Alloantibodies in pre-sensitized transplant candidates deposit complement membrane attack complexes (MAC) on graft endothelial cells (ECs), increasing risk of CD8+ T cell-mediated acute rejection. We recently showed (a) human ECs endocytose MAC into Rab5+ endosomes, creating a signaling platform that stabilizes NF-κB–inducing kinase (NIK) protein; (b) endosomal NIK activates both non-canonical NF-κB signaling to synthesize pro-IL-1β and an NLRP3 inflammasome to process and secrete active IL-1β; and (c) IL-1β activates ECs, increasing recruitment and activation of alloreactive effector memory CD4+ T (TEM) cells. Here, we report IFN-γ priming induced nuclear expression of IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes in cultured human ECs and that MAC-induced IL-1β stimulated translocation of IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes to the EC surface in a canonical NF-κB-dependent process, where IL-15/IL-15Rα transpresentation increased activation and maturation of alloreactive CD8+ TEM. Blocking NLRP3 inflammasome assembly, IL-1 receptor or IL-15 on ECs inhibited the augmented CD8+ TEM responses, indicating this pathway was not redundant. Adoptively transferred alloantibody and mouse complement deposition induced IL-15/IL-15Rα expression by human ECs lining human coronary artery grafts in immunodeficient mice and enhanced intimal CD8+ T cell infiltration, which was markedly reduced by inflammasome inhibition, linking alloantibody to acute rejection. Inhibiting MAC signaling may similarly limit other complement-mediated pathologies.
Catherine B. Xie, Bo Jiang, Lingfeng Qin, George Tellides, Nancy C. Kirkiles-Smith, Dan Jane-wit, Jordan S. Pober
Although CEACAM1 (CC1) glycoprotein resides at the interface of immune liver injury and metabolic homeostasis, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains elusive. We aimed to determine whether/how CEACAM1 signaling may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. In the mouse, donor liver CC1 null mutation augmented IRI-OLT (CC1-KO>WT) by enhancing ROS expression and HMGB1 translocation during cold storage, data supported by in vitro studies where hepatic flush from CC1-deficient livers enhanced macrophage activation in BMDM cultures. Although hepatic CC1 deficiency augmented cold stress-triggered ASK1/p-p38 upregulation, adjunctive ASK1 inhibition alleviated IRI/improved OLT survival by suppressing p-p38 upregulation, ROS induction/HMGB1 translocation (CC1-KO>WT); while ASK1 silencing (siRNA) promoted cytoprotection in cold-stressed and damage-prone CC1-deficient hepatocyte cultures. Consistent with mouse data, CEACAM1 expression in sixty human donor liver biopsies correlated negatively with activation of ASK1/p-p38 axis; while low-CC1 levels associated with increased ROS/HMGB1 translocation, enhanced innate/adaptive immune responses and inferior early OLT function. Notably, reduced donor liver CEACAM1 expression was identified as one of independent predictors for EAD in human OLT patients. Thus, as a checkpoint regulator of IR-stress/sterile inflammation, CEACAM1 may be considered as a denominator of donor hepatic tissue quality, and a target for therapeutic modulation in OLT recipients.
