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
Outcomes in transplantation have been limited by suboptimal long-term graft survival and toxicities associated with current immunosuppressive approaches. T cell costimulation blockade has shown promise as an alternative strategy to avoid the side effects of conventional immunosuppressive therapies, but targeting CD28-mediated costimulation alone has proven insufficient to prevent graft rejection in primates. Donor-specific memory T (TM) cells have been implicated in costimulation blockade–resistant transplant rejection, due to their enhanced effector function and decreased reliance on costimulatory signaling. Thus, we have tested a potential strategy to overcome TM cell–driven rejection by targeting molecules preferentially expressed on these cells, such as the adhesion molecule lymphocyte function–associated antigen 1 (LFA-1). Here, we show that short-term treatment (i.e., induction therapy) with the LFA-1–specific antibody TS-1/22 in combination with either basiliximab (an IL-2Rα–specific mAb) and sirolimus (a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor) or belatacept (a high-affinity variant of the CD28 costimulation–blocker CTLA4Ig) prolonged islet allograft survival in nonhuman primates relative to control treatments. Moreover, TS-1/22 masked LFA-1 on TM cells in vivo and inhibited the generation of alloproliferative and cytokine-producing effector T cells that expressed high levels of LFA-1 in vitro. These results support the use of LFA-1–specific induction therapy to neutralize costimulation blockade–resistant populations of T cells and further evaluation of LFA-1–specific therapeutics for use in transplantation.
Idelberto R. Badell, Maria C. Russell, Peter W. Thompson, Alexandra P. Turner, Tim A. Weaver, Jennifer M. Robertson, Jose G. Avila, Jose A. Cano, Brandi E. Johnson, Mingqing Song, Frank V. Leopardi, Sarah Swygert, Elizabeth A. Strobert, Mandy L. Ford, Allan D. Kirk, Christian P. Larsen
Rates of graft rejection are high among recipients of heart transplants. The onset and progression of clinically significant heart transplant rejection are currently monitored by serial biopsy, but this approach is highly invasive and lacks sensitivity. Here, we have developed what we believe to be a new technique to measure organ rejection noninvasively that involves the exploration of tissue-infiltrating leukocytes as biomarker sources for diagnostic imaging. Specifically, we profiled the myeloid response in a murine model of heart transplantation with the aim of defining and validating an imaging signature of graft rejection. Ly-6Chi monocytes, which promote inflammation, accumulated progressively in allografts but only transiently in isografts. Ly-6Clo monocytes, which help resolve inflammation, did not accumulate, although they composed the majority of the few remaining monocytes in isografts. The persistence of Ly-6Chi monocytes in allografts prompted us to screen for a Ly-6Chi monocyte–associated imaging marker. Low-density array data revealed that Ly-6Chi monocytes express 10-fold higher levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) than Ly-6Clo monocytes. Noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging of MPO with an MPO-activatable Gd-chelate revealed a spatially defined T1-weighted signal in rejected allografts but not in isografts or MPO-deficient allograft recipients. Flow cytometry, enzymography, and histology validated the approach by mapping MPO activity to Ly-6Chi monocytes and neutrophils. Thus, MPO imaging represents a potential alternative to the current invasive clinical standard by which transplants are monitored.
Filip K. Swirski, Moritz Wildgruber, Takuya Ueno, Jose-Luiz Figueiredo, Peter Panizzi, Yoshiko Iwamoto, Elizabeth Zhang, James R. Stone, Elisenda Rodriguez, John W. Chen, Mikael J. Pittet, Ralph Weissleder, Matthias Nahrendorf
One of the main unresolved questions in solid organ transplantation is how to establish indefinite graft survival that is free from long-term treatment with immunosuppressive drugs and chronic rejection (i.e., the establishment of tolerance). The failure to achieve this goal may be related to the difficulty in identifying the phenotype and function of the cell subsets that participate in the induction of tolerance. To address this issue, we investigated the suppressive roles of recipient myeloid cells that may be manipulated to induce tolerance to transplanted hearts in mice. Using depleting mAbs, clodronate-loaded liposomes, and transgenic mice specific for depletion of CD11c+, CD11b+, or CD115+ cells, we identified a tolerogenic role for CD11b+CD115+Gr1+ monocytes during the induction of tolerance by costimulatory blockade with CD40L-specific mAb. Early after transplantation, Gr1+ monocytes migrated from the bone marrow into the transplanted organ, where they prevented the initiation of adaptive immune responses that lead to allograft rejection and participated in the development of Tregs. Our results suggest that mobilization of bone marrow CD11b+CD115+Gr1+ monocytes under sterile inflammatory conditions mediates the induction of indefinite allograft survival. We propose that manipulating the common bone marrow monocyte progenitor could be a useful clinical therapeutic approach for inducing transplantation tolerance.
