BACKGROUND. Since December 2019, an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, and is now becoming a global threat. We aimed to delineate and compare the immunologic features of severe and moderate COVID-19. METHODS. In this retrospective study, the clinical and immunologic characteristics of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) with COVID-19 were analyzed. These patients were classified as severe (11 cases) and moderate (10 cases) according to the Guidelines released by the National Health Commission of China. RESULTS. The median age of severe and moderate cases was 61.0 and 52.0 years, respectively. Common clinical manifestations included fever, cough and fatigue. Compared to moderate cases, severe cases more frequently had dyspnea, lymphopenia, and hypoalbuminemia, with higher levels of alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin and D-dimer as well as markedly higher levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α. Absolute number of T lymphocytes, CD4+T and CD8+T cells decreased in nearly all the patients, and were markedly lower in severe cases (294.0, 177.5 and 89.0 × 106/L) than moderate cases (640.5, 381.5 and 254.0 × 106/L). The expressions of IFN-γ by CD4+T cells tended to be lower in severe cases (14.1%) than moderate cases (22.8%). CONCLUSION. The SARS-CoV-2 infection may affect primarily T lymphocytes particularly CD4+T and CD8+ T cells, resulting in decrease in numbers as well as IFN-γ production. These potential immunological markers may be of importance due to their correlation with disease severity in COVID-19.
Guang Chen, Di Wu, Wei Guo, Yong Cao, Da Huang, Hongwu Wang, Tao Wang, Xiaoyun Zhang, Huilong Chen, Haijing Yu, Xiaoping Zhang, Minxia Zhang, Shiji Wu, Jianxin Song, Tao Chen, Meifang Han, Shusheng Li, Xiaoping Luo, Jianping Zhao, Qin Ning
Background. Insulin is a key regulator of metabolic function. The effects of excess adiposity, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis on the complex integration of insulin secretion and hepatic and extrahepatic tissue extraction are not clear. Methods. A hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test were used to evaluate insulin sensitivity and insulin kinetics after glucose ingestion in three groups: i) lean with normal intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) and glucose tolerance (Lean-NL; n=14); ii) obese with normal IHTG and glucose tolerance (Obese-NL; n=24); and iii) obese with hepatic steatosis and prediabetes (Obese-NAFLD; n=22). Results. Insulin sensitivity progressively decreased and insulin secretion progressively increased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD. Fractional hepatic insulin extraction progressively decreased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD, whereas total hepatic insulin extraction (molar amount removed) was greater in Obese-NL and Obese-NAFLD than Lean-NL. Insulin appearance in the systemic circulation and extrahepatic insulin extraction progressively increased from Lean-NL to Obese-NL to Obese-NAFLD. Total hepatic insulin extraction plateaued at high rates of insulin delivery, whereas the relationship between systemic insulin appearance and total extrahepatic extraction was linear. Conclusion. Hyperinsulinemia after glucose ingestion in Obese-NL and Obese-NAFLD is due to an increase in insulin secretion, without a decrease in total hepatic or extrahepatic insulin extraction. However, the liver’s maximum capacity to remove insulin is limited because of a saturable extraction process. The increase in insulin delivery to the liver and extrahepatic tissues in Obese-NAFLD is unable to compensate for the increase in insulin resistance, resulting in impaired glucose homeostasis.
