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BACKGROUND - Cytokine responses to activation of innate immunity differ between individuals, yet the genomic and tissue-specific transcriptomic determinants of inflammatory responsiveness are not well understood. We hypothesized that tissue-specific mRNA and long intergenic noncoding RNA (lincRNA) induction differs between individuals with divergent evoked inflammatory responses.
METHODS - In the GENE Study (Genetics of Evoked Response to Niacin and Endotoxemia), we performed an inpatient endotoxin challenge (1 ng/kg lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) in healthy humans. We selected individuals in the top (high responders) and bottom (low responders) extremes of inflammatory responses and applied RNA sequencing to CD14 monocytes (N=15) and adipose tissue (N=25) before and after LPS administration.
RESULTS - Although only a small number of genes were differentially expressed at baseline, there were clear differences in the magnitude of the transcriptional response post-LPS between high and low responders, with a far greater number of genes differentially expressed by endotoxemia in high responders. Furthermore, tissue responses differed during inflammation, and we found a number of tissue-specific differentially expressed lincRNAs post-LPS, which we validated. Relative to nondifferentially expressed lincRNAs, differentially expressed lincRNAs were equally likely to be nonconserved as conserved between human and mouse, indicating that conservation is not a predictor of lincRNAs associated with human inflammatory pathophysiology. Differentially expressed genes also were enriched for signals with inflammatory and cardiometabolic disease in published genome-wide association studies. CTB-41I6.2 ( AC002091.1), a nonconserved human-specific lincRNA, is one of the top lincRNAs regulated by endotoxemia in monocytes, but not in adipose tissue. Knockdown experiments in THP-1 monocytes suggest that this lincRNA enhances LPS-induced interleukin 6 ( IL6) expression in monocytes, and we now refer to this as monocyte LPS-induced lincRNA regulator of IL6 ( MOLRIL6).
CONCLUSIONS - We highlight mRNAs and lincRNAs that represent novel candidates for modulation of innate immune and metabolic responses in humans.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION - URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT00953667.
Resident adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) play multiple roles to maintain tissue homeostasis, such as removing excess free fatty acids and regulation of the extracellular matrix. The phagocytic nature and oxidative resiliency of macrophages not only allows them to function as innate immune cells but also to respond to specific tissue needs, such as iron homeostasis. MFe ATMs are a subtype of resident ATMs that we recently identified to have twice the intracellular iron content as other ATMs and elevated expression of iron-handling genes. Although studies have demonstrated that iron homeostasis is important for adipocyte health, little is known about how MFe ATMs may respond to and influence adipose tissue iron availability. Two methodologies were used to address this question: dietary iron supplementation and intraperitoneal iron injection. Upon exposure to high dietary iron, MFe ATMs accumulated excess iron, whereas the iron content of MFe ATMs and adipocytes remained unchanged. In this model of chronic iron excess, MFe ATMs exhibited increased expression of genes involved in iron storage. In the injection model, MFe ATMs incorporated high levels of iron, and adipocytes were spared iron overload. This acute model of iron overload was associated with increased numbers of MFe ATMs; 17% could be attributed to monocyte recruitment and 83% to MFe ATM incorporation into the MFe pool. The MFe ATM population maintained its low inflammatory profile and iron-cycling expression profile. These studies expand the field's understanding of ATMs and confirm that they can respond as a tissue iron sink in models of iron overload.
Background - Rictor is an essential component of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 2 (mTORC2), a conserved serine/threonine kinase that may play a role in cell proliferation, survival and innate or adaptive immune responses. Genetic loss of inactivates mTORC2, which directly activates Akt S phosphorylation and promotes pro-survival cell signaling and proliferation.
