Peripheral tissues reprogram CD8+ T cells for pathogenicity during graft-versus-host disease.
ABSTRACT: Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation induced by the influx of donor-derived effector T cells (TE) into peripheral tissues. Current treatment strategies rely on targeting systemic T cells; however, the precise location and nature of instructions that program TE to become pathogenic and trigger injury are unknown. We therefore used weighted gene coexpression network analysis to construct an unbiased spatial map of TE differentiation during the evolution of GVHD and identified wide variation in effector programs in mice and humans according to location. Idiosyncrasy of effector programming in affected organs did not result from variation in T cell receptor repertoire or the selection of optimally activated TE. Instead, TE were reprogrammed by tissue-autonomous mechanisms in target organs for site-specific proinflammatory functions that were highly divergent from those primed in lymph nodes. In the skin, we combined the correlation-based network with a module-based differential expression analysis and showed that Langerhans cells provided in situ instructions for a Notch-dependent T cell gene cluster critical for triggering local injury. Thus, the principal determinant of TE pathogenicity in GVHD is the final destination, highlighting the need for target organ-specific approaches to block immunopathology while avoiding global immune suppression.
Project description:Langerhans cells (LCs) are a distinct population of dendritic cells that form a contiguous network in the epidermis of the skin. Although LCs possess many of the properties of highly proficient dendritic cells, recent studies have indicated that they are not necessary to initiate cutaneous immunity. In this study, we used a tractable model of cutaneous GVHD, induced by topical application of a Toll-like receptor agonist, to explore the role of LCs in the development of tissue injury. By adapting this model to permit inducible and selective depletion of host LCs, we found that GVHD was significantly reduced when LCs were absent. However, LCs were not required either for CD8 T-cell activation within the draining lymph node or subsequent homing of effector cells to the epidermis. Instead, we found that LCs were necessary for inducing transcription of IFN-? and other key effector molecules by donor CD8 cells in the epidermis, indicating that they license CD8 cells to induce epithelial injury. These data demonstrate a novel regulatory role for epidermal LCs during the effector phase of an inflammatory immune response in the skin.
Project description:Skin is the most commonly affected organ in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). To explore the role of Langerhans cells in GVHD, the principal dendritic cells of the skin, we studied the fate of these cells in mice transplanted with allogeneic bone marrow. In contrast to other dendritic cells, host Langerhans cells were replaced by donor Langerhans cells only when donor T cells were administered along with bone marrow, and the extent of Langerhans cell chimerism correlated with the dose of donor T cells injected. Donor T cells depleted host Langerhans cells through a Fas-dependent pathway and induced the production in skin of CCL20, which was required for the recruitment of donor Langerhans cells. Administration of donor T cells to bone marrow-chimeric mice with persistent host Langerhans cells, but not to mice whose Langerhans cells had been replaced, resulted in marked skin GVHD. These findings indicate a crucial role for donor T cells in host Langerhans cell replacement, and show that host dendritic cells can persist in nonlymphoid tissue for the duration of an animal's life and can trigger GVHD despite complete blood chimerism.
Project description:Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is initiated after activation of donor T cells by host antigen-presenting cells (APCs). The immunosuppressive enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is expressed by APCs and parenchymal cells and is further inducible by inflammation. We investigated whether lethal conditioning and GVHD induce IDO and if IDO prevents tissue injury by suppressing immune responses at the induction site. We determined that IDO is a critical regulator of GVHD, most strikingly in the colon, where epithelial cells dramatically up-regulated IDO expression during GVHD. IDO(-/-) mice died more quickly from GVHD, displaying increased colonic inflammation and T-cell infiltration. GVHD protection was not mediated by control of T-cell proliferation, apoptosis, or effector mechanisms in lymphoid organs, nor did it require donor T regulatory cells. Instead, T cells in IDO(-/-) colons underwent increased proliferation and decreased apoptosis compared with their wild-type counterparts. This evidence suggests that IDO can act at the site of expression to decrease T-cell proliferation and survival, diminishing colonic inflammation and reducing disease severity. These studies are the first to identify a function for IDO in GVHD lethality and indicate that modulation of the IDO pathway may be an effective strategy for treatment of this disease.
