bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2022‒03‒20
five papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Exp Mol Med. 2022 Mar 16.
      It is well known that metabolism underlies T cell differentiation and functions. The pathways regulating T cell metabolism and function are interconnected, and changes in T cell metabolic activity directly impact the effector functions and fate of T cells. Thus, understanding how metabolic pathways influence immune responses and ultimately affect disease progression is paramount. Epigenetic and posttranslational modification mechanisms have been found to control immune responses and metabolic reprogramming. Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent histone deacetylases that play key roles during cellular responses to a variety of stresses and have recently been reported to have potential roles in immune responses. Therefore, sirtuins are of significant interest as therapeutic targets to treat immune-related diseases and enhance antitumor immunity. This review aims to illustrate the potential roles of sirtuins in different subtypes of T cells during the adaptive immune response.
  2. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Mar 10. 24 380-393
      Ex vivo expansion conditions used to generate T cells for immunotherapy are thought to adopt metabolic phenotypes that impede therapeutic efficacy in vivo. The comparison of five different culture media used for clinical T cell expansion revealed unique optima based on different output variables, including proliferation, differentiation, function, activation, and mitochondrial phenotypes. The extent of proliferation and function depended on the culture media rather than stimulation conditions. Moreover, the expanded T cell end products adapted their metabolism when switched to a different media formulation, as shown by glucose and glutamine uptake and patterns of glucose isotope labeling. However, adoption of these metabolic phenotypes was uncoupled to T cell function. Expanded T cell products cultured in ascites from ovarian cancer patients displayed suppressed mitochondrial activity and function irrespective of the ex vivo expansion media. Thus, ex vivo T cell expansion media have profound impacts on metabolism and function.
    Keywords:  13C tracer analysis; T cell expansion; cell-based immunotherapy; culture media; metabolism; phenotype
  3. Aging Cell. 2022 Mar 15. e13582
      Older humans and animals often exhibit reduced immune responses to infection and vaccination, and this often directly correlates to the numbers and frequency of naive T (Tn) cells. We found such a correlation between reduced numbers of blood CD8+ Tn cells and severe clinical outcomes of West Nile virus (WNV) in both humans naturally exposed to, and mice experimentally infected with, WNV. To examine possible causality, we sought to increase the number of CD8 Tn cells by treating C57BL/6 mice with IL-7 complexes (IL-7C, anti-IL-7 mAb bound to IL-7), shown previously to efficiently increase peripheral T-cell numbers by homeostatic proliferation. T cells underwent robust expansion following IL-7C administration to old mice increasing the number of total T cells (>fourfold) and NS4b:H-2Db -restricted antigen-specific CD8 T cells (twofold). This improved the numbers of NS4b-specific CD8 T cells detected at the peak of the response against WNV, but not survival of WNV challenge. IL-7C-treated old animals also showed no improvement in WNV-specific effector immunity (neutralizing antibody and in vivo T-cell cytotoxicity). To test quantitative limits to which CD8 Tn cell restoration could improve protective immunity, we transferred graded doses of Ag-specific precursors into old mice and showed that injection of 5400 (but not of 1800 or 600) adult naive WNV-specific CD8 T cells significantly increased survival after WNV. These results set quantitative limits to the level of Tn reconstitution necessary to improve immune defense in older organisms and are discussed in light of targets of immune reconstitution.
    Keywords:  IL-7/ CD8 T cells; immune aging; immune rejuvenation
  4. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Mar 16. 14(636): eabg8402
      To uncover underlying mechanisms associated with failure of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) blockade in clinical trials, we conducted a pilot, window-of-opportunity clinical study in 17 patients with newly diagnosed advanced high-grade serous ovarian cancer before their standard tumor debulking surgery. Patients were treated with the IDO1 inhibitor epacadostat, and immunologic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic characterization of the tumor microenvironment was undertaken in baseline and posttreatment tumor biopsies. IDO1 inhibition resulted in efficient blockade of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation and was accompanied by a metabolic adaptation that shunted tryptophan catabolism toward the serotonin pathway. This resulted in elevated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which reduced T cell proliferation and function. Because NAD+ metabolites could be ligands for purinergic receptors, we investigated the impact of blocking purinergic receptors in the presence or absence of NAD+ on T cell proliferation and function in our mouse model. We demonstrated that A2a and A2b purinergic receptor antagonists, SCH58261 or PSB1115, respectively, rescued NAD+-mediated suppression of T cell proliferation and function. Combining IDO1 inhibition and A2a/A2b receptor blockade improved survival and boosted the antitumor immune signature in mice with IDO1 overexpressing ovarian cancer. These findings elucidate the downstream adaptive metabolic consequences of IDO1 blockade in ovarian cancers that may undermine antitumor T cell responses in the tumor microenvironment.
  5. Nature. 2022 Mar 16.
      The engineering of autologous patient T cells for adoptive cell therapies has revolutionized the treatment of several types of cancer1. However, further improvements are needed to increase response and cure rates. CRISPR-based loss-of-function screens have been limited to negative regulators of T cell functions2-4 and raise safety concerns owing to the permanent modification of the genome. Here we identify positive regulators of T cell functions through overexpression of around 12,000 barcoded human open reading frames (ORFs). The top-ranked genes increased the proliferation and activation of primary human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and their secretion of key cytokines such as interleukin-2 and interferon-γ. In addition, we developed the single-cell genomics method OverCITE-seq for high-throughput quantification of the transcriptome and surface antigens in ORF-engineered T cells. The top-ranked ORF-lymphotoxin-β receptor (LTBR)-is typically expressed in myeloid cells but absent in lymphocytes. When overexpressed in T cells, LTBR induced profound transcriptional and epigenomic remodelling, leading to increased T cell effector functions and resistance to exhaustion in chronic stimulation settings through constitutive activation of the canonical NF-κB pathway. LTBR and other highly ranked genes improved the antigen-specific responses of chimeric antigen receptor T cells and γδ T cells, highlighting their potential for future cancer-agnostic therapies5. Our results provide several strategies for improving next-generation T cell therapies by the induction of synthetic cell programmes.