bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒08‒01
thirteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Nat Immunol. 2021 Aug;22(8): 1008-1019
      Exhausted CD8 T cells (TEX) are a distinct state of T cell differentiation associated with failure to clear chronic viruses and cancer. Immunotherapies such as PD-1 blockade can reinvigorate TEX cells, but reinvigoration is not durable. A major unanswered question is whether TEX cells differentiate into functional durable memory T cells (TMEM) upon antigen clearance. Here, using a mouse model, we found that upon eliminating chronic antigenic stimulation, TEX cells partially (re)acquire phenotypic and transcriptional features of TMEM cells. These 'recovering' TEX cells originated from the T cell factor (TCF-1+) TEX progenitor subset. Nevertheless, the recall capacity of these recovering TEX cells remained compromised as compared to TMEM cells. Chromatin-accessibility profiling revealed a failure to recover core memory epigenetic circuits and maintenance of a largely exhausted open chromatin landscape. Thus, despite some phenotypic and transcriptional recovery upon antigen clearance, exhaustion leaves durable epigenetic scars constraining future immune responses. These results support epigenetic remodeling interventions for TEX cell-targeted immunotherapies.
  2. Nat Immunol. 2021 Aug;22(8): 1020-1029
      T cell exhaustion is an induced state of dysfunction that arises in response to chronic infection and cancer. Exhausted CD8+ T cells acquire a distinct epigenetic state, but it is not known whether that chromatin landscape is fixed or plastic following the resolution of a chronic infection. Here we show that the epigenetic state of exhaustion is largely irreversible, even after curative therapy. Analysis of chromatin accessibility in HCV- and HIV-specific responses identifies a core epigenetic program of exhaustion in CD8+ T cells, which undergoes only limited remodeling before and after resolution of infection. Moreover, canonical features of exhaustion, including super-enhancers near the genes TOX and HIF1A, remain 'epigenetically scarred.' T cell exhaustion is therefore a conserved epigenetic state that becomes fixed and persists independent of chronic antigen stimulation and inflammation. Therapeutic efforts to reverse T cell exhaustion may require new approaches that increase the epigenetic plasticity of exhausted T cells.
  3. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2021 Jul 29. ATVBAHA120314189
      OBJECTIVE: CD4 T cells are important regulators of atherosclerotic progression. The metabolic profile of CD4 T cells controls their signaling and function, but how atherosclerosis affects T-cell metabolism is unknown. Here, we sought to determine the impact of atherosclerosis on CD4 T-cell metabolism and the contribution of such alterations to atheroprogression. Approach and Results: Using PCR arrays, we profiled the expression of metabolism genes in CD4 T cells from atherosclerotic, apolipoprotein-E knockout mice fed a Western diet. These cells exhibited dysregulated expression of genes critically involved in glycolysis and fatty acid degradation, compared with those from animals fed a standard laboratory diet. We examined how T-cell metabolism was changed in standard laboratory diet or Western diet-fed apolipoprotein-E knockout mice or humans by measuring glucose uptake, activation, and proliferation in CD4 T cells. We found that naive CD4 T cells from Western diet-fed apolipoprotein-E knockout mice failed to uptake glucose and thus displayed impaired proliferation and activation, compared with CD4 T cells from standard laboratory diet-fed animals. Similarly, as in mice, we observed that naive CD4 T-cell frequencies were reduced in circulation of human subjects with high cardiovascular disease compared with low cardiovascular disease, as assessed clinically based on medically necessary coronary angiography. Naive T cells from high cardiovascular disease subjects also showed reduced proliferative capacity.CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the dysfunctional changes that occur in CD4 T-cell metabolism and immune responses during atherosclerosis. Targeting metabolic pathways within naive CD4 T cells could thus yield novel therapeutic approaches for improving CD4 T-cell responses against atheroprogression.
