Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia-Derived IL-10 Suppresses Antitumor Immunity [TUMOR IMMUNOLOGY]

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients progressively develop an immunosuppressive state. CLL patients have more plasma IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, than healthy controls. In vitro human CLL cells produce IL-10 in response to BCR cross-linking. We used the transgenic Eμ–T cell leukemia oncogene-1 (TCL1) mouse CLL model to study the role of IL-10 in CLL associated immunosuppression. Eμ-TCL mice spontaneously develop CLL because of a B cell–specific expression of the oncogene, TCL1. Eμ-TCL1 mouse CLL cells constitutively produce IL-10, which is further enhanced by BCR cross-linking, CLL-derived IL-10 did not directly affect survival of murine or human CLL cells in vitro. We tested the hypothesis that the CLL-derived IL-10 has a critical role in CLL disease in part by suppressing the host immune response to the CLL cells. In IL-10R–/– mice, wherein the host immune cells are unresponsive to IL-10–mediated suppressive effects, there was a significant reduction in CLL cell growth compared with wild type mice. IL-10 reduced the generation of effector CD4 and CD8 T cells. We also found that activation of BCR signaling regulated the production of IL-10 by both murine and human CLL cells. We identified the transcription factor, Sp1, as a novel regulator of IL-10 production by CLL cells and that it is regulated by BCR signaling via the Syk/MAPK pathway. Our results suggest that incorporation of IL-10 blocking agents may enhance current therapeutic regimens for CLL by potentiating host antitumor immune response.

Innate Immunity to Staphylococcus aureus: Evolving Paradigms in Soft Tissue and Invasive Infections [BRIEF REVIEWS]

Staphylococcus aureus causes a wide range of diseases that together embody a significant public health burden. Aided by metabolic flexibility and a large virulence repertoire, S. aureus has the remarkable ability to hematogenously disseminate and infect various tissues, including skin, lung, heart, and bone, among others. The hallmark lesions of invasive staphylococcal infections, abscesses, simultaneously denote the powerful innate immune responses to tissue invasion as well as the ability of staphylococci to persist within these lesions. In this article, we review the innate immune responses to S. aureus during infection of skin and bone, which serve as paradigms for soft tissue and bone disease, respectively.

Cytomegalovirus: Shape-Shifting the Immune System [BRIEF REVIEWS]

Systems-based based approaches have begun to shed light on extrinsic factors that contribute to immune system variation. Among these, CMV (HHV-5, a β-herpesvirus) imposes a surprisingly profound impact. Most of the world’s population is CMV+, and the virus goes through three distinct infection phases en route to establishing lifelong détente with its host. Immune control of CMV in each phase recruits unique arms of host defense, and in turn the virus employs multiple immune-modulatory strategies that help facilitate the establishment of lifelong persistence. In this review, we explain how CMV shapes immunity and discuss the impact it may have on overall health.

Cutting Edge: The Histone Methyltransferase G9a Is Required for Silencing of Helper T Lineage-Associated Genes in Proliferating CD8 T Cells [CUTTING EDGE]

Helper versus cytotoxic T lineage decision in the thymus has been studied as a model for silencing of alternative lineage genes. Although the transcription factor RUNX3 is required for the initiation of Cd4 silencing in developing CD8 T cells, it is unknown how silencing of Cd4 and other helper T lineage genes is maintained. We show that the histone methyltransferase G9a is necessary for silencing helper T lineage genes in proliferating mouse CD8 T cells. Despite normal initial Cd4 downregulation, G9a-deficient CD8 T cells derepress Cd4 and other helper lineage genes during repeated division in lymphopenia or in response to tumor Ag. However, G9a was dispensable for continued silencing of those genes in CD8 T cells that respond to infection by Listeria monocytogenes. These results demonstrate that G9a facilitates maintenance of cellular identity of CD8 T cells during cell division, which is further reinforced by inflammatory signals.

