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Autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D) arise from unrestrained activation of effector lymphocytes that destroy target tissues. Many efforts have been made to eliminate these effector lymphocytes, but none has produced a long-term cure. An alternative to depletion therapy is to enhance endogenous immune regulation. Among these endogenous alternatives, naturally occurring Igs have been applied for inflammatory disorders but have lacked potency in antigen-specific autoimmunity. We hypothesized that naturally occurring polyclonal IgMs, which represent the majority of circulating, noninduced antibodies but are present only in low levels in therapeutic Ig preparations, possess the most potent capacity to restore immune homeostasis. Treatment of diabetes-prone NOD mice with purified IgM isolated from Swiss Webster (SW) mice (nIgM) reversed new-onset diabetes, eliminated autoreactive B lymphocytes, and enhanced regulatory T-cell (Treg) numbers both centrally and peripherally. Conversely, IgM from prediabetic NOD mice could not restore this endogenous regulation, which represents an unrecognized component of T1D pathogenesis. Of note, IgM derived from healthy human donors was similarly able to expand human CD4 Tregs in humanized mice and produced permanent diabetes protection in treated NOD mice. Overall, these studies demonstrate that a potent, endogenous regulatory mechanism, nIgM, is a promising option for reversing autoimmune T1D in humans.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.
OBJECTIVE (S) - Our objective was to investigate alterations in the cecal microbial composition during the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) with or without IgM therapy, and correlate these alterations with the corresponding immune profile.
METHODS - (1) Female nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice treated with IgM or saline (n = 20/group) were divided into 5-week-old nondiabetic; 9 to 12-week-old prehyperglycemic stage-1; ≥13-week-old prehyperglycemic stage-2; and diabetic groups. 16S rRNA libraries were prepared from bacterial DNA and deep-sequenced. (2) New-onset diabetic mice were treated with IgM (200 μg on Days 1, 3, and 5) and their blood glucose monitored for 2 months.
RESULTS - Significant dysbiosis was observed in the cecal microbiome with the progression of T1D development. The alteration in microbiome composition was characterized by an increase in the bacteroidetes:firmicutes ratio. In contrast, IgM conserved normal bacteroidetes:firmicutes ratio and this effect was long-lasting. Furthermore, oral gavage using cecal content from IgM-treated mice significantly diminished the incidence of diabetes compared with controls, indicating that IgM specifically affected mucosa-associated microbes, and that the affect was causal and not an epiphenomenon. Also, regulatory immune cell populations (myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells) were expanded and insulin autoantibody production diminished in the IgM-treated mice. In addition, IgM therapy reversed hyperglycemia in 70% of new-onset diabetic mice (n = 10) and the mice remained normoglycemic for the entire post-treatment observation period.
CONCLUSIONS - The cecal microbiome appears to be important in maintaining immune homeostasis and normal immune responses.
Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is a crucial regulator of B cell signaling and is a therapeutic target for lymphoma and autoimmune disease. BTK-deficient patients suffer from humoral immunodeficiency, as their B cells fail to progress beyond the bone marrow. However, the role of Btk in fully developed, mature peripheral B cells is not well understood. Analysis using BTK inhibitors is complicated by suboptimal inhibition, off-target effects, or failure to eliminate BTK's adaptor function. Therefore a mouse model was developed and used to excise after B cell populations were established. Mice lacking from birth are known to have reduced follicular (FO) compartments, with expanded transitional populations, suggesting a block in development. In adult mice, excision did not reduce FO B cells, which persisted for weeks. Autoimmune-prone B1 cells also survived conditional excision, contrasting their near absence in global -deficient mice. Therefore, Btk supports BCR signaling during selection into the FO and B1 compartments, but is not needed to maintain these cell populations. B1-related natural IgM levels remained normal, contrasting global deficiency, but B cell proliferation and T-independent type II immunization responses were blunted. Thus, B cells have nuanced signaling responses that are differentially regulated by Btk for development, survival, and function. These findings raise the possibility that Btk may also be expendable for survival of mature human B cells, therefore requiring prolonged dosing to be effective, and that success of BTK inhibitors may depend in part on off-target effects.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
Kinases downstream of B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) represent attractive targets for therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). As clinical responses vary, improved knowledge regarding activation and regulation of BCR signaling in individual patients is needed. Here, using phosphospecific flow cytometry to obtain malignant B-cell signaling profiles 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 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 the phosphorylated forms of AKT, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, STAT1, and STAT5 were associated with poor outcome. CLL tumors had elevated basal levels for the phosphorylated forms of BCR-signaling nodes (Src family tyrosine kinase, spleen tyrosine kinase [SYK], phospholipase Cγ), but had low α-BCR-induced signaling. This contrasted MCL tumors, where α-BCR-induced signaling was variable, but significantly potentiated as compared with 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, immunoglobulin M (IgM), and IgM-induced signaling levels. Furthermore, α-BCR-induced signaling strength was variable across patient samples and correlated with BCR subunit CD79B expression, but was inversely correlated with susceptibility to Bruton tyrosine kinase (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.