Kojiro Nakamura, Shoichi Kageyama, Fady M. Kaldas, Hirofumi Hirao, Takahiro Ito, Kentaro Kadono, Kenneth J. Dery, Hidenobu Kojima, David W. Gjertson, Rebecca A. Sosa, Maciej Kujawski, Ronald W. Busuttil, Elaine F. Reed, Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski
Lymph node stromal cells (LNSC) regulate immunity through constructing lymphocyte niches. LNSC produced Laminin α5 (Lama5) regulates CD4 T cells but the underlying mechanisms of its functions are poorly understood. Here we showed depleting Lama5 in LNSC resulted in decreased Lama5 protein in the LN cortical ridge (CR) and around high endothelial venules (HEV). Lama5 depletion affected LN structure with increased HEV, upregulated chemokines and cell adhesion molecules, and led to greater numbers of Treg in T cell zone. Mouse and human T cell transendothelial migration and T cell entry to LN were suppressed by Lama5 through the receptors a6 integrin and α-dystroglycan. During immune responses and allograft transplantation, depleting Lama5 promoted antigen specific CD4 T cell entry to the CR through HEV, suppressed T cell activation and altered T cell differentiation to suppressive regulatory phenotypes. Enhanced allograft acceptance resulted from depleting Lama5 or blockade of T cell Lama5 receptors. Lama5 and Lama4:Lama5 ratios in allografts were associated with the rejection severity. Overall, our results demonstrated that stromal Lama5 regulated immune responses through altering LN structures and T cell behaviors. The study delineated a stromal Lama5-T cell receptors axis that can be targeted for immune tolerance modulation.
Lushen Li, Marina W. Shirkey, Tianshu Zhang, Yanbao Xiong, Wenji Piao, Vikas Saxena, Christina Paluskievicz, Young S. Lee, Nicholas Toney, Benjamin M. Cerel, Qinshan Li, Thomas Simon, Kyle D. Smith, Keli L. Hippen, Bruce R. Blazar, Reza Abdi, Jonathan S. Bromberg
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
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is initially triggered by alloreactive T cells, which damage peripheral tissues and lymphoid organs. Subsequent transition to chronic GVHD involves the emergence of autoimmunity although the underlying mechanisms driving this process are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute GVHD blocks peripheral tolerance of autoreactive T cells by impairing lymph node (LN) display of peripheral tissue-restricted antigens (PTA). At the initiation of GVHD, LN fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC) rapidly reduced expression of genes regulated by DEAF1, an Autoimmune Regulator-like transcription factor required for intra-nodal expression of PTA. Subsequently, GVHD led to the selective elimination of the FRC population, and blocked the repair pathways required for its regeneration. We used a transgenic mouse model to show that the loss of presentation of an intestinal PTA by FRC during GVHD resulted in the activation of auto-aggressive T cells and gut injury. Finally, we show that FRC normally expressed a unique PTA gene signature that was highly enriched for genes expressed in the target organs affected by chronic GVHD. In conclusion, acute GVHD damages and prevents repair of the FRC network, thus disabling an essential platform for purging auto-reactive T cells from the repertoire.
Simone Dertschnig, Pamela Evans, Pedro Santos e Sousa, Teresa Manzo, Ivana R. Ferrer, Hans J. Stauss, Clare L. Bennett, Ronjon Chakraverty
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can affect the central nervous system (CNS). The role of microglia in CNS-GVHD remains undefined. In agreement with microglia activation, we found that profound morphological changes, MHC-II- and CD80-upregulation occurred upon GVHD induction. RNA-sequencing-based analysis of purified microglial obtained from mice with CNS-GVHD revealed TNF upregulation. Selective TNF gene deletion in microglia of Cx3cr1creER:Tnffl/-mice reduced MHC-II-expression, decreased CNS T-cell infiltrates and VCAM-1+ endothelial cells. GVHD increased microglia TGF-β-activated kinase-1 (TAK1) activation and NF-κB/p38-MAPK-signaling. Selective Tak1-deletion in microglia using Cx3cr1creER:Tak1fl/fl-mice resulted in reduced TNF-production, microglial MHC-II, and improved neurocognitive-activity. Pharmacological TAK1-inhibition reduced TNF-production and MHC-II-expression by microglia, Th1 and Th17 T-cell infiltrates, VCAM-1+ endothelial cells and improved neurocognitive activity, without blocking graft-versus-leukemia effects. Consistent with these findings in mice, we observed increased activation and TNF-production of microglia in the CNS of GVHD-patients. In summary, we prove a role for microglia in CNS-GVHD, identify the TAK1/TNF/MHC-II axis as mediator of CNS-GVHD and provide a novel TAK1 inhibitor-based approach against GVHD-induced neurotoxicity.
