bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2023‒01‒29
eighteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 1044737
      Obesity has a pronounced effect on the immune response in systemic organs that results in not only insulin resistance but also altered immune responses to infectious diseases and malignant tumors. Obesity-associated microenvironmental changes alter transcriptional expression and metabolism in T cells, leading to alterations in T-cell differentiation, proliferation, function, and survival. Adipokines, cytokines, and lipids derived from obese visceral adipose tissue (VAT) may also contribute to the systemic T-cell phenotype, resulting in obesity-specific pathogenesis. VAT T cells, which have multiple roles in regulating homeostasis and energy utilization and defending against pathogens, are most susceptible to obesity. In particular, many studies have shown that CD4 T cells are deeply involved in the homeostasis of VAT endocrine and metabolic functions and in obesity-related chronic inflammation. In obesity, macrophages and adipocytes in VAT function as antigen-presenting cells and contribute to the obesity-specific CD4 T-cell response by inducing CD4 T-cell proliferation and differentiation into inflammatory effectors via interactions between major histocompatibility complex class II and T-cell receptors. When obesity persists, prolonged stimulation by leptin and circulating free fatty acids, repetitive antigen stimulation, activating stress responses, and hypoxia induce exhaustion of CD4 T cells in VAT. T-cell exhaustion is characterized by restricted effector function, persistent expression of inhibitory receptors, and a transcriptional state distinct from functional effector and memory T cells. Moreover, obesity causes thymic regression, which may result in homeostatic proliferation of obesity-specific T-cell subsets due to changes in T-cell metabolism and gene expression in VAT. In addition to causing T-cell exhaustion, obesity also accelerates cellular senescence of CD4 T cells. Senescent CD4 T cells secrete osteopontin, which causes further VAT inflammation. The obesity-associated transformation of CD4 T cells remains a negative legacy even after weight loss, causing treatment resistance of obesity-related conditions. This review discusses the marked transformation of CD4 T cells in VAT and systemic organs as a consequence of obesity-related microenvironmental changes.
    Keywords:  CD4 T cells; adipose tissue; immunosenescence; obesity; osteopontin
  2. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 1082195
      In the setting of chronic antigen exposure in the tumor microenvironment (TME), cytotoxic CD8+ T cells (CTLs) lose their immune surveillance capabilities and ability to clear tumor cells as a result of their differentiation into terminally exhausted CD8+ T cells. Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) therapies reinvigorate exhausted CD8+ T cells by targeting specific inhibitory receptors, thus promoting their cytolytic activity towards tumor cells. Despite exciting results with ICB therapies, many patients with solid tumors still fail to respond to such therapies and patients who initially respond can develop resistance. Recently, through new sequencing technologies such as the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq), epigenetics has been appreciated as a contributing factor that enforces T cell differentiation toward exhaustion in the TME. Importantly, specific epigenetic alterations and epigenetic factors have been found to control CD8+ T cell exhaustion phenotypes. In this review, we will explain the background of T cell differentiation and various exhaustion states and discuss how epigenetics play an important role in these processes. Then we will outline specific epigenetic changes and certain epigenetic and transcription factors that are known to contribute to CD8+ T cell exhaustion. We will also discuss the most recent methodologies that are used to study and discover such epigenetic modulations. Finally, we will explain how epigenetic reprogramming is a promising approach that might facilitate the development of novel exhausted T cell-targeting immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  ATAC-seq; CD8+ T cell; HDAC; PD-1; SLAMF7; TOX; epigenetics; tumor microenvironment
  3. Trends Cancer. 2023 Jan 19. pii: S2405-8033(22)00282-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Despite advances in understanding tumor biology, malignant gliomas remain incurable. While immunotherapy has improved outcomes in other cancer types, comparable efficacy has not yet been demonstrated for primary cancers of the central nervous system (CNS). T cell exhaustion, defined as a progressive decrease in effector function, sustained expression of inhibitory receptors, metabolic dysfunction, and distinct epigenetic and transcriptional alterations, contributes to the failure of immunotherapy in the CNS. Herein, we describe recent advances in understanding the drivers of T cell exhaustion in the glioma microenvironment. We discuss the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that contribute to exhaustion and highlight potential avenues for reversing this phenotype. Our ability to directly target specific immunosuppressive drivers in brain cancers would be a major advance in immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  T cells; exhaustion; immunology; neuro-oncology; treatment modalities
