bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2022‒07‒17
fourteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Front Aging. 2021 ;2 681428
      Mitochondrial health and cellular metabolism can heavily influence the onset of senescence in T cells. CD8+ EMRA T cells exhibit mitochondrial dysfunction and alterations to oxidative phosphorylation, however, the metabolic properties of senescent CD8+ T cells from people living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are not known. We show here that mitochondria from T2D CD8+ T cells had a higher oxidative capacity together with increased levels of mitochondrial reactive oxgen species (mtROS), compared to age-matched control cells. While fatty acid uptake was increased, fatty acid oxidation was impaired in T2D CD8+ EMRA T cells, which also showed an accumulation of lipid droplets and decreased AMPK activity. Increasing glucose and fatty acids in healthy CD8+ T cells resulted in increased p-p53 expression and a fragmented mitochondrial morphology, similar to that observed in T2D CD8+ EMRA T cells. The resulting mitochondrial changes are likely to have a profound effect on T cell function. Consequently, a better understanding of these metabolic abnormalities is crucial as metabolic manipulation of these cells may restore correct T cell function and help reduce the impact of T cell dysfunction in T2D.
    Keywords:  T cell; ageing; inflammation; metabolism; mitochondria; senescence; type 2 diabetes
  2. Cell Metab. 2022 Jul 07. pii: S1550-4131(22)00228-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a unique metabolic niche that can inhibit T cell metabolism and cytotoxicity. To dissect the metabolic interplay between tumors and T cells, we establish an in vitro system that recapitulates the metabolic niche of the TME and allows us to define cell-specific metabolism. We identify tumor-derived lactate as an inhibitor of CD8+ T cell cytotoxicity, revealing an unexpected metabolic shunt in the TCA cycle. Metabolically fit cytotoxic T cells shunt succinate out of the TCA cycle to promote autocrine signaling via the succinate receptor (SUCNR1). Cytotoxic T cells are reliant on pyruvate carboxylase (PC) to replenish TCA cycle intermediates. By contrast, lactate reduces PC-mediated anaplerosis. The inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) is sufficient to restore PC activity, succinate secretion, and the activation of SUCNR1. These studies identify PDH as a potential drug target to allow CD8+ T cells to retain cytotoxicity and overcome a lactate-enriched TME.
    Keywords:  T cells; cancer metabolism; lactate; pyruvate; succinate; tumor immunity
  3. Front Aging. 2021 ;2 809539
      Lysosomes were initially recognized as degradation centers that regulate digestion and recycling of cellular waste. More recent studies document that the lysosome is an important signaling hub that regulates cell metabolism. Our knowledge of the role of lysosomes in immunity is mostly derived from innate immune cells, especially lysosomal degradation-specialized cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells. Their function in adaptive immunity is less understood. However, with the recent emphasis on metabolic regulation of T cell differentiation, lysosomes are entering center stage in T cell immunology. In this review, we will focus on the role of lysosomes in adaptive immunity and discuss recent findings on lysosomal regulation of T cell immune responses and lysosomal dysfunction in T cell aging.
    Keywords:  T cell aging; T follicular helper cell; late endosomes; lysosome; mTORC1; memory T cell
  4. Front Aging. 2022 ;3 838943
      The decreased proportion of antigen-inexperienced, naïve T cells is a hallmark of aging in both humans and mice, and contributes to reduced immune responses, particularly against novel and re-emerging pathogens. Naïve T cells depend on survival signals received during their circulation among the lymph nodes by direct contacts with stroma, in particular fibroblastic reticular cells. Macroscopic changes to the architecture of the lymph nodes have been described, but it is unclear how lymph node stroma are altered with age, and whether these changes contribute to reduced naïve T cell maintenance. Here, using 2-photon microscopy, we determined that the aged lymph node displayed increased fibrosis and correspondingly, that naïve T-cell motility was impaired in the aged lymph node, especially in proximity to fibrotic deposition. Functionally, adoptively transferred young naïve T-cells exhibited reduced homeostatic turnover in aged hosts, supporting the role of T cell-extrinsic mechanisms that regulate their survival. Further, we determined that early development of resident fibroblastic reticular cells was impaired, which may correlate to the declining levels of naïve T-cell homeostatic factors observed in aged lymph nodes. Thus, our study addresses the controversy as to whether aging impacts the composition lymph node stroma and supports a model in which impaired differentiation of lymph node fibroblasts and increased fibrosis inhibits the interactions necessary for naïve T cell homeostasis.
