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Concept: Immunology

598

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.

Concepts: White blood cell, Humoral immunity, Immunity, Antibody, Major histocompatibility complex, Immunology, Immune system, Thymus

418

Females have generally more robust immune responses than males for reasons that are not well-understood. Here we used a systems analysis to investigate these differences by analyzing the neutralizing antibody response to a trivalent inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine (TIV) and a large number of immune system components, including serum cytokines and chemokines, blood cell subset frequencies, genome-wide gene expression, and cellular responses to diverse in vitro stimuli, in 53 females and 34 males of different ages. We found elevated antibody responses to TIV and expression of inflammatory cytokines in the serum of females compared with males regardless of age. This inflammatory profile correlated with the levels of phosphorylated STAT3 proteins in monocytes but not with the serological response to the vaccine. In contrast, using a machine learning approach, we identified a cluster of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis and previously shown to be up-regulated by testosterone that correlated with poor virus-neutralizing activity in men. Moreover, men with elevated serum testosterone levels and associated gene signatures exhibited the lowest antibody responses to TIV. These results demonstrate a strong association between androgens and genes involved in lipid metabolism, suggesting that these could be important drivers of the differences in immune responses between males and females.

Concepts: Immunology, Organism, Protein, Bacteria, Vaccination, Vaccine, Antibody, Immune system

298

Increased intestinal permeability and translocation of gut microbiota from the intestinal lumen to the systemic circulation predispose patients to various diseases and may be one of the main triggers thereof. The role of microbiota in increased intestinal permeability is under intensive investigation. Here, we studied alterations in the host and increased intestinal permeability as a direct effect of treatment with a bacteriophage cocktail. After 10 days of challenge, the rats showed weight loss, messy hair, and decreased activity. Additionally, they displayed a significantly elevated lactulose:mannitol ratio and the level of circulating immune complexes. To our knowledge, this study demonstrates for the first time that increased intestinal permeability may be induced by bacteriophages that affect the microbiota.

Concepts: Heart, Artery, Vein, Flatulence, Cancer, Immunology, Bacteria, Immune system

256

Aluminium adjuvants remain the most widely used and effective adjuvants in vaccination and immunotherapy. Herein, the particle size distribution (PSD) of aluminium oxyhydroxide and aluminium hydroxyphosphate adjuvants was elucidated in attempt to correlate these properties with the biological responses observed post vaccination. Heightened solubility and potentially the generation of Al(3+) in the lysosomal environment were positively correlated with an increase in cell mortality in vitro, potentially generating a greater inflammatory response at the site of simulated injection. The cellular uptake of aluminium based adjuvants (ABAs) used in clinically approved vaccinations are compared to a commonly used experimental ABA, in an in vitro THP-1 cell model. Using lumogallion as a direct-fluorescent molecular probe for aluminium, complemented with transmission electron microscopy provides further insight into the morphology of internalised particulates, driven by the physicochemical variations of the ABAs investigated. We demonstrate that not all aluminium adjuvants are equal neither in terms of their physical properties nor their biological reactivity and potential toxicities both at the injection site and beyond. High loading of aluminium oxyhydroxide in the cytoplasm of THP-1 cells without immediate cytotoxicity might predispose this form of aluminium adjuvant to its subsequent transport throughout the body including access to the brain.

Concepts: Particulates, Immunology, Microscope, Immune system, Toxicity, Particle size distribution, Electron, Cell

253

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.

Concepts: Vaccination, Immunology, Antibody, Immunity, Immune system

238

A routine investigation by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) identified a nonpregnant woman in her twenties who reported she had engaged in a single event of condomless vaginal intercourse with a male partner the day she returned to NYC (day 0) from travel to an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission. She had headache and abdominal cramping while in the airport awaiting return to NYC. The following day (day 1) she developed fever, fatigue, a maculopapular rash, myalgia, arthralgia, back pain, swelling of the extremities, and numbness and tingling in her hands and feet. In addition, on day 1, the woman began menses that she described as heavier than usual. On day 3 she visited her primary care provider who obtained blood and urine specimens. Zika virus RNA was detected in both serum and urine by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) performed at the DOHMH Public Health Laboratory using a test based on an assay developed at CDC (1). The results of serum testing for anti-Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody performed by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Center laboratory was negative using the CDC Zika IgM antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Zika MAC-ELISA) (2).

