The introduction of a whole-cell vaccine against Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, dramatically reduced disease incidence. Unfortunately, the whole-cell formulation also induces severe reactions in some infants. Because of this, acellular vaccines have been developed, but they are used exclusively in high-income countries. However, the acellular vaccines do not provide long-term protection, and despite the use of routine boosters, the disease is on the rise. In this issue of the JCI, da Silva Antunes and colleagues demonstrate that the whole-cell vaccines promote long-term polarization toward Th1 and Th17 responses, while the acellular vaccines induce Th2 polarization. Moreover, this polarization is long term, as the response to acellular boosters is dependent on the initial vaccine given in infancy. The authors speculate that Tregs may be induced by initial acellular vaccine administration. The results of this study have important implications for the development of pertussis vaccination strategies that would induce Th1 and Th17 polarization.
Stanley A. Plotkin
The mechanisms responsible for the development of the impaired awareness of hypoglycemia often seen in insulin-treated patients with diabetes remain uncertain, but cerebral adaptations to recurrent hypoglycemia are frequently hypothesized. In this issue of the JCI, Ma et al. demonstrate that neuropeptide Y (NPY) secretion from adrenal chromaffin cells persists during exposure to recurrent hypoglycemia and activation of the sympathetic nerves at the same time that epinephrine secretion is reduced. This results in the inhibition of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for catecholamine synthesis. These observations suggest that a peripheral mechanism downstream from the brain contributes to the development of impaired awareness of hypoglycemia.
Elizabeth R. Seaquist
While disorders of impaired vitamin D activation and action have long been appreciated, the consequences of abnormalities in pathways leading to the inactivation of vitamin D metabolites have only recently been identified. Two recent articles have shed new light on this area of vitamin D biology. The report by Martineau et al., published in the JCI, describes a pathway in which binding of the vitamin D metabolite 24R,25(OH)2D3 to its effector molecule FAM57B2 plays an important role in endochondral ossification during bone repair. This work follows, and adds to, another recent JCI publication by Roizen et al., showing that rapid inactivation of vitamin D metabolites causes vitamin D deficiency, leading to vitamin D–dependent rickets.
Marie B. Demay
The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in empirical antimicrobial therapy is a lifesaving strategy for patients in intensive care. At the same time, antibiotics dramatically increase the risk for nosocomial infections, such as hospital‑acquired pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In this issue of the JCI, Robak and colleagues identified a mechanism by which depletion of resident gut and lung microbiota by antibiotic treatment results in secondary IgA deficiency and impaired anti–P. aeruginosa host defense. Impaired defenses could be improved by substitution of polyclonal IgA via the intranasal route in a mouse model of pneumonia. Importantly, antibiotic treatment caused lung IgA deficiency that involved reduced TLR-dependent production of a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) and B cell–activating factor (BAFF) in intensive care unit patients. These patients might therefore benefit from future strategies to increase pulmonary IgA levels.
Juergen Lohmeyer, Rory E. Morty, Susanne Herold
Brown et al. report that two weeks of exogenous leptin administration to leptin-naive individuals with lipodystrophy resulted in increased energy expenditure and lipolysis, decreased ectopic liver fat, improved hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity, and attenuated dyslipidemia. Leptin withdrawal in individuals with lipodystrophy did not produce reciprocal effects on these phenotypes and resulted in significant improvements only in hepatic insulin sensitivity. This asymmetry in responses to leptin initiation and cessation is consistent with the other aspects of leptin biology that are dependent on the metabolic context in which this adipocyte-derived hormone functions.
Michael Rosenbaum, Rudolph L. Leibel
Resolution of inflammation is a critical process that is facilitated by specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs). In this issue, Bang et al. show that the G protein–coupled receptor GPR37 is a receptor for one such SPM, neuroprotectin D1. They also show that GPR37 activation in macrophages enhances phagocytosis, shifts cytokine release toward an antiinflammatory profile, and thereby helps to reverse inflammatory pain.
Lintao Qu, Michael J. Caterina
Langerhans cells (LCs) are likely among the first targets of HIV-1 infection due to their localization in mucosal tissues. In their recent work, Pena-Cruz and colleagues were able to study HIV-1 infection in vaginal epithelial DCs (VEDCs), termed CD1a+ VEDCs. They show that VEDCs are distinct from other blood- and tissue-derived DCs or LCs because they express the protein langerin but not the lectin receptor DC-SIGN, and they do not have Birbeck granules. The results from this study indicate that HIV-1 using CXCR4 replicates poorly in VEDCs but that a higher replication for HIV-1 using CCR5 strains is supported by VDECs. Furthermore, Pena-Cruz and colleagues demonstrate that VDECs can represent a viral reservoir in HIV-1–infected virologically suppressed women. As such, VDECs may represent another sanctuary of viral persistence and can be an additional obstacle to viral eradication.
Stephan Caucheteux, Vincent Piguet
Crescentic glomerulonephritis, a complication of severe immune glomerular injury, is the pathological correlate of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, mediated by both humoral and cellular effectors. In the current issue of the JCI, Chen et al. have implicated Bowman’s capsule in functionally isolating potentially immune effectors, specifically antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes, from podocytes. They suggest that, in crescentic glomerulonephritis, immune-mediated glomerular endothelial injury results in inside-out injury to the glomerulus, with subsequent leukocyte migration through a weakened or ruptured Bowman’s capsule, resulting in outside-in injury. Effector T cells then recognize nephritogenic antigens presented by podocytes or other cells within the urinary space, enhancing injury and crescent formation.
A. Richard Kitching, Maliha A. Alikhan
WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis) syndrome is a genetic autoimmune disorder that results from gain-of-function mutations in the gene encoding chemokine receptor CXCR4. A previous study characterized a patient with WHIM who underwent a chromothriptic event that resulted in spontaneous deletion of the WHIM allele in a single hematopoietic stem cell and subsequent cure of the disease. In this issue of the JCI, Gao et al. extend this work and show that Cxcl4-haplosufficient bone marrow has a selective advantage for long-term engraftment in murine WHIM models. Moreover, successful engraftment occurred without prior conditioning of recipients. Together, these results have important implications for improving hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell transplant not only for patients with WHIM but also for all patients who may require the procedure.
Hal E. Broxmeyer
The hemostatic response to vascular injury culminates in a fibrin clot network that forms an initial barrier to blood loss and also contributes to microbial host defense. Fibrinogen is cleaved by thrombin into fibrin monomers that spontaneously polymerize into protofibrils and form the extensive fiber networks characteristic of blood clots. In this issue of the JCI, Macrae and colleagues characterize an alternative fibrin structure in which fibrinogen and fibrin assemble into a continuous 2D film at the exterior face of the fibrin clot network. Fibrin films connect to the underlying fiber network through tethering fibers and provide a protective barrier to microbial infiltration. These findings shed new light on a previously overlooked mechanism of fibrin assembly at the clot surface and provide a link between hemostasis and innate immunity.
Sean X. Gu, Steven R. Lentz
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