Patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis have defective Treg cell function exacerbated by the presence of a suppression-resistant effector cell population.
ABSTRACT: The development of pathogenic antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs) can result in systemic small vessel vasculitis. However, the breakdown in immune tolerance that results in the induction and persistence of ANCAs is not well understood. We undertook this study to test our hypothesis that abnormal T cell regulation is central to disease pathogenesis in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV).Peripheral blood samples were obtained from 62 patients with AAV and 19 healthy controls for flow cytometric analysis of CD4+ T cell populations. Functional T cell studies were performed with fluorescence-activated cell sorted CD4+ T cell populations stimulated with anti-CD3/anti-CD28.We demonstrated two separate abnormalities in T cell regulation in patients with AAV. First, we showed that the Treg cell frequency was increased in the peripheral blood of patients with active disease, but Treg cells from patients with AAV had decreased suppressive function. Treg cells from patients with active disease disproportionately used a FoxP3 isoform lacking exon 2, which might alter Treg cell function. Second, we identified a CD4+ T cell population with increased frequency that was resistant to Treg cell suppression, produced proinflammatory cytokines, and was antigen experienced.AAV is associated with disruption of the suppressive Treg cell network and with increased frequency of a distinct proinflammatory effector T cell subset that comprises the majority of peripheral CD4+ T cells.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the safety and efficacy of belimumab as adjunctive therapy to maintain remission in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV). METHODS:In this multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients with AAV (ages ?18 years) were randomized 1:1 to receive azathioprine (2 mg/kg/day), low-dose oral glucocorticoids (?10 mg/day), and either intravenous belimumab (10 mg/kg) or placebo, following remission induction with rituximab or cyclophosphamide along with glucocorticoids. The primary end point was time to first protocol-specified event (PSE), with first PSE defined as a Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS) of ?6, presence of ?1 major BVAS item, or receipt of prohibited medications for any reason, resulting in treatment failure (adjusted for ANCA type [proteinase 3 (PR3) or myeloperoxidase (MPO)], disease stage at induction, and induction regimen). Vasculitis relapse was defined as the PSE of either a BVAS activity score of ?6 or receipt of prohibited medications for vasculitis. Changes in treatment practice led to truncation of the study population from ~300 patients to ~100 patients. RESULTS:The intent-to-treat population totaled 105 patients with AAV, of whom 52 (40 with PR3-ANCAs, 12 with MPO-ANCAs) received placebo and 53 (41 with PR3-ANCAs, 12 with MPO-ANCAs) received belimumab; 27 of the patients were in rituximab-induced disease remission, while 78 were in cyclophosphamide-induced disease remission at baseline. Compared with placebo, treatment with belimumab did not reduce the risk of a PSE (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.07, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.44-2.59; P = 0.884) or vasculitis relapse (adjusted HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.29-2.65; P = 0.821). The overall rate of PSEs was low (11 [21.2%] of 52 patients receiving placebo, 10 [18.9%] of 53 patients receiving belimumab). Vasculitis relapse in the placebo group (n = 8) occurred independent of the induction regimen, disease stage, or ANCA type. All vasculitis relapses in the belimumab group (n = 6) occurred in patients who had PR3-ANCA-associated vasculitis with cyclophosphamide-induced disease remission. Adverse events occurred in 49 (92.5%) of 53 patients receiving belimumab and 43 (82.7%) of 52 patients receiving placebo, with no new safety concerns. CONCLUSION:Belimumab plus azathioprine and glucocorticoids for the maintenance of remission in AAV did not reduce the risk of relapse.
