[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relative contributions of inflammatory signalling and sequential oncogenic dysregulation driving liver cancer pathogenesis remain incompletely understood. Lymphotoxin-β receptor (LTβR) signalling is critically involved in hepatitis and liver tumorigenesis. Therefore, we explored the interdependence of inflammatory lymphotoxin signalling and specific oncogenic pathways in the progression of hepatic cancer.
Pathologically distinct liver tumours were initiated by hydrodynamic transfection of oncogenic V-Akt Murine Thymoma Viral Oncogene Homolog 1 (AKT)/β-catenin or AKT/Notch expressing plasmids. To investigate the relationship of LTβR signalling and specific oncogenic pathways, LTβR antagonist (LTβR-Fc) or agonist (anti-LTβR) were administered post oncogene transfection. Initiated livers/tumours were investigated for changes in oncogene expression, tumour proliferation, progression, latency and pathology. Moreover, specific LTβR-mediated molecular events were investigated in human liver cancer cell lines and through transcriptional analyses of samples from patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC).
AKT/β-catenin-transfected livers displayed increased expression of LTβ and LTβR, with antagonism of LTβR signalling reducing tumour progression and enhancing survival. Conversely, enforced LTβR-activation of AKT/β-catenin-initiated tumours induced robust increases in proliferation and progression of hepatic tumour phenotypes in an AKT-dependent manner. LTβR-activation also rapidly accelerated ICC progression initiated by AKT/Notch, but not Notch alone. Moreover, LTβR-accelerated development coincides with increases of Notch, Hes1, c-MYC, pAKT and β-catenin. We further demonstrate LTβR signalling in human liver cancer cell lines to be a regulator of Notch, pAKTser473 and β-catenin. Transcriptome analysis of samples from patients with ICC links increased LTβR network expression with poor patient survival, increased Notch1 expression and Notch and AKT/PI3K signalling.
Our findings link LTβR and oncogenic AKT signalling in the development of ICC.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We generated a mouse model with a 162 nt AU-rich element (ARE) region deletion in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) gene that results in chronic circulating serum IFN-γ levels. Mice homozygous for the ARE deletion (ARE-Del) −/− present both serologic and cellular abnormalities typical of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). ARE-Del−/− mice display increased numbers of pDCs in bone marrow and spleen. Addition of IFN-γ to Flt3-ligand (Flt3L) treated in vitro bone marrow cultures results in a 2-fold increase in pDCs with concurrent increases in IRF8 expression. Marginal zone B (MZB) cells and marginal zone macrophages (MZMs) are absent in ARE-Del−/− mice. ARE-Del+/− mice retain both MZB cells and MZMs and develop no or mild autoimmunity. However, low dose clodronate treatment in ARE-Del+/− mice specifically eliminates MZMs and promotes anti-DNA antibody development and glomerulonephritis. Our findings demonstrate the consequences of a chronic IFN-γ milieu on B220+ cell types and in particular the impact of MZB cell loss on MZM function in autoimmunity. Furthermore, similarities between disease states in ARE-Del−/− mice and SLE patients suggest that IFN-γ may not only be a product of SLE but may be critical for disease onset and progression.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Autoimmunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This manuscript describes the early history of NK cell discovery, with emphasis on the events in the first decade of NK cell studies, 1972-1982. The authors highlight some of the earliest and most important observations that would later prove to be milestones in the study of NK cells and their activity.
