Background: Systems vaccinology allows cutting-edge analysis of innate biomarkers of vaccine efficacy. We have been exploring novel strategies to shape the adaptive immune response, by targeting innate immune cells through novel immunization routes. Methods: This randomized phase I/II clinical study (n=60 healthy subjects aged 18-45 years old) used transcriptomic analysis to discover early biomarkers of immune response quality after transcutaneous (t.c.), intradermal (i.d.), and intramuscular (i.m.) administration of a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV season 2012-2013) (1:1:1 ratio). Safety and immunogenicity (hemagglutinin inhibition (HI), microneutralization (MN) antibodies and CD4, CD8 effector T cells) were measured at baseline Day (D)0 and at D21. Blood transcriptome was analyzed at D0 and D1. Results: TIV-specific CD8+GranzymeB+(GRZ) T cells appeared in more individuals immunized by the t.c. and i.d. routes, while immunization by the i.d. and i.m. routes prompted high levels of HI antibody titers and MN against A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 influenza viral strains. The early innate gene signature anticipated immunological outcome by discriminating two clusters of individuals with either distinct humoral or CD8 cytotoxic responses. Several pathways explained this dichotomy confirmed by nine genes and serum level of CXCL10 were correlated with either TIV-specific cytotoxic CD8+GRZ+ T-cell or antibody responses. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that these nine genes and serum levels of CXCL10 (D1/D0) best foreseen TIV-specific CD8+GRZ+ T-cell and antibody responses at D21. Conclusion: This study provides new insight into the impact of immunization routes and innate signature in the quality of adaptive immune responses.
Eléna Gonçalves, Olivia Bonduelle, Angèle Soria, Pierre Loulergue, Alexandra Rousseau, Marine Cachanado, Henri Bonnabau, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Nicolas Tchitchek, Sylvie Behillil, Sylvie van der Werf, Annika Vogt, Tabassome Simon, Odile Launay, Behazine Combadière
BACKGROUND. Recent genomic and bioinformatic technological advances have made it possible to dissect the immune response to personalized neoantigens encoded by tumor-specific mutations. However, timely and efficient identification of neoantigens is still one of the major obstacles to using personalized neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy. METHODS. Two different pipelines of neoantigens identification were established in this study: (1) Clinical grade targeted sequencing was performed in patients with refractory solid tumor, and mutant peptides with high variant allele frequency and predicted high HLA-binding affinity were de novo synthesized. (2) An inventory-shared neoantigen peptide library of common solid tumors was constructed, and patients' hotspot mutations were matched to the neoantigen peptide library. The candidate neoepitopes were identified by recalling memory T-cell responses in vitro. Subsequently, neoantigen-loaded dendritic cell vaccines and neoantigen-reactive T cells were generated for personalized immunotherapy in six patients. RESULTS. Immunogenic neo-epitopes were recognized by autologous T cells in 3 of 4 patients who utilized the de novo synthesis mode and in 6 of 13 patients who performed shared neoantigen peptide library, respectively. A metastatic thymoma patient achieved a complete and durable response beyond 29 months after treatment. Immune-related partial response was observed in another patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer. The remaining four patients achieved the prolonged stabilization of disease with a median PFS of 8.6 months. CONCLUSIONS. The current study provided feasible pipelines for neoantigen identification. Implementing these strategies to individually tailor neoantigens could facilitate the neoantigen-based translational immunotherapy research. TRIAL REGSITRATION. ChiCTR.org ChiCTR-OIC-16010092, ChiCTR-OIC-17011275, ChiCTR-OIC-17011913; ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03171220. FUNDING. This work was funded by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFC1308900), the National Major Projects for “Major New Drugs Innovation and Development” (Grant No.2018ZX09301048-003), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81672367, 81572329, 81572601), and the Key Research and Development Program of Jiangsu Province (No. BE2017607).
