bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2023‒07‒16
thirteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Cells. 2023 Jul 07. pii: 1800. [Epub ahead of print]12(13):
      T cells are critical players in adaptive immunity, driving the tissue injury and organ damage of patients with autoimmune diseases. Consequently, investigations on T cell activation, differentiation, and function are valuable in uncovering the disease pathogenesis, thus exploring promising therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. In recent decades, accumulating studies have pinpointed immunometabolism as the fundamental determinant in controlling T cell fate. Specifically, mitochondria, as a hub of intracellular metabolism, connect glucose, lipid, and amino acid metabolic pathways. Herein, we summarize metabolic adaptations of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and the relevant glucose, lipid, and amino acid metabolism during T cell activation, differentiation, and function. Further, we focused on current updates of the molecular bases for metabolic reprogramming in autoimmune T cells and advances in exploring metabolic-targeted therapeutics against autoimmune diseases. This might facilitate the in-depth understanding of autoimmune pathogeneses and the clinical management of autoimmune diseases.
    Keywords:  T cells; autoimmunity; metabolic adaptation; mitochondria
  2. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Jul 08. 14(7): 407
      CD8+ T cells are an important component of the body's adaptive immune response. During viral or intracellular bacterial infections, CD8+ T cells are rapidly activated and differentiated to exert their immune function by producing cytokines. Alterations in the glycolysis of CD8+ T cells have an important effect on their activation and function, while glycolysis is important for CD8+ T cell functional failure and recovery. This paper summarizes the importance of CD8+ T cell glycolysis in the immune system. We discuss the link between glycolysis and CD8+ T cell activation, differentiation, and proliferation, and the effect of altered glycolysis on CD8+ T cell function. In addition, potential molecular targets to enhance and restore the immune function of CD8+ T cells by affecting glycolysis and the link between glycolysis and CD8+ T cell senescence are summarized. This review provides new insights into the relationship between glycolysis and CD8+ T cell function, and proposes novel strategies for immunotherapy by targeting glycolysis.
  3. Immun Ageing. 2023 Jul 14. 20(1): 34
      BACKGROUND: Immune function in the genital mucosa balances reproduction with protection against pathogens. As women age, genital infections, and gynecological cancer risk increase, however, the mechanisms that regulate cell-mediated immune protection in the female genital tract and how they change with aging remain poorly understood. Unconventional double negative (DN) T cells (TCRαβ + CD4-CD8-) are thought to play important roles in reproduction in mice but have yet to be characterized in the human female genital tract. Using genital tissues from women (27-77 years old), here we investigated the impact of aging on the induction, distribution, and function of DN T cells throughout the female genital tract.RESULTS: We discovered a novel site-specific regulation of dendritic cells (DCs) and unconventional DN T cells in the genital tract that changes with age. Human genital DCs, particularly CD1a + DCs, induced proliferation of DN T cells in a TFGβ dependent manner. Importantly, induction of DN T cell proliferation, as well as specific changes in cytokine production, was enhanced in DCs from older women, indicating subset-specific regulation of DC function with increasing age. In human genital tissues, DN T cells represented a discrete T cell subset with distinct phenotypical and transcriptional profiles compared to CD4 + and CD8 + T cells. Single-cell RNA and oligo-tag antibody sequencing studies revealed that DN T cells represented a heterogeneous population with unique homeostatic, regulatory, cytotoxic, and antiviral functions. DN T cells showed relative to CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, enhanced expression of inhibitory checkpoint molecules and genes related to immune regulatory as well as innate-like anti-viral pathways. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that DN T cells express tissue residency markers and intracellular content of cytotoxic molecules. Interestingly, we demonstrate age-dependent and site-dependent redistribution and functional changes of genital DN T cells, with increased cytotoxic potential of endometrial DN T cells, but decreased cytotoxicity in the ectocervix as women age, with implications for reproductive failure and enhanced susceptibility to infections respectively.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our deep characterization of DN T cell induction and function in the female genital tract provides novel mechanistic avenues to improve reproductive outcomes, protection against infections and gynecological cancers as women age.
    Keywords:  Dendritic cells; Double negative T cells; Endometrium; Menopause; Resident memory T cells; Sexually transmitted infections; Single-cell sequencing; TGF-β
  4. Aging Cell. 2023 Jul 09. e13920
      The geroscience hypothesis proposes that addressing the biology of aging could directly prevent the onset or mitigate the severity of multiple chronic diseases. Understanding the interplay between key aspects of the biological hallmarks of aging is essential in delivering the promises of the geroscience hypothesis. Notably, the nucleotide nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) interfaces with several biological hallmarks of aging, including cellular senescence, and changes in NAD metabolism have been shown to be involved in the aging process. The relationship between NAD metabolism and cellular senescence appears to be complex. On the one hand, the accumulation of DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by low NAD+ can promote the development of senescence. On the other hand, the low NAD+ state that occurs during aging may inhibit SASP development as this secretory phenotype and the development of cellular senescence are both highly metabolically demanding. However, to date, the impact of NAD+ metabolism on the progression of the cellular senescence phenotype has not been fully characterized. Therefore, to explore the implications of NAD metabolism and NAD replacement therapies, it is essential to consider their interactions with other hallmarks of aging, including cellular senescence. We propose that a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between NAD boosting strategies and senolytic agents is necessary to advance the field.
