bims-nimamd Biomed News
on Neuroimmunity and neuroinflammation in ageing and metabolic disease
Issue of 2021‒12‒26
fifteen papers selected by
Fawaz Alzaïd
Sorbonne Université

  1. Hepatol Commun. 2021 Dec 23.
      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease and is frequently associated with type 2 diabetes. However, there is no specific medical therapy to treat this condition. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) of the protective renin angiotensin system generates the antifibrotic peptide angiotensin-(1-7) from profibrotic angiotensin II peptide. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of ACE2 in diabetic NAFLD mice fed a high-fat (20%), high-cholesterol (2%) diet for 40 weeks. Mice were given a single intraperitoneal injection of ACE2 using an adeno-associated viral vector at 30 weeks of high-fat, high-cholesterol diet (15 weeks after induction of diabetes) and sacrificed 10 weeks later. ACE2 significantly reduced liver injury and fibrosis in diabetic NAFLD mice compared with the control vector injected mice. This was accompanied by reductions in proinflammatory cytokine expressions, hepatic stellate cell activation, and collagen 1 expression. Moreover, ACE2 therapy significantly increased islet numbers, leading to an increased insulin protein content in β-cells and plasma insulin levels with subsequent reduction in plasma glucose levels compared with controls. Conclusion: We conclude that ACE2 gene therapy reduces liver fibrosis and hyperglycemia in diabetic NAFLD mice and has potential as a therapy for patients with NAFLD with diabetes.
  2. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Dec 18. pii: dgab912. [Epub ahead of print]
      CONTEXT: Unprovoked A-β+ ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes (KPD) is characterized by the sudden onset of diabetic ketosis/ketoacidosis (DK/DKA) without precipitating factors, negative anti-islet autoantibodies ("A-"), and preservation of β-cell function ("β+") after recovery from DKA. Although this phenotype often appears with acute hyperglycemia and DK/DKA just like acute-onset type 1 diabetes (AT1D), the involvement of anti-islet immune responses remains unknown.OBJECTIVE: We sought to clarify the immunological role of insulin-associated molecules in unprovoked A-β+ KPD.
    METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, blood samples from 75 participants (42 with AT1D and 33 with KPD) were evaluated for interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) reactive to four insulin B-chain amino acid 9-23-related peptides (B:9-23rPep) using an enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) assay.
    RESULTS: Overall, 36.4% (12/33) of KPD participants showed positive IFN-γ ELISpot assay results; the positivity rate in KPD was similar to that in AT1D (38.1%; 16/42) and significantly higher than the previously reported rate in type 2 diabetes (8%; 2/25; P < 0.0167). Moreover, B:9-23rPep-specific IFN-γ-producing PBMC frequency was negatively correlated with age and ad lib serum C-peptide levels in all KPD participants and positively correlated with HbA1c level in KPD participants with positive IFN-γ ELISpot results.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest the involvement of B:9-23rPep-specific IFN-γ-related immunoreactivity in the pathophysiology of some unprovoked A-β+ KPD. Moreover, increased immunoreactivity may reflect transiently decreased β-cell function and increased disease activity at the onset of DK/DKA, thereby playing a key role in DK/DKA development in this KPD phenotype.
    Keywords:  Autoimmunity; Enzyme-linked immunospot assay; Insulin; Interferon-γ; Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes; Type 1 diabetes
  3. Eur Respir J. 2021 Dec 23. pii: 2102304. [Epub ahead of print]
    Pulmonary Vascular Complications of Liver Disease Study Group
      Hepatopulmonary syndrome affects 10-30% of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension. We evaluated the serum angiogenic profile of hepatopulmonary syndrome and assessed the clinical impact of hepatopulmonary syndrome in patients evaluated for liver transplantation.The Pulmonary Vascular Complications of Liver Disease 2 study was a multicentre, prospective cohort study of adults undergoing their first liver transplantation evaluation. Hepatopulmonary syndrome was defined as an alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient ≥15 mmHg (≥20 mmHg if age >64 years), positive contrast-enhanced transthoracic echocardiography, and absence of lung disease.We included 85 patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome and 146 patients without hepatopulmonary syndrome. Patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome had more complications of portal hypertension and slightly higher Model for End-stage Liver Disease-Na score compared to those without hepatopulmonary syndrome (median [interquartile range] 15 [12, 19] versus 14 [10, 17], p=0.006). Hepatopulmonary syndrome patients had significantly lower six minute walk distance and worse functional class. Hepatopulmonary syndrome patients had higher circulating angiopoietin-2, Tie2, tenascin-C, c-kit, VCAM-1, and von Willebrand factor levels, and lower E-selectin levels. Patients with hepatopulmonary syndrome had an increased risk of death (hazard ratio 1.80 [1.03-3.16], p=0.04) which persisted despite adjustment for covariates (hazard ratio 1.79 [1.02-3.15], p=0.04). This association did not vary based on levels of oxygenation reflecting the severity of hepatopulmonary syndrome.Hepatopulmonary syndrome was associated with a profile of abnormal systemic angiogenesis, worse exercise and functional capacity, and an overall increased risk of death.
