Background: Marked progress is achieved in understanding the physiopathology of COVID-19 that caused global pandemics. However, CD4+ T cell population that is critical for antibody response in COVID-19 is poorly understood. Methods: In this study, we provided a comprehensive analysis of peripheral CD4+ T cells of 13 COVID-19 convalescent patients, as defined as confirmed free of SARS-CoV-2 for 2-4 weeks, using flow cytometry, magnetic chemiluminescence enzyme antibody immunoassay and correlated the data with clinical characteristics. Results: We observed that relative to healthy individuals, convalescent patients displayed an altered peripheral CD4+ T cell spectrum. Specifically, consistent with other viral infections, cTFH1 cell associated with SARS-CoV-2 targeting antibodies, which was found to skew with disease severity as more severe individuals showed higher frequency of TEM and TFH-EM cells but a lower frequency of TCM, TFH-CM and TNaive cells, relative to mild and moderate patients. Interestingly, higher frequency of cTFH-EM cells correlated with lower number of recorded admission blood oxygen level in convalescent patients. These observations might constitute residual effects by which COVID-19 can impact the homeostasis of CD4+ T cells in the long-term and explain the highest ratio of class-switched virus-specific antibody producing individuals found in our severe COVID-19 cohort. Conclusion: Together, our study demonstrated close connection between CD4+ T cells and antibody production in COVID-19 convalescents.Funding: This study was supported by Six Talent Peaks Project in Jiangsu Province and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) grants 81970759.
Fang Gong, Yaping Dai, Ting Zheng, Liang Cheng, Dan Zhao, Hao Wang, Min Liu, Hao Pei, Tengchuan Jin, Di Yu, Pengcheng Zhou
BACKGROUND Although mania is characteristic of bipolar disorder, it can also occur following focal brain damage. Such cases may provide unique insight into brain regions responsible for mania symptoms and identify therapeutic targets.METHODS Lesion locations associated with mania were identified using a systematic literature search (n = 41) and mapped onto a common brain atlas. The network of brain regions functionally connected to each lesion location was computed using normative human connectome data (resting-state functional MRI, n = 1000) and contrasted with those obtained from lesion locations not associated with mania (n = 79). Reproducibility was assessed using independent cohorts of mania lesions derived from clinical chart review (n = 15) and of control lesions (n = 490). Results were compared with brain stimulation sites previously reported to induce or relieve mania symptoms.RESULTS Lesion locations associated with mania were heterogeneous and no single brain region was lesioned in all, or even most, cases. However, these lesion locations showed a unique pattern of functional connectivity to the right orbitofrontal cortex, right inferior temporal gyrus, and right frontal pole. This connectivity profile was reproducible across independent lesion cohorts and aligned with the effects of therapeutic brain stimulation on mania symptoms.CONCLUSIONS Brain lesions associated with mania are characterized by a specific pattern of brain connectivity that lends insight into localization of mania symptoms and potential therapeutic targets.FUNDING Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Harvard Medical School DuPont-Warren Fellowship, Portuguese national funds from FCT and Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional, Child Neurology Foundation Shields Research, Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation, Nancy Lurie Marks Foundation, Mather’s Foundation, and the NIH.