© 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.
Autoreactive B lymphocytes that commonly arise in the developing repertoire can be salvaged by receptor editing, a central tolerance mechanism that alters BCR specificity through continued L chain rearrangement. It is unknown whether autoantigens with weak cross-linking potential, such as insulin, elicit receptor editing, or whether this process is dysregulated in related autoimmunity. To resolve these issues, we developed an editing-competent model in which anti-insulin Vκ125 was targeted to the Igκ locus and paired with anti-insulin VH125Tg. Physiologic, circulating insulin increased RAG-2 expression and was associated with BCR replacement that eliminated autoantigen recognition in a proportion of developing anti-insulin B lymphocytes. The proportion of anti-insulin B cells that underwent receptor editing was reduced in the type 1 diabetes-prone NOD strain relative to a nonautoimmune strain. Resistance to editing was associated with increased surface IgM expression on immature (but not transitional or mature) anti-insulin B cells in the NOD strain. The actions of mAb123 on central tolerance were also investigated, because selective targeting of insulin-occupied BCR by mAb123 eliminates anti-insulin B lymphocytes and prevents type 1 diabetes. Autoantigen targeting by mAb123 increased RAG-2 expression and dramatically enhanced BCR replacement in newly developed B lymphocytes. Administering F(ab')2123 induced IgM downregulation and reduced the frequency of anti-insulin B lymphocytes within the polyclonal repertoire of VH125Tg/NOD mice, suggesting enhanced central tolerance by direct BCR interaction. These findings indicate that weak or faulty checkpoints for central tolerance can be overcome by autoantigen-specific immunomodulatory therapy.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
Autoreactive B lymphocytes that escape central tolerance and mature in the periphery are a liability for developing autoimmunity. IgG insulin autoantibodies that predict type 1 diabetes and complicate insulin therapies indicate that mechanisms for tolerance to insulin are flawed. To examine peripheral tolerance in anti-insulin B cells, we generated C57BL/6 mice that harbor anti-insulin VDJH-125 site directed to the native IgH locus (VH125(SD)). Class switch-competent anti-insulin B cells fail to produce IgG Abs following T cell-dependent immunization of VH125(SD) mice with heterologous insulin, and they exhibit markedly impaired proliferation to anti-CD40 plus insulin in vitro. In contrast, costimulation with LPS plus insulin drives robust anti-insulin B cell proliferation. Furthermore, VH125(SD) mice produce both IgM and IgG2a anti-insulin Abs following immunization with insulin conjugated to type 1 T cell-independent Brucella abortus ring test Ag (BRT). Anti-insulin B cells undergo clonal expansion in vivo and emerge as IgM(+) and IgM(-) GL7(+)Fas(+) germinal center (GC) B cells following immunization with insulin-BRT, but not BRT alone. Analysis of Igκ genes in VH125(SD) mice immunized with insulin-BRT reveals that anti-insulin Vκ from the preimmune repertoire is selected into GCs. These data demonstrate that class switch-competent anti-insulin B cells remain functionally silent in T cell-dependent immune responses, yet these B cells are vulnerable to reversal of anergy following combined BCR/TLR engagement that promotes Ag-specific GC responses and Ab production. Environmental factors that lead to infection and inflammation could play a critical yet underappreciated role in driving loss of tolerance and promoting autoimmune disease.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
Microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is an inducible enzyme that specifically catalyzes the conversion of PGH2 to PGE2. We showed that mPGES-1 null mice had a significantly reduced incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis compared with wild-type (WT) mice associated with a marked reduction in Abs to type II collagen. In this study, we further elucidated the role of mPGES-1 in the humoral immune response. Basal levels of serum IgM and IgG were significantly reduced in mPGES-1 null mice. Compared with WT mice, mPGES-1 null mice exhibited a significant reduction of hapten-specific serum Abs in response to immunization with the T cell-dependent (TD) Ag DNP-keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Immunization with the T cell-independent type 1 Ag trinitrophenyl-LPS or the T cell-independent type 2 Ag DNP-Ficoll revealed minimal differences between strains. Germinal center formation in the spleen of mPGES-1 null and WT mice were similar after immunization with DNP-keyhole limpet hemocyanin. To determine whether the effect of mPGES-1 and PGE2 was localized to hematopoietic or nonhematopoietic cells, we generated bone marrow chimeras. We demonstrated that mPGES-1 deficiency in nonhematopoietic cells was the critical factor for reduced TD Ab production. We conclude that mPGES-1 and PGE2-dependent phenotypic changes of nonhematopoietic/mesenchymal stromal cells play a key role in TD humoral immune responses in vivo. These findings may have relevance to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune inflammatory diseases associated with autoantibody formation.
