BACKGROUND.l-Carnitine, an abundant nutrient in red meat, accelerates atherosclerosis in mice via gut microbiota–dependent formation of trimethylamine (TMA) and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) via a multistep pathway involving an atherogenic intermediate, γ-butyrobetaine (γBB). The contribution of γBB in gut microbiota–dependent l-carnitine metabolism in humans is unknown. METHODS. Omnivores and vegans/vegetarians ingested deuterium-labeled l-carnitine (d3-l-carnitine) or γBB (d9-γBB), and both plasma metabolites and fecal polymicrobial transformations were examined at baseline, following oral antibiotics, or following chronic (≥2 months) l-carnitine supplementation. Human fecal commensals capable of performing each step of the l-carnitine→γBB→TMA transformation were identified. RESULTS. Studies with oral d3-l-carnitine or d9-γBB before versus after antibiotic exposure revealed gut microbiota contribution to the initial 2 steps in a metaorganismal l-carnitine→γBB→TMA→TMAO pathway in subjects. Moreover, a striking increase in d3-TMAO generation was observed in omnivores over vegans/vegetarians (>20-fold; P = 0.001) following oral d3-l-carnitine ingestion, whereas fasting endogenous plasma l-carnitine and γBB levels were similar in vegans/vegetarians (n = 32) versus omnivores (n = 40). Fecal metabolic transformation studies, and oral isotope tracer studies before versus after chronic l-carnitine supplementation, revealed that omnivores and vegans/vegetarians alike rapidly converted carnitine to γBB, whereas the second gut microbial transformation, γBB→TMA, was diet inducible (l-carnitine, omnivorous). Extensive anaerobic subculturing of human feces identified no single commensal capable of l-carnitine→TMA transformation, multiple community members that converted l-carnitine to γBB, and only 1 Clostridiales bacterium, Emergencia timonensis, that converted γBB to TMA. In coculture, E. timonensis promoted the complete l-carnitine→TMA transformation. CONCLUSION. In humans, dietary l-carnitine is converted into the atherosclerosis- and thrombosis-promoting metabolite TMAO via 2 sequential gut microbiota–dependent transformations: (a) initial rapid generation of the atherogenic intermediate γBB, followed by (b) transformation into TMA via low-abundance microbiota in omnivores, and to a markedly lower extent, in vegans/vegetarians. Gut microbiota γBB→TMA/TMAO transformation is induced by omnivorous dietary patterns and chronic l-carnitine exposure. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01731236. FUNDING. NIH and Office of Dietary Supplements grants HL103866, HL126827, and DK106000, and the Leducq Foundation.
Robert A. Koeth, Betzabe Rachel Lam-Galvez, Jennifer Kirsop, Zeneng Wang, Bruce S. Levison, Xiaodong Gu, Matthew F. Copeland, David Bartlett, David B. Cody, Hong J. Dai, Miranda K. Culley, Xinmin S. Li, Xiaoming Fu, Yuping Wu, Lin Li, Joseph A. DiDonato, W.H. Wilson Tang, Jose Carlos Garcia-Garcia, Stanley L. Hazen
BACKGROUND. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is under consideration as a promising recombinant viral vector to deliver foreign antigens including HIV. However, new vectors have come under increased scrutiny since vaccination with Ad5-vectored HIV vaccine trials demonstrated increased HIV risk in individuals with pre-immunity to the vector which was thought to be associated with mucosal immune activation (IA). Therefore, defining the impact of VZV vaccination on IA is particularly important with the prospect of developing an HIV/VZV chimeric vaccine. METHODS. VZV-seropositive healthy Kenyan women (n=44) were immunized with high dose live-attenuated VZV vaccine, and the expression of IA markers including CD38 and HLA-DR on CD4 T cells isolated from blood, cervix and rectum, markers of cell migration and tissue retention and the concentration of genital and intestinal cytokines were assessed. A delayed group (n=22) was used to control for natural variations in these parameters. RESULTS. Although immunogenic, VZV vaccination did not result in significant difference in the frequency of cervical activated (HLA-DR+CD38+) CD4 T cells (median 1.61%, IQR 0.93%-2.76%) at 12 weeks post-vaccination when compared to baseline (median 1.58%, IQR 0.75%-3.04%), the primary outcome for this study. VZV vaccination also had no measurable effect on any of the IA parameters at 4, 8 and 12 weeks post-vaccination. CONCLUSION. This study provides the first-ever evidence about the effects of VZV-vaccination on human mucosal IA status and supports further evaluation of VZV as a potential vector in an HIV vaccine. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02514018. FUNDING. Primary support from CIHR. For others see below.
