University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Recent publications
The timing of immune-related adverse events (irAE) associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) is highly variable. Although the development of irAE has been associated with ICI clinical benefit, how irAE timing influences this association is unknown. We analyzed two independent cohorts including 154 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors at a single institution (UTSW cohort) and a multi-center cohort of 433 patients with NSCLC who received second-line anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Global cohort) to assess the association between ICI outcomes and irAE timing. In both cohorts, late-onset irAE occurring more than 3 months after ICI initiation compared to irAE occurring earlier were associated with greater rates of radiographic response (UTSW cohort, 41% versus 28%, P = .26; Global cohort, 60% versus 35%, P = .02), longer progression-free (UTSW cohort, 13.7 versus 5.6 months, P < .01; Global cohort, not reached versus 6.0 months, P < .01) and overall survival (UTSW cohort, 30.9 versus 14.6 months, P < .01; Global cohort, not reached versus 10.6 months, P < .01). Modified landmark analysis at 6 months confirmed an overall survival difference between early- and late-onset irAE. Late-onset irAE was similarly associated with greater response rates and prolonged survival in a cohort of 130 patients with non-NSCLC malignancies, suggesting a conserved association across tumor types. The favorable association between irAE and ICI clinical outcomes may be attributed to later-onset events, which is not wholly explained by survivor bias. These results allude to a distinct biology between early- and late-onset irAE and may guide clinician expectations and thresholds for continuing or modifying immunotherapy.
Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by decreased expression of frataxin (FXN) protein. Previous studies have shown that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and single-stranded silencing RNAs can be used to increase expression of frataxin in cultured patient-derived cells. In this study, we investigate the potential for oligonucleotides to increase frataxin expression in a mouse model for FA. After confirming successful in vivo delivery of oligonucleotides using a benchmark gapmer targeting the nuclear noncoding RNA Malat1, we tested anti-FXN oligonucleotides designed to function by various mechanisms. None of these strategies yielded enhanced expression of FXN in the model mice. Our inability to translate activation of FXN expression from cell culture to mice may be due to inadequate potency of our compounds or differences in the molecular mechanisms governing FXN gene repression and activation in FA model mice.
Interferon gamma (IFNG/IFNγ)-induced adaptive immune resistance remains a challenge for tumor therapy. We observed that the chaperone heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) stabilizes the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), resulting in IFNγ-induced expression of immunosuppressive indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1/CD274). Pharmacological inhibition of HSP90 enhances the efficacy of programmed cell death 1 (PDCD1/PD-1) targeting immunotherapy in suitable mouse models without any toxicity.
Background: Delirium-related biochemical derangements lead to electrical changes that can be detected in electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns followed by behavioral signs and symptoms. Studies using limited lead EEG show a large difference between patients with and without delirium while discriminating delirium from other causes. Handheld rapid EEG devices may be capable of detecting delirium before symptom onset, thus providing an objective physiological method to detect delirium when it is most amenable to interventions. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the potential for rapid EEG to detect waveform pattern changes consistent with delirium status. Methods: This prospective exploratory pilot study used a correlational design and mixed models to explore the relationships between handheld portable EEG data and delirium status. Results: While being under powered minimized opportunities to detect statistical differences in EEG-derived ratios using spectral density analysis, sleep-to-wake ratios tended to be higher in patients with delirium. Conclusions: Limited lead EEG may be useful in predicting adverse outcomes and risk for delirium in older critically ill patients. Although this population is at the highest risk for mortality, delirium is not easily identified by current clinical assessments. Therefore, further investigation of limited lead EEG for delirium detection is warranted.
