Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) recently has had a marked impact on human allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Yet, our understanding of how PTCy prevents graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) largely has been extrapolated from major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-matched murine skin allografting models that were highly contextual in their efficacy. Herein, we developed a T-cell-replete, MHC-haploidentical, murine HCT model (B6C3F1→B6D2F1) to test the putative underlying mechanisms: alloreactive T-cell elimination, alloreactive T-cell intrathymic clonal deletion, and suppressor T-cell induction. In this model and confirmed in four others, PTCy did not eliminate alloreactive T cells identified using either specific Vβs or the 2C or 4C T-cell receptors. Furthermore, the thymus was not necessary for PTCy’s efficacy. Rather, PTCy induced alloreactive T-cell functional impairment which was supported by highly active suppressive mechanisms established within one day after PTCy that were sufficient to prevent new donor T cells from causing GVHD. These suppressive mechanisms included the rapid, preferential recovery of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, including those that were alloantigen-specific, which served an increasingly critical function over time. Our results prompt a paradigm-shift in our mechanistic understanding of PTCy. These results have direct clinical implications for understanding tolerance induction and for rationally developing novel strategies to improve patient outcomes.
Lucas P. Wachsmuth, Michael T. Patterson, Michael A. Eckhaus, David J. Venzon, Ronald E. Gress, Christopher G. Kanakry
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is associated with the emergence of persistent negative emotional states during drug abstinence that drive compulsive drug taking and seeking. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rats identified neurocircuits that were activated by stimuli that were previously paired with heroin withdrawal. The activation of amygdala and hypothalamic circuits was related to the degree of heroin dependence, supporting the significance of conditioned negative affect in sustaining compulsive-like heroin seeking and taking and providing neurobiological insights into the drivers of the current opioid crisis.
Stephanie A. Carmack, Robin J. Keeley, Janaina C.M. Vendruscolo, Emily G. Lowery-Gionta, Hanbing Lu, George F. Koob, Elliot A. Stein, Leandro F. Vendruscolo
Background: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are a promising therapy for hematologic malignancies. B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a rational target in multiple myeloma (MM). Methods: We conducted a phase I study of autologous T cells lentivirally-transduced with a fully-human, BCMA-specific CAR containing CD3ζ and 4-1BB signaling domains (CART-BCMA), in subjects with relapsed/refractory MM. Twenty-five subjects were treated in 3 cohorts: 1) 1-5 x 108 CART-BCMA cells alone; 2) Cyclophosphamide (Cy) 1.5 g/m2 + 1-5 x 107 CART-BCMA cells; and 3) Cy 1.5 g/m2 + 1-5 x 108 CART-BCMA cells. No pre-specified BCMA expression level was required. Results: CART-BCMA cells were manufactured and expanded in all subjects. Toxicities included cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity, which were grade 3-4 in 8 (32%) and 3 (12%) subjects, respectively, and reversible. One subject died at day 24 from candidemia and progressive myeloma, following treatment for severe CRS and encephalopathy. Responses (based on treated subjects) were seen in 4/9 (44%) in cohort 1, 1/5 (20%) in cohort 2, and 7/11 (64%) in cohort 3, including 5 partial, 5 very good partial, and 2 complete responses, 3 of which were ongoing at 11, 14, and 32 months. Decreased BCMA expression on residual MM cells was noted in responders; expression increased at progression in most. Responses and CART-BCMA expansion were associated with CD4:CD8 T cell ratio and frequency of CD45RO-CD27+CD8+ T cells in the pre-manufacturing leukapheresis product. Conclusion: CART-BCMA infusions with or without lymphodepleting chemotherapy are clinically active in heavily-pretreated MM patients. Trial Registration: NCT02546167. Funding: University of Pennsylvania-Novartis Alliance and NIH.
Adam D. Cohen, Alfred L. Garfall, Edward A. Stadtmauer, J. Joseph Melenhorst, Simon F. Lacey, Eric Lancaster, Dan T. Vogl, Brendan M. Weiss, Karen Dengel, Annemarie Nelson, Gabriela Plesa, Fang Chen, Megan M. Davis, Wei-Ting Hwang, Regina M. Young, Jennifer L. Brogdon, Randi Isaacs, Iulian Pruteanu-Malinici, Don L. Siegel, Bruce L. Levine, Carl H. June, Michael C. Milone
Mice selectively expressing PPARγ dominant negative mutation in vascular smooth muscle exhibit RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension. Our rationale was to employ genetic complementation to uncover the mechanism of action of RhoBTB1 in vascular smooth muscle. Inducible smooth muscle-specific restoration of RhoBTB1 fully corrected the hypertension and arterial stiffness by improving vasodilator function. Notably, the cardiovascular protection occurred despite preservation of increased agonist-mediated contraction and RhoA/Rho kinase activity, suggesting RhoBTB1 selectively controls vasodilation. RhoBTB1 augmented the cGMP response to nitric oxide by restraining the activity of phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) by acting as a substrate adaptor delivering PDE5 to the Cullin-3 E3 Ring ubiquitin ligase complex for ubiquitination inhibiting PDE5. Angiotensin-II infusion also caused RhoBTB1-deficiency and hypertension which was prevented by smooth muscle specific RhoBTB1 restoration. We conclude that RhoBTB1 protected from hypertension, vascular smooth muscle dysfunction, and arterial stiffness in at least two models of hypertension.