Methods and results - To study the role of mTORC2 signaling in monocytes and macrophages, we generated mice with myeloid lineage-specific deletion (M). These M mice exhibited dramatic reductions of white blood cells, B-cells, T-cells, and monocytes but had similar levels of neutrophils compared to control flox-flox () mice. M bone marrow monocytes and peritoneal macrophages expressed reduced levels of mTORC2 signaling and decreased Akt S phosphorylation, and they displayed significantly less proliferation than control cells. In addition, blood monocytes and peritoneal macrophages isolated from M mice were significantly more sensitive to pro-apoptotic stimuli. In response to LPS, M macrophages exhibited the M1 phenotype with higher levels of pro-inflammatory gene expression and lower levels of gene expression than control cells. Further suppression of LPS-stimulated Akt signaling with a low dose of an Akt inhibitor, increased inflammatory gene expression in macrophages, but genetic inactivation of reversed this rise, indicating that mTORC1 mediates this increase of inflammatory gene expression. Next, to elucidate whether mTORC2 has an impact on atherosclerosis , female and male null mice were reconstituted with bone marrow from M or mice. After 10 weeks of the Western diet, there were no differences between the recipients of the same gender in body weight, blood glucose or plasma lipid levels. However, both female and male M → mice developed smaller atherosclerotic lesions in the distal and proximal aorta. These lesions contained less macrophage area and more apoptosis than lesions of control → mice. Thus, loss of and, consequently, mTORC2 significantly compromised monocyte/macrophage survival, and this markedly diminished early atherosclerosis in mice.
Conclusion - Our results demonstrate that mTORC2 is a key signaling regulator of macrophage survival and its depletion suppresses early atherosclerosis.
Discovering bioactive metabolites within a metabolome is challenging because there is generally little foreknowledge of metabolite molecular and cell-targeting activities. Here, single-cell response profiles and primary human tissue comprise a response platform used to discover novel microbial metabolites with cell-type-selective effector properties in untargeted metabolomic inventories. Metabolites display diverse effector mechanisms, including targeting protein synthesis, cell cycle status, DNA damage repair, necrosis, apoptosis, or phosphoprotein signaling. Arrayed metabolites are tested against acute myeloid leukemia patient bone marrow and molecules that specifically targeted blast cells or nonleukemic immune cell subsets within the same tissue biopsy are revealed. Cell-targeting polyketides are identified in extracts from biosynthetically prolific bacteria, including a previously unreported leukemia blast-targeting anthracycline and a polyene macrolactam that alternates between targeting blasts or nonmalignant cells by way of light-triggered photochemical isomerization. High-resolution cell profiling with mass cytometry confirms response mechanisms and is used to validate initial observations.
Adjuvants enhance immunity elicited by vaccines through mechanisms that are poorly understood. Using a systems biology approach, we investigated temporal protein expression changes in five primary human immune cell populations: neutrophils, monocytes, natural killer cells, T cells, and B cells after administration of either an Adjuvant System 03 adjuvanted or unadjuvanted split-virus H5N1 influenza vaccine. Monocytes demonstrated the strongest differential signal between vaccine groups. On day 3 post-vaccination, several antigen presentation-related pathways, including MHC class I-mediated antigen processing and presentation, were enriched in monocytes and neutrophils and expression of HLA class I proteins was increased in the Adjuvant System 03 group. We identified several protein families whose proteomic responses predicted seroprotective antibody responses (>1:40 hemagglutination inhibition titer), including inflammation and oxidative stress proteins at day 1 as well as immunoproteasome subunit (PSME1 and PSME2) and HLA class I proteins at day 3 in monocytes. While comparison between temporal proteomic and transcriptomic results showed little overlap overall, enrichment of the MHC class I antigen processing and presentation pathway in monocytes and neutrophils was confirmed by both approaches.