Background We sought to determine the association between appendicular adiposity and hypertension, with the purpose of better understanding the role of body fat distribution on blood pressure (BP). Methods We included 7411 adults aged 20 to 59 who were not taking antihypertensives and without cardiovascular disease from the 2011 to 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Leg & arm adiposity, determined via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, was defined as percent of total body fat present in legs/arms (leg/total%, arm/total%). Measures were categorized into sex-specific tertiles. We estimated change in BP and odds ratios (ORs) of hypertension (BP ≥ 130/80) and hypertension subtypes using multivariable, survey design-adjusted linear & logistic regression, respectively. Results Of the participants, 49% were female, the average (standard deviation) age was 37.4 (0.3) years, and 24% had hypertension. Those in the highest tertile (T3) of leg/total% had 30% decreased adjusted ORs (aOR) of hypertension compared to the lowest tertile (T1; aOR, 0.70; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.55–0.89). This association was not significant for arm/total% (0.89, 0.68–1.17). T3 of leg/total% was associated with 49% lower, 41% lower, and unchanged relative odds of isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH), systolic-diastolic hypertension (SDH), and isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) compared to T1 (IDH: 0.51, 0.37–0.70; SDH: 0.59, 0.43–0.80; ISH: 1.06, 0.70–1.59). For every 10% increase in leg/total%, diastolic BP decreased by an adjusted mean 3.5 mmHg (95% CI, − 4.8 to − 2.2) in males and 1.8 mmHg (95% CI, − 2.8 to − 0.8) in females ( P < 0.001 for both). Conclusions A greater proportional distribution of fat around the legs is inversely, independently associated with hypertension, and more specifically, diastolic hypertension (IDH and SDH).
Caspase-mediated cleavage of PARP1 is a surrogate marker for apoptosis. However, the biological significance of PARP1 cleavage during apoptosis is still unclear. Here, using unbiased protein affinity purification, we show that truncated PARP1 (tPARP1) recognizes the RNA polymerase III (Pol III) complex in the cytosol. tPARP1 mono-ADP-ribosylates RNA Pol III in vitro and mediates ADP-ribosylation of RNA Pol III during poly(dA-dT)-stimulated apoptosis in cells. tPARP1-mediated activation of RNA Pol III facilitates IFN-β production and apoptosis. In contrast, suppression of PARP1 or expressing the non-cleavable form of PARP1 impairs these molecular events. Taken together, these studies reveal a novel biological role of tPARP1 during cytosolic DNA-induced apoptosis.
Valosin-containing protein (VCP) associated multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) is a rare inherited disorder that may result in multisystem involvement of varying phenotypes including inclusion body myopathy, Paget’s disease of bone (PDB), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), parkinsonism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), among others. An international multidisciplinary consortium of 40+ experts in neuromuscular disease, dementia, movement disorders, psychology, cardiology, pulmonology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, nutrition, genetics, integrative medicine, and endocrinology were convened by the patient advocacy organization, Cure VCP Disease, in December 2020 to develop a standard of care for this heterogeneous and under-diagnosed disease. To achieve this goal, working groups collaborated to generate expert consensus recommendations in 10 key areas: genetic diagnosis, myopathy, FTD, PDB, ALS, Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT), parkinsonism, cardiomyopathy, pulmonology, supportive therapies, nutrition and supplements, and mental health. In April 2021, facilitated discussion of each working group’s conclusions with consensus building techniques enabled final agreement on the proposed standard of care for VCP patients. Timely referral to a specialty neuromuscular center is recommended to aid in efficient diagnosis of VCP MSP via single-gene testing in the case of a known familial VCP variant, or multi-gene panel sequencing in undifferentiated cases. Additionally, regular and ongoing multidisciplinary team follow up is essential for proactive screening and management of secondary complications. The goal of our consortium is to raise awareness of VCP MSP, expedite the time to accurate diagnosis, define gaps and inequities in patient care, initiate appropriate pharmacotherapies and supportive therapies for optimal management, and elevate the recommended best practices guidelines for multidisciplinary care internationally.