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  • Autophagy-Dependent Generation of Free Fatty Acids Is Critical for Normal Neutrophil Differentiation.

    24 October 2018

    Neutrophils are critical and short-lived mediators of innate immunity that require constant replenishment. Their differentiation in the bone marrow requires extensive cytoplasmic and nuclear remodeling, but the processes governing these energy-consuming changes are unknown. While previous studies show that autophagy is required for differentiation of other blood cell lineages, its function during granulopoiesis has remained elusive. Here, we have shown that metabolism and autophagy are developmentally programmed and essential for neutrophil differentiation in vivo. Atg7-deficient neutrophil precursors had increased glycolytic activity but impaired mitochondrial respiration, decreased ATP production, and accumulated lipid droplets. Inhibiting autophagy-mediated lipid degradation or fatty acid oxidation alone was sufficient to cause defective differentiation, while administration of fatty acids or pyruvate for mitochondrial respiration rescued differentiation in autophagy-deficient neutrophil precursors. Together, we show that autophagy-mediated lipolysis provides free fatty acids to support a mitochondrial respiration pathway essential to neutrophil differentiation.

  • Decrease in articular hypoxia and synovial blood flow at early time points following infliximab and etanercept treatment in rheumatoid arthritis.

    24 October 2018

    OBJECTIVES: An important feature of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is hypoxia-driven synovial angiogenesis, but the relationship between change in vascularity, as measured by power Doppler ultrasound (PDUS), and oxygen tensions is unaddressed. METHODS: Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint PDUS was assessed in 23 patients with RA, alongside arthroscopic synovitis and oxygen tension measurements, at baseline and 4 weeks after anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. RESULTS: Anti-TNF reduced PDUS scores, which were negatively correlated with rise in oxygen tensions. The latter was related to good EULAR response at week 52. CONCLUSIONS: Anti-TNF results in rapid reduction in synovial blood flow, with a corresponding rise in oxygen tension most marked in EULAR good responders.

  • Treatment of inflammatory arthritis via targeting of tristetraprolin, a master regulator of pro-inflammatory gene expression.

    24 October 2018

    OBJECTIVES: Tristetraprolin (TTP), a negative regulator of many pro-inflammatory genes, is strongly expressed in rheumatoid synovial cells. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 pathway mediates the inactivation of TTP via phosphorylation of two serine residues. We wished to test the hypothesis that these phosphorylations contribute to the development of inflammatory arthritis, and that, conversely, joint inflammation may be inhibited by promoting the dephosphorylation and activation of TTP. METHODS: The expression of TTP and its relationship with MAPK p38 activity were examined in non-inflamed and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue. Experimental arthritis was induced in a genetically modified mouse strain, in which endogenous TTP cannot be phosphorylated and inactivated. In vitro and in vivo experiments were performed to test anti-inflammatory effects of compounds that activate the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and promote dephosphorylation of TTP. RESULTS: TTP expression was significantly higher in RA than non-inflamed synovium, detected in macrophages, vascular endothelial cells and some fibroblasts and co-localised with MAPK p38 activation. Substitution of TTP phosphorylation sites conferred dramatic protection against inflammatory arthritis in mice. Two distinct PP2A agonists also reduced inflammation and prevented bone erosion. In vitro anti-inflammatory effects of PP2A agonism were mediated by TTP activation. CONCLUSIONS: The phosphorylation state of TTP is a critical determinant of inflammatory responses, and a tractable target for novel anti-inflammatory treatments.

  • Dual-Specificity Phosphatase 1 and Tristetraprolin Cooperate To Regulate Macrophage Responses to Lipopolysaccharide.

    24 October 2018

    Dual-specificity phosphatase (DUSP) 1 dephosphorylates and inactivates members of the MAPK superfamily, in particular, JNKs, p38α, and p38β MAPKs. It functions as an essential negative regulator of innate immune responses, hence disruption of the Dusp1 gene renders mice extremely sensitive to a wide variety of experimental inflammatory challenges. The principal mechanisms behind the overexpression of inflammatory mediators by Dusp1(-/-) cells are not known. In this study, we use a genetic approach to identify an important mechanism of action of DUSP1, involving the modulation of the activity of the mRNA-destabilizing protein tristetraprolin. This mechanism is key to the control of essential early mediators of inflammation, TNF, CXCL1, and CXCL2, as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. The same mechanism also contributes to the regulation of a large number of transcripts induced by treatment of macrophages with LPS. These findings demonstrate that modulation of the phosphorylation status of tristetraprolin is an important physiological mechanism by which innate immune responses can be controlled.

