Skewed T cell responses to Epstein-Barr virus in long-term asymptomatic kidney transplant recipients.
ABSTRACT: Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) abnormally replicate the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). To better understand how long-term immunosuppression impacts the immune control of this EBV re-emergence, we systematically compared 10 clinically stable KTRs to 30 healthy controls (HCs). The EBV-specific T cell responses were determined in both groups by multiparameter flow cytometry with intra cellular cytokine staining (KTRs n = 10; HCs n = 15) and ELISpot-IFN? assays (KTRs n = 7; HCs n = 7). The T/B/NK cell counts (KTRs n = 10; HCs n = 30) and the NK/T cell differentiation and activation phenotypes (KTRs n = 10; HCs n = 15/30) were also measured. We show that in KTRs, the Th1 effector CD4+ T cell responses against latent EBV proteins are weak (2/7 responders). Conversely, the frequencies total EBV-specific CD8+T cells are conserved in KTRs (n = 10) and span a wider range of EBNA-3A peptides (5/7responders) than in HCs (5/7responders). Those modifications of the EBV-specific T cell response were associated with a profound CD4+ T cell lymphopenia in KTRs compared to HCs, involving the naïve CD4+ T cell subset, and a persistent activation of highly-differentiated senescent CD8+ T cells. The proportion of total NK / CD8+ T cells expressing PD-1 was also increased in KTRs. Noteworthy, PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells normalized with time after transplantation. In conclusion, we show modifications of the EBV-specific cellular immunity in long term transplant recipients. This may be the result of both persistent EBV antigenic stimulation and profound immunosuppression induced by anti-rejection treatments. These findings provide new insights into the immunopathology of EBV infection after renal transplantation.
Project description:Cutaneous squamous cell cancer (SCC) affects up to 30% of kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) within 10 years of transplantation. There are no reliable clinical tests that predict those who will develop multiple skin cancers. High numbers of regulatory T cells associate with poor prognosis for patients with cancer in the general population, suggesting their potential as a predictive marker of cutaneous SCC in KTRs. We matched KTRs with (n = 65) and without (n = 51) cutaneous SCC for gender, age, and duration of immunosuppression and assessed several risk factors for incident SCC during a median follow-up of 340 days. Greater than 35 peripheral FOXP3(+)CD4(+)CD127(low) regulatory T cells/microl, <100 natural killer cells/microl, and previous SCC each significantly associated with increased risk for new cutaneous SCC development (hazard ratio [HR] 2.48 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04 to 5.98], HR 5.6 [95% CI 1.31 to 24], and HR 1.33 [95% CI 1.15 to 1.53], respectively). In addition, the ratio of CD8/FOXP3 expression was significantly lower in cutaneous SCC excised from KTRs (n = 25) compared with matched SCC from non-KTRs (n = 25) and associated with development of new cutaneous SCCs. In summary, monitoring components of the immune system can predict development of cutaneous SCC among KTRs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) receiving the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor sirolimus may display a reduced risk of skin cancer development compared to KTRs receiving calcineurin inhibitors. Despite studies investigating the effects of these 2 drug classes on T cells in patient blood, the effect these drugs may have in patient skin is not yet known. METHODS:Fifteen patients with chronic kidney disease (not recipients of immunosuppressive drugs), and 30 KTRs (15 receiving a calcineurin inhibitor, and 15 receiving sirolimus) provided matched samples of blood, sun exposed (SE) and non-SE skin. The abundance of total CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, memory CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, and regulatory T (Treg) cells in each sample was then assessed by flow cytometry. RESULTS:Sirolimus treatment significantly increased absolute numbers of CD4+ T cells, memory CD8+- and CD4+ T cells, and Treg cells in SE skin versus paired samples of non-SE skin. No differences were found in the absolute number of any T cell subset in the blood. Correlation analysis revealed that the percentage of T cell subsets in the blood does not always accurately reflect the percentage of T-cell subsets in the skin of KTRs. Furthermore, sirolimus significantly disrupts the balance of memory CD4+ T cells in the skin after chronic sun exposure. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated that immunosuppressive drug class and sun exposure modify the abundance of multiple T-cell subsets in the skin of KTRs. Correlation analysis revealed that the prevalence of Treg cells in KTR blood does not accurately reflect the prevalence of Treg cells in KTR skin.