    Keywords:  T cell aging; fibrosis; live imaging; lymph nodes; lymphotoxin; naive T cells; two-photon microscopy
  5. Front Aging. 2021 ;2 714239
      As people around the world continue to live longer, maintaining a good quality of life is of increasing importance. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the elderly are disproportionally vulnerable to infectious diseases and Immunosenescence plays a critical role in that. An ageing immune system influences the conventional activity of T cells which are at the forefront of eliminating harmful foreign antigens. With ageing, unconventional end-stage T cells, that exhibit a senescent phenotype, amass. These senescent T cells deviate from T cell receptor (TCR) signaling toward natural killer (NK) activity. The transition toward innate immune cell function from these adaptor T cells impacts antigen specificity, contributing to increased susceptibility of infection in the elderly. The mechanism by which senescent T cells arise remains largely unclear however in this review we investigate the part that bystander activation plays in driving the change in function of T cells with age. Cytokine-induced bystander activation may offer a plausible explanation for the induction of NK-like activity and senescence in T cells. Further understanding of these specific NK-like senescent T cells allows us to identify the benefits and detriments of these cells in health and disease which can be utilized or regulated, respectively. This review discusses the dynamic of senescent T cells in adopting NK-like T cells and the implications that has in an infectious disease context, predominately in the elderly.
    Keywords:  NK-like CD8(+) T cells; ageing; bystander activation of T cells; immunosenecence; senescent T cells
  6. Front Aging. 2022 ;3 900028
      With aging, there is increased dysfunction of both innate and adaptive immune responses, which contributes to impaired immune responses to pathogens and greater mortality and morbidity. This age-related immune dysfunction is defined in general as immunosenescence and includes an increase in the number of memory T cells, loss of ability to respond to antigen and a lingering level of low-grade inflammation. However, certain features of immunosenescence are similar to cellular senescence, which is defined as the irreversible loss of proliferation in response to damage and stress. Importantly, senescence cells can develop an inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), that also drives non-autonomous cellular senescence and immune dysfunction. Interestingly, viral infection can increase the extent of immune senescence both directly and indirectly, leading to increased immune dysfunction and inflammation, especially in the elderly. This review focuses on age-related immune dysfunction, cellular senescence and the impaired immune response to pathogens.
    Keywords:  aging; immunity; immunosenescence; senescence; senolytic
  7. Front Aging. 2022 ;3 867950
      The aging process causes profound restructuring of the host immune system, typically associated with declining host protection against cancer and infection. In the case of T cells, aging leads to the accumulation of a diverse set of T-cell aging-associated phenotypes (TASP), some of which have been implicated in driving tissue inflammation in autoimmune diseases. T cell aging as a risk determinant for autoimmunity is exemplified in two classical autoimmune conditions: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a disease predominantly affecting postmenopausal women, and giant cell arteritis (GCA), an inflammatory vasculopathy exclusively occurring during the 6th-9th decade of life. Pathogenic T cells in RA emerge as a consequence of premature immune aging. They have shortening and fragility of telomeric DNA ends and instability of mitochondrial DNA. As a result, they produce a distinct profile of metabolites, disproportionally expand their endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes and release excess amounts of pro-inflammatory effector cytokines. Characteristically, they are tissue invasive, activate the inflammasome and die a pyroptotic death. Patients with GCA expand pathogenic CD4+ T cells due to aberrant expression of the co-stimulatory receptor NOTCH1 and the failure of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint. In addition, GCA patients lose anti-inflammatory Treg cells, promoting tissue-destructive granulomatous vasculitis. In summary, emerging data identify T cell aging as a risk factor for autoimmune disease and directly link TASPs to the breakdown of T cell tolerance and T-cell-induced tissue inflammation.
