Acute cellular rejection elicits distinct microRNA signatures in airway epithelium of lung transplant patients.
ABSTRACT: Acute cellular rejection (ACR) is a common complication in lung transplantation and associated with increased risk of chronic allograft dysfunction. MicroRNAs are critical controllers of cellular transcription whose expression can be altered in disease states. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate whether microRNA profiling of epithelial cells obtained from airway brushings can distinguish lung transplant patients with ACR from those without rejection. We studied 21 subjects (10 with ACR, 11 without ACR) and assessed the expression of over 700 microRNAs in their airway epithelium. We identified 117 differentially expressed microRNAs that robustly segregated the two groups, and were uniformly downregulated in patients with ACR. Leveraging experimentally verified microRNA targets, we systematically mapped pathways and processes regulated by ACR-induced microRNAs and noted enrichment of programs involved in development, proliferation, migration, and repair. Collectively, our study suggests that ACR is associated with a distinct epithelial microRNA signature that can provide insight into the pathogenesis of acute rejection and potentially serve as a sensitive, minimally invasive biomarker tool for diagnostic and prognostic stratification of lung transplant patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Obliterative bronchiolitis in chronic rejection of lung allografts is characterised by airway epithelial damage and fibrosis. The process whereby normal epithelium is lost and replaced by fibroblastic scar tissue is poorly understood, but recent findings suggest that epithelial cells can become fibroblasts through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). It is hypothesised that EMT occurs in lung allografts and plays a potential role in airway remodelling. METHODS: Sixteen stable lung transplant recipients underwent bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), endobronchial biopsies, and bronchial brushings. Biopsy sections were stained for the fibroblast marker S100A4. Brushings were cultured on collagen, stained with anti-S100A4, and examined for further EMT markers including matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) zymographic activity and epithelial invasion through collagen coated filters. RESULTS: A median 15% (0-48%) of the biopsy epithelium stained for S100A4 in stable lung transplant recipients and MMP-7 co-localisation was observed. In non-stimulated epithelial cultures from lung allografts, S100A4 staining was identified with MMP-2 and MMP-9 production and zymographic activity. MMP total protein and activity was increased following stimulation with transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1. Non-stimulated transplant epithelial cells were invasive and penetration of collagen coated filters increased following TGF-beta1 stimulation. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence of EMT markers in lung allografts of patients without loss of lung function. The EMT process may represent a final common pathway following injury in more common diseases characterised by airway remodelling.
Project description:Identifying non-invasive and reliable blood-derived biomarkers for early detection of acute cellular rejection in heart transplant recipients is of great importance in clinical practice. MicroRNAs are small molecules found to be stable in serum and their expression patterns reflect both physiological and underlying pathological conditions in human.We compared a group of heart transplant recipients with histologically-verified acute cellular rejection (ACR, n = 26) with a control group of heart transplant recipients without allograft rejection (NR, n = 37) by assessing the levels of a select set of microRNAs in serum specimens.The levels of seven microRNAs, miR-142-3p, miR-101-3p, miR-424-5p, miR-27a-3p, miR-144-3p, miR-339-3p and miR-326 were significantly higher in ACR group compared to the control group and could discriminate between patients with and without allograft rejection. MiR-142-3p and miR-101-3p had the best diagnostic test performance among the microRNAs tested. Serum levels of miR-142-3p and miR-101-3p were independent of calcineurin inhibitor levels, as measured by tacrolimus and cyclosporin; kidney function, as measured by creatinine level, and general inflammation state, as measured by CRP level.This study demonstrated two microRNAs, miR-142-3p and miR-101-3p, that could be relevant as non-invasive diagnostic tools for identifying heart transplant patients with acute cellular rejection.
Project description:Field of cancerization in the airway epithelium has been increasingly examined to understand early pathogenesis of non-small cell lung cancer. However, the extent of field of cancerization throughout the lung airways is unclear. Here we sought to determine the differential gene and microRNA expressions associated with field of cancerization in the peripheral airway epithelial cells of patients with lung adenocarcinoma. We obtained peripheral airway brushings from smoker controls (n=13) and from the lung contralateral to the tumor in cancer patients (n=17). We performed gene and microRNA expression profiling on these peripheral airway epithelial cells using Affymetrix GeneChip and TaqMan Array. Integrated gene and microRNA analysis was performed to identify significant molecular pathways. We identified 26 mRNAs and 5 miRNAs that were significantly (FDR <0.1) up-regulated and 38 mRNAs and 12 miRNAs that were significantly down-regulated in the cancer patients when compared to smoker controls. Functional analysis identified differential transcriptomic expressions related to tumorigenesis. Integration of miRNA-mRNA data into interaction network analysis showed modulation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK/MAPK) pathway in the contralateral lung field of cancerization. In conclusion, patients with lung adenocarcinoma have tumor related molecules and pathways in histologically normal appearing peripheral airway epithelial cells, a substantial distance from the tumor itself. This finding can potentially provide new biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and novel therapeutic targets.
