bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2022‒02‒27
seven papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cells. 2022 Feb 17. pii: 708. [Epub ahead of print]11(4):
      Despite rapid advances in the field of immunotherapy, the elimination of established tumors has not been achieved. Many promising new treatments such as adoptive cell therapy (ACT) fall short, primarily due to the loss of T cell effector function or the failure of long-term T cell persistence. With the availability of new tools and advancements in technology, our understanding of metabolic processes has increased enormously in the last decade. Redundancy in metabolic pathways and overlapping targets that could address the plasticity and heterogenous phenotypes of various T cell subsets have illuminated the need for understanding immunometabolism in the context of multiple disease states, including cancer immunology. Herein, we discuss the developing field of T cell immunometabolism and its crucial relevance to improving immunotherapeutic approaches. This in-depth review details the metabolic pathways and preferences of the antitumor immune system and the state of various metabolism-targeting therapeutic approaches.
    Keywords:  T cell metabolism; antitumor metabolism; cancer; immunometabolism; immunotherapy
  2. Int Immunopharmacol. 2022 Feb 18. pii: S1567-5769(22)00105-9. [Epub ahead of print]106 108621
      Immunometabolism is a therapeutic strategy to tune immune cells through metabolic reprogramming, which allows immune cells to be differentiated according to their energy requirements. Recent therapeutic strategies targeting immunometabolism suggest that intracellular metabolic reprogramming controls T cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation into effector (Teff) or regulatory (Treg) cells. Immunometabolism is being studied for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including those associated with solid organ transplantation (SOT). Here, we review immunometabolic regulation of immune cells, with a particular focus on Treg metabolic regulation and liver kinase B1 (LKB1) signaling, which stabilize Tregs and prevent inflammation-associated tissue injuries. All in all, here we discussed how targeting T cell immunometabolism modulates Teff and Treg-mediated immune responses, which can be used to boost Treg differentiation, stability, and ultimately favor immunotolerance in clinical transplants.
    Keywords:  Immunometabolism; Immunosuppression; Regulatory T cells
  3. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Feb;pii: e003525. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      BACKGROUND: Achieving robust responses with adoptive cell therapy for the treatment of the highly lethal pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has been elusive. We previously showed that T cells engineered to express a mesothelin-specific T cell receptor (TCRMsln) accumulate in autochthonous PDA, mediate therapeutic antitumor activity, but fail to eradicate tumors in part due to acquisition of a dysfunctional exhausted T cell state.METHODS: Here, we investigated the role of immune checkpoints in mediating TCR engineered T cell dysfunction in a genetically engineered PDA mouse model. The fate of engineered T cells that were either deficient in PD-1, or transferred concurrent with antibodies blocking PD-L1 and/or additional immune checkpoints, were tracked to evaluate persistence, functionality, and antitumor activity at day 8 and day 28 post infusion. We performed RNAseq on engineered T cells isolated from tumors and compared differentially expressed genes to prototypical endogenous exhausted T cells.
    RESULTS: PD-L1 pathway blockade and/or simultaneous blockade of multiple coinhibitory receptors during adoptive cell therapy was insufficient to prevent engineered T cell dysfunction in autochthonous PDA yet resulted in subclinical activity in the lung, without enhancing anti-tumor immunity. Gene expression analysis revealed that ex vivo TCR engineered T cells markedly differed from in vivo primed endogenous effector T cells which can respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Early after transfer, intratumoral TCR engineered T cells acquired a similar molecular program to prototypical exhausted T cells that arise during chronic viral infection, but the molecular programs later diverged. Intratumoral engineered T cells exhibited decreased effector and cell cycle genes and were refractory to TCR signaling.
    CONCLUSIONS: Abrogation of PD-1 signaling is not sufficient to overcome TCR engineered T cell dysfunction in PDA. Our study suggests that contributions by both the differentiation pathways induced during the ex vivo T cell engineering process and intratumoral suppressive mechanisms render engineered T cells dysfunctional and resistant to rescue by blockade of immune checkpoints.
