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Zhu et al. report that intravenous immunoglobulin targets activated neutrophils in Kawasaki disease and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The cover image is an artist’s rendering of immunoglobulin. Image credit: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock.
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Acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, is characterized by diverse clinical presentations, ranging from asymptomatic infection to fatal respiratory failure, and often associated with varied longer-term sequelae. Over the past 18 months, it has become apparent that inappropriate immune responses contribute to the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19. Researchers working at the intersection of COVID-19 and autoimmunity recently gathered at an American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) Noel R. Rose Colloquium to address the current state of knowledge regarding two important questions: Does established autoimmunity predispose to severe COVID-19? And, at the same time, can SARS-CoV-2 infection trigger de novo autoimmunity? Indeed, work to date has demonstrated that 10 to 15% of patients with critical COVID-19 pneumonia exhibit autoantibodies against type I interferons, suggesting that preexisting autoimmunity underlies severe disease in some patients. Other studies have identified functional autoantibodies following infection with SARS-CoV-2, such as those that promote thrombosis or antagonize cytokine signaling. These autoantibodies may arise from a predominantly extrafollicular B cell response that is more prone to generating autoantibody-secreting B cells. This review highlights the current understanding, evolving concepts, and unanswered questions provided by this unique opportunity to determine mechanisms by which a viral infection can be exacerbated by, and even trigger, autoimmunity. The potential role of autoimmunity in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 is also discussed.
Jason S. Knight, Roberto Caricchio, Jean Laurent Casanova, Alexis J. Combes, Betty Diamond, Sharon E. Fox, David A. Hanauer, Judith A. James, Yogendra Kanthi, Virginia Ladd, Puja Mehta, Aaron M. Ring, Ignacio Sanz, Carlo Selmi, Russell P. Tracy, Paul J. Utz, Catriona A. Wagner, Julia Y. Wang, W. Joseph McCune
Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of atherosclerosis and results from an imbalance between pro-inflammatory and pro-resolving signaling. The human GPR32 receptor, together with the ALX/FPR2 receptor, transduces biological actions of several pro-resolving mediators that stimulate resolution of inflammation. However, since no murine homologs of the human GPR32 exist, comprehensive in vivo studies are lacking. Using human atherosclerotic lesions from carotid endarterectomies and creating a transgenic mouse model expressing human GPR32 on a Fpr2×apolipoprotein E double KO background (hGPR32myc×Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/-), we investigated the role of GPR32 in atherosclerosis and self-limiting acute inflammation. GPR32 mRNA was reduced in human atherosclerotic lesions and correlated with the immune cell markers ARG1, NOS2 and FOXP3. Atherosclerotic lesions, necrotic core and aortic inflammation were reduced in hGPR32mycTg×Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/- transgenic mice as compared to Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/- non-transgenic littermates. In a zymosan induced peritonitis model, the hGPR32mycTg×Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/- transgenic mice had reduced inflammation at 4h and enhanced pro-resolving macrophage responses at 24h compared to non-transgenic littermates. The GPR32 agonist aspirin-triggered resolvin D1 (AT-RvD1) regulated leukocyte responses, including enhancing macrophage phagocytosis and intracellular signaling in hGPR32mycTg×Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/- transgenic mice but not in the Fpr2-/-×Apoe-/- non-transgenic littermates. Altogether these results provide the first evidence that GPR32 regulates resolution of inflammation and is atheroprotective in vivo.
