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Abstract

β-Thalassemia is a genetic anemia caused by partial or complete loss of β-globin synthesis, leading to ineffective erythropoiesis and RBCs with a short life span. Currently, there is no efficacious oral medication modifying anemia for patients with β-thalassemia. The inappropriately low levels of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin enable excessive iron absorption by ferroportin, the unique cellular iron exporter in mammals, leading to organ iron overload and associated morbidities. Correction of unbalanced iron absorption and recycling by induction of hepcidin synthesis or treatment with hepcidin mimetics ameliorates β-thalassemia. However, hepcidin modulation or replacement strategies currently in clinical development all require parenteral drug administration. We identified oral ferroportin inhibitors by screening a library of small molecular weight compounds for modulators of ferroportin internalization. Restricting iron availability by VIT-2763, the first clinical stage oral ferroportin inhibitor, ameliorated anemia and the dysregulated iron homeostasis in the Hbbth3/+ mouse model of β-thalassemia intermedia. VIT-2763 not only improved erythropoiesis but also corrected the proportions of myeloid precursors in spleens of Hbbth3/+ mice. VIT-2763 is currently being developed as an oral drug targeting ferroportin for the treatment of β-thalassemia.

Authors

Vania Manolova, Naja Nyffenegger, Anna Flace, Patrick Altermatt, Ahmet Varol, Cédric Doucerain, Hanna Sundstrom, Franz Dürrenberger

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Abstract

Recent occurrences of filoviruses and the arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV) in overlapping endemic areas of Africa highlight the need for a prophylactic vaccine that would confer protection against all of these viruses that cause lethal hemorrhagic fever (HF). We developed a quadrivalent formulation of VesiculoVax that contains recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vectors expressing filovirus glycoproteins and that also contains a rVSV vector expressing the glycoprotein of a lineage IV strain of LASV. Cynomolgus macaques were vaccinated twice with the quadrivalent formulation, followed by challenge 28 days after the boost vaccination with each of the 3 corresponding filoviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg) or a heterologous contemporary lineage II strain of LASV. Serum IgG and neutralizing antibody responses specific for all 4 glycoproteins were detected in all vaccinated animals. A modest and balanced cell-mediated immune response specific for the glycoproteins was also detected in most of the vaccinated macaques. Regardless of the level of total glycoprotein-specific immune response detected after vaccination, all immunized animals were protected from disease and death following lethal challenges. These findings indicate that vaccination with attenuated rVSV vectors each expressing a single HF virus glycoprotein may provide protection against those filoviruses and LASV most commonly responsible for outbreaks of severe HF in Africa.

Authors

Robert W. Cross, Rong Xu, Demetrius Matassov, Stefan Hamm, Theresa E. Latham, Cheryl S. Gerardi, Rebecca M. Nowak, Joan B. Geisbert, Ayuko Ota-Setlik, Krystle N. Agans, Amara Luckay, Susan E. Witko, Lena Soukieh, Daniel J. Deer, Chad E. Mire, Heinz Feldmann, Christian Happi, Karla A. Fenton, John H. Eldridge, Thomas W. Geisbert

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Abstract

X-linked immunodeficiency with magnesium defect, EBV infection, and neoplasia (XMEN) disease is caused by deficiency of the magnesium transporter 1 (MAGT1) gene. We studied 23 patients with XMEN, 8 of whom were EBV naive. We observed lymphadenopathy (LAD), cytopenias, liver disease, cavum septum pellucidum (CSP), and increased CD4–CD8–B220–TCRαβ+ T cells (αβDNTs), in addition to the previously described features of an inverted CD4/CD8 ratio, CD4+ T lymphocytopenia, increased B cells, dysgammaglobulinemia, and decreased expression of the natural killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) receptor. EBV-associated B cell malignancies occurred frequently in EBV-infected patients. We studied patients with XMEN and patients with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) by deep immunophenotyping (32 immune markers) using time-of-flight mass cytometry (CyTOF). Our analysis revealed that the abundance of 2 populations of naive B cells (CD20+CD27–CD22+IgM+HLA-DR+CXCR5+CXCR4++CD10+CD38+ and CD20+CD27–CD22+IgM+HLA-DR+CXCR5+CXCR4+CD10–CD38–) could differentially classify XMEN, ALPS, and healthy individuals. We also performed glycoproteomics analysis on T lymphocytes and show that XMEN disease is a congenital disorder of glycosylation that affects a restricted subset of glycoproteins. Transfection of MAGT1 mRNA enabled us to rescue proteins with defective glycosylation. Together, these data provide new clinical and pathophysiological foundations with important ramifications for the diagnosis and treatment of XMEN disease.