    Keywords:  adoptive; cell engineering; cellular; immunity; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment
  4. Front Neurol. 2022 ;13 790884
      Antigen-induced T-cell exhaustion and T-cell senescence are peripheral regulatory mechanisms that control effector T-cell responses. Markers of exhaustion and senescence on T Cells indicate the previous activation by repetitive stimulation with specific antigens. Malignant tumors are accompanied by enhanced T-cell exhaustion and T-cell senescence resulting in immune evasion, while these control mechanisms might be diminished in autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). To better understand the involvement of antigen-induced T-cell senescence in controlling CD4+ T-cell-mediated autoimmune responses in MS, we have analyzed the re-expression of CD45RA and the downregulation of CD28 and CD27 molecules as markers of antigen-induced T-cell senescence in fresh cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-infiltrating and paired circulating T cells from patients with MS. Patients with different levels of CD4+ T-cell senescence were identified and characterized regarding demographical and clinical features as well as intrathecal markers of neurodegeneration. CD4+ T-cell senescence was also analyzed in control patients to explore a putative deficit of this regulatory mechanism in MS. This study shows heterogeneity of markers of CD4+ T-cell senescence in patients with MS. Patients with high levels of CD4+ T-cell senescence in peripheral blood showed increased frequencies of CSF-infiltrating CD28+ CD27-EM CD4+ T cells with a proinflammatory Th1 functional phenotype. The correlation of these cells with the intrathecal levels of neurofilament light chain, a marker of neurodegeneration, suggests their relevance in disease pathogenesis and the involvement of T-cell senescence in their regulation. Markers of antigen-induced T-senescence, therefore, show promise as a tool to identify pathogenic CD4+ T cells in patients with MS.
    Keywords:  CD4; T-cell; T-cell senescence; multiple sclerosis (MS); regulation
  5. Nat Immunol. 2022 Feb 21.
      The mechanisms underlying the heightened protection mediated by central memory CD8+ T (TCM) cells remain unclear. Here we show that the transcription factor Tcf1 was required in resting TCM cells to generate secondary effector CD8+ T cells and to clear pathogens during recall responses. Recall stimulation of CD8+ TCM cells caused extensive reprogramming of the transcriptome and chromatin accessibility, leading to rapid induction of glycolytic enzymes, cell cycle regulators and transcriptional regulators, including Id3. This cluster of genes did not require Tcf1 in resting CD8+ TCM cells, but depended on Tcf1 for optimal induction and chromatin opening in recall-stimulated CD8+ TCM cells. Tcf1 bound extensively to these recall-induced gene loci in resting CD8+ TCM cells and mediated chromatin interactions that positioned these genes in architectural proximity with poised enhancers. Thus, Tcf1 preprogramed a transcriptional program that supported the bioenergetic and proliferative needs of CD8+ TCM cells in case of a secondary challenge.
  6. J Clin Invest. 2022 Feb 22. pii: e153247. [Epub ahead of print]
      CD8+ T cell longevity regulated by metabolic activity plays important roles in cancer immunotherapy. Although in vitro polarized, transferred IL-9-secreting CD8+ Tc9 cells exert greater persistence and antitumor efficacy than Tc1/CTL cells, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we show that tumor-infiltrating Tc9 cells display significantly lower lipid peroxidation than Tc1 cells in several mouse models, which is strongly correlated with their persistence. Using RNA-sequence and functional validation, we found that Tc9 cells exhibited unique lipid metabolic programs. Tc9 cell-derived IL-9 activated STAT3, upregulated fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial activity, and rendered Tc9 cells with reduced lipid peroxidation and resistant to tumor or ROS induced ferroptosis in TME. IL-9 signal deficiency, inhibiting STAT3 or fatty acid oxidation increased lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis of Tc9 cells, resulting in impaired longevity and antitumor ability. Similarly, human Tc9 cells also possessed lower lipid peroxidation than Tc1 cells and tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells expressed lower IL-9 and higher lipid peroxidation- and ferroptosis-related genes than circulating CD8+ T cells in melanoma patients. This study indicates that lipid peroxidation regulates Tc9-cell longevity and antitumor effects via IL-9-STAT3-fatty acid oxidation pathway and regulating T-cell lipid peroxidation can be used to enhance T-cell based immunotherapy in human cancer.
    Keywords:  Cancer immunotherapy; Fatty acid oxidation; Immunology; Metabolism; T cells
  7. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Feb 23. 14(633): eabg3083
      The mechanisms underlying operational tolerance after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in humans are poorly understood. We studied two independent cohorts of patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from human leukocyte antigen-identical siblings. Primary tolerance was associated with long-lasting reshaping of the recipients' immune system compared to their healthy donors with an increased proportion of regulatory T cell subsets and decreased T cell activation, proliferation, and migration. Transcriptomics profiles also identified a role for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide biosynthesis in the regulation of immune cell functions. We then compared individuals with operational tolerance and nontolerant recipients at the phenotypic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic level. We observed alterations centered on CD38+-activated T and B cells in nontolerant patients. In tolerant patients, cell subsets with regulatory functions were prominent. RNA sequencing analyses highlighted modifications in the tolerant patients' transcriptomic profiles, particularly with overexpression of the ectoenzyme NT5E (encoding CD73), which could counterbalance CD38 enzymatic functions by producing adenosine. Further, metabolomic analyses suggested a central role of androgens in establishing operational tolerance. These data were confirmed using an integrative approach to evaluating the immune landscape associated with operational tolerance. Thus, balance between a CD38-activated immune state and CD73-related production of adenosine may be a key regulator of operational tolerance.