Gonçalo Cotovio, Daniel Talmasov, J. Bernardo Barahona-Corrêa, Joey Hsu, Suhan Senova, Ricardo Ribeiro, Louis Soussand, Ana Velosa, Vera Cruz e Silva, Natalia Rost, Ona Wu, Alexander L. Cohen, Albino J. Oliveira-Maia, Michael D. Fox
Background: Patients with diffuse midline gliomas (DMG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), have dismal outcomes. We previously described the H3.3K27M mutation as a shared neoantigen in HLA-A*02.01+ H3.3K27M+ DMGs. Within the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, we assessed safety and efficacy of an H3.3K27M-targeted peptide vaccine. Patients and Methods: Newly diagnosed patients aged 3-21 years with HLA-A*02.01+ and H3.3K27M+ status were enrolled into Stratum A (DIPG) and Stratum B (non-pontine DMG). Vaccine was administered in combination with poly-ICLC every three weeks for eight cycles, followed by once every six weeks. Immuno-monitoring and imaging occurred every three months. Imaging was centrally reviewed. Immunological responses were assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using mass cytometry. Results: 19 patients enrolled in Stratum A (median age=11 years) and 10 in Stratum B (median age=13 years). There were no grade 4 treatment-related adverse events (TRAE). Injection site reaction was the most commonly reported TRAE. Overall survival (OS) at 12 months was 40% (95% CI, 22% to 73%) for Stratum A and 39% (95% CI, 16% to 93%) for Stratum B. The median OS was 16.1 months in patients exhibiting an expansion of H3.3K27M-reactive CD8+ T-cells compared to 9.8 months for their counterparts (p=0.05). DIPG patients with below-median baseline levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells had prolonged OS compared to their counterparts (p<0.01). Immediate pre-treatment dexamethasone administration inversely associated with H3.3K27M-reactive CD8+ T-cell responses. Conclusion: Administration of the H3.3K27M-specific vaccine is well tolerated. Patients with H3.3K27M-specific CD8+ immunological responses demonstrated prolonged OS compared to non-responders.
Sabine Mueller, Jared M. Taitt, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Erin R. Bonner, Takahide Nejo, Rishi R Lulla, Stewart Goldman, Anu Banerjee, Susan N. Chi, Nicholas S. Whipple, John R. Crawford, Karen Gauvain, Kellie J. Nazemi, Payal B. Watchmaker, Neil D. Almeida, Kaori Okada, Andres M. Salazar, Ryan D. Gilbert, Javad Nazarian, Annette M. Molinaro, Lisa H. Butterfield, Michael D. Prados, Hideho Okada
BACKGROUND. Current methods for the detection and surveillance of bladder cancer (BCa) are often invasive and/or possess suboptimal sensitivity and specificity, especially in early stage, minimal, residual tumors. METHODS. We developed a novel method for the detection of urine tumor DNA Methylation at multiple genomic regions by Mass Array, termed utMeMA. We identified the BCa-specific methylation markers by combined analyses of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital (SYSMH), TCGA and GEO cohorts. The BCa diagnostic model was built in a retrospective cohort (n=313) and validated in a multicenter, prospective cohort (n=175). The performance of this diagnostic assay was analyzed and compared with urine cytology and FISH. RESULTS. We first discovered 26 significant methylation markers of BCa in combined analyses. We build and validate a two-marker-based diagnostic model that discriminated patients with BCa with high accuracy (86.7%), sensitivity (90.0%) and specificity (83.1%). Furthermore, utMeMA based assay achieved a great improvement in sensitivity over urine cytology and FISH, especially in the detection of early stage (Ta and low grade tumor, 64.5% vs. 11.8%, 15.8%), minimal (81.0% vs. 14.8%, 37.9%), residual (93.3% vs. 27.3%, 64.3%) and recurrent (89.5% vs. 31.4%, 52.8%) tumors. The urine diagnostic score (UD-score) from this assay was better associated with tumor malignancy and burden. CONCLUSIONS. Urine tumor DNA methylation assessment for early diagnosis, minimal, residual tumor detection and surveillance in bladder cancer is a rapid, high-throughput, non-invasive and promising approach, which may reduce the burden of cystoscopy and blind second surgery.