Authors

Juan C. Ravell, Mami Matsuda-Lennikov, Samuel D. Chauvin, Juan Zou, Matthew Biancalana, Sally J. Deeb, Susan Price, Helen C. Su, Giulia Notarangelo, Ping Jiang, Aaron Morawski, Chrysi Kanellopoulou, Kyle Binder, Ratnadeep Mukherjee, James T. Anibal, Brian Sellers, Lixin Zheng, Tingyan He, Alex B. George, Stefania Pittaluga, Astin Powers, David E. Kleiner, Devika Kapuria, Marc Ghany, Sally Hunsberger, Jeffrey I. Cohen, Gulbu Uzel, Jenna Bergerson, Lynne Wolfe, Camilo Toro, William Gahl, Les R. Folio, Helen Matthews, Pam Angelus, Ivan K. Chinn, Jordan S. Orange, Claudia M. Trujillo-Vargas, Jose Luis Franco, Julio Orrego-Arango, Sebastian Gutiérrez-Hincapié, Niraj Chandrakant Patel, Kimiyo Raymond, Turkan Patiroglu, Ekrem Unal, Musa Karakukcu, Alexandre G.R. Day, Pankaj Mehta, Evan Masutani, Suk S. De Ravin, Harry L. Malech, Grégoire Altan-Bonnet, V. Koneti Rao, Matthias Mann, Michael J. Lenardo

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Abstract

Authors

Sian Ellard, Kevin Colclough, Kashyap A. Patel, Andrew T. Hattersley

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Abstract

XMEN (X-linked immunodeficiency with magnesium defect, EBV infection, and neoplasia) is a complex primary immunological deficiency caused by mutations in MAGT1, a putative magnesium transporter. In this issue of the JCI, Ravell et al. greatly expand the clinical picture. The authors investigated patients’ mutations and symptoms and reported distinguishing immunophenotypes. They also showed that MAGT1 is required for N-glycosylation of key T cell and NK cell receptors that can account for some of the clinical features. Notably, transfection of the affected lymphocytes with MAGT1 mRNA restored both N-glycosylation and receptor function. Now we can add XMEN to the ever-growing family of congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG).

Authors

Hudson H. Freeze

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Abstract

Although most patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) retain some functional insulin-producing islet β cells at the time of diagnosis, the rate of further β cell loss varies across individuals. It is not clear what drives this differential progression rate. CD8+ T cells have been implicated in the autoimmune destruction of β cells. Here, we addressed whether the phenotype and function of autoreactive CD8+ T cells influence disease progression. We identified islet-specific CD8+ T cells using high-content, single-cell mass cytometry in combination with peptide-loaded MHC tetramer staining. We applied a new analytical method, DISCOV-R, to characterize these rare subsets. Autoreactive T cells were phenotypically heterogeneous, and their phenotype differed by rate of disease progression. Activated islet-specific CD8+ memory T cells were prevalent in subjects with T1D who experienced rapid loss of C-peptide; in contrast, slow disease progression was associated with an exhaustion-like profile, with expression of multiple inhibitory receptors, limited cytokine production, and reduced proliferative capacity. This relationship between properties of autoreactive CD8+ T cells and the rate of T1D disease progression after onset make these phenotypes attractive putative biomarkers of disease trajectory and treatment response and reveal potential targets for therapeutic intervention.

Authors

Alice E. Wiedeman, Virginia S. Muir, Mario G. Rosasco, Hannah A. DeBerg, Scott Presnell, Bertrand Haas, Matthew J. Dufort, Cate Speake, Carla J. Greenbaum, Elisavet Serti, Gerald T. Nepom, Gabriele Blahnik, Anna M. Kus, Eddie A. James, Peter S. Linsley, S. Alice Long

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of acute pulmonary disease and one of the last remaining major infections of childhood for which there is no vaccine. CD4+ T cells play a key role in antiviral immunity, but they have been little studied in the human lung.METHODS Healthy adult volunteers were inoculated i.n. with RSV A Memphis 37. CD4+ T cells in blood and the lower airway were analyzed by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Bronchial soluble mediators were measured using quantitative PCR and MesoScale Discovery. Epitope mapping was performed by IFN-γ ELISpot screening, confirmed by in vitro MHC binding.RESULTS Activated CD4+ T cell frequencies in bronchoalveolar lavage correlated strongly with local C-X-C motif chemokine 10 levels. Thirty-nine epitopes were identified, predominantly toward the 3′ end of the viral genome. Five novel MHC II tetramers were made using an immunodominant EFYQSTCSAVSKGYL (F-EFY) epitope restricted to HLA-DR4, -DR9, and -DR11 (combined allelic frequency: 15% in Europeans) and G-DDF restricted to HLA-DPA1*01:03/DPB1*02:01 and -DPA1*01:03/DPB1*04:01 (allelic frequency: 55%). Tetramer labeling revealed enrichment of resident memory CD4+ T (Trm) cells in the lower airway; these Trm cells displayed progressive differentiation, downregulation of costimulatory molecules, and elevated CXCR3 expression as infection evolved.CONCLUSIONS Human infection challenge provides a unique opportunity to study the breadth of specificity and dynamics of RSV-specific T-cell responses in the target organ, allowing the precise investigation of Trm recognizing novel viral antigens over time. The new tools that we describe enable precise tracking of RSV-specific CD4+ cells, potentially accelerating the development of effective vaccines.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02755948.FUNDING Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research.