Catia T. Perciani, Bashir Farah, Rupert Kaul, Mario A. Ostrowski, Salaheddin M. Mahmud, Omu Anzala, Walter Jaoko, Kelly S. MacDonald
BACKGROUND. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous smoking-related disease characterized by airway obstruction and inflammation. This inflammation may persist even after smoking cessation and responds variably to corticosteroids. Personalizing treatment to biologically similar “molecular phenotypes” may improve therapeutic efficacy in COPD. IL-17A is involved in neutrophilic inflammation and corticosteroid resistance, and thus may be particularly important in a COPD molecular phenotype. METHODS. We generated a gene expression signature of IL-17A response in bronchial airway epithelial brushings (“BAE”) from smokers with and without COPD (n = 238), and validated it using data from two randomized trials of IL-17 blockade in psoriasis. This IL-17 signature was related to clinical and pathologic characteristics in two additional human studies of COPD: (1) SPIROMICS (n = 47), which included former and current smokers with COPD, and (2) GLUCOLD (n = 79), in which COPD participants were randomized to placebo or corticosteroids. RESULTS. The IL-17 signature was associated with an inflammatory profile characteristic of an IL-17 response, including increased airway neutrophils and macrophages. In SPIROMICS the signature was associated with increased airway obstruction and functional small airway disease on quantitative chest CT. In GLUCOLD the signature was associated with decreased response to corticosteroids, irrespective of airway eosinophilic or Type 2 inflammation. CONCLUSION. These data suggest that a gene signature of IL-17 airway epithelial response distinguishes a biologically, radiographically, and clinically distinct COPD subgroup that may benefit from personalized therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01969344. FUNDING. Primary support from NIH/NHLBI. For others see below.
Stephanie A. Christenson, Maarten van den Berge, Alen Faiz, Kai Imkamp, Nirav Bhakta, Luke R. Bonser, Lorna T. Zlock, Igor Z. Barjaktarevic, R. Graham Barr, Eugene R. Bleecker, Richard C. Boucher, Russell P. Bowler, Alejandro P. Comellas, Jeffrey L. Curtis, MeiLan K. Han, Nadia N. Hansel, Pieter S. Hiemstra, Robert J. Kaner, Jerry A. Krishnan, Fernando J. Martinez, Wanda K. O'Neal, Robert Paine III, Wim Timens, J. Michael Wells, Avrum Spira, David J. Erle, Prescott G. Woodruff
BACKGROUND. Liquid biopsies have demonstrated that the constitutively active androgen receptor splice variant-7 (AR-V7) associates with reduced response and overall survival (OS) from endocrine therapies in castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, these studies provide little information pertaining to AR-V7 expression in prostate cancer (PC) tissue. METHODS. Following generation and validation of a novel AR-V7 antibody for immunohistochemistry, AR-V7 protein expression was determined for 358 primary prostate samples and 293 metastatic biopsies. Associations with disease progression, full length AR (AR-FL) expression, response to therapy, and gene expression was determined. RESULTS. We demonstrated that AR-V7 protein is rarely expressed (<1%) in primary PC but is frequently detected (75% of cases) following androgen deprivation therapy, with further significant (P = 0.020) increase in expression following abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide therapy. In CRPC, AR-V7 expression is predominantly (94% of cases) nuclear and correlates with AR-FL expression (P ≤ 0.001) and AR copy number (P = 0.026). However, dissociation of expression was observed suggesting mRNA splicing remains crucial for AR-V7 generation. AR-V7 expression was heterogeneous between different metastases from a patient although AR-V7 expression was similar within a metastasis. Moreover, AR-V7 expression correlated with a unique 59-gene signature in CRPC, including HOXB13, a critical co-regulator of AR-V7 function. Finally, AR-V7 negative disease associated with better PSA responses (100% vs 54%; P = 0.03) and OS (74.3 vs 25.2mo, HR 0.23 [0.07-0.79], P = 0.02) from endocrine therapies (pre-chemotherapy). CONCLUSION. This study provides impetus to develop therapies that abrogate AR-V7 signaling to improve our understanding of AR-V7 biology, and to confirm its clinical significance.