Masashi Mukohda, Shi Fang, Jing Wu, Larry N. Agbor, Anand R. Nair, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Chunyan Hu, Xuebo Liu, Ko-Ting Lu, Deng-Fu Guo, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund
Chronic alcohol consumption causes liver injury, inflammation and fibrosis, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Paradoxically, modest drinking is believed to confer metabolic improvement, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have identified a novel hepatoprotective brain/brown adipose tissue (BAT)/liver axis. Alcohol consumption or direct alcohol administration into the brain stimulated hypothalamic neural circuits and sympathetic nerves innervating BAT, and dramatically increased BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression and activity in a BAT sympathetic nerve-dependent manner. BAT and beige fat oxidized fatty acids to fuel Ucp1-mediated thermogenesis, thereby inhibiting lipid trafficking into the liver. BAT also secreted several adipokines, including adiponectin that suppressed hepatocyte injury and death. Genetic deletion of Ucp1 profoundly augmented alcohol-induced liver steatosis, injury, inflammation and fibrosis in male and female mice. Conversely, activation of BAT and beige fat through cold exposure suppressed alcoholic liver disease development. Our results unravel an unrecognized brain alcohol-sensing/sympathetic nerve/BAT/liver axis that counteracts liver steatosis and injury.
Hong Shen, Lin Jiang, Jiandie D. Lin, M. Bishr Omary, Liangyou Rui
Neurofascin-155 (Nfasc155) is an essential glial cell adhesion molecule expressed in paranodal septate-like junctions of peripheral and central myelinated axons. The genetic deletion of Nfasc155 results in the loss of septate-like junctions and in conduction slowing. In humans, IgG4 antibodies against Nfasc155 are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). These antibodies are associated with an aggressive onset, a refractoriness to intravenous immunoglobulin, and tremor of possible cerebellar origin. Here, we examined the pathogenic effects of patient-derived anti-Nfasc155 IgG4. These antibodies did not inhibit the ability of Nfasc155 to complex with its axonal partners contactin-1/CASPR1 or induce target internalization. Passive transfer experiments revealed that IgG4 antibodies target Nfasc155 on Schwann cell surface, and diminished Nfasc155 protein levels and prevented paranodal complex formation in neonatal animals. In adult animals, chronic intrathecal infusions of antibodies also induced the loss of Nfasc155 and of paranodal specialization and resulted in conduction alterations in motor nerves. These results indicate that anti-Nfasc155 IgG4 perturb conduction in absence of demyelination, validating the existence of paranodopathy. These results also shed light on the mechanisms regulating protein insertion at paranodes.
Constance Manso, Luis Querol, Cinta Lleixà, Mallory Poncelet, Mourad Mekaouche, Jean-Michel Vallat, Isabel Illa, Jerome J. Devaux
BACKGROUND. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells can induce remission in highly refractory leukemia and lymphoma subjects, yet the parameters for achieving sustained relapse-free survival are not fully delineated. METHODS. We analyzed 43 pediatric and young adult subjects participating in a Phase I trial of defined composition CD19CAR T cells (NCT02028455). CAR T cell phenotype, function and expansion, as well as starting material T cell repertoire, were analyzed in relation to therapeutic outcome (defined as achieving complete remission within 63 days) and duration of leukemia free survival and B cell aplasia. RESULTS. These analyses reveal that initial therapeutic failures (n = 5) were associated with attenuated CAR T cell expansion and/or rapid attrition of functional CAR effector cells following adoptive transfer. The CAR T products were similar in phenotype and function when compared to products resulting in sustained remissions. However, the initial apheresed peripheral blood T cells could be distinguished by an increased frequency of LAG-3+/TNF-αlow CD8 T cells and, following adoptive transfer, the rapid expression of exhaustion markers. For the 38 subjects who achieved an initial sustained MRD-neg remission, remission durability correlated with therapeutic products having increased frequencies of TNF-α-secreting CAR CD8+ T cells, and was dependent on a sufficiently high CD19+ antigen load at time of infusion to trigger CAR T cell proliferation. CONCLUSION. These parameters have the potential to prospectively identify patients at risk for therapeutic failure and support the development of approaches to boost CAR T cell activation and proliferation in patients with low levels of CD19 antigen. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02028455. FUNDING. Partial funding for this study was provided by Stand Up to Cancer & St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Dream Team Translational Research Grant (SU2C-AACR-DT1113), RO1 CA136551-05, Alex Lemonade Stand Phase I/II Infrastructure Grant, Conquer Cancer Foundation Career Development Award, Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund, Ben Towne Foundation, William Lawrence & Blanche Hughes Foundation, and Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a Celgene Company.
