Pregnancy presents an immunological conundrum because two genetically different individuals coexist. The maternal lymphocytes at the uterine maternal-fetal interface that can recognize mismatched placental cells are T cells and abundant distinctive uterine NK (uNK) cells. Multiple mechanisms exist that avoid damaging T cell responses to the fetus, whereas activation of uNK cells is probably physiological. Indeed, genetic epidemiological data suggest that the variability of NK cell receptors and their MHC ligands define pregnancy success; however, exactly how uNK cells function in normal and pathological pregnancy is still unclear, and any therapies aimed at suppressing NK cells must be viewed with caution. Allorecognition of fetal placental cells by uNK cells is emerging as the key maternal-fetal immune mechanism that regulates placentation.
Ashley Moffett, Francesco Colucci
Food allergy is a common condition for which there are currently no approved treatments except avoidance of the allergenic food and treatment of accidental reactions. There are several potential treatments that are under active investigation in animal and human studies, but it is not yet clear what the best approach may be. Here, we review approaches that are currently in clinical trials, including oral, sublingual, and epicutaneous immunotherapy, immunotherapy combined with anti-IgE, and Chinese herbal medicine as well as approaches that are in preclinical or early clinical investigation, including modified protein immunotherapy, adjuvants, DNA vaccines, and helminth administration. We discuss the importance of fully exploring the risks and benefits of any treatment before it is taken to general clinical practice and the need for clarity about the goals of treatment.
Corinne A. Keet, Robert A. Wood
Early demonstrations that mice could be tolerized to transplanted tissues with short courses of immunosuppressive therapy and that with regard to tolerance to self, CD4+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) appeared to play a critical role, have catalyzed strategies to harness FOXP3-dependent processes to control rejection in human transplantation. This review seeks to examine the scientific underpinning for this new approach to finesse immunosuppression.
Herman Waldmann, Robert Hilbrands, Duncan Howie, Stephen Cobbold
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of visual loss in the elderly, with increasing prevalence due to increasing life expectancy. While the introduction of anti-VEGF therapy has improved outcomes, there are still major unmet needs and gaps in the understanding of underlying biological processes. These include early, intermediate, and atrophic disease stages. Recent studies have assessed therapeutic approaches addressing various disease-associated pathways, including complement inhibitors. Drug-delivery aspects are also relevant, as many agents have to be administered repeatedly. Herein, relevant pathogenetic factors and underlying mechanisms as well as recent and potential therapeutic approaches are reviewed.
Frank G. Holz, Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg, Monika Fleckenstein
It is increasingly evident that cancer results from altered organ homeostasis rather than from deregulated control of single cells or groups of cells. This applies especially to epithelial cancer, the most common form of human solid tumors and a major cause of cancer lethality. In the vast majority of cases, in situ epithelial cancer lesions do not progress into malignancy, even if they harbor many of the genetic changes found in invasive and metastatic tumors. While changes in tumor stroma are frequently viewed as secondary to changes in the epithelium, recent evidence indicates that they can play a primary role in both cancer progression and initiation. These processes may explain the phenomenon of field cancerization, i.e., the occurrence of multifocal and recurrent epithelial tumors that are preceded by and associated with widespread changes of surrounding tissue or organ “fields.”
G. Paolo Dotto
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5-HT) receptors mediate a plethora of physiological phenomena in the brain and the periphery. Additionally, serotonergic dysfunction has been implicated in nearly every neuropsychiatric disorder. The effects of serotonin are mediated by fourteen GPCRs. Both the therapeutic actions and side effects of commonly prescribed drugs are frequently due to nonspecific actions on various 5-HT receptor subtypes. For more than 20 years, the search for clinically efficacious drugs that selectively target 5-HT receptor subtypes has been only occasionally successful. This review provides an overview of 5-HT receptor pharmacology and discusses two recent 5-HT receptor subtype–selective drugs, lorcaserin and pimavanserin, which target the 5HT2C and 5HT2A receptors and provide new treatments for obesity and Parkinson’s disease psychosis, respectively.
Herbert Y. Meltzer, Bryan L. Roth
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an emerging interventional therapy for well-screened patients with specific treatment-resistant neuropsychiatric diseases. Some neuropsychiatric conditions, such as Parkinson disease, have available and reasonable guideline and efficacy data, while other conditions, such as major depressive disorder and Tourette syndrome, have more limited, but promising results. This review summarizes both the efficacy and the neuroanatomical targets for DBS in four common neuropsychiatric conditions: Parkinson disease, Tourette syndrome, major depressive disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Based on emerging new research, we summarize novel approaches to optimization of stimulation for each neuropsychiatric disease and we review the potential positive and negative effects that may be observed following DBS. Finally, we summarize the likely future innovations in the field of electrical neural-network modulation.
Nolan R. Williams, Michael S. Okun
Schizophrenia is strongly familial yet rarely (if ever) exhibits classical Mendelian inheritance patterns. The advent of large-scale genotyping and sequencing projects has yielded large data sets with higher statistical power in an effort to uncover new associations with schizophrenia. Here, we review the challenges in dissecting the genetics of schizophrenia and provide an update of the current understanding of the underlying genomics. We discuss the breadth of susceptibility alleles, including those that may occur with low frequency and high disease risk, such as the 22q11.2 hemideletion, as well as alleles that may occur with greater frequency but convey a lower risk of schizophrenia, such as variants in genes encoding subunits of the voltage-gated L-type calcium channel. Finally, we provide an overview of the clinical implications for the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia based on progress in understanding the underlying genetic basis.
Paola Giusti-Rodríguez, Patrick F. Sullivan
Since the discovery of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by molecular cloning almost a quarter of a century ago, unprecedented at the time because the virus had never been grown in cell culture or detected serologically, there have been impressive strides in many facets of our understanding of the natural history of the disease, the viral life cycle, the pathogenesis, and antiviral therapy. It is apparent that the virus has developed multiple strategies to evade immune surveillance and eradication. This Review covers what we currently understand of the temporal and spatial immunological changes within the human innate and adaptive host immune responses that ultimately determine the outcomes of HCV infection.
Hugo R. Rosen
Immunological and neural synapses share properties such as the synaptic cleft, adhesion molecules, stability, and polarity. However, the mismatch in scale has limited the utility of these comparisons. The discovery of phosphatase micro-exclusion from signaling elements in immunological synapses and innate phagocytic synapses define a common functional unit at a common sub-micron scale across synapse types. Bundling of information from multiple antigen receptor microclusters by an immunological synapse has parallels to bundling of multiple synaptic inputs into a single axonal output by neurons, allowing integration and coincidence detection. Bonafide neuroimmune synapses control the inflammatory reflex. A better understanding of the shared mechanisms between immunological and neural synapses could aid in the development of new therapeutic modalities for immunological, neurological, and neuroimmunological disorders alike.
Michael L. Dustin
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