Project description:Operational tolerance (OT), defined as maintaining stable graft function without immunosuppression after transplant surgery, is an ideal goal for kidney transplant recipients (KTRs). Recent investigations have demonstrated the distinctive features of B cells, T cells, and dendritic cell-related gene signatures and the distributions of circulating lymphocytes in these patients; nonetheless, substantial heterogeneities exist across studies. This study was conducted to determine whether previously reported candidate gene biomarkers and the profiles of lymphocyte subsets of OT could be applied in Korean KTRs. Peripheral blood samples were collected from 153 patients, including 7 operationally tolerant patients. Quantitative real-time PCR and flow cytometry were performed to evaluate gene expression and lymphocyte subsets, respectively. Patients with OT showed significantly higher levels of B cell-related gene signatures (IGKV1D-13 and IGKV4-1), while T cell-related genes (TOAG-1) and dendritic cell-related genes (BNC2, KLF6, and CYP1B1) were not differentially expressed across groups. Lymphocyte subset analyses also revealed a higher proportion of immature B cells in this group. In contrast, the distributions of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, mature B cells, and memory B cells showed no differences across diagnostic groups. An OT signature, generated by the integration of IGKV1D-13, IGKV4-1, and immature B cells, effectively discriminated patients with OT from those in other diagnostic groups. Finally, the OT signature was observed among 5.6% of patients who had stable graft function for more than 10 years while on immunosuppression. In conclusion, we validated an association of B cells and their related signature with OT in Korean KTRs.
Project description:Uncontrolled BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) replication in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) causes polyomavirus-associated nephropathy and allograft loss. Reducing immunosuppression is associated with clearing viremia and nephropathy and increasing BKPyV-specific T cell responses in most patients; however, current immunoassays have limited sensitivity, target mostly CD4(+) T cells, and largely fail to predict onset and clearance of BKPyV replication. To characterize BKPyV-specific CD8(+) T cells, bioinformatics were used to predict 9mer epitopes in the early viral gene region (EVGR) presented by 14 common HLAs in Europe and North America. Thirty-nine EVGR epitopes were experimentally confirmed by interferon-? enzyme-linked immunospot assays in at least 30% of BKPyV IgG-seropositive healthy participants. Most 9mers clustered in domains, and some were presented by more than one HLA class I, as typically seen for immunodominant epitopes. Specific T cell binding using MHC class I streptamers was demonstrated for 21 of 39 (54%) epitopes. In a prospective cohort of 118 pediatric KTRs, 19 patients protected or recovering from BKPyV viremia were experimentally tested, and 13 epitopes were validated. Single HLA mismatches were not associated with viremia, suggesting that failing immune control likely involves multiple factors including maintenance immunosuppression. Combining BKPyV load and T cell assays using immunodominant epitopes may help in evaluating risk and reducing immunosuppression and may lead to safe adoptive T cell transfer.
Project description:Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication, frequently associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which develops after solid organ or stem cell transplantation. Immunosuppression received by transplant recipients has a significant impact on the development of PTLD by suppressing the function of T cells. The preferential proliferation of NKG2A-positive natural killer (NK) cells during primary symptomatic EBV infection known as infectious mononucleosis (IM) and their reactivity toward EBV-infected B cells point to a role of NK cell in the immune control of EBV. However, NK cell-mediated immune response to EBV in immunosuppressed transplant recipients who develop PTLD remains unclear. In this study, we longitudinally analyzed the phenotype and function of different NK cell subsets in a cohort of pediatric liver transplant patients who develop PTLD and compared them to those of children with IM. We found persistently elevated plasma EBV DNA levels in the PTLD patients indicating suboptimal anti-viral immune control. PTLD patients had markedly decreased frequency of CD56dimNKG2A+Killer Immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)- NK cells from the time of diagnosis through remission compared to those of IM patients. Whilst the proliferation of CD56dimNKG2A+KIR- NK cells was diminished in PTLD patients, this NK cell subset maintained its ability to potently degranulate against EBV-infected B cells. Compared to cytomegalovirus (CMV)-seropositive and -negative IM patients, PTLD patients co-infected with CMV and EBV had significantly higher levels of a CMV-associated CD56dimNKG2ChiCD57+NKG2A-KIR+ NK cell subset accumulating at the expense of NKG2A+KIR- NK cells. Taken together, our data indicate that co-infection of CMV and EBV diminishes the frequency of CD56dimNKG2A+KIR- NK cells and contributes to suboptimal control of EBV in immunosuppressed children with PTLD.
Project description:Natural Killer (NK) cells have recently been recognized as key players in antibody-mediated chronic allograft failure, thus requiring a comprehensive understanding whether NK cells can escape conventional immunosuppressive regimens. Influence of cyclosporine A (CyA) on NK cell function was studied in a mouse model of allogeneic kidney transplantation (KTX, BALB/c to C57BL/6). Recipients were treated daily with CyA (10 mg/kg) for seven or 14 days for long term survival (day 56). Administration of CyA in recipients resulted in significantly reduced frequencies of intragraft and splenic CD8+ T cells, whereas the latter illustrated reduced IFN? production. In contrast, intragraft and splenic NK cell frequencies remained unaffected in CyA recipients and IFN? production and degranulation of NK cells were not reduced as compared with controls. Depletion of NK cells in combination with CyA resulted in an improvement in kidney function until day 7 and prolonged graft survival until day 56 as compared to untreated controls. Surviving animals demonstrated higher intragraft frequencies of proliferating CD4+FoxP3+Ki67+ regulatory T (TREG) cells as well as higher frequencies of CD8+CD122+ TREG. We here demonstrate that NK cell depletion combined with CyA synergistically improves graft function and prolongs graft survival, suggesting that NK cell targeting constitutes a novel approach for improving KTX outcomes.
