bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2021‒10‒03
ten papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cells. 2021 Sep 15. pii: 2435. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Although advances in preventive medicine have greatly improved prognosis, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death worldwide. This clearly indicates that there remain residual cardiovascular risks that have not been targeted by conventional therapies. The results of multiple animal studies and clinical trials clearly indicate that inflammation is the most important residual risk and a potential target for CVD prevention. The immune cell network is intricately regulated to maintain homeostasis. Ageing associated changes to the immune system occurs in both innate and adaptive immune cells, however T cells are most susceptible to this process. T-cell changes due to thymic degeneration and homeostatic proliferation, metabolic abnormalities, telomere length shortening, and epigenetic changes associated with aging and obesity may not only reduce normal immune function, but also induce inflammatory tendencies, a process referred to as immunosenescence. Since the disruption of biological homeostasis by T cell immunosenescence is closely related to the development and progression of CVD via inflammation, senescent T cells are attracting attention as a new therapeutic target. In this review, we discuss the relationship between CVD and T cell immunosenescence associated with aging and obesity.
    Keywords:  T cell; cardiovascular disease; immunosenescence; obesity
  2. Life Sci Alliance. 2021 Dec;pii: e202101013. [Epub ahead of print]4(12):
      Human CD4+ T cells are essential mediators of immune responses. By altering the mitochondrial and metabolic states, we defined metabolic requirements of human CD4+ T cells for in vitro activation, expansion, and effector function. T-cell activation and proliferation were reduced by inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation, whereas early cytokine production was maintained by either OXPHOS or glycolytic activity. Glucose deprivation in the presence of mild mitochondrial stress markedly reduced all three T-cell functions, contrasting the exposure to resveratrol, an antioxidant and sirtuin-1 activator, which specifically inhibited cytokine production and T-cell proliferation, but not T-cell activation. Conditions that inhibited T-cell activation were associated with the down-regulation of 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase genes via interferon response pathways. Our findings indicate that T-cell function is grossly impaired by stressors combined with nutrient deprivation, suggesting that correcting nutrient availability, metabolic stress, and/or the function of T cells in these conditions will improve the efficacy of T-cell-based therapies.
  3. Cells. 2021 Sep 06. pii: 2334. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      The metabolic milieu of solid tumors provides a barrier to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. Excessive lactate or hypoxia suppresses T-cell growth, through mechanisms including NADH buildup and the depletion of oxidized metabolites. NADH is converted into NAD+ by the enzyme Lactobacillus brevis NADH Oxidase (LbNOX), which mimics the oxidative function of the electron transport chain without generating ATP. Here we determine if LbNOX promotes human CAR T-cell metabolic activity and antitumor efficacy. CAR T-cells expressing LbNOX have enhanced oxygen as well as lactate consumption and increased pyruvate production. LbNOX renders CAR T-cells resilient to lactate dehydrogenase inhibition. But in vivo in a model of mesothelioma, CAR T-cell's expressing LbNOX showed no increased antitumor efficacy over control CAR T-cells. We hypothesize that T cells in hostile environments face dual metabolic stressors of excessive NADH and insufficient ATP production. Accordingly, futile T-cell NADH oxidation by LbNOX is insufficient to promote tumor clearance.
    Keywords:  LDHA; Lactobacillus brevis NADH oxidase; armor CAR T-cells
  4. Cells. 2021 Aug 28. pii: 2234. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) comprise an important memory T cell subset that mediates local protection upon pathogen re-encounter. TRM populations preferentially localize at entry sites of pathogens, including epithelia of the skin, lungs and intestine, but have also been observed in secondary lymphoid tissue, brain, liver and kidney. More recently, memory T cells characterized as TRM have also been identified in tumors, including but not limited to melanoma, lung carcinoma, cervical carcinoma, gastric carcinoma and ovarian carcinoma. The presence of these memory T cells has been strongly associated with favorable clinical outcomes, which has generated an interest in targeting TRM cells to improve immunotherapy of cancer patients. Nevertheless, intratumoral TRM have also been found to express checkpoint inhibitory receptors, such as PD-1 and LAG-3. Triggering of such inhibitory receptors could induce dysfunction, often referred to as exhaustion, which may limit the effectiveness of TRM in countering tumor growth. A better understanding of the differentiation and function of TRM in tumor settings is crucial to deploy these memory T cells in future treatment options of cancer patients. The purpose of this review is to provide the current status of an important cancer immunotherapy known as TIL therapy, insight into the role of TRM in the context of antitumor immunity, and the challenges and opportunities to exploit these cells for TIL therapy to ultimately improve cancer treatment.
    Keywords:  CD8+ memory T cells; Cytotoxic T cells; T cell exhaustion; adoptive cell therapy; immunotherapy; tissue-resident memory T cells
  5. ACS Cent Sci. 2021 Sep 22. 7(9): 1508-1515
      Effector T cells comprise the cellular arm of the adaptive immune system and are essential for mounting immune responses against pathogens and cancer. To reach effector status, costimulation through CD28 is required. Here, we report that sialic acid-containing glycans on the surface of both T cells and APCs are alternative ligands of CD28 that compete with binding to its well-documented activatory ligand CD80 on the APC, resulting in attenuated costimulation. Removal of sialic acids enhances antigen-mediated activation of naïve T cells and also increases the revival of effector T cells made hypofunctional or exhausted via chronic viral infection. This occurs through a mechanism that is synergistic with antibody blockade of the inhibitory PD-1 axis. These results reveal a previously unrecognized role of sialic acid ligands in attenuation of CD28-mediated costimulation of T cells.
