bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2022‒01‒16
fourteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cancer Lett. 2022 Jan 07. pii: S0304-3835(22)00006-4. [Epub ahead of print]529 139-152
      The dramatic success of adoptive transfer of engineered T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) has been achieved with effective responses in some relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies, which is not yet met in solid tumors. The efficacy of CAR-T therapy is associated with its fate determination and their interaction with cancer cells in tumor microenvironment (TME), which is closely correlated with T cell metabolism fitness. Indeed, modulating T cell metabolism reprogramming has been proven crucial for their survival and reinvigorating antitumor immunity, and thus is considered as a promising strategy to improve the clinical performance of CAR-T cell therapy in difficult-to-treat cancers. This review briefly summarizes the T cell metabolic profiles and key metabolic challenges it faces in TME such as nutrient depletion, hypoxia, and toxic metabolites, then emphatically discusses the potential strategies to modulate metabolic properties of CAR-T cells including improving CARs construct design, optimizing manufacture process via addition of exogenous cytokines or targeting specific signaling pathway, manipulating ROS levels balance or relieving the unfavorable metabolic TME including adaptation to hypoxia and blocking inhibitory effect of toxic metabolites, eventually strengthening the anti-tumor response.
    Keywords:  Glycolysis; Hypoxia; Immunosuppressive TME; Mitochondrial OXPHOS; T cell differentiation
  2. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 21. pii: 37. [Epub ahead of print]23(1):
      Energy sensors mTORC1 and AMPKα1 regulate T-cell metabolism and differentiation, while rapamycin (Rapa)-inhibition of mTORC1 (RIM) promotes T-cell memory. However, the underlying pathway and the role of AMPKα1 in Rapa-induced T-cell memory remain elusive. Using genetic and pharmaceutical tools, we demonstrate that Rapa promotes T-cell memory in mice in vivo post Listeria monocytogenesis rLmOVA infection and in vitro transition of effector T (TE) to memory T (TM) cells. IL-2- and IL-2+Rapa-stimulated T [IL-2/T and IL-2(Rapa+)/T] cells, when transferred into mice, differentiate into short-term IL-7R-CD62L-KLRG1+ TE and long-lived IL-7R+CD62L+KLRG1- TM cells, respectively. To assess the underlying pathways, we performed Western blotting, confocal microscopy and Seahorse-assay analyses using IL-2/T and IL-2(Rapa+)/T-cells. We determined that IL-2(Rapa+)/T-cells activate transcription FOXO1, TCF1 and Eomes and metabolic pAMPKα1(T172), pULK1(S555) and ATG7 molecules and promote mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty-acid oxidation (FAO). We found that rapamycin-treated AMPKα-deficient AMPKα1-KO IL-2(Rapa+)/TM cells up-regulate transcription factor HIF-1α and induce a metabolic switch from FAO to glycolysis. Interestingly, despite the rapamycin treatment, AMPKα-deficient TM cells lost their cell survival capacity. Taken together, our data indicate that rapamycin promotes T-cell memory via transcriptional FOXO1-TCF1-Eomes programs and AMPKα1-ULK1-ATG7 metabolic axis, and that AMPKα1 plays a critical role in RIM-induced T-cell memory.
    Keywords:  AMPKα1; FOXO1; S6K; T-cell memory; ULK1; autophagy; fatty acid oxidation; glycolysis; mTORC1; mitochondrial biogenesis; rapamycin
  3. Immunity. 2022 Jan 11. pii: S1074-7613(21)00548-3. [Epub ahead of print]55(1): 14-30
      Adaptive immune responses mediated by T cells and B cells are crucial for protective immunity against pathogens and tumors. Differentiation and function of immune cells require dynamic reprogramming of cellular metabolism. Metabolic inputs, pathways, and enzymes display remarkable flexibility and heterogeneity, especially in vivo. How metabolic plasticity and adaptation dictate functional specialization of immune cells is fundamental to our understanding and therapeutic modulation of the immune system. Extensive progress has been made in characterizing the effects of metabolic networks on immune cell fate and function in discrete microenvironments or immunological contexts. In this review, we summarize how rewiring of cellular metabolism determines the outcome of adaptive immunity in vivo, with a focus on how metabolites, nutrients, and driver genes in immunometabolism instruct cellular programming and immune responses during infection, inflammation, and cancer in mice and humans. Understanding context-dependent metabolic remodeling will manifest legitimate opportunities for therapeutic intervention of human disease.
  4. Immunity. 2022 Jan 11. pii: S1074-7613(21)00545-8. [Epub ahead of print]55(1): 1-3
      The role of folate-dependent one carbon (1C) metabolism in CD4+ T cell polarization is incompletely understood. In this issue of Immunity, Sugiura et al. (2021) provide evidence that blocking the 1C metabolic enzyme MTHFD2 may curb pro-inflammatory CD4+ T cells, while redirecting them toward a regulatory T cell phenotype.