Adam Sharp, Ilsa Coleman, Wei Yuan, Cynthia Sprenger, David Dolling, Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Joshua W. Russo, Ines Figueiredo, Claudia Bertan, George Seed, Ruth Riisnaes, Takuma Uo, Antje Neeb, Jonathan Welti, Colm Morrissey, Suzanne Carreira, Jun Luo, Peter S. Nelson, Steven P. Balk, Lawrence D. True, Johann De Bono, Stephen R. Plymate
BACKGROUND. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airway remodeling. Characterization of airway changes on computed tomography has been challenging due to the complexity of the recurring branching patterns, and this can be better measured using fractal dimensions. METHODS. We analyzed segmented airway trees of 8135 participants enrolled in the COPDGene cohort. The fractal complexity of the segmented airway tree was measured by the Airway Fractal Dimension (AFD) using the Minkowski-Bouligand box-counting dimension. We examined associations between AFD and lung function and respiratory morbidity using multivariable regression analyses. We further estimated the extent of peribronchial emphysema (%) within 5mm of the airway tree as this is likely to affect AFD. We classified participants into 4 groups based on median AFD and %peribronchial emphysema, and estimated survival. RESULTS. AFD was significantly associated with FEV1 (p<0.001) and FEV1/FVC (p<0.001) after adjusting for age, race, gender, smoking status, pack-years of smoking, body-mass-index, CT emphysema, air trapping, airway thickness, and CT scanner type. On multivariable analysis, AFD was also associated with respiratory-quality of life and six-minute walk distance, as well as exacerbations, lung function decline and mortality on longitudinal follow-up. We identified a subset of participants with AFDmedian who had worse survival compared with participants with high AFD and low peribronchial emphysema (adjusted HR = 2.72, 95%CI 2.20 to 3.35; p<0.001), a substantial number of whom were not identified by traditional spirometry severity grades. CONCLUSIONS. Airway fractal dimension as a measure of airway branching complexity and remodeling in smokers is associated with respiratory morbidity and lung function change, offers prognostic information additional to traditional CT measures of airway wall thickness, and can be used to estimate mortality risk.
Sandeep Bodduluri, Abhilash S. Kizhakke Puliyakote, Sarah E. Gerard, Joseph M. Reinhardt, Eric A. Hoffman, John D. Newell Jr., Hrudaya P. Nath, MeiLan K. Han, George R. Washko, Raúl San José Estépar, Mark T. Dransfield, Surya P. Bhatt
BACKGROUND. Injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is one of the most popular contraception methods in areas of high HIV seroprevalence. Evidence is accumulating that use of DMPA might be associated with an increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition by women; however, mechanisms of this association are not completely understood. The goal of this study was to gain insight into mechanisms underlying the possible link between use of DMPA and risk of HIV-1 acquisition, exploring transcription profiling of ectocervical tissues. METHODS. Healthy women received either DMPA (n = 31) or combined oral contraceptive (COC), which has not been linked to an increased risk of HIV acquisition (n = 32). We conducted a comparative microarray-based whole-genome transcriptome profiling of human ectocervical tissues before and after 6 weeks of hormonal contraception use. RESULTS. The analysis identified that expression of 235 and 76 genes was significantly altered after DMPA and COC use, respectively. The most striking effect of DMPA, but not COC, was significantly altered expression (mostly downregulation) of many genes strategically involved in the maintenance of mucosal barrier function; the alterations, as indicated by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), were most likely due to the DMPA-induced estrogen deficiency. Furthermore, IPA predicted that transcriptome alterations related to ectocervical immune responses were in general compatible with an immunosuppressive effect of DMPA, but, in some women, also with an inflammatory-like response. CONCLUSION. Our results suggest that impairment of cervicovaginal mucosal integrity in response to DMPA administration is an important mechanism contributing to the potential increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in DMPA users. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01421368. FUNDING. This study was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under Cooperative Agreement GPO-A-00-08-00005-00.