Fangjun Chen, Zhengyun Zou, Juan Du, Shu Su, Jie Shao, Fanyan Meng, Ju Yang, Qiuping Xu, Naiqing Ding, Yang Yang, Qin Liu, Qin Wang, Zhichen Sun, Shujuan Zhou, Shiyao Du, Jia Wei, Baorui Liu
BACKGROUND. The human bone marrow (BM) niche contains a population of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) that provide physical support and regulate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis. β-Thalassemia (BT) is a hereditary disorder characterized by altered hemoglobin beta-chain synthesis amenable to allogeneic HSC transplantation and HSC gene therapy. Iron overload (IO) is a common complication in BT patients affecting several organs. However, data on the BM stromal compartment are scarce. METHODS. MSCs were isolated and characterized from BM aspirates of healthy donors (HDs) and BT patients. The state of IO was assessed and correlated with the presence of primitive MSCs in vitro and in vivo. Hematopoietic supportive capacity of MSCs was evaluated by transwell migration assay and 2D coculture of MSCs with human CD34+ HSCs. In vivo, the ability of MSCs to facilitate HSC engraftment was tested in a xenogenic transplant model, whereas the capacity to sustain human hematopoiesis was evaluated in humanized ossicle models. RESULTS. We report that, despite iron chelation, BT BM contains high levels of iron and ferritin, indicative of iron accumulation in the BM niche. We found a pauperization of the most primitive MSC pool caused by increased ROS production in vitro which impaired MSC stemness properties. We confirmed a reduced frequency of primitive MSCs in vivo in BT patients. We also discovered a weakened antioxidative response and diminished expression of BM niche–associated genes in BT-MSCs. This caused a functional impairment in MSC hematopoietic supportive capacity in vitro and in cotransplantation models. In addition, BT-MSCs failed to form a proper BM niche in humanized ossicle models. CONCLUSION. Our results suggest an impairment in the mesenchymal compartment of BT BM niche and highlight the need for novel strategies to target the niche to reduce IO and oxidative stress before transplantation. FUNDING. This work was supported by the SR-TIGET Core grant from Fondazione Telethon and by Ricerca Corrente.
Stefania Crippa, Valeria Rossella, Annamaria Aprile, Laura Silvestri, Silvia Rivis, Samantha Scaramuzza, Stefania Pirroni, Maria Antonietta Avanzini, Luca Basso-Ricci, Raisa Jofra Hernandez, Marco Zecca, Sarah Marktel, Fabio Ciceri, Alessandro Aiuti, Giuliana Ferrari, Maria Ester Bernardo
BACKGROUND. Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) causes an estimated 180,000 deaths annually, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, where most patients receive fluconazole (FLC) monotherapy. While relapse after FLC monotherapy with resistant strains is frequently observed, the mechanisms and impact of emergence of FLC resistance in human CM are poorly understood. Heteroresistance (HetR) — a resistant subpopulation within a susceptible strain — is a recently described phenomenon in Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Cryptococcus gattii (Cg), the significance of which has not previously been studied in humans. METHODS. A cohort of 20 patients with HIV-associated CM in Tanzania was prospectively observed during therapy with either FLC monotherapy or in combination with flucytosine (5FC). Total and resistant subpopulations of Cryptococcus spp. were quantified directly from patient cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Stored isolates underwent whole genome sequencing and phenotypic characterization. RESULTS. Heteroresistance was detectable in Cryptococcus spp. in the CSF of all patients at baseline (i.e., prior to initiation of therapy). During FLC monotherapy, the proportion of resistant colonies in the CSF increased during the first 2 weeks of treatment. In contrast, no resistant subpopulation was detectable in CSF by day 14 in those receiving a combination of FLC and 5FC. Genomic analysis revealed high rates of aneuploidy in heteroresistant colonies as well as in relapse isolates, with chromosome 1 (Chr1) disomy predominating. This is apparently due to the presence on Chr1 of ERG11, which is the FLC drug target, and AFR1, which encodes a drug efflux pump. In vitro efflux levels positively correlated with the level of heteroresistance. CONCLUSION. Our findings demonstrate for what we believe is the first time the presence and emergence of aneuploidy-driven FLC heteroresistance in human CM, association of efflux levels with heteroresistance, and the successful suppression of heteroresistance with 5FC/FLC combination therapy. FUNDING. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology 097377/Z/11/Z and the Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowship.