  4. Leukemia. 2023 Jan 21.
      Many acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients exhibit hallmarks of immune exhaustion, such as increased myeloid-derived suppressor cells, suppressive regulatory T cells and dysfunctional T cells. Similarly, we have identified the same immune-related features, including exhausted CD8+ T cells (TEx) in a mouse model of AML. Here we show that inhibitors that target bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) proteins affect tumor-intrinsic factors but also rescue T cell exhaustion and ICB resistance. Ex vivo treatment of cells from AML mice and AML patients with BET inhibitors (BETi) reversed CD8+ T cell exhaustion by restoring proliferative capacity and expansion of the more functional precursor-exhausted T cells. This reversal was enhanced by combined BETi and anti-PD1 treatment. BETi synergized with anti-PD1 in vivo, resulting in the reduction of circulating leukemia cells, enrichment of CD8+ T cells in the bone marrow, and increase in expression of Tcf7, Slamf6, and Cxcr5 in CD8+ T cells. Finally, we profiled the epigenomes of in vivo JQ1-treated AML-derived CD8+ T cells by single-cell ATAC-seq and found that JQ1 increases Tcf7 accessibility specifically in Tex cells, suggesting that BETi likely acts mechanistically by relieving repression of progenitor programs in Tex CD8+ T cells and maintaining a pool of anti-PD1 responsive CD8+ T cells.
  5. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 1042609
      Aging is accompanied with progressive deterioration of immune responses and tissue's function. Using 12-month-old mice as model, we showed that conditioned medium of human cord blood mesenchymal stem cells (CBMSC-CM) significantly reduced the population percentage of CD3-CD335+ NK and CD4+CD25+ regulatory T-cells in peripheral blood. The CBMSC-CM administration also increased naïve T-cells number and restored the ratio of naïve to memory T-cells in CD4+ T-cells population. These results indicated that CBMSC-CM improved the immune response efficiency of aged mice. Moreover, we also found CBMSC-CM treatment significantly reduced the number of senescenT-cells in kidney tissues. Finally, we demonstrated that CBMSC-CM remarkably attenuated hydrogen peroxide triggered T-cell response and ameliorated oxidative stress induced cellular senescence. All of these data suggest a prominent anti-aging effect of secretome of CBMSCs.
    Keywords:  anti-aging; cord blood; immune regulation; mesenchymal stem cells; oxidative damage
  6. Sci Adv. 2023 Jan 25. 9(4): eadd6097
      Receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) regulates cell death and inflammation. Here, we show that T cell-specific RIPK1 deficiency in mice leads to the premature senescence of T cells and induces various age-related diseases, resulting in premature death. RIPK1 deficiency causes higher basal activation of mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) that drives enhanced cytokine production, induction of senescence-related genes, and increased activation of caspase-3/7, which are restored by inhibition of mTORC1. Critically, normal aged T cells exhibit similar phenotypes and responses. Mechanistically, a combined deficiency of RIPK3 and caspase-8 inhibition restores the impaired proliferative responses; the elevated activation of Akt, mTORC1, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and caspase-3/7; and the increased expression of senescence-related genes in RIPK1-deficient CD4 T cells. Last, we revealed that the senescent phenotype of RIPK1-deficient and aged CD4 T cells is restored in the normal tissue environment. Thus, we have clarified the function of RIPK3 and caspase-8 in inducing CD4 T cell senescence, which is modulated by environmental signals.
  7. Nature. 2023 Jan 25.
      The liver is bathed in bacterial products, including lipopolysaccharide transported from the intestinal portal vasculature, but maintains a state of tolerance that is exploited by persistent pathogens and tumours1-4. The cellular basis mediating this tolerance, yet allowing a switch to immunity or immunopathology, needs to be better understood for successful immunotherapy of liver diseases. Here we show that a variable proportion of CD8+ T cells compartmentalized in the human liver co-stain for CD14 and other prototypic myeloid membrane proteins and are enriched in close proximity to CD14high myeloid cells in hepatic zone 2. CD14+CD8+ T cells preferentially accumulate within the donor pool in liver allografts, among hepatic virus-specific and tumour-infiltrating responses, and in cirrhotic ascites. CD14+CD8+ T cells exhibit increased turnover, activation and constitutive immunomodulatory features with high homeostatic IL-10 and IL-2 production ex vivo, and enhanced antiviral/anti-tumour effector function after TCR engagement. This CD14+CD8+ T cell profile can be recapitulated by the acquisition of membrane proteins-including the lipopolysaccharide receptor complex-from mononuclear phagocytes, resulting in augmented tumour killing by TCR-redirected T cells in vitro. CD14+CD8+ T cells express integrins and chemokine receptors that favour interactions with the local stroma, which can promote their induction through CXCL12. Lipopolysaccharide can also increase the frequency of CD14+CD8+ T cells in vitro and in vivo, and skew their function towards the production of chemotactic and regenerative cytokines. Thus, bacterial products in the gut-liver axis and tissue stromal factors can tune liver immunity by driving myeloid instruction of CD8+ T cells with immunomodulatory ability.
