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In a retrospective cohort study, we tested the hypothesis that when prescribing hydroxyurea (HU) to children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) to prevent vaso-occlusive events, there will be a secondary benefit of maintaining low transcranial Doppler (TCD) velocity, measured by imaging technique (TCDi). HU was prescribed for 90.9% (110 of 120) of children with SCA ≥5 years of age and followed for a median of 4.4 years, with 70% (n = 77) receiving at least one TCDi evaluation after starting HU. No child prescribed HU had a conditional or abnormal TCDi measurement. HU initiation for disease severity prevention decreases the prevalence of abnormal TCDi velocities.
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Moyamoya is a bilateral, complex cerebrovascular condition characterized by progressive non-atherosclerotic intracranial stenosis and collateral vessel formation. Moyamoya treatment focuses on restoring cerebral blood flow (CBF) through surgical revascularization, however stratifying patients for revascularization requires abilities to quantify how well parenchyma is compensating for arterial steno-occlusion. Globally elevated oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) secondary to CBF reduction may serve as a biomarker for tissue health in moyamoya patients, as suggested in patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) and reduced oxygen carrying capacity. Here, OEF was measured (TRUST-MRI) to test the hypothesis that OEF is globally elevated in patients with moyamoya (n = 18) and SCA (n = 18) relative to age-matched controls (n = 43). Mechanisms underlying the hypothesized OEF increases were evaluated by performing sequential CBF-weighted, cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR)-weighted, and structural MRI. Patients were stratified by treatment and non-parametric tests applied to compare study variables (significance: two-sided P < 0.05). OEF was significantly elevated in moyamoya participants (interquartile range = 0.38-0.45) compared to controls (interquartile range = 0.29-0.38), similar to participants with SCA (interquartile range = 0.37-0.45). CBF was inversely correlated with OEF in moyamoya participants. Elevated OEF was only weakly related to reductions in CVR, consistent with basal CBF level, rather than vascular reserve capacity, being most closely associated with OEF.
Kinases downstream of B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) represent attractive targets for therapy in non-Hodgkins' lymphoma (NHL). As clinical responses vary, improved knowledge regarding activation and regulation of BCR signaling in individual patients is needed. Here, using phospho-specific flow cytometry to obtain signaling profiles of malignant B cells from 95 patients representing 4 types of NHL, revealed a striking contrast between chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) tumors. Lymphoma cells from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients had high basal phosphorylation levels of most of the measured signaling nodes, whereas follicular lymphoma cells represented the opposite pattern with no or very low basal levels. MCL showed large interpatient variability in basal levels, and elevated levels for phospho (p)-AKT, p-ERK, p-p38, p-STAT1 and p-STAT5 were associated with poor outcome. CLL tumors had elevated basal levels of BCR-signaling nodes (p-SFK, p-SYK, p-PLCγ), but had low anti-BCR-induced signaling. This contrasted MCL tumors, where anti-BCR-induced signaling was variable, but significantly potentiated as compared to the other types. Overexpression of CD79B, combined with a gating strategy whereby signaling output was directly quantified per cell as a function of CD79B levels, confirmed a direct relationship between surface CD79B, IgM and IgM-induced signaling levels. Furthermore, anti-BCR-induced signaling strength was variable across patient samples and correlated with BCR subunit CD79B expression, but was inversely correlated with susceptibility to BTK- and SYK inhibitors in MCL. These individual differences in BCR levels and signaling might relate to differences in therapy responses to BCR pathway inhibitors.
Copyright © 2016 American Society of Hematology.
A classic response to systemic hypoxia is the increased production of red blood cells due to hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-mediated induction of erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a glycoprotein hormone that is essential for normal erythropoiesis and is predominantly synthesized by peritubular renal interstitial fibroblast-like cells, which express cellular markers characteristic of neuronal cells and pericytes. To investigate whether the ability to synthesize EPO is a general functional feature of pericytes, we used conditional gene targeting to examine the von Hippel-Lindau/prolyl-4-hydroxylase domain (PHD)/HIF axis in cell-expressing neural glial antigen 2, a known molecular marker of pericytes in multiple organs. We found that pericytes in the brain synthesized EPO in mice with genetic HIF activation and were capable of responding to systemic hypoxia with the induction of Epo. Using high-resolution multiplex in situ hybridization, we determined that brain pericytes represent an important cellular source of Epo in the hypoxic brain (up to 70% of all Epo-expressing cells). We furthermore determined that Epo transcription in brain pericytes was HIF-2 dependent and cocontrolled by PHD2 and PHD3, oxygen- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent prolyl-4-hydroxylases that regulate HIF activity. In summary, our studies provide experimental evidence that pericytes in the brain have the ability to function as oxygen sensors and respond to hypoxia with EPO synthesis. Our findings furthermore suggest that the ability to synthesize EPO may represent a functional feature of pericytes in the brain and kidney.
Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) has been used increasingly for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation to minimize transplant-related mortality while maintaining the graft-versus-tumor effect. In B cell lymphoid malignancies, reduced-intensity regimens containing rituximab, an antiCD20 antibody, have been associated with favorable survival; however, the long-term outcomes of rituximab-containing versus nonrituximab-containing regimens for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in B cell lymphoid malignancies remain to be determined. We retrospectively analyzed 94 patients who received an allogeneic transplant for a B cell lymphoid malignancy. Of these, 33 received RIC with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (FCR) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis with a calcineurin inhibitor and mini-methotrexate, and 61 received RIC with fludarabine and busulfan (FluBu) and GVHD prophylaxis with a calcineurin inhibitor and mycophenolate mofetil. The 2-year overall survival was superior in patients who received FCR versus FluBu (72.7% versus 54.1%, P = .031), and in multivariable analysis adjusted for Disease Risk Index and donor type, only the conditioning regimen (FluBu versus FCR: HR, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.04 to 4.08; P = .037) and Disease Risk Index (low versus intermediate/high: HR, .38; 95% CI, .17 to .86; P = .02) were independent predictors of overall survival. The 2-year cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was lower in patients who received FCR versus FluBu (24.2% versus 51.7%, P = .01). There was no difference in rate of relapse/progression or acute GVHD. Our results demonstrate that the use of RIC with FCR and GVHD prophylaxis with a calcineurin inhibitor and mini-methotrexate is associated with decreased chronic GVHD and improved overall survival.
Idiopathic aplastic anemia (AA) is an immune-mediated and serious form of bone marrow failure. Akin to other autoimmune diseases, we have previously shown that in AA regulatory T cells (Tregs) are reduced in number and function. The aim of this study was to further characterize Treg subpopulations in AA and investigate the potential correlation between specific Treg subsets and response to immunosuppressive therapy (IST) as well as their in vitro expandability for potential clinical use. Using mass cytometry and an unbiased multidimensional analytical approach, we identified 2 specific human Treg subpopulations (Treg A and Treg B) with distinct phenotypes, gene expression, expandability, and function. Treg B predominates in IST responder patients, has a memory/activated phenotype (with higher expression of CD95, CCR4, and CD45RO within FOXP3(hi), CD127(lo) Tregs), expresses the interleukin-2 (IL-2)/STAT5 pathway and cell-cycle commitment genes. Furthermore, in vitro-expanded Tregs become functional and take on the characteristics of Treg B. Collectively, this study identifies human Treg subpopulations that can be used as predictive biomarkers for response to IST in AA and potentially other autoimmune diseases. We also show that Tregs from AA patients are IL-2-sensitive and expandable in vitro, suggesting novel therapeutic approaches such as low-dose IL-2 therapy and/or expanded autologous Tregs and meriting further exploration.