Neil R.H. Stone, Johanna Rhodes, Matthew C. Fisher, Sayoki Mfinanga, Sokoine Kivuyo, Joan Rugemalila, Ella Shtifman Segal, Leor Needleman, Síle F. Molloy, June Kwon-Chung, Thomas S. Harrison, William Hope, Judith Berman, Tihana Bicanic
Background/Purpose: Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produce large amounts of type I IFN (IFN-I), cytokines convincingly linked to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. BIIB059 is a humanized mAb that binds BDCA2, a pDC-specific receptor that inhibits the production of IFN-I and other inflammatory mediators when ligated. A first-in-human study was conducted to assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) effects of single BIIB059 doses in healthy volunteers (HV) and patients with SLE with active cutaneous disease as well as proof of biological activity and preliminary clinical response in the SLE cohort. Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial was conducted in HV (n=54) and patients with SLE (n=12). All subjects were monitored for adverse events. Serum BIIB059 concentrations, BDCA2 levels on pDCs, and IFN-responsive biomarkers in whole blood and skin biopsies were measured. Skin disease activity was determined using the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index Activity (CLASI-A).Results: Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with a favorable safety and PK profile. BIIB059 administration led to BDCA2 internalization on pDCs, which correlated with circulating BIIB059 levels. BIIB059 administration in patients with SLE decreased expression of IFN response genes in blood, normalized MxA expression and reduced immune infiltrates in skin lesions, and decreased CLASI-A score. Conclusion: Single doses of BIIB059 were associated with favorable safety and PK/PD profiles, and robust target engagement and biological activity, supporting further development of BIIB059 in SLE. The data suggest that targeting pDCs may be beneficial for patients with SLE, especially those with cutaneous manifestations.
Richard Furie, Victoria P. Werth, Joseph F. Merola, Lauren Stevenson, Taylor L. Reynolds, Himanshu Naik, Wenting Wang, Romy Christmann, Agnes Gardet, Alex Pellerin, Stefan Hamann, Pavan Auluck, Catherine Barbey, Parul Gulati, Dania Rabah, Nathalie Franchimont
Background. Sphingolipids are important components of cellular membranes and functionally associated with fundamental processes such as cell differentiation, neuronal signaling and myelin sheath formation. Defects in the synthesis or degradation of sphingolipids leads to various neurological pathologies, however, the entire spectrum of sphingolipid metabolism disorders remained elusive. Methods. A combined approach of genomics and lipidomics was applied to identify and characterize a human sphingolipid metabolism disorder.Results. By whole-exome sequencing in a patient with a multisystem neurological disorder of both the central and peripheral nervous system, we identified a homozygous p.(Ala280Val) variant in DEGS1, which catalyzes the last step in the ceramide synthesis pathway. The blood sphingolipid profile in the patient showed a significant increase in dihydro sphingolipid species which was further recapitulated in patient-derived fibroblasts, in CRISPR/Cas9-derived DEGS1 knockout cells, and by pharmacological inhibition of DEGS1. The enzymatic activity in patient fibroblasts was reduced by 80% compared to wild type cells which was in line with a reduced expression of mutant DEGS1 protein. Moreover, an atypical and potentially neurotoxic sphingosine isomer was identified in patient plasma and in cells expressing mutant DEGS1. Conclusion. We report DEGS1 dysfunction as cause for a novel sphingolipid disorder with hypomyelination and degeneration of both the central and peripheral nervous system.Trial registration. Not applicable.Funding. RESOLVE: Project number 305707; SNF: Project 31003A_153390/1; Rare Disease Initiative Zurich.