  • Gain-of-Function Mutation of Tristetraprolin Impairs Negative Feedback Control of Macrophages In Vitro yet Has Overwhelmingly Anti-Inflammatory Consequences In Vivo.

    24 October 2018

    The mRNA-destabilizing factor tristetraprolin (TTP) binds in a sequence-specific manner to the 3' untranslated regions of many proinflammatory mRNAs and recruits complexes of nucleases to promote rapid mRNA turnover. Mice lacking TTP develop a severe, spontaneous inflammatory syndrome characterized by the overexpression of tumor necrosis factor and other inflammatory mediators. However, TTP also employs the same mechanism to inhibit the expression of the potent anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10). Perturbation of TTP function may therefore have mixed effects on inflammatory responses, either increasing or decreasing the expression of proinflammatory factors via direct or indirect mechanisms. We recently described a knock-in mouse strain in which the substitution of 2 amino acids of the endogenous TTP protein renders it constitutively active as an mRNA-destabilizing factor. Here we investigate the impact on the IL-10-mediated anti-inflammatory response. It is shown that the gain-of-function mutation of TTP impairs IL-10-mediated negative feedback control of macrophage function in vitro However, the in vivo effects of TTP mutation are uniformly anti-inflammatory despite the decreased expression of IL-10.

  • Crosstalk between Regulatory T Cells and Tumor-Associated Dendritic Cells Negates Anti-tumor Immunity in Pancreatic Cancer.

    24 October 2018

    Regulatory T (Treg) cell infiltration constitutes a prominent feature of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). However, the immunomodulatory function of Treg cells in PDA is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that Treg cell ablation is sufficient to evoke effective anti-tumor immune response in early and advanced pancreatic tumorigenesis in mice. This response is dependent on interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. We show that Treg cells engage in extended interactions with tumor-associated CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) and restrain their immunogenic function by suppressing the expression of costimulatory ligands necessary for CD8+ T cell activation. Consequently, tumor-associated CD8+ T cells fail to display effector activities when Treg cell ablation is combined with DC depletion. We propose that tumor-infiltrating Treg cells can promote immune tolerance by suppressing tumor-associated DC immunogenicity. The therapeutic manipulation of this axis might provide an effective approach for the targeting of PDA.