No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Critical reviews in oncogenesis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The liver is an immunologically unique organ containing tolerogenic dendritic cells (DC) that maintain an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Although systemic IL-12 administration can improve responses to tumors, the effects of IL-12-based treatments on DC, in particular hepatic DC, remain incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrate systemic IL-12 administration induces a 2-3 fold increase in conventional, but not plasmacytoid, DC subsets in the liver. Following IL-12 administration, hepatic DC became more phenotypically and functionally mature, resembling the function of splenic DC, but differed as compared to their splenic counterparts in the production of IL-12 following co-stimulation with toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists. Hepatic DCs from IL-12 treated mice acquired enhanced T cell proliferative capabilities similar to levels observed using splenic DCs. Furthermore, IL-12 administration preferentially increased hepatic T cell activation and IFNγ expression in the RENCA mouse model of renal cell carcinoma. Collectively, the data shows systemic IL-12 administration enables hepatic DCs to overcome at least some aspects of the inherently suppressive milieu of the hepatic environment that could have important implications for the design of IL-12-based immunotherapeutic strategies targeting hepatic malignancies and infections.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immune deficiency immediately following bone marrow transplantation (BMT) increases susceptibility to opportunistic infections as well as tumor relapse. Natural Killer (NK) cells play important roles in the resistance to virally infected and transformed cells. Interleukin (IL)-15 has been shown to be essential for NK cell development and survival. We administered human (h) IL-15 cDNA (pIL-15) via hydrodynamic delivery to murine recipients undergoing congenic BMT to determine its effects on NK cell reconstitution. Hydrodynamic pIL-15 delivery resulted in high levels of hIL-15 protein in the serum that lasted for several days and then quickly declined. The appearance of hIL-15 was followed by a significant increase of mature donor-derived NK cells within the bone marrow, spleens, and livers of the treated recipients. No accumulation of immature NK cell progenitors was observed. The NK cells from IL-15-treated recipients displayed an activated phenotype and were lytically active toward tumor targets in vitro to a similar degree as did those cells from recipients treated with control plasmid. This suggests that the predominant effect of IL-15 was a quantitative increase in total NK cell numbers and not qualitative changes in NK cell functions. No toxicities or adverse effects were observed. Studies performed in transplanted mice bearing renal carcinoma tumors demonstrated that this mode of hIL-15 gene delivery resulted in increased antitumor responses. These results support the use of cytokine gene transfer-based regimens as a platform to augment NK cell recovery after BMT.
Preview · Article · Sep 2011 · Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: mTOR is a central mediator of cancer cell growth, but it also directs immune cell differentiation and function. On this basis, we had explored the hypothesis that mTOR inhibition can enhance cancer immunotherapy. Here, we report that a combination of αCD40 agonistic antibody and the ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitory drug AZD8055 elicited synergistic antitumor responses in a model of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. In contrast to the well-established mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, AZD8055 increased the infiltration, activation, and proliferation of CD8(+) T cells and natural killer cells in liver metastatic foci when combined with the CD40 agonist. AZD8055/αCD40-treated mice also display an increased incidence of matured macrophages and dendritic cells compared with that achieved in mice by αCD40 or AZD8055 treatment alone. We found that the combination treatment also increased macrophage production of TNFα, which played an indispensable role in activation of the observed antitumor immune response. Levels of Th1 cytokines, including interleukin 12, IFN-γ, TNFα, and the Th1-associated chemokines RANTES, MIG, and IP-10 were each elevated significantly in the livers of mice treated with the combinatorial therapy versus individual treatments. Notably, the AZD8055/αCD40-induced antitumor response was abolished in IFN-γ(-/-) and CD40(-/-) mice, establishing the reliance of the combination therapy on host IFN-γ and CD40 expression. Our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept that, unlike rapamycin, the ATP-competitive mTOR kinase inhibitor AZD8055 can contribute with αCD40 treatment to trigger a restructuring of the tumor immune microenvironment to trigger regressions of an established metastatic cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fate of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells following activation remains controversial and unclear. We systemically examined how iNKT cells are regulated following TCR-dependent and -independent activation with α-galactosylceramide (αGC) or IL-18 plus IL-12, respectively. Our studies reveal activation by αGC or IL-18 plus IL-12 induced transient depletion of iNKT cells exclusively in the liver that was independent of caspase 3-mediated apoptosis. The loss of iNKT cells was followed by repopulation and expansion of phenotypically distinct cells via different mechanisms. Liver iNKT cell expansion following αGC, but not IL-18 plus IL-12, treatment required an intact spleen and IFN-γ. Additionally, IL-18 plus IL-12 induced a more prolonged expansion of liver iNKT cells compared with αGC. iNKT cells that repopulate the liver following αGC had higher levels of suppressive receptors PD-1 and Lag3, whereas those that repopulate the liver following IL-18 plus IL-12 had increased levels of TCR and ICOS. In contrast to acute treatment that caused a transient loss of iNKT cells, chronic αGC or IL-18 plus IL-12 treatment caused long-term systemic loss requiring an intact thymus for repopulation of the liver. This report reveals a previously undefined role for the liver in the depletion of activated iNKT cells. Additionally, TCR-dependent and -independent activation differentially regulate iNKT cell distribution and phenotype. These results provide new insights for understanding how iNKT cells are systemically regulated following activation.