Gergely Karsai, Florian Kraft, Natja Haag, G. Christoph Korenke, Benjamin Hänisch, Alaa Othman, Saranya Suriyanarayanan, Regula Steiner, Cordula Knopp, Michael Mull, Markus Bergmann, J. Michael Schröder, Joachim Weis, Miriam Elbracht, Matthias Begemann, Thorsten Hornemann, Ingo Kurth
BACKGROUND. Patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) experience chronic cognitive deficits. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are enzymes that regulate cognitive circuitry; however, the role of HDACs in cognitive disorders, including SCZ, remains unknown in humans. We previously determined that HDAC2 mRNA levels were lower in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) tissue from donors with SCZ compared with controls. Here we investigated the relationship between in vivo HDAC expression and cognitive impairment in patients with SCZ and matched healthy controls using [11C]Martinostat positron emission tomography (PET). METHODS. In a case-control study, relative [11C]Martinostat uptake was compared between 14 patients with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder (SCZ/SAD) and 17 controls using hypothesis-driven region-of-interest analysis and unbiased whole brain voxel-wise approaches. Clinical measures, including the MATRICS consensus cognitive battery, were administered. RESULTS. Relative HDAC expression was lower in the DLPFC of patients with SCZ/SAD compared with controls, and HDAC expression positively correlated with cognitive performance scores across groups. Patients with SCZ/SAD also showed lower relative HDAC expression in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal gyrus, and higher relative HDAC expression in the cerebral white matter, pons, and cerebellum compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS. These findings provide in vivo evidence of HDAC dysregulation in patients with SCZ and suggest that altered HDAC expression may impact cognitive function in humans. FUNDING. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Brain and Behavior Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant Program.
Tonya M. Gilbert, Nicole R. Zürcher, Christine J. Wu, Anisha Bhanot, Baileigh G. Hightower, Minhae Kim, Daniel S. Albrecht, Hsiao-Ying Wey, Frederick A. Schroeder, Anais Rodriguez-Thompson, Thomas M. Morin, Kamber L. Hart, Amelia M. Pellegrini, Misha M. Riley, Changning Wang, Steven M. Stufflebeam, Stephen J. Haggarty, Daphne J. Holt, Marco L. Loggia, Roy H. Perlis, Hannah E. Brown, Joshua L. Roffman, Jacob M. Hooker
BACKGROUND. Awake neurosurgery requires patients to converse and respond to visual or verbal prompts to identify and protect brain tissue supporting essential functions such as language, primary sensory modalities, and motor function. These procedures can be poorly tolerated due to patient anxiety, yet acute anxiolytic medications typically cause sedation and impair cortical function. METHODS. In this study, direct electrical stimulation of the left dorsal anterior cingulum bundle was discovered to reliably evoke positive affect and anxiolysis without sedation in an epilepsy patient undergoing research testing during standard, in-patient intracranial electrode monitoring. These effects were quantified using subjective and objective behavioral measures, and stimulation was found to evoke robust changes in local and distant neural activity. RESULTS. The index patient ultimately required an awake craniotomy procedure to confirm safe resection margins in the treatment of her epilepsy. During the procedure, cingulum bundle stimulation enhanced positive affect and reduced the patient’s anxiety to the point that intravenous anesthetic/anxiolytic medications were discontinued and cognitive testing was completed. Behavioral responses were subsequently replicated in two patients with anatomically similar electrode placements localized to an approximately 1cm span along the anterior dorsal cingulum bundle above genu of the corpus callosum. CONCLUSIONS. The current study demonstrates a robust anxiolytic response to cingulum bundle stimulation in three epilepsy patients. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The current study was not affiliated with any formal clinical trial. FUNDING. This project was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
Kelly R. Bijanki, Joseph R. Manns, Cory S. Inman, Ki Sueng Choi, Sahar Harati, Nigel P. Pedersen, Daniel L. Drane, Allison C. Waters, Rebecca E. Fasano, Helen S. Mayberg, Jon T. Willie