  4. EBioMedicine. 2021 Dec 17. pii: S2352-3964(21)00562-4. [Epub ahead of print]75 103768
      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a worldwide leading cause of chronic liver disease, but we still lack ideal non-invasive tools for diagnosis and evaluation of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and related liver fibrosis in NAFLD population. Systemic immune dysregulations such as metabolic inflammation are believed to play central role in the development of NAFLD, signifying the hope of utilizing quantitative and phenotypic changes in peripheral immune cells among NAFLD patients as a diagnostic tool of NASH and fibrosis. In this review, we summarize the known changes in peripheral immune cells from NAFLD/NASH patients and their potential relationship with NAFLD and NASH progression. Potential challenges and possible solutions for further clinical translation are also discussed.
    Keywords:  Flow cytometry; Leukocyte; Non-invasive diagnosis; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  5. iScience. 2021 Dec 17. 24(12): 103449
      Glucosylceramide (GluCer) was accumulated in sphingomyelin synthase 1 (SMS1) but not SMS2 deficient mouse tissues. In current study, we studied GluCer accumulation-mediated metabolic consequences. Livers from liver-specific Sms1/global Sms2 double-knockout (dKO) exhibited severe steatosis under a high-fat diet. Moreover, chow diet-fed ≥6-month-old dKO mice had liver impairment, inflammation, and fibrosis, compared with wild type and Sms2 KO mice. RNA sequencing showed 3- to 12-fold increases in various genes which are involved in lipogenesis, inflammation, and fibrosis. Further, we found that direct GluCer treatment (in vitro and in vivo) promoted hepatocyte to secrete more activated TGFβ1, which stimulated more collagen 1α1 production in hepatic stellate cells. Additionally, GluCer promoted more β-catenin translocation into the nucleus, thus promoting tumorigenesis. Importantly, human NASH patients had higher liver GluCer synthase and higher plasma GluCer. These findings implicated that GluCer accumulation is one of triggers promoting the development of NAFLD into NASH, then, fibrosis, and tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  Genetics; Molecular genetics; Omics
  6. Immunol Invest. 2021 Dec 22. 1-17
      This study evaluated the impact of vitamin D on Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) and inflammation in placental explants from women with preeclampsia (PE). HUVEC and explants from 10 late-onset PE (LOPE), 10 early-onset (EOPE), and 10 normotensive (NT) pregnant women were cultured with/without tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) and VD. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), 18 (IL-18), TNF-α, and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) were detected by ELISA. High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) was determined by qPCR/Western blotting, and cell death by flow cytometry. Statistical significance was accepted at p < .05. Compared to the NT group, the endogenous levels of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-18 were higher in the PE group. The stimulus with TNF-α increased cytokines in NT, TNF-α in EOPE/LOPE, IL-18 in LOPE, and all cytokines in HUVEC. TNF-α+VD treatment decreased cytokines in explant and HUVEC supernatants. TRAIL was higher in EOPE versus NT, while TNF-α increased this receptor in NT versus control. In HUVEC, TNF-α increased TRAIL versus control, and TNF-α+VD decreased levels compared to only TNF-α stimulus. Protein expression of HMGB1 was higher in explant cultures treated with TNF-α and decreased after TNF-α+VD treatment in all groups, and gene/protein expression in HUVEC. Gene expression was elevated in EOPE versus NT and LOPE, and TNF-α increased HMGB1 in NT versus control, while TNF-α+VD decreased mRNA levels in EOPE. TNF-α stimulus increased late apoptosis in HUVEC, while VD increased viability. These in vitro observations suggest that VD administration to women with preeclampsia may be beneficial in reducing placental inflammation and cell death.
