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
Th cells are the major effector cells in transplant rejection and can be divided into Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg subsets. Th differentiation is controlled by transcription factor expression, which is driven by positive and negative cytokine and chemokine stimuli at the time of T cell activation. Here we discovered that chemokine platelet factor 4 (PF4) is a negative regulator of Th17 differentiation. PF4-deficient and platelet-deficient mice had exaggerated immune responses to cardiac transplantation, including increased numbers of infiltrating Th17 cells and increased plasma IL-17. Although PF4 has been described as a platelet-specific molecule, we found that activated T cells also express PF4. Furthermore, bone marrow transplantation experiments revealed that T cell–derived PF4 contributes to a restriction in Th17 differentiation. Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate that PF4 is a key regulator of Th cell development that is necessary to limit Th17 differentiation. These data likely will impact our understanding of platelet-dependent regulation of T cell development, which is important in many diseases, in addition to transplantation.
Guanfang Shi, David J. Field, Kyung-ae Ko, Sara Ture, Kalyan Srivastava, Scott Levy, M. Anna Kowalska, Mortimer Poncz, Deborah J. Fowell, Craig N. Morrell
Current strategies to suppress graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) also compromise graft-versus-tumor (GVT) responses. Furthermore, most experimental strategies to separate GVHD and GVT responses merely spare GVT function without actually enhancing it. We have previously shown that endogenously expressed TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is required for optimal GVT activity against certain malignancies in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). In order to model a donor-derived cellular therapy, we genetically engineered T cells to overexpress TRAIL and adoptively transferred donor-type unsorted TRAIL+ T cells into mouse models of allo-HSCT. We found that murine TRAIL+ T cells induced apoptosis of alloreactive T cells, thereby reducing GVHD in a DR5-dependent manner. Furthermore, murine TRAIL+ T cells mediated enhanced in vitro and in vivo antilymphoma GVT response. Moreover, human TRAIL+ T cells mediated enhanced in vitro cytotoxicity against both human leukemia cell lines and against freshly isolated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Finally, as a model of off-the-shelf, donor-unrestricted antitumor cellular therapy, in vitro–generated TRAIL+ precursor T cells from third-party donors also mediated enhanced GVT response in the absence of GVHD. These data indicate that TRAIL-overexpressing donor T cells could potentially enhance the curative potential of allo-HSCT by increasing GVT response and suppressing GVHD.
Arnab Ghosh, Yildirim Dogan, Maxim Moroz, Amanda M. Holland, Nury L. Yim, Uttam K. Rao, Lauren F. Young, Daniel Tannenbaum, Durva Masih, Enrico Velardi, Jennifer J. Tsai, Robert R. Jenq, Olaf Penack, Alan M. Hanash, Odette M. Smith, Kelly Piersanti, Cecilia Lezcano, George F. Murphy, Chen Liu, M. Lia Palomba, Martin G. Sauer, Michel Sadelain, Vladimir Ponomarev, Marcel R.M. van den Brink
The migration of effector or memory T cells to the graft is a critical event in the rejection of transplanted organs. The prevailing view is that the key steps involved in T cell migration — integrin-mediated firm adhesion followed by transendothelial migration — are dependent on the activation of Gαi-coupled chemokine receptors on T cells. In contrast to this view, we demonstrated in vivo that cognate antigen was necessary for the firm adhesion and transendothelial migration of CD8+ effector T cells specific to graft antigens and that both steps occurred independent of Gαi signaling. Presentation of cognate antigen by either graft endothelial cells or bone marrow–derived APCs that extend into the capillary lumen was sufficient for T cell migration. The adhesion and transmigration of antigen-nonspecific (bystander) effector T cells, on the other hand, remained dependent on Gαi, but required the presence of antigen-specific effector T cells. These findings underscore the primary role of cognate antigen presented by either endothelial cells or bone marrow–derived APCs in the migration of T cells across endothelial barriers and have important implications for the prevention and treatment of graft rejection.
Jeffrey M. Walch, Qiang Zeng, Qi Li, Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Rosemary A. Hoffman, Amanda L. Williams, David M. Rothstein, Warren D. Shlomchik, Jiyun V. Kim, Geoffrey Camirand, 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
Chronic rejection, manifested as small airway fibrosis (obliterative bronchiolitis [OB]), is the main obstacle to long-term survival in lung transplantation. Recent studies demonstrate that the airways involved in a lung transplant are relatively hypoxic at baseline and that OB pathogenesis may be linked to ischemia induced by a transient loss of airway microvasculature. Here, we show that HIF-1α mediates airway microvascular repair in a model of orthotopic tracheal transplantation. Grafts with a conditional knockout of Hif1a demonstrated diminished recruitment of recipient-derived Tie2+ angiogenic cells to the allograft, impaired repair of damaged microvasculature, accelerated loss of microvascular perfusion, and hastened denudation of epithelial cells. In contrast, graft HIF-1α overexpression induced via an adenoviral vector prolonged airway microvascular perfusion, preserved epithelial integrity, extended the time window for the graft to be rescued from chronic rejection, and attenuated airway fibrotic remodeling. HIF-1α overexpression induced the expression of proangiogenic factors such as Sdf1, Plgf, and Vegf, and promoted the recruitment of vasoreparative Tie2+ cells. This study demonstrates that a therapy that enhances vascular integrity during acute rejection may promote graft health and prevent chronic rejection.
Xinguo Jiang, Mohammad A. Khan, Wen Tian, Joshua Beilke, Ramesh Natarajan, Jon Kosek, Mervin C. Yoder, Gregg L. Semenza, Mark R. Nicolls
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
Transplantation of allogeneic stem cells into the early gestational fetus, a treatment termed in utero hematopoietic cell transplantation (IUHCTx), could potentially overcome the limitations of bone marrow transplants, including graft rejection and the chronic immunosuppression required to prevent rejection. However, clinical use of IUHCTx has been hampered by poor engraftment, possibly due to a host immune response against the graft. Since the fetal immune system is relatively immature, we hypothesized that maternal cells trafficking into the fetus may pose the true barrier to effective IUHCTx. Here, we have demonstrated that there is macrochimerism of maternal leukocytes in the blood of unmanipulated mouse fetuses, with substantial increases in T cell trafficking after IUHCTx. To determine the contribution of these maternal lymphocytes to rejection after IUHCTx, we bred T and/or B cell–deficient mothers to wild-type fathers and performed allogeneic IUHCTx into the immunocompetent fetuses. There was a marked improvement in engraftment if the mother lacked T cells but not B cells, indicating that maternal T cells are the main barrier to engraftment. Furthermore, when the graft was matched to the mother, there was no difference in engraftment between syngeneic and allogeneic fetal recipients. Our study suggests that the clinical success of IUHCTx may be improved by transplanting cells matched to the mother.
Amar Nijagal, Marta Wegorzewska, Erin Jarvis, Tom Le, Qizhi Tang, Tippi C. MacKenzie
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