Gordon I. Smith, David C. Polidori, Mihoko Yoshino, Monica L. Kearney, Bruce W. Patterson, Bettina Mittendorfer, Samuel Klein
Background. Post-receptor insulin resistance (IR) is associated with hyperglycemia and hepatic steatosis. However, receptor-level IR (e.g. insulin receptor pathogenic variants, INSR) causes hyperglycemia without steatosis. We examined four pathologic conditions of IR in humans to examine pathways controlling lipid metabolism and gluconeogenesis. Methods. Cross-sectional study of severe, receptor IR (INSR, n=7), versus post-receptor IR that was severe (lipodystrophy, n=14), moderate (type 2 diabetes [T2D], n=9) or mild (obesity, n=8). Lipolysis (glycerol turnover), hepatic glucose production (HGP), gluconeogenesis (deuterium incorporation from body water into glucose), hepatic triglyceride (magnetic resonance spectroscopy), and hepatic fat oxidation (plasma β-hydroxybutyrate) were measured. Results. Lipolysis was 2-3-fold higher in INSR versus all other groups, and HGP 2-fold higher in INSR and lipodystrophy versus T2D and obesity (p<0.001) suggesting severe adipose and hepatic IR. INSR subjects had a higher contribution of gluconeogenesis to HGP, ~77%, versus 52-59% in other groups (p=0.0001). Despite high lipolysis, INSR subjects had low hepatic triglycerides (0.5 [0.1-0.5]), in contrast to lipodystrophy (10.6 [2.8-17.1], p<0.0001). β-hydroxybutyrate was 2-7-fold higher in INSR versus all other groups (p<0.0001) consistent with higher hepatic fat oxidation. Conclusion. These data support a key pathogenic role of adipose tissue IR to increase glycerol and FFA availability to the liver in both receptor and post-receptor IR. However, the fate of FFA diverges in these populations. In receptor-level IR, FFA oxidation drives gluconeogenesis rather than being reesterified to triglyceride. In contrast, in post-receptor IR, FFA contributes to both gluconeogenesis and hepatic steatosis. Trial registration. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01778556; NCT00001987; NCT02457897 Funding. NIDDK, USDA ARS 58-3092-5-001
Hilal Sekizkardes, Stephanie T. Chung, Shaji Chacko, Morey Haymond, Megan Startzell, Mary Walter, Peter J. Walter, Marissa Lightbourne, Rebecca J. Brown
BACKGROUND HBV-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HBV-ACLF) is hallmarked by high short-term mortality rates, calling for accurate prognostic biomarkers for initial risk stratification.METHODS Three tandem mass tag–labeled (TMT-labeled) quantitative proteomic studies were performed on 10 patients with HBV-related acute hepatic decompensation and on 20 patients with HBV-ACLF. Candidate biomarkers were preliminarily verified in a cross-sectional cohort (n = 144) and further confirmed in 2 prospective cohorts (n = 207 and n = 148).RESULTS Plasminogen, a potential prognostic biomarker for HBV-ACLF, was identified by TMT quantitative proteomics and preliminarily verified in the cross-sectional cohort. Further validation with a prospective cohort (n = 207) showed that plasminogen levels at admission were significantly lower (P < 0.001) in HBV-ACLF nonsurvivors than in survivors. The cumulative survival duration of patients with high plasminogen levels was significantly longer (P < 0.001) than that of patients with low plasminogen levels. During hospitalization, plasminogen levels significantly decreased (P = 0.008) in the deterioration group but significantly increased (P < 0.001) in the improvement group. Additionally, plasminogen levels gradually increased in survivors but gradually decreased in nonsurvivors. The P5 score, a prognostic panel incorporating plasminogen levels, hepatic encephalopathy occurrence, age, international normalized ratio (INR), and total bilirubin, was significantly superior to the Child-Pugh, Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD), Chronic Liver Failure Consortium ACLF (CLIF-C ACLF), Chinese Group on the Study of Severe Hepatitis B (COSSH), and HINT (a prognostic score based on hepatic encephalopathy occurrence, INR, neutrophil count, and thyroid-stimulating hormone) scores (all P < 0.05). The performances of the plasminogen level and P5 score were validated in a second multicenter, prospective cohort (n = 148).CONCLUSIONS Plasminogen is a promising prognostic biomarker for HBV-ACLF, and sequential plasminogen measurements could profile the clinical course of HBV-ACLF. P5 is a high-performance prognostic score for HBV-ACLF.FUNDING The National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFC1200204); the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81400589, 81600497); the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81121002); the Chinese High-Tech Research and Development Programs (2012AA020204); the National S&T Major Project (2012ZX10002004); and the Zhejiang Provincial Medicine and Health Science and Technology Project (2016147735).
