It is widely accepted that aging is accompanied by remodelling of the immune system including thymic atrophy and increased frequency of senescent T cells, leading to immune compromise. However, physical activity, which influences immunity but declines dramatically with age, is not considered in this literature. We assessed immune profiles in 125 adults (55-79 years) who had maintained a high level of physical activity (cycling) for much of their adult lives, 75 age-matched older adults and 55 young adults not involved in regular exercise. The frequency of naïve T cells and recent thymic emigrants (RTE) were both higher in cyclists compared with inactive elders, and RTE frequency in cyclists was no different to young adults. Compared with their less active counterparts, the cyclists had significantly higher serum levels of the thymoprotective cytokine IL-7 and lower IL-6, which promotes thymic atrophy. Cyclists also showed additional evidence of reduced immunesenescence, namely lower Th17 polarization and higher B regulatory cell frequency than inactive elders. Physical activity did not protect against all aspects of immunesenescence: CD28-veCD57+vesenescent CD8 T-cell frequency did not differ between cyclists and inactive elders. We conclude that many features of immunesenescence may be driven by reduced physical activity with age.
Older adults are less able to produce a protective antibody response to vaccinations. One factor that contributes to this is immune ageing. Here we examined whether diurnal variations in immune responses might extend to the antibody response to vaccination.
Comparative genomic and/or transcriptomic analyses involving elasmobranchs remain limited, with genome level comparisons of the elasmobranch immune system to that of higher vertebrates, non-existent. This paper reports a comparative RNA-seq analysis of heart tissue from seven species, including four elasmobranchs and three teleosts, focusing on immunity, but concomitantly seeking to identify genetic similarities shared by the two lamnid sharks and the single billfish in our study, which could be linked to convergent evolution of regional endothermy.
The innate immune system plays important roles in a number of disparate processes. Foremost, innate immunity is a first responder to invasion by pathogens and triggers early defensive responses and recruits the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system also responds to endogenous damage signals that arise from tissue injury. Recently it has been found that innate immunity plays an important role in neuroprotection against ischemic stroke through the activation of the primary innate immune receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Using several large-scale transcriptomic data sets from mouse and mouse macrophage studies we identified targets predicted to be important in controlling innate immune processes initiated by TLR activation. Targets were identified as genes with high betweenness centrality, so-called bottlenecks, in networks inferred from statistical associations between gene expression patterns. A small set of putative bottlenecks were identified in each of the data sets investigated including interferon-stimulated genes (Ifit1, Ifi47, Tgtp and Oasl2) as well as genes uncharacterized in immune responses (Axud1 and Ppp1r15a). We further validated one of these targets, Ifit1, in mouse macrophages by showing that silencing it suppresses induction of predicted downstream genes by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated TLR4 activation through an unknown direct or indirect mechanism. Our study demonstrates the utility of network analysis for identification of interesting targets related to innate immune function, and highlights that Ifit1 can exert a positive regulatory effect on downstream genes.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN INCREASED RISK FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFECTION DURING PROLONGED SPACE FLIGHT INCLUDE: microgravity, stress, radiation, disturbance of circadian rhythms, and altered nutritional intake. A large body of literature exists on the impairment of the immune system by space flight. With the advent of missions outside the Earth’s magnetic field, the increased risk of adverse effects due to exposure to radiation from a solar particle event (SPE) needs to be considered. Using models of reduced gravity and SPE radiation, we identify that either 2 Gy of radiation or hindlimb suspension alone leads to activation of the innate immune system and the two together are synergistic. The mechanism for the transient systemic immune activation is a reduced ability of the GI tract to contain bacterial products. The identification of mechanisms responsible for immune dysfunction during extended space missions will allow the development of specific countermeasures.
Dusquetide, a novel Innate Defense Regulator, modulates the innate immune system at a key convergence point in intracellular signaling pathways and has demonstrated activity in both reducing inflammation and increasing clearance of bacterial infection. Innate immunity has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of oral mucositis (OM), a universal toxicity of chemoradiation therapy (CRT). Testing the hypothesis that dusquetide can mitigate the development and duration of OM, preclinical studies have been completed and correlated with interim results from a Phase 2 clinical study in patients undergoing CRT for head and neck cancer. Dusquetide reduced the duration of OM in mouse and hamster models by approximately 50%, which was recapitulated by the 50% reduction of severe OM (SOM) in the Phase 2 trial. A reduction in the clinical rate of infection was also observed, consistent with previously reported preclinical studies. In aggregate, these results not only demonstrate the safety and efficacy of dusquetide in addressing this unmet medical need, but also provide proof of concept for the translation of dusquetide action between animal models and the human clinical setting, and further support the contention that innate immunity is an important driver for the initiation and continued impact of OM.