Preview · Article · Jan 2011 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tissue inflammation induced by antigens and pathogens varies considerably, but many diseases have a common pathology including stress and activation of epithelial cells that promotes innate immune responses, providing the host with its first line of defense against infections. Signals generated by subsets of innate lymphocytes, including natural killer (NK) cells, natural killer T (NKT) cells, and antigen presenting cells (APCs) during this early host response determine the nature of downstream adaptive immune responses. NK cells represent a population of specialized lymphocytes capable of recognizing and eliminating a wide range of cancer and virus-infected cells but not normal cells. The function of NK cells is regulated by a fine balance of inhibitory and activating signals, which are mediated by a diverse array of cell-surface receptors. Natural killer (NK) and natural killer T (NKT) cells represent unique lymphoid subsets of the innate immune system that are both critical for some aspects of initiating and directing host adaptive immune responses.These cells share numerous phenotypic markers and functional features, yet are lymphocytes of distinct developmental lineages.As first responders, these innate cells rapidly produce cytokines that modulate various activities of other leukocytes which subsequently influence the ensuing inflammatory response.Moreover, through the expression of effector molecules such as Fas and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) these cells are capable of directly targeting infected or transformed cells for elimination through cytotoxic pathways.Furthermore, both NK and NKT cells polarize T (helper) cell responses and enhance antigen presentation to cytotoxic T-lymphocytes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK)-cell alloreactivity is exploited in bone marrow transplantation to improve clinical outcome. Likewise, in solid organ transplantation, it has been recently shown that recipient NK cells may limit alloreactive T-cell responses through their capacity to prevent the persistence of graft-derived allogeneic dendritic cells (DCs). In a model of CD4(+) T cell-mediated allogeneic skin graft rejection, we show that the absence of host NK-cell alloreactivity was characterized by enhanced expansion of alloreactive effector T lymphocytes, including Th2 cells, and massive eosinophilic infiltrates in the rejected tissues. In CD8(+) T cell-deficient C57BL/6 (H-2(b)) recipients injected with allogeneic BALB/c (H-2(d)) DCs, we demonstrated that NK cells expressing the H-2D(d)-specific Ly49D activating receptor were implicated in the regulation of alloreactive CD4(+) T-cell responses. Moreover, we showed that Ly49D(+) CD127(-) NK cells were recruited within DC draining lymph nodes and rapidly eliminated allogeneic H-2(d) DCs through the perforin pathway. In normal mice, we further demonstrated that NK cells by quickly eliminating allogeneic DCs strongly inhibited alloreactive CD8(+) T-cell responses. Thus, NK cells act as early regulators of alloreactive T-cell priming in allotransplantation through their capacity to kill allogeneic DCs in draining lymph nodes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Innate immune responses provide the host with its first line of defense against infections. Signals generated by subsets of lymphocytes, including NK cells, NKT cells, and APC during this early host response determine the nature of downstream adaptive immune responses. In the present study, we have examined the role of innate NK cells in an autoimmune model through the use of primary immunization with the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Our studies have shown that in vivo depletion of NK cells can affect the adaptive immune responses, because NK cells were found to regulate the degree of clinical paralysis and to alter immune adaptive responses to the myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide. The requirement for NK cells was reflected by changes in the T cell responses and diminished clinical disease seen in mice treated with anti-NK1.1, anti-asialo GM1, and selected Ly49 subtype-depleted mice. In addition to alteration in T cell responses, the maturational status of dendritic cells in lymph nodes was altered both quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, examination of TCR Vbeta usage of the brain lymphocytes from EAE mice indicated a spectra-type change in receptor expression in NK- depleted mice as compared with non-NK-depleted EAE mice. These findings further establish a recently postulated link between NK cells and the generation of autoreactive T cells.
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of the NK cell developmental pathway suggests that CD2 expression may be important in regulating NK maturation. To test this hypothesis, we developed mice containing only an inhibitory CD2 molecule by linking the extracellular domain of CD2 to an intracellular immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) motif. Mice containing the CD2 Tg(ITIM) transgene, introduced into a CD2 KO background, have no morphologically detectable lymph nodes, although development of the thymus appears normal. In addition, these mice had major loss of both NK and NKT subsets in peripheral organs, while T and B cell frequencies were intact. Expression of CD2 was low on T cells and lacking on B cells and functional defects were observed in these populations. NKT cells expressing CD4 were absent, while the CD8+ and double negative NKT cells were retained. Small subsets of NK cells were detected but expression of CD2 on these cells was very low or absent, and their maturation was impaired. Based on the phenotype described here, we believe that these mice represent a unique model to study lymphoid organ and lymphocyte development.