Irina A. Zalenskaya, Neelima Chandra, Nazita Yousefieh, Xi Fang, Oluwatosin E. Adedipe, Suzanne S. Jackson, Sharon M. Anderson, Christine K. Mauck, Jill L. Schwartz, Andrea R. Thurman, Gustavo F. Doncel
BACKGROUND. Understanding the integrated immunogenomic landscape of advanced prostate cancer (APC) could impact stratified treatment selection. METHODS. Defective mismatch repair (dMMR) status was determined by either loss of mismatch repair protein expression on IHC or microsatellite instability (MSI) by PCR in 127 APC biopsies from 124 patients (Royal Marsden [RMH] cohort); MSI by targeted panel next-generation sequencing (MSINGS) was then evaluated in the same cohort and in 254 APC samples from the Stand Up To Cancer/Prostate Cancer Foundation (SU2C/PCF). Whole exome sequencing (WES) data from this latter cohort were analyzed for pathogenic MMR gene variants, mutational load, and mutational signatures. Transcriptomic data, available for 168 samples, was also performed. RESULTS. Overall, 8.1% of patients in the RMH cohort had some evidence of dMMR, which associated with decreased overall survival. Higher MSINGS scores associated with dMMR, and these APCs were enriched for higher T cell infiltration and PD-L1 protein expression. Exome MSINGS scores strongly correlated with targeted panel MSINGS scores (r = 0.73, P < 0.0001), and higher MSINGS scores associated with dMMR mutational signatures in APC exomes. dMMR mutational signatures also associated with MMR gene mutations and increased immune cell, immune checkpoint, and T cell–associated transcripts. APC with dMMR mutational signatures overexpressed a variety of immune transcripts, including CD200R1, BTLA, PD-L1, PD-L2, ADORA2A, PIK3CG, and TIGIT. CONCLUSION. These data could impact immune target selection, combination therapeutic strategy selection, and selection of predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy in APC. FUNDING. We acknowledge funding support from Movember, Prostate Cancer UK, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, SU2C, and Cancer Research UK.
Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Pasquale Rescigno, David Liu, Wei Yuan, Suzanne Carreira, Maryou B. Lambros, George Seed, Joaquin Mateo, Ruth Riisnaes, Stephanie Mullane, Claire Margolis, Diana Miao, Susana Miranda, David Dolling, Matthew Clarke, Claudia Bertan, Mateus Crespo, Gunther Boysen, Ana Ferreira, Adam Sharp, Ines Figueiredo, Daniel Keliher, Saud Aldubayan, Kelly P. Burke, Semini Sumanasuriya, Mariane Sousa Fontes, Diletta Bianchini, Zafeiris Zafeiriou, Larissa Sena Teixeira Mendes, Kent Mouw, Michael T. Schweizer, Colin C. Pritchard, Stephen Salipante, Mary-Ellen Taplin, Himisha Beltran, Mark A. Rubin, Marcin Cieslik, Dan Robinson, Elizabeth Heath, Nikolaus Schultz, Joshua Armenia, Wassim Abida, Howard Scher, Christopher Lord, Alan D’Andrea, Charles L. Sawyers, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Andrea Alimonti, Peter S. Nelson, Charles G. Drake, Eliezer M. Van Allen, Johann S. de Bono
BACKGROUND. Evidence from rodent studies indicates that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) regulates bone metabolism, principally via β2-adrenergic receptors (β2-ARs). Given conflicting human data, we used multiple approaches to evaluate the role of the SNS in regulating human bone metabolism. METHODS. (1) Bone biopsies were obtained from 19 young and 19 old women for assessment of ADRB1, ADRB2, and ADRB3 mRNA expression; (2) the relationship of β-blocker use to bone microarchitecture was assessed by high resolution-peripheral quantitative computed tomography in a population sample of 248 subjects; and (3) 155 postmenopausal women were randomized to one of five treatment groups for 20 weeks: placebo; propranolol, 20 mg twice a day (BID); propranolol, 40 mg BID; atenolol, 50 mg/d; and nebivolol, 5 mg/d. We took advantage of the β1-AR selectivity gradient of these drugs (propranolol [non-selective] << atenolol [relatively β1-AR selective] < nebivolol [highly β1-AR selective]) to define the β-AR selectivity for SNS effects on bone. RESULTS. (1) ADRB1and ADRB2, but not ADRB3, were expressed in human bone; (2) patients treated clinically with β1-AR selective blockers had better bone microarchitecture than non-users; and (3) relative to placebo, atenolol and nebivolol, but not propranolol, reduced the bone resorption marker serum C-telopeptide of type I collagen (by 19.5% and 20.6%, respectively; P < 0.01) and increased ultra-distal radius BMD (by 3.6% and 2.9%; P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). CONCLUSIONS. These three independent lines of evidence strongly support a role for adrenergic signaling in regulating bone metabolism in humans, principally via β1-ARs. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02467400. FUNDING. This research was supported by NIH grants AG004875, AR027065, and the Mayo Clinic CTSA (UL1 TR002377).
