Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by beta-coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that has rapidly spread across the globe starting from February 2020. It is well established that during viral infection, extracellular vesicles become delivery/presenting vectors of viral material. However, studies regarding extracellular vesicle function in COVID-19 pathology are still scanty. Here, we performed a comparative study on exosomes recovered from the plasma of either MILD or SEVERE COVID-19 patients. We show that although both types of vesicles efficiently display SARS-CoV-2 spike-derived peptides and carry immunomodulatory molecules, only those of MILD patients are capable of efficiently regulating antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell responses. Accordingly, by mass spectrometry, we show that the proteome of exosomes of MILD patients correlates with a proper functioning of the immune system, while that of SEVERE patients is associated with increased and chronic inflammation. Overall, we show that exosomes recovered from the plasma of COVID-19 patients possess SARS-CoV-2-derived protein material, have an active role in enhancing the immune response, and possess a cargo that reflects the pathological state of patients in the acute phase of the disease.
BackgroundVaccination campaign to contrast the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has raised the issue of vaccine immunogenicity in special populations such as people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) on highly effective disease modifying treatments (DMTs). While humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines have been well characterized in the general population and in PwMS, very little is known about cell-mediated responses in conferring protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).MethodsPwMS on ocrelizumab, fingolimod or natalizumab, vaccinated with two doses of mRNABNT162b2 (Comirnaty®) vaccine were enrolled. Anti-Spike (S) and anti-Nucleoprotein (N) antibody titers, IFN-gamma production upon S and N peptide libraries stimulation, peripheral blood lymphocyte absolute counts were assessed after at least 1 month and within 4 months from vaccine second dose administration. A group of age and sex matched healthy donors (HD) were included as reference group. Statistical analysis was performed using GraphPad Prism 8.2.1.ResultsThirty PwMS and 9 HDs were enrolled. All the patients were negative for anti-N antibody detection, nor reported previous symptoms of COVID-19. Peripheral blood lymphocyte counts were assessed in PwMS showing: (i) reduction of circulating B-lymphocytes in PwMS on ocrelizumab; (ii) reduction of peripheral blood B- and T-lymphocyte absolute counts in PwMS on fingolimod and (iii) normal B- and T-lymphocyte absolute counts with an increase in circulating CD16+CD56+ NK-cells in PwMS on natalizumab. Three patterns of immunological responses were identified in PwMS. In patients on ocrelizumab, anti-S antibody were lacking or reduced, while T-cell responses were normal. In patients on fingolimod both anti-S titers and T-cell mediated responses were impaired. In patients on natalizumab both anti-S titers and T-cell responses were present and comparable to those observed in HD.ConclusionsThe evaluation of T-cell responses, anti-S titers and peripheral blood lymphocyte absolute count in PwMS on DMTs can help to better characterize the immunological response after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. The evaluation of T-cell responses in longitudinal cohorts of PwMS will help to clarify their protective role in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19. The correlation between DMT treatment and immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines could help to better evaluate vaccination strategies in PwMS.
G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2), an important subtype of GRKs, specifically phosphorylates agonist-activated G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Besides, current research confirms that it participates in multiple regulation of diverse cells via a non-phosphorylated pathway, including interacting with various non-receptor substrates and binding partners. Fibrosis is a common pathophysiological phenomenon in the repair process of many tissues due to various pathogenic factors such as inflammation, injury, drugs, etc. The characteristics of fibrosis are the activation of fibroblasts leading to myofibroblast proliferation and differentiation, subsequent aggerate excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM). Then, a positive feedback loop is occurred between tissue stiffness caused by ECM and fibroblasts, ultimately resulting in distortion of organ architecture and function. At present, GRK2, which has been described as a multifunctional protein, regulates copious signaling pathways under pathophysiological conditions correlated with fibrotic diseases. Along with GRK2-mediated regulation, there are diverse effects on the growth and apoptosis of different cells, inflammatory response and deposition of ECM, which are essential in organ fibrosis progression. This review is to highlight the relationship between GRK2 and fibrotic diseases based on recent research. It is becoming more convincing that GRK2 could be considered as a potential therapeutic target in many fibrotic diseases.
BackgroundNeoantigens are presented on the cancer cell surface by peptide-restricted human leukocyte antigen (HLA) proteins and can subsequently activate cognate T cells. It has been hypothesized that the observed somatic mutations in tumors are shaped by immunosurveillance.MethodsWe investigated all somatic mutations identified in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Skin Cutaneous Melanoma (SKCM) samples. By applying a computational algorithm, we calculated the binding affinity of the resulting neo-peptides and their corresponding wild-type peptides with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class I complex. We then examined the relationship between binding affinity alterations and mutation frequency.ResultsOur results show that neoantigens derived from recurrent mutations tend to have lower binding affinities with the MHC Class I complex compared to peptides from non-recurrent mutations. Tumor samples harboring recurrent SKCM mutations exhibited lower immune infiltration levels, indicating a relatively colder immune microenvironment.ConclusionsThese results suggested that the occurrences of somatic mutations in melanoma have been shaped by immunosurveillance. Mutations that lead to neoantigens with high MHC class I binding affinity are more likely to be eliminated and thus are less likely to be present in tumors.
