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
BACKGROUND. Impaired T-cell immunity in transplant recipients is associated with infection-related morbidity and mortality. We recently reported the successful use of adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT) against drug-resistant/recurrent cytomegalovirus in solid-organ transplant recipients. METHODS. In the present study, we employed high-throughput T-cell receptor Vβ sequencing and T-cell functional profiling to delineate the impact of ACT on T-cell repertoire remodelling in the context of pre-therapy immunity and ACT products. RESULTS. These analyses indicated that a clinical response was coincident with significant changes in the T-cell receptor Vβ landscape post-therapy. This restructuring was associated with the emergence of effector memory (EM) T cells in responding patients, while non-responders displayed dramatic pre-therapy T-cell expansions with minimal change following ACT. Furthermore, immune reconstitution included both adoptively transferred clonotypes and endogenous clonotypes not detected in the ACT products. CONCLUSION. These observations demonstrate that immune control following ACT requires significant repertoire remodelling, which may be impaired in non-responders due to the pre-existing immune environment. Immunological interventions that can modulate this environment may improve clinical outcomes.
Corey Smith, Dillon Corvino, Leone Beagley, Sweera Rehan, Michelle A. Neller, Pauline Crooks, Katherine K. Matthews, Matthew Solomon, Laetitia Le Texier, Scott Campbell, Ross S. Francis, Daniel Chambers, Rajiv Khanna
Although modifications of gut microbiota with antibiotics (Abx) influence mouse skin and cardiac allografts, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains unknown. We aimed to determine whether and how recipient Abx pretreatment may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. Mice (C57BL/6) with or without Abx treatment (10 days) were transplanted with allogeneic (BALB/c) cold-stored (18 hours) livers, followed by liver and blood sampling (6 hours). We divided 264 human OLT recipients on the basis of duration of pre-OLT Abx treatment into control (Abx-free/Abx <10 days; n = 108) and Abx treatment (Abx ≥10days; n = 156) groups; OLT biopsy (Bx) samples were collected 2 hours after OLT (n = 52). Abx in mice mitigated IRI-stressed OLT (IRI-OLT), decreased CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) (endoplasmic reticulum [ER] stress), enhanced LC3B (autophagy), and inhibited inflammation, whereas it increased serum prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and hepatic PGE2 receptor 4 (EP4) expression. PGE2 increased EP4, suppressed CHOP, and induced autophagosome formation in hepatocyte cultures in an EP4-dependent manner. An EP4 antagonist restored CHOP, suppressed LC3B, and recreated IRI-OLT. Remarkably, human recipients of Abx treatment plus OLT (Abx-OLT), despite severe pretransplantation clinical acuity, had higher EP4 and LC3B levels but lower CHOP levels, which coincided with improved hepatocellular function (serum aspartate aminotransferase/serum aspartate aminotransferase [sALT/sAST]) and a decreased incidence of early allograft dysfunction (EAD). Multivariate analysis identified “Abx-free/Abx <10 days” as a predictive factor of EAD. This study documents the benefits of Abx pretreatment in liver transplant recipients, identifies ER stress and autophagy regulation by the PGE2/EP4 axis as a homeostatic underpinning, and points to the microbiome as a therapeutic target in OLT.
Kojiro Nakamura, Shoichi Kageyama, Takahiro Ito, Hirofumi Hirao, Kentaro Kadono, Antony Aziz, Kenneth J. Dery, Matthew J. Everly, Kojiro Taura, Shinji Uemoto, Douglas G. Farmer, Fady M. Kaldas, Ronald W. Busuttil, Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski
Highly effective direct-acting antivirals against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have created an opportunity to transplant organs from HCV-positive individuals into HCV-negative recipients, since de novo infection can be routinely cured. As this procedure is performed more widely, it becomes increasingly important to understand the biological underpinnings of virus transmission, especially the multiplicity of infection. Here, we used single genome sequencing of plasma virus in four genotype 1a HCV-positive organ donors and their seven organ recipients to assess the genetic bottleneck associated with HCV transmission following renal and cardiac transplantation. In all recipients, de novo infection was established by multiple genetically distinct viruses that reflect the full phylogenetic spectrum of replication-competent virus circulating in donor plasma. This was true in renal and cardiac transplantation and in recipients with peak viral loads ranging between 2.9 and 6.6 log10 IU/mL. The permissive transmission process characterized here contrasts sharply with sexual or injection-related transmission, which occurs less frequently per exposure and is generally associated with a stringent genetic bottleneck. These findings highlight the effectiveness of current anti-HCV regimens, while raising caution regarding the substantially higher multiplicity of infection seen in organ transplantation-associated HCV acquisition.
Muhammad N. Zahid, Shuyi Wang, Gerald H. Learn, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Peter P. Reese, David S. Goldberg, George M. Shaw, Katharine J. Bar
Mobilized peripheral blood has become the primary source of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) for stem cell transplantation, with a five-day course of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) as the most common regimen used for HSPC mobilization. The CXCR4 inhibitor, plerixafor, is a more rapid mobilizer, yet not potent enough when used as a single agent, thus emphasizing the need for faster acting agents with more predictable mobilization responses and fewer side effects. We sought to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation by developing a new mobilization strategy in mice through combined targeting of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 and the very late antigen 4 (VLA4) integrin. Rapid and synergistic mobilization of HSPCs along with an enhanced recruitment of true HSCs was achieved when a CXCR2 agonist was co-administered in conjunction with a VLA4 inhibitor. Mechanistic studies revealed involvement of CXCR2 expressed on BM stroma in addition to stimulation of the receptor on granulocytes in the regulation of HSPC localization and egress. Given the rapid kinetics and potency of HSPC mobilization provided by the VLA4 inhibitor and CXCR2 agonist combination in mice compared to currently approved HSPC mobilization methods, it represents an exciting potential strategy for clinical development in the future.
Darja Karpova, Michael P. Rettig, Julie Ritchey, Daniel Cancilla, Stephanie Christ, Leah Gehrs, Ezhilarasi Chendamarai, Moses O. Evbuomwan, Matthew Holt, Jingzhu Zhang, Grazia Abou-Ezzi, Hamza Celik, Eliza Wiercinska, Wei Yang, Feng Gao, Linda G. Eissenberg, Richard F. Heier, Stacy D. Arnett, Marvin J. Meyers, Michael J. Prinsen, David W. Griggs, Andreas Trumpp, Peter G. Ruminski, Dwight M. Morrow, Halvard B. Bonig, Daniel C. Link, John F. DiPersio
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