Functional and Immunoreactive Levels of IgG4 Correlate with Clinical Responses during the Maintenance Phase of House Dust Mite Immunotherapy [ALLERGY AND OTHER HYPERSENSITIVITIES]

Allergen-specific immunotherapy for house dust mite allergy is effective, but there are no validated biomarkers reflecting or predicting the clinical efficacy. We aimed to investigate the relationship between clinical outcomes and functional responses of allergen-specific IgG4 (sIgG4) and specific IgE (sIgE) during Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus s.c. allergen immunotherapy (SCIT) in allergic rhinitis and/or asthma patients. Combined symptom medication scores (SMS), D. pteronyssinus–sIgG4 levels, D. pteronyssinus–sIgE levels, and the serum inhibitory capacity against D. pteronyssinus–sIgE facilitated allergen binding to B cells (IgE-FAB) were determined during the updosing (week 0, 4, 12, and 16) and maintenance (week 52, 104, and 156) phase of SCIT. We found that SCIT patients had a significant improvement in SMS from week 52 to 156 compared with medication-treated control subjects (p < 0.05). Levels of D. pteronyssinus–sIgG4 in SCIT patients showed a significant increase from week 12 to 156 (p < 0.05). Serum obtained from SCIT patients significantly inhibited D. pteronyssinus–sIgE binding to B cells after 16 wk (p < 0.01). Significantly lower levels of D. pteronyssinus–sIgE were observed in SCIT patients after 52 wk (p < 0.05). A significant relationship was demonstrated between SMS and IgE-FAB or D. pteronyssinus–sIgG4 during the maintenance phase according to linear regression analysis. In conclusion, D. pteronyssinus–sIgG4 level and D. pteronyssinus IgE-FAB are associated with clinical efficacy in the maintenance phase rather than the updosing phase of SCIT. Immunologic tolerance can be induced with SCIT when maintenance phase is achieved.

Abrogation of Lupus Nephritis in Somatic Hypermutation-Deficient MRL/lpr Mice [AUTOIMMUNITY]

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease posing threats to multiple organs in the human body. As a typical manifestation of SLE, lupus nephritis is characterized by a series of pathological changes in glomerulus as well as accumulation of pathogenic autoreactive IgG with complement in the kidney that dramatically disrupts renal functions. Activation-induced deaminase (AID), which governs both somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class-switch recombination (CSR), has been shown to be essential for the regulation of SLE. However, the relative contributions of SHM and CSR to SLE pathology have not been determined. Based on the available AIDG23S mice, we successfully established an AIDG23S MRL/lpr mouse model, in which SHM is specifically abolished, although CSR is largely unaffected. We found that the abrogation of SHM effectively alleviated SLE-associated histopathological alterations, such as expansion of the mesangial matrix and thickening of the basement membrane of Bowman’s capsule as well as infiltration of inflammatory cells. Compared with SLE mice, AIDG23S MRL/lpr mice exhibited decreased proteinuria, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine, indicating that the loss of SHM contributed to the recovery of renal functions. As a consequence, the life span of those SHM-deficient MRL/lpr mice was extended. Together, we provide direct evidence pinpointing a vital role of SHM in the control of SLE development.

IgG Immunocomplexes Sensitize Human Monocytes for Inflammatory Hyperactivity via Transcriptomic and Epigenetic Reprogramming in Rheumatoid Arthritis [AUTOIMMUNITY]

Prevalence of circulating immunocomplexes (ICs) strongly correlates with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in humans. Deposits of IgG-ICs are abundant in affected joints of patients, yet molecular mechanisms for the pathogenic roles of such ICs are not fully understood. In this study, we present evidence that IgG-ICs precipitated from RA sera sensitized human monocytes for a long-lasting inflammatory functional state, characterized by a strong TNF-α response to cellular proteins representing damage-associated molecular patterns and microbe-derived pathogen-associated molecular patterns. Importantly, plate-coated human IgG (a mimic of deposited IC without Ag restriction) exhibited a similarly robust ability of monocyte sensitization in vitro. The plate-coated human IgG–induced functional programming is accompanied by transcriptomic and epigenetic modification of various inflammatory cytokines and negative regulator genes. Moreover, macrophages freshly isolated from synovia of patients with RA, but not sera-negative arthropathy, displayed a signature gene expression profile highly similar to that of IC-sensitized human monocytes, indicative of historical priming events by IgG-ICs in vivo. Thus, the ability of IgG-ICs to drive sustainable functional sensitization/reprogramming of monocytes and macrophages toward inflammation may render them key players in the development of RA.

