Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Nature medicine


Ebolavirus disease causes high mortality, and the current outbreak has spread unabated through West Africa. Human adenovirus type 5 vectors (rAd5) encoding ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP) generate protective immunity against acute lethal Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) challenge in macaques, but fail to protect animals immune to Ad5, suggesting natural Ad5 exposure may limit vaccine efficacy in humans. Here we show that a chimpanzee-derived replication-defective adenovirus (ChAd) vaccine also rapidly induced uniform protection against acute lethal EBOV challenge in macaques. Because protection waned over several months, we boosted ChAd3 with modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) and generated, for the first time, durable protection against lethal EBOV challenge.

Concepts: Immune system, Human, Africa, Protection, Smallpox, Modified vaccinia Ankara


Intestinal microbiota metabolism of choline and phosphatidylcholine produces trimethylamine (TMA), which is further metabolized to a proatherogenic species, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). We demonstrate here that metabolism by intestinal microbiota of dietary l-carnitine, a trimethylamine abundant in red meat, also produces TMAO and accelerates atherosclerosis in mice. Omnivorous human subjects produced more TMAO than did vegans or vegetarians following ingestion of l-carnitine through a microbiota-dependent mechanism. The presence of specific bacterial taxa in human feces was associated with both plasma TMAO concentration and dietary status. Plasma l-carnitine levels in subjects undergoing cardiac evaluation (n = 2,595) predicted increased risks for both prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) and incident major adverse cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke or death), but only among subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. Chronic dietary l-carnitine supplementation in mice altered cecal microbial composition, markedly enhanced synthesis of TMA and TMAO, and increased atherosclerosis, but this did not occur if intestinal microbiota was concurrently suppressed. In mice with an intact intestinal microbiota, dietary supplementation with TMAO or either carnitine or choline reduced in vivo reverse cholesterol transport. Intestinal microbiota may thus contribute to the well-established link between high levels of red meat consumption and CVD risk.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke


Metabolites from intestinal microbiota are key determinants of host-microbe mutualism and, consequently, the health or disease of the intestinal tract. However, whether such host-microbe crosstalk influences inflammation in peripheral tissues, such as the lung, is poorly understood. We found that dietary fermentable fiber content changed the composition of the gut and lung microbiota, in particular by altering the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. The gut microbiota metabolized the fiber, consequently increasing the concentration of circulating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Mice fed a high-fiber diet had increased circulating levels of SCFAs and were protected against allergic inflammation in the lung, whereas a low-fiber diet decreased levels of SCFAs and increased allergic airway disease. Treatment of mice with the SCFA propionate led to alterations in bone marrow hematopoiesis that were characterized by enhanced generation of macrophage and dendritic cell (DC) precursors and subsequent seeding of the lungs by DCs with high phagocytic capacity but an impaired ability to promote T helper type 2 (TH2) cell effector function. The effects of propionate on allergic inflammation were dependent on G protein-coupled receptor 41 (GPR41, also called free fatty acid receptor 3 or FFAR3), but not GPR43 (also called free fatty acid receptor 2 or FFAR2). Our results show that dietary fermentable fiber and SCFAs can shape the immunological environment in the lung and influence the severity of allergic inflammation.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fat, Allergy, Butyric acid


The biological effects of urolithins remain poorly characterized, despite wide-spread human exposure via the dietary consumption of their metabolic precursors, the ellagitannins, which are found in the pomegranate fruit, as well as in nuts and berries. We identified urolithin A (UA) as a first-in-class natural compound that induces mitophagy both in vitro and in vivo following oral consumption. In C. elegans, UA prevented the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria with age and extended lifespan. Likewise, UA prolonged normal activity during aging in C. elegans, including mobility and pharyngeal pumping, while maintaining mitochondrial respiratory capacity. These effects translated to rodents, where UA improved exercise capacity in two different mouse models of age-related decline of muscle function, as well as in young rats. Our findings highlight the health benefits of urolithin A and its potential application in strategies to improve mitochondrial and muscle function.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Mitochondrion, Model organism, Muscle, In vivo, In vitro, Fruit


We report a patient relapsing 9 months after CD19-targeted CAR T cell (CTL019) infusion with CD19- leukemia that aberrantly expressed the anti-CD19 CAR. The CAR gene was unintentionally introduced into a single leukemic B cell during T cell manufacturing, and its product bound in cis to the CD19 epitope on the surface of leukemic cells, masking it from recognition by and conferring resistance to CTL019.


Visual inspection of histopathology slides is one of the main methods used by pathologists to assess the stage, type and subtype of lung tumors. Adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) are the most prevalent subtypes of lung cancer, and their distinction requires visual inspection by an experienced pathologist. In this study, we trained a deep convolutional neural network (inception v3) on whole-slide images obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas to accurately and automatically classify them into LUAD, LUSC or normal lung tissue. The performance of our method is comparable to that of pathologists, with an average area under the curve (AUC) of 0.97. Our model was validated on independent datasets of frozen tissues, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues and biopsies. Furthermore, we trained the network to predict the ten most commonly mutated genes in LUAD. We found that six of them-STK11, EGFR, FAT1, SETBP1, KRAS and TP53-can be predicted from pathology images, with AUCs from 0.733 to 0.856 as measured on a held-out population. These findings suggest that deep-learning models can assist pathologists in the detection of cancer subtype or gene mutations. Our approach can be applied to any cancer type, and the code is available at .


