Severe immune-related adverse events (irAEs) occur in up to 60% of patients with melanoma treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). However, it is unknown whether a common baseline immunological state precedes irAE development. Here we applied mass cytometry by time of flight, single-cell RNA sequencing, single-cell V(D)J sequencing, bulk RNA sequencing and bulk T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing to study peripheral blood samples from patients with melanoma treated with anti-PD-1 monotherapy or anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 combination ICIs. By analyzing 93 pre- and early on-ICI blood samples and 3 patient cohorts (n = 27, 26 and 18), we found that 2 pretreatment factors in circulation—activated CD4 memory T cell abundance and TCR diversity—are associated with severe irAE development regardless of organ system involvement. We also explored on-treatment changes in TCR clonality among patients receiving combination therapy and linked our findings to the severity and timing of irAE onset. These results demonstrate circulating T cell characteristics associated with ICI-induced toxicity, with implications for improved diagnostics and clinical management.
Fibrosis affects millions of people with cardiac disease. We developed a therapeutic approach to generate transient antifibrotic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in vivo by delivering modified messenger RNA (mRNA) in T cell–targeted lipid nanoparticles (LNPs). The efficacy of these in vivo–reprogrammed CAR T cells was evaluated by injecting CD5-targeted LNPs into a mouse model of heart failure. Efficient delivery of modified mRNA encoding the CAR to T lymphocytes was observed, which produced transient, effective CAR T cells in vivo. Antifibrotic CAR T cells exhibited trogocytosis and retained the target antigen as they accumulated in the spleen. Treatment with modified mRNA-targeted LNPs reduced fibrosis and restored cardiac function after injury. In vivo generation of CAR T cells may hold promise as a therapeutic platform to treat various diseases.
Sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) is the most common acquired muscle disease in adults over age 50, yet it remains unclear whether the disease is primarily driven by T cell–mediated autoimmunity. IBM muscle biopsies display nuclear clearance and cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43 in muscle cells, a pathologic finding observed initially in neurodegenerative diseases, where nuclear loss of TDP-43 in neurons causes aberrant RNA splicing. Here, we show that loss of TDP-43–mediated splicing repression, as determined by inclusion of cryptic exons, occurs in skeletal muscle of subjects with IBM. Of 119 muscle biopsies tested, RT-PCR–mediated detection of cryptic exon inclusion was able to diagnose IBM with 84% sensitivity and 99% specificity. To determine the role of T cells in pathogenesis, we generated a xenograft model by transplanting human IBM muscle into the hindlimb of immunodeficient mice. Xenografts from subjects with IBM displayed robust regeneration of human myofibers and recapitulated both inflammatory and degenerative features of the disease. Myofibers in IBM xenografts showed invasion by human, oligoclonal CD8+ T cells and exhibited MHC-I up-regulation, rimmed vacuoles, mitochondrial pathology, p62-positive inclusions, and nuclear clearance and cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43, associated with cryptic exon inclusion. Reduction of human T cells within IBM xenografts by treating mice intraperitoneally with anti-CD3 (OKT3) suppressed MHC-I up-regulation. However, rimmed vacuoles and loss of TDP-43 function persisted. These data suggest that T cell depletion does not alter muscle degenerative pathology in IBM.
Gasdermin proteins form large membrane pores in human cells that release immune cytokines and induce lytic cell death. Gasdermin pore formation is triggered by caspase-mediated cleavage during inflammasome signaling and is critical for defense against pathogens and cancer. We discovered gasdermin homologs encoded in bacteria that defended against phages and executed cell death. Structures of bacterial gasdermins revealed a conserved pore-forming domain that was stabilized in the inactive state with a buried lipid modification. Bacterial gasdermins were activated by dedicated caspase-like proteases that catalyzed site-specific cleavage and the removal of an inhibitory C-terminal peptide. Release of autoinhibition induced the assembly of large and heterogeneous pores that disrupted membrane integrity. Thus, pyroptosis is an ancient form of regulated cell death shared between bacteria and animals.
Previous reports show that Ly49 CD8 T cells can suppress autoimmunity in mouse models of autoimmune diseases. Here we find a markedly increased frequency of CD8 T cells expressing inhibitory Killer cell Immunoglobulin like Receptors (KIR), the human equivalent of the Ly49 family, in the blood and inflamed tissues of various autoimmune diseases. Moreover, KIR CD8 T cells can efficiently eliminate pathogenic gliadin-specific CD4 T cells from Celiac disease (CeD) patients' leukocytes . Furthermore, we observe elevated levels of KIR CD8 T cells, but not CD4 regulatory T cells, in COVID-19 and influenza-infected patients, and this correlates with disease severity and vasculitis in COVID-19. Expanded KIR CD8 T cells from these different diseases display shared phenotypes and similar T cell receptor sequences. These results characterize a regulatory CD8 T cell subset in humans, broadly active in both autoimmune and infectious diseases, which we hypothesize functions to control self-reactive or otherwise pathogenic T cells.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system of unknown etiology. We tested the hypothesis that MS is caused by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in a cohort comprising more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the US military, 955 of whom were diagnosed with MS during their period of service. Risk of MS increased 32-fold after infection with EBV but was not increased after infection with other viruses, including the similarly transmitted cytomegalovirus. Serum levels of neurofilament light chain, a biomarker of neuroaxonal degeneration, increased only after EBV seroconversion. These findings cannot be explained by any known risk factor for MS and suggest EBV as the leading cause of MS.
