Adoptive immunotherapy with regulatory T cells (Tregs) is a promising treatment for allograft rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Emerging data indicate that, compared with polyclonal Tregs, disease-relevant antigen-specific Tregs may have numerous advantages, such as a need for fewer cells and reduced risk of nonspecific immune suppression. Current methods to generate alloantigen-specific Tregs rely on expansion with allogeneic antigen-presenting cells, which requires access to donor and recipient cells and multiple MHC mismatches. The successful use of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the generation of antigen-specific effector T cells suggests that a similar approach could be used to generate alloantigen-specific Tregs. Here, we have described the creation of an HLA-A2–specific CAR (A2-CAR) and its application in the generation of alloantigen-specific human Tregs. In vitro, A2-CAR–expressing Tregs maintained their expected phenotype and suppressive function before, during, and after A2-CAR–mediated stimulation. In mouse models, human A2-CAR–expressing Tregs were superior to Tregs expressing an irrelevant CAR at preventing xenogeneic GVHD caused by HLA-A2+ T cells. Together, our results demonstrate that use of CAR technology to generate potent, functional, and stable alloantigen-specific human Tregs markedly enhances their therapeutic potential in transplantation and sets the stage for using this approach for making antigen-specific Tregs for therapy of multiple diseases.
Katherine G. MacDonald, Romy E. Hoeppli, Qing Huang, Jana Gillies, Dan S. Luciani, Paul C. Orban, Raewyn Broady, Megan K. Levings
Grégoire Couvrat-Desvergnes, Apolline Salama, Ludmilla Le Berre, Gwénaëlle Evanno, Ondrej Viklicky, Petra Hruba, Pavel Vesely, Pierrick Guerif, Thomas Dejoie, Juliette Rousse, Arnaud Nicot, Jean-Marie Bach, Evelyn Ang, Yohann Foucher, Sophie Brouard, Stéphanie Castagnet, Magali Giral, Jean Harb, Hélène Perreault, Béatrice Charreau, Marine Lorent, Jean-Paul Soulillou
Lung transplantation is the only viable option for patients suffering from otherwise incurable end-stage pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Despite aggressive immunosuppression, acute rejection of the lung allograft occurs in over half of transplant recipients, and the factors that promote lung acceptance are poorly understood. The contribution of lymphatic vessels to transplant pathophysiology remains controversial, and data that directly address the exact roles of lymphatic vessels in lung allograft function and survival are limited. Here, we have shown that there is a marked decline in the density of lymphatic vessels, accompanied by accumulation of low-MW hyaluronan (HA) in mouse orthotopic allografts undergoing rejection. We found that stimulation of lymphangiogenesis with VEGF-C156S, a mutant form of VEGF-C with selective VEGFR-3 binding, alleviates an established rejection response and improves clearance of HA from the lung allograft. Longitudinal analysis of transbronchial biopsies from human lung transplant recipients demonstrated an association between resolution of acute lung rejection and decreased HA in the graft tissue. Taken together, these results indicate that lymphatic vessel formation after lung transplantation mediates HA drainage and suggest that treatments to stimulate lymphangiogenesis have promise for improving graft outcomes.
Ye Cui, Kaifeng Liu, Maria E. Monzon-Medina, Robert F. Padera, Hao Wang, Gautam George, Demet Toprak, Elie Abdelnour, Emmanuel D’Agostino, Hilary J. Goldberg, Mark A. Perrella, Rosanna Malbran Forteza, Ivan O. Rosas, Gary Visner, Souheil El-Chemaly
Cytokines and metabolic pathway–controlling enzymes regulate immune responses and have potential as powerful tools to mediate immune tolerance. Blockade of the interaction between CD40 and CD40L induces long-term cardiac allograft survival in rats through a CD8+CD45RClo Treg potentiation. Here, we have shown that the cytokine IL-34, the immunoregulatory properties of which have not been previously studied in transplantation or T cell biology, is expressed by rodent CD8+CD45RClo Tregs and human FOXP3+CD45RCloCD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. IL-34 was involved in the suppressive function of both CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs and markedly inhibited alloreactive immune responses. Additionally, in a rat cardiac allograft model, IL-34 potently induced transplant tolerance that was associated with a total inhibition of alloantibody production. Treatment of rats with IL-34 promoted allograft tolerance that was mediated by induction of CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. Moreover, these Tregs were capable of serial tolerance induction through modulation of macrophages that migrate early to the graft. Finally, we demonstrated that human macrophages cultured in the presence of IL-34 greatly expanded CD8+ and CD4+ FOXP3+ Tregs, with a superior suppressive potential of antidonor immune responses compared with non–IL-34–expanded Tregs. In conclusion, we reveal that IL-34 serves as a suppressive Treg–specific cytokine and as a tolerogenic cytokine that efficiently inhibits alloreactive immune responses and mediates transplant tolerance.