Xu Chen, Jingtong Zhang, Weimei Ruan, Ming Huang, Chanjuan Wang, Hong Wang, Zeyu Jiang, Shaogang Wang, Zheng Liu, Chunxiao Liu, Wanlong Tan, Jin Yang, Jiaxin Chen, Zhiwei Chen, Xia Li, Xiaoyu Zhang, Peng Xu, Lin Chen, Ruihui Xie, Qianghua Zhou, Shizhong Xu, Darryl Irwin, JIAN-BING FAN, Jian Huang, Tianxin Lin
BACKGROUND. COVID-19 patients develop pneumonia generally associated to lymphopenia and severe inflammatory response due to uncontrolled cytokine release. These mediators are transcriptionally regulated by the JAK-STAT signaling pathways, which can be disabled by small molecules. METHODS. A group of subjects (n = 20) was treated with baricitinib according to an off-label use of the drug. The study was designed as an observational longitudinal trial and approved by the local ethical committee. The patients were treated with baricitinib 4 mg twice daily for 2 days, followed by 4 mg per day for the remaining 7 days. Changes in the immune phenotype and expression of pSTAT3 in blood cells were evaluated and correlated with serum-derived cytokine levels and antibodies anti-SARS-CoV-2. In a single treated patient, we evaluated also the alteration of myeloid cell functional activity. RESULTS. We provided evidences that baricitinib-treated patients have a marked reduction in serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a rapid recovery in circulating T and B cell frequencies, and increased antibody production against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which were clinically associated with a reduction in oxygen flow need and progressive increase in the P/F. CONCLUSION. Baricitinib prevented the progression towards a severe/extreme form of the viral disease by modulating the patients’ immune landscape and these changes were associated with a safer and favorable clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The ClinicalTrials.gov identifier of this project is protocol NCT04438629. FUNDING. This work was supported by Fondazione Cariverona (ENACT Project) and Fondazione TIM.
Vincenzo Bronte, Stefano Ugel, Elisa Tinazzi, Antonio Vella, Francesco De Sanctis, Stefania Canè, Veronica Batani, Rosalinda Trovato, Alessandra Fiore, Varvara Petrova, Francesca Hofer, Roza Maria Barouni, Chiara Musiu, Simone Caligola, Laura Pinton, Lorena Torroni, Enrico Polati, Katia Donadello, Simonetta Friso, Francesca Pizzolo, Manuela Iezzi, Federica Facciotti, Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, Daniela Righetti, Paolo Bazzoni, Mariaelisa Rampudda, Andrea C. Comel, Walter Mosaner, Claudio Lunardi, Oliviero Olivieri
Background:While mitochondria play an important role in innate immunity, the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation in heart failure (HF) is poorly understood. In this study we aimed to investigate the mechanistic link between mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammatory activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and the potential anti-inflammatory effect of boosting NAD level.Methods:We compared the PBMC mitochondrial respiration of 19 hospitalized Stage D HF patients with 19 healthy participants. We then created an in vitro model of sterile inflammation by treating healthy PBMC with MitoDAMP (Mitochondrial Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns) isolated from human heart tissue. Lastly, we enrolled Stage D HF patients and sampled their blood before and after taking 5-9 days of oral nicotinamide riboside, an NAD precursor.Results:We demonstrated that HF is associated with both reduced respiratory capacity and elevated proinflammatory cytokine gene expressions. In our in vitro model, MitoDAMP-treated PBMCs secreted IL-6 that impaired mitochondrial respiration by reducing Complex I activity. Last, oral NR administration enhanced PBMC respiration and reduced proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in 4 HF subjects.Conclusion:These findings suggest that systemic inflammation in HF patients is causally linked to mitochondrial function of the PBMC. Increasing NAD levels may have the potential to improve mitochondrial respiration and attenuate proinflammatory activation of PBMC in HF. FundingThis study is funded by NIH R21 HL126209 (to RT and KO), NIH R01 HL144937 (to KO and RT) and University of Washington ITHS Catalyst Award (to DDW). Both BZ (18POST33990352) and DDW (18POST34030098) are funded by the AHA Postdoctoral Fellowships.
Bo Zhou, Dennis D. Wang, Yanhua Qiu, Sophia Airhart, Yaxin Liu, April Stempien-Otero, Kevin D. O’Brien, Rong Tian.
