[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Obesity-associated insulin resistance is accompanied by an alteration in the Th1/Th2 balance in adipose tissue. T-bet (Tbx21) is an immune cell transcription factor originally described as the master regulator of Th1 cell development, although is now recognized to have a role in both the adaptive and innate immune systems. T-bet also directs T-cell homing to pro-inflammatory sites by the regulation of CXCR3 expression. T-bet −/− mice have increased visceral adiposity but are more insulin sensitive, exhibiting reduced immune cell content and cytokine secretion specifically in the visceral fat depot, perhaps due to altered T-cell trafficking. Studies of T-bet deficiency on Rag2 and IFN-γ-deficient backgrounds indicate the importance of CD4 + T cells and IFN-γ in this model. This favorable metabolic phenotype, uncoupling adiposity from insulin resistance, is present in young lean mice yet persists with age and increasing obesity. We suggest a novel role for T-bet in metabolic regulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complex relationship between Th1 and Th17 cells is incompletely understood. The transcription factor T-bet is best known as the master regulator of Th1 lineage commitment. However, attention is now focused on the repression of alternate T cell subsets mediated by T-bet, particularly the Th17 lineage. It has recently been suggested that pathogenic Th17 cells express T-bet and are dependent on IL-23. However, T-bet has previously been shown to be a negative regulator of Th17 cells. We have taken an unbiased approach to determine the functional impact of T-bet on Th17 lineage commitment. Genome-wide analysis of functional T-bet binding sites provides an improved understanding of the transcriptional regulation mediated by T-bet, and suggests novel mechanisms by which T-bet regulates Th cell differentiation. Specifically, we show that T-bet negatively regulates Th17 lineage commitment via direct repression of the transcription factor IFN regulatory factor-4 (IRF4). An in vivo analysis of the pathogenicity of T-bet-deficient T cells demonstrated that mucosal Th17 responses were augmented in the absence of T-bet, and we have demonstrated that the roles of T-bet in enforcing Th1 responses and suppressing Th17 responses are separable. The interplay of the two key transcription factors T-bet and IRF4 during the determination of T cell fate choice significantly advances our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of pathogenic T cells.
The Journal of Immunology 11/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy with biological agents or small molecules is revolutionising the treatment of chronic inflammatory disease in humans; however, a significant proportion of patients fail to respond or lose responsiveness. This is particularly evident in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of chronic, immune-mediated disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Different responsiveness to treatment in IBD can be explained by substantial disease heterogeneity, which is being increasingly recognised by genetic and immunological studies. The current enthusiasm for stratified medicine suggests that it may become possible to identify clinical, immunological, biochemical or genetic biomarkers to target immunotherapy to patients more likely to respond. Here, we identify and highlight the opportunities and the challenges of this strategy in the context of IBD.
Trends in Immunology 09/2013; · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cell-based therapy with natural (CD4(+)CD25(hi)CD127(lo)) regulatory T cells to induce transplant tolerance is now technically feasible. However, regulatory T cells from hemodialysis patients awaiting transplantation may be functionally/numerically defective. Human regulatory T cells are also heterogeneous, and some are able to convert to proinflammatory Th17 cells. This study addresses the suitability of regulatory T cells from hemodialysis patients for cell-based therapy in preparation for the first clinical trials in renal transplant recipients (the ONE Study). DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: Healthy controls and age- and sex-matched hemodialysis patients without recent illness/autoimmune disease on established, complication-free hemodialysis for a minimum of 6 months were recruited. Circulating regulatory T cells were studied by flow cytometry to compare the regulatory T cell subpopulations. Regulatory T cells from members of each group were compared for suppressive function and plasticity (IL-17-producing capacity) before and after in vitro expansion with and without Rapamycin, using standard assays. RESULTS: Both groups had similar total regulatory T cells and subpopulations I and III. In each subpopulation, regulatory T cells expressed similar levels of the function-associated markers CD27, CD39, HLA-DR, and FOXP3. Hemodialysis regulatory T cells were less suppressive, expanded poorly compared with healthy control regulatory T cells, and produced IL-17 in the absence of Rapamycin. However, Rapamycin efficiently expanded hemodialysis regulatory T cells to a functional and stable cell product. CONCLUSIONS: Rapamycin-based expansion protocols should enable clinical trials of cell-based immunotherapy for the induction of tolerance to renal allografts using hemodialysis regulatory T cells.