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) utilizes photosensitizers (PSs) to produce reactive oxygen species (ROSs) upon irradiation, which causes the shutdown of vessels and deprives the tumor of nutrients and oxygen, and in turn induces adverse effects on the immune system. However, significant efforts are needed to increase the efficiency in PDT in terms of light delivery to specific PSs for the clinical treatment of tumors located deep under the skin. Even though PDT offers a disease site-specific treatment modality, current efforts are directed to improve the solubility (in body fluids and injectable solvents), photostability, amphiphilicity (for tissue penetration), elimination, and systemic toxicity of traditional PSs based on porphyrin derivatives. Nanostructured materials show promising features to achieve most of such combined efforts. They can be artificially engineered to carry multiple theranostic agents onto targeted tumor sites. However, recent studies on photosensitive Cd-based nanostructures, mostly used in PDT, indicate that leeching of Cd ²⁺ ions is stimulated when they are exposed to harsh biological conditions for continuous periods of time, thus making them acutely toxic and hindering their applications in in vivo settings. Since nanostructured materials are not completely immune to degradation, great strides have been made to seek new alternatives. In this review, we focus on the latest advances of Cd-free nanostructured metal transition sulfides (MTSs) as alternative PSs and study their high-energy transfer efficiency, rational designs, and potential applications in cancer-targeted PDT. Nanostructured MTSs are discussed in the context of their versatility to serve as phototherapy agents and superior properties, including their strong absorption in the NIR region, excellent photothermal conversion efficiency, controlled reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, versatile surface chemistry, high fluorescence, and structural and thermal stability. We discuss the latest advancements in correlating the self-aggregation of MTSs with their passive tumor cell targeting, highlighting their ability to efficiently produce ROSs, and mitigating their dark toxicity through polymeric functionalization. Treatment of deep-seated tumors by using these PSs upon preferential uptake by tumor tissues (due to the enhanced permeability and retention effect) is also reviewed. We finally summarize the main future perspectives of MTSs as next-generation PSs within the context of cancer theranostics. Graphical Abstract
Autoimmunity has emerged as a characteristic of the post-COVID syndrome (PCS), which may be related to sex. In order to further investigate the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and autoimmunity in PCS, a clinical and serological assessment on 100 patients was done. Serum antibody profiles against self-antigens and infectious agents were evaluated by an antigen array chip for 116 IgG and 104 IgM antibodies. Thirty pre-pandemic healthy individuals were included as a control group. The median age of patients was 49 years (IQR: 37.8 to 55.3). There were 47 males. The median post-COVID time was 219 (IQR: 143 to 258) days. Latent autoimmunity and polyautoimmunity were found in 83% and 62% of patients, respectively. Three patients developed an overt autoimmune disease. IgG antibodies against IL-2, CD8B, and thyroglobulin were found in more than 10% of the patients. Other IgG autoantibodies, such as anti-interferons, were positive in 5–10% of patients. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies were found in > 85% of patients and were positively correlated with autoantibodies, age, and body mass index (BMI). Few autoantibodies were influenced by age and BMI. There was no effect of gender on the over- or under-expression of autoantibodies. IgG anti-IFN-λ antibodies were associated with the persistence of respiratory symptoms. In summary, autoimmunity is characteristic of PCS, and latent autoimmunity correlates with humoral response to SARS-CoV-2.
Breast cancer survivors have reduced peak aerobic capacity (VO 2peak ) which may be related to latent or lingering chemotherapy induced cardiac damage. Nine, older (67 ± 3 years), long-term survivors (9.8 years) of anthracycline based chemotherapy and age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited and tested to determine whether: i) VO 2peak remains reduced in long-term survivorship; and ii) reductions in VO 2peak are due to cardiac dysfunction. VO 2peak was significantly reduced in breast cancer survivors relative to healthy controls (15.9 ± 2.0 vs 19.9 ± 3.1 ml/kg/min, p = 0.006), however the heart rate and stroke volume responses to exercise were normal (heart rate reserve; 88 ± 9 vs 85 ± 10 bpm, p = 0.62: stroke volume reserve; 13 ± 6 vs 13 ± 9 ml, p = 0.94). These findings indicate low-normal ventricular size in long-term breast cancer survivors, but normal reserve function.