Mercedes Rodriguez Garcia, Levi Ledgerwood, Yu Yang, Jiangnan Xu, Girdhari Lal, Bryna Burrell, Ge Ma, Daigo Hashimoto, Yansui Li, Peter Boros, Marcos Grisotto, Nico van Rooijen, Rafael Matesanz, Frank Tacke, Florent Ginhoux, Yaozhong Ding, Shu-Hsia Chen, Gwendalyn Randolph, Miriam Merad, Jonathan S. Bromberg, Jordi C. Ochando
Identifying transplant recipients in whom immunological tolerance is established or is developing would allow an individually tailored approach to their posttransplantation management. In this study, we aimed to develop reliable and reproducible in vitro assays capable of detecting tolerance in renal transplant recipients. Several biomarkers and bioassays were screened on a training set that included 11 operationally tolerant renal transplant recipients, recipient groups following different immunosuppressive regimes, recipients undergoing chronic rejection, and healthy controls. Highly predictive assays were repeated on an independent test set that included 24 tolerant renal transplant recipients. Tolerant patients displayed an expansion of peripheral blood B and NK lymphocytes, fewer activated CD4+ T cells, a lack of donor-specific antibodies, donor-specific hyporesponsiveness of CD4+ T cells, and a high ratio of forkhead box P3 to α-1,2-mannosidase gene expression. Microarray analysis further revealed in tolerant recipients a bias toward differential expression of B cell–related genes and their associated molecular pathways. By combining these indices of tolerance as a cross-platform biomarker signature, we were able to identify tolerant recipients in both the training set and the test set. This study provides an immunological profile of the tolerant state that, with further validation, should inform and shape drug-weaning protocols in renal transplant recipients.
Pervinder Sagoo, Esperanza Perucha, Birgit Sawitzki, Stefan Tomiuk, David A. Stephens, Patrick Miqueu, Stephanie Chapman, Ligia Craciun, Ruhena Sergeant, Sophie Brouard, Flavia Rovis, Elvira Jimenez, Amany Ballow, Magali Giral, Irene Rebollo-Mesa, Alain Le Moine, Cecile Braudeau, Rachel Hilton, Bernhard Gerstmayer, Katarzyna Bourcier, Adnan Sharif, Magdalena Krajewska, Graham M. Lord, Ian Roberts, Michel Goldman, Kathryn J. Wood, Kenneth Newell, Vicki Seyfert-Margolis, Anthony N. Warrens, Uwe Janssen, Hans-Dieter Volk, Jean-Paul Soulillou, Maria P. Hernandez-Fuentes, Robert I. Lechler
Chronic rejection currently limits the long-term efficacy of clinical transplantation. Although B cells have recently been shown to play a pivotal role in the induction of alloimmunity and are being targeted in other transplant contexts, the efficacy of preemptive B cell depletion to modulate alloimmunity or attenuate cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) (classic chronic rejection lesions found in transplanted hearts) in a translational model has not previously been described. We report here that the CD20-specific antibody (αCD20) rituximab depleted CD20+ B cells in peripheral blood, secondary lymphoid organs, and the graft in cynomolgus monkey recipients of heterotopic cardiac allografts. Furthermore, CD20+ B cell depletion therapy combined with the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A (CsA) prolonged median primary graft survival relative to treatment with αCD20 or CsA alone. In animals treated with both αCD20 and CsA that achieved efficient B cell depletion, alloantibody production was substantially inhibited and the CAV severity score was markedly reduced. We conclude therefore that efficient preemptive depletion of CD20+ B cells is effective in a preclinical model to modulate pathogenic alloimmunity and to attenuate chronic rejection when used in conjunction with a conventional clinical immunosuppressant. This study suggests that use of this treatment combination may improve the efficacy of transplantation in the clinic.
Shahrooz S. Kelishadi, Agnes M. Azimzadeh, Tianshu Zhang, Tiffany Stoddard, Emily Welty, Christopher Avon, Mitch Higuchi, Amal Laaris, Xiang-Fei Cheng, Christine McMahon, Richard N. Pierson III
Islet transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus is limited in its clinical application mainly due to early loss of the transplanted islets, resulting in low transplantation efficiency. NKT cell–dependent IFN-γ production by Gr-1+CD11b+ cells is essential for this loss, but the upstream events in the process remain undetermined. Here, we have demonstrated that high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) plays a crucial role in the initial events of early loss of transplanted islets in a mouse model of diabetes. Pancreatic islets contained abundant HMGB1, which was released into the circulation soon after islet transplantation into the liver. Treatment with an HMGB1-specific antibody prevented the early islet graft loss and inhibited IFN-γ production by NKT cells and Gr-1+CD11b+ cells. Moreover, mice lacking either of the known HMGB1 receptors TLR2 or receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), but not the known HMGB1 receptor TLR4, failed to exhibit early islet graft loss. Mechanistically, HMGB1 stimulated hepatic mononuclear cells (MNCs) in vivo and in vitro; in particular, it upregulated CD40 expression and enhanced IL-12 production by DCs, leading to NKT cell activation and subsequent NKT cell–dependent augmented IFN-γ production by Gr-1+CD11b+ cells. Thus, treatment with either IL-12– or CD40L-specific antibody prevented the early islet graft loss. These findings indicate that the HMGB1-mediated pathway eliciting early islet loss is a potential target for intervention to improve the efficiency of islet transplantation.
Nobuhide Matsuoka, Takeshi Itoh, Hiroshi Watarai, Etsuko Sekine-Kondo, Naoki Nagata, Kohji Okamoto, Toshiyuki Mera, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Shingo Yamada, Ikuro Maruyama, Masaru Taniguchi, Yohichi Yasunami
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