  8. Nat Commun. 2023 Jan 25. 14(1): 399
      Metabolic changes in immune cells contribute to both physiological and pathophysiological outcomes of immune reactions. Here, by comparing protein expression, transcriptome, and salivary metabolome profiles of uninfected and HIV+ individuals, we found perturbations of polyamine metabolism in the oral mucosa of HIV+ patients. Mechanistic studies using an in vitro human tonsil organoid infection model revealed that HIV infection of T cells also resulted in increased polyamine synthesis, which was dependent on the activities of caspase-1, IL-1β, and ornithine decarboxylase-1. HIV-1 also led to a heightened expression of polyamine synthesis intermediates including ornithine decarboxylase-1 as well as an elevated dysfunctional regulatory T cell (TregDys)/T helper 17 (Th17) cell ratios. Blockade of caspase-1 and polyamine synthesis intermediates reversed the TregDys phenotype showing the direct role of polyamine pathway in altering T cell functions during HIV-1 infection. Lastly, oral mucosal TregDys/Th17 ratios and CD4 hyperactivation positively correlated with salivary putrescine levels, which were found to be elevated in the saliva of HIV+ patients. Thus, by revealing the role of aberrantly increased polyamine synthesis during HIV infection, our study unveils a mechanism by which chronic viral infections could drive distinct T cell effector programs and Treg dysfunction.
  9. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2023 Jan 18. pii: S1359-6101(23)00001-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Th17-polarized CD4+ effector T-cells together with their immunosuppressive regulatory T-cell (Treg) counterparts, with transcriptional profiles governed by the lineage transcription factors RORγt/RORC2 and FOXP3, respectively, are important gatekeepers at mucosal interfaces. Alterations in the Th17/Treg ratios, due to the rapid depletion of Th17 cells and increased Treg frequencies, are a hallmark of both HIV and SIV infections and a marker of disease progression. The shift in Th17/Treg balance, in favor of increased Treg frequencies, contributes to gut mucosal permeability, immune dysfunction, and microbial translocation, subsequently leading to chronic immune activation/inflammation and disease progression. Of particular interest, Th17 cells and Tregs share developmental routes, with changes in the Th17 versus Treg fate decision influencing the pro-inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory responses. The differentiation and function of Th17 cells and Tregs rely on independent yet complementary metabolic pathways. Several pathways have been described in the literature to be involved in Th17 versus Treg polarization, including 1) the activity of ectonucleotidases CD39/CD73; 2) the increase in TGF-β1 production; 3) a hypoxic environment, and subsequent upregulation in hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α); 4) the increased mTOR activity and glycolysis induction; 5) the lipid metabolism, including fatty acid synthesis, fatty acids oxidation, cholesterol synthesis, and lipid storage, which are regulated by the AMPK, mevalonate and PPARγ pathways; and 6) the tryptophan catabolism. These metabolic pathways are understudied in the context of HIV-1 infection. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge on metabolic pathways that are dysregulated during HIV-1 infection and their impact on Th17/Treg balance.
    Keywords:  AMPK; CD39; CD73; Ectonucleotidases; Glycolysis; HIF-1α; HIV; Hypoxia; IDO-1; Immunometabolism; MTOR; PPAR-γ; Regulatory T-cells (Tregs); TGF-β1; Th17 cells; Tryptophan
  10. Life Med. 2022 Oct;1(2): 103-119
      Aging is a natural but relentless process of physiological decline, leading to physical frailty, reduced ability to respond to physical stresses (resilience) and, ultimately, organismal death. Cellular senescence, a self-defensive mechanism activated in response to intrinsic stimuli and/or exogenous stress, is one of the central hallmarks of aging. Senescent cells cease to proliferate, while remaining metabolically active and secreting numerous extracellular factors, a feature known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Senescence is physiologically important for embryonic development, tissue repair, and wound healing, and prevents carcinogenesis. However, chronic accumulation of persisting senescent cells contributes to a host of pathologies including age-related morbidities. By paracrine and endocrine mechanisms, senescent cells can induce inflammation locally and systemically, thereby causing tissue dysfunction, and organ degeneration. Agents including those targeting damaging components of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype or inducing apoptosis of senescent cells exhibit remarkable benefits in both preclinical models and early clinical trials for geriatric conditions. Here we summarize features of senescent cells and outline strategies holding the potential to be developed as clinical interventions. In the long run, there is an increasing demand for safe, effective, and clinically translatable senotherapeutics to address healthcare needs in current settings of global aging.