Nimitha R. Mathew, Janaki M. Vinnakota, Petya Apostolova, Daniel Erny, Shaima’a Hamarsheh, Geoffroy Andrieux, Jung-Seok Kim, Kathrin Hanke, Tobias Goldmann, Louise Chappell-Maor, Nadia El-Khawanky, Gabriele Ihorst, Dominik Schmidt, Justus Duyster, Jürgen Finke, Thomas Blank, Melanie Boerries, Bruce R. Blazar, Steffen Jung, Marco Prinz, Robert Zeiser
Activation of host T cells that mediate allograft rejection is a 2-step process. The first occurs in secondary lymphoid organs where T cells encounter alloantigens presented by host DCs and differentiate to effectors. Antigen presentation at these sites occurs principally via transfer of intact, donor MHC-peptide complexes from graft cells to host DCs (cross-dressing) or by uptake and processing of donor antigens into allopeptides bound to self-MHC molecules (indirect presentation). The second step takes place in the graft, where effector T cells reengage with host DCs before causing rejection. How host DCs present alloantigens to T cells in the graft is not known. Using mouse islet and kidney transplantation models, imaging cytometry, and 2-photon intravital microscopy, we demonstrate extensive cross-dressing of intragraft host DCs with donor MHC-peptide complexes that occurred early after transplantation, whereas host DCs presenting donor antigen via the indirect pathway were rare. Cross-dressed DCs stably engaged TCR-transgenic effector CD8+ T cells that recognized donor antigen and were sufficient for sustaining acute rejection. In the chronic kidney rejection model, cross-dressing declined over time, but was still conspicuous 8 weeks after transplantation. We conclude that cross-dressing of host DCs with donor MHC molecules is a major antigen presentation pathway driving effector T cell responses within allografts.
Andrew D. Hughes, Daqiang Zhao, Hehua Dai, Khodor I. Abou-Daya, Roger Tieu, Rayan Rammal, Amanda L. Williams, Douglas P. Landsittel, Warren D. Shlomchik, Adrian E. Morelli, Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Fadi G. Lakkis
Sustained, indolent immune injury of the vasculature of a heart transplant limits long-term graft and recipient survival. This injury is mitigated by a poorly characterized, maladaptive repair response. Vascular endothelial cells respond to proangiogenic cues in the embryo by differentiation to specialized phenotypes, associated with expression of apelin. In the adult, the role of developmental proangiogenic cues in repair of the established vasculature is largely unknown. We found that human and minor histocompatibility–mismatched donor mouse heart allografts with alloimmune-mediated vasculopathy upregulated expression of apelin in arteries and myocardial microvessels. In vivo, loss of donor heart expression of apelin facilitated graft immune cell infiltration, blunted vascular repair, and worsened occlusive vasculopathy in mice. In vitro, an apelin receptor agonist analog elicited endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation to promote endothelial monolayer wound repair, and reduce immune cell adhesion. Thus, apelin acted as an autocrine growth cue to sustain vascular repair and mitigate the effects of immune injury. Treatment with an apelin receptor agonist after vasculopathy was established markedly reduced progression of arterial occlusion in mice. Together, these initial data identify proangiogenic apelin as a key mediator of coronary vascular repair and a pharmacotherapeutic target for immune-mediated injury of the coronary vasculature.