BACKGROUND.l-Carnitine, an abundant nutrient in red meat, accelerates atherosclerosis in mice via gut microbiota–dependent formation of trimethylamine (TMA) and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) via a multistep pathway involving an atherogenic intermediate, γ-butyrobetaine (γBB). The contribution of γBB in gut microbiota–dependent l-carnitine metabolism in humans is unknown. METHODS. Omnivores and vegans/vegetarians ingested deuterium-labeled l-carnitine (d3-l-carnitine) or γBB (d9-γBB), and both plasma metabolites and fecal polymicrobial transformations were examined at baseline, following oral antibiotics, or following chronic (≥2 months) l-carnitine supplementation. Human fecal commensals capable of performing each step of the l-carnitine→γBB→TMA transformation were identified. RESULTS. Studies with oral d3-l-carnitine or d9-γBB before versus after antibiotic exposure revealed gut microbiota contribution to the initial 2 steps in a metaorganismal l-carnitine→γBB→TMA→TMAO pathway in subjects. Moreover, a striking increase in d3-TMAO generation was observed in omnivores over vegans/vegetarians (>20-fold; P = 0.001) following oral d3-l-carnitine ingestion, whereas fasting endogenous plasma l-carnitine and γBB levels were similar in vegans/vegetarians (n = 32) versus omnivores (n = 40). Fecal metabolic transformation studies, and oral isotope tracer studies before versus after chronic l-carnitine supplementation, revealed that omnivores and vegans/vegetarians alike rapidly converted carnitine to γBB, whereas the second gut microbial transformation, γBB→TMA, was diet inducible (l-carnitine, omnivorous). Extensive anaerobic subculturing of human feces identified no single commensal capable of l-carnitine→TMA transformation, multiple community members that converted l-carnitine to γBB, and only 1 Clostridiales bacterium, Emergencia timonensis, that converted γBB to TMA. In coculture, E. timonensis promoted the complete l-carnitine→TMA transformation. CONCLUSION. In humans, dietary l-carnitine is converted into the atherosclerosis- and thrombosis-promoting metabolite TMAO via 2 sequential gut microbiota–dependent transformations: (a) initial rapid generation of the atherogenic intermediate γBB, followed by (b) transformation into TMA via low-abundance microbiota in omnivores, and to a markedly lower extent, in vegans/vegetarians. Gut microbiota γBB→TMA/TMAO transformation is induced by omnivorous dietary patterns and chronic l-carnitine exposure. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01731236. FUNDING. NIH and Office of Dietary Supplements grants HL103866, HL126827, and DK106000, and the Leducq Foundation.
Robert A. Koeth, Betzabe Rachel Lam-Galvez, Jennifer Kirsop, Zeneng Wang, Bruce S. Levison, Xiaodong Gu, Matthew F. Copeland, David Bartlett, David B. Cody, Hong J. Dai, Miranda K. Culley, Xinmin S. Li, Xiaoming Fu, Yuping Wu, Lin Li, Joseph A. DiDonato, W.H. Wilson Tang, Jose Carlos Garcia-Garcia, Stanley L. Hazen
BACKGROUND. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is under consideration as a promising recombinant viral vector to deliver foreign antigens including HIV. However, new vectors have come under increased scrutiny since vaccination with Ad5-vectored HIV vaccine trials demonstrated increased HIV risk in individuals with pre-immunity to the vector which was thought to be associated with mucosal immune activation (IA). Therefore, defining the impact of VZV vaccination on IA is particularly important with the prospect of developing an HIV/VZV chimeric vaccine. METHODS. VZV-seropositive healthy Kenyan women (n=44) were immunized with high dose live-attenuated VZV vaccine, and the expression of IA markers including CD38 and HLA-DR on CD4 T cells isolated from blood, cervix and rectum, markers of cell migration and tissue retention and the concentration of genital and intestinal cytokines were assessed. A delayed group (n=22) was used to control for natural variations in these parameters. RESULTS. Although immunogenic, VZV vaccination did not result in significant difference in the frequency of cervical activated (HLA-DR+CD38+) CD4 T cells (median 1.61%, IQR 0.93%-2.76%) at 12 weeks post-vaccination when compared to baseline (median 1.58%, IQR 0.75%-3.04%), the primary outcome for this study. VZV vaccination also had no measurable effect on any of the IA parameters at 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-vaccination. CONCLUSION. This study provides the first-ever evidence about the effects of VZV-vaccination on human mucosal IA status and supports further evaluation of VZV as a potential vector in an HIV vaccine. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02514018. FUNDING. Primary support from CIHR. For others see below.
Catia T. Perciani, Bashir Farah, Rupert Kaul, Mario A. Ostrowski, Salaheddin M. Mahmud, Omu Anzala, Walter Jaoko, Kelly S. MacDonald
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