    Keywords:  NAD+ metabolism; SASP; aging; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; senescence
  5. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jul 03. pii: 11018. [Epub ahead of print]24(13):
      Like other chronic viral infections, HIV-1 persistence inhibits the development of antigen-specific memory T-cells, resulting in the exhaustion of the immune response and chronic inflammation. Autophagy is a major lysosome-dependent mechanism of intracellular large-target degradation such as lipid and protein aggregates, damaged organelles, and intracellular pathogens. Although it is known that autophagy may target HIV-1 for elimination, knowledge of its function as a metabolic contributor in such viral infection is only in its infancy. Recent data show that elite controllers (EC), who are HIV-1-infected subjects with natural and long-term antigen (Ag)-specific T-cell protection against the virus, are characterized by distinct metabolic autophagy-dependent features in their T-cells compared to other people living with HIV-1 (PLWH). Despite durable viral control with antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-1-specific immune dysfunction does not normalize in non-controller PLWH. Therefore, the hypothesis of inducing autophagy to strengthen their Ag-specific T-cell immunity against HIV-1 starts to be an enticing concept. The aim of this review is to critically analyze promises and potential limitations of pharmacological and dietary interventions to activate autophagy in an attempt to rescue Ag-specific T-cell protection among PLWH.
    Keywords:  ART; Ag-specific T-cells; EC; HIV-1; PLWH; autophagy; effector functions; metabolic plasticity; metabolism; mitochondria
  6. Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 2023 ;pii: S1876-1623(23)00042-1. [Epub ahead of print]136 1-33
      Cellular senescence is an irreversible proliferation arrest in response to cellular damage and stress. Although cellular senescence is a highly stable cell cycle arrest, it can influence many physiological, pathological, and aging processes. Cellular senescence can be triggered by various intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, genotoxic stress, oncogenic activation, irradiation and chemotherapeutic agents. Senescence is associated with several molecular and phenotypic alterations, such as senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), cell cycle arrest, DNA damage response (DDR), senescence-associated β-galactosidase, morphogenesis, and chromatin remodeling. Cellular senescence is a regular physiological event involved in tissue homeostasis, embryonic development, tissue remodeling, wound healing, and inhibition of tumor progression. Mitochondria are one of the organelles that undergo significant morphological and metabolic changes associated with senescence. Recent evidence unraveled that inter-organelle communication regulates cellular senescence, where mitochondria form a highly complex and dynamic network throughout the cytoplasm with other organelles, like the endoplasmic reticulum. An imbalance in organelle interactions may result in faulty cellular homeostasis, which contributes to cellular senescence and is associated with organ aging. Since mitochondrial dysfunction is a common characteristic of cellular senescence and age-related diseases, mitochondria-targeted senolytic or redox modulator senomorphic strategies help solve the complex problems with the detrimental consequences of cellular senescence. Understanding the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism would provide knowledge on effective therapeutic interventions for aging and age-related pathologies. This chapter focuses on the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of senescence and targeting senescence as a potential strategy to alleviate age-related pathologies and support healthy aging.
    Keywords:  Age-related diseases; Aging; DNA damage; Reactive oxygen species; Senescence
  7. Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 2023 ;pii: S1876-1623(23)00043-3. [Epub ahead of print]136 93-115
      Mitochondrial malfunction and cell senescence have been defined as the hallmarks of aging. Cell senescence leads to the loss of health allied with aging. While deciphering the complex association between mitochondria and cellular senescence, it is observed that senescence has a two-faced nature being beneficial and hazardous. This duality of cellular senescence is associated with circumstantial aspects. During the process of cellular senescence, dysfunctional mitochondria are accumulated, the efficiency of the oxidative phosphorylation process declines along with the enhanced synthesis of reactive oxygen species. It is suggested that reduction in the negative consequences of senescence throughout old age might be accomplished by targeting the mitochondria as all roads lead towards mitochondria. It is unclear how perturbation of mitophagy in senescence results in the accumulation of mitochondria, impairment of mitochondrial biogenesis and onset of diseases. Understanding this complex interplay will bring about a long yet healthy lifespan. But definitely casual and specific players contribute in the initiation and conservation of the cell senescence. Variations in metabolism, quality control and dynamics of mitochondria are observed during cell aging process. Several On-target and Off-target mechanisms can also cause side effects in cellular senescence. Translational research of these mechanisms may lead to effective clinical interventions. This chapter reviews the role of mitochondria, homeostatic mechanisms and mitophagy as drivers and effectors of cell senescence along with multiple signalling pathways that lead to the initiation, maintenance, induction and suppression of cellular aging process during health and disease.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cell senescence; Mitophagy; Signaling pathways