Daxian Wu, Sainan Zhang, Zhongyang Xie, Ermei Chen, Qunfang Rao, Xiaoli Liu, Kaizhou Huang, Jing Yang, Lanlan Xiao, Feiyang Ji, Zhengyi Jiang, Yalei Zhao, Xiaoxi Ouyang, Danhua Zhu, Xiahong Dai, Zhouhua Hou, Bingjie Liu, Binbin Deng, Ning Zhou, Hainv Gao, Zeyu Sun, Lanjuan Li
Background: Interventions that interrupt Plasmodium vivax transmission or eliminate dormant P. vivax liver-stage parasites will be essential for malaria elimination. Development of these interventions has been hindered by the lack of P. vivax in vitro culture and could be accelerated by a safe and reproducible clinical model in malaria-naïve individuals. Method: Healthy, malaria-naïve adults were enrolled in two studies to assess the safety and infectivity and transmissibility of a new P. vivax isolate. Participants (Study 1; n=2, Study 2; n=24) were inoculated with P. vivax-infected red blood cells to initiate infection, and were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (Study 1) or chloroquine (Study 2). Primary endpoints were safety and infectivity of the new isolate. In Study 2, transmission to mosquitoes was also evaluated using mosquito feeding assays, and sporozoite viability was assessed using in vitro cultured hepatocytes. Results: Parasitaemia and gametocytemia developed in all participants and was cleared by antimalarial treatment. Adverse events were mostly mild or moderate and none were serious. Participants were infectious to Anopheles mosquitoes at peak gametocytemia 69% (11/16). Mosquito infection rates reached 97% following membrane feeding with gametocyte-enriched blood, and sporozoites developed into liver-stage schizonts in culture. Conclusion: We have demonstrated the safe, reproducible, and efficient transmission of P. vivax gametocytes from humans to mosquitoes, and have established an experimental model that will accelerate the development of interventions targeting multiple stages of the P. vivax life cycle. Trial registration: ACTRN12614000930684 and ACTRN12616000174482. Funding: (Australian) NHMRC Program Grant: 1132975 (Study 1). Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1111147) (Study 2).
Katharine A. Collins, Claire Y.T. Wang, Matthew Adams, Hayley Mitchell, Gregory J. Robinson, Melanie Rampton, Suzanne Elliott, Anand Odedra, David S. Khoury, Emma Ballard, Todd B. Shelper, Leonardo Lucantoni, Vicky M. Avery, Stephan Chalon, Jörg J. Möhrle, James S. McCarthy
Background: The anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab is clinically active against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition to T-cells, human natural killer (NK) cells, reported to have the potential to prolong the survival of advanced NSCLC patients, also express PD-1. This study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab plus allogeneic NK cells in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC. Methods: In total, 109 enrolled patients with a programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score (TPS) ≥1% were randomly allocated to group A (55 patients, pembrolizumab plus NK cells) and group B (54 patients, pembrolizumab alone). The patients received intravenous pembrolizumab (10 mg/kg) once every 3 weeks and continued treatment until the occurrence of tumor progression or unacceptable toxicity. The patients in group A continuously received two cycles of NK cell therapy as one course of treatment. Results: In our study, Group A patients had better survival than group B patients (median overall survival [OS]: 15.5 months vs. 13.3 months; median progression-free survival [PFS]: 6.5 months vs. 4.3 months, P<0.05). In group A patients with a TPS ≥50%, the median OS and PFS were significantly prolonged. Moreover, the group A patients treated with multiple courses of NK cell infusion had better OS (18.5 months) than those who received a single course of NK cell infusion (13.5 months). Conclusions: Pembrolizumab plus NK cell therapy yielded improved survival benefits in patients with previously treated PD-L1-positive advanced NSCLC.
Mao Lin, Haihua Luo, Shuzhen Liang, Jibing Chen, Aihua Liu, Lizhi Niu, Yong Jiang
Background: Neurofibroma/schwannoma hybrid nerve sheath tumors (N/S HNSTs) are neoplasms associated with larger nerves that occur sporadically and in the context of schwannomatosis or neurofibromatosis type 2 or 1. Clinical management of N/S HNST is challenging, especially for large tumors, and established systemic treatments are lacking. Methods: We used next-generation sequencing and array-based DNA methylation profiling to determine the clinically actionable genomic and epigenomic landscapes of N/S HNST. Results: Whole-exome sequencing within a precision oncology program identified an activating mutation (p.Asp769Tyr) in the catalytic domain of the ERBB2 receptor tyrosine kinase in a patient with schwannomatosis-associated N/S HNST, and targeted treatment with the small-molecule ERBB inhibitor lapatinib led to prolonged clinical benefit and a lasting radiographic and metabolic response. Analysis of a multicenter validation cohort revealed recurrent ERBB2 mutations (p.Leu755Ser, p.Asp769Tyr, p.Val777Leu) in N/S HNSTs occurring in patients who met diagnostic criteria for sporadic schwannomatosis (3 of 7 patients), but not in N/S HNSTs arising in the context of neurofibromatosis (6 patients) or outside a tumor syndrome (1 patient), and showed that ERBB2-mutant N/S HNSTs cluster in a distinct subgroup of peripheral nerve sheath tumors based on genome-wide DNA methylation patterns. Conclusion: These findings uncover a key biological feature of N/S HNST that may have important diagnostic and therapeutic implications. Funding: This work was supported by grant H021 from DKFZ-HIPO. MWR and PNH have received fellowships from UCT Frankfurt, and MWR has received funding from the Frankfurt Research Funding Clinician Scientist Program.