No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Cellular Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of interleukin-18 (IL-18) together with IL-12 induced high levels of IFN-gamma in tumor-bearing mice and regression of liver tumors that was abolished in IFN-gamma((-/-)) mice. Natural killer (NK) and NKT cells were the major producers of IFN-gamma in the livers of mice treated with IL-18 and/or IL-12. Liver NK cells were significantly increased by treatment with IL-18/IL-12, whereas the degree of liver NKT cell TCR detection was diminished by this treatment. Reduction of NK cells with anti-asGM1 decreased the antitumor activity of IL-18/IL-12 therapy and revealed NK cells to be an important component for tumor regression in the liver. In contrast, the antitumor effects of both IL-18 and IL-12 were further increased in CD1d((-/-)) mice, which lack NKT cells. Our data, therefore, show that the antitumor activity induced in mice by IL-18/IL-12 is NK and IFN-gamma dependent and is able to overcome an endogenous immunosuppressive effect of NKT cells in the liver microenvironment. These results suggest that immunotherapeutic approaches that enhance NK cell function while eliminating or altering NKT cells could be effective in the treatment of cancer in the liver.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The NKG2D receptor on NK cells can recognize a variety of ligands on the tumor cell surface. Using a mouse renal cancer (Renca), we show that NKG2D recognition by NK cells was crucial for their ability to limit tumor metastases in vivo in both liver and lungs using perforin-dependent effector mechanisms. However, for the R331 cell line established from Renca, NKG2D recognition and perforin-dependent lysis played no role in controlling liver metastases. R331 cells were also more resistant to perforin-dependent lysis by NK cells in vitro. We therefore used these phenotypic differences between Renca and R331 to further investigate the crucial receptor:ligand interactions required for triggering lytic effector functions of NK cells. Reconstitution of R331 cells with ICAM-1, but not Rae-1gamma, restored NKG2D-mediated, perforin-dependent lysis. Interestingly, R331 cells were efficiently lysed by NK cells using death ligand-mediated apoptosis. This death ligand-mediated killing did not depend on NKG2D recognition of its ligands on tumor cells. This result suggests that the intracellular signaling in NK cells required for perforin and death ligand-mediated lysis of tumor target cell are quite distinct, and activation of both of these antitumor lytic effector functions of NK cells could improve therapeutic benefits for certain tumors.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2006 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IL-2 is crucial for the production of CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory (Treg) cells while important for the generation of effective T cell-mediated immunity. How to exploit the capacity of IL-2 to expand Treg cells, while restraining activation of T effector (Teff) cells, is an important and unanswered therapeutic question. Dexamethasone (Dex), a synthetic glucocorticoid steroid, has been reported to suppress IL-2-mediated activation of Teff cells and increase the proportion of Treg cells. Thus, we hypothesized that glucocorticoids may be useful as costimulants to amplify IL-2-mediated selective expansion of Treg cells. We show in this study that short-term simultaneous administration of Dex and IL-2 markedly expanded functional suppressive Foxp3(+)CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in murine peripheral lymphoid tissues. In a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model, we observed that splenic CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells failed to suppress the proliferation of CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells. Pretreatment with Dex/IL-2 remarkably increased the proportion of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) cells and partially restored the function of splenic CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, and inhibited the development of EAE. Therefore, the combination of glucocorticoid and IL-2, two currently used therapeutics, may provide a novel approach for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, transplant rejection and graft-vs.-host disease.
No preview · Article · Sep 2006 · European Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NK cells responses are controlled by inhibitory and activating cell surface receptors. Inhibitory receptors serve to moderate NK activity by dampening cytokine release and cytotoxicity if activating ligands are also triggered by interaction with their receptors on the NK cells. This dampening effect is critical to prevent wide scale self destruction. These studies have focused on cytokine signaling in the context of an environment where ITAM bearing receptors are triggered on NK, NKT and T cells. Our findings indicate that cytokines are an important co-stimulatory signal that is needed to maximize the host innate immune response.
No preview · Article · Jul 2006 · Seminars in Immunology