Authors

Aleks Guvenel, Agnieszka Jozwik, Stephanie Ascough, Seng Kuong Ung, Suzanna Paterson, Mohini Kalyan, Zoe Gardener, Emma Bergstrom, Satwik Kar, Maximillian S. Habibi, Allan Paras, Jie Zhu, Mirae Park, Jaideep Dhariwal, Mark Almond, Ernie H.C. Wong, Annemarie Sykes, Jerico Del Rosario, Maria-Belen Trujillo-Torralbo, Patrick Mallia, John Sidney, Bjoern Peters, Onn Min Kon, Alessandro Sette, Sebastian L. Johnston, Peter J. Openshaw, Christopher Chiu

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Abstract

An excess of fecal bile acids (BAs) is thought to be one of the mechanisms for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). However, the factors causing excessive BA excretion remain incompletely studied. Given the importance of gut microbiota in BA metabolism, we hypothesized that gut dysbiosis might contribute to excessive BA excretion in IBS-D. By performing BA-related metabolic and metagenomic analyses in 290 IBS-D patients and 89 healthy volunteers, we found that 24.5% of IBS-D patients exhibited excessive excretion of total BAs and alteration of BA-transforming bacteria in feces. Notably, the increase in Clostridia bacteria (e.g., C. scindens) was positively associated with the levels of fecal BAs and serum 7α-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one (C4), but negatively correlated with serum fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) concentration. Furthermore, colonization with Clostridia-rich IBS-D fecal microbiota or C. scindens individually enhanced serum C4 and hepatic conjugated BAs but reduced ileal FGF19 expression in mice. Inhibition of Clostridium species with vancomycin yielded opposite results. Clostridia-derived BAs suppressed the intestinal FGF19 expression in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the Clostridia-rich microbiota contributes to excessive BA excretion in IBS-D patients, which provides a mechanistic hypothesis with testable clinical implications.

Authors

Ling Zhao, Wei Yang, Yang Chen, Fengjie Huang, Lin Lu, Chengyuan Lin, Tao Huang, Ziwan Ning, Lixiang Zhai, Linda L.D. Zhong, Waiching Lam, Zhen Yang, Xuan Zhang, Chungwah Cheng, Lijuan Han, Qinwei Qiu, Xiaoxiao Shang, Runyue Huang, Haitao Xiao, Zhenxing Ren, Dongfeng Chen, Silong Sun, Hani El-Nezami, Zongwei Cai, Aiping Lu, Xiaodong Fang, Wei Jia, Zhaoxiang Bian

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Abstract

Excessive fecal bile acid (BA) loss causes symptoms in a large proportion of people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, a common functional bowel disorder. This BA diarrhea (BAD) results from increased hepatic synthesis of BAs, with impaired negative feedback regulation by the ileal hormone fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19). In this issue of the JCI, Zhao et al. investigated BA metabolism, including fecal BAs, serum BAs, and FGF19, in patients and controls. They identified associations between fecal bacterial BA metabolism and specific microbiota, especially Clostridium scindens. These findings have been tested in a mouse model using microbiota transplants and antibiotic treatment. This group of organisms has potential as a biomarker for BAD and to be a target for therapy.

Authors

Julian R.F. Walters, Julian R. Marchesi

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Abstract

Alterations in gut microbiota impact the pathophysiology of several diseases, including cancer. Radiotherapy (RT), an established curative and palliative cancer treatment, exerts potent immune modulatory effects, inducing tumor-associated antigen (TAA) cross-priming with antitumor CD8+ T cell elicitation and abscopal effects. We tested whether the gut microbiota modulates antitumor immune response following RT distal to the gut. Vancomycin, an antibiotic that acts mainly on gram-positive bacteria and is restricted to the gut, potentiated the RT-induced antitumor immune response and tumor growth inhibition. This synergy was dependent on TAA cross presentation to cytolytic CD8+ T cells and on IFN-γ. Notably, butyrate, a metabolite produced by the vancomycin-depleted gut bacteria, abrogated the vancomycin effect. In conclusion, depletion of vancomycin-sensitive bacteria enhances the antitumor activity of RT, which has important clinical ramifications.