Michael W. Ronellenfitsch, Patrick N. Harter, Martina Kirchner, Christoph Heining, Barbara Hutter, Laura Gieldon, Jens Schittenhelm, Martin U. Schuhmann, Marcos Tatagiba, Gerhard Marquardt, Marlies Wagner, Volker Endris, Christian H. Brandts, Victor-Felix Mautner, Evelin Schröck, Wilko Weichert, Benedikt Brors, Andreas von Deimling, Michel Mittelbronn, Joachim P. Steinbach, David E. Reuss, Hanno Glimm, Albrecht Stenzinger, Stefan Fröhling
Background. Preclinical experiments have shown that donor blood cells, modified in vitro by an alkylating agent (MIC, modified immune cells), induced long-term specific immunosuppression against the allogeneic donor. Methods. In this phase-I trial, patients received either 1.5x106 MIC per kg b.w. on day -2 (N=3, group A), or 1.5x108 MIC per kg b.w. on day -2 (N=3, group B) or day -7 (N=4, group C) before living donor kidney transplantation in addition to post-transplant immunosuppression. Primary outcome measure was the frequency of adverse events (AE) until day 30 (study phase) with follow-up to day 360. Results. MIC infusions were extremely well tolerated. During the study phase, a total of 69 AE occurred in 10 treated patients which were unlikely/not related to MIC infusion. No donor-specific human leukocyte antigen antibodies or rejection episodes were noted even though the patients received up to 1.3x1010 of donor mononuclear cells prior to transplantation. Group C patients with low immunosuppression during follow-up showed no in vitro reactivity against stimulatory donor blood cells on day 360 while reactivity against third party cells was preserved. Frequencies of CD19+CD24highCD38high transitional B lymphocytes (Breg) increased from a median of 6% before MIC infusion to 20% on day 180, which was 19- and 68-fold higher, respectively, than in two independent cohorts of transplanted controls. The majority of Breg produced immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. MIC-treated patients showed the Immune Tolerance Network operational tolerance signature. Conclusion. MIC administration was safe and could be a future tool for the targeted induction of tolerogenic Breg.