Background Neuronal uptake and subsequent spread of proteopathic seeds, such as αS (alpha-synuclein), Tau, and TDP-43, contribute to neurodegeneration. The cellular machinery participating in this process is poorly understood. One proteinopathy called multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) is associated with dominant mutations in Valosin Containing Protein (VCP). MSP patients have muscle and neuronal degeneration characterized by aggregate pathology that can include αS, Tau and TDP-43. Methods We performed a fluorescent cell sorting based genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen in αS biosensors. αS and TDP-43 seeding activity under varied conditions was assessed using FRET/Flow biosensor cells or immunofluorescence for phosphorylated αS or TDP-43 in primary cultured neurons. We analyzed in vivo seeding activity by immunostaining for phosphorylated αS following intrastriatal injection of αS seeds in control or VCP disease mutation carrying mice. Results One hundred fifty-four genes were identified as suppressors of αS seeding. One suppressor, VCP when chemically or genetically inhibited increased αS seeding in cells and neurons. This was not due to an increase in αS uptake or αS protein levels. MSP-VCP mutation expression increased αS seeding in cells and neurons. Intrastriatal injection of αS preformed fibrils (PFF) into VCP-MSP mutation carrying mice increased phospho αS expression as compared to control mice. Cells stably expressing fluorescently tagged TDP-43 C-terminal fragment FRET pairs (TDP-43 biosensors) generate FRET when seeded with TDP-43 PFF but not monomeric TDP-43. VCP inhibition or MSP-VCP mutant expression increases TDP-43 seeding in TDP-43 biosensors. Similarly, treatment of neurons with TDP-43 PFFs generates high molecular weight insoluble phosphorylated TDP-43 after 5 days. This TDP-43 seed dependent increase in phosphorlyated TDP-43 is further augmented in MSP-VCP mutant expressing neurons. Conclusion Using an unbiased screen, we identified the multifunctional AAA ATPase VCP as a suppressor of αS and TDP-43 aggregate seeding in cells and neurons. VCP facilitates the clearance of damaged lysosomes via lysophagy. We propose that VCP’s surveillance of permeabilized endosomes may protect against the proteopathic spread of pathogenic protein aggregates. The spread of distinct aggregate species may dictate the pleiotropic phenotypes and pathologies in VCP associated MSP.
Background Interleukin-17 (IL-17) antagonism in rats reduces the severity and progression of AKI. IL-17-producing circulating T helper-17 (TH17) cells is increased in critically ill patients with AKI indicating that this pathway is also activated in humans. We aim to compare serum IL-17A levels in critically ill patients with versus without AKI and to examine their relationship with mortality and major adverse kidney events (MAKE). Methods Multicenter, prospective study of ICU patients with AKI stage 2 or 3 and without AKI. Samples were collected at 24–48 h after AKI diagnosis or ICU admission (in those without AKI) [timepoint 1, T1] and 5–7 days later [timepoint 2, T2]. MAKE was defined as the composite of death, dependence on kidney replacement therapy or a reduction in eGFR of ≥ 30% from baseline up to 90 days following hospital discharge. Results A total of 299 patients were evaluated. Patients in the highest IL-17A tertile (versus lower tertiles) at T1 had higher acuity of illness and comorbidity scores. Patients with AKI had higher levels of IL-17A than those without AKI: T1 1918.6 fg/ml (692.0–5860.9) versus 623.1 fg/ml (331.7–1503.4), p < 0.001; T2 2167.7 fg/ml (839.9–4618.9) versus 1193.5 fg/ml (523.8–2198.7), p = 0.006. Every onefold higher serum IL-17A at T1 was independently associated with increased risk of hospital mortality (aOR 1.35, 95% CI: 1.06–1.73) and MAKE (aOR 1.26, 95% CI: 1.02–1.55). The highest tertile of IL-17A (vs. the lowest tertile) was also independently associated with higher risk of MAKE (aOR 3.03, 95% CI: 1.34–6.87). There was no effect modification of these associations by AKI status. IL-17A levels remained significantly elevated at T2 in patients that died or developed MAKE. Conclusions Serum IL-17A levels measured by the time of AKI diagnosis or ICU admission were differentially elevated in critically ill patients with AKI when compared to those without AKI and were independently associated with hospital mortality and MAKE.