Project description:Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a significant complication of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (allo-BMT). Acute GVHD is mediated by immunocompetent donor T cells, which migrate to lymphoid tissues soon after infusion, recognize host alloantigens, and become activated upon interaction with host antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Recent work from our group and others suggests that activated effector T cells exit lymphoid tissues and traffic to mucosal sites and parenchymal target organs such as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, liver, lung, and skin where they cause tissue damage. The molecular interactions necessary for effector cell migration during GVHD have become the focus of a growing body of research, as these interactions represent potential therapeutic targets. In this review we discuss chemokine and chemokine receptor interactions and adhesion molecules that have been shown to play roles in effector cell migration in experimental GVHD models, and we discuss a potential model for the role of chemokines during the activation phase of GVHD.
Project description:Studies assessing immune parameters typically utilize human PBMCs or murine splenocytes to generate data that is interpreted as representative of immune status. Using splenocytes, we have shown memory CD4-T cells that expand following systemic immunostimulatory therapies undergo rapid IFNg-mediated activation induced cell death (AICD) resulting in a net loss of total CD4-T cells which correlates with elevated PD-1 expression. This is in contrast to CD8-T cells which expand with minimal PD-1 upregulation and apoptosis. In this study we expand upon our previous work by evaluating CD4 and CD8-T cell phenotype and distribution in peripheral organs which are more representative of immune responses occurring at metastatic sites following immunotherapy.Phenotypic assessment of T cells in both lymphoid (spleen and LN) as well as peripheral organs (liver and lungs) in control and immunotherapy treated mice was performed to survey the impact of location on memory phenotype and activation marker status. Peripheral blood from patients undergoing systemic high dose IL-2 was also assessed for expression of PD-1 and memory phenotype.Here we reveal that, similar to what occurs in the spleen and lymph nodes, CD4-T cell numbers decreased while CD8-T cells expanded at these peripheral sites. In contrast to having differential expression of PD-1 as occurs in the spleen, both CD4 and CD8-T cells had significantly elevated levels of PD-1 in both the liver and lungs. Further analysis correlated PD-1 expression to CD62Llow (T effector/effector memory,TE/EM) expression which are more prevalent in CD4-T cells in general as well as CD8-T cells in peripheral organs. Similar elevated PD-1 expression on TE/EM cells was observed in patients undergoing systemic high-dose IL-2 therapy.These data highlight PD-1 expressing and/or TE/EM subsets of T cells in circulation as more representative of cells at immune sites and underscore the importance of valuation both in lymphoid as well as target organs when making determinations about immune status.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01416831. Registered August 12, 2011.
Project description:Donor CD4+ T cells are thought to be essential for inducing delayed host tissue injury in chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, the relative contributions of distinct effector CD4+ T cell subpopulations and the molecular pathways influencing their generation are not known. We investigated the role of the STAT3 pathway in a murine model of chronic sclerodermatous GVHD. This pathway integrates multiple signaling events during the differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells and impacts their homeostasis. We report that chimeras receiving an allograft containing STAT3-ablated donor CD4+ T cells do not develop classic clinical and pathological manifestations of alloimmune tissue injury. Analysis of chimeras showed that abrogation of STAT3 signaling reduced the in vivo expansion of donor-derived CD4+ T cells and their accumulation in GVHD target tissues without abolishing antihost alloreactivity. STAT3 ablation did not significantly affect Th1 differentiation while enhancing CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cell reconstitution through thymus-dependent and -independent pathways. Transient depletion of CD25+ T cells in chimeras receiving STAT3-deficient T cells resulted in delayed development of alloimmune gut and liver injury. This delayed de novo GVHD was associated with the emergence of donor hematopoietic stem cell-derived Th1 and Th17 cells. These results suggest that STAT3 signaling in graft CD4+ T cells links the alloimmune tissue injury of donor graft T cells and the emergence of donor hematopoietic stem cell-derived pathogenic effector cells and that both populations contribute, albeit in different ways, to the genesis of chronic GVHD after allogenic bone marrow transplantation in a murine model.