    Keywords:  T lymphocytes; atherosclerosis; glucose; laboratories; metabolism
  4. Front Immunol. 2021 ;12 677824
      Effective T cell differentiation during acute virus infections leads to the generation of effector T cells that mediate viral clearance, as well as memory T cells that confer protection against subsequent reinfection. While inhibitory immune checkpoints have been shown to promote T cell dysfunction during chronic virus infections and in tumors, their roles in fine tuning the differentiation and responses of effector and memory T cells are only just beginning to be appreciated. We previously identified PSGL-1 as a fundamental regulator of T cell exhaustion that sustains expression of several inhibitory receptors, including PD-1. We now show that PSGL-1 can restrict the magnitude of effector T cell responses and memory T cell development to acute LCMV virus infection by limiting survival, sustaining PD-1 expression, and reducing effector responses. After infection, PSGL-1-deficient effector T cells accumulated to a greater extent than wild type T cells, and preferentially generated memory precursor cells that displayed enhanced accumulation and functional capacity in response to TCR stimulation as persisting memory cells. Although, PSGL-1-deficient memory cells did not exhibit inherent greater sensitivity to cell death, they failed to respond to a homologous virus challenge after adoptive transfer into naïve hosts indicating an impaired capacity to generate memory effector T cell responses in the context of viral infection. These studies underscore the function of PSGL-1 as a key negative regulator of effector and memory T cell differentiation and suggest that PSGL-1 may limit excessive stimulation of memory T cells during acute viral infection.
    Keywords:  LCMV; PSGL-1; effector T cells; memory T cells; virus infection
  5. Nat Immunol. 2021 Aug;22(8): 1030-1041
      T cell exhaustion is associated with failure to clear chronic infections and malignant cells. Defining the molecular mechanisms of T cell exhaustion and reinvigoration is essential to improving immunotherapeutic modalities. Here we confirmed pervasive phenotypic, functional and transcriptional differences between memory and exhausted antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in human hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection before and after treatment. After viral cure, phenotypic changes in clonally stable exhausted T cell populations suggested differentiation toward a memory-like profile. However, functionally, the cells showed little improvement, and critical transcriptional regulators remained in the exhaustion state. Notably, T cells from chronic HCV infection that were exposed to antigen for less time because of viral escape mutations were functionally and transcriptionally more similar to memory T cells from spontaneously resolved HCV infection. Thus, the duration of T cell stimulation impacts exhaustion recovery, with antigen removal after long-term exhaustion being insufficient for the development of functional T cell memory.
  6. Adv Geriatr Med Res. 2021 ;pii: e210015. [Epub ahead of print]3(3):
      Naïve T cells are critical for protection against emerging viral and bacterial infections. However, the ability of these cells to elicit effective long-term immune responses declines with age and contributes to increased disease susceptibility in older individuals. This decline has been linked with the breakdown of cellular quiescence that causes partial differentiation of naïve T cells with age, but the underlying mediators of this breakdown are unclear. Comparisons to stem cell quiescence in mice and man offer insight into naïve T cells and aging. However, the utilization of single cell technologies in combination with advances in the biology of human tissue aging is needed to provide further understanding of naïve T cell complexity and quiescence breakdown with age.
    Keywords:  cellular homeostasis; differentiation; immune aging; stem cells; tissue niches
  7. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 27. pii: S2211-1247(21)00864-0. [Epub ahead of print]36(4): 109447
      Mitochondria are principal metabolic organelles that are increasingly unveiled as immune regulators. However, it is currently not known whether mitochondrial-encoded peptides modulate T cells to induce changes in phenotype and function. In this study, we found that MOTS-c (mitochondrial open reading frame of the 12S rRNA type-c) prevented autoimmune β cell destruction by targeting T cells in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. MOTS-c ameliorated the development of hyperglycemia and reduced islet-infiltrating immune cells. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of T cells from MOTS-c-treated NOD mice significantly decreased the incidence of diabetes in NOD-severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. Metabolic and genomic analyses revealed that MOTS-c modulated T cell phenotype and function by regulating T cell receptor (TCR)/mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients had a lower serum MOTS-c level than did healthy controls. Furthermore, MOTS-c reduced T cell activation by alleviating T cells from the glycolytic stress in T1D patients, suggesting therapeutic potential. Our findings indicate that MOTS-c regulates the T cell phenotype and suppresses autoimmune diabetes.