LAG3 is the most promising immune checkpoint next to PD-1 and CTLA-4. High LAG3 and FGL1 expression boosts tumor growth by inhibiting the immune microenvironment. This review comprises four sections presenting the structure/expression, interaction, biological effects, and clinical application of LAG3/FGL1. D1 and D2 of LAG3 and FD of FGL1 are the LAG3-FGL1 interaction domains. LAG3 accumulates on the surface of lymphocytes in various tumors, but is also found in the cytoplasm in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. FGL1 is found in the cytoplasm in NSCLC cells and on the surface of breast cancer cells. The LAG3-FGL1 interaction mechanism remains unclear, and the intracellular signals require elucidation. LAG3/FGL1 activity is associated with immune cell infiltration, proliferation, and secretion. Cytokine production is enhanced when LAG3/FGL1 are co-expressed with PD-1. IMP321 and relatlimab are promising monoclonal antibodies targeting LAG3 in melanoma. The clinical use of anti-FGL1 antibodies has not been reported. Finally, high FGL1 and LAG3 expression induces EGFR-TKI and gefitinib resistance, and anti-PD-1 therapy resistance, respectively. We present a comprehensive overview of the role of LAG3/FGL1 in cancer, suggesting novel anti-tumor therapy strategies.
BackgroundSystemic sclerosis (SSc) patients often need immunosuppressive medication (IS) for disease control. If SSc is progressive despite IS, autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) is a treatment option for selected SSc patients. aHSCT is effective with good available evidence, but not all patients achieve a treatment-free remission after aHSCT. Thus far, data about the need of IS after aHSCT in SSc is not published. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of IS after aHSCT, its efficacy, and the occurrence of severe adverse events (SAEs).MethodsTwenty-seven patients with SSc who had undergone aHSCT were included in this single-center retrospective cohort study. Clinical data, including IS, SAEs, and lung function data, were collected.ResultsSixteen of 27 (59.3%) patients received IS after aHSCT. Methotrexate, rituximab, mycophenolate, cyclophosphamide, and hydroxychloroquine were most commonly used. The main reason for starting IS was SSc progress. Nine patients received rituximab after aHSCT and showed an improvement in modified Rodnan skin score and a stabilization of lung function 2 years after rituximab. SAEs in patients with IS after aHSCT (50.0%) were not more common than in patients without IS (54.6%). SAEs were mostly due to SSc progress, secondary autoimmune diseases, or infections. Two deaths after aHSCT were transplantation related and three during long-term follow-up due to pulmonary arterial hypertension.ConclusionDisease progression and secondary autoimmune diseases may necessitate IS after aHSCT in SSc. Rituximab seems to be an efficacious treatment option in this setting. Long-term data on the safety of aHSCT is reassuring.
Increased formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) is associated with gut leakage in type 1 diabetes (T1D). To explore the mechanism of how enteropathy exacerbated by NETs triggers pancreatic autoimmunity in T1D, we carried out a correlation analysis for NET formation with gut barrier functions and autoimmunity in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice. Inducing chronic colitis or knocking out of peptidyl arginine deiminase type 4 (PAD4) in NOD mice were used to further study the effect of NET formation on the progression of T1D. Microbial alterations in Deferribacteres and Proteobacteria, along with the loss of gut barrier function, were found to be associated with increased endotoxin and abnormal formation of NETs in NOD mice. Both DSS-induced colitis and knockout of PAD4 in NOD mice indicated that PAD4-dependent NET formation was involved in the aggravation of gut barrier dysfunction, the production of autoantibodies, and the activation of enteric autoimmune T cells, which then migrated to pancreatic lymph nodes (PLNs) and caused self-damage. The current study thus provides evidence that PAD4-dependent NET formation is engaged in leaky gut triggering pancreatic autoimmunity and suggests that either degradation of NETs or inhibition of NET formation may be helpful for innovative therapeutic interventions in T1D.