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 04/2013; · 5.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low-grade inflammation in fat is associated with insulin resistance, although the mechanisms are unclear. We report that mice deficient in the immune cell transcription factor T-bet have lower energy expenditure and increased visceral fat compared with wild-type mice, yet paradoxically are more insulin sensitive. This striking phenotype, present in young T-bet(-/-) mice, persisted with high-fat diet and increasing host age and was associated with altered immune cell numbers and cytokine secretion specifically in visceral adipose tissue. However, the favorable metabolic phenotype observed in T-bet-deficient hosts was lost in T-bet(-/-) mice also lacking adaptive immunity (T-bet(-/-)xRag2(-/-)), demonstrating that T-bet expression in the adaptive rather than the innate immune system impacts host glucose homeostasis. Indeed, adoptive transfer of T-bet-deficient, but not wild-type, CD4(+) T cells to Rag2(-/-) mice improved insulin sensitivity. Our results reveal a role for T-bet in metabolic physiology and obesity-associated insulin resistance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been 20 years since the first description of a rapidly progressive renal disease that is associated with the consumption of Chinese herbs containing aristolochic acid (AA) and is now termed aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). Recent data have shown that AA is also the primary causative agent in Balkan endemic nephropathy and associated urothelial cancer. Aristolochic acid nephropathy is associated with a high long-term risk for renal failure and urothelial cancer, and the potential worldwide population exposure is enormous. This evidence-based review of the diagnostic approach to and management of AAN draws on the authors' experience with the largest and longest-studied combined cohort of patients with this condition. It is hoped that a better understanding of the importance of this underrecognized and severe condition will improve epidemiologic, preventive, and therapeutic strategies to reduce the global burden of this disease.
Annals of internal medicine 03/2013; 158(6):469-77. · 13.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Discovery of novel immune biomarkers for monitoring of disease prognosis and response to therapy in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases is an important unmet clinical need. Here, we establish a novel framework for immunological biomarker discovery, comparing a conventional (liquid) flow cytometry platform (CFP) and a unique lyoplate-based flow cytometry platform (LFP) in combination with advanced computational data analysis. We demonstrate that LFP had higher sensitivity compared to CFP, with increased detection of cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-10) and activation markers (Foxp3 and CD25). Fluorescent intensity of cells stained with lyophilized antibodies was increased compared to cells stained with liquid antibodies. LFP, using a plate loader, allowed medium-throughput processing of samples with comparable intra- and inter-assay variability between platforms. Automated computational analysis identified novel immunophenotypes that were not detected with manual analysis. Our results establish a new flow cytometry platform for standardized and rapid immunological biomarker discovery with wide application to immune-mediated diseases.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e65485. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sepsis is a common cause of death in the intensive care unit with mortality up to 70% when accompanied by multiple organ dysfunction. Rapid diagnosis and the institution of appropriate antibiotic therapy and pressor support are therefore critical for survival. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that play an important role in the regulation of numerous cellular processes, including inflammation and immunity.
We hypothesized changes in expression of microRNAs during sepsis may be of diagnostic value in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Massively parallel sequencing of microRNAs was utilised for screening microRNA candidates. Putative microRNAs were validated using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). This study includes data from both a training cohort (UK) and an independent validation cohort (Sweden). A linear discriminant statistical model was employed to construct a diagnostic microRNA signature.
A panel of known and novel microRNAs were detectable in the blood of patients with sepsis. After qRT-PCR validation, microRNA miR-150 and miR-4772-5p-iso were able to discriminate between patients who have systemic inflammatory response syndrome and patients with sepsis. This finding was also validated in independent cohort with an average diagnostic accuracy of 86%. Fractionating the cellular components of blood reveals miR-4772-5p-iso is expressed differentially in monocytes. Functional experiments using primary human monocytes demonstrate that it expressed in response to TLR ligation.
