Increased levels of peripheral cytokines have been previously associated with depression in preclinical and clinical research. Although the precise nature of peripheral immune dysfunction in depression remains unclear, evidence from animal studies points towards a dysregulated response of peripheral leukocytes as a risk factor for stress susceptibility. This study examined dynamic release of inflammatory blood factors from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in depressed patients and associations with neural and behavioral measures of reward processing. Thirty unmedicated patients meeting criteria for unipolar depressive disorder and 21 healthy control volunteers were enrolled. PBMCs were isolated from whole blood and stimulated ex vivo with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Olink multiplex assay was used to analyze a large panel of inflammatory proteins. Participants completed functional magnetic resonance imaging with an incentive flanker task to probe neural responses to reward anticipation, as well as clinical measures of anhedonia and pleasure including the Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scale (TEPS) and the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS). LPS stimulation revealed larger increases in immune factors in depressed compared to healthy subjects using an aggregate immune score (t49 = 2.83, p = 0.007). Higher peripheral immune score was associated with reduced neural responses to reward anticipation within the ventral striatum (VS) (r = −0.39, p = 0.01), and with reduced anticipation of pleasure as measured with the TEPS anticipatory sub-score (r = −0.318, p = 0.023). Our study provides new evidence suggesting that dynamic hyper-reactivity of peripheral leukocytes in depressed patients is associated with blunted activation of the brain reward system and lower subjective anticipation of pleasure.
The emergence of drug-resistant bacteria calls for the discovery of new antibiotics. Yet, for decades, traditional discovery strategies have not yielded new classes of antimicrobial. Here, by mining the human proteome via an algorithm that relies on the sequence length, net charge, average hydrophobicity and other physicochemical properties of antimicrobial peptides, we report the identification of 2,603 encrypted peptide antibiotics that are encoded in proteins with biological function unrelated to the immune system. We show that the encrypted peptides kill pathogenic bacteria by targeting their membrane, modulate gut and skin commensals, do not readily select for bacterial resistance, and possess anti-infective activity in skin abscess and thigh infection mouse models. We also show, in vitro and in the two mouse models of infection, that encrypted antibiotic peptides from the same biogeographical area display synergistic antimicrobial activity. Our algorithmic strategy allows for the rapid mining of proteomic data and opens up new routes for the discovery of candidate antibiotics.
SARS-CoV-2 messenger RNA vaccination in healthy individuals generates immune protection against COVID-19. However, lit- tle is known about SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine-induced responses in immunosuppressed patients. We investigated induction of antigen-specific antibody, B cell and T cell responses longitudinally in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on anti-CD20 antibody monotherapy (n = 20) compared with healthy controls (n = 10) after BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 mRNA vaccination. Treatment with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (aCD20) significantly reduced spike-specific and receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific antibody and memory B cell responses in most patients, an effect ameliorated with longer duration from last aCD20 treatment and extent of B cell reconstitution. By contrast, all patients with MS treated with aCD20 generated antigen-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses after vaccination. Treatment with aCD20 skewed responses, compromising circulating follicular helper T (TFH) cell responses and augmenting CD8 T cell induction, while preserving type 1 helper T (TH1) cell priming. Patients with MS treated with aCD20 lacking anti-RBD IgG had the most severe defect in circulating TFH responses and more robust CD8 T cell responses. These data define the nature of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-induced immune landscape in aCD20-treated patients and provide insights into coordinated mRNA vaccine-induced immune responses in humans. Our findings have implications for clinical decision-making and public health policy for immunosuppressed patients including those treated with aCD20.
In February and March 2020, two mass swab testing campaigns were conducted in Vo’, Italy. In May 2020, we tested 86% of the Vo’ population with three immuno-assays detecting antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid antigens, a neutralisation assay and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Subjects testing positive to PCR in February/March or a serological assay in May were tested again in November. Here we report on the results of the analysis of the May and November surveys. We estimate a seroprevalence of 3.5% (95% Credible Interval (CrI): 2.8–4.3%) in May. In November, 98.8% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 93.7–100.0%) of sera which tested positive in May still reacted against at least one antigen; 18.6% (95% CI: 11.0–28.5%) showed an increase of antibody or neutralisation reactivity from May. Analysis of the serostatus of the members of 1,118 households indicates a 26.0% (95% CrI: 17.2–36.9%) Susceptible-Infectious Transmission Probability. Contact tracing had limited impact on epidemic suppression.