  6. Transplant Cell Ther. 2021 Sep 28. pii: S2666-6367(21)01260-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Vitamin D promotes a shift from a pro-inflammatory to a more tolerogenic immune state in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) recipients. The dominant mechanism responsible for this shift has not been elucidated. We took a multifaceted approach to evaluating the clinical and immunologic impact of low vitamin D levels in 53 HCT recipients. We used 28-plex flow cytometry for immunophenotyping, serum cytokine levels, T-cell cytokine production and T-cell whole genome transcription. The median day-30 vitamin D level was 20 ng/mL, and deficiency was common in younger patients undergoing myeloablative transplants. Low vitamin D levels were associated with a high CD8/Treg ratio; increased serum levels and T-cell production of proinflammatory cytokines; and a gene expression signature of unrestrained T-cell proliferation and epigenetic modulation through the PRC2/EZH2 complex. Immunophenotyping confirmed a strong association between high levels of vitamin D and an activated EZH2 signature, characterized by overexpression of ID3, which has a role in effector T-cell differentiation. Our findings demonstrate the critical role of vitamin D in modulating T-cell function in human GVHD and identify a previously undescribed interaction with EZH2 and ID3 which may impact effector differentiation and has implications to cell therapies and other forms of cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  Acute graft-versus-host disease; Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; Epigenetic regulation; T-cell function; Vitamin D
  7. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2021 Sep 27.
      The discovery and clinical implementation of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting CTLA4, PD-1 and PD-L1 has revolutionized the treatment of cancer, as recognized by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. This groundbreaking new approach has improved the outcomes of patients with various forms of advanced-stage cancer; however, the majority of patients receiving these therapies, even in combination, do not derive clinical benefit. Further development of agents targeting additional immune checkpoints, co-stimulatory receptors and/or co-inhibitory receptors that control T cell function is therefore critical. In this Review, we discuss the translational potential and clinical development of agents targeting both co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory T cell receptors. Specifically, we describe their mechanisms of action, and provide an overview of ongoing clinical trials involving novel ICIs including those targeting LAG3, TIM3, TIGIT and BTLA as well as agonists of the co-stimulatory receptors GITR, OX40, 41BB and ICOS. We also discuss several additional approaches, such as harnessing T cell metabolism, in particular via adenosine signalling, inhibition of IDO1, and targeting changes in glucose and fatty acid metabolism. We conclude that further efforts are needed to optimize the timing of combination ICI approaches and, most importantly, to individualize immunotherapy based on both patient-specific and tumour-specific characteristics.
  8. Phytomedicine. 2021 Sep 16. pii: S0944-7113(21)00301-9. [Epub ahead of print]92 153758
      BACKGROUND: Despite recent advances in understanding the complex immunologic dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment (TME), fewer than 20% of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) respond to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). Thus, it is important to understand how inhibitory IC receptors maintain the suppressed dysfunctional TME, and to develop more effective combination immunotherapy. This study evaluated the immune-modulating effects of Curcumin, which has well-established anti-cancer and chemopreventive properties, and its long-term safety as a phytochemical drug.METHODS: We carried out the western blot and small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection assay to evaluate the effects of Curcumin on IC ligands and IC ligands function in HNSCC. Through T-cell cytotoxicity assay and measurements of cytokine secretion, we assessed the effects of combination of Curcumin with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) Ab on cancer cell killing. Flow cytometry were used to analyze the effects of Curcumin on the expression of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain3 (TIM-3) on CD4, CD8 and Treg. Immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry and western blot were used to detecte the cytokine (IFN-γ, Granzyme B), IC receptors (PD-1 and TIM-3) and its ligands (PD-L1, PD-L2, Galectin-9) in xenograft mouse model and 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4-NQO) oral cancer model.
    RESULTS: We found that Curcumin decreased the expression of IC ligands such as PD-L1, PD-L2, and Galectin-9 in HNSCC, leading to regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-associated tumor invasion. Curcumin also effectively restored the ability of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells to lyse cancer cells. To evaluate the effect of Curcumin on the TME further, the 4-NQO oral cancer model was used. Curcumin increased T-cell proliferation, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and effector cytokines, and decreased the expression of PD-1, TIM-3, suppressive IC receptors and their ligands (PD-L1, PD-L2, and Galectin-9) in the TME, implying reinvigoration of the exhausted CD8+ T cells. In addition, Curcumin inhibited expression of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells as well as PD-1 and TIM-3.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results show that Curcumin reinvigorates defective T cells via multiple (PD-1 and TIM-3) and multi-level (IC receptors and its ligands) IC axis suppression, thus providing a rationale to combine Curcumin with conventional targeted therapy or ICB as a multi-faceted approach for treating patients with HNSCC.
    Keywords:  Curcumin; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); Multiple immune checkpoint blockade; PD-1/PD-L1; T cell dysfunction; TIM-3/Galectin-9