Taken together, these data provide a novel microRNA signature of sepsis that should allow rapid point-of-care diagnostic assessment of patients on ICU and also provide greater insight into the pathobiology of this severe disease.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e75918. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T-bet and GATA3 regulate the CD4+ T cell Th1/Th2 cell fate decision but little is known about the interplay between these factors outside of the murine Ifng and Il4/Il5/Il13 loci. Here we show that T-bet and GATA3 bind to multiple distal sites at immune regulatory genes in human effector T cells. These sites display markers of functional elements, act as enhancers in reporter assays and are associated with a requirement for T-bet and GATA3. Furthermore, we demonstrate that both factors bind distal sites at Tbx21 and that T-bet directly activates its own expression. We also show that in Th1 cells, GATA3 is distributed away from Th2 genes, instead occupying T-bet binding sites at Th1 genes, and that T-bet is sufficient to induce GATA3 binding at these sites. We propose these aspects of T-bet and GATA3 function are important for Th1/Th2 differentiation and for understanding transcription factor interactions in other T cell lineage decisions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common infections in the world. Despite inciting inflammation, immunological clearance of the pathogen is often incomplete. CD4(+) CD25(hi) forkhead box protein 3 (FoxP3(+) ) regulatory T cells (T(regs) ) are potent suppressors of different types of immune responses and have been implicated in limiting inflammatory responses to H. pylori. Investigating the influence of H. pylori on T(reg) function and proliferation, we found that H. pylori-stimulated dendritic cells (DCs) induced proliferation in T(regs) and impaired their suppressive capability. This effect was mediated by interleukin (IL)-1β produced by H. pylori-stimulated DCs. These data correlated with in-vivo observations in which H. pylori(+) gastric mucosa contained more T(regs) in active cell division than uninfected stomachs. Inciting local proliferation of T(regs) and inhibiting their suppressive function may represent a mechanism for the chronic gastritis and carcinogenesis attributable to H. pylori.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mice lacking the transcription factor T-bet in the innate immune system develop microbiota-dependent colitis. Here, we show that interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-producing IL-7Rα(+) innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) were potent promoters of disease in Tbx21(-/-)Rag2(-/-) ulcerative colitis (TRUC) mice. TNF-α produced by CD103(-)CD11b(+) dendritic cells synergized with IL-23 to drive IL-17A production by ILCs, demonstrating a previously unrecognized layer of cellular crosstalk between dendritic cells and ILCs. We have identified Helicobacter typhlonius as a key disease trigger driving excess TNF-α production and promoting colitis in TRUC mice. Crucially, T-bet also suppressed the expression of IL-7R, a key molecule involved in controlling intestinal ILC homeostasis. The importance of IL-7R signaling in TRUC disease was highlighted by the dramatic reduction in intestinal ILCs and attenuated colitis following IL-7R blockade. Taken together, these data demonstrate the mechanism by which T-bet regulates the complex interplay between mucosal dendritic cells, ILCs, and the intestinal microbiota.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory T cells (CD4(+)CD25(hi)CD127(lo)FOXP3(+) T cells [Tregs]) are a population of lymphocytes involved in the maintenance of self-tolerance. Abnormalities in function or number of Tregs are a feature of autoimmune diseases in humans. The ability to expand functional Tregs ex vivo makes them ideal candidates for autologous cell therapy to treat human autoimmune diseases and to induce tolerance to transplants. Current tests of Treg function typically take up to 120 hours, a kinetic disadvantage as clinical trials of Tregs will be critically dependent on the availability of rapid diagnostic tests before infusion into humans. Here we evaluate a 7-hour flow cytometric assay for assessing Treg function, using suppression of the activation markers CD69 and CD154 on responder T cells (CD4(+)CD25(-) [Tresp]), compared with traditional assays involving inhibition of CFSE dilution and cytokine production. In both freshly isolated and ex vivo expanded Tregs, we describe excellent correlation with gold standard suppressor cell assays. We propose that the kinetic advantage of the new assay may place it as the preferred rapid diagnostic test for the evaluation of Treg function in forthcoming clinical trials of cell therapy, enabling the translation of the large body of preclinical data into potentially useful treatments for human diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterozygous germline mutations of BMPR2 contribute to familial clustering of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). To further explore the genetic basis of PAH in isolated cases, we undertook a candidate gene analysis to identify potentially deleterious variation. Members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway, namely SMAD1, SMAD4, SMAD5, and SMAD9, were screened by direct sequencing for gene defects. Four variants were identified in SMADs 1, 4, and 9 among a cohort of 324 PAH cases, each not detected in a substantial control population. Of three amino acid substitutions identified, two demonstrated reduced signaling activity in vitro. A putative splice site mutation in SMAD4 resulted in moderate transcript loss due to compromised splicing efficiency. These results demonstrate the role of BMPR2 mutation in the pathogenesis of PAH and indicate that variation within the SMAD family represents an infrequent cause of the disease.