Exposure to psychosocial stress is a risk factor for many diseases, including atherosclerosis. Although incompletely understood, interaction between the psyche and the immune system provides one potential mechanism linking stress and disease inception and progression. Known cross-talk between the brain and immune system includes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which centrally drives glucocorticoid production in the adrenal cortex, and the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary axis, which controls stress-induced catecholamine release in support of the fight-or-flight reflex. It remains unknown, however, whether chronic stress changes hematopoietic stem cell activity. Here we show that stress increases proliferation of these most primitive hematopoietic progenitors, giving rise to higher levels of disease-promoting inflammatory leukocytes. We found that chronic stress induced monocytosis and neutrophilia in humans. While investigating the source of leukocytosis in mice, we discovered that stress activates upstream hematopoietic stem cells. Under conditions of chronic variable stress in mice, sympathetic nerve fibers released surplus noradrenaline, which signaled bone marrow niche cells to decrease CXCL12 levels through the β3-adrenergic receptor. Consequently, hematopoietic stem cell proliferation was elevated, leading to an increased output of neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes. When atherosclerosis-prone Apoe(-/-) mice were subjected to chronic stress, accelerated hematopoiesis promoted plaque features associated with vulnerable lesions that cause myocardial infarction and stroke in humans.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, White blood cell, Monocyte, Bone marrow, Macrophage, Hematopoietic stem cell, Thymus


Low-grade, chronic inflammation has been associated with many diseases of aging, but the mechanisms responsible for producing this inflammation remain unclear. Inflammasomes can drive chronic inflammation in the context of an infectious disease or cellular stress, and they trigger the maturation of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Here we find that the expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extremes: those with constitutive expression of IL-1β, nucleotide metabolism dysfunction, elevated oxidative stress, high rates of hypertension and arterial stiffness; and those without constitutive expression of IL-1β, who lack these characteristics. Adenine and N(4)-acetylcytidine, nucleotide-derived metabolites that are detectable in the blood of the former group, prime and activate the NLRC4 inflammasome, induce the production of IL-1β, activate platelets and neutrophils and elevate blood pressure in mice. In individuals over 85 years of age, the elevated expression of inflammasome gene modules was associated with all-cause mortality. Thus, targeting inflammasome components may ameliorate chronic inflammation and various other age-associated conditions.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Infectious disease, Metabolism, Blood, Atherosclerosis, Infection, Nucleotide


Physical function declines in old age, portending disability, increased health expenditures, and mortality. Cellular senescence, leading to tissue dysfunction, may contribute to these consequences of aging, but whether senescence can directly drive age-related pathology and be therapeutically targeted is still unclear. Here we demonstrate that transplanting relatively small numbers of senescent cells into young mice is sufficient to cause persistent physical dysfunction, as well as to spread cellular senescence to host tissues. Transplanting even fewer senescent cells had the same effect in older recipients and was accompanied by reduced survival, indicating the potency of senescent cells in shortening health- and lifespan. The senolytic cocktail, dasatinib plus quercetin, which causes selective elimination of senescent cells, decreased the number of naturally occurring senescent cells and their secretion of frailty-related proinflammatory cytokines in explants of human adipose tissue. Moreover, intermittent oral administration of senolytics to both senescent cell-transplanted young mice and naturally aged mice alleviated physical dysfunction and increased post-treatment survival by 36% while reducing mortality hazard to 65%. Our study provides proof-of-concept evidence that senescent cells can cause physical dysfunction and decreased survival even in young mice, while senolytics can enhance remaining health- and lifespan in old mice.


Infection with Zika virus has been associated with serious neurological complications and fetal abnormalities. However, the dynamics of viral infection, replication and shedding are poorly understood. Here we show that both rhesus and cynomolgus macaques are highly susceptible to infection by lineages of Zika virus that are closely related to, or are currently circulating in, the Americas. After subcutaneous viral inoculation, viral RNA was detected in blood plasma as early as 1 d after infection. Viral RNA was also detected in saliva, urine, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and semen, but transiently in vaginal secretions. Although viral RNA during primary infection was cleared from blood plasma and urine within 10 d, viral RNA was detectable in saliva and seminal fluids until the end of the study, 3 weeks after the resolution of viremia in the blood. The control of primary Zika virus infection in the blood was correlated with rapid innate and adaptive immune responses. We also identified Zika RNA in tissues, including the brain and male and female reproductive tissues, during early and late stages of infection. Re-infection of six animals 45 d after primary infection with a heterologous strain resulted in complete protection, which suggests that primary Zika virus infection elicits protective immunity. Early invasion of Zika virus into the nervous system of healthy animals and the extent and duration of shedding in saliva and semen underscore possible concern for additional neurologic complications and nonarthropod-mediated transmission in humans.

Concepts: Immune system, Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Virus, Immunity, Neurology, Semen