Séverine Bézie, Elodie Picarda, Jason Ossart, Laurent Tesson, Claire Usal, Karine Renaudin, Ignacio Anegon, Carole Guillonneau
Marie Bleakley, Shelly Heimfeld, Keith R. Loeb, Lori A. Jones, Colette Chaney, Stuart Seropian, Ted A. Gooley, Franziska Sommermeyer, Stanley R. Riddell, Warren D. Shlomchik
Maturation of T cell–activating APCs directly links innate and adaptive immunity and is typically triggered by microbial infection. Transplantation of allografts, which are sterile, generates strong T cell responses; however, it is unclear how grafts induce APC maturation in the absence of microbial-derived signals. A widely accepted hypothesis is that dying cells in the graft release “danger” molecules that induce APC maturation and initiate the adaptive alloimmune response. Here, we demonstrated that danger signals associated with dying cells are not sufficient to initiate alloimmunity, but that recognition of allogeneic non-self by the innate immune system is required. In WT as well as in T cell–, B cell–, and innate lymphoid cell–deficient mice, allogeneic grafts elicited persistent differentiation of monocytes into mature DCs that expressed IL-12 and stimulated T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production. In contrast, syngeneic grafts in the same mice elicited transient and less pronounced differentiation of monocytes into DCs, which neither expressed IL-12 nor stimulated IFN-γ production. In a model in which T cell recognition is restricted to a single foreign antigen on the graft, rejection occurred only if the allogeneic non-self signal was also sensed by the host’s innate immune system. These findings underscore the importance of innate recognition of allogeneic non-self by monocytes in initiating graft rejection.
Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Qiang Zeng, Qi Li, Hehua Dai, Amanda L. Williams, Warren D. Shlomchik, David M. Rothstein, Fadi G. Lakkis
Spontaneous antigen-specific T cell responses can be generated in hosts harboring a variety of solid malignancies, but are subverted by immune evasion mechanisms active within the tumor microenvironment. In contrast to solid tumors, the mechanisms that regulate T cell activation versus tolerance to hematological malignancies have been underexplored. A murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML) model was used to investigate antigen-specific T cell responses against AML cells inoculated i.v. versus s.c. Robust antigen-specific T cell responses were generated against AML cells after s.c., but not i.v., inoculation. In fact, i.v. AML cell inoculation prevented functional T cell activation in response to subsequent s.c. AML cell challenge. T cell dysfunction was antigen specific and did not depend on Tregs or myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Antigen-specific TCR-Tg CD8+ T cells proliferated, but failed to accumulate, and expressed low levels of effector cytokines in hosts after i.v. AML induction, consistent with abortive T cell activation and peripheral tolerance. Administration of agonistic anti-CD40 Ab to activate host APCs enhanced accumulation of functional T cells and prolonged survival. Our results suggest that antigen-specific T cell tolerance is a potent immune evasion mechanism in hosts with AML that can be reversed in vivo after CD40 engagement.