Authors

Mireia Uribe-Herranz, Stavros Rafail, Silvia Beghi, Luis Gil-de-Gómez, Ioannis Verginadis, Kyle Bittinger, Sergey Pustylnikov, Stefano Pierini, Renzo Perales-Linares, Ian A. Blair, Clementina A. Mesaros, Nathaniel W. Snyder, Frederic Bushman, Constantinos Koumenis, Andrea Facciabene

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Proteinuria is considered an unfavorable clinical condition that accelerates renal and cardiovascular disease. However, it is not clear whether all forms of proteinuria are damaging. Mutations in CUBN cause Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (IGS), which is characterized by intestinal malabsorption of vitamin B12 and in some cases proteinuria. CUBN encodes for cubilin, an intestinal and proximal tubular uptake receptor containing 27 CUB domains for ligand binding.METHODS We used next-generation sequencing for renal disease genes to genotype cohorts of patients with suspected hereditary renal disease and chronic proteinuria. CUBN variants were analyzed using bioinformatics, structural modeling, and epidemiological methods.RESULTS We identified 39 patients, in whom biallelic pathogenic variants in the CUBN gene were associated with chronic isolated proteinuria and early childhood onset. Since the proteinuria in these patients had a high proportion of albuminuria, glomerular diseases such as steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome or Alport syndrome were often the primary clinical diagnosis, motivating renal biopsies and the use of proteinuria-lowering treatments. However, renal function was normal in all cases. By contrast, we did not found any biallelic CUBN variants in proteinuric patients with reduced renal function or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Unlike the more N-terminal IGS mutations, 37 of the 41 proteinuria-associated CUBN variants led to modifications or truncations after the vitamin B12–binding domain. Finally, we show that 4 C-terminal CUBN variants are associated with albuminuria and slightly increased GFR in meta-analyses of large population-based cohorts.CONCLUSIONS Collectively, our data suggest an important role for the C-terminal half of cubilin in renal albumin reabsorption. Albuminuria due to reduced cubilin function could be an unexpectedly common benign condition in humans that may not require any proteinuria-lowering treatment or renal biopsy.FUNDING ATIP-Avenir program, Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller (Liliane Bettencourt Chair of Developmental Biology), Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Investissements d’avenir program (ANR-10-IAHU-01) and NEPHROFLY (ANR-14-ACHN-0013, to MS), Steno Collaborative Grant 2018 (NNF18OC0052457, to TSA and MS), Heisenberg Professorship of the German Research Foundation (KO 3598/5-1, to AK), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) KIDGEM 1140 (project 246781735, to CB), and Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMB) (01GM1515C, to CB).

Authors

Mathilda Bedin, Olivia Boyer, Aude Servais, Yong Li, Laure Villoing-Gaudé, Marie-Josephe Tête, Alexandra Cambier, Julien Hogan, Veronique Baudouin, Saoussen Krid, Albert Bensman, Florie Lammens, Ferielle Louillet, Bruno Ranchin, Cecile Vigneau, Iseline Bouteau, Corinne Isnard-Bagnis, Christoph J. Mache, Tobias Schäfer, Lars Pape, Markus Gödel, Tobias B. Huber, Marcus Benz, Günter Klaus, Matthias Hansen, Kay Latta, Olivier Gribouval, Vincent Morinière, Carole Tournant, Maik Grohmann, Elisa Kuhn, Timo Wagner, Christine Bole-Feysot, Fabienne Jabot-Hanin, Patrick Nitschké, Tarunveer S. Ahluwalia, Anna Köttgen, Christian Brix Folsted Andersen, Carsten Bergmann, Corinne Antignac, Matias Simons

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Abstract

Patients with bladder cancer (BCa) with clinical lymph node (LN) metastasis have an extremely poor prognosis. VEGF-C has been demonstrated to play vital roles in LN metastasis in BCa. However, approximately 20% of BCa with LN metastasis exhibits low VEGF-C expression, suggesting a VEGF-C–independent mechanism for LN metastasis of BCa. Herein, we demonstrate that BCa cell–secreted exosome-mediated lymphangiogenesis promoted LN metastasis in BCa in a VEGF-C–independent manner. We identified an exosomal long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), termed lymph node metastasis-associated transcript 2 (LNMAT2), that stimulated human lymphatic endothelial cell (HLEC) tube formation and migration in vitro and enhanced tumor lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis in vivo. Mechanistically, LNMAT2 was loaded to BCa cell–secreted exosomes by directly interacting with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2B1 (hnRNPA2B1). Subsequently, exosomal LNMAT2 was internalized by HLECs and epigenetically upregulated prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) expression by recruitment of hnRNPA2B1 and increasing the H3K4 trimethylation level in the PROX1 promoter, ultimately resulting in lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis. Therefore, our findings highlight a VEGF-C–independent mechanism of exosomal lncRNA-mediated LN metastasis and identify LNMAT2 as a therapeutic target for LN metastasis in BCa.