Project description:Small-vessel vasculitis is a life-threatening autoimmune disease that is frequently associated with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCAs). Conventional immunotherapy including steroids and cyclophosphamide can cause serious adverse events, limiting the efficacy and safety of treatment. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a key component of fish oil, is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid widely known to be cardioprotective and beneficial for vascular function. We report two elderly patients with systemic ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) in whom the administration of EPA in concert with steroids safely induced and maintained remission, without the use of additioal immunosuppressants. To explore the mechanisms by which EPA enhances the treatment of AAV, we employed SCG/Kj mice as a spontaneous murine model of AAV. Dietary enrichment with EPA significantly delayed the onset of crescentic glomerulonephritis and prolonged the overall survival. EPA-derived anti-inflammatory lipid mediators and their precursors were present in the kidney, plasma, spleen, and lungs in the EPA-treated mice. Furthermore, a decrease in ANCA production and CD4/CD8-double negative T cells, and an increase in Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells in the lymph nodes of the kidney were observed in the EPA-treated mice. These clinical and experimental observations suggest that EPA can safely support and augment conventional therapy for treating autoimmune small-vessel vasculitis.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To identify risk alleles relevant to the causal and biologic mechanisms of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV). METHODS:A genome-wide association study and subsequent replication study were conducted in a total cohort of 1,986 cases of AAV (patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis [Wegener's] [GPA] or microscopic polyangiitis [MPA]) and 4,723 healthy controls. Meta-analysis of these data sets and functional annotation of identified risk loci were performed, and candidate disease variants with unknown functional effects were investigated for their impact on gene expression and/or protein function. RESULTS:Among the genome-wide significant associations identified, the largest effect on risk of AAV came from the single-nucleotide polymorphism variants rs141530233 and rs1042169 at the HLA-DPB1 locus (odds ratio [OR] 2.99 and OR 2.82, respectively) which, together with a third variant, rs386699872, constitute a triallelic risk haplotype associated with reduced expression of the HLA-DPB1 gene and HLA-DP protein in B cells and monocytes and with increased frequency of complementary proteinase 3 (PR3)-reactive T cells relative to that in carriers of the protective haplotype. Significant associations were also observed at the SERPINA1 and PTPN22 loci, the peak signals arising from functionally relevant missense variants, and at PRTN3, in which the top-scoring variant correlated with increased PRTN3 expression in neutrophils. Effects of individual loci on AAV risk differed between patients with GPA and those with MPA or between patients with PR3-ANCAs and those with myeloperoxidase-ANCAs, but the collective population attributable fraction for these variants was substantive, at 77%. CONCLUSION:This study reveals the association of susceptibility to GPA and MPA with functional gene variants that explain much of the genetic etiology of AAV, could influence and possibly be predictors of the clinical presentation, and appear to alter immune cell proteins and responses likely to be key factors in the pathogenesis of AAV.
Project description:To estimate the annual incidence, prevalence, and mortality of antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) and its subsets, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) (GPA), microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss) (EGPA), in a US-based adult population.All medical records of patients with a diagnosis of, or suspicion of having, AAV in Olmsted County, Minnesota from January 1, 1996 to December 31, 2015 were reviewed. AAV incidence rates were age- and sex-adjusted to the 2010 US white population. Age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of AAV was calculated on January 1, 2015. Survival rates observed in the study cohort were compared with expected rates in the Minnesota population.Of the 58 incident cases of AAV in Olmsted County during the study period, 23 (40%) were cases of GPA, 28 (48%) were cases of MPA, and 7 (12%) were cases of EGPA. Overall, 28 (48%) of the patients with AAV were women and 57 (98%) were white. The mean ± SD age at diagnosis was 61.1 ± 16.5 years. Thirty-four patients (61%) had myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCAs, and 17 (30%) were positive for proteinase 3 (PR3)-ANCAs; 5 (9%) were ANCA-negative. The annual incidence of AAV was 3.3 per 100,000 population (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2.4-4.1). The incidence rates of GPA, MPA, and EGPA were 1.3 (95% CI 0.8-1.8), 1.6 (95% CI 1.0-2.2), and 0.4 (95% CI 0.1-0.6), respectively. The overall prevalence of AAV was 42.1 per 100,000 (95% CI 29.6-54.6). The mortality rate among AAV patients overall, and among patients with EGPA, those with MPA, and those with MPO-ANCAs, was increased in comparison to the Minnesota general population (each P < 0.05), whereas mortality rates among patients with GPA, those with PR3-ANCAs, and ANCA-negative patients did not differ from that in the general population.The annual incidence of AAV in Olmsted County, Minnesota over the 20 years of the study was 3.3 per 100,000, with a prevalence of 42.1 per 100,000, which is substantially higher than the rates reported in other areas worldwide. The incidence of GPA was similar to that of MPA. Patients with MPA and those with EGPA, but not patients with GPA, experienced higher rates of mortality than that in the Minnesota general population. MPO-ANCAs were a marker of poor survival in this population of patients with AAV.