© 2017 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
The monocyte phagocyte system (MPS) includes numerous monocyte, macrophage, and dendritic cell (DC) populations that are heterogeneous, both phenotypically and functionally. In this study, we sought to characterize those diverse MPS phenotypes with mass cytometry (CyTOF). To identify a deep phenotype of monocytes, macrophages, and DCs, a panel was designed to measure 38 identity, activation, and polarization markers, including CD14, CD16, HLA-DR, CD163, CD206, CD33, CD36, CD32, CD64, CD13, CD11b, CD11c, CD86, and CD274. MPS diversity was characterized for 1) circulating monocytes from healthy donors, 2) monocyte-derived macrophages further polarized in vitro (i.e., M-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-4, IL-10, IFN-γ, or LPS long-term stimulations), 3) monocyte-derived DCs, and 4) myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), generated in vitro from bone marrow and/or peripheral blood. Known monocyte subsets were detected in peripheral blood to validate the panel and analysis pipeline. Then, using various culture conditions and stimuli before CyTOF analysis, we constructed a multidimensional framework for the MPS compartment, which was registered against historical M1 or M2 macrophages, monocyte subsets, and DCs. Notably, MDSCs generated in vitro from bone marrow expressed more S100A9 than when generated from peripheral blood. Finally, to test the approach in vivo, peripheral blood from patients with melanoma ( = 5) was characterized and observed to be enriched for MDSCs with a phenotype of CD14HLA-DRS100A9 (3% of PBMCs in healthy donors, 15.5% in patients with melanoma, < 0.02). In summary, mass cytometry comprehensively characterized phenotypes of human monocyte, MDSC, macrophage, and DC subpopulations in both in vitro models and patients.
© Society for Leukocyte Biology.
Long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of cellular functions and physiology. Yet functional lincRNAs often have low, context-specific and tissue-specific expression. We hypothesized that many human monocyte and adipose lincRNAs would be absent in current public annotations due to lincRNA tissue specificity, modest sequencing depth in public data, limitations of transcriptome assembly algorithms, and lack of dynamic physiological contexts. Deep RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was performed in peripheral blood CD14 monocytes (monocytes; average ~247 million reads per sample) and adipose tissue (average ~378 million reads per sample) collected before and after human experimental endotoxemia, an in vivo inflammatory stress, to identify tissue-specific and clinically relevant lincRNAs. Using a stringent filtering pipeline, we identified 109 unannotated lincRNAs in monocytes and 270 unannotated lincRNAs in adipose. Most unannotated lincRNAs are not conserved in rodents and are tissue specific, while many have features of regulated expression and are enriched in transposable elements. Specific subsets have enhancer RNA characteristics or are expressed only during inflammatory stress. A subset of unannotated lincRNAs was validated and replicated for their presence and inflammatory induction in independent human samples and for their monocyte and adipocyte origins. Through interrogation of public genome-wide association data, we also found evidence of specific disease association for selective unannotated lincRNAs. Our findings highlight the critical need to perform deep RNA-Seq in a cell-, tissue-, and context-specific manner to annotate the full repertoire of human lincRNAs for a complete understanding of lincRNA roles in dynamic cell functions and in human disease.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.
BACKGROUND - Numerous epidemiological studies support an inverse association between serum bilirubin levels and the incidence of cardiovascular disease; however, the mechanism(s) by which bilirubin may protect against atherosclerosis is undefined. The goals of the present investigations were to assess the ability of bilirubin to prevent atherosclerotic plaque formation in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient ( ) mice and elucidate the molecular processes underlying this effect.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Bilirubin, at physiological concentrations (≤20 μmol/L), dose-dependently inhibits THP-1 monocyte migration across tumor necrosis factor α-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayers without altering leukocyte binding or cytokine production. A potent antioxidant, bilirubin effectively blocks the generation of cellular reactive oxygen species induced by the cross-linking of endothelial vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) or intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1). These findings were validated by treating cells with blocking antibodies or with specific inhibitors of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 signaling. When administered to mice on a Western diet, bilirubin (30 mg/kg intraperitoneally) prevents atherosclerotic plaque formation, but does not alter circulating cholesterol or chemokine levels. Aortic roots from bilirubin-treated animals exhibit reduced lipid and collagen deposition, decreased infiltration of monocytes and lymphocytes, fewer smooth muscle cells, and diminished levels of chlorotyrosine and nitrotyrosine, without changes in VCAM-1 or ICAM-1 expression.