    Keywords:  autoimmune disease; giant cell arteritis; immune aging; mitochondrial metabolism; rheumatoid arthritis; tissue invasiveness; treg aging; vasculitis
  8. J Immunol. 2022 Jul 13. pii: ji2200041. [Epub ahead of print]
      We had shown previously that the protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit PPP2R2D suppresses IL-2 production, and PPP2R2D deficiency in T cells potentiates the suppressive function of regulatory T (Treg) cells and alleviates imiquimod-induced lupus-like pathology. In this study, in a melanoma xenograft model, we noted that the tumor grew in larger sizes in mice lacking PPP2R2D in T cells (LckCreR2Dfl/fl) compared with wild type (R2Dfl/fl) mice. The numbers of intratumoral T cells in LckCreR2Dfl/fl mice were reduced compared with R2Dfl/fl mice, and they expressed a PD-1+CD3+CD44+ exhaustion phenotype. In vitro experiments confirmed that the chromatin of exhaustion markers PD-1, LAG3, TIM3, and CTLA4 remained open in LckCreR2Dfl/fl CD4 T conventional compared with R2Dfl/fl T conventional cells. Moreover, the percentage of Treg cells (CD3+CD4+Foxp3+CD25hi) was significantly increased in the xenografted tumor of LckCreR2Dfl/fl mice compared with R2Dfl/fl mice probably because of the increase in the percentage of IL-2-producing LckCreR2Dfl/fl T cells. Moreover, using adoptive T cell transfer in mice xenografted with melanoma, we demonstrated that PPP2R2D deficiency in T cells enhanced the inhibitory effect of Treg cells in antitumor immunity. At the translational level, analysis of publicly available data from 418 patients with melanoma revealed that PPP2R2D expression levels correlated positively with tumor-infiltration level of CD4 and CD8 T cells. The data demonstrate that PPP2R2D is a negative regulator of immune checkpoint receptors, and its absence exacerbates effector T cell exhaustion and promotes Treg cell expansion. We conclude that PPP2R2D protects against melanoma growth, and PPP2R2D-promoting regimens can have therapeutic value in patients with melanoma.
  9. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Jul 11. pii: S0753-3322(22)00784-3. [Epub ahead of print]153 113395
      Cluster of differentiation 38 (CD38) is a multifunctional extracellular enzyme on the cell surface with NADase and cyclase activities. CD38 is not only expressed in human immune cells, such as lymphocytes and plasma cells, but also is abnormally expressed in a variety of tumor cells, which is closely related to the occurrence and development of tumors. T cells are one of the important immune cells in the body. As NAD consuming enzymes, CD38, ART2, SIRT1 and PARP1 are closely related to the number and function of T cells. CD38 may also influence the activity of ART2, SIRT1 and PARP1 through the CD38-NAD+ axis to indirectly affect the number and function of T cells. Thus, CD38-NAD+ axis has a profound effect on T cell activity. In this paper, we reviewed the role and mechanism of CD38+ CD4+ T cells / CD38+ CD8+ T cells in cellular immunity and the effects of the CD38-NAD+ axis on T cell activity. We also summarized the relationship between the CD38 expression level on T cell surface and disease prediction and prognosis, the effects of anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies on T cell activity and function, and the role of anti-CD38 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy in tumor immunity. This will provide an important theoretical basis for a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between CD38 and T cells.
    Keywords:  CD38; CD38-NAD(+) axis; HIV-1; T cells; Therapy
  10. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 14. 13(1): 4078
      The lack of tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells is associated with poor patient response to anti-PD-1 therapy. Understanding how tumor infiltration is regulated is key to improving treatment efficacy. Here, we report that phosphorylation of HRS, a pivotal component of the ESCRT complex involved in exosome biogenesis, restricts tumor infiltration of cytolytic CD8+ T cells. Following ERK-mediated phosphorylation, HRS interacts with and mediates the selective loading of PD-L1 to exosomes, which inhibits the migration of CD8+ T cells into tumors. In tissue samples from patients with melanoma, CD8+ T cells are excluded from the regions where tumor cells contain high levels of phosphorylated HRS. In murine tumor models, overexpression of phosphorylated HRS increases resistance to anti-PD-1 treatment, whereas inhibition of HRS phosphorylation enhances treatment efficacy. Our study reveals a mechanism by which phosphorylation of HRS in tumor cells regulates anti-tumor immunity by inducing PD-L1+ immunosuppressive exosomes, and suggests HRS phosphorylation blockade as a potential strategy to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.