  8. Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 2023 ;pii: S1876-1623(23)00037-8. [Epub ahead of print]136 309-337
      Aging is an inevitable phenomenon that causes a decline in bodily functions over time. One of the most important processes that play a role in aging is senescence. Senescence is characterized by accumulation of cells that are no longer functional but elude the apoptotic pathway. These cells secrete inflammatory molecules that comprise the senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Several essential molecules such as p53, Rb, and p16INK4a regulate the senescence process. Mitochondrial regulation has been found to play an important role in senescence. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated from mitochondria can affect cellular senescence by inducing the persistent DNA damage response, thus stabilizing the senescence. Evidently, senescence plays a major contributory role to the development of age-related neurological disorders. In this chapter, we discuss the role of senescence in the progression and onset of several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Moreover, we also discuss the efficacy of certain molecules like MitoQ, SkQ1, and Latrepirdine that could be proven therapeutics with respect to these disorders by regulating mitochondrial activity.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial dysfunction; Neurodegeneration; Senescence; Senolytics; Senotherapeutics
  9. JCI Insight. 2023 07 10. pii: e160690. [Epub ahead of print]8(13):
      Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) overexpression is widely associated with atopy. However, TSLP is expressed in normal barrier organs, suggesting a homeostatic function. To determine the function of TSLP in barrier sites, we investigated the impact of endogenous TSLP signaling on the homeostatic expansion of CD4+ T cells in adult mice. Surprisingly, incoming CD4+ T cells induced lethal colitis in adult Rag1-knockout animals that lacked the TSLP receptor (Rag1KOTslprKO). Endogenous TSLP signaling was required for reduced CD4+ T cell proliferation, Treg differentiation, and homeostatic cytokine production. CD4+ T cell expansion in Rag1KOTslprKO mice was dependent on the gut microbiome. The lethal colitis was rescued by parabiosis between Rag1KOTslprKO and Rag1KO animals and wild-type dendritic cells (DCs) suppressed CD4+ T cell-induced colitis in Rag1KOTslprKO mice. A compromised T cell tolerance was noted in TslprKO adult colon, which was exacerbated by anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 therapy. These results reveal a critical peripheral tolerance axis between TSLP and DCs in the colon that blocks CD4+ T cell activation against the commensal gut microbiome.
    Keywords:  Adaptive immunity; Cytokines; Gastroenterology; Immunology; Tolerance
  10. Cell Metab. 2023 Jul 11. pii: S1550-4131(23)00180-8. [Epub ahead of print]35(7): 1179-1194.e5
      Emerging new evidence highlights the importance of prolonged daily fasting periods for the health and survival benefits of calorie restriction (CR) and time-restricted feeding (TRF) in male mice; however, little is known about the impact of these feeding regimens in females. We placed 14-month-old female mice on five different dietary regimens, either CR or TRF with different feeding windows, and determined the effects of these regimens on physiological responses, progression of neoplasms and inflammatory diseases, serum metabolite levels, and lifespan. Compared with TRF feeding, CR elicited a robust systemic response, as it relates to energetics and healthspan metrics, a unique serum metabolomics signature in overnight fasted animals, and was associated with an increase in lifespan. These results indicate that daytime (rest-phase) feeding with prolonged fasting periods initiated late in life confer greater benefits when combined with imposed lower energy intake.
    Keywords:  aging phenotypes; calorie restriction; circadian misalignment; fasting; female mice; histopathology; metabolomics; time-restricted feeding
  11. Immunity. 2023 Jul 11. pii: S1074-7613(23)00267-4. [Epub ahead of print]56(7): 1439-1442
      Memory T cells comprise circulating and tissue-resident subsets. In this issue of Immunity, Evrard et al. generate an imputed high-dimensional, single-cell protein expression atlas of memory CD8+ T cells, providing insights into stable differentiation markers and organ-specific expression patterns.
  12. Cell Stress. 2023 Jul;7(7): 50-58
      Spermidine is a ubiquitous, natural polyamine with geroprotective features. Supplementation of spermidine extends the lifespan of yeast, worms, flies, and mice, and dietary spermidine intake correlates with reduced human mortality. However, the crucial role of polyamines in cell proliferation has also implicated polyamine metabolism in neoplastic diseases, such as cancer. While depleting intracellular polyamine biosynthesis halts tumor growth in mouse models, lifelong external spermidine administration in mice does not increase cancer incidence. In contrast, a series of recent findings points to anti-neoplastic properties of spermidine administration in the context of immunotherapy. Various molecular mechanisms for the anti-aging and anti-cancer properties have been proposed, including the promotion of autophagy, enhanced translational control, and augmented mitochondrial function. For instance, spermidine allosterically activates mitochondrial trifunctional protein (MTP), a bipartite protein complex that mediates three of the four steps of mitochondrial fatty acid (β-oxidation. Through this action, spermidine supplementation is able to restore MTP-mediated mitochondrial respiratory capacity in naïve CD8+ T cells to juvenile levels and thereby improves T cell activation in aged mice. Here, we put this finding into the context of the previously described molecular target space of spermidine.
    Keywords:  autophagy; cancer; hypusination; immunosurveillance; molecular targets; spermidine