade, Mostafa Asadollahi, Miguel Barroso-Gil, Manali Chitre, Megan E. Grout, Jeroen van Reeuwijk, Sylvia E.C. van Beersum, Caitlin V. Miller, Jennifer C. Dempsey, Heba Morsy, Michael J. Bamshad, Deborah A. Nickerson, Stephan C.F. Neuhauss, Karsten Boldt, Marius Ueffing, Mohammad Keramatipour, John A. Sayer, Fowzan S. Alkuraya, Ruxandra Bachmann-Gagescu, Ronald Roepman, Dan Doherty
The transcription factor ISL1 is expressed in pituitary gland stem cells and the thyrotrope and gonadotrope lineages. Pituitary-specific Isl1 deletion causes hypopituitarism with increased stem cell apoptosis, reduced differentiation of thyrotropes and gonadotropes, and reduced body size. Conditional Isl1 deletion causes development of multiple Rathke’s cleft-like cysts, with 100% penetrance. Foxa1 and Foxj1 are abnormally expressed in the pituitary gland and associated with a ciliogenic gene expression program in the cysts. We confirmed expression of FOXA1, FOXJ1 and stem cell markers in human Rathke's cleft cyst tissue, but not craniopharyngiomas, which suggests these transcription factors are useful, pathological markers for diagnosis of Rathke's cleft cysts. These studies support a model whereby expression of ISL1 in pituitary progenitors drives differentiation into thyrotropes and gonadotropes, and without it, activation of FOXA1 and FOXJ1 permits development of an oral epithelial cell fate with mucinous cysts. This pituitary specific Isl1 mouse knockout sheds light on the etiology of Rathke's cleft cysts and the role of ISL1 in normal pituitary development.
Michelle L. Brinkmeier, Hironori Bando, Adriana C. Camarano, Shingo Fujio, Koji Yoshimoto, Flávio S. J. de Souza, Sally A. Camper
Myelopoiesis is invariably present, and contributes to pathology, in animal models of graft versus host disease (GVHD). In humans, a rich inflammatory infiltrate bearing macrophage markers has also been described in histological studies. In order to determine the origin, functional properties and role in pathogenesis of these cells, we isolated single cell suspensions from acute cutaneous GVHD and subjected them to genotype, transcriptome and in vitro functional analysis. A donor-derived population of CD11c+CD14+ cells was the dominant population of all leukocytes in GVHD. Surface phenotype and nanostring gene expression profiling indicated the closest steady-state counterpart of these cells to be monocyte-derived macrophages. In GVHD, however, there was upregulation of monocyte antigens SIRPα and S100A8/9, and transcripts associated with leukocyte trafficking, pattern recognition, antigen presentation, and co-stimulation. Isolated GVHD macrophages stimulated greater proliferation and activation of allogeneic T cells, and secreted higher levels of inflammatory cytokines than their steady-state counterparts. In HLA-matched mixed leukocyte reactions, we also observed differentiation of activated macrophages with a similar phenotype. These exhibited cytopathicity to a cell line and mediated pathological damage to skin explants, independently of T cells. Together, these results define the origin, functional properties and potential pathogenic roles of human GVHD macrophages.
Laura Jardine, Urszula Cytlak, Merry Gunawan, Gary Reynolds, Kile Green, Xiao-nong Wang, Sarah Pagan, Maharani Paramitha, Christopher A. Lamb, Anna Long, Erin Hurst, Smeera Nair, Graham H. Jackson, Amy Publicover, Venetia Bigley, Muzlifah Haniffa, AJ Simpson, Matthew Collin
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). For decades, GVHD prophylaxis has included calcineurin-inhibitors, despite their incomplete efficacy and impairment of graft-versus-leukemia (GVL). Distinct from pharmacologic immune suppression, we have developed a novel, human CD83-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell for GVHD prevention. CD83 is expressed on allo-activated, conventional CD4+ T cells (Tconv) and proinflammatory dendritic cells (DC); which are both implicated in GVHD pathogenesis. Human CD83 CAR T cells eradicate pathogenic CD83+ target cells, significantly increase the ratio of regulatory T cells (Treg) to allo-activated Tconv, and provide durable prevention of xenogeneic GVHD. CD83 CAR T cells are also capable of treating xenogeneic GVHD. We show human, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) expresses CD83 and myeloid leukemia cell lines are readily killed by CD83 CAR T cells. Human CD83 CAR T cells are a promising cell-based approach to prevent two critical complications of allo-HCT; GVHD and relapse. Thus, human CD83 CAR T cells warrant clinical investigation in GVHD prevention and treatment, as well as targeting CD83+ AML.