Project description:Lung transplantation can be lifesaving in end-stage cystic fibrosis (CF), but long-term survival is limited by chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). Persistent upper airway Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PsA) colonization can seed the allograft. While de novo PsA infection is associated with CLAD in non-CF recipients, this association is less clear for CF recipients experiencing PsA recolonization. Here, we evaluate host and pathogen contributions to this phenomenon. In the context of PsA infection, brushings from the airways of CF recipients demonstrate type 1 interferon gene suppression. Airway epithelial cell (AEC) cultures demonstrate similar findings in the absence of pathogens or immune cells, contrasting with the pre-transplant CF AEC phenotype. Type 1 interferon promoters are relatively hypermethylated in CF AECs. CF subjects in this cohort have more mucoid PsA, while non-CF PsA subjects have decreased microbiome ? diversity. Peri-transplant protocols may benefit from consideration of this host and microbiome equilibrium.
Project description:Chronic rejection, manifested as small airway fibrosis (obliterative bronchiolitis [OB]), is the main obstacle to long-term survival in lung transplantation. Recent studies demonstrate that the airways involved in a lung transplant are relatively hypoxic at baseline and that OB pathogenesis may be linked to ischemia induced by a transient loss of airway microvasculature. Here, we show that HIF-1? mediates airway microvascular repair in a model of orthotopic tracheal transplantation. Grafts with a conditional knockout of Hif1a demonstrated diminished recruitment of recipient-derived Tie2? angiogenic cells to the allograft, impaired repair of damaged microvasculature, accelerated loss of microvascular perfusion, and hastened denudation of epithelial cells. In contrast, graft HIF-1? overexpression induced via an adenoviral vector prolonged airway microvascular perfusion, preserved epithelial integrity, extended the time window for the graft to be rescued from chronic rejection, and attenuated airway fibrotic remodeling. HIF-1? overexpression induced the expression of proangiogenic factors such as Sdf1, Plgf, and Vegf, and promoted the recruitment of vasoreparative Tie2? cells. This study demonstrates that a therapy that enhances vascular integrity during acute rejection may promote graft health and prevent chronic rejection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In kidney transplant recipients, surveillance biopsies can reveal, despite stable graft function, histologic features of acute rejection and borderline changes that are associated with undesirable graft outcomes. Noninvasive biomarkers of subclinical acute rejection are needed to avoid the risks and costs associated with repeated biopsies. METHODS:We examined subclinical histologic and functional changes in kidney transplant recipients from the prospective Genomics of Chronic Allograft Rejection (GoCAR) study who underwent surveillance biopsies over 2 years, identifying those with subclinical or borderline acute cellular rejection (ACR) at 3 months (ACR-3) post-transplant. We performed RNA sequencing on whole blood collected from 88 individuals at the time of 3-month surveillance biopsy to identify transcripts associated with ACR-3, developed a novel sequencing-based targeted expression assay, and validated this gene signature in an independent cohort. RESULTS:Study participants with ACR-3 had significantly higher risk than those without ACR-3 of subsequent clinical acute rejection at 12 and 24 months, faster decline in graft function, and decreased graft survival in adjusted Cox analysis. We identified a 17-gene signature in peripheral blood that accurately diagnosed ACR-3, and validated it using microarray expression profiles of blood samples from 65 transplant recipients in the GoCAR cohort and three public microarray datasets. In an independent cohort of 110 transplant recipients, tests of the targeted expression assay on the basis of the 17-gene set showed that it identified individuals at higher risk of ongoing acute rejection and future graft loss. CONCLUSIONS:Our targeted expression assay enabled noninvasive diagnosis of subclinical acute rejection and inflammation in the graft and may represent a useful tool to risk-stratify kidney transplant recipients.
