Multiparametric Functional MRI: A Tool to Uncover Subtle Changes following Allogeneic Renal Transplantation.
ABSTRACT: To investigate multiparametric functional MRI to characterize acute rejection in a murine allogeneic renal transplant model and evaluate the effect of novel therapeutics.We performed allogeneic and syngeneic orthotopic transplantations (Balb/c to C57Bl/6 and C57Bl/6 to C57Bl/6). Allogeneic Groups (n = 5) were either treated with the anti-CCL2-Spiegelmer (mNOX-E36) in monotherapy or in combination with low doses of Ciclosporin-A (10mg/kgBW/d) for 10 days. Controls received equivalent doses of a non-functional spiegelmer (revmNOX-E36) or low dose Ciclosporin-A. Diffusion-weighted (DWI) and Dynamic-contrast-enhanced (DCE-) MRI-scans were performed using a clinical 3T-scanner. DWI analysis (b-values from 0-800 s/mm2) was performed mono- and biexponentially, while DCE-MRI was assessed with deconvolution analysis. Therapy effects were assessed ex vivo with histopathology, immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR. Statistical analysis was performed with unpaired t-tests and Spearman´s correlation coefficient.DWI showed a significant diffusion restriction in allogeneic compared to syngeneic transplants (ADC: 0.63±0.08 vs. 1.29±0.12 mm2/s*103) with decreasing diffusion restriction under therapy. DCE-MRI showed restored organ perfusion under Ciclosporin A alone and combination therapy (Plasma Flow: 43.43±12.49; 38.75±7.53ml/100ml/min) compared to syngeneic controls (51.03±12.49ml/100ml/min). Ex vivo analysis showed reduced monocytic infiltrates, attenuated levels of inflammatory cytokines under mNOX-E36 monotherapy with an additive effect of low dose Ciclosporin A. There was a significant (p<0.05) negative correlation between ADC and interstitial inflammation (r = -0.73) or macrophage infiltration (r = -0.81) and between organ perfusion and intimal arteritis (r = -0.63).Multiparametric functional MRI is suited to detect renal allograft rejection in an experimental murine model and allows to characterize effects of immunosuppressive therapy alleviating acute rejection processes in allogeneic transplantation.
Project description:The ability to verify the sequence of a nucleic acid-based therapeutic is an essential step in the drug development process. The challenge associated with sequence identification increases with the length and nuclease resistance of the nucleic acid molecule, the latter being an important attribute of therapeutic oligonucleotides. We describe methods for the sequence determination of Spiegelmers, which are enantiomers of naturally occurring RNA with high resistance to enzymatic degradation. Spiegelmer sequencing is effected by affixing a label or hapten to the 5'-end of the oligonucleotide and chemically degrading the molecule in a controlled fashion to generate fragments that are then resolved and identified using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The Spiegelmer sequence is then derived from these fragments. Examples are shown for two different Spiegelmers (NOX-E36 and NOX-A12), and the specificity of the method is shown using a NOX-E36 mismatch control.
Project description:In chronic liver injury, angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, may contribute to progressive hepatic fibrosis and to development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Although hypoxia-induced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) occurs in advanced fibrosis, we hypothesised that inflammation may endorse hepatic angiogenesis already at early stages of fibrosis.Angiogenesis in livers of c57BL/6 mice upon carbon tetrachloride- or bile duct ligation-induced chronic hepatic injury was non-invasively monitored using in vivo contrast-enhanced micro computed tomography (µCT) and ex vivo anatomical µCT after hepatic Microfil perfusion. Functional contributions of monocyte-derived macrophage subsets for angiogenesis were explored by pharmacological inhibition of CCL2 using the Spiegelmer mNOX-E36.Contrast-enhanced in vivo µCT imaging allowed non-invasive monitoring of the close correlation of angiogenesis, reflected by functional hepatic blood vessel expansion, with experimental fibrosis progression. On a cellular level, inflammatory monocyte-derived macrophages massively accumulated in injured livers, colocalised with newly formed vessels in portal tracts and exhibited pro-angiogenic gene profiles including upregulated VEGF and MMP9. Functional in vivo and anatomical ex vivo µCT analyses demonstrated that inhibition of monocyte infiltration by targeting the chemokine CCL2 prevented fibrosis-associated angiogenesis, but not fibrosis progression. Monocyte-derived macrophages primarily fostered sprouting angiogenesis within the portal vein tract. Portal vein diameter as a measure of portal hypertension depended on fibrosis, but not on angiogenesis.Inflammation-associated angiogenesis is promoted by CCL2-dependent monocytes during fibrosis progression. Innovative in vivo µCT methodology can accurately monitor angiogenesis and antiangiogenic therapy effects in experimental liver fibrosis.