Bishwas Shrestha, Kelly Walton, Jordan Reff, Elizabeth M. Sagatys, Nhan Tu, Justin C. Boucher, Gongbo Li, Tayyeb Ghafoor, Martin Felices, Jeffrey Miller, Joseph Pidala, Bruce R. Blazar, Claudio Anasetti, Brian C. Betts, Marco L. Davila
Despite the widespread use of antibiotics, bacterial pneumonias in donors strongly predispose to the fatal syndrome of primary graft dysfunction (PGD) following lung transplantation. We report that bacterial endotoxin persists in human donor lungs after pathogen is cleared with antibiotics and is associated with neutrophil infiltration and PGD. In mouse models, depletion of tissue-resident alveolar macrophages (TRAM) attenuated neutrophil recruitment in response to endotoxin as shown by compartmental staining and intravital imaging. Bone marrow chimeric mice revealed that neutrophils were recruited by TRAM through activation of TLR4 in a MyD88-dependent manner. Intriguingly, low levels of endotoxin, insufficient to cause donor lung injury, promoted TRAM-dependent production of CXCL2, increased neutrophil recruitment, and led to PGD, which was independent of donor non-classical monocytes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) increased in human donor lungs starting from the warm-ischemia phase and were associated with increased transcription and translocation to the plasma membrane of TLR4 in donor TRAM. Consistently, scavenging ROS or inhibiting their production to prevent TLR4 transcription/translocation or blockade of TLR4 or co-receptor CD14 on donor TRAM prevented neutrophil recruitment in response to endotoxin and ameliorated PGD. Our studies demonstrate that residual endotoxin after successful treatment of donor bacterial pneumonia promotes PGD through ischemia-reperfusion-primed donor TRAM..
Mahzad Akbarpour, Emilia Lecuona, Stephen Chiu, Qiang Wu, Melissa Querrey, Ramiro Fernandez, Felix Luis Nunez-Santana, Haiying Sun, Sowmya Ravi, Chitaru Kurihara, James M. Walter, Nikita Joshi, Ziyou Ren, Scott C. Roberts, Alan R. Hauser, Daniel Kreisel, Wenjun Li, Navdeep Chandel, Alexander V. Misharin, Thalachallour Mohanakumar, G.R. Scott Budinger, Ankit Bharat
Background: Bariatric surgeries are the most effective treatments for successful and sustained weight loss but individuals vary in treatment response. Understanding the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms accounting for this variation could lead to the development of personalized therapeutic approaches and improve treatment outcomes. The primary objectives were to investigate changes in taste preferences and taste-induced brain responses after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and to identify potential taste-related predictors of weight loss. Methods: Women, ages 18 to 55, with a body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2 and approved for bariatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery were recruited for participation. Demographics, anthropometrics, liking ratings, and neural responses to varying concentrations of sucrose+fat mixtures were assessed pre- and post-surgery via visual analogue scales and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Bariatric surgery produced decreases in liking for sucrose-sweetened mixtures. Greater preference for sucrose-sweetened mixtures prior to surgery was associated with greater weight loss in RYGB but not VSG. In the RYGB group only, individuals who showed lower taste-induced activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) prior to surgery and greater changes in taste-induced VTA activation two weeks following surgery experienced better weight loss. Conclusions: The anatomical and/or metabolic changes associated with RYGB may more effectively “reset” the neural processing of reward stimuli, thereby rescuing the blunted activation in the mesolimbic pathway found in patients with obesity. Further, these findings suggest that RYGB may be particularly effective in patients with a preference for sweet foods. Trial Registration: Not Applicable.Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies. Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies.
Kimberly R. Smith, Afroditi Papantoni, Maria G. Veldhuizen, Vidyulata Kamath, Civonnia Harris, Timothy H. Moran, Susan Carnell, Kimberley E. Steele
Understanding tumor resistance to T cell immunotherapies is critical to improve patient outcomes. Our study revealed a role for transcriptional suppression of the tumor-intrinsic HLA class I (HLA-I) antigen processing and presentation machinery (APM) in therapy resistance. Low HLA-I APM mRNA levels in melanoma metastases prior to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) correlated with non-responsiveness to therapy and poor clinical outcome. Patient-derived melanoma cells with silenced HLA-I APM escaped recognition by autologous CD8+ T cells. However, targeted activation of the innate immunoreceptor RIG-I initiated de novo HLA-I APM transcription thereby overcoming T cell resistance. Antigen presentation was restored in interferon (IFN)-sensitive but also immunoedited IFN-resistant melanoma models through RIG-I-dependent stimulation of an IFN-independent salvage pathway involving IRF1 and IRF3. Likewise, enhanced HLA-I APM expression was detected in RIG-I (DDX58)-high melanoma biopsies, correlating with improved patient survival. Induction of HLA-I APM by RIG-I synergized with antibodies blocking PD-1 and TIGIT inhibitory checkpoints in boosting the anti-tumor T cell activity of ICB non-responders. Overall, the herein identified IFN-independent effect of RIG-I on tumor antigen presentation and T cell recognition proposes innate immunoreceptor targeting as a strategy to overcome intrinsic T cell resistance of IFN-sensitive and IFN-resistant melanomas and improve clinical outcomes in immunotherapy.
Lina Such, Fang Zhao, Derek Liu, Beatrice Thier, Vu Thuy Khanh Le-Trilling, Antje Sucker, Christoph Coch, Natalia Pieper, Sebastian Howe, Hilal Bhat, Halime Kalkavan, Cathrin Ritter, Robin Brinkhaus, Selma Ugurel, Johannes Köster, Ulrike Seifert, Ulf Dittmer, Martin Schuler, Karl Sebastian Lang, Thomas A Kufer, Gunther Hartmann, Jürgen Christian Becker, Susanne Horn, Soldano Ferrone, David Liu, Eliezer M. Van Allen, Dirk Schadendorf, Klaus Griewank, Mirko Trilling, Annette Paschen
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