Levi D Maston

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

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Publications (5)20.57 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Elevated reactive oxygen species are implicated in pulmonary hypertension (PH). Superoxide dismutase (SOD) limits superoxide bioavailability, and decreased SOD activity is associated with PH. A decrease in SOD activity is expected to increase superoxide and reduce hydrogen peroxide levels. Such an imbalance of superoxide/hydrogen peroxide has been implicated as a mediator of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) activation in epidermal cells. We have shown that NFATc3 is required for chronic hypoxia-induced PH. However, it is unknown whether NFATc3 is activated in the pulmonary circulation in a mouse model of decreased SOD1 activity and if this leads to PH. Therefore, we hypothesized that an elevated pulmonary arterial superoxide/hydrogen peroxide ratio activates NFATc3 leading to PH. We found that SOD1 knockout (KO) mice have elevated pulmonary arterial wall superoxide and decreased hydrogen peroxide levels compared to wild type (WT) littermates. Right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) was elevated in SOD1 KO and was associated with pulmonary arterial remodeling. Vasoreactivity to endothelin-1 was also greater in SOD1 KO vs. WT mice. NFAT activity and NFATc3 nuclear localization were increased in pulmonary arteries from SOD1 KO vs. WT mice. Administration of A-285222 (selective NFAT inhibitor) decreased RVSP, arterial wall thickness, vasoreactivity and NFAT activity in SOD1 KO mice to WT levels. The SOD mimetic, tempol, also reduced NFAT activity, NFATc3 nuclear localization and RVSP to WT levels. These findings suggest that an elevated superoxide/hydrogen peroxide ratio activates NFAT in pulmonary arteries which induces vascular remodeling and increases vascular reactivity leading to PH.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 03/2013; 304(9). DOI:10.1152/ajplung.00408.2012 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic treatment of large established tumors using immunotherapy has yielded few promising results. We investigated whether adoptive transfer of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells, together with tumor-specific CD4(+) T cells, would mediate regression of large established B16BL6-D5 melanomas in lymphopenic Rag1(-/-) recipients devoid of regulatory T cells. The combined adoptive transfer of subtherapeutic doses of both TRP1-specific TCR transgenic Rag1(-/-) CD4(+) T cells and gp100-specific TCR transgenic Rag1(-/-) CD8(+) T cells into lymphopenic recipients, who received vaccination, led to regression of large (100-400 mm(2)) melanomas. The same treatment strategy was ineffective in lymphoreplete wild-type mice. Twenty-five percent of mice (15/59) had tumors recur (15-180 d postregression). Recurrent tumors were depigmented and had decreased expression of gp100, the epitope targeted by the CD8(+) T cells. Mice with recurrent melanoma had increased CD4(+)Foxp3(+) TRP1-specific T cells compared with mice that did not show evidence of disease. Importantly, splenocytes from mice with recurrent tumor were able to suppress the in vivo therapeutic efficacy of splenocytes from tumor-free mice. These data demonstrate that large established tumors can be treated by a combination of tumor-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. Additionally, recurrent tumors exhibited decreased Ag expression, which was accompanied by conversion of the therapeutic tumor-specific CD4(+) T cell population to a Foxp3(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cell population.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2012; 189(2):767-76. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1103822 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The existence of tumor-specific T cells, as well as their ability to be primed in cancer patients, confirms that the immune response can be deployed to combat cancer. However, there are obstacles that must be overcome to convert the ineffective immune response commonly found in the tumor environment to one that leads to sustained destruction of tumor. Members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily direct diverse immune functions. OX40 and its ligand, OX40L, are key TNF members that augment T-cell expansion, cytokine production, and survival. OX40 signaling also controls regulatory T-cell differentiation and suppressive function. Studies over the past decade have demonstrated that OX40 agonists enhance antitumor immunity in preclinical models using immunogenic tumors; however, treatment of poorly immunogenic tumors has been less successful. Combining strategies that prime tumor-specific T cells together with OX40 signaling could generate and maintain a therapeutic antitumor immune response.
    Seminars in Oncology 10/2010; 37(5):524-32. DOI:10.1053/j.seminoncol.2010.09.013 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since multiple lines of experimental and clinical data clearly identified regulatory T cells as an integral part of the immune response, these cells have become a major focus of investigation in tumor immunology. Regulatory T cells are in place to dampen ongoing immune responses and to prevent autoimmunity, but they also have profound effects in blocking therapeutic anti-tumor activity. Therefore regulatory T cells are seen as a major hurdle that must be overcome in order for cancer immunotherapy to reach its therapeutic potential. Regulatory T cells are heterogeneous with sub-populations that exhibit distinct functional features. Here we will review the individual sub-populations in regards to their mode of action and their potential impact on blocking anti-tumor immunity. Approaches to measure function and frequency of regulatory T cells in model systems and clinical trails will be discussed. Finally, we will describe possible ways to interfere with regulatory T cell-mediated immune suppression with the focus on recent pre-clinical and clinical findings.
    Current Molecular Medicine 09/2009; 9(6):673-82. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since multiple lines of experimental and clinical data clearly identified regulatory T cells as an integral part of the immune response, these cells have become a major focus of investigation in tumor immunology. Regulatory T cells are in place to dampen ongoing immune responses and to prevent autoimmunity, but they also have profound effects in blocking therapeutic anti-tumor activity. Therefore regulatory T cells are seen as a major hurdle that must be overcome in order for cancer immunotherapy to reach its therapeutic potential. Regulatory T cells are heterogeneous with sub-populations that exhibit distinct functional features. Here we will review the individual sub-populations in regards to their mode of action and their potential impact on blocking anti-tumor immunity. Approaches to measure function and frequency of regulatory T cells in model systems and clinical trails will be discussed. Finally, we will describe possible ways to interfere with regulatory T cell-mediated immune suppression with the focus on recent pre-clinical and clinical findings.
    Current Molecular Medicine 07/2009; 9(6):673-682. DOI:10.2174/156652409788970670 · 3.61 Impact Factor