[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CTLs and NK cells use the perforin/granzyme cytotoxic pathway to kill virally infected cells and tumors. Human regulatory T cells also express functional granzymes and perforin and can induce autologous target cell death in vitro. Perforin-deficient mice die of excessive immune responses after viral challenges, implicating a potential role for this pathway in immune regulation. To further investigate the role of granzyme B in immune regulation in response to viral infections, we characterized the immune response in wild-type, granzyme B-deficient, and perforin-deficient mice infected with Sendai virus. Interestingly, granzyme B-deficient mice, and to a lesser extent perforin-deficient mice, exhibited a significant increase in the number of Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells in the lungs and draining lymph nodes of virally infected animals. This increase was not the result of failure in viral clearance because viral titers in granzyme B-deficient mice were similar to wild-type mice and significantly less than perforin-deficient mice. Regulatory T cells from WT mice expressed high levels of granzyme B in response to infection, and depletion of regulatory T cells from these mice resulted in an increase in the number of Ag-specific CD8(+) T cells, similar to that observed in granzyme B-deficient mice. Furthermore, granzyme B-deficient regulatory T cells displayed defective suppression of CD8(+) T cell proliferation in vitro. Taken together, these results suggest a role for granzyme B in the regulatory T cell compartment in immune regulation to viral infections.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2011; 187(12):6301-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe combined immunodeficiency is a life-threatening primary immune deficiency characterized by low numbers of naïve T cells. Early diagnosis and treatment of this disease decreases mortality. In 2008, Wisconsin began newborn screening of infants for severe combined immunodeficiency and other forms of T-cell lymphopenia by the T-cell receptor excision circle assay. In total, 207,696 infants were screened. Seventy-two infants had an abnormal assay. T-cell numbers were normal in 38 infants, abnormal in 33 infants, and not performed in one infant, giving a positive predictive value for T-cell lymphopenia of any cause of 45.83% and a specificity of 99.98%. Five infants with severe combined immunodeficiency/severe T-cell lymphopenia requiring hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or other therapy were detected. In summary, the T-cell receptor excision circle assay is a sensitive and specific test to identify infants with severe combined immunodeficiency and severe T-cell lymphopenia that leads to life-saving therapies such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation prior to the acquisition of severe infections.
Journal of Clinical Immunology 11/2011; 32(1):82-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 22q11.2 Deletion syndrome (22q11.2 DS) [DiGeorge syndrome type 1 (DGS1)] occurs in ∼1:3,000 live births; 75% of children with DGS1 have severe congenital heart disease requiring early intervention. The gold standard for detection of DGS1 is fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with a probe at the TUPLE1 gene. However, FISH is costly and is typically ordered in conjunction with a karyotype analysis that takes several days. Therefore, FISH is underutilized and the diagnosis of 22q11.2 DS is frequently delayed, often resulting in profound clinical consequences. Our goal was to determine whether multiplexed, quantitative real-time PCR (MQPCR) could be used to detect the haploinsufficiency characteristic of 22q11.2 DS. A retrospective blinded study was performed on 382 subjects who had undergone congenital heart surgery. MQPCR was performed with a probe localized to the TBX1 gene on human chromosome 22, a gene typically deleted in 22q11.2 DS. Cycle threshold (C(t)) was used to calculate the relative gene copy number (rGCN). Confirmation analysis was performed with the Affymetrix 6.0 Genome-Wide SNP Array. With MQPCR, 361 subjects were identified as nondeleted with an rGCN near 1.0 and 21 subjects were identified as deleted with an rGCN near 0.5, indicative of a hemizygous deletion. The sensitivity (21/21) and specificity (361/361) of MQPCR to detect 22q11.2 deletions was 100% at an rGCN value drawn at 0.7. One of 21 subjects with a prior clinical (not genetically confirmed) DGS1 diagnosis was found not to carry the deletion, while another subject, not previously identified as DGS1, was detected as deleted and subsequently confirmed via microarray. The MQPCR assay is a rapid, inexpensive, sensitive, and specific assay that can be used to screen for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. The assay is readily adaptable to high throughput.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is the result of genetic defects that impair normal T-cell development. SCID babies typically appear normal at birth, but acquire multiple life-threatening infections within a few months. Early diagnosis and treatment with a bone-marrow transplant markedly improves long-term outcomes. On January 1, 2008, the newborn screening (NBS) program in Wisconsin became the first in the world to routinely test all newborns for SCID. A realtime quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay measures T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs), which are formed during the maturation of normal T-cells. A lack or very low number of TRECs is consistent with T-cell lymphopenia. The development and validation of the TREC assay and the results of the first year of screening have been published. This article describes the process used to add SCID to the NBS panel, the establishment of follow-up capacity, and the integration of SCID screening into routine NBS workflows. The development of this expanded NBS program is described so that other states might benefit from the processes used in Wisconsin.
Public Health Reports 01/2010; 125 Suppl 2:88-95. · 1.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A newborn blood screening (NBS) test that could identify infants with a profound deficiency of T cells may result in a reduction in mortality.
To determine if quantitating T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction on DNA extracted from dried blood spots on NBS cards can detect infants with T-cell lymphopenia in a statewide program.