Andrew G. Masoud, Jiaxin Lin, Abul K. Azad, Maikel A. Farhan, Conrad Fischer, Lin F. Zhu, Hao Zhang, Banu Sis, Zamaneh Kassiri, Ronald B. Moore, Daniel Kim, Colin C. Anderson, John C. Vederas, Benjamin A. Adam, Gavin Y. Oudit, Allan G. Murray
Background: Adoptive transfer of donor-derived EBV-specific T-cells (EBV-CTLs) can eradicate EBV associated lymphomas post hematopoietic cell (HCT) or solid organ (SOT) transplants but is not available for most patients. Methods: We developed a 3rd-party, allogeneic, off-the-shelf bank of 330 GMP grade EBV-CTL lines from specifically consented healthy HCT donors. We treated 46 recipients of HCT (N=33) or SOT (N=13) with established EBV associated lymphomas, who failed rituximab therapy, with 3rd-party EBV-CTLs. Treatment cycles consisted of 3 weekly infusions of EBV-CTLs and 3 weeks of observation. Results: The EBV-CTLs did not induce significant toxicities or graft injury. One patient developed grade I skin GVHD requiring topical therapy. Complete and sustained partial remissions were achieved in 68% of HCT recipients and 54% of SOT recipients. For patients who achieved CR/PR or stable disease after cycle 1, overall survival was 88.9% and 81.8% respectively at 1 year. Although only 1/11 patients (9.1%) with progression of disease (POD) after cycle 1 who received additional EBV-CTLs from the same donor survived, 3 of 5 with POD subsequently treated with EBV-CTLs from a different donor achieved CR or durable PR (60%) and survive > 1 year. Maximal responses were achieved after a median of 2 cycles. Conclusions: Third party EBV-CTLs of defined HLA restriction provide safe, immediately accessible treatment for EBV PTLD. Secondary treatment with EBV-CTLs restricted by a different HLA allele (switch therapy) can also induce remissions if initial EBV-CTLs are ineffective. These results suggest a promising potential therapy for patients with rituximab refractory EBV-associated lymphoma post transplant. Phase II protocols (NCT01498484 and NCT00002663) were approved by the Institutional Review Board at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Food and Drug Administration and National Marrow Donor Program. This work was supported through NIH grants CA23766, NIH R21CA162002, Aubrey Fund, The Claire Tow Foundation, Major Family Foundation, Max Cure Foundation, Richard “Rick” J. EIsemann Pediatric Research Fund, Banbury Foundation, Edith Robertson Foundation, Larry Smead Foundation. In June 2015 Atara Biotherapeutics licensed the EBV-CTL bank and is developing this as ATA-129.
Susan Prockop, Ekaterina Doubrovina, Stephanie Suser, Glenn Heller, Juliet Barker, Parastoo Dahi, Miguel A. Perales, Esperanza Papadopoulos, Craig Sauter, Hugo Castro-Malaspina, Farid Boulad, Kevin J. Curran, Sergio Giralt, Boglarka Gyurkocza, Katharine C. Hsu, Ann Jakubowski, Alan M. Hanash, Nancy A. Kernan, Rachel Kobos, Guenther Koehne, Heather Landau, Doris Ponce, Barbara Spitzer, James W. Young, Gerald Behr, Mark Dunphy, Sofia Haque, Julie Teruya-Feldstein, Maria Arcila, Christine Moung, Susan Hsu, Aisha Hasan, Richard J. O'Reilly
The transcription factor B Cell CLL/Lymphoma 11B (BCL11B) is indispensable for T lineage development of lymphoid progenitors. Here we show that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expression early in ex vivo generated lymphoid progenitors suppressed BCL11B, leading to suppression of T cell-associated gene expression and acquisition of natural killer (NK) cell-like properties. Upon adoptive transfer into hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients they differentiated into CAR-induced killer cells (CARiK) that mediated potent antigen-directed antileukemic activity even across MHC barriers. A CD28 and active immune-receptor-tyrosine-based-activation-motifs were critical for a functional CARiK phenotype. These results give important insights into differentiation of murine and human lymphoid progenitors driven by synthetic CAR transgene-expression and encourage further evaluation of ex vivo generated CARiK cells for targeted immunotherapy.
Marcel Maluski, Arnab Ghosh, Jessica Herbst, Vanessa Scholl, Rolf Baumann, Jochen Huehn, Robert Geffers, Johann Meyer, Holger Maul, Britta Eiz-Vesper, Andreas Krueger, Axel Schambach, Marcel R.M. van den Brink, Martin G. Sauer
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