Project description:Regulatory T cells (Treg) accumulate in tumor tissues and the peripheral blood of cancer patients and may persist after therapies. This cross-sectional study examines effects of adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) on Treg numbers and function in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.The frequency and absolute numbers of CD4(+), ATP-hydrolyzing CD4(+)CD39(+) and CD8(+) T cells, and expression levels of CD39, CD25, TGF-?-associated LAP and GARP on Treg were measured by flow cytometry in 40 healthy donors (NC) and 71 HNSCC patients [29 untreated with active disease (AD); 22 treated with surgery; 20 treated with CRT]. All treated subjects had no evident disease (NED) at the time of phlebotomy. In an additional cohort of 40 subjects with AD (n = 15), NED (n = 10), and NC (n = 15), in vitro sensitivity of CD4(+) T-cell subsets to cisplatin and activation-induced cell death (AICD) was tested in Annexin V-binding assays.CRT decreased the frequency of circulating CD4(+) T cells (P < 0.002) but increased that of CD4(+)CD39(+) Treg (P ? 0.001) compared with untreated or surgery-only patients. Treg frequency remained elevated for >3 years. CRT increased surface expression of LAP, GARP, and CD39 on Treg. In vitro Treg were resistant to AICD or cisplatin but conventional CD4(+) T cells (Tconv) were not. CRT-induced Treg from AD or NC subjects upregulated prosurvival proteins whereas Tconv upregulated proapoptotic Bax.Highly suppressive, cisplatin-resistant Treg increase in frequency and persist after CRT and could be responsible for suppression of antitumor immune responses and recurrence in HNSCC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Increased frequency of CCR9+ CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood is linked to several gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases; however, its relationship with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is not understood. We investigated whether the frequencies of CCR9+ CD4+ T cells and related subsets were increased in peripheral blood of both patients and mice with NEC. METHODS:CCR9+ CD4+ T cells and related subsets were evaluated by flow cytometry in peripheral blood collected from both patients and mice with NEC and controls. The suppressive function of CCR9+ regulatory T (Treg) cells in NEC was assessed via in vitro suppression assay. An in vitro T cell polarization assay was performed to investigate the role of proinflammatory cytokines in Treg cell polarization. In vivo Treg cell polarization analysis was performed using NEC mice treated with anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antibody. FINDINGS:A higher proportion of CCR9+ CD4+ T cells occurred in peripheral blood of both patients and mice with NEC than in controls. Elevated CCR9+ CD4+ T cells were primarily CCR9+ IL-17-producing Treg cells, possessing features of conventional Treg cells, but their suppressive activity was seriously impaired and negatively correlated with the severity of intestinal tissue injury. IL-6 promoted polarization of CCR9+ Treg cells to CCR9+ IL-17-producing Treg cells, and blocking IL-6 signalling inhibited this conversion in vitro and ameliorated experimental NEC in vivo. INTERPRETATION:Collectively, these data suggested that CCR9+ IL-17-producing Treg cells may be a biomarker of severity and highlight the possibility that antibodies targeting IL-6R could ameliorate NEC by modulating lymphocyte balance. FUND: This work was supported by the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China (2017A020215100), the Science and Technology Foundation of Guangzhou, China (201704020086 and 201604020154), the Medical Scientific Research Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (A2017304 and A2014704), and the Social Science and Technology Development Foundation of Dongguan, China (2016108101037).
Project description:BACKGROUND: Upon antigen exposure, cord blood derived T cells respond to ubiquitous environmental antigens by high proliferation. To date it remains unclear whether these "excessive" responses relate to different regulatory properties of the putative T regulatory cell (Treg) compartment or even expansion of the Treg compartment itself. METHODS: Cord blood (>37 week of gestation) and peripheral blood (healthy controls) were obtained and different Treg cell subsets were isolated. The suppressive potential of Treg populations after antigen exposure was evaluated via functional inhibition assays ([(3)H]thymidine incorporation assay and CFSE staining) with or without allergen stimulation. The frequency and markers of CD4(+)CD25(high)FoxP3(+) T cells were characterized by mRNA analysis and flow cytometry. RESULTS: Cord blood derived CD4(+)CD25(high) cells did not show substantial suppressor capacity upon TCR activation, in contrast to CD4(+)CD25(high) cells freshly purified from adult blood. This could not be explained by a lower frequency of FoxP3(+)CD4(+)CD25(high)cells or FOXP3 mRNA expression. However, after antigen-specific stimulation in vitro, these cells showed strong proliferation and expansion and gained potent suppressive properties. The efficiency of their suppressive capacity can be enhanced in the presence of endotoxins. If T-cells were sorted according to their CD127 expression, a tiny subset of Treg cells (CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(low)) is highly suppressive even without prior antigen exposure. CONCLUSION: Cord blood harbors a very small subset of CD4(+)CD25(high) Treg cells that requires antigen-stimulation to show expansion and become functional suppressive Tregs.
