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Overexpression of vascular endothelial growth factor in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) leads to angiogenesis, tumor progression, and inhibition of immune function. We conducted the first phase II study to estimate the efficacy and safety of bevacizumab with high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy in patients with metastatic RCC. Eligible patients had predominantly clear cell metastatic RCC, measurable disease, a Karnofsky Performance Status of ≥80%, and adequate end-organ function. IL-2 (600,000 IU/kg) was infused intravenously every 8 hours (maximum 28 doses) during two 5-day cycles on days 1 and 15 of each 84-day course. Bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) was infused intravenously every 2 weeks beginning 2 weeks before initiating IL-2. Fifty of 51 eligible patients from 8 centers were enrolled. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11.2 months (90% confidence interval, 5.7-17.7), and 2-year PFS was 18% (90% confidence interval, 8%-27%). Responses included 4 complete (8%) and 11 partial (22%) responses. Toxicities did not exceed those expected from each agent alone. Combining IL-2 plus bevacizumab is feasible, with a response rate and PFS at least as high as reported previously for the single agents. The regimen did not appear to enhance the rate of durable major responses over that of IL-2 alone.
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.
L-Arginine (L-Arg) is a semiessential amino acid that has altered availability in human ulcerative colitis (UC), a form of inflammatory bowel disease, and is beneficial in murine colitis induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), a model with similarity to UC. We assessed the role of cationic amino acid transporter 2 (CAT2), the inducible transporter of L-Arg, in DSS colitis. Expression of CAT2 was upregulated in tissues from colitic mice and localized predominantly to colonic macrophages. CAT2-deficient (CAT2-/-) mice exposed to DSS exhibited worsening of survival, body weight loss, colon weight, and histological injury. These effects were associated with increased serum L-Arg and decreased tissue L-Arg uptake and inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression. Clinical benefits of L-Arg supplementation in wild-type mice were lost in CAT2-/- mice. There was increased infiltration of macrophages, dendritic cells, granulocytes, and T cells in colitic CAT2-/- compared with wild-type mice. Cytokine profiling revealed increases in proinflammatory granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, IL-15, and regulated and normal T cell-expressed and -secreted and a shift from an IFN-γ- to an IL-17-predominant T cell response, as well as an increase in IL-13, in tissues from colitic CAT2-/- mice. However, there were no increases in other T helper cell type 2 cytokines, nor was there a global increase in macrophage-derived proinflammatory cytokines. The increase in IL-17 derived from both CD4 and γδ T cells and was associated with colonic IL-6 expression. Thus CAT2 plays an important role in controlling inflammation and IL-17 activation in an injury model of colitis, and impaired L-Arg availability may contribute to UC pathogenesis.
Sarcoidosis pathogenesis is characterized by peripheral anergy and an exaggerated, pulmonary CD4(+) Th1 response. In this study, we demonstrate that CD4(+) anergic responses to polyclonal TCR stimulation are present peripherally and within the lungs of sarcoid patients. Consistent with prior observations, spontaneous release of IL-2 was noted in sarcoidosis bronchoalveolar lavage CD4(+) T cells. However, in contrast to spontaneous hyperactive responses reported previously, the cells displayed anergic responses to polyclonal TCR stimulation. The anergic responses correlated with diminished expression of the Src kinase Lck, protein kinase C-θ, and NF-κB, key mediators of IL-2 transcription. Although T regulatory (Treg) cells were increased in sarcoid patients, Treg depletion from the CD4(+) T cell population of sarcoidosis patients did not rescue IL-2 and IFN-γ production, whereas restoration of the IL-2 signaling cascade, via protein kinase C-θ overexpression, did. Furthermore, sarcoidosis Treg cells displayed poor suppressive capacity indicating that T cell dysfunction was a global CD4(+) manifestation. Analyses of patients with spontaneous clinical resolution revealed that restoration of CD4(+) Th1 and Treg cell function was associated with resolution. Conversely, disease progression exhibited decreased Th1 cytokine secretion and proliferative capacity, and reduced Lck expression. These findings implicate normalized CD4(+) T cell function as a potential therapeutic target for sarcoidosis resolution.
Autophagy plays a critical role in multiple aspects of the immune system, including the development and function of T lymphocytes. In mammalian cells, the class III PI3K vacuolar protein sorting (Vps)34 is thought to play a critical role in autophagy. However, recent studies have cast doubt on the role of Vps34 in autophagy, at least in certain cell types. To study the effects of Vps34 on autophagy in T lymphocytes, we generated mice that selectively lack Vps34 in the T cell lineage. Vps34 ablation in T cells caused profound defects in autophagic flux, resulting in accumulation of cellular organelles and apoptosis. These animals exhibited normal intrathymic development of conventional T cells, but they were profoundly impaired in the intrathymic development of invariant NKT cells. In peripheral organs, T cell-specific ablation of Vps34 had a profound impact on T cell homeostasis and function. Furthermore, aged animals developed an inflammatory wasting syndrome characterized by weight loss, intestinal inflammation, and anemia. Consistent with this phenotype, Vps34 was required for the peripheral maintenance and function of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. Collectively, our study reveals a critical role for Vps34 in autophagy and for the peripheral homeostasis and function of T lymphocytes.