Background: The recent failure of checkpoint-blockade therapies for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in late-phase clinical trials has directed interest towards adoptive cellular immunotherapies (ACT). In this open-label, first-in-human trial, we have assessed the safety and therapeutic potential of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific ACT in an adjuvant setting for patients with primary GBM, with an ultimate goal to prevent or delay recurrence and prolong overall survival. Methods: Twenty-eight patients with primary GBM were recruited to this prospective study, 25 of whom were treated with in vitro-expanded autologous CMV-specific T cells. Participants were monitored for safety, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and immune reconstitution. Results: No participants showed evidence of ACT-related toxicities. Of 25 evaluable participants, ten were alive at the completion of follow-up, while five were disease free. Reconstitution of CMV-specific T-cell immunity was evident and CMV-specific ACT may trigger bystander effect leading to additional T-cell responses to non-viral tumour-associated antigens through epitope spreading. Long-term follow-up of participants treated before recurrence showed significantly improved OS when compared to those who progressed before ACT (median 23 months, range 7–65 vs. median 14 months, range 5–19; p=0.018). Gene expression analysis of the ACT products indicated that a favourable T-cell gene signature was associated with improved long-term survival. Conclusion: Data presented in this study demonstrate that CMV-specific ACT can be safely used as an adjuvant therapy for primary GBM and, if offered before recurrence, this therapy may improve overall survival of GBM patients.Trial registration: anzctr.org.au: ACTRN12615000656538Funding Source:National Health & Medical Research Council (Australia) Trial registration: anzctr.org.au: ACTRN12615000656538 Funding Source: Philanthropic funding &National Health & Medical Research Council (Australia)
Corey Smith, Katie E. Lineburg, J. Paulo Martins, George Ambalathingal, Michelle A. Neller, Beth Morrison, Katherine K. Matthews, Sweera Rehan, Pauline Crooks, Archana Panikkar, Leone Beagley, Laetitia Le Texier, Sriganesh Srihari, David Walker, Rajiv Khanna
Background. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy has achieved complete remission and durable response in highly refractory patients. However, logistical complexity and high costs of manufacturing autologous viral products limit CAR T cell availability. Methods. We reported the early results of a phase I/II trial in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) patients relapsed after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) using donor-derived CD19 CAR T cells generated with the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon and differentiated into cytokine induced killer cells (CIK). Results. The cellular product was produced successfully for all patients from the donor peripheral blood (PB) and consisted mostly of CD3+ lymphocytes with 43% CAR expression. Four pediatric and 9 adult patients were infused with a single dose of CAR T cells. Toxicities reported were two grade I and a grade II cytokine release syndrome (CRS) cases at the highest dose, in the absence of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), neurotoxicity, or dose-limiting toxicities. Six out of 7 patients, receiving the highest doses, achieved CR and CRi at day 28. Five out of 6 patients in CR were also minimal residual disease (MRD)-negative. Robust expansion was achieved in the majority of the patients. CAR T cells were measurable by transgene copy PCR up to 10 months. Integration site analysis showed a positive safety profile and highly polyclonal repertoire in vitro and at early time points after infusion. Conclusion. SB-engineered CAR T cells expand and persist in pediatric and adult B-ALL patients relapsed after HSCT. Anti-leukemic activity was achieved without severe toxicities. Trial registration. clinicaltrials.gov NCT03389035.Funding. This study was supported by grants from AIRC; CRUK; FC AECC; Ministero della salute; FRRB.
Chiara F. Magnani, Giuseppe Gaipa, Federico Lussana, Daniela Belotti, Giuseppe Gritti, Sara Napolitano, Giada Matera, Benedetta Cabiati, Chiara Buracchi, Gianmaria Borleri, Grazia Fazio, Silvia Zaninelli, Sarah Tettamanti, Stefania Cesana, Valentina Colombo, Michele Quaroni, Giovanni Cazzaniga, Attilio Rovelli, Ettore Biagi, Stefania Galimberti, Andrea Calabria, Fabrizio Benedicenti, Eugenio Montini, Silvia Ferrari, Martino Introna, Adriana Balduzzi, Maria Grazia Valsecchi, Giuseppe Dastoli, Alessandro Rambaldi, Andrea Biondi
Background: Initial reports from the Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic described children as being less susceptible to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) than adults. Subsequently, a severe and novel pediatric disorder termed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) emerged. We report on unique hematologic and immunologic parameters that distinguish between COVID-19 and MIS-C and provide insight into pathophysiology. Methods: We prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and classified them as having MIS-C or COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 were classified as having either minimal or severe disease. Cytokine profiles, viral cycle thresholds (Cts), blood smears, and soluble C5b-9 values were analyzed with clinical data. Twenty patients were enrolled (9 severe COVID-19, 5 minimal COVID-19, and 6 MIS-C). Five cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α) contributed to the analysis. TNF-α and IL-10 discriminated between patients with MIS-C and severe COVID-19. Cts and burr cells on blood smears also differentiated between patients with severe COVID-19 and those with MIS-C. Conclusion: Pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 are at risk for critical illness with severe COVID-19 and MIS-C. Cytokine profiling and examination of peripheral blood smears may distinguish between patients with MIS-C and severe COVID-19.
