bims-imseme Biomed News
on Immunosenescence and T cell metabolism
Issue of 2024‒03‒03
sixteen papers selected by
Pierpaolo Ginefra, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

  1. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1347181
      Cancer is a leading cause of human death worldwide, and the modulation of the metabolic properties of T cells employed in cancer immunotherapy holds great promise for combating cancer. As a crucial factor, energy metabolism influences the activation, proliferation, and function of T cells, and thus metabolic reprogramming of T cells is a unique research perspective in cancer immunology. Special conditions within the tumor microenvironment and high-energy demands lead to alterations in the energy metabolism of T cells. In-depth research on the reprogramming of energy metabolism in T cells can reveal the mechanisms underlying tumor immune tolerance and provide important clues for the development of new tumor immunotherapy strategies as well. Therefore, the study of T cell energy metabolism has important clinical significance and potential applications. In the study, the current achievements in the reprogramming of T cell energy metabolism were reviewed. Then, the influencing factors associated with T cell energy metabolism were introduced. In addition, T cell energy metabolism in cancer immunotherapy was summarized, which highlighted its potential significance in enhancing T cell function and therapeutic outcomes. In summary, energy exhaustion of T cells leads to functional exhaustion, thus resulting in immune evasion by cancer cells. A better understanding of reprogramming of T cell energy metabolism may enable immunotherapy to combat cancer and holds promise for optimizing and enhancing existing therapeutic approaches.
    Keywords:  T cells; energy metabolism; immune microenvironment; immunotherapy; metabolic reprogramming
  2. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1360229
      T cell activation is a tightly controlled process involving both positive and negative regulators. The precise mechanisms governing the negative regulators in T cell proliferation remain incompletely understood. Here, we report that homeodomain-only protein (HOPX), a homeodomain-containing protein, and its most abundant isoform HOPXb, negatively regulate activation-induced proliferation of human T cells. We found that HOPX expression progressively increased from naïve (TN) to central memory (TCM) to effector memory (TEM) cells, with a notable upregulation following in vitro stimulation. Overexpression of HOPXb leads to a reduction in TN cell proliferation while HOPX knockdown promotes proliferation of TN and TEM cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that HOPX binds to promoters and exerts repressive effects on the expression of MYC and NR4A1, two positive regulators known to promote T cell proliferation. Importantly, our findings suggest aging is associated with increased HOPX expression, and that knockdown of HOPX enhances the proliferation of CD8+ T cells in older adults. Our findings provide compelling evidence that HOPX serves as a negative regulator of T cell activation and plays a pivotal role in T cell differentiation and in age-related-reduction in T cell proliferation.
    Keywords:  T cell activation; T cell differentiation; T cell proliferation; aging; negative regulator
  3. J Exp Med. 2024 Mar 04. pii: e20221839. [Epub ahead of print]221(3):
      T cells are integral in mediating adaptive immunity to infection, autoimmunity, and cancer. Upon immune challenge, T cells exit from a quiescent state, followed by clonal expansion and effector differentiation. These processes are shaped by three established immune signals, namely antigen stimulation (Signal 1), costimulation (Signal 2), and cytokines (Signal 3). Emerging findings reveal that nutrients, including glucose, amino acids, and lipids, are crucial regulators of T cell responses and interplay with Signals 1-3, highlighting nutrients as Signal 4 to license T cell immunity. Here, we first summarize the functional importance of Signal 4 and the underlying mechanisms of nutrient transport, sensing, and signaling in orchestrating T cell activation and quiescence exit. We also discuss the roles of nutrients in programming T cell differentiation and functional fitness and how nutrients can be targeted to improve disease therapy. Understanding how T cells respond to Signal 4 nutrients in microenvironments will provide insights into context-dependent functions of adaptive immunity and therapeutic interventions.
  4. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2024 Feb 26.
      Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) decreases with advancing age, contributing to increased risk of cognitive impairment; however, the mechanisms underlying the age-related decrease in CVR are incompletely understood. Age-related changes to T-cells, such as impaired mitochondrial respiration increase inflammation which likely contribute peripheral and cerebrovascular dysfunction in animals. However, whether T-cell mitochondrial respiration is related to cerebrovascular function in humans is not known. Therefore, we hypothesized that peripheral T-cell mitochondrial respiration would be positively associated with cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) and that T-cell glycolytic metabolism would be negatively associated with CVR. Twenty (20) middle-aged adults (58 ± 5 years) were recruited for this study. T-cells were separated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Cellular oxygen consumption rate (OCR), and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR, a marker of glycolytic activity) were measured using extracellular flux analysis. CVR was quantified using the breath-hold index (BHI) which reflects the change in blood velocity in the middle-cerebral artery (MCAv) during a 30-second breath-hold. In contrast to our hypothesis, we found that basal OCR in CD8+ T-cells (β=-0.59, R2=0.27, P=0.019) was negatively associated with BHI. However, in accordance with our hypothesis, we found that basal ECAR (β=-2.20, R2=0.29, P=0.015) and maximum ECAR (β=-50, R2=0.24, P=0.029) were negatively associated with BHI in CD8+ T-cells. There were no associations observed in CD4+ T-cells. These associations appeared to be primarily mediated by an association with the pressor response to the breath-hold test. Overall, our findings suggest that CD8+ T-cell respiration and glycolytic activity may influence cerebrovascular reactivity in humans.
    Keywords:  Cerebrovascular function; Mitochondrial respiration; T-cell
  5. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1338680
      T cell senescence is an indication of T cell dysfunction. The ability of senescent T cells to respond to cognate antigens is reduced and they are in the late stage of differentiation and proliferation; therefore, they cannot recognize and eliminate tumor cells in a timely and effective manner, leading to the formation of the suppressive tumor microenvironment. Establishing methods to reverse T cell senescence is particularly important for immunotherapy. Aging exacerbates profound changes in the immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to chronic, infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Patients with malignant lung tumors have impaired immune function with a high risk of recurrence, metastasis, and mortality. Immunotherapy based on PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA-4, and other immune checkpoints is promising for treating lung malignancies. However, T cell senescence can lead to low efficacy or unsuccessful treatment results in some immunotherapies. Efficiently blocking and reversing T cell senescence is a key goal of the enhancement of tumor immunotherapy. This study discusses the characteristics, mechanism, and expression of T cell senescence in malignant lung tumors and the treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  T cell; T cell senescence; immune senescence; immunotherapy; malignant lung tumor
  6. Cell Chem Biol. 2024 Feb 26. pii: S2451-9456(24)00075-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The immune system shapes tumor development and progression. Although immunotherapy has transformed cancer treatment, its overall efficacy remains limited, underscoring the need to uncover mechanisms to improve therapeutic effects. Metabolism-associated processes, including intracellular metabolic reprogramming and intercellular metabolic crosstalk, are emerging as instructive signals for anti-tumor immunity. Here, we first summarize the roles of intracellular metabolic pathways in controlling immune cell function in the tumor microenvironment. How intercellular metabolic communication regulates anti-tumor immunity, and the impact of metabolites or nutrients on signaling events, are also discussed. We then describe how targeting metabolic pathways in tumor cells or intratumoral immune cells or via nutrient-based interventions may boost cancer immunotherapies. Finally, we conclude with discussions on profiling and functional perturbation methods of metabolic activity in intratumoral immune cells, and perspectives on future directions. Uncovering the mechanisms for metabolic rewiring and communication in the tumor microenvironment may enable development of novel cancer immunotherapies.
  7. Nat Metab. 2024 Feb 28.
      Reproductive ageing is one of the earliest human ageing phenotypes, and mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to oocyte quality decline; however, it is not known which mitochondrial metabolic processes are critical for oocyte quality maintenance with age. To understand how mitochondrial processes contribute to Caenorhabditis elegans oocyte quality, we characterized the mitochondrial proteomes of young and aged wild-type and long-reproductive daf-2 mutants. Here we show that the mitochondrial proteomic profiles of young wild-type and daf-2 worms are similar and share upregulation of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism pathway enzymes. Reduction of the BCAA catabolism enzyme BCAT-1 shortens reproduction, elevates mitochondrial reactive oxygen species levels, and shifts mitochondrial localization. Moreover, bcat-1 knockdown decreases oocyte quality in daf-2 worms and reduces reproductive capability, indicating the role of this pathway in the maintenance of oocyte quality with age. Notably, oocyte quality deterioration can be delayed, and reproduction can be extended in wild-type animals both by bcat-1 overexpression and by supplementing with vitamin B1, a cofactor needed for BCAA metabolism.