    Keywords:  Cell death; HUVEC; TNF-α; placental explants; preeclampsia; vitamin D
  7. Hepatology. 2021 Dec 20.
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: LPS clearance is delayed in cholestatic liver diseases. While compromised clearance by Kupffer cells (KCs) is involved, the role of LPS uptake into hepatocytes and canalicular excretion remains unclear.APPROACH AND RESULTS: Wild-type (WT) and Bsep knockout (KO) mice were challenged intraperitoneally with LPS. Liver injury was assessed by serum biochemistry, histology, molecular inflammation markers and immune cell infiltration. LPS concentrations were determined in liver tissue and bile. Subcellular kinetics of fluorescently-labelled LPS was visualized by intravital two-photon microscopy and the findings in Bsep KO mice were compared to common bile duct-ligated (BDL) and Mdr2 KO mice. Changes in gut microbiota composition were evaluated by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing analysis. Bsep KO mice developed more pronounced LPS-induced liver injury and inflammatory signaling, with subsequently enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and aggravated hepatic immune cell infiltration. After LPS administration, its concentrations were higher in liver, but lower in bile of Bsep KO compared to WT mice. Intravital imaging of LPS showed a delayed clearance from sinusoidal blood with a basolateral uptake block into hepatocytes and reduced canalicular secretion. Moreover, LPS uptake into KCs was reduced. Similar findings with respect to hepatic LPS clearance were obtained in BDL and Mdr2 KO mice. Pretreatment with microtubule inhibitor colchicine inhibited biliary excretion of LPS in WT mice, indicating that LPS clearance is microtubule-dependent. Microbiota analysis showed no change of the gut microbiome between WT and Bsep KO mice at baseline, but major changes upon LPS challenge in WT mice.
    CONCLUSIONS: Absence of Bsep and cholestasis in general impair LPS clearance by a basolateral uptake block into hepatocytes and consequently less secretion into canaliculi. Impaired LPS removal aggravates hepatic inflammation in cholestasis.
    Keywords:  NF-ĸB; biliary excretion; cholestasis; gut microbiota; hepatocytes
  8. J Immunol Res. 2021 ;2021 5529784
      Liver diseases, including cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, account for approximately two million annual deaths worldwide. They place a huge burden on the global healthcare systems, compelling researchers to find effective treatment for liver fibrosis-cirrhosis. Portacaval anastomosis (PCA) is a model of liver damage and fibrosis. Arginine vasopressin (AVP) has been implicated as a proinflammatory-profibrotic hormone. In rats, neurointermediate pituitary lobectomy (NIL) induces a permanent drop (80%) in AVP serum levels. We hypothesized that AVP deficiency (NIL-induced) may decrease liver damage and fibrosis in a rat PCA model. Male Wistar rats were divided into intact control (IC), NIL, PCA, and PCA+NIL groups. Liver function tests, liver gene relative expressions (IL-1, IL-10, TGF-β, COLL-I, MMP-9, and MMP-13), and histopathological assessments were performed. In comparison with those in the IC and PCA groups, bilirubin, protein serum, and liver glycogen levels were restored in the PCA+NIL group. NIL in the PCA animals also decreased the gene expression levels of IL-1 and COLL-I, while increasing those of IL-10, TGF-β, and MMP-13. Histopathology of this group also showed significantly decreased signs of liver damage with lower extent of collagen deposition and fibrosis. Low AVP serum levels were not enough to fully activate the AVP receptors resulting in the decreased activation of cell signaling pathways associated with proinflammatory-profibrotic responses, while activating cell molecular signaling pathways associated with an anti-inflammatory-fibrotic state. Thus, partial reversion of liver damage and fibrosis was observed. The study supports the crucial role of AVP in the inflammatory-fibrotic processes and maintenance of immune competence. The success of the AVP deficiency strategy suggests that blocking AVP receptors may be therapeutically useful to treat inflammatory-fibrotic liver diseases.
  9. Diabetologia. 2021 Dec 21.
      AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: We aimed to characterise and quantify the expression of HLA class II (HLA-II) in human pancreatic tissue sections and to analyse its induction in human islets.METHODS: We immunostained human pancreatic tissue sections from non-diabetic (n = 5), autoantibody positive (Aab+; n = 5), and type 1 diabetic (n = 5) donors, obtained from the Network of Pancreatic Organ Donors (nPOD), with HLA-II, CD68 and insulin. Each tissue section was acquired with a widefield slide scanner and then analysed with QuPath software. In total, we analysed 7415 islets that contained 338,480 cells. Widefield microscopy was further complemented by high resolution imaging of 301 randomly selected islets, acquired using a Zeiss laser scanning confocal (LSM880) to confirm our findings. Selected beta cells were acquired in enhanced resolution using LSM880 with an Airyscan detector. Further, we cultured healthy isolated human islets and reaggregated human islet microtissues with varying concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-1β). After proinflammatory cytokine culture, islet function was measured by glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and HLA-I and HLA-II expression was subsequently evaluated with immunostaining or RNA sequencing.