Between January 1 and December 31, 2008, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene screened all infants born in Wisconsin for T-cell lymphopenia by quantitating the number of TRECs contained in a 3.2-mm punch (approximately 3 microL of whole blood) of the NBS card. Flow cytometry to enumerate the number of T cells was performed on full-term infants and preterm infants when they reached the equivalent of at least 37 weeks' gestation with TREC values of less than 25/microL. Infants with T-cell lymphopenia were evaluated by a clinical immunologist.
The number of infants with TREC values of less than 25/microL with T-cell lymphopenia confirmed by flow cytometry.
Exactly 71,000 infants were screened by the TREC assay. Seventeen infants aged at least 37 weeks' gestation had at least 1 abnormal TREC assay (TREC values < 25/microL), 11 of whom had samples analyzed by flow cytometry to enumerate T cells. Eight infants demonstrated T-cell lymphopenia. The causes of the T-cell lymphopenia included DiGeorge syndrome (n = 2), idiopathic T-cell lymphopenia (n = 2), extravascular extravasation of lymphocytes (n = 3), and a Rac2 mutation (n = 1). The infant with the Rac2 mutation underwent successful cord blood transplantation.
In a statewide screening program, use of the TREC assay performed on NBS cards was able to identify infants with T-cell lymphopenia.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 12/2009; 302(22):2465-70. · 29.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor Foxp3 is essential for the development of functional, natural Treg (nTreg), which plays a prominent role in self-tolerance. Suppressive Foxp3(+) Treg cells can be generated from naïve T cells ex vivo, following TCR and TGF-beta1 stimulations. However, the molecular contributions from the different arms of these pathways leading to Foxp3 expression are not fully understood. TGF-beta1-activated Smad3 plays a major role in the expression of Foxp3, since TGF-beta1-induced-Treg generation from Smad3(-/-) mice is markedly reduced and abolished by inactivating Smad2. In the TCR pathway, deletion of Bcl10, which activates NF-kappaB, markedly reduces both IL-2 and Foxp3 production. However, partial rescue of Foxp3 expression occurs on addition of exogenous IL-2. TGF-beta1 significantly attenuates NF-kappaB binding to the Foxp3 promoter, while inducing Foxp3 expression. Furthermore, deletion of p50, a NF-kappaB subunit, results in increased Foxp3 expression despite a decline in the IL-2 production. We posit several TCR-NF-kappaB pathways, some increasing (Bcl10-IL-2-Foxp3) while others decreasing (p50-Foxp3) Foxp3 expression, with the former predominating. A better understanding of Foxp3 regulation could be useful in dissecting the cause of Treg dysfunction in several autoimmune diseases and for generating more potent TGF-beta1-induced-Treg cells for therapeutic purposes.
European Journal of Immunology 09/2009; 39(9):2571-83. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is characterized by the absence of functional T cells and B cells. Without early diagnosis and treatment, infants with SCID die from severe infections within the first year of life.
To determined the feasibility of detecting SCID in newborns by quantitating T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) from dried blood spots (DBSs) on newborn screening (NBS) cards.
DNA was extracted from DBSs on deidentified NBS cards, and real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to determine the number of TRECs. Positive controls consisted of DBS from a 1-week-old T(-)B(-)NK(+) patient with SCID and whole blood specimens selectively depleted of naive T cells.
The mean and median numbers of TRECs from 5766 deidentified DBSs were 827 and 708, respectively, per 3.2-mm punch ( approximately 3 muL whole blood). Ten samples failed to amplify TRECs on initial analysis; all but 1 demonstrated normal TRECs and beta-actin amplification on retesting. No TRECs were detected in either the SCID or naive T-cell-depleted samples, despite the presence of normal levels of beta-actin.
The use of RT-qPCR to quantitate TRECs from DNA extracted from newborn DBSs is a highly sensitive and specific screening test for SCID. This assay is currently being used in Wisconsin for routine screening infants for SCID.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 06/2009; 124(3):522-7. · 12.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report outcomes after unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for 91 patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) transplanted in the US in 1989-2005. Fifty-one percent were <1 year at HCT and 29% had Lansky performance scores<90%. Most (80%) were conditioned with BU, CY, and etoposide (VP16) with or without anti-thymocyte globulin. Bone marrow was the predominant graft source. Neutrophil recovery was 91% at day-42. The probabilities of grades 2-4 acute GVHD at day-100 and chronic GVHD at 5 years were 41 and 23%, respectively. The overall mortality rate was higher in patients who did not receive BU/CY/VP16-conditioning regimen (RR 1.95, P=0.035). The 5-year probability of overall survival was 53% in patients who received BU/CY/VP16 compared to 24% in those who received other regimens. In the subset of patients with known disease-specific characteristics, only one of five patients with active disease at HCT is alive. For those in clinical remission at HCT (n=46), the 5-year probability of overall survival was 49%. Early mortality rates after HCT were high, 35% at day-100. These data demonstrate that a BU/CY/VP16-conditioning regimen provides cure in approximately 50% of patients and future studies should explore strategies to lower early mortality.
Bone Marrow Transplantation 05/2008; 42(3):175-80. · 3.54 Impact Factor