Hyperpolarized (HP) [1-13C]pyruvate cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging can visualize the uptake and intracellular conversion of [1-13C]pyruvate to either [1-13C]lactate or 13C-bicarbonate depending on the prevailing metabolic state. The aim of the present study was to combine an adenosine stress test with HP [1-13C]pyruvate CMR to detect cardiac metabolism in the healthy human heart at rest and during moderate stress. A prospective descriptive study was performed between October 2019 and August 2020. Healthy human subjects underwent cine CMR and HP [1-13C]pyruvate CMR at rest and during adenosine stress. HP [1-13C]pyruvate CMR images were acquired at the mid-left-ventricle (LV) level. Semi-quantitative assessment of first-pass myocardial [1-13C]pyruvate perfusion and metabolism were assessed. Paired t-tests were used to compare mean values at rest and during stress. Six healthy subjects (two female), age 29 ± 7 years were studied and no adverse reactions occurred. Myocardial [1-13C]pyruvate perfusion was significantly increased during stress with a reduction in time-to-peak from 6.2 ± 2.8 to 2.7 ± 1.3 s, p = 0.02. This higher perfusion was accompanied by an overall increased myocardial uptake and metabolism. The conversion rate constant (kPL) for lactate increased from 11 ± 9 *10–3 to 20 ± 10 * 10–3 s−1, p = 0.04. The pyruvate oxidation rate (kPB) increased from 4 ± 4 *10–3 to 12 ± 7 *10–3 s−1, p = 0.008. This increase in carbohydrate metabolism was positively correlated with heart rate (R2 = 0.44, p = 0.02). Adenosine stress testing combined with HP [1-13C]pyruvate CMR is feasible and well-tolerated in healthy subjects. We observed an increased pyruvate oxidation during cardiac stress. The present study is an important step in the translation of HP [1-13C]pyruvate CMR into clinical cardiac imaging. Trial registration EUDRACT, 2018-003533-15. Registered 4th of December 2018, https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/ctr-search/search?query=2018-003533-15
Introduction Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in HIV-positive patients has not been well documented in the current literature. Thus, this study aimed to examine the early postoperative outcomes and complications of HIV-positive TKA patients as compared to TKA patients who are HIV-negative patients by utilizing the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. Methods Admissions data for TKA and HIV were analyzed from the NIS database using ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes. An extensive array of preoperative and postoperative variables was compared among HIV positive TKA patients and HIV negative TKA patients. An unmatched analysis and a matched analysis using a 1:1 propensity match algorithm were conducted to compare the two groups. Results The average age of the HIV-positive group was lower than the HIV-negative group (59.0 vs 66.7, p < 0.001). The HIV-positive group had a smaller percentage of females (38.4% vs 61.5%, p < 0.001) and a lower incidence of tobacco-related disorders than the HIV-negative group (10.3% vs 15.8%, p = 0.032). The HIV-positive group had a longer mean length of stay (3.0 days vs 2.4 days, p < 0.001) and a greater mean total charge incurred (90,780.25 vs 64,801.55, p < 0.001). In the unmatched analysis, the incidence of acute renal failure (6.4% vs 2%, p < 0.001), transfusions (3.9% vs 1.5%, p = 0.004), and periprosthetic joint infection (3% vs 1%, p = 0.007) was higher in HIV positive group. The matched analysis showed a higher incidence of acute renal failure group (6.4% vs 0.5%, p = 0.01) and transfusions (3.9% vs 5%, p = 0.01) in the HIV-positive but a statistically insignificant difference in the rate of periprosthetic joint infection (3% vs 1%, p = 0.153). Conclusion HIV/AIDS is associated with an increased incidence of acute renal failure and transfusions, as well as a longer length of stay and higher incurred costs in TKA patients.