    RESULTS: Insulin-containing islets (ICIs) of donors with type 1 diabetes had a higher percentage of HLA-II positive area (24.31%) compared with type 1 diabetic insulin-deficient islets (IDIs, 0.67%), non-diabetic (3.80%), and Aab+ (2.31%) donors. In ICIs of type 1 diabetic donors, 45.89% of the total insulin signal co-localised with HLA-II, and 27.65% of the islet beta cells expressed both HLA-II and insulin, while in non-diabetic and Aab+ donors 0.96% and 0.59% of the islet beta cells, respectively, expressed both markers. In the beta cells of donors with type 1 diabetes, HLA-II was mostly present in the cell cytoplasm, co-localising with insulin. In the experiments with human isolated islets and reaggregated human islets, we observed changes in insulin secretion upon stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines, as well as higher expression of HLA-II and HLA-I when compared with controls cultured with media, and an upregulation of HLA-I and HLA-II RNA transcripts.
    CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: After a long-standing controversy, we provide definitive evidence that HLA-II can be expressed by pancreatic beta cells from patients with type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, this upregulation can be induced in vitro in healthy isolated human islets or reaggregated human islets by treatment with proinflammatory cytokines. Our findings support a role for HLA-II in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis since HLA-II expressing beta cells can potentially become a direct target of autoreactive CD4+ lymphocytes.
    Keywords:  Beta cells; HLA class I; HLA class II; IIDP; InSphero microtissues; Islets; Pancreas; QuPath; Type 1 diabetes; nPOD
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 04. pii: e2115601119. [Epub ahead of print]119(1):
      Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a common degenerative cardiovascular disease whose pathobiology is not clearly understood. The cellular heterogeneity and cell-type-specific gene regulation of vascular cells in human AAA have not been well-characterized. Here, we performed analysis of whole-genome sequencing data in AAA patients versus controls with the aim of detecting disease-associated variants that may affect gene regulation in human aortic smooth muscle cells (AoSMC) and human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC), two cell types of high relevance to AAA disease. To support this analysis, we generated H3K27ac HiChIP data for these cell types and inferred cell-type-specific gene regulatory networks. We observed that AAA-associated variants were most enriched in regulatory regions in AoSMC, compared with HAEC and CD4+ cells. The cell-type-specific regulation defined by this HiChIP data supported the importance of ERG and the KLF family of transcription factors in AAA disease. The analysis of regulatory elements that contain noncoding variants and also are differentially open between AAA patients and controls revealed the significance of the interleukin-6-mediated signaling pathway. This finding was further validated by including information from the deleteriousness effect of nonsynonymous single-nucleotide variants in AAA patients and additional control data from the Medical Genome Reference Bank dataset. These results shed important insights into AAA pathogenesis and provide a model for cell-type-specific analysis of disease-associated variants.
    Keywords:  HiChIP; abdominal aortic aneurysm; cell-type-specific regulation; smooth muscle cells; whole-genome sequencing
  11. Diabetologia. 2021 Dec 21.
      AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: We aimed to determine the longitudinal association of circulating markers of systemic inflammation with subsequent long-term cognitive change in older people with type 2 diabetes.METHODS: The Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study is a prospective cohort study of 1066 adults aged 60 to 75 years with type 2 diabetes. Baseline data included C-reactive protein, IL-6, TNF-α fibrinogen and neuropsychological testing on major cognitive domains. Cognitive testing was repeated after 10 years in 581 participants. A general cognitive ability score was derived from the battery of seven individual cognitive tests using principal component analysis. Linear regression was used to determine longitudinal associations between baseline inflammatory markers and cognitive outcomes at follow-up, with baseline cognitive test results included as covariables to model cognitive change over time.
    RESULTS: Following adjustment for age, sex and baseline general cognitive ability, higher baseline fibrinogen and IL-6 were associated with greater decline in general cognitive ability (standardised βs = -0.059, p=0.032 and -0.064, p=0.018, respectively). These associations lost statistical significance after adjustment for baseline vascular and diabetes-related covariables. When assessing associations with individual cognitive tests, higher IL-6 was associated with greater decline in tests of executive function and abstract reasoning (standardised βs = 0.095, p=0.006 and -0.127, p=0.001, respectively). Similarly, raised fibrinogen and C-reactive protein levels were associated with greater decline in processing speed (standardised βs = -0.115, p=0.001 and -0.111, p=0.001, respectively). These associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for the diabetes- and vascular-related risk factors.
    CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Higher baseline levels of inflammatory markers, including plasma IL-6, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein, were associated with subsequent cognitive decline in older people with type 2 diabetes. At least some of this association appeared to be specific to certain cognitive domains and to be independent of vascular and diabetes-related risk factors.
    Keywords:  C-reactive protein; Cognitive decline; Fibrinogen; Interleukin 6; Older people; Systemic inflammation; Type 2 diabetes
  12. Immun Inflamm Dis. 2021 Dec 23.
      BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) impairs cognitive function. Systemic inflammation plays important role in cognitive deficits. It remains unclear if systemic inflammation in TBI is associated with poor cognitive function.METHODS: From January 2018 to December 2020, two groups of subjects were recruited: patients with TBI (n = 120), and healthy control (n = 120), followed up to 3 months. Blood was collected from TBI patients and healthy control, and serum inflammatory cytokines including interferon-α (IFN-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were measured at baseline and end of 3 months. Multivariate regression was used for analysis for the relationship between cognitive function and inflammatory cytokines.
    RESULTS: Inflammatory cytokines were higher in patients with brain injury and remained high at end of 3 months. Some cytokines such as IFN-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α were associated with worsening memory and predicted poor performance.
    CONCLUSION: Systemic inflammation in patients with TBI predicts poor cognitive function.
    Keywords:  cognitive function; systemic inflammation; traumatic brain injury
  13. Nat Immunol. 2021 Dec 23.
      Aging is characterized by an increased vulnerability to infection and the development of inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis, frailty, cancer and neurodegeneration. Here, we find that aging is associated with the loss of diurnally rhythmic innate immune responses, including monocyte trafficking from bone marrow to blood, response to lipopolysaccharide and phagocytosis. This decline in homeostatic immune responses was associated with a striking disappearance of circadian gene transcription in aged compared to young tissue macrophages. Chromatin accessibility was significantly greater in young macrophages than in aged macrophages; however, this difference did not explain the loss of rhythmic gene transcription in aged macrophages. Rather, diurnal expression of Kruppel-like factor 4 (Klf4), a transcription factor (TF) well established in regulating cell differentiation and reprogramming, was selectively diminished in aged macrophages. Ablation of Klf4 expression abolished diurnal rhythms in phagocytic activity, recapitulating the effect of aging on macrophage phagocytosis. Examination of individuals harboring genetic variants of KLF4 revealed an association with age-dependent susceptibility to death caused by bacterial infection. Our results indicate that loss of rhythmic Klf4 expression in aged macrophages is associated with disruption of circadian innate immune homeostasis, a mechanism that may underlie age-associated loss of protective immune responses.
  14. Neurosci Lett. 2021 Dec 16. pii: S0304-3940(21)00778-3. [Epub ahead of print]770 136399
      Cardiac 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) uptake correlates with the extent of cardiac sympathetic denervation found in disease with Lewy pathology, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Protein α-synuclein, the main component of Lewy body, is a candidate biomarker of PD, but its relationship with cardiac MIBG uptake has never been explored. Plasma α-synuclein levels were measured in 37 patients with early PD. Cardiac 123I-MIBG scintigraphy and 18F-FP-CIT brain PET were performed, and striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) uptake was quantified using automated segmentation. The relationships of plasma α-synuclein levels with cardiac MIBG and striatal DAT uptake were investigated. The plasma α-synuclein level correlated with early (R = 0.38, P = 0.033) and delayed (R = 0.49, P = 0.0055) MIBG heart-to-mediastinum (H/M) ratios, and its correlation with delayed H/M ratio remained significant after adjustment with age, disease duration, motor severity, and striatal DAT uptake (P = 0.016). The regional SUVRs of any subregions of caudate and putamen did not correlate with plasma α-synuclein level. In the patients with early PD, the plasma α-synuclein level correlated with cardiac sympathetic denervation, but not with nigrostriatal degeneration. This may suggest that plasma α-synuclein levels more readily reflect the peripheral deposition of Lewy bodies than their central deposition.
    Keywords:  Alpha-synuclein; Cardiac MIBG; Parkinson’s disease