    Keywords:  aging; clinical trial; senescence-associated secretory phenotype; senescent cell; senotherapeutics
  11. J Exp Med. 2023 Apr 03. pii: e20220686. [Epub ahead of print]220(4):
      In cancer, persistent antigens drive CD8+ T cell differentiation into exhausted progenitor (Texprog) and terminally exhausted (Texterm) cells. However, how the extrinsic and intrinsic regulatory mechanisms cooperate during this process still remains not well understood. Here, we found that STAT3 signaling plays essential roles in promoting intratumor Texterm cell development by enhancing their effector functions and survival, which results in better tumor control. In tumor microenvironments, STAT3 is predominantly activated by IL-10 and IL-21, but not IL-6. Besides, STAT3 also plays critical roles in the development and function of terminally differentiated effector CD8+ T cells in acute infection. Mechanistically, STAT3 transcriptionally promotes the expression of effector function-related genes, while it suppresses those expressed by the progenitor Tex subset. Moreover, STAT3 functions in collaboration with BATF and IRF4 to mediate chromatin activation at the effector gene loci. Thus, we have elucidated the roles of STAT3 signaling in terminally differentiated CD8+ T cell development, especially in cancer, which benefits the development of more effective immunotherapies against tumors.
  12. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 ;9 1027055
      Introduction: Calorie restriction (CR) is an important direction for the delay of sarcopenia in elderly individuals. However, the specific mechanisms of CR against aging are still unclear.Methods: In this study, we used a CR model of elderly mice with muscle-specific 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11β-HSD1) knockout mice and 11β-HSD1 overexpression mice to confirm that CR can delay muscle aging by inhibiting 11β-HSD1 which can transform inactive GC(cortisone) into active GC(cortisol). The ability of self-proliferation and differentiation into muscle fibers of these mouse muscle stem cells (MuSCs) was observed in vitro. Additionally, the mitochondrial function and mitochondrial ATP production capacity of MuSCs were measured by mitochondrial oxygen consumption.
    Results: It was found that the 11β-HSD1 expression level was increased in age-related muscle atrophy. Overexpression of 11β-HSD1 led to muscle atrophy in young mice, and 11β-HSD1 knockout rescued age-related muscle atrophy. Moreover, CR in aged mice reduced the local effective concentration of glucocorticoid (GC) through 11β-HSD1, thereby promoting the mitochondrial function and differentiation ability of MuSCs.
    Conclusions: Together, our findings highlight promising sarcopenia protection with 40% CR in older ages. Furthermore, we speculated that targeting an 11β-HSD1-dependent metabolic pathway may represent a novel strategy for developing therapeutics against age-related muscle atrophy.
    Keywords:  11β-HSD1; caloric restriction (CR); mitochondrial function; muscle atrophy; muscle stem cells (MuSCs)
  13. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Jan 19. pii: S1043-2760(23)00014-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      We propose a two-mode (pursuit/maintenance) model of metabolism defined by usable resource availability. Pursuit, consisting of anabolism and catabolism, dominates when usable resources are plentiful and leads to the generation of metabolic waste. In turn, maintenance of a system is activated by elevated metabolic waste during resource depletion. Interaction with the environment results in pendulum-like swings between these metabolic states in thriveless attempts to maintain the least deleterious organismal state - ephemeral homeostasis. Imperfectness of biological processes during these attempts supports the accumulation of the deleteriome, driving organismal aging. We discuss how metabolic adjustment by the environment and resource stabilization may modulate healthspan and lifespan.