  11. Front Aging. 2022 ;3 820215
      The risk of morbidity and mortality increases exponentially with age. Chronic inflammation, accumulation of DNA damage, dysfunctional mitochondria, and increased senescent cell load are factors contributing to this. Mechanistic investigations have revealed specific pathways and processes which, proposedly, cause age-related phenotypes such as frailty, reduced physical resilience, and multi-morbidity. Among promising treatments alleviating the consequences of aging are caloric restriction and pharmacologically targeting longevity pathways such as the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), sirtuins, and anti-apoptotic pathways in senescent cells. Regulation of these pathways and processes has revealed significant health- and lifespan extending results in animal models. Nevertheless, it remains unclear if similar results translate to humans. A requirement of translation are the development of age- and morbidity associated biomarkers as longitudinal trials are difficult and not feasible, practical, nor ethical when human life span is the endpoint. Current biomarkers and the results of anti-aging intervention studies in humans will be covered within this paper. The future of clinical trials targeting aging may be phase 2 and 3 studies with larger populations if safety and tolerability of investigated medication continues not to be a hurdle for further investigations.
    Keywords:  NAD; aging; caloric restriction; clinical trials; exercise; rapamycin
  12. Aging Cell. 2022 Jul 11. e13668
      A variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to the altered efficiency of CTLs in elderly organisms. In particular, the efficacy of antiviral CD8+ T cells responses in the elderly has come back into focus since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. However, the exact molecular mechanisms leading to alterations in T cell function and the origin of the observed impairments have not been fully explored. Therefore, we investigated whether intrinsic changes affect the cytotoxic ability of CD8+ T cells in aging. We focused on the different subpopulations and time-resolved quantification of cytotoxicity during tumor cell elimination. We report a surprising result: Killing kinetics of CD8+ T cells from elderly mice are much faster than those of CD8+ T cells from adult mice. This is true not only in the total CD8+ T cell population but also for their effector (TEM ) and central memory (TCM ) T cell subpopulations. TIRF experiments reveal that CD8+ T cells from elderly mice possess comparable numbers of fusion events per cell, but significantly increased numbers of cells with granule fusion. Analysis of the cytotoxic granule (CG) content shows significantly increased perforin and granzyme levels and turns CD8+ T cells of elderly mice into very efficient killers. This highlights the importance of distinguishing between cell-intrinsic alterations and microenvironmental changes in elderly individuals. Our results also stress the importance of analyzing the dynamics of CTL cytotoxicity against cancer cells because, with a simple endpoint lysis analysis, cytotoxic differences could have easily been overlooked.
    Keywords:  CD8+ T cells; CTL; aging; cytotoxicity; granzyme; immunosenescence; perforin; tumor immunology
  13. Front Aging. 2021 ;2 665637
      CD8+ T cells play an important role in protection against viral infections. With age, changes in the T-cell pool occur, leading to diminished responses against both new and recurring infections in older adults. This is thought to be due to a decrease in both T-cell numbers and T-cell receptor (TCR) diversity. Latent infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is assumed to contribute to this age-associated decline of the immune system. The observation that the level of TCR diversity in the total memory T-cell pool stays relatively stable during aging is remarkable in light of the constant input of new antigen-specific memory T cells. What happens with the diversity of the individual antigen-specific T-cell repertoires in the memory pool remains largely unknown. Here we studied the effect of aging on the phenotype and repertoire diversity of CMV-specific and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific CD8+ T cells, as well as the separate effects of aging and CMV-infection on the EBV-specific T-cell repertoire. Antigen-specific T cells against both persistent viruses showed an age-related increase in the expression of markers associated with a more differentiated phenotype, including KLRG-1, an increase in the fraction of terminally differentiated T cells, and a decrease in the diversity of the T-cell repertoire. Not only age, but also CMV infection was associated with a decreased diversity of the EBV-specific T-cell repertoire. This suggests that both CMV infection and age can impact the T-cell repertoire against other antigens.
    Keywords:  Epstein-Barr virus; T cell; T-cell repertoire; aging; cytomegalovirus