Caroline Diorio, Sarah E. Henrickson, Laura A. Vella, Kevin O. McNerney, Julie M. Chase, Chakkapong Burudpakdee, Jessica H. Lee, Cristina Jasen, Fran Balamuth, David M. Barrett, Brenda Banwell, Kathrin M. Bernt, Allison M. Blatz, Kathleen Chiotos, Brian T. Fisher, Julie C. Fitzgerald, Jeffrey S. Gerber, Kandace Gollomp, Christopher Gray, Stephan A. Grupp, Rebecca M. Harris, Todd J. Kilbaugh, Audrey R. Odom John, Michele P. Lambert, Emily J. Liebling, Michele Paessler, Whitney Petrosa, Charles A. Phillips, Anne F. Reilly, Neil Romberg, Alix E. Seif, Deborah Sesok-Pizzini, Kathleen Sullivan, Julie Vardaro, Edward M Behrens, David T. Teachey, Hamid Bassiri
Background: Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection can be complicated by a dangerous hyperinflammatory condition termed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The clinical and immunologic spectrum of MIS-C and its relationship to other inflammatory conditions of childhood have not been studied in detail. Methods: We retrospectively studied confirmed cases of MIS-C at our institution from March to June 2020. The clinical characteristics, laboratory studies and treatment response were collected. Data were compared with historic cohorts of Kawasaki disease (KD) and macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Results: Twenty-eight patients fulfilled the case definition of MIS-C. Median age at presentation was 9 years (range 1 month to 17 years); 50% of patients had pre-existing conditions. All patients had laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Seventeen patients (61%) required intensive care, including 7 patients (25%) requiring inotrope support. Seven patients (25%) met criteria for complete or incomplete KD and coronary abnormalities were found in 6 cases. Lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevation in inflammatory markers, D-dimer, B-type natriuretic peptide, IL-6 and IL-10 levels were common but not ubiquitous. Cytopenias distinguished MIS-C from KD and the degree of hyperferritinemia and pattern of cytokine production differed between MIS-C and MAS. Immunomodulatory therapy given to MIS-C patients included IVIG (71%), corticosteroids (61%) and anakinra (18%). Clinical and laboratory improvement were observed in all cases, including 6 cases that did not require immunomodulatory therapy. No mortality was recorded in this cohort. Conclusion: MIS-C encompasses a broad phenotypic spectrum with clinical and laboratory features distinct from Kawasaki disease and macrophage activation syndrome. Funding: This work was supported by the National Institute of Health / National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) K08-AR074562 (PYL), K08-AR AR073339 (LAH), R01-AR065538, R01-AR073201 and P30-AR070253 (PAN); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 5T32AI007512-34 (JL, JR, TB, AAN and RWN); Rheumatology Research Foundation Investigator Awards (PYL and LAH) and Medical Education Award (JSH); Boston Children’s Hospital Faculty Career Development Awards (PYL and LAH), the McCance Family Foundation (JWN), and the Samara Jan Turkel Center (JC, RPS, MBS).
Pui Y. Lee, Megan Day-Lewis, Lauren A. Henderson, Kevin Friedman, Jeffrey Lo, Jordan E. Roberts, Mindy S. Lo, Craig D. Platt, Janet Chou, Kacie J. Hoyt, Annette L. Baker, Tina Banzon, Margaret H. Chang, Ezra Cohen, Sarah de Ferranti, Audrey Dionne, Saddiq Habiballah, Olha Halyabar, Jonathan S. Hausmann, Melissa Hazen, Erin Janssen, Esra Meidan, Ryan W. Nelson, Alan A. Nguyen, Robert P. Sundel, Fatma Dedeoglu, Peter A. Nigrovic, Jane W. Newburger, Mary Beth F. Son
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