CONCLUSIONS - Bilirubin suppresses atherosclerotic plaque formation in mice by disrupting endothelial VCAM-1- and ICAM-1-mediated leukocyte migration through the scavenging of reactive oxygen species signaling intermediaries. These findings suggest a potential mechanism for the apparent cardioprotective effects of bilirubin.
© 2017 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.
Calgranulin genes (S100A8, S100A9 and S100A12) play key immune response roles in inflammatory disorders, including cardiovascular disease. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA) may have systemic and adipose tissue-specific anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective action. Interactions between calgranulins and the unsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) have been reported, yet little is known about the relationship between calgranulins and the LC n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We explored tissue-specific action of calgranulins in the setting of evoked endotoxemia and n-3 PUFA supplementation. Expression of calgranulins in adipose tissue in vivo was assessed by RNA sequencing (RNASeq) before and after n-3 PUFA supplementation and evoked endotoxemia in the fenofibrate and omega-3 fatty acid modulation of endotoxemia (FFAME) Study. Subjects received n-3 PUFA (n = 8; 3600mg/day EPA/DHA) or matched placebo (n = 6) for 6-8 weeks, before completing an endotoxin challenge (LPS 0.6 ng/kg). Calgranulin genes were up-regulated post-LPS, with greater increase in n-3 PUFA (S100A8 15-fold, p = 0.003; S100A9 7-fold, p = 0.003; S100A12 28-fold, p = 0.01) compared to placebo (S100A8 2-fold, p = 0.01; S100A9 1.4-fold, p = 0.4; S100A12 5-fold, p = 0.06). In an independent evoked endotoxemia study, calgranulin gene expression correlated with the systemic inflammatory response. Through in vivo and in vitro interrogation we highlight differential responses in adipocytes and mononuclear cells during inflammation, with n-3 PUFA leading to increased calgranulin expression in adipose, but decreased expression in circulating cells. In conclusion, we present a novel relationship between n-3 PUFA anti-inflammatory action in vivo and cell-specific modulation of calgranulin expression during innate immune activation.
BACKGROUND - Vaccine development for influenza A/H5N1 is an important public health priority, but H5N1 vaccines are less immunogenic than seasonal influenza vaccines. Adjuvant System 03 (AS03) markedly enhances immune responses to H5N1 vaccine antigens, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood.
OBJECTIVE AND METHODS - We compared the safety (primary endpoint), immunogenicity (secondary), gene expression (tertiary) and cytokine responses (exploratory) between AS03-adjuvanted and unadjuvanted inactivated split-virus H5N1 influenza vaccines. In a double-blinded clinical trial, we randomized twenty adults aged 18-49 to receive two doses of either AS03-adjuvanted (n = 10) or unadjuvanted (n = 10) H5N1 vaccine 28 days apart. We used a systems biology approach to characterize and correlate changes in serum cytokines, antibody titers, and gene expression levels in six immune cell types at 1, 3, 7, and 28 days after the first vaccination.
RESULTS - Both vaccines were well-tolerated. Nine of 10 subjects in the adjuvanted group and 0/10 in the unadjuvanted group exhibited seroprotection (hemagglutination inhibition antibody titer > 1:40) at day 56. Within 24 hours of AS03-adjuvanted vaccination, increased serum levels of IL-6 and IP-10 were noted. Interferon signaling and antigen processing and presentation-related gene responses were induced in dendritic cells, monocytes, and neutrophils. Upregulation of MHC class II antigen presentation-related genes was seen in neutrophils. Three days after AS03-adjuvanted vaccine, upregulation of genes involved in cell cycle and division was detected in NK cells and correlated with serum levels of IP-10. Early upregulation of interferon signaling-related genes was also found to predict seroprotection 56 days after first vaccination.
CONCLUSIONS - Using this cell-based systems approach, novel mechanisms of action for AS03-adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccination were observed.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01573312.