Severe mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) in children presents with serious clinical complications. Without proper and prompt intervention, it could lead to deadly consequences. Dynamics of the inflammatory airway milieu and activation status of immune cells were believed to be the hallmark of the pathogenesis and progress of the disease. In this study, by employing the T-cell sorting and mRNA microarray, we were able to define the main feature of the chemokine/cytokine expression and the unique characteristics of T cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from severe MPP patients at acute phase. Our study for the first time delineated the molecular changes in isolated BALF T cells in severe MPP children with respect to the cytokine/chemokine expression, cell activation, exhaustion, and apoptosis. By comparing the BALF aqueous expression of cytokines/chemokines with that in sorted T cells, our data give a preliminary clue capable of finishing out the possible cell source of the proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines from the BALF mixture. Meanwhile, our data provide a distinctively pellucid expression profile particularly belonging to the isolated BALF T cells demonstrating that in the inflammatory airway, overactivated T cells were exhausted and on the verge of apoptotic progress.
BackgroundImmunoglobulin (Ig) replacement therapy represents a life-saving treatment in primary antibody deficiencies. The introduction of subcutaneous Ig (SCIg) administration brings a major improvement in quality of life for patients, compared to the traditional intravenous administration. In recent years, an additional role has been proposed for Ig therapy for various inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases. Consequently, the use of SCIg has expanded from immunodeficiencies to immune-mediated diseases, such as polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM). Given the rarity of these conditions, it is still difficult to evaluate the real impact of SCIg treatment on PM and DM, and additional data are constantly required on this topic, particularly for long-term treatments in real-life settings.AimThis study aimed to increase the knowledge about the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of SCIg treatment for myositis. To this aim, a long-term evaluation of the effectiveness of 20% human SCIg treatment (20% SCIg, Hizentra®, CSL Behring) was carried out in patients with PM/DM in care at our Center. In addition, an evaluation of the 20% SCIg therapy in CVID patients was provided. This analysis, beside adding knowledge about the use of SCIg therapy in this real-life setting, was intended as a term of comparison, regarding the safety profile.ResultsResults support the beneficial effect and tolerability of long-term 20% SCIg therapy in PM/DM patients, reporting a significant improvement in creatine kinase levels, muscle strength, skin conditions, dysphagia, disease activity (MITAX score) and disability (HAQ-DI score). None of the patients reported systemic reactions. The duration of the reported local reactions was a few hours in 80% of the patients, and all resolved spontaneously. CVID patients reported an improvement in all the considered effectiveness parameters at the end of 20% SCIg therapy. The frequency of the adverse events reported by PM/DM patients was not different from what reported in CVID patients, where the use of SCIg therapy is more consolidatedConclusionsThis study suggests that 20% SCIg treatment represents a viable and safe treatment for PM/DM patients and a valid therapeutic alternative to IVIg, with important advantages for patients’ quality of life.
Successful reproduction depends on many factors. Male factors contribute to infertility in approximately 50% of couples who fail to conceive. Seminal plasma consists of secretions from different accessory glands containing a mixture of various cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which together can induce a local immune response that might impact on a male’s as well as a female’s fertility. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G expression has been suggested as an immunomodulatory molecule that influences pregnancy outcome. The HLA-G gene encodes either membrane-bound or/and soluble proteins. The aim of this study was the evaluation of HLA-G polymorphisms and their impact on soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G) production. We tested the HLA-G polymorphism in three positions: rs1632947: c.-964G>A; rs1233334: c.-725G>C/T in the promoter region; rs371194629: c.∗65_∗66insATTTGTTCATGCCT in the 3′ untranslated region. We tested two cohorts of men: 663 who participated in in vitro fertilization (test material was blood or sperm), and 320 fertile controls who possessed children born after natural conception (test material was blood). Since 50% of men visiting assisted reproductive clinics have abnormal semen parameters, we wondered if men with normal sperm parameters differ from those with abnormal parameters in terms of HLA-G polymorphism and secretion of sHLA-G into semen. We found that certain rs1632947-rs1233334-rs371194629 HLA-G haplotypes and diplotypes were associated with male infertility, while others were protective. Normozoospermic men with the A-C-del haplotype and A-C-del/A-C-del diplotype secreted the most sHLA-G into semen (574.1 IU/mL and 1047.0 IU/mL, respectively), while those with the G-C-ins haplotype and G-C-ins/G-C-ins diplotype – the least (80.8 IU/mL and 75.7 IU/mL, respectively). Men with the remaining haplotypes/diplotypes secreted sHLA-G at an intermediate level. However, only in one haplotype, namely G-C-ins, did we observe strong significant differences in the concentration of sHLA-G in the semen of men with teratozoospermia compared to men with normal sperm parameters (p = 0.009). In conclusion, fertile men differ in the profile of HLA-G polymorphism from men participating in IVF. Among all HLA-G haplotypes, the most unfavorable for male fertility is the G-C-ins haplotype, which determines the secretion of the lowest concentration of the soluble HLA-G molecule. This haplotype may reduce sperm parameters.