  8. Pharmacol Res. 2024 Feb 28. pii: S1043-6618(24)00066-5. [Epub ahead of print] 107122
      The ectonucleotidase CD39 has been regarded as a promising immune checkpoint in solid tumors. However, the expression of CD39 by tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells as well as their potential roles and clinical implications in human gastric cancer (GC) remain largely unknown. Here, we found that GC-infiltrating CD8+ T cells contained a fraction of CD39hi cells that constituted about 6.6% of total CD8+ T cells in tumors. These CD39hi cells enriched for GC-infiltrating CD8+ T cells with feature of exhaustion in transcriptional, phenotypic, metabolic and functional profiles. Additionally, GC-infiltrating CD39hiCD8+ T cells were also identified for tumor-reactive T cells, as these cells expanded in vitro were able to recognize autologous tumor organoids and induced more tumor cell apoptosis than those of expanded their CD39int and CD39-CD8+ counterparts. Furthermore, CD39 enzymatic activity controlled GC-infiltrating CD39hiCD8+ T cell effector function, and blockade of CD39 efficiently enhanced their production of cytokines IFN-γ and TNF-α. Finally, high percentages of GC-infiltrating CD39hiCD8+ T cells correlated with tumor progression and independently predicted patients' poor overall survival. These finding provide novel insights into the association of CD39 expression level on CD8+ T cells with their features and potential clinical implications in GC, and empowering those exhausted tumor-reactive CD39hiCD8+ T cells through CD39 inhibition to circumvent the suppressor program may be an attractive therapeutic strategy against GC.
    Keywords:  CD39; CD8(+) T cells; exhaustion; gastric cancer; tumor-reactivity
  9. Nat Commun. 2024 Feb 26. 15(1): 1718
      Foxo family transcription factors are critically involved in multiple processes, such as metabolism, quiescence, cell survival and cell differentiation. Although continuous, high activity of Foxo transcription factors extends the life span of some species, the involvement of Foxo proteins in mammalian aging remains to be determined. Here, we show that Foxo1 is down-regulated with age in mouse T cells. This down-regulation of Foxo1 in T cells may contribute to the disruption of naive T-cell homeostasis with age, leading to an increase in the number of memory T cells. Foxo1 down-regulation is also associated with the up-regulation of co-inhibitory receptors by memory T cells and exhaustion in aged mice. Using adoptive transfer experiments, we show that the age-dependent down-regulation of Foxo1 in T cells is mediated by T-cell-extrinsic cues, including type 1 interferons. Taken together, our data suggest that type 1 interferon-induced Foxo1 down-regulation is likely to contribute significantly to T-cell dysfunction in aged mice.
  10. Semin Hematol. 2024 Feb 02. pii: S0037-1963(24)00011-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) has been associated with aging, occurring in about 10% of individuals aged >70 years, and immune dysfunction. Aged hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells exhibit pathological changes in immune function and activation of inflammatory pathways. CH clones commonly harbor a loss of function mutation in DNMT3A or TET2, which causes increased expression of inflammatory signaling genes, a proposed mechanism connected to CH and the development of age-related diseases. Additionally, inflammation may stress the hematopoietic compartment, driving the expansion of mutant clones. While the epidemiologic overlap between CH, hematologic malignancies, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases has been reported, the mechanisms linking these concepts are largely unknown and merit much further investigation. Here, we review studies highlighting the interplay between CH, inflamm-aging, the immune system, and the prevalence of CH in autoimmune diseases.