  5. Clin Exp Immunol. 2021 Nov 18. pii: uxab012. [Epub ahead of print]
      Memory T cells are crucial players in vertebrate adaptive immunity but their development is incompletely understood. Here we describe a method to produce human memory-like T cells from naïve human T cells in culture. Using commercially available human T cell differentiation kits, both purified naïve CD8 + T cells and purified naïve CD4 + T cells were activated via T cell receptor signaling and appropriate cytokines for several days in culture. All the T cell activators were then removed from the medium and the cultures were continued in hypoxic condition (1% O2 atmosphere) for several more days; during this period, most of the cells died, but some survived in a quiescent state for a month. The survivors had small round cell bodies, expressed differentiation markers characteristic of memory T cells and restarted proliferation when the T cell activators were added back. We could also induce memory-like T cells from naïve human T cells without hypoxia, if we froze the activated T cells or prepared the naïve T cells from chilled filter buffy coats.
    Keywords:  CD4; CD8; ex vivo differentiation; memory T cell; naïve T cell
  6. Semin Immunopathol. 2022 Jan 12.
      It has emerged that an interconnected relationship exists between metabolism, circadian rhythms, and the immune system. The relationship between metabolism and circadian rhythms is not that surprising given the necessity to align rhythms of feeding/fasting with activity/rest. Recently, our understanding of the importance of metabolic pathways in terms of immune function, termed immunometabolism, has grown exponentially. It is now appreciated that the time of day during which the innate immune system is challenged strongly conditions the subsequent response. Recent observations have found that many individual components that make up the circadian clock also control aspects of metabolism in innate immune cells to modulate inflammation. This circadian/metabolic axis may be a key factor driving rhythmicity of immune function and circadian disruption is associated with a range of chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity, and diabetes. The field of "circadian immunometabolism" seeks to reveal undiscovered circadian controlled metabolic pathways that in turn regulate immune responses. The innate immune system has been intricately linked to chronic inflammatory diseases, and within the immune system, individual cell types carry out unique roles in inflammation. Therefore, circadian immunometabolism effects are unique to each innate immune cell.
    Keywords:  Circadian immunometabolism; Circadian rhythms; Inflammation; Innate immunity; Metabolism
  7. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Jan 07. pii: S0962-8924(21)00250-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular senescence is a stable cell growth arrest. Senescent cells are metabolically active, as exemplified by the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which is termed senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). The SASP exerts a range of functions in both normal health and pathology, which is possibly best characterized in cancers and physical aging. Recent studies demonstrated that chromatin is instrumental in regulating the SASP both through nuclear transcription and via the innate immune cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)-stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway in the cytoplasm. Here, we will review these regulatory mechanisms, with an emphasis on most recent developments in the field. We will highlight the challenges and opportunities in developing intervention approaches, such as targeting chromatin regulatory mechanisms, to alter the SASP as an emerging approach to combat cancers and achieve healthy aging.
    Keywords:  chromatin structure; cytoplasmic chromatin; enhancer–promoter interaction; senescence-associated secretory phenotype; senomorphics
  8. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2022 Jan 15.
      The immune system is the central regulator of tissue homeostasis, ensuring tissue regeneration and protection against both pathogens and the neoformation of cancer cells. Its proper functioning requires homeostatic properties, which are maintained by an adequate balance of myeloid and lymphoid responses. Aging progressively undermines this ability and compromises the correct activation of immune responses, as well as the resolution of the inflammatory response. A subclinical syndrome of "homeostatic frailty" appears as a distinctive trait of the elderly, which predisposes to immune debilitation and chronic low-grade inflammation (inflammaging), causing the uncontrolled development of chronic and degenerative diseases. The innate immune compartment, in particular, undergoes to a sequela of age-dependent functional alterations, encompassing steps of myeloid progenitor differentiation and altered responses to endogenous and exogenous threats. Here, we will review the age-dependent evolution of myeloid populations, as well as their impact on frailty and diseases of the elderly.
    Keywords:  Age-related disease; Frailty; Immunosenescence; Inflammaging; Myeloid cells
  9. Clin Exp Immunol. 2021 Dec 15. pii: uxab033. [Epub ahead of print]
      Metabolic inflammation, defined as a chronic low-grade inflammation, is implicated in numerous metabolic diseases. In recent years, the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) as key controllers of metabolic inflammation has emerged, but our comprehension on how different metabolic pathways influence Treg functions needs a deeper understanding. Here we focus on how circulating and intracellular lipid metabolism, in particular cholesterol metabolism, regulates Treg homeostasis, expansion, and functions. Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by circulating lipoproteins (chylomicrons, very low-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins). Tregs are equipped with a wide array of metabolic sensors able to perceive and respond to changes in the lipid environment through the activation of different intracellular pathways thus conferring to these cells a crucial metabolic and functional plasticity. Nevertheless, altered cholesterol transport, as observed in genetic dyslipidemias and atherosclerosis, impairs Treg proliferation and function through defective cellular metabolism. The intracellular pathway devoted to the cholesterol synthesis is the mevalonate pathway and several studies have shown that this pathway is essential for Treg stability and suppressive activity. High cholesterol concentrations in the extracellular environment may induce massive accumulation of cholesterol inside the cell thus impairing nutrients sensors and inhibiting the mevalonate pathway. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding the role of circulating and cellular cholesterol metabolism in the regulation of Treg metabolism and functions. In particular, we will discuss how different pathological conditions affecting cholesterol transport may affect cellular metabolism in Tregs.