Project description:Molecular intermediates in T-cell activation pathways are crucial targets for the therapy and prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). We recently identified an essential role for cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in T-cell activation and effector function, but the contribution of Cdk5 activity to the development of GVHD has not been explored. Using an established, preclinical, murine, GVHD model, we reveal that Cdk5 activity is increased in key target organs early after allo-HCT. We then generated chimeric mice (Cdk5+/+C or Cdk5-/-C) using hematopoietic progenitors from either embryonic day 16.5 Cdk5+/+ or Cdk5-/- embryos to enable analyses of the role of Cdk5 in GVHD, as germ line Cdk5 gene deletion is embryonically lethal. The immunophenotype of adult Cdk5-/-C mice is identical to control Cdk5+/+C mice. However, transplantation of donor Cdk5-/-C bone marrow and T cells dramatically reduced the severity of systemic and target organ GVHD. This phenotype is attributed to decreased T-cell migration to secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs), reduced in vivo proliferation within these organs, and fewer cytokine-producing donor T cells during GVHD development. Moreover, these defects in Cdk5-/- T-cell function are associated with altered CCR7 signaling following ligation by CCL19, a receptor:ligand interaction critical for T-cell migration into SLOs. Although Cdk5 activity in donor T cells contributed to graft-versus-tumor effects, pharmacologic inhibition of Cdk5 preserved leukemia-free survival. Collectively, our data implicate Cdk5 in allogeneic T-cell responses after HCT and as an important new target for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is initially triggered by alloreactive T cells, which damage peripheral tissues and lymphoid organs. Subsequent transition to chronic GVHD involves the emergence of autoimmunity, although the underlying mechanisms driving this process are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute GVHD blocks peripheral tolerance of autoreactive T cells by impairing lymph node (LN) display of peripheral tissue-restricted antigens (PTAs). At the initiation of GVHD, LN fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) rapidly reduced expression of genes regulated by DEAF1, an autoimmune regulator-like transcription factor required for intranodal expression of PTAs. Subsequently, GVHD led to the selective elimination of the FRC population, and blocked the repair pathways required for its regeneration. We used a transgenic mouse model to show that the loss of presentation of an intestinal PTA by FRCs during GVHD resulted in the activation of autoaggressive T cells and gut injury. Finally, we show that FRCs normally expressed a unique PTA gene signature that was highly enriched for genes expressed in the target organs affected by chronic GVHD. In conclusion, acute GVHD damages and prevents repair of the FRC network, thus disabling an essential platform for purging autoreactive T cells from the repertoire.
Project description:Data from both animal models and humans have demonstrated that effector memory T cells (TEM) and central memory T cells (TCM) from unprimed donors have decreased ability to induce graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Allospecific TEM from primed donors do not mediate GVHD. However, the potential of alloreactive TCM to induce GVHD is not clear. In this study, we sought to answer this question using a novel GVHD model induced by T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic OT-II T cells. Separated from OT-II mice immunized with OVA protein 8 weeks earlier, the allospecific CD44high TCM were able to mediate skin graft rejection after transfer to naive mice, yet had dramatically decreased ability to induce GVHD. We also found that these allospecific CD44high TCM persisted in GVHD target organs for more than 30 days post-transplantation, while the expansion of these cells was dramatically decreased during GVHD, suggesting an anergic or exhausted state. These observations provide insights into how allospecific CD4+ TCM respond to alloantigen during GVHD and underscore the fundamental difference of alloresponses mediated by allospecific TCM in graft rejection and GVHD settings.
Project description:Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains the major barrier to the success of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). GVHD is caused by donor T cells that mediate host tissue injury through multiple inflammatory mechanisms. Blockade of individual effector molecules has limited efficacy in controlling GVHD. Here, we report that Notch signaling is a potent regulator of T-cell activation, differentiation, and function during acute GVHD. Inhibition of canonical Notch signaling in donor T cells markedly reduced GVHD severity and mortality in mouse models of allogeneic HSCT. Although Notch-deprived T cells proliferated and expanded in response to alloantigens in vivo, their ability to produce interleukin-2 and inflammatory cytokines was defective, and both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells failed to up-regulate selected effector molecules. Notch inhibition decreased the accumulation of alloreactive T cells in the intestine, a key GVHD target organ. However, Notch-deprived alloreactive CD4(+) T cells retained significant cytotoxic potential and antileukemic activity, leading to improved overall survival of the recipients. These results identify Notch as a novel essential regulator of pathogenic CD4(+) T-cell responses during acute GVHD and suggest that Notch signaling in T cells should be investigated as a therapeutic target after allogeneic HSCT.