Christian Morath, Anita Schmitt, Christian Kleist, Volker Daniel, Gerhard Opelz, Caner Süsal, Eman H. Ibrahim, Florian Kälble, Claudius Speer, Christian Nusshag, Luiza Pego da Silva, Claudia Sommerer, Lei Wang, Ming Ni, Angela Hückelhoven-Krauss, David Czock, Uta Merle, Arianeb Mehrabi, Anja Sander, Matthes Hackbusch, Christoph Eckert, Rüdiger Waldherr, Paul Schnitzler, Carsten Müller-Tidow, Jörg D. Hoheisel, Shakhawan A. Mustafa, Mohamed S.S. Alhamdani, Andrea S Bauer, Jochen Reiser, Martin Zeier, Michael Schmitt, Matthias Schaier, Peter Terness
BACKGROUND. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency decreases the ability of red blood cells (RBCs) to withstand oxidative stress. Refrigerated storage of RBCs induces oxidative stress. We hypothesized that G6PD-deficient donor RBCs would have inferior storage quality for transfusion as compared to G6PD-normal RBCs. METHODS. Male volunteers were screened for G6PD deficiency; 27 control and 10 G6PD-deficient volunteers each donated one RBC unit. After 42 days of refrigerated storage, autologous 51-Chromium 24-hour post-transfusion RBC recovery (PTR) studies were performed. Metabolomics analyses of these RBC units were also performed. RESULTS. The mean 24-hour PTR for G6PD-deficient subjects was 78.5 ± 8.4% (mean ± SD), which was significantly lower than that for G6PD-normal RBCs (85.3 ± 3.2%; P = 0.0009). None of the G6PD-normal volunteers (0/27) and three G6PD-deficient volunteers (3/10) had PTR results below 75%, a key FDA acceptability criterion for stored donor RBCs. As expected, fresh G6PD-deficient RBCs demonstrated defects in the oxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway. During refrigerated storage, G6PD-deficient RBCs demonstrated increased glycolysis, impaired glutathione homeostasis, and increased purine oxidation, as compared with G6PD-normal RBCs. In addition, there were significant correlations between PTR and specific metabolites in these pathways. CONCLUSIONS. Based on current FDA criteria, RBCs from G6PD-deficient donors would not meet the requirements for storage quality. Metabolomics assessment identified markers of PTR and G6PD deficiency (e.g., pyruvate/lactate ratios), along with potential compensatory pathways that could be leveraged to ameliorate the metabolic needs of G6PD-deficient RBCs. REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04081272. FUNDING. The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant 71590, the National Blood Foundation, NIH grant UL1 TR000040, the Webb-Waring Early Career Award 2017 by the Boettcher Foundation and the NHLBI grant R01HL14644 and R01HL148151.
Richard O. Francis, Angelo D’Alessandro, Andrew Eisenberger, Mark Soffing, Randy Yeh, Esther Coronel, Arif Sheikh, Francesca Rapido, Francesca La Carpia, Julie A. Reisz, Sarah Gehrke, Travis Nemkov, Tiffany Thomas, Joseph Schwartz, Chaitanya Divgi, Debra A. Kessler, Beth H. Shaz, Yelena Ginzburg, James C. Zimring, Steven L. Spitalnik, Eldad A. Hod
BACKGROUND. Beige adipose tissue is associated with improved glucose homeostasis in mice. Adipose tissue contains β3 adrenergic receptors (β3-AR), and this study was intended to determine whether the treatment of obese, insulin-resistant humans with the β3AR agonist mirabegron, which stimulates beige adipose formation in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SC WAT), would induce other beneficial changes in fat and muscle, and improve metabolic homeostasis. METHODS. Before and after β3AR agonist treatment, oral glucose tolerance tests and euglycemic clamps were performed, and histochemistry and gene expression profiling were performed from fat and muscle biopsies. PET CT scans quantified brown adipose tissue volume and activity and we conducted in vitro studies with primary cultures of differentiated human adipocytes and muscle.RESULTS. Clinical effects of mirabegron treatment included improved oral glucose tolerance (P<0.01), reduced hemoglobin A1c (P=0.01), and improved insulin sensitivity (P=0.03) and β-cell function (P=0.01). In SC WAT, mirabegron treatment stimulated lipolysis, reduced fibrotic gene expression and increased alternatively activated macrophages. Subjects with the most SC WAT beiging demonstrated the most improvement in β-cell function. In skeletal muscle, mirabegron reduced triglycerides, increased expression of PGC1A (P<0.05), and increased type I fibers (P<0.01). Conditioned media from adipocytes treated with mirabegron stimulated muscle fiber PGC1A expression in vitro (P<0.001). CONCLUSION. Mirabegron treatment significantly improves glucose tolerance in obese, insulin resistant humans. Since β-cells and skeletal muscle do not express β3-ARs, these data suggest that the beiging of SC WAT by mirabegron reduces adipose tissue dysfunction, which enhances muscle oxidative capacity and improves β-cell function. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02919176.FUNDING. NIH (DK112282, P30GM127211, DK 71349, and CTSA grant UL1TR001998).
Brian S. Finlin, Hasiyet Memetimin, Beibei Zhu, Amy L. Confides, Hemendra J. Vekaria, Riham H. El Khouli, Zachary R. Johnson, Philip M. Westgate, Jianzhong Chen, Andrew J. Morris, Patrick G. Sullivan, Esther E. Dupont-Versteegden, Philip A. Kern
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