Project description:Hyaluronan (HA) is associated with innate immune response activation and may be a marker of allograft dysfunction in lung transplant recipients. This was a prospective, single center study comparing levels of bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum HA and the HA immobilizer LYVE-1 in lung transplant recipients with and without acute cellular rejection (ACR). Chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD)-free survival was also evaluated based on HA and LYVE-1 levels. 78 recipients were enrolled with a total of 115 diagnostic biopsies and 1.5 years of median follow-up. Serum HA was correlated with BAL HA (r = 0.25, p = 0.01) and with serum LYVE-1 (r = 0.32, p = 0.002). There was significant variation in HA and LYVE-1 over time, regardless of ACR status. Levels of serum HA (median 74.7 vs 82.7, p = 0.69), BAL HA (median 149.4 vs 134.5, p = 0.39), and LYVE-1 (mean 190.2 vs 183.8, p = 0.72) were not associated with ACR. CLAD-free survival was not different in recipients with any episode of elevated serum HA (HR = 1.5, 95% CI = 0.3-7.7, p = 0.61) or BAL HA (HR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.2-3.6, p = 0.93). These results did not differ when stratified by bilateral transplant status. In this small cohort, serum HA, BAL HA, and LYVE-1 levels are not associated with ACR or CLAD-free survival in lung transplant recipients.
Project description:Tacrolimus exhibits unpredictable pharmacokinetics (PKs) after lung transplant, partly explained by cytochrome P450 (CYP)-enzyme polymorphisms. However, whether exposure variability during the immediate postoperative period affects outcomes is unknown, and pharmacogenetic dosing may be limited by residual PK variability. We estimated adjusted associations between early postoperative tacrolimus concentrations and acute kidney injury (AKI) and acute cellular rejection (ACR), and identified clinical and pharmacogenetic factors that explain postoperative tacrolimus concentration variability in 484 lung transplant patients. Increasing tacrolimus concentration was associated with higher AKI risk (hazard ratio (HR) 1.54; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20-1.96 per 5-mg/dL); and increasing AKI severity (odds ratio 1.29; 95% CI 1.04-1.60 per 5-mg/dL), but not ACR (HR 1.02; 95% CI 0.73-1.42). A model with clinical and pharmacogenetic factors explained 42% of concentration variance compared with 19% for pharmacogenetic factors only. Early tacrolimus exposure was independently associated with AKI after lung transplantation, but not ACR. Clinical factors accounted for substantial residual tacrolimus concentration variability not explained by CYP-enzyme polymorphisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Epithelial barrier dysfunction and increased permeability may contribute to antigen sensitization and disease progression in asthma. Claudin-18.1 is the only known lung-specific tight junction protein, but its contribution to airway barrier function or asthma is unclear. OBJECTIVES:We sought to test the hypotheses that claudin-18 is a determinant of airway epithelial barrier function that is downregulated by IL-13 and that claudin-18 deficiency results in increased aeroantigen sensitization and airway hyperresponsiveness. METHODS:Claudin-18.1 mRNA levels were measured in airway epithelial brushings from healthy controls and patients with asthma. In patients with asthma, claudin-18 levels were compared with a three-gene-mean marker of TH2 inflammation. Airway epithelial permeability changes due to claudin-18 deficiency were measured in 16HBE cells and claudin-18 null mice. The effect of IL-13 on claudin expression was determined in primary human airway epithelial cells and in mice. Airway hyperresponsiveness and serum IgE levels were compared in claudin-18 null and wild-type mice following aspergillus sensitization. RESULTS:Epithelial brushings from patients with asthma (n = 67) had significantly lower claudin-18 mRNA levels than did those from healthy controls (n = 42). Claudin-18 levels were lowest among TH2-high patients with asthma. Loss of claudin-18 was sufficient to impair epithelial barrier function in 16HBE cells and in mouse airways. IL-13 decreased claudin-18 expression in primary human cells and in mice. Claudin-18 null mice had significantly higher serum IgE levels and increased airway responsiveness following intranasal aspergillus sensitization. CONCLUSIONS:These data support the hypothesis that claudin-18 is an essential contributor to the airway epithelial barrier to aeroantigens. Furthermore, TH2 inflammation suppresses claudin-18 expression, potentially promoting sensitization and airway hyperresponsiveness.
Project description:mRNA expression was profiled from pooled bronchial airway epithelial cell brushings (n=3 patients/pool) obtained during bronchoscopy from healthy never (NS) and current smokers (S) and smokers with (C) and without (NC) lung cancer 4 samples were sequened, each representing a pool of 3 patients. The phenotypes of the 4 samples were as follows: healthy non-smoker, healthy smoker, smoker without lung cancer and smoker with lung cancer.