Hildur Arnardottir, Silke Thul, Sven-Christian Pawelzik, Glykeria Karadimou, Gonzalo Artiach, Alessandro L. Gallina, Victoria Mysdotter, Miguel Carracedo, Laura Tarnawski, April S. Caravaca, Roland Baumgartner, Daniel F.J. Ketelhuth, Peder S. Olofsson, Gabrielle Paulsson-Berne, Göran K. Hansson, Magnus Bäck
To delineate the in vivo role of different costimulatory signals in activating and expanding highly functional virus-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cells, we designed synTacs, infusible biologics which recapitulate antigen-specific T-cell activation signals delivered by antigen-presenting cells. We constructed synTacs consisting of dimeric Fc-domain scaffolds linking CD28- or 4-1BB-specific ligands to HLA-A2 MHC molecules covalently-tethered to HIV- or CMV-derived peptides. Treatment of HIV-infected donor PBMCs with synTacs bearing HIV- or CMV-derived peptides induced vigorous and selective ex vivo expansion of highly functional HIV- and/or CMV-specific CD8+ T cells, respectively, with potent anti-viral activities. Intravenous injection of HIV or CMV-specific synTacs into immunodeficient mice intrasplenically engrafted with donor PBMCs markedly and selectively expanded HIV-specific (32-fold) or CMV-specific (46-fold) human CD8+ T cells populating their spleens, respectively. Notably, these expanded HIV or CMV-specific CD8+ T cells directed potent in vivo suppression of HIV or CMV infections, respectively, in the humanized mice providing strong rationale for consideration of synTac-based approaches as a therapeutic strategy to cure HIV and treat CMV and other viral infections. The synTac platform flexibility supports facile delineation of in vivo effects of different costimulatory signals on patient-derived virus-specific CD8+ T cells, enabling optimization of individualized therapies, including HIV cure strategies.
Mengyan Li, Scott J. Garforth, Kaitlyn E. O’Connor, Hang Su, Danica M. Lee, Alev Celikgil, Rodolfo J. Chaparro, Ronald D. Seidel, R. Brad Jones, Ravit Arav-Boger, Steven C. Almo, Harris Goldstein
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involve testing genetic variants across the genomes of many individuals to identify genotype-phenotype associations. GWAS have enabled the identification of numerous genomic biomarkers in various complex human diseases including infectious ones. However, few of these studies are relevant for clinical practice or at the bedside. In this issue of the JCI, Nakanishi et al. characterized the clinical implications of a major genetic risk factor for COVID-19 severity and its age-dependent effect, using individual-level data in a large international multi-center consortium. This study indicates that a common COVID-19 genetic risk factor (rs10490770) associates with increased risks of morbidity and mortality, suggesting potential implications for future clinical risk management. How can the genomic biomarkers identified by GWAS be associated with the clinical outcomes of an infectious disease? In this commentary, we evaluate the advantages and limitations of this approach.
Vito Luigi Colona, Michela Bianocolella, Antonio Novelli, Giuseppe Novelli
Contrasting with the predicted anorexigenic effect of increasing brain serotonin signaling, long-term use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants correlates with body weight gain. This adverse outcome increases the risk of transitioning to obesity and interferes with treatment compliance. Here we show that orally administered fluoxetine (Flx), a widely prescribed SSRI, increased body weight by enhancing food intake in healthy mice at two different time points and through two distinct mechanisms. Within hours, Flx decreased the activity of a subset of brainstem serotonergic neurons by triggering autoinhibitory signaling through the Htr1a receptor. Upon longer treatment Flx blunted Htr2c expression/signaling, decreased the phosphorylation of Creb and Stat3 and dampened the production of POMC/α-MSH in hypothalamic neurons, thereby increasing food intake. Accordingly, exogenous stimulation of the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) by co-treating mice with Flx and lipocalin-2, an anorexigenic hormone signaling through this receptor, normalized feeding and body weight. Flx and other SSRIs also inhibit CREB/STAT3 phosphorylation in a human neuronal cell line suggesting that these non-canonical effects could also occur in long-term users of SSRIs. By defining the molecular basis of the long-term SSRIs-associated weight gain this study proposes a therapeutic strategy to counter it.
Maria Jose Ortuno, Marc Schneeberger, Anoj Ilanges, François Marchildon, Kyle Pellegrino, Jeffrey M. Friedman, Patricia Ducy
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Animals, plants, and bacteria all display behavioral patterns that coincide with Earth’s light and dark cycles. These oscillating behaviors are the manifestation of the molecular circadian clock, a highly conserved network that maintains a near 24-hour rhythm even in the absence of light. In mammals, light signals are transmitted via the superchiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus to synchronize peripheral clocks and coordinate physiological functions with the organism’s active period. This collection of reviews, curated by Amita Sehgal, considers the critical role of the circadian system in human health. Technology, work, and social obligations can disrupt optimal sleep and wake schedules, leaving humans vulnerable to diseases affecting the heart, brain, metabolism, and more. Sleep disorders as well as normal variations in human chronotype may exacerbate circadian disruptions, with profound consequences. These reviews emphasize that ongoing efforts to understand the complexities of human circadian rhythm will be essential for developing chronotherapies and other circadian-based interventions.