    Keywords:  aging; homeostasis; maintenance; metabolism; pursuit
  14. Pharmacol Res. 2023 Jan 20. pii: S1043-6618(23)00028-2. [Epub ahead of print]188 106672
      Mitochondria are morphologically dynamic organelles frequently undergoing fission and fusion processes that regulate mitochondrial integrity and bioenergetics. These processes are considered critical for cell survival. The mitochondrial fission process regulates mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy. It is associated with apoptosis, while mitochondrial fusion controls the accurate distribution of mitochondrial DNA and metabolic substances across the mitochondria. Excessive mitochondrial fission results in mitochondrial structural changes, dysfunction, and cell damage. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that mitochondrial dynamics affect neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases along with several other diseases. Biological molecules regulating the process of mitochondrial fission are potential targets for developing therapeutic agents. Many natural products target the dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1)-dependent mitochondrial fission pathway, and their inhibitory effects ameliorate mitochondrial fragmentation. In this article, we reviewed the research literature that describes Drp1-dependent inhibition as a mechanism for the protective effects of natural compounds.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Dynamin-related protein 1; Fission inhibitors; Free radical production; Herbal medicine; Mitochondrial fission; Mitochondrial fusion; Natural compound
  15. J Control Release. 2023 Jan 24. pii: S0168-3659(23)00068-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) perform their therapeutic effects through various mechanisms, including their ability to differentiate, producing different growth factors, immunomodulatory factors, and extracellular vesicles (EVs). In addition to the mentioned mechanisms, a new aspect of the therapeutic potential of MSCs has recently been noticed, which occurs through mitochondrial transfer. Various methods of MSCs mitochondria transfer have been used in studies to benefit from their therapeutic potential. Among these methods, mitochondrial transfer after MSCs transplantation in cell-to-cell contact, EVs-mediated transfer of mitochondria, and the use of MSCs isolated mitochondria (MSCs-mt) are well studied. Pathological conditions can affect the cells in the damaged microenvironment and lead to cells mitochondrial damage. Since the defect in the mitochondrial function of the cell leads to a decrease in ATP production and the subsequent cell death, restoring the mitochondrial content, functions, and hemostasis can affect the functions of the damaged cell. Various studies show that the transfer of MSCs mitochondria to other cells can affect vital processes such as proliferation, differentiation, cell metabolism, inflammatory responses, cell senescence, cell stress, and cell migration. These changes in cell attributes and behavior are very important for therapeutic purposes. For this reason, their investigation can play a significant role in the direction of the researchers'.
    Keywords:  Cell therapy; Extracellular vesicles; Immune cells; MSCs; Mitochondria; Regenerative medicine
  16. Aging Cell. 2023 Jan 27. e13786
      Age-related delays in bone repair remains an important clinical issue that can prolong pain and suffering. It is now well established that inflammation increases with aging and that this exacerbated inflammatory response can influence skeletal regeneration. Recently, simple dietary supplementation with beneficial probiotic bacteria has been shown to influence fracture repair in young mice. However, the contribution of the gut microbiota to age-related impairments in fracture healing remains unknown. Here, we sought to determine whether supplementation with a single beneficial probiotic species, Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum), would promote fracture repair in aged (18-month-old) female mice. We found that B. longum supplementation accelerated bony callus formation which improved mechanical properties of the fractured limb. We attribute these pro-regenerative effects of B. longum to preservation of intestinal barrier, dampened systemic inflammation, and maintenance of the microbiota community structure. Moreover, B. longum attenuated many of the fracture-induced systemic pathologies. Our study provides evidence that targeting the gut microbiota using simple dietary approaches can improve fracture healing outcomes and minimize systemic pathologies in the context of aging.
    Keywords:   Bifidobacterium longum ; aging; femur fracture; gut microbiome; probiotics
  17. Elife. 2023 Jan 27. pii: e79342. [Epub ahead of print]12
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are indispensable for maintaining self-tolerance by suppressing conventional T cells. On the other hand, Tregs promote tumor growth by inhibiting anti-cancer immunity. In this study, we identified that Tregs increase the quorum of self-reactive CD8+ T cells required for the induction of experimental autoimmune diabetes in mice. Their major suppression mechanism is limiting available IL-2, an essential T-cell cytokine. Specifically, Tregs inhibit the formation of a previously uncharacterized subset of antigen-stimulated KLRK1+ IL7R+ (KILR) CD8+ effector T cells, which are distinct from conventional effector CD8+ T cells. KILR CD8+ T cells show a superior cell killing abilities in vivo. The administration of agonistic IL-2 immunocomplexes phenocopies the absence of Tregs, i.e., it induces KILR CD8+ T cells, promotes autoimmunity, and enhances anti-tumor responses in mice. Counterparts of KILR CD8+ T cells were found in the human blood, revealing them as a potential target for immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  immunology; inflammation; mouse