Olivia C. Finney, Hannah M. Brakke, Stephanie Rawlings-Rhea, Roxana Hicks, Danielle Doolittle, Marisa Lopez, Robert B. Futrell, Rimas J. Orentas, Daniel Li, Rebecca A. Gardner, Michael C. Jensen
The Epstein Barr virus (EBV) is one of the predominant tumor viruses in humans, but so far no therapeutic or prophylactic vaccination against this transforming pathogen is available. We demonstrated that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with the nuclear antigen 1 of EBV (EBNA1) either targeted to the DEC205 receptor on dendritic cells or expressed from a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector improved priming of antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell help. This help supported the expansion and maintenance of EBNA1 specific CD8+ T cells that are most efficiently primed by recombinant adenoviruses that encode EBNA1. These combined CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses protected from EBNA1 expressing T and B cell lymphomas, including lymphoproliferations that emerge spontaneously after EBNA1 expression. In particular the heterologous EBNA1-expressing adenovirus, boosted by EBNA1-encoding MVA vaccination, demonstrated protection as prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of the respective lymphoma challenges. Therefore, we suggest that such heterologous prime-boost vaccinations should be further explored for clinical development against EBV-associated malignancies as well as symptomatic primary EBV infection.
Julia Rühl, Carmen Citterio, Christine Engelmann, Tracey A. Haigh, Andrzej Dzionek, Johannes H. Dreyer, Rajiv Khanna, Graham S. Taylor, Joanna B. Wilson, Carol S. Leung, Christian Münz
A key mechanism of tumor resistance to immune cells is mediated by expression of peptide-loaded HLA-E in tumor cells, which suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity via ligation of the NK inhibitory receptor CD94/NKG2A. Gene expression data from approximately 10,000 tumor samples showed widespread HLAE expression, with levels correlating with those of KLRC1 (NKG2A) and KLRD1 (CD94). To bypass HLA-E inhibition, we developed a way to generate highly functional NK cells lacking NKG2A. Constructs containing a single-chain variable fragment derived from an anti-NKG2A antibody were linked to endoplasmic reticulum-retention domains. After retroviral transduction in human peripheral blood NK cells, these NKG2A Protein Expression Blockers (PEBLs) abrogated NKG2A expression. The resulting NKG2Anull NK cells had higher cytotoxicity against HLA-E-expressing tumor cells. Transduction of anti-NKG2A PEBL produced more potent cytotoxicity than interference with an anti-NKG2A antibody and prevented de novo NKG2A expression, without affecting NK cell proliferation. In immunodeficient mice, NKG2Anull NK cells were significantly more powerful than NKG2A+ NK cells against HLA-E-expressing tumors. Thus, NKG2A downregulation evades the HLA-E cancer immune-checkpoint, and increases the anti-tumor activity of NK cell infusions. Because this strategy is easily adaptable to current protocols for clinical-grade immune cell processing, its clinical testing is feasible and warranted.
Takahiro Kamiya, See Voon Seow, Desmond Wong, Murray Robinson, Dario Campana
Background: Systems vaccinology allows cutting-edge analysis of innate biomarkers of vaccine efficacy. We have been exploring novel strategies to shape the adaptive immune response, by targeting innate immune cells through novel immunization routes. Methods: This randomized phase I/II clinical study (n=60 healthy subjects aged 18-45 years old) used transcriptomic analysis to discover early biomarkers of immune response quality after transcutaneous (t.c.), intradermal (i.d.), and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV season 2012-2013) (1:1:1 ratio). Safety and immunogenicity (hemagglutinin inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) antibodies and CD4, CD8 effector T cells) were measured at baseline Day (D)0 and at D21. Blood transcriptome was analyzed at D0 and D1. Results: TIV-specific CD8+GranzymeB+(GRZ) T cells appeared in more individuals immunized by the t.c. and i.d. routes, while immunization by the i.d. and i.m. routes prompted high levels of HI antibody titers and MN against A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 influenza viral strains. The early innate gene signature anticipated immunological outcome by discriminating two clusters of individuals with either distinct humoral or CD8 cytotoxic responses. Several pathways explained this dichotomy confirmed by nine genes and serum level of CXCL10 were correlated with either TIV-specific cytotoxic CD8+GRZ+ T-cell or antibody responses. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that these nine genes and serum levels of CXCL10 (D1/D0) best foreseen TIV-specific CD8+GRZ+ T-cell and antibody responses at D21. Conclusion: This study provides new insight into the impact of immunization routes and innate signature in the quality of adaptive immune responses.
Eléna Gonçalves, Olivia Bonduelle, Angèle Soria, Pierre Loulergue, Alexandra Rousseau, Marine Cachanado, Henri Bonnabau, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Nicolas Tchitchek, Sylvie Behillil, Sylvie van der Werf, Annika Vogt, Tabassome Simon, Odile Launay, Behazine Combadière
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