Authors

Changhao Chen, Yuming Luo, Wang He, Yue Zhao, Yao Kong, Hongwei Liu, Guangzheng Zhong, Yuting Li, Jun Li, Jian Huang, Rufu Chen, Tianxin Lin

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Abstract

Immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) induces durable antitumor efficacy in many types of cancer. However, such clinical benefit is limited because of the insufficient reinvigoration of antitumor immunity with the drug alone; therefore, rational therapeutic combinations are required to improve its efficacy. In our preclinical study, we evaluated the antitumor effect of U3-1402, a human epidermal growth factor receptor 3–targeting (HER3–targeting) antibody-drug conjugate, and its potential synergism with PD-1 inhibition. Using a syngeneic mouse tumor model that is refractory to anti–PD-1 therapy, we found that treatment with U3-1402 exhibited an obvious antitumor effect via direct lysis of tumor cells. Disruption of tumor cells by U3-1402 enhanced the infiltration of innate and adaptive immune cells. Chemotherapy with exatecan derivative (Dxd, the drug payload of U3-1402) revealed that the enhanced antitumor immunity produced by U3-1402 was associated with the induction of alarmins, including high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB-1), via tumor-specific cytotoxicity. Notably, U3-1402 significantly sensitized the tumor to PD-1 blockade, as a combination of U3-1402 and the PD-1 inhibitor significantly enhanced antitumor immunity. Further, clinical analyses indicated that tumor-specific HER3 expression was frequently observed in patients with PD-1 inhibitor–resistant solid tumors. Overall, U3-1402 is a promising candidate as a partner of immunotherapy for such patients.

Authors

Koji Haratani, Kimio Yonesaka, Shiki Takamura, Osamu Maenishi, Ryoji Kato, Naoki Takegawa, Hisato Kawakami, Kaoru Tanaka, Hidetoshi Hayashi, Masayuki Takeda, Naoyuki Maeda, Takashi Kagari, Kenji Hirotani, Junji Tsurutani, Kazuto Nishio, Katsumi Doi, Masaaki Miyazawa, Kazuhiko Nakagawa

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Abstract

Novel approaches for adjunctive therapy are urgently needed for complicated infections and patients with compromised immunity. Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a destructive skin and soft tissue infection. Despite treatment with systemic antibiotics and radical debridement of necrotic tissue, lethality remains high. The key iron regulatory hormone hepcidin was originally identified as a cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP), but its putative expression and role in the skin, a major site of AMP production, have never been investigated. We report here that hepcidin production is induced in the skin of patients with group A Streptococcus (GAS) NF. In a GAS-induced NF model, mice lacking hepcidin in keratinocytes failed to restrict systemic spread of infection from an initial tissue focus. Unexpectedly, this effect was due to its ability to promote production of the CXCL1 chemokine by keratinocytes, resulting in neutrophil recruitment. Unlike CXCL1, hepcidin is resistant to degradation by major GAS proteases and could therefore serve as a reservoir to maintain steady-state levels of CXCL1 in infected tissue. Finally, injection of synthetic hepcidin at the site of infection can limit or completely prevent systemic spread of GAS infection, suggesting that hepcidin agonists could have a therapeutic role in NF.

Authors

Mariangela Malerba, Sabine Louis, Sylvain Cuvellier, Srikanth Mairpady Shambat, Camille Hua, Camille Gomart, Agnès Fouet, Nicolas Ortonne, Jean-Winoc Decousser, Annelies S. Zinkernagel, Jacques R.R. Mathieu, Carole Peyssonnaux

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Abstract

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) induce molecular remission in the majority of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), but the persistence of CML stem cells hinders cure and necessitates indefinite TKI therapy. We report that CML stem cells upregulate the expression of pleiotrophin (PTN) and require cell-autonomous PTN signaling for CML pathogenesis in BCR/ABL+ mice. Constitutive PTN deletion substantially reduced the numbers of CML stem cells capable of initiating CML in vivo. Hematopoietic cell–specific deletion of PTN suppressed CML development in BCR/ABL+ mice, suggesting that cell-autonomous PTN signaling was necessary for CML disease evolution. Mechanistically, PTN promoted CML stem cell survival and TKI resistance via induction of Jun and the unfolded protein response. Human CML cells were also dependent on cell-autonomous PTN signaling, and anti-PTN antibody suppressed human CML colony formation and CML repopulation in vivo. Our results suggest that targeted inhibition of PTN has therapeutic potential to eradicate CML stem cells.

Authors

Heather A. Himburg, Martina Roos, Tiancheng Fang, Yurun Zhang, Christina M. Termini, Lauren Schlussel, Mindy Kim, Amara Pang, Jenny Kan, Liman Zhao, Hyung Suh, Joshua P. Sasine, Gopal Sapparapu, Peter M. Bowers, Gary Schiller, John P. Chute