Project description:Different tissue-engineering approaches have been developed to induce and promote cardiac regeneration; however, the impact of the immune system and its responses to the various scaffold components of the engineered grafts remains unclear. Fibrin-based engineered heart tissue (EHT) was generated from neonatal Lewis (Lew) rat heart cells and transplanted onto the left ventricular surface of three different rat strains: syngeneic Lew, allogeneic Brown Norway, and immunodeficient Rowett Nude rats. Interferon spot frequency assay results showed similar degrees of systemic immune activation in the syngeneic and allogeneic groups, whereas no systemic immune response was detectable in the immunodeficient group (p < .001 vs. syngeneic and allogeneic). Histological analysis revealed much higher local infiltration of CD3- and CD68-positive cells in syngeneic and allogeneic rats than in immunodeficient animals. Enzyme-linked immunospot and immunofluorescence experiments revealed matrix-directed TH1-based rejection in syngeneic recipients without collateral impairment of heart cell survival. Bioluminescence imaging was used for in vivo longitudinal monitoring of transplanted luciferase-positive EHT constructs. Survival was documented in syngeneic and immunodeficient recipients for a period of up to 110 days after transplant, whereas in the allogeneic setting, graft survival was limited to only 14 ± 1 days. EHT strategies using autologous cells are promising approaches for cardiac repair applications. Although fibrin-based scaffold components elicited an immune response in our studies, syngeneic cells carried in the EHT were relatively unaffected.An initial insight into immunological consequences after transplantation of engineered heart tissue was gained through this study. Most important, this study was able to demonstrate cell survival despite rejection of matrix components. Generation of syngeneic human engineered heart tissue, possibly using human induced pluripotent stem cell technology with subsequent directed rejection of matrix components, may be a potential future approach to replace diseased myocardium.
Project description:The current standard for noninvasive imaging of acute rejection consists of X-ray/CT, which derive their contrast from changes in ventilation, inflammation and edema, as well as remodeling during rejection. We propose the use of hyperpolarized [1-13 C] pyruvate MRI-which provides real-time metabolic assessment of tissue-as an early biomarker for tissue rejection. In this preliminary study, we used ?CT-derived parameters and HP 13 C MR-derived biomarkers to predict rejection in an orthotopic left lung transplant model in both allogeneic and syngeneic rats. On day 3, the normalized lung density-a parameter that accounts for both lung volume (mL) and density (HU)-was -0.335 (CI: -0.598, -0.073) and - 0.473 (CI: -0.726, -0.220) for the allograft and isograft, respectively (not significant, 0.40). The lactate-to-pyruvate ratios-derived from the HP 13 C MRI-for the allograft and isograft were 0.200 (CI: 0.161, 0.240) and 0.114 (CI: 0.074, 0.153), respectively (significant, 0.020). Both techniques showed tissue rejection on day 7. A separate sub-study revealed CD8+ cells as the primary source of the lactate-to-pyruvate signal. Our study suggests that hyperpolarized (HP) [1-13 C] pyruvate MRI is a promising early biomarker for tissue rejection that provides metabolic assessment in real time based on changes in cellularity and metabolism of lung tissue and the infiltrating inflammatory cells, and may be able to predict tissue rejection earlier than X-ray/CT.