Long Zhang, Xiufen Chen, Xiao Liu, Douglas E. Kline, Ryan M. Teague, Thomas F. Gajewski, Justin Kline
Immune tolerance to transplanted organs is impaired when the innate immune system is activated in response to the tissue necrosis that occurs during harvesting and implantation procedures. A key molecule in this immune pathway is the intracellular TLR signal adaptor known as myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88). After transplantation, MyD88 induces DC maturation as well as the production of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6 and TNF-α. However, upstream activators of MyD88 function in response to transplantation have not been identified. Here, we show that haptoglobin, an acute phase protein, is an initiator of this MyD88-dependent inflammatory process in a mouse model of skin transplantation. Necrotic lysates from transplanted skin elicited higher inflammatory responses in DCs than did nontransplanted lysates, suggesting DC-mediated responses are triggered by factors released during transplantation. Analysis of transplanted lysates identified haptoglobin as one of the proteins upregulated during transplantation. Expression of donor haptoglobin enhanced the onset of acute skin transplant rejection, whereas haptoglobin-deficient skin grafts showed delayed acute rejection and antidonor T cell priming in a MyD88-dependent graft rejection model. Thus, our results show that haptoglobin release following skin necrosis contributes to accelerated transplant rejection, with potential implications for the development of localized immunosuppressive therapies.
Hua Shen, Yang Song, Christopher M. Colangelo, Terence Wu, Can Bruce, Gaia Scabia, Anjela Galan, Margherita Maffei, Daniel R. Goldstein
Following organ transplantation, lifelong immunosuppressive therapy is required to prevent the host immune system from destroying the allograft. This can cause severe side effects and increased recipient morbidity and mortality. Complete cessation of immunosuppressive drugs has been successfully accomplished in selected transplant recipients, providing proof of principle that operational allograft tolerance is attainable in clinical transplantation. The intra-graft molecular pathways associated with successful drug withdrawal, however, are not well defined. In this study, we analyzed sequential blood and liver tissue samples collected from liver transplant recipients enrolled in a prospective multicenter immunosuppressive drug withdrawal clinical trial. Before initiation of drug withdrawal, operationally tolerant and non-tolerant recipients differed in the intra-graft expression of genes involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis. Furthermore, as compared with non-tolerant recipients, operationally tolerant patients exhibited higher serum levels of hepcidin and ferritin and increased hepatocyte iron deposition. Finally, liver tissue gene expression measurements accurately predicted the outcome of immunosuppressive withdrawal in an independent set of patients. These results point to a critical role for iron metabolism in the regulation of intra-graft alloimmune responses in humans and provide a set of biomarkers to conduct drug-weaning trials in liver transplantation.
Felix Bohne, Marc Martínez-Llordella, Juan-José Lozano, Rosa Miquel, Carlos Benítez, María-Carlota Londoño, Tommaso-María Manzia, Roberta Angelico, Dorine W. Swinkels, Harold Tjalsma, Marta López, Juan G. Abraldes, Eliano Bonaccorsi-Riani, Elmar Jaeckel, Richard Taubert, Jacques Pirenne, Antoni Rimola, Giuseppe Tisone, Alberto Sánchez-Fueyo
Most degenerative diseases begin with a gradual loss of specific cell types before reaching a threshold for symptomatic onset. However, the endogenous regenerative capacities of different tissues are difficult to study, because of the limitations of models for early stages of cell loss. Therefore, we generated a transgenic mouse line (Mos-iCsp3) in which a lox-mismatched Cre/lox cassette can be activated to produce a drug-regulated dimerizable caspase-3. Tissue-restricted Cre expression yielded stochastic Casp3 expression, randomly ablating a subset of specific cell types in a defined domain. The limited and mosaic cell loss led to distinct responses in 3 different tissues targeted using respective Cre mice: reversible, impaired glucose tolerance with normoglycemia in pancreatic β cells; wound healing and irreversible hair loss in the skin; and permanent moderate deafness due to the loss of auditory hair cells in the inner ear. These mice will be important for assessing the repair capacities of tissues and the potential effectiveness of new regenerative therapies.
Masato Fujioka, Hisashi Tokano, Keiko Shiina Fujioka, Hideyuki Okano, Albert S.B. Edge
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