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Abstract

Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) are increasingly recognized to influence solid tumor development, but why their effects are so context dependent and even frequently divergent remains poorly understood. Using an autochthonous mouse model of uterine cancer and the administration of respiratory hyperoxia as a means to improve tumor oxygenation, we provide in vivo evidence that hypoxia is a potent determinant of tumor-associated PMN phenotypes and direct PMN–tumor cell interactions. Upon relief of tumor hypoxia, PMNs were recruited less intensely to the tumor-bearing uterus, but the recruited cells much more effectively killed tumor cells, an activity our data moreover suggested was mediated via their production of NADPH oxidase–derived reactive oxygen species and MMP-9. Simultaneously, their ability to promote tumor cell proliferation, which appeared to be mediated via their production of neutrophil elastase, was rendered less effective. Relieving tumor hypoxia thus greatly improved net PMN-dependent tumor control, leading to a massive reduction in tumor burden. Remarkably, this outcome was T cell independent. Together, these findings identify key hypoxia-regulated molecular mechanisms through which PMNs directly induce tumor cell death and proliferation in vivo and suggest that the contrasting properties of PMNs in different tumor settings may in part reflect the effects of hypoxia on direct PMN–tumor cell interactions.

Authors

Karim Mahiddine, Adam Blaisdell, Stephany Ma, Amandine Créquer-Grandhomme, Clifford A. Lowell, Adrian Erlebacher

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Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered to be a highly immunosuppressive and heterogenous neoplasm. Despite improved knowledge regarding the genetic background of the tumor and better understanding of the tumor microenvironment, immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (targeting CTLA4, PD1, PDL1) has not been very successful against PDAC. The robust desmoplastic stroma, along with an extensive extracellular matrix (ECM) that is rich in hyaluronan, plays an integral role in this immune evasion. Hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP), a shunt pathway of glycolysis, is a metabolic node in cancer cells that can promote survival pathways on the one hand and influence the hyaluronan synthesis in the ECM on the other. The rate-limiting enzyme of the pathway, glutamine-fructose amidotransferase 1 (GFAT1), uses glutamine and fructose 6-phosphate to eventually synthesize uridine diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc). In the current manuscript, we targeted this glutamine-utilizing enzyme by a small molecule glutamine analog (6-diazo-5-oxo-l-norleucine [DON]). Our results showed that DON decreased the self-renewal potential and metastatic ability of tumor cells. Further, treatment with DON decreased hyaluronan and collagen in the tumor microenvironment, leading to an extensive remodeling of the ECM and an increased infiltration of CD8+ T cells. Additionally, treatment with DON sensitized pancreatic tumors to anti-PD1 therapy, resulting in tumor regression and prolonged survival.

Authors

Nikita S. Sharma, Vineet K. Gupta, Vanessa T. Garrido, Roey Hadad, Brittany C. Durden, Kousik Kesh, Bhuwan Giri, Anthony Ferrantella, Vikas Dudeja, Ashok Saluja, Sulagna Banerjee

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Abstract

Albuminuria acts as a marker of progressive chronic kidney disease and as an indicator for initiation of hypertension treatment via modulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system with angiotensin receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. However, the true significance of albuminuria has yet to be fully defined. Is it merely a marker of underlying pathophysiology, or does it play a causal role in the progression of kidney disease? The answer remains under debate. In this issue of the JCI, Bedin et al. used next-generation sequencing data to identify patients with chronic proteinuria who had biallelic variants in the cubilin gene (CUBN). Through investigation of these pathogenic mutations in CUBN, the authors have further illuminated the clinical implications of albuminuria.

Authors

Andrew Beenken, Jonathan M. Barasch, Ali G. Gharavi

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Abstract

Axon regeneration failure causes neurological deficits and long-term disability after spinal cord injury (SCI). Here, we found that the α2δ2 subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels negatively regulates axon growth and regeneration of corticospinal neurons, the cells that originate the corticospinal tract. Increased α2δ2 expression in corticospinal neurons contributed to loss of corticospinal regrowth ability during postnatal development and after SCI. In contrast, α2δ2 pharmacological blockade through gabapentin administration promoted corticospinal structural plasticity and regeneration in adulthood. Using an optogenetic strategy combined with in vivo electrophysiological recording, we demonstrated that regenerating corticospinal axons functionally integrate into spinal circuits. Mice administered gabapentin recovered upper extremity function after cervical SCI. Importantly, such recovery relies on reorganization of the corticospinal pathway, as chemogenetic silencing of injured corticospinal neurons transiently abrogated recovery. Thus, targeting α2δ2 with a clinically relevant treatment strategy aids repair of motor circuits after SCI.

Authors

Wenjing Sun, Molly J.E. Larson, Conrad M. Kiyoshi, Alexander J. Annett, William A. Stalker, Juan Peng, Andrea Tedeschi

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Abstract

Cantu Syndrome (CS) is a complex disorder caused by gain-of-function (GoF) mutations in ABCC9 and KCNJ8, which encode the SUR2 and Kir6.1 subunits, respectively, of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) KATP channels. CS includes dilated vasculature, marked cardiac hypertrophy, and other cardiovascular abnormalities. There is currently no targeted therapy, and it is unknown whether cardiovascular features can be reversed once manifest. Using combined transgenic and pharmacological approaches in a knock-in mouse model of CS, we have shown that reversal of vascular and cardiac phenotypes can be achieved (1) by genetic downregulation of KATP channel activity specifically in VSM, and (2) by chronic administration of the clinically-used KATP channel inhibitor, glibenclamide. These findings demonstrate (i) that VSM KATP channel GoF underlies CS cardiac enlargement, (ii) reversibility of CS-associated abnormalities and (iii) evidence of in vivo efficacy of glibenclamide as a therapeutic agent in CS.