    Keywords:  Treg; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; dyslipidemia; lipoproteins
  10. J Cell Mol Med. 2022 Jan 11.
      Immunotherapy is an attractive approach for treating cancer. T-cell engagers (TCEs) are a type of immunotherapy that are highly efficacious; however, they are challenged by weak T-cell activation and short persistence. Therefore, alternative solutions to induce greater activation and persistence of T cells during TCE immunotherapy is needed. Methods to activate T cells include the use of lectins, such as phytohemagglutinin (PHA). PHA has not been used to activate T cells in vivo, for immunotherapy, due to its biological instability and toxicity. An approach to overcome the limitations of PHA while also preserving its function is needed. In this study, we report a liposomal PHA which increased PHA stability, reduced toxicity and performed as an immunotherapeutic that is able to activate T cells for the use in future cancer immunotherapies to circumvent current obstacles in immunosuppression and T-cell exhaustion.
    Keywords:  T-cell activation; immunotherapy; nanoparticles
  11. J Immunol. 2022 Jan 14. pii: ji2100194. [Epub ahead of print]
      Aging is associated with functional deficits in the naive T cell compartment, which compromise the generation of de novo immune responses against previously unencountered Ags. The mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon have nonetheless remained unclear. We found that naive CD8+ T cells in elderly humans were prone to apoptosis and proliferated suboptimally in response to stimulation via the TCR. These abnormalities were associated with dysregulated lipid metabolism under homeostatic conditions and enhanced levels of basal activation. Importantly, reversal of the bioenergetic anomalies with lipid-altering drugs, such as rosiglitazone, almost completely restored the Ag responsiveness of naive CD8+ T cells. Interventions that favor lipid catabolism may therefore find utility as adjunctive therapies in the elderly to promote vaccine-induced immunity against targetable cancers and emerging pathogens, such as seasonal influenza viruses and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
  12. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 24. pii: 183. [Epub ahead of print]23(1):
      Ageing, in a natural way, leads to the gradual worsening of the functional capacity of all systems and, eventually, to death. This process is strongly associated with higher metabolic and oxidative stress, low-grade inflammation, accumulation of DNA mutations and increased levels of related damage. Detrimental changes that accumulate in body cells and tissues with time raise the vulnerability to environmental challenges and enhance the risk of major chronic diseases and mortality. There are several theses concerning the mechanisms of ageing: genetic, free radical telomerase, mitochondrial decline, metabolic damage, cellular senescence, neuroendocrine theory, Hay-flick limit and membrane theories, cellular death as well as the accumulation of toxic and non-toxic garbage. Moreover, ageing is associated with structural changes within the myocardium, cardiac conduction system, the endocardium as well as the vasculature. With time, the cardiac structures lose elasticity, and fibrotic changes occur in the heart valves. Ageing is also associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis. The results of studies suggest that some natural compounds may slow down this process and protect against age-related diseases. Animal studies imply that some of them may prolong the lifespan; however, this trend is not so obvious in humans.
    Keywords:  ageing; cardiovascular risk; resveratrol
  13. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Jan;24(1): 1
  14. FEBS J. 2022 Jan 11.
      The concept of Geroscience is that since aging is the greatest risk factor for many diseases and conditions, targeting the aging process itself will have the greatest impact on human health. Of the hallmarks of aging, cellular senescence has emerged as a druggable therapeutic target for extending healthspan in model organisms. Cellular senescence is a cell state of irreversible proliferative arrest driven by different types of stress, including oncogene-induced stress. Many senescent cells (SnCs) develop a senescent-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) comprising of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, proteases, bioactive lipids, inhibitory molecules, extracellular vesicles, metabolites, lipids and other factors, able to promote chronic inflammation and tissue dysfunction. SnCs upregulate senescent cell anti-apoptotic pathways (SCAPs) that prevent them from dying despite the accumulation of damage to DNA and other organelles. These SCAPs and other pathways altered in SnCs represent therapeutic targets for the development of senotherapeutic drugs that induce apoptosis of SnCs specifically, termed senolytics, or suppress markers of senescence, in particular the SASP, termed senomorphics. Here, we review the current state of the development of senolytics and senomorphics for the treatment of age-related diseases and disorders and extension of healthy longevity. In addition, the challenges of documenting senolytic and senomorphic activity in pre-clinical models and the current state of the clinical application of the different senotherapeutics will be discussed.
    Keywords:  PROTACs; SASP; SCAP; Senescence; aging; drug screening; geroscience; pro-drugs; senolytics; senomorphics