    Keywords:  Autoimmune diseases; Clonal hematopoiesis; Dysregulation; Inflammation
  11. Mitochondrion. 2024 Feb 24. pii: S1567-7249(24)00015-1. [Epub ahead of print]76 101857
      Ageing is described as an inevitable decline in body functions over time and an increase in susceptibility to age-related diseases. Therefore, the increase of life expectancy is also viewed as a condition in which many elderly will develop age-related diseases and disabilities, such as cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and oncological ones. Currently, several recognized cellular hallmarks of senescence are taken in consideration to evaluate the level of biological ageing and are the topic to plan preventive/curative anti-ageing interventions, including genomic instability, epigenetic alterations, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In this scenario, alterations in the function/expression of mitochondrial ion channels have been found in ageing and associated to an impairment of calcium cycling and a reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. Although several ion channels have been described at mitochondrial level, undoubtedly the mitochondrial potassium (mitoK) channels are the most investigated. Therefore, this review summarized the evidence that sheds to light a correlation between age-related diseases and alteration of mitoK channels, focusing the attention of the main age-related diseases, i.e. cardiovascular, neurological and oncological ones.
    Keywords:  Age-related disease; Ageing; Dysfunction; Mitochondria; mitoK channels
  12. Oncoimmunology. 2024 ;13(1): 2318053
      Arginase-1 (Arg1) is expressed by regulatory myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME), where they play a pro-tumorigenic and T-cell suppressive role. Arg1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cells have been observed in both healthy individuals and cancer patients. However, while the function of anti-regulatory Arg1-specific CD4+ T cells has been characterized, our knowledge of CD8+ Arg1-specific T cells is only scarce. In the current study, we describe the immune-modulatory capabilities of CD8+ Arg1-specific T cells. We generated CD8+ Arg1-specific T cell clones to target Arg1-expressing myeloid cells. Our results demonstrate that these T cells recognize both malignant and nonmalignant regulatory myeloid cells in an Arg1-expression-dependent manner. Notably, Arg1-specific CD8+ T cells possess cytolytic effector capabilities. Immune modulatory vaccines (IMVs) represent a novel treatment modality for cancer. The activation of Arg1-specific CD8+ T cells through Arg1-based IMVs can contribute to the modulatory effects of this treatment strategy.
    Keywords:  Arginase-1; anti-regulatory T cells; immune modulatory vaccines; myeloid cells; tumor microenvironment
  13. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2024 Feb 27. pii: dgae097. [Epub ahead of print]
      CONTEXT: Low magnesium levels, which are common in people with type 2 diabetes, are associated with increased levels of pro-inflammatory molecules. It is unknown whether magnesium supplementation decreases this low-grade inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes.OBJECTIVE: We performed a multidimensional immunophenotyping to better understand the effect of magnesium supplementation on the immune system of people with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels.
    METHODS: Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-period, cross-over study, we compared the effect of magnesium supplementation (15 mmol/day) to placebo on the immunophenotype including whole blood immune cell counts, T-cell and CD14+ monocyte function after ex vivo stimulation, and the circulating inflammatory proteome.
    RESULTS: We included 12 adults with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (7 males, mean±SD age 67±7 years, BMI 31±5 kg/m2, HbA1c 7.5±0.9 %) and low magnesium levels (0.73±0.05 mmol/l). Magnesium treatment significantly increased serum magnesium and the urinary magnesium excretion, when compared to placebo. The IFN-γ production from PMA/ionomycin stimulated CD8+ T-cells and T-helper 1 cells, as well as the IL4/IL5/IL13 production from T-helper 2 cells was lower after treatment with magnesium compared to placebo. Magnesium supplementation did not affect immune cell numbers, ex vivo monocyte function and circulating inflammatory proteins, although we found a tendency for lower high sensitive CRP levels after magnesium supplementation compared to placebo.
    CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, magnesium supplementation modulates the function of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells in people with type 2 diabetes and low serum magnesium levels.