Background Cellular rejection after heart transplantation imparts significant morbidity and mortality. Current immunosuppressive strategies are imperfect, target recipient T-cells, and have a multitude of adverse effects. The innate immune response plays an essential role in the recruitment and activation of T-cells. Targeting the donor innate immune response would represent the earliest interventional opportunity within the immune response cascade. There is limited knowledge regarding donor immune cell types and functions in the setting of cardiac transplantation and no current therapeutics exist for targeting these cell populations. Methods Using genetic lineage tracing, cell ablation, and conditional gene deletion, we examined donor mononuclear phagocyte diversity and function during acute cellular rejection of transplanted hearts in mice. We performed single cell RNA sequencing on donor and recipient macrophages, dendritic cells, and monocytes at multiple timepoints after transplantation. Based on our single cell RNA sequencing data, we evaluated the functional relevance of donor CCR2+ and CCR2- macrophages using selective cell ablation strategies in donor grafts prior to transplant. Finally, we perform functional validation of our single cell-derived hypothesis that donor macrophages signal through MYD88 to facilitate cellular rejection. Results Donor macrophages persisted in the transplanted heart and co-existed with recipient monocyte-derived macrophages. Single-cell RNA sequencing identified donor CCR2+ and CCR2- macrophage populations and revealed remarkable diversity amongst recipient monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Temporal analysis demonstrated that donor CCR2+ and CCR2- macrophages were transcriptionally distinct, underwent significant morphologic changes, and displayed unique activation signatures after transplantation. While selective depletion of donor CCR2- macrophages reduced allograft survival, depletion of donor CCR2+ macrophages prolonged allograft survival. Pathway analysis revealed that donor CCR2+ macrophages were being activated through MYD88/NF-ĸβ signaling. Deletion of MYD88 in donor macrophages resulted in reduced antigen presenting cell recruitment, decreased emergence of allograft reactive T-cells, and extended allograft survival. Conclusions Distinct populations of donor and recipient macrophages co-exist within the transplanted heart. Donor CCR2+ macrophages are key mediators of allograft rejection and inhibition of MYD88 signaling in donor macrophages is sufficient to suppress rejection and extend allograft survival. This highlights the therapeutic potential of donor heart-based interventions.
Methamphetamine (METH) use, most prevalent in young adults, has been associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. The relationship between METH use and accelerated biological aging, which can be measured using leukocyte telomere length (LTL), remains unclear. We examined whether young adult METH users have shorter LTL and explored the relationship between characteristics of METH use and LTL by using Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis. We compared the LTL for 187 METH users and 159 healthy individuals aged between 25 and 34 years and examined the relationship of LTL with METH use variables (onset age, duration, and maximum frequency of METH use) by using regression analyses. In addition, 2-stage-least-squares (2SLS) MR was also performed to possibly avoid uncontrolled confounding between characteristics of METH use and LTL. We found METH users had significantly shorter LTL compared to controls. Multivariate regression analysis showed METH use was negatively associated with LTL (β = −0.36, P
Very-low-carbohydrate diet triggers the endogenous production of ketone bodies as alternative energy substrates. There are as yet unproven assumptions that ketone bodies positively affect human immunity. We have investigated this topic in an in vitro model using primary human T cells and in an immuno-nutritional intervention study enrolling healthy volunteers. We show that ketone bodies profoundly impact human T-cell responses. CD4+, CD8+, and regulatory T-cell capacity were markedly enhanced, and T memory cell formation was augmented. RNAseq and functional metabolic analyses revealed a fundamental immunometabolic reprogramming in response to ketones favoring mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. This confers superior respiratory reserve, cellular energy supply, and reactive oxygen species signaling. Our data suggest a very-low-carbohydrate diet as a clinical tool to improve human T-cell immunity. Rethinking the value of nutrition and dietary interventions in modern medicine is required.
Depression in late-life is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline and development of all-cause dementia. The neurobiology of late-life depression (LLD) may involve both neurochemical and neurodegenerative mechanisms that are common to depression and dementia. Transgenic amyloid mouse models show evidence of early degeneration of monoamine systems. Informed by these preclinical data, the hypotheses were tested that a spatial covariance pattern of higher beta-amyloid (Aβ) and lower serotonin transporter availability (5-HTT) in frontal, temporal, and parietal cortical regions would distinguish LLD patients from healthy controls and the expression of this pattern would be associated with greater depressive symptoms. Twenty un-medicated LLD patients who met DSM-V criteria for major depression and 20 healthy controls underwent PET imaging with radiotracers for Aβ ([11C]-PiB) and 5-HTT ([11C]-DASB). A voxel-based multi-modal partial least squares (mmPLS) algorithm was applied to the parametric PET images to determine the spatial covariance pattern between the two radiotracers. A spatial covariance pattern was identified, including higher Aβ in temporal, parietal and occipital cortices associated with lower 5-HTT in putamen, thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus and raphe nuclei (dorsal, medial and pontine), which distinguished LLD patients from controls. Greater expression of this pattern, reflected in summary 5-HTT/Aβ mmPLS subject scores, was associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. The mmPLS method is a powerful approach to evaluate the synaptic changes associated with AD pathology. This spatial covariance pattern should be evaluated further to determine whether it represents a biological marker of antidepressant treatment response and/or cognitive decline in LLD patients.