Background Microglia plays crucial roles in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) development. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) in association with DAP12 mediates signaling affecting microglia function. Here we study the negative regulation of TREM2 functions by leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor subfamily B member 2 (LILRB2), an inhibitory receptor bearing ITIM motifs. Methods To specifically interrogate LILRB2-ligand (oAβ and PS) interactions and microglia functions, we generated potent antagonistic LILRB2 antibodies with sub-nanomolar level activities. The biological effects of LILRB2 antagonist antibody (Ab29) were studied in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)–derived microglia (hMGLs) for migration, oAβ phagocytosis, and upregulation of inflammatory cytokines. Effects of the LILRB2 antagonist antibody on microglial responses to amyloid plaques were further studied in vivo using stereotaxic grafted microglia in 5XFAD mice. Results We confirmed the expression of both LILRB2 and TREM2 in human brain microglia using immunofluorescence. Upon co-ligation of the LILRB2 and TREM2 by shared ligands oAβ or PS, TREM2 signaling was significantly inhibited. We identified a monoclonal antibody (Ab29) that blocks LILRB2/ligand interactions and prevents TREM2 signaling inhibition mediated by LILRB2. Further, Ab29 enhanced microglia phagocytosis, TREM2 signaling, migration, and cytokine responses to the oAβ-lipoprotein complex in hMGL and microglia cell line HMC3. In vivo studies showed significantly enhanced clustering of microglia around plaques with a prominent increase in microglial amyloid plaque phagocytosis when 5XFAD mice were treated with Ab29. Conclusions This study revealed for the first time the molecular mechanisms of LILRB2-mediated inhibition of TREM2 signaling in microglia and demonstrated a novel approach of enhancing TREM2-mediated microglia functions by blocking LILRB2-ligand interactions. Translationally, a LILRB2 antagonist antibody completely rescued the inhibition of TREM2 signaling by LILRB2, suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy for improving microglial functions.
Background SLC6A1-related disorder is a recently identified, rare, genetic neurodevelopmental disorder that is associated with loss-of-function variants in SLC6A1. This gene encodes GABA transporter type I that is responsible for re-uptake of GABA from the synapse into the pre-synaptic terminal or circulating neuroglia. Based upon retrospective review of published cases and available research databases including Epi25 collective and SLC6A1 Connect patient database, the phenotypic spectrum is broad and includes developmental delay, epilepsy, and autism or autistic traits. SLC6A1 is one of the genes included in the Simons Searchlight registry, which includes standardized data collection across genetically identified neurodevelopmental conditions. Methods In this study, we compare parent-report measures of phenotypic features in the Simons Searchlight registry to previously published, provider-reported cases to assess if parent-report measures are consistent with what has been reported in the literature. Results There were 116 participants in the provider-reported dataset compared to 43 individuals in the caregiver-reported dataset. Carriers in Searchlight had 83 unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in SLC6A1, which were predominantly missense or nonsense variants. There was no significant difference between groups for the prevalence of developmental delay, ASD, or ADHD. Caregivers more often reported hypotonia, while epilepsy was slightly more frequently reported by providers. Conclusions We propose that standardized parent-report data collection methods are consistent with provider reports on many core features of SLC6A1-related disorder. The availability of patient registries and standardized natural history studies may fill an important need in clinical trial readiness programs, with larger sample sizes than smaller published case series.
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Sergio Huerta
  • Department of Surgery
Daniel Costa
  • Department of Radiology
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Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D.
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