    Keywords:  T-cells; inflammation; magnesium; type 2 diabetes
  14. Front Immunol. 2024 ;15 1258119
      CD8+ T cells are a crucial part of the adaptive immune system, responsible for combating intracellular pathogens and tumor cells. The initial activation of T cells involves the formation of highly dynamic Ca2+ microdomains. Recently, purinergic signaling was shown to be involved in the formation of the initial Ca2+ microdomains in CD4+ T cells. In this study, the role of purinergic cation channels, particularly P2X4 and P2X7, in CD8+ T cell signaling from initial events to downstream responses was investigated, focusing on various aspects of T cell activation, including Ca2+ microdomains, global Ca2+ responses, NFAT-1 translocation, cytokine expression, and proliferation. While Ca2+ microdomain formation was significantly reduced in the first milliseconds to seconds in CD8+ T cells lacking P2X4 and P2X7 channels, global Ca2+ responses over minutes were comparable between wild-type (WT) and knockout cells. However, the onset velocity was reduced in P2X4-deficient cells, and P2X4, as well as P2X7-deficient cells, exhibited a delayed response to reach a certain level of free cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). NFAT-1 translocation, a crucial transcription factor in T cell activation, was also impaired in CD8+ T cells lacking P2X4 and P2X7. In addition, the expression of IFN-γ, a major pro-inflammatory cytokine produced by activated CD8+ T cells, and Nur77, a negative regulator of T cell activation, was significantly reduced 18h post-stimulation in the knockout cells. In line, the proliferation of T cells after 3 days was also impaired in the absence of P2X4 and P2X7 channels. In summary, the study demonstrates that purinergic signaling through P2X4 and P2X7 enhances initial Ca2+ events during CD8+ T cell activation and plays a crucial role in regulating downstream responses, including NFAT-1 translocation, cytokine expression, and proliferation on multiple timescales. These findings suggest that targeting purinergic signaling pathways may offer potential therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  CD8 + T cells; Ca2+ imaging; Ca2+ microdomains; IFN-γ; NFAT; TCR stimulation; activation; proliferation
  15. iScience. 2024 Mar 15. 27(3): 109174
      Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD), formerly named non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is induced by alterations of hepatic metabolism. As a critical metabolites function regulator, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) nowadays has been validated to be effective in the treatment of diet-induced murine model of MASLD. Additionally, gut microbiota has been reported to have the potential to prevent MASLD by dietary NAD precursors metabolizing together with mammals. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In this review, we hypothesized that NAD enhancing mitochondrial activity might reshape a specific microbiota signature, and improve MASLD progression demonstrated by fecal microbiota transplantation. Here, this review especially focused on the mechanism of Microbiota-Gut-Liver Axis together with NAD metabolism for the MASLD progress. Notably, we found significant changes in Prevotella associated with NAD in a gut microbiome signature of certain MASLD patients. With the recent researches, we also inferred that Prevotella can not only regulate the level of NAD pool by boosting the carbon metabolism, but also play a vital part in regulating the branched-chain amino acid (BCAA)-related fatty acid metabolism pathway. Altogether, our results support the notion that the gut microbiota contribute to the dietary NAD precursors metabolism in MASLD development and the dietary NAD precursors together with certain gut microbiota may be a preventive or therapeutic strategy in MASLD management.
    Keywords:  Microbial metabolism; Microbiome
  16. Autophagy. 2024 Feb 27.
      Loss of proteostasis and dysregulated mitochondrial function are part of the traditional hallmarks of aging, and in their last revision impaired macroautophagy and chronic inflammation are also included. Mitophagy is at the intersection of all these processes but whether it undergoes age-associated perturbations was not known. In our recent work, we performed a systematic and systemic analysis of mitolysosome levels in mice and found that, despite the already-known decrease in non-selective macroautophagy, mitophagy remains stable or increases upon aging in all tissues analyzed and is mediated by the PINK1-PRKN-dependent pathway. Further analyses revealed a concomitant increase in mtDNA leakage into the cytosol and activation of the CGAS-STING1 inflammation axis. Notably, both phenomena are also observed in primary fibroblasts from aged human donors. We hypothesized that mitophagy might be selectively upregulated during aging to improve mitochondrial fitness and reduce mtDNA-induced inflammation. Treatment with the mitophagy inducer urolithin A alleviates age-associated neurological decline, including improved synaptic connectivity, cognitive memory and visual function. Supporting our initial hypothesis, urolithin A reduces the levels of cytosolic mtDNA, CGAS-STING1 activation and neuroinflammation. Finally, using an in vitro model of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization we validated that PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitophagy is essential to resolve cytosolic mtDNA-triggered inflammation. These findings open up an integrative approach to tackle aging and increase healthspan via mitophagy induction.
    Keywords:  Inflammation; PINK1; Parkin; mitochondria; mtDNA; retina