  • First-line selective internal radiotherapy plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone in patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer (FOXFIRE, SIRFLOX, and FOXFIRE-Global): a combined analysis of three multicentre, randomised, phase 3 trials.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Data suggest selective internal radiotherapy (SIRT) in third-line or subsequent therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer has clinical benefit in patients with colorectal liver metastases with liver-dominant disease after chemotherapy. The FOXFIRE, SIRFLOX, and FOXFIRE-Global randomised studies evaluated the efficacy of combining first-line chemotherapy with SIRT using yttrium-90 resin microspheres in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with liver metastases. The studies were designed for combined analysis of overall survival. METHODS: FOXFIRE, SIRFLOX, and FOXFIRE-Global were randomised, phase 3 trials done in hospitals and specialist liver centres in 14 countries worldwide (Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA). Chemotherapy-naive patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (WHO performance status 0 or 1) with liver metastases not suitable for curative resection or ablation were randomly assigned (1:1) to either oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy (FOLFOX: leucovorin, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin) or FOLFOX plus single treatment SIRT concurrent with cycle 1 or 2 of chemotherapy. In FOXFIRE, FOLFOX chemotherapy was OxMdG (oxaliplatin modified de Gramont chemotherapy; 85 mg/m2 oxaliplatin infusion over 2 h, L-leucovorin 175 mg or D,L-leucovorin 350 mg infusion over 2 h, and 400 mg/m2 bolus fluorouracil followed by a 2400 mg/m2 continuous fluorouracil infusion over 46 h). In SIRFLOX and FOXFIRE-Global, FOLFOX chemotherapy was modified FOLFOX6 (85 mg/m2 oxaliplatin infusion over 2 h, 200 mg leucovorin, and 400 mg/m2 bolus fluorouracil followed by a 2400 mg/m2 continuous fluorouracil infusion over 46 h). Randomisation was done by central minimisation with four factors: presence of extrahepatic metastases, tumour involvement of the liver, planned use of a biological agent, and investigational centre. Participants and investigators were not masked to treatment. The primary endpoint was overall survival, analysed in the intention-to-treat population, using a two-stage meta-analysis of pooled individual patient data. All three trials have completed 2 years of follow-up. FOXFIRE is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN83867919. SIRFLOX and FOXFIRE-Global are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT00724503 (SIRFLOX) and NCT01721954 (FOXFIRE-Global). FINDINGS: Between Oct 11, 2006, and Dec 23, 2014, 549 patients were randomly assigned to FOLFOX alone and 554 patients were assigned FOLFOX plus SIRT. Median follow-up was 43·3 months (IQR 31·6-58·4). There were 411 (75%) deaths in 549 patients in the FOLFOX alone group and 433 (78%) deaths in 554 patients in the FOLFOX plus SIRT group. There was no difference in overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 1·04, 95% CI 0·90-1·19; p=0·61). The median survival time in the FOLFOX plus SIRT group was 22·6 months (95% CI 21·0-24·5) compared with 23·3 months (21·8-24·7) in the FOLFOX alone group. In the safety population containing patients who received at least one dose of study treatment, as treated, the most common grade 3-4 adverse event was neutropenia (137 [24%] of 571 patients receiving FOLFOX alone vs 186 (37%) of 507 patients receiving FOLFOX plus SIRT). Serious adverse events of any grade occurred in 244 (43%) of 571 patients receiving FOLFOX alone and 274 (54%) of 507 patients receiving FOLFOX plus SIRT. 10 patients in the FOLFOX plus SIRT group and 11 patients in the FOLFOX alone group died due to an adverse event; eight treatment-related deaths occurred in the FOLFOX plus SIRT group and three treatment-related deaths occurred in the FOLFOX alone group. INTERPRETATION: Addition of SIRT to first-line FOLFOX chemotherapy for patients with liver-only and liver-dominant metastatic colorectal cancer did not improve overall survival compared with that for FOLFOX alone. Therefore, early use of SIRT in combination with chemotherapy in unselected patients with metastatic colorectal cancer cannot be recommended. To further define the role of SIRT in metastatic colorectal cancer, careful patient selection and studies investigating the role of SIRT as consolidation therapy after chemotherapy are needed. FUNDING: Bobby Moore Fund of Cancer Research UK, Sirtex Medical.

  • A quantitative, multi-national and multi-stakeholder assessment of barriers to the adoption of cell therapies.

    24 October 2018

    Cellular therapies, such as stem cell-based treatments, have been widely researched and numerous products and treatments have been developed. Despite this, there has been relatively limited use of these technologies in the healthcare sector. This study sought to investigate the perceived barriers to this more widespread adoption. An anonymous online questionnaire was developed, based on the findings of a pilot study. This was distributed to an audience of clinicians, researchers and commercial experts in 13 countries. The results were analysed for all respondents, and also sub-grouped by geographical region, and by profession of respondents. The results of the study showed that the most significant barrier was manufacturing, with other factors such as efficacy, regulation and cost-effectiveness being identified by the different groups. This study further demonstrates the need for these important issues to be addressed during the development of cellular therapies to enable more widespread adoption of these treatments.

  • The tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 promotes T cell adhesion by activating the adaptor protein CrkII in the immunological synapse.

    24 October 2018

    The adaptor protein CrkII regulates T cell adhesion by recruiting the guanine nucleotide exchange factor C3G, an activator of Rap1. Subsequently, Rap1 stimulates the integrin LFA-1, which leads to T cell adhesion and interaction with antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The adhesion of T cells to APCs is critical for their proper function and education. The interface between the T cell and the APC is known as the immunological synapse. It is characterized by the specific organization of proteins that can be divided into central supramolecular activation clusters (c-SMACs) and peripheral SMACs (p-SMACs). Through total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and experiments with supported lipid bilayers, we determined that activated Rap1 was recruited to the immunological synapse and localized to the p-SMAC. C3G and the active (dephosphorylated) form of CrkII also localized to the same compartment. In contrast, inactive (phosphorylated) CrkII was confined to the c-SMAC. Activation of CrkII and its subsequent movement from the c-SMAC to the p-SMAC depended on the phosphatase SHP-1, which acted downstream of the T cell receptor. In the p-SMAC, CrkII recruited C3G, which led to Rap1 activation and LFA-1-mediated adhesion of T cells to APCs. Functionally, SHP-1 was necessary for both the adhesion and migration of T cells. Together, these data highlight a signaling pathway in which SHP-1 acts through CrkII to reshape the pattern of Rap1 activation in the immunological synapse.