Sundeep Khosla, Matthew T. Drake, Tammie L. Volkman, Brianne S. Thicke, Sara J. Achenbach, Elizabeth J. Atkinson, Michael J. Joyner, Clifford J. Rosen, David G. Monroe, Joshua N. Farr
BACKGROUND. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), plasma exchange and immunoadsorption are frequently used in the management of severe autoimmune diseases mediated by pathogenic IgG autoantibodies. These approaches to modulate IgG levels can however be associated with some severe adverse reactions and significant burden to patients. Targeting the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) presents an innovative and potentially more effective, safer, and convenient alternative for clearing pathogenic IgGs. METHODS. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled first-in-human study was conducted in 62 healthy volunteers to explore single and multiple ascending intravenous doses of the FcRn antagonist efgartigimod. The study objectives were to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and immunogenicity. The findings of this study were compared with the pharmacodynamics profile elicited by efgartigimod in cynomolgus monkeys. RESULTS. Efgartigimod treatment resulted in a rapid and specific clearance of serum IgG levels in both cynomolgus monkeys and healthy volunteers. In humans, single administration of efgartigimod reduced IgG levels up to 50% whilst multiple dosing further lowered IgGs on average by 75% of baseline levels. Approximately 8 weeks following the last administration, IgG levels returned to baseline. Efgartigimod did not alter the homeostasis of albumin or immunoglobulins other than IgG and no serious adverse events related to efgartigimod infusion were observed. CONCLUSION. Antagonizing FcRn using efgartigimod is safe and results in a specific, profound, and sustained reduction of serum IgG levels. These results warrant further evaluation of this therapeutic approach in IgG-driven autoimmune diseases. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03457649. FUNDING. argenx bvba.
Peter Ulrichts, Antonio Guglietta, Torsten Dreier, Tonke van Bragt, Valérie Hanssens, Erik Hofman, Bernhardt Vankerckhoven, Peter Verheesen, Nicolas Ongenae, Valentina Lykhopiy, F. Javier Enriquez, JunHaeng Cho, Raimund J. Ober, E. Sally Ward, Hans de Haard, Nicolas Leupin
BACKGROUND. The circadian clock is a fundamental and pervasive biological program that coordinates 24-hour rhythms in physiology, metabolism and behaviour, and it is essential to health. Whereas time-of-day adapted therapy is increasingly reported to be highly successful, it needs to be personalized since internal circadian time is different for each individual. In addition, internal time is not a stable trait, but is influenced by many factors including genetic predisposition, age, gender, environmental light levels and season. An easy and convenient diagnostic tool is currently missing. METHODS. To establish a validated test, we followed a three-stage biomarker development strategy: (i) using circadian transcriptomics of blood monocytes from 12 individuals in a constant routine protocol combined with machine learning approaches, we identified biomarkers for internal time; (ii) these biomarkers were migrated to a clinically relevant gene expression-profiling platform (NanoString), and (iii) externally validated using an independent study with 28 early or late chronotypes. RESULTS. We developed a highly accurate and simple assay (BodyTime) to estimate the internal circadian time in humans from a single blood sample. Our assay needs only a small set of blood-based transcript biomarkers and is as accurate as the current gold standard dim light melatonin onset method at smaller monetary, time and sample number cost. CONCLUSION. The BodyTime assay provides a new diagnostic tool for personalization of healthcare according to the patient’s circadian clock. FUNDING. This study was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Germany (FKZ: 13N13160 and 13N13162) and Intellux GmbH, Germany.
Nicole Wittenbrink, Bharath Ananthasubramaniam, Mirjam Münch, Barbara Koller, Bert Maier, Charlotte Weschke, Frederik Bes, Jan de Zeeuw, Claudia Nowozin, Amely Wahnschaffe, Sophia Wisniewski, Mandy Zaleska, Osnat Bartok, Reut Ashwal-Fluss, Hedwig Lammert, Hanspeter Herzel, Michael Hummel, Sebastian Kadener, Dieter Kunz, Achim Kramer
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