Human Mutation 09/2011; 32(12):1385-9. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene expression can be modulated depending on physiological and developmental requirements. A multitude of regulatory genes, which are organized in interdependent networks, guide development and eventually generate specific phenotypes. Transcription factors (TF) are a key element in the regulatory cascade controlling cell fate and effector functions. In this review, we discuss recent data on the diversity of TF that determine natural killer (NK) cell fate and NK cell function.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 08/2011; 68(21):3495-503. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Successful expansion of functional CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(reg)) ex vivo under good manufacturing practice conditions has made T(reg) -cell therapy in clinical transplant tolerance induction a feasible possibility. In animals, T(reg) cells home to both transplanted tissues and local lymph nodes and are optimally suppressive if active at both sites. Therefore, they have the opportunity to suppress both naïve and memory CD4(+) CD25(-) T cells (Tresp). Clinical transplantation commonly involves depleting therapy at induction (e.g. anti-CD25), which favors homeostatic expansion of memory T cells. Animal models suggest that T(reg) cells are less suppressive on memory, compared with naïve Tresp that mediate allograft rejection. As a result, in the context of human T(reg) -cell therapy, it is important to define the effectiveness of T(reg) cells in regulating naïve and memory Tresp. Therefore, we compared suppression of peripheral blood naïve and memory Tresp by fresh and ex vivo expanded T(reg) cells using proliferation, cytokine production and activation marker expression (CD154) as readouts. With all readouts, naïve human Tresp were more suppressible by approximately 30% than their memory counterparts. This suggests that T(reg) cells may be more efficacious if administered before or at the time of transplantation and that depleting therapy should be avoided in clinical trials of T(reg) cells.
American Journal of Transplantation 08/2011; 11(8):1734-42. · 6.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells play a major role in immunologic surveillance of cancer. Whether NK-cell subsets have specific roles during antitumor responses and what the signals are that drive their terminal maturation remain unclear. Using an in vivo model of tumor immunity, we show here that CD11b(hi)CD27(low) NK cells migrate to the tumor site to reject major histocompatibility complex class I negative tumors, a response that is severely impaired in Txb21(-/-) mice. The phenotypical analysis of Txb21-deficient mice shows that, in the absence of Txb21, NK-cell differentiation is arrested specifically at the CD11b(hi)CD27(hi) stage, resulting in the complete absence of terminally differentiated CD11b(hi)CD27(low) NK cells. Adoptive transfer experiments and radiation bone marrow chimera reveal that a Txb21(+/+) environment rescues the CD11b(hi)CD27(hi) to CD11b(hi)CD27(low) transition of Txb21(-/-) NK cells. Furthermore, in vivo depletion of myeloid cells and in vitro coculture experiments demonstrate that spleen monocytes mediate the terminal differentiation of peripheral NK cells in a Txb21- and IL-15Rα-dependent manner. Together, these data reveal a novel, unrecognized role for Txb21 expression in monocytes in promoting NK-cell development and help appreciate how various NK-cell subsets are generated and participate in antitumor immunity.