Objectives Patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases receiving rituximab (RTX) therapy are at higher risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes and show substantially impaired humoral anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine responses. However, the complex relationship between antigen-specific B and T cells and the level of B cell repopulation necessary to achieve anti-vaccine responses remain largely unknown. Methods Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and induction of antigen-specific B and CD4/CD8 T cell subsets were studied in 19 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) patients receiving RTX, 12 RA patients on other therapies and 30 healthy controls after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination with either mRNA or vector based vaccines. Results A minimum of 10 B cells/μL (0,4% of lymphocytes) in the peripheral circulation appeared to be required in RTX patients to mount seroconversion to anti-S1 IgG upon SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. RTX patients lacking IgG seroconversion showed reduced RBD+ B cells, lower frequency of TfH-like cells as well as less activated CD4 and CD8 T cells compared to IgG seroconverted RTX patients. Functionally relevant B cell depletion resulted in impaired IFNγ secretion by spike-specific CD4 T cells. In contrast, antigen-specific CD8 T cells were reduced in patients, independently of IgG formation. Conclusions In patients receiving RTX, a minimum of 10 B cells/μl in the peripheral circulation candidates as biomarker for a high likelihood of an appropriate cellular and humoral response after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Mechanistically, the data emphasize the crucial role of co-stimulatory B cell functions for the proper induction of CD4 responses propagating vaccine-specific B and plasma cell differentiation.
Human immune responses to viral infections are highly variable, but the genetic factors that contribute to this variability are not well characterized. We used VirScan, a high-throughput epitope scanning technology, to analyze pan-viral antibody reactivity profiles of twins and SNP-genotyped individuals. Using these data, we determined the heritability and genomic loci associated with antibody epitope selection, response breadth, and control of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viral load. 107 EBV peptide reactivities were heritable and at least two Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA-2) reactivities were associated with variants in the MHC class II locus. We identified an EBV serosignature that predicted viral load in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and was associated with variants in the MHC class I locus. Our study illustrates the utility of epitope profiling to investigate the genetics of pathogen immunity, reports heritable features of the antibody response to viruses, and identifies specific HLA loci important for EBV epitope selection.
Background: Generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) is a rare, life-threatening, inflammatory skin disease characterized by widespread eruption of sterile pustules. Interleukin-36 signaling is involved in the pathogenesis of this disorder. Spesolimab, a humanized anti-interleukin-36 receptor monoclonal antibody, is being studied for the treatment of GPP flares.
Methods: In a phase 2 trial, we randomly assigned patients with a GPP flare in a 2:1 ratio to receive a single 900-mg intravenous dose of spesolimab or placebo. Patients in both groups could receive an open-label dose of spesolimab on day 8, an open-label dose of spesolimab as a rescue medication after day 8, or both and were followed to week 12. The primary end point was a Generalized Pustular Psoriasis Physician Global Assessment (GPPGA) pustulation subscore of 0 (range, 0 [no visible pustules] to 4 [severe pustulation]) at the end of week 1. The key secondary end point was a GPPGA total score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear skin) at the end of week 1; scores range from 0 to 4, with higher scores indicating greater disease severity.
Results: A total of 53 patients were enrolled: 35 were assigned to receive spesolimab and 18 to receive placebo. At baseline, 46% of the patients in the spesolimab group and 39% of those in the placebo group had a GPPGA pustulation subscore of 3, and 37% and 33%, respectively, had a pustulation subscore of 4. At the end of week 1, a total of 19 of 35 patients (54%) in the spesolimab group had a pustulation subscore of 0, as compared with 1 of 18 patients (6%) in the placebo group (difference, 49 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 21 to 67; P<0.001). A total of 15 of 35 patients (43%) had a GPPGA total score of 0 or 1, as compared with 2 of 18 patients (11%) in the placebo group (difference, 32 percentage points; 95% CI, 2 to 53; P = 0.02). Drug reactions were reported in 2 patients who received spesolimab, in 1 of them concurrently with a drug-induced hepatic injury. Among patients assigned to the spesolimab group, infections occurred in 6 of 35 (17%) through the first week; among patients who received spesolimab at any time in the trial, infections had occurred in 24 of 51 (47%) at week 12. Antidrug antibodies were detected in 23 of 50 patients (46%) who received at least one dose of spesolimab.
Conclusions: In a phase 2 randomized trial involving patients with GPP, the interleukin-36 receptor inhibitor spesolimab resulted in a higher incidence of lesion clearance at 1 week than placebo but was associated with infections and systemic drug reactions. Longer and larger trials are warranted to determine the effect and risks of spesolimab in patients with pustular psoriasis. (Funded by Boehringer Ingelheim; Effisayil 1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03782792.).