Project description:B cells are central to the pathology of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV), a disease characterized by autoantibodies and effectively treated by rituximab. In addition to promoting inflammation, a subset of B cells act to suppress harmful autoimmune responses (Breg). The balance of effector and regulatory B cell subsets in AAV is not known. This study was conducted to assess the relative frequency of these subsets during different states of disease activity.B memory (Bmem), naive (Bnaive) and regulatory (Breg) subsets were defined by their relative expression of CD24 and CD38. Function was assessed by cytokine production and suppressive action on CD4(+) Th1 activation evaluated in a co-culture system.Compared with healthy controls, the frequency of Breg (CD24(hi)CD38(hi)) was significantly reduced during disease remission in both proteinase 3 (PR3)- and MPO-ANCA patients and during acute disease in PR3-ANCA patients, while the frequency of memory cells (CD24(hi)CD38(lo)) was reduced during active disease and restored during remission. Breg cell frequency showed a positive correlation, while Bmem had an inverse correlation with IL-10 production in vitro. B and T cell co-cultures revealed that memory and naive B cell subsets augmented Th1 activation in vitro, which was prevented by Breg, and this pattern did not differ between remission AAV patients and controls.In remission there is a numerical, but not functional, deficiency in Breg and preservation of Bmem associated with reduced IL-10 production and increased Th1 activation in vitro. This imbalance may contribute to the high rate of relapse observed in AAV, especially in PR3-ANCA patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pegylated-interferon alpha (PegINF?) treatment of patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET) has resulted in long-term clinical response, decreased JAK2V617F allelic burden and restoration of polyclonal hematopoiesis. The mechanisms of the beneficial effects of PegINF? are not clear, but available evidence suggests direct suppression of JAK2-mutated clone, induction of dormant stem cells to proliferation, and augmentation of an immune effect against PV and ET clones. METHODS:We analyzed the phenotype and frequency of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from PegINF? treated patients and compared them to patients treated with hydroxyurea (HU). Samples collected at various time points before and during treatment were analyzed using multicolor flow cytometry. RESULTS:We found that PegINF? increased the frequency of peripheral blood CD4+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg). Highly suppressive Treg, characterized by co-expression of CD39 and HLA-DR, were also increased in PBL from PegINF? treated patients. We observed an augmentation of cycling CD8+ T cells, NK cells, and of poorly activated CD38+CD8+ T cells. Our results also suggest that PegINF? increased the frequency of PD-1+ CD4+ helper cells and PD-1+ CD4+ Foxp3+ Treg cells. None of these changes were present in HU treated patients. We analyzed the correlation between changes in different T cell populations in the peripheral blood with the changes in JAK2V617F allelic burden in clonal granulocytes. Augmentation of Ki-67+ Treg, HLA-DR+ CD39+ Treg, Helios+ Treg and HLA-DR+ CD38+ CD8+ T cells correlated with an increase in JAK2V617F allelic burden. We also found a positive correlation between PD-1+ Treg and JAK2V617F allelic burden; however, the number of available patients was small (n = 7). CONCLUSIONS:We report marked changes in frequencies of PBL subsets after PegINF? treatment, suggesting an immunomodulatory effect by PegINF?. Generation of a more suppressive immune response, as measured by an increase in highly suppressive Treg and poorly activated CD8+ T cells, correlated with a poor molecular response. In this study, we have not identified changes in the PBL that would indicate the presence of an effective anti-tumor response.Trial registration NCT01259856, December 7. 2010 and NCT01259817, December 6. 2010, Grant #1P01CA108671-O1A2, July 17. 2006, Sponsor: MPDRC/NIH, NCI-2012-00269, January 12. 2011 and NCI-2012-00268, January 12. 2011.
Project description:Better understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of primary systemic vasculitides (PSV) has led to the development of many potentially clinically relevant biomarkers. Genome-wide association studies have highlighted that MHC class II polymorphisms may influence the development of particular anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) serotypes, but not the clinical phenotype of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV). Although ANCAs are overall poor biomarkers of disease activity, they may be useful for the prediction of flares of renal and/or pulmonary vasculitis. Moreover, patients with proteinase 3 (PR3)-AAV may respond better to rituximab than cyclophosphamide. Newer biomarkers of renal vasculitis in AAV include urinary soluble CD163, and may in the future reduce the requirement for renal biopsy. Better understanding of dysregulated neutrophil activation in AAV has led to the identification of novel biomarkers including circulating microparticles, and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), although their clinical utility has not yet been realised. Studies examining endothelial injury and repair responses have additionally revealed indices that may have utility as disease activity and/or prognostic biomarkers. Last, next-generation sequencing technologies are revealing monogenic forms of vasculitis, such as deficiency of adenosine deaminase type 2 (DADA2), and are profoundly influencing the approach to the diagnosis and treatment of vasculitis in the young.