Survival of patients with lung cancer could be significantly prolonged should the disease be diagnosed early. Growing evidence indicates that the immune response in the form of autoantibodies to developing cancer is present before clinical presentation. We used a phage-displayed antibody library to select for recombinant scFvs that specifically bind to lung cancer-associated IgM autoantibodies. We selected for scFv recombinant antibodies reactive with circulating IgM autoantibodies found in the serum of patients with early stage lung adenocarcinoma but not matched controls. Discriminatory performance of 6 selected scFvs was validated in an independent set of serum from stage 1 adenocarcinoma and matching control groups using two independent novel methods developed for this application. The panel of 6 selected scFvs predicted cancer based on seroreactivity value with sensitivity of 0.8 and specificity of 0.87. Receiver Operative Characteristic curve (ROC) for combined 6 scFv has an AUC of 0.88 (95%CI, 0.76-1.0) as determined by fluorometric microvolume assay technology (FMAT) The ROC curve generated using a homogeneous bridging Mesa Scale Discovery (MSD) assay had an AUC of 0.72 (95% CI, 0.59-0.85). The panel of all 6 antibodies demonstrated better discriminative power than any single scFv alone. The scFv panel also demonstrated the association between a high score - based on seroreactivity - with poor survival. Selected scFvs were able to recognize lung cancer associated IgM autoantibodies in patient serum as early as 21 months before the clinical presentation of disease. The panel of antibodies discovered represents a potential unique non-invasive molecular tool to detect an immune response specific to lung adenocarcinoma at an early stage of disease.
Following the initial diversity generated by V(D)J recombination, somatic hypermutation is the principal mechanism for producing further antibody repertoire diversity in antigen-experienced B cells. While somatic hypermutation typically results in single-nucleotide substitutions, the infrequent incorporation of genetic insertions and deletions has also been associated with the somatic hypermutation process. We used high-throughput antibody sequencing to determine the sequence of thousands of antibody genes containing somatic hypermutation-associated insertions and deletions (SHA indels), which revealed significant differences between the location of SHA indels and somatic mutations. Further, we identified a cluster of insertions and deletions in the antibody framework 3 region, which corresponds to the hypervariable region 4 (HV4) in T-cell receptors. We propose that this HV4-like region, identified by SHA indel analysis, represents a region of under-appreciated affinity maturation potential. Finally, through the analysis of both location and length distribution of SHA indels, we have determined regions of structural plasticity within the antibody protein.
Vast diversity in the antibody repertoire is a key component of the adaptive immune response. This diversity is generated centrally through the assembly of variable, diversity and joining gene segments, and peripherally by somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. The peripheral diversification process is thought to only occur in response to antigenic stimulus, producing antigen-selected memory B cells. Surprisingly, analyses of the variable, diversity and joining gene segments have revealed that the naïve and memory subsets are composed of similar proportions of these elements. Lacking, however, is a more detailed study, analyzing the repertoires of naïve and memory subsets at the level of the complete V(D)J recombinant. This report presents a thorough examination of V(D)J recombinants in the human peripheral blood repertoire, revealing surprisingly large repertoire differences between circulating B-cell subsets and providing genetic evidence for global control of repertoire diversity in naïve and memory circulating B-cell subsets.