Concepts: Influenza, Immune system, New York, Immunology, ELISPOT, Antibody, ELISA, New York City

226

Seasonal variations are rarely considered a contributing component to human tissue function or health, although many diseases and physiological process display annual periodicities. Here we find more than 4,000 protein-coding mRNAs in white blood cells and adipose tissue to have seasonal expression profiles, with inverted patterns observed between Europe and Oceania. We also find the cellular composition of blood to vary by season, and these changes, which differ between the United Kingdom and The Gambia, could explain the gene expression periodicity. With regards to tissue function, the immune system has a profound pro-inflammatory transcriptomic profile during European winter, with increased levels of soluble IL-6 receptor and C-reactive protein, risk biomarkers for cardiovascular, psychiatric and autoimmune diseases that have peak incidences in winter. Circannual rhythms thus require further exploration as contributors to various aspects of human physiology and disease.

Concepts: White blood cell, Organism, Bacteria, Gene, Immunology, Antibody, Blood, Immune system

225

Preventing xenograft rejection is one of the greatest challenges of transplantation medicine. Here, we describe a reproducible, long-term survival of cardiac xenografts from alpha 1-3 galactosyltransferase gene knockout pigs, which express human complement regulatory protein CD46 and human thrombomodulin (GTKO.hCD46.hTBM), that were transplanted into baboons. Our immunomodulatory drug regimen includes induction with anti-thymocyte globulin and αCD20 antibody, followed by maintenance with mycophenolate mofetil and an intensively dosed αCD40 (2C10R4) antibody. Median (298 days) and longest (945 days) graft survival in five consecutive recipients using this regimen is significantly prolonged over our recently established survival benchmarks (180 and 500 days, respectively). Remarkably, the reduction of αCD40 antibody dose on day 100 or after 1 year resulted in recrudescence of anti-pig antibody and graft failure. In conclusion, genetic modifications (GTKO.hCD46.hTBM) combined with the treatment regimen tested here consistently prevent humoral rejection and systemic coagulation pathway dysregulation, sustaining long-term cardiac xenograft survival beyond 900 days.

Concepts: DNA, Mycophenolate mofetil, Gene expression, Blood, Immune system, Organ transplant, Mycophenolic acid, Immunology

225

Wheat is one of the most consumed cereal grains worldwide and makes up a substantial part of the human diet. Although government-supported dietary guidelines in Europe and the U.S.A advise individuals to eat adequate amounts of (whole) grain products per day, cereal grains contain “anti-nutrients,” such as wheat gluten and wheat lectin, that in humans can elicit dysfunction and disease. In this review we discuss evidence from in vitro, in vivo and human intervention studies that describe how the consumption of wheat, but also other cereal grains, can contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases by increasing intestinal permeability and initiating a pro-inflammatory immune response.

Concepts: Immunology, Infectious disease, Human, Immune system, Maize, Cereal, Nutrition, Wheat

216

Background Although Zika virus (ZIKV) infection is typically self-limiting, other associated complications such as congenital birth defects and the Guillain-Barré syndrome are well described. There are no approved vaccines against ZIKV infection. Methods In this phase 1, open-label clinical trial, we evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of a synthetic, consensus DNA vaccine (GLS-5700) encoding the ZIKV premembrane and envelope proteins in two groups of 20 participants each. The participants received either 1 mg or 2 mg of vaccine intradermally, with each injection followed by electroporation (the use of a pulsed electric field to introduce the DNA sequence into cells) at baseline, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks. Results The median age of the participants was 38 years, and 60% were women; 78% were white, and 22% black; in addition, 30% were Hispanic. At the interim analysis at 14 weeks (i.e., after the third dose of vaccine), no serious adverse events were reported. Local reactions at the vaccination site (e.g., injection-site pain, redness, swelling, and itching) occurred in approximately 50% of the participants. After the third dose of vaccine, binding antibodies (as measured on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were detected in all the participants, with geometric mean titers of 1642 and 2871 in recipients of 1 mg and 2 mg of vaccine, respectively. Neutralizing antibodies developed in 62% of the samples on Vero-cell assay. On neuronal-cell assay, there was 90% inhibition of ZIKV infection in 70% of the serum samples and 50% inhibition in 95% of the samples. The intraperitoneal injection of postvaccination serum protected 103 of 112 IFNAR knockout mice (bred with deletion of genes encoding interferon-α and interferon-β receptors) (92%) that were challenged with a lethal dose of ZIKV-PR209 strain; none of the mice receiving baseline serum survived the challenge. Survival was independent of the neutralization titer. Conclusions In this phase 1, open-label clinical trial, a DNA vaccine elicited anti-ZIKV immune responses. Further studies are needed to better evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. (Funded by GeneOne Life Science and others; ZIKA-001 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02809443 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, ELISA, Vaccination, Immunology, Antibody, Vaccine, DNA, Immune system