INTRODUCTION - The recent findings of the National Lung Screening Trial showed 24.2% of individuals at high risk for lung cancer having one or more indeterminate nodules detected by low-dose computed tomography-based screening, 96.4% of which were eventually confirmed as false positives. These positive scans necessitate additional diagnostic procedures to establish a definitive diagnosis that adds cost and risk to the paradigm. A plasma test able to assign benign versus malignant pathology in high-risk patients would be an invaluable tool to complement low-dose computed tomography-based screening and promote its rapid implementation.
METHODS - We evaluated 17 biomarkers, previously shown to have value in detecting lung cancer, against a discovery cohort, comprising benign (n = 67) cases and lung cancer (n = 69) cases. A Random Forest method based analysis was used to identify the optimal biomarker panel for assigning disease status, which was then validated against a cohort from the Mayo Clinic, comprising patients with benign (n = 61) or malignant (n = 20) indeterminate lung nodules.
RESULTS - Our discovery efforts produced a seven-analyte plasma biomarker panel consisting of interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-10, IL-1ra, sIL-2Rα, stromal cell-derived factor-1α+β, tumor necrosis factor α, and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 α. The sensitivity and specificity of our panel in our validation cohort is 95.0% and 23.3%, respectively. The validated negative predictive value of our panel was 93.8%.
CONCLUSION - We developed a seven-analyte plasma biomarker panel able to identify benign nodules, otherwise deemed indeterminate, with a high degree of accuracy. This panel may have clinical utility in risk-stratifying screen-detected lung nodules, decrease unnecessary follow-up imaging or invasive procedures, and potentially avoid unnecessary morbidity, mortality, and health care costs.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, resides and replicates within susceptible hosts by inhibiting host antimicrobial mechanisms. Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), produced by M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages, exerts a variety of immunomodulatory functions via 4 receptors (EP1-EP4), each mediating distinct PGE(2) functions. Here, we show that M. tuberculosis infection selectively upregulates EP2 messenger RNA expression in CD4(+) T cells. We found that EP2 deficiency in mice increases susceptibility to M. tuberculosis infection, which correlated with reduced antigen-specific T-cell responses and increased levels of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) T-regulatory cells. These findings have revealed an important role for EP2 in host immune defense against tuberculosis. As a G protein-coupled receptor, EP2 could serve as a target for immunotherapy of tuberculosis.
BACKGROUND - Prostaglandin I(2) (PGI(2)), a lipid mediator currently used in treatment of human disease, is a critical regulator of adaptive immune responses. Although PGI(2) signaling suppressed Th1 and Th2 immune responses, the role of PGI(2) in Th17 differentiation is not known.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS - In mouse CD4(+)CD62L(+) naïve T cell culture, the PGI(2) analogs iloprost and cicaprost increased IL-17A and IL-22 protein production and Th17 differentiation in vitro. This effect was augmented by IL-23 and was dependent on PGI(2) receptor IP signaling. In mouse bone marrow-derived CD11c(+) dendritic cells (BMDCs), PGI(2) analogs increased the ratio of IL-23/IL-12, which is correlated with increased ability of BMDCs to stimulate naïve T cells for IL-17A production. Moreover, IP knockout mice had delayed onset of a Th17-associated neurological disease, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and reduced infiltration of IL-17A-expressing mononuclear cells in the spinal cords compared to wild type mice. These results suggest that PGI(2) promotes in vivo Th17 responses.
CONCLUSION - The preferential stimulation of Th17 differentiation by IP signaling may have important clinical implications as PGI(2) and its analogs are commonly used to treat human pulmonary hypertension.
Colonization of the human stomach with Helicobacter pylori is a risk factor for peptic ulceration, noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma, and gastric lymphoma. The secreted VacA toxin is an important H. pylori virulence factor that causes multiple alterations in gastric epithelial cells and T cells. Several families of vacA alleles have been described, and H. pylori strains containing certain vacA types (s1, i1, and m1) are associated with an increased risk of gastric disease, compared to strains containing other vacA types (s2, i2, and m2). Thus far, there has been relatively little study of the role of the VacA intermediate region (i-region) in toxin activity. In this study, we compared the ability of i1 and i2 forms of VacA to cause functional alterations in Jurkat cells. To do this, we manipulated the chromosomal vacA gene in two H. pylori strains to introduce alterations in the region encoding the VacA i-region. We did not detect any differences in the capacity of i1 and i2 forms of VacA to cause vacuolation of RK13 cells. In comparison to i1 forms of VacA, i2 forms of VacA had a diminished capacity to inhibit the activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and suppress interleukin-2 (IL-2) production. Correspondingly, i2 forms of VacA bound to Jurkat cells less avidly than did i1 forms of VacA. These results indicate that the VacA i-region is an important determinant of VacA effects on human T cell function.
Despite decades of studying rodent models of type 1 diabetes (T1D), no therapy capable of preventing or curing T1D has successfully been translated from rodents to humans. This inability to translate otherwise promising therapies to clinical settings likely resides, to a major degree, from significant species-specific differences between rodent and human immune systems as well as species-related variances in islets in terms of their cellular composition, function, and gene expression. Indeed, taken collectively, these differences underscore the need to define interactions between the human immune system with human β cells. Immunodeficient mice engrafted with human immune systems and human β cells represent an interesting and promising opportunity to study these components in vivo. To meet this need, years of effort have been extended to develop mice depleted of undesirable components while at the same time, allowing the introduction of constituents necessary to recapitulate physiological settings as near as possible to human T1D. With this, these so-called "humanized mice" are currently being used as a preclinical bridge to facilitate identification and translation of novel discoveries to clinical settings.