Authors

Conor McClenaghan, Yan Huang, Zihan Yan, Theresa Harter, Carmen M. Halabi, Rod Chalk, Attila Kovacs, Gijs van Haaften, Maria S. Remedi, Colin G. Nichols

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Cerebral malaria (CM) accounts for nearly 400,000 deaths annually in African children. Current dogma suggests that CM results from infected RBC (iRBC) sequestration in the brain microvasculature and resulting sequelae. Therapies targeting these events have been unsuccessful; findings in experimental models suggest that CD8+ T cells drive disease pathogenesis. However, these data have largely been ignored because corroborating evidence in humans is lacking. This work fills a critical gap in our understanding of CM pathogenesis that is impeding development of therapeutics. METHODS. Using multiplex immunohistochemistry, we characterized cerebrovascular immune cells in brain sections from 34 children who died from CM or other causes. Children were grouped by clinical diagnosis (CM+ or –), iRBC sequestration (Seqhi, lo, or 0) and HIV status (HIV+ or –). RESULTS. We identified effector CD3+CD8+ T cells engaged on the cerebrovasculature in 69% of CM+ HIV– children. The number of intravascular CD3+CD8+ T cells was influenced by CM status (CM+ vs –, P = 0.004) and sequestration level (Seqhi > lo, P = 0.010). HIV co-infection significantly increased T cell numbers and shifted cells from an intravascular (P = 0.004) to perivascular (P < 0.0001) distribution. CONCLUSION. Within the studied cohort, CM is associated with cerebrovascular engagement of CD3+CD8+ T cells, which is exacerbated by HIV coinfection. Thus, CD3+CD8+ T cells are highly promising targets for CM adjunctive therapy, opening new avenues for the treatment of this deadly disease. FUNDING. This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health.

Authors

Brittany A. Riggle, Monica Manglani, Dragan Maric, Kory R. Johnson, Myoung-Hwa Lee, Osorio Lopes Abath Neto, Terrie E. Taylor, Karl B. Seydel, Avindra Nath, Louis H. Miller, Dorian B. McGavern, Susan K. Pierce

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Abstract

Background: DICER1 is the only miRNA biogenesis component associated with an inherited tumor syndrome, featuring multinodular goiter (MNG) and rare pediatric-onset lesions. Other susceptibility genes for familial forms of MNG likely exist. Methods: Whole exome sequencing of a kindred with early-onset MNG and schwannomatosis was followed by investigation of germline pathogenic variants that fully segregated with the disease. Genome wide analyses were performed on 13 tissue samples from familial and non-familial DGCR8-E518K positive tumors, including MNG, schwannomas, papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) and Wilms Tumors. MiRNA profiles of four tissue types were compared, and sequencing of miRNA, pre-miRNA and mRNA was performed in a subset of 9 schwannomas, four of which harbor DGCR8-E518K. Results: We identified c.1552G>A;p.E518K in DGCR8, a microprocessor located in 22q, in the kindred. The variant identified is a somatic hotspot in Wilms Tumors and has been identified in two PTCs. Copy number loss of chromosome 22q, leading to loss of heterozygosity at the DGCR8 locus, was found in all 13 samples harboring c.1552G>A;p.E518K. miRNA profiling of PTC, MNG, schwannomas and Wilms Tumors revealed a common profile among E518K hemizygous tumors. In vitro cleavage demonstrated improper processing of pre-miRNA by DGCR8-E518K. MicroRNA and RNA profiling show that this variant disrupts precursor microRNA production, impacting populations of canonical microRNAs and mirtrons. Conclusions: We identified DGCR8 as the cause of an unreported autosomal dominant mendelian tumor susceptibility syndrome: familial multinodular goiter with schwannomatosis. Funded by CIHR, Compute Canada, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, and the Mia Neri Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Authors

Barbara Rivera, Javad Nadaf, Somayyeh Fahiminiya, Maria Apellaniz-Ruiz, Avi Saskin, Anne-Sophie Chong, Sahil Sharma, Rabea Wagener, Timothée Revil, Vincenzo Condello, Zineb Harra, Nancy Hamel, Nelly Sabbaghian, Karl Muchantef, Christian Thomas, Leanne de Kock, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Angelia V. Bassenden, Hannah Rabenstein, Ozgur Mete, Ralf Paschke, Marc P. Pusztaszeri, Werner Paulus, Albert Berghuis, Jiannis Ragoussis, Yuri E. Nikiforov, Reiner Siebert, Steffen Albrecht, Robert Turcotte, Martin Hasselblatt, Marc R. Fabian, William D. Foulkes