Cancer immunotherapy has transformed the treatment of cancer. However, increasing use of immune-based therapies, including the widely used class of agents known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, has exposed a discrete group of immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Many of these are driven by the same immunologic mechanisms responsible for the drugs' therapeutic effects, namely blockade of inhibitory mechanisms that suppress the immune system and protect body tissues from an unconstrained acute or chronic immune response. Skin, gut, endocrine, lung and musculoskeletal irAEs are relatively common, whereas cardiovascular, hematologic, renal, neurologic and ophthalmologic irAEs occur much less frequently. The majority of irAEs are mild to moderate in severity; however, serious and occasionally life-threatening irAEs are reported in the literature, and treatment-related deaths occur in up to 2% of patients, varying by ICI. Immunotherapy-related irAEs typically have a delayed onset and prolonged duration compared to adverse events from chemotherapy, and effective management depends on early recognition and prompt intervention with immune suppression and/or immunomodulatory strategies. There is an urgent need for multidisciplinary guidance reflecting broad-based perspectives on how to recognize, report and manage organ-specific toxicities until evidence-based data are available to inform clinical decision-making. The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) established a multidisciplinary Toxicity Management Working Group, which met for a full-day workshop to develop recommendations to standardize management of irAEs. Here we present their consensus recommendations on managing toxicities associated with immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
Trained innate immunity fosters a sustained favorable response of myeloid cells to a secondary challenge, despite their short lifespan in circulation. We thus hypothesized that trained immunity acts via modulation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Administration of β-glucan (prototypical trained-immunity-inducing agonist) to mice induced expansion of progenitors of the myeloid lineage, which was associated with elevated signaling by innate immune mediators, such as IL-1β and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and with adaptations in glucose metabolism and cholesterol biosynthesis. The trained-immunity-related increase in myelopoiesis resulted in a beneficial response to secondary LPS challenge and protection from chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression in mice. Therefore, modulation of myeloid progenitors in the bone marrow is an integral component of trained immunity, which to date, was considered to involve functional changes of mature myeloid cells in the periphery.
Recent events have made it clear that potentially pandemic strains of influenza regularly pose a threat to human populations. Therefore, it is essential that we develop better strategies to enhance vaccine design and evaluation to predict those that will be poor responders to vaccination and to identify those that are at particular risk of disease-associated complications following infection. Animal models have revealed the discrete functions that CD4 T cells play in developing immune response and to influenza immunity. However, humans have a complex immunological history with influenza through periodic infection and vaccination with seasonal variants, leading to the establishment of heterogeneous memory populations of CD4 T cells that participate in subsequent responses. The continual evolution of the influenza-specific CD4 T cell repertoire involves both specificity and function and overlays other restrictions on CD4 T cell activity derived from viral antigen handling and MHC class II:peptide epitope display. Together, these complexities in the influenza-specific CD4 T cell repertoire constitute a formidable obstacle to predicting protective immune response to potentially pandemic strains of influenza and in devising optimal vaccine strategies to potentiate these responses. We suggest that more precise efforts to identify and enumerate both the positive and negative contributors within the CD4 T cell compartment will aid significantly in the achievement of these goals.
Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) initiates the innate immune system in response to cytosolic dsDNA. After binding and activation from dsDNA, cGAS uses ATP and GTP to synthesize 2', 3' -cGAMP (cGAMP), a cyclic dinucleotide second messenger with mixed 2'-5' and 3'-5' phosphodiester bonds. Inappropriate stimulation of cGAS has been implicated in autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, thus inhibition of cGAS may be of therapeutic benefit in some diseases; however, the size and polarity of the cGAS active site makes it a challenging target for the development of conventional substrate-competitive inhibitors. We report here the development of a high affinity (KD = 200 nM) inhibitor from a low affinity fragment hit with supporting biochemical and structural data showing these molecules bind to the cGAS active site. We also report a new high throughput cGAS fluorescence polarization (FP)-based assay to enable the rapid identification and optimization of cGAS inhibitors. This FP assay uses Cy5-labelled cGAMP in combination with a novel high affinity monoclonal antibody that specifically recognizes cGAMP with no cross reactivity to cAMP, cGMP, ATP, or GTP. Given its role in the innate immune response, cGAS is a promising therapeutic target for autoinflammatory disease. Our results demonstrate its druggability, provide a high affinity tool compound, and establish a high throughput assay for the identification of next generation cGAS inhibitors.