Project description:Transplantation of allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is a promising treatment for heart failure. We have shown that epicardial placement of cell sheets markedly increases donor cell survival and augments therapeutic effects compared with the current methods. Although immune rejection of intramyocardially injected allogeneic MSCs have been suggested, allogeneic MSCs transplanted on the heart surface (virtual space) may undergo different courses. This study aimed to elucidate immunologic response against epicardially placed allogeneic MSCs, rejection or acceptance of these cells, and their therapeutic effects for heart failure.At 4 weeks after coronary artery ligation, Lewis rats underwent epicardial placement of MSC sheets from syngeneic Lewis or allogeneic Fischer 344 rats or sham treatment. At days 3 and 10 after treatment, similar ratios (≈50% and 30%, respectively) of grafted MSCs survived on the heart surface in both MSC sheet groups. By day 28, survival of syngeneic MSCs was substantially reduced (8.9%); survival of allogeneic MSCs was more extensively reduced (0.2%), suggesting allorejection. Correspondingly, allogeneic MSCs were found to have evoked an immunologic response, albeit low level, as characterized by accumulation of CD4(+) T cells and upregulation of interleukin 6. Despite this alloimmune response, the allogeneic MSC sheet achieved myocardial upregulation of reparative factors, enhanced repair of the failing myocardium, and improved cardiac function to the equivalent degree observed for the syngeneic MSC sheet.Allogeneic MSCs placed on the heart surface evoked an immunologic response; however, this allowed sufficient early phase donor cell survival to induce equivalent therapeutic benefits to syngeneic MSCs. Further development of this approach toward clinical application is warranted.
Project description:Avoiding immune rejection after allogeneic induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte (iPSC-CM) transplantation is a concern. However, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can suppress immune rejection. To determine whether MSC co-transplantation can reduce immune rejection after allogeneic iPSC-CM transplantation, the latter cell type, harbouring a luciferase transgene, was subcutaneously transplanted alone or together with syngeneic MSCs into BALB/c mice. Bioluminescence imaging revealed that MSC co-transplantation significantly improved graft survival (day 7: iPSC-CMs alone 34?±?5%; iPSC-CMs with MSCs, 61?±?7%; P?=?0.008). MSC co-transplantation increased CD4?+?CD25?+?FOXP3?+?regulatory T cell numbers, apoptotic CD8-positive T cells, and IL-10 and TGF-beta expression at the implantation site. Analysis using a regulatory T cell depletion model indicated that enhanced regulatory T cell populations in the iPSC-CM with MSC group partially contributed to the extended iPSC-CM survival. Further, MSCs affected activated lymphocytes directly through cell-cell contact, which reduced the CD8/CD4 ratio, the proportion of Th1-positive cells among CD4-positive cells, and the secretion of several inflammation-related cytokines. Syngeneic MSC co-transplantation might thus control allogeneic iPSC-CM rejection by mediating immune tolerance via regulatory T cells and cell-cell contact with activated lymphocytes; this approach has promise for cardiomyogenesis-based therapy using allogeneic iPSC-CMs for severe heart failure.
Project description:NK cells resist engraftment of syngeneic and allogeneic bone marrow (BM) cells lacking major histocompatibility (MHC) class I molecules, suggesting a critical role for donor MHC class I molecules in preventing NK cell attack against donor hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), and their derivatives. However, using high-resolution in vivo imaging, we demonstrated here that syngeneic MHC class I knockout (KO) donor HSPCs persist with the same survival frequencies as wild-type donor HSPCs. In contrast, syngeneic MHC class I KO differentiated hematopoietic cells and allogeneic MHC class I KO HSPCs were rejected in a manner that was significantly inhibited by NK cell depletion. In vivo time-lapse imaging demonstrated that mice receiving allogeneic MHC class I KO HSPCs showed a significant increase in NK cell motility and proliferation as well as frequencies of NK cell contact with and killing of HSPCs as compared to mice receiving wild-type HSPCs. The data indicate that donor MHC class I molecules are required to prevent NK cell-mediated rejection of syngeneic differentiated cells and allogeneic HSPCs, but not of syngeneic HSPCs.
Project description:Transplantation of testicular cells and tissues has been studied for the investigation of immunology of the testis, which is an immunologically privileged organ. However, reports of transplant of the testis at organ level have been extremely limited because of technical difficulties of the orthotopic testis transplantation (OTT) in experimental animals. In the present study, we developed a new and simple model of the heterotopic testis transplantation (HTT), which is donor testis transplantation into the cervical region of recipients, in a syngeneic model in rats [donor Lewis (LEW) graft to LEW recipient]. The duration of HTT was significantly shorter and success rate higher than that of OTT. To histologically evaluate HTT, the local immune responses were compared among the syngeneic model, an acute rejection allogeneic model [donor Augustus Copenhagen Irish (ACI) graft to LEW recipient] and a chronic rejection allogeneic model (donor F344 graft to LEW recipient) at postoperative day 3. We found that allogeneic ACI grafts resulted in mild and not severe orchitic lesions, whereas immune responses of allogeneic F344 grafts seemed intact and were not significantly different from those of syngeneic LEW grafts. These results suggest that our new operative procedure will be useful in future for the investigation of the testicular immunology.