Identification of Cellular Sources of IL-2 Needed for Regulatory T Cell Development and Homeostasis [AUTOIMMUNITY]

The cytokine IL-2 is critical for promoting the development, homeostasis, and function of regulatory T (Treg) cells. The cellular sources of IL-2 that promote these processes remain unclear. T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells (DCs) are known to make IL-2 in peripheral tissues. We found that T cells and DCs in the thymus also make IL-2. To identify cellular sources of IL-2 in Treg cell development and homeostasis, we used Il2FL/FL mice to selectively delete Il2 in T cells, B cells, and DCs. Because IL-15 can partially substitute for IL-2 in Treg cell development, we carried out the majority of these studies on an Il15–/– background. Deletion of Il2 in B cells, DCs, or both these subsets had no effect on Treg cell development, either in wild-type (WT) or Il15–/– mice. Deletion of Il2 in T cells had minimal effects in WT mice but virtually eliminated developing Treg cells in Il15–/– mice. In the spleen and most peripheral lymphoid organs, deletion of Il2 in B cells, DCs, or both subsets had no effect on Treg cell homeostasis. In contrast, deletion of Il2 in T cells led to a significant decrease in Treg cells in either WT or Il15–/– mice. The one exception was the mesenteric lymph nodes where significantly fewer Treg cells were observed when Il2 was deleted in both T cells and DCs. Thus, T cells are the sole source of IL-2 needed for Treg cell development, but DCs can contribute to Treg cell homeostasis in select organs.

Canonical TGF-{beta} Signaling Pathway Represses Human NK Cell Metabolism [CLINICAL AND HUMAN IMMUNOLOGY]

Cytokines stimulate rapid metabolic changes in human NK cells, including increases in both glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation pathways. However, how these are subsequently regulated is not known. In this study, we demonstrate that TGF-β can inhibit many of these metabolic changes, including oxidative phosphorylation, glycolytic capacity, and respiratory capacity. TGF-β also inhibited cytokine-induced expression of the transferrin nutrient receptor CD71. In contrast to a recent report on murine NK cells, TGF-β–mediated suppression of these metabolic responses did not involve the inhibition of the metabolic regulator mTORC1. Inhibition of the canonical TGF-β signaling pathway was able to restore almost all metabolic and functional responses that were inhibited by TGF-β. These data suggest that pharmacological inhibition of TGF-β could provide a metabolic advantage to NK cells that is likely to result in improved functional responses. This has important implications for NK cell–based cancer immunotherapies.

Slit2 Modulates the Inflammatory Phenotype of Orbit-Infiltrating Fibrocytes in Graves Disease [CLINICAL AND HUMAN IMMUNOLOGY]

Human CD34+ fibrocytes, circulating monocyte lineage progenitor cells, have recently been implicated in thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO), the ocular manifestation of Graves’ disease (GD). Fibrocytes express constitutive MHC class II (MHC-2) and, surprisingly, thyroglobulin (Tg) and functional thyrotropin (TSH) receptor (TSHR). Underlying expression of these thyroid proteins is the autoimmune regulator protein (AIRE). Fibrocytes respond robustly to TSH and thyroid-stimulating Igs by generating extremely high levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6. In TAO, they appear to infiltrate the orbit, where they transition to CD34+ orbital fibroblasts (OF). There, they coexist with CD34 OF as a mixed fibroblast population (GD-OF). In contrast to fibrocytes, GD-OF express vanishingly low levels of MHC-2, Tg, TSHR, and AIRE. Further, the amplitude of IL-6 induction by TSH in GD-OF is substantially lower. The molecular basis for this divergence between fibrocytes and CD34+ OF remains uncertain. In this article, we report that Slit2, an axon guidance glycoprotein, is constitutively expressed by the CD34 OF subset of GD-OF. Culture conditioned medium (CM) generated by incubating with GD-OF and CD34 OF substantially reduces levels of MHC-2, Tg, TSHR, and AIRE in fibrocytes. Expression can be restored by specifically depleting CM of Slit2. The effects of CD34 OF CM are mimicked by recombinant human Slit2. TSH induces Slit2 levels in GD-OF by enhancing both Slit2 gene transcription and mRNA stability. These findings suggest that Slit2 represents a TSH-inducible factor within the TAO orbit that can modulate the inflammatory phenotype of CD34+ OF and therefore may determine the activity and severity of the disease.

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