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Abstract

Background. An increase in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) is the hallmark feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is decreased by weight loss. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributes to steatosis in people with NAFLD. The physiological factors that stimulate hepatic DNL and the effect of weight loss on hepatic DNL are not clear.Methods. Hepatic DNL, 24-h integrated plasma insulin and glucose concentrations, and both liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were determined in people who were lean (n = 14), obese with normal IHTG content (Obese, n = 26) and obese with NAFLD (Obese-NAFLD, n = 27). Hepatic DNL was assessed by using the deuterated water method corrected for the potential confounding contribution of adipose tissue DNL. Liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were assessed by using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in conjunction with glucose tracer infusion. Six subjects in the Obese-NAFLD group were also evaluated before and after 10% diet-induced weight loss.Results. The contribution of hepatic DNL to IHTG-palmitate was 11%, 19% and 38% in the Lean, Obese and Obese-NAFLD groups, respectively. Hepatic DNL was inversely correlated with hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, but directly correlated with 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, in conjunction with a decrease in hepatic DNL and 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Conclusions. These data suggest hepatic DNL is an important regulator of IHTG content, and that increases in circulating glucose and insulin stimulate hepatic DNL in people with NAFLD. Weight loss decreases IHTG content, at least in part, by decreasing hepatic DNL.

Authors

Gordon I. Smith, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Mihoko Yoshino, George G. Schweitzer, Maria Chondronikola, Joseph W. Beals, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Edna Nyangau, Tyler Field, Claude B. Sirlin, Saswata Talukdar, Marc K. Hellerstein, Samuel Klein

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Abstract

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MEK inhibitors (EGFR/MEKi) are beneficial for the treatment of solid cancers but are frequently associated with severe therapy-limiting acneiform skin toxicities. The underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Using gene expression profiling we identified IL-36γ and IL-8 as candidate drivers of EGFR/MEKi skin toxicity. We provide molecular and translational evidence that EGFR/MEKi in concert with the skin commensal bacterium Cutibacterium acnes act synergistically to induce IL-36γ in keratinocytes and subsequently IL-8, leading to cutaneous neutrophilia. IL-36γ expression was the combined result of C. acnes-induced NF-κB activation and EGFR/MEKi-mediated expression of the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), due to the presence of both NF-κB- and KLF4-binding sites in the human IL-36γ gene promoter. EGFR/MEKi increased KLF4 expression by blockade of the EGFR-MEK-ERK pathway. These results provide an insight into understanding the pathological mechanism of the acneiform skin toxicities induced by EGFR/MEKi and identify IL-36γ and the transcription factor KLF4 as potential therapeutic targets.

Authors

Takashi K. Satoh, Mark Mellett, Barbara Meier-Schiesser, Gabriele Fenini, Atsushi Otsuka, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Tamara Rordorf, Julia-Tatjana Maul, Jürg Hafner, Alexander A. Navarini, Emmanuel Contassot, Lars E. French

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December 2019

December 2019 Issue

On the cover:
Preventing hemoglobin-induced damage in cerebral arteries

In this issue of the JCI, Hugelshofer, Buzzi, et al. show that cell-free hemoglobin present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage disrupts nitric oxide signaling, driving pathological vasoconstriction. Sequestering hemoglobin by adding haptoglobin to CSF restored nitric oxide–mediated vasodilation and reduced vasospasm in an in vivo model. The findings support further research into haptoglobin-based interventions to mitigate neurological damage associated with subarachnoid bleeding. The cover image is a drawing depicting hemoglobin (red) in the tiny CSF-space alongside small penetrating cerebral arteries (green) of the sheep brain. Whereas free hemoglobin penetrates from CSF into the vascular smooth muscle layer (lower artery) and into the brain tissue, haptoglobin blocks hemoglobin translocation and its vasoconstrictive effects (upper artery). Image credit: Rok Humar.

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December 2019 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

Mechanisms Underlying the Metabolic Syndrome

Series edited by Philipp E. Scherer

Obesity often occurs with a quintessential array of metabolic abnormalities: elevations in blood pressure, visceral fat, and circulating blood lipids, and, importantly, insulin resistance. Together, this constellation of conditions constitutes the metabolic syndrome and forecasts an individual’s increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Although metabolic syndrome presents as dysfunction across multiple tissues, its onset stems from pathological increases in adipose tissue. The 9 review in this series, conceptualized by series editor Philipp Scherer, delve into the complex biology underlying the metabolic syndrome. These reviews address adipocyte and beta cell dysfunction in the metabolic syndrome; the functions of adipose tissue fibrosis, the microbiome, and exosomal communication in obesity; and the concepts we use to define metabolic health.

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