Project description:Allogeneic transplantation (Tx) of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is a promising tissue regeneration therapy. However, this inevitably induces macrophage-mediated immune response against the graft, limiting its therapeutic efficacy. Monitoring the magnitude of the immune response using imaging tools would be useful for prolonging graft survival and increasing the therapy longevity. Minimally invasive quantitative detection of activated macrophages by medical imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) imaging targets translocator protein (TSPO), which is highly expressed on mitochondrial membrane, especially in activated macrophage. N,N-diethyl-2-[4-(2-fluoroethoxy) phenyl]-5,7-dimethylpyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine-3-acetamide (DPA-714) is known as a TSPO ligand used in clinical settings. We herein hypothesized that immune rejection of the transplanted iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) of allogeneic origin may be quantitated using 18F-DPA-714-PET imaging study. iPSC-CM cell-sheets of C57BL/6 mice origin were transplanted on the surface of the left ventricle (LV) of C57BL/6 mice as a syngeneic cell-transplant model (syngeneic Tx group), or Balb/c mice as an allogeneic model (allogeneic Tx group). 18F-DPA-714-PET was used to determine the uptake ratio, calculated as the maximum standardized uptake value in the anterior and septal wall of the LV. The uptake ratio was significantly higher in the allogeneic Tx group than in the syngeneic group or the sham group at days 7 and day 10 after the cell transplantation. In addition, the immunochemistry showed significant presence of CD68 and CD3-positive cells at day 7 and 10 in the transplanted graft of the allogeneic Tx group. The expression of TSPO, CD68, IL-1 beta, and MCP-1 was significantly higher in the allogeneic Tx group than in the syngeneic Tx and the sham groups at day 7. The 18F-DPA-714-PET imaging study enabled quantitative visualization of the macrophages-mediated immune rejection of the allogeneic iPSC-cardiac. This imaging tool may enable the understanding and monitoring host-immune response of the host, allogeneic cell transplantation therapy.
Project description:Cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) are an attractive cell type for tissue regeneration, and autologous CDCs are being tested clinically. However, autologous therapy necessitates patient-specific tissue harvesting and cell processing, with delays to therapy and possible variations in cell potency. The use of allogeneic CDCs, if safe and effective, would obviate such limitations. We compared syngeneic and allogeneic CDC transplantation in rats from immunologically-mismatched inbred strains.In vitro, CDCs expressed major histocompatibility complex class I but not class II antigens or B7 costimulatory molecules. In mixed-lymphocyte cocultures, allogeneic CDCs elicited negligible lymphocyte proliferation and inflammatory cytokine secretion. In vivo, syngeneic and allogeneic CDCs survived at similar levels in the infarcted rat heart 1 week after delivery, but few syngeneic (and even fewer allogeneic) CDCs remained at 3 weeks. Allogeneic CDCs induced a transient, mild, local immune reaction in the heart, without histologically evident rejection or systemic immunogenicity. Improvements in cardiac structure and function, sustained for 6 months, were comparable with syngeneic and allogeneic CDCs. Allogeneic CDCs stimulated endogenous regenerative mechanisms (cardiomyocyte cycling, recruitment of c-kit(+) cells, angiogenesis) and increased myocardial vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1, and hepatocyte growth factor equally with syngeneic CDCs.Allogeneic CDC transplantation without immunosuppression is safe, promotes cardiac regeneration, and improves heart function in a rat myocardial infarction model, mainly through stimulation of endogenous repair mechanisms. The indirect mechanism of action rationalizes the persistence of benefit despite the evanescence of transplanted cell survival. This work motivates the testing of allogeneic human CDCs as a potential off-the-shelf product for cellular cardiomyoplasty.