    Keywords:  CD4(+) T cell; Foxp3; IFNγ; MOTS-c; T cell activation; T cell differentiation; T(reg); mTORC1; mitochondria; type 1 diabetes
  8. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 27. pii: S2211-1247(21)00855-X. [Epub ahead of print]36(4): 109438
      During microbial infection, bystander CD8+ T cells that are not specific to infecting pathogens can be activated by interleukin (IL)-15. However, the tissue-homing properties of bystander-activated CD8+ T cells have not been elucidated. Here, we examine the effects of IL-15 on the expression of chemokine receptors on CD8+ T cells and their migration. IL-15 upregulates CCR5 in memory CD8+ T cells in the absence of T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation and enhances CCR5-dependent migration. IL-15-induced CCR5 upregulation is abrogated by TCR stimulation, indicating that CCR5 is upregulated in bystander-activated CD8+ T cells. Moreover, CCR5 signals increase proliferation and cytotoxic protein expression in IL-15-treated memory CD8+ T cells, although the increase has a small extent. CCR5 upregulation in bystander-activated CD8+ T cells is associated with severe liver injury in patients with acute hepatitis A. Altogether, the results indicate that CCR5 upregulation by IL-15 mediates the migration of bystander-activated CD8+ T cells.
    Keywords:  CCR5; IL-15; bystander-activated CD8(+) T cells; migration
  9. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2021 Jul 30.
      SIGNIFICANCE: Numerous abnormalities in T cells have been described in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), including lymphopenia, DNA demethylation, expression of endogenous retroviruses, increased cell death, enlarged mitochondria, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and the appearance of CD4-CD8- T cells. We propose a model in which accelerated homeostatic proliferation of T cells promotes an epigenetic and metabolic program leading to this cluster of abnormalities. Recent Advances: Growing knowledge of the innate immune disorders in SLE has included increased mitochondrial size and ROS production that induces oligomerization of mitochondrial antiviral-signaling (MAVS) protein and type I Interferon production, as well as DNA demethylation, upregulation of inflammatory genes, and expression of certain endogenous retroviruses in SLE peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). All of these events are part of the cellular program that occurs during homeostatic proliferation of T cells.CRITICAL ISSUES: Despite extensive knowledge of the myriad autoantibodies in SLE and other immune abnormalities, a cogent model has been lacking to link the numerous and seemingly disparate immune aberrations. This may partly explain the general lack of new drugs specifically for SLE in over 50 years. A more coherent model of SLE would not only unify the variety of immune abnormalities is SLE, it would also suggest new therapies.
    FUTURE DIRECTIONS: The model of augmented homeostatic proliferation leading to increased mitochondrial mass, ROS, DNA demethylation, and upregulation of inflammatory genes suggests strategic new targets for SLE, including antioxidants and certain inhibitors of metabolism.
  10. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 7501424
      Due to the increase in the aged population and increased life expectancy, the underlying mechanisms involved in the aging process and cell senescence and the ways for modulating these processes in age-related diseases become important. One of the main mechanisms involved in aging and cell senescence, especially in the diseases related to aging, is the oxidative stress process and the following inflammation. Hence, the effects of antioxidants are highlighted in the literature due to their beneficial impacts on inhibiting telomere shortening or DNA damage and other processes related to aging and cell senescence in age-related diseases. Dietary components, foods, and dietary patterns rich in antioxidants can modulate the aging process and delay the progression of some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Foods high in polyphenols, vitamin C, or carotenoids, olive oil, seeds, nuts, legumes, dietary supplements such as CoQ10, and some other dietary factors are the most important nutritional sources that have high antioxidant contents which can positively affect cell senescence and disease progression. Plant dietary patterns including Mediterranean diets can also inhibit telomere shortening following oxidative damages, and this can delay cell aging and senescence in age-related diseases. Further, olive oil can inhibit protein aggregation in Alzheimer's disease. It can be concluded that nutrition can delay the process of cell senescence in age-related diseases via inhibiting oxidative and inflammatory pathways. However, more studies are needed to better clarify the underlying mechanisms of nutrition and dietary components on cell senescence, aging, and disease progression, especially those related to age.