Project description:Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the most common viruses in humans, capable of causing life-threatening infections and cancers in immunocompromised individuals. Although CD8+ T cells provide key protection against EBV, the persistence and dynamics of specific T-cell receptor (TCR) clones during immunosuppression in transplant patients is largely unknown. For the first time, we used a novel single-cell TCR?? multiplex-nested reverse transcriptase PCR to dissect TCR?? clonal diversity within GLCTLVAML (GLC)-specific CD8+ T cells in healthy individuals and immunocompromised lung transplant recipients. The GLC peptide presented by HLA-A*02:01 is one of the most immunogenic T-cell targets from the EBV proteome. We found that the GLC-specific TCR?? repertoire was heavily biased toward TRAV5 and encompassed five classes of public TCR??s, suggesting that these clonotypes are preferentially utilized following infection. We identified that a common TRAV5 was diversely paired with different TRAJ and TRBV/TRBJ genes, in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals, with an average of 12 different TCR?? clonotypes/donor. Moreover, pre-transplant GLC-specific TCR?? repertoires were relatively stable over 1 year post transplant under immunosuppression in the absence or presence of EBV reactivation. In addition, we provide the first evidence of early GLC-specific CD8+ T cells at 87 days post transplant, which preceded clinical EBV detection at 242 days in an EBV-seronegative patient receiving a lung allograft from an EBV-seropositive donor. This was associated with a relatively stable TCR?? repertoire after CD8+ T-cell expansion. Our findings provide insights into the composition and temporal dynamics of the EBV-specific TCR?? repertoire in immunocompromised transplant patients and suggest that the early detection of EBV-specific T cells might be a predictor of ensuing EBV blood viremia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:HRV infections are generally self-limiting in healthy subjects, whereas in immunocompromised hosts HRV infections can lead to severe complications and persistent infections. The persistence of HRV shedding could be due to the inefficient immunological control of a single infectious episode. OBJECTIVES:To investigate the clinical, virologic and immunologic characteristics of pediatric HSCT recipients with HRV-PI infection. STUDY DESIGN:During the period 2006-2012, eight hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients presented with persistent rhinovirus infection (HRV-PI, ?30 days). Viral load and T-CD4(+), T-CD8(+), B and NK lymphocyte counts at the onset of infection were compared with those of fourteen HSCT recipients with acute HRV infection (HRV-AI, ?15 days). RESULTS:The median duration of HRV positivity in patients with HRV-PI was 61 days (range 30-174 days) and phylogenetic analysis showed the persistence of a single HRV type in all patients (100%). In HSCT recipients with HRV-PI, T-CD4(+), T-CD8(+) and NK cell counts at the onset of infection were significantly lower than those observed in recipients with HRV-AI (p<0.01), while B cell counts were similar in the two groups (p=?0.25). A decrease in HRV load was associated with a significant increase in T-CD4(+), T-CD8(+)and NK lymphocyte counts in HRV-PI patients (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS:This study suggests a role for cellular immunity in HRV clearance and highlights the importance of its recovery for the control of HRV infection in HSCT recipients.
Project description:Slow immune reconstitution is a major obstacle to the successful use of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). As matched sibling donor (MSD) allo-HCT is regarded as the gold standard, we evaluated the pace of immune reconstitution in 157 adult recipients of reduced-intensity conditioning followed by MSD peripheral blood HCT (n = 68) and compared these to recipients of umbilical cord blood (UCB; n = 89). At day 28, UCB recipients had fewer natural killer (NK) cells than MSD recipients, but thereafter, NK cell numbers (and their subsets) were higher in UCB recipients. During the first 6 months to 1 year after transplant, UCB recipients had slower T-cell subset recovery, with lower numbers of CD3+, CD8+, CD8+ naive, CD4+ naive, CD4+ effector memory T, regulatory T, and CD3+CD56+ T cells than MSD recipients. Notably, B-cell numbers were higher in UCB recipients from day 60 to 1 year. Bacterial and viral infections were more frequent in UCB recipients, yet donor type had no influence on treatment-related mortality or survival. Considering all patients at day 28, lower numbers of total CD4+ T cells and naive CD4+ T cells were significantly associated with increased infection risk, treatment-related mortality, and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Patients with these characteristics may benefit from enhanced or prolonged infection surveillance and prophylaxis as well as immune reconstitution-accelerating strategies.
Project description:Natural killer cells lacking expression of CD56 (CD56neg NK cells) have been described in chronic HIV and hepatitis C virus infection. Features and functions of CD56neg NK cells in the context of latent infection with CMV and / or EBV with age are not known. In a cohort of healthy donors >60 years of age, we found that co-infection with CMV and EBV drives expansion of CD56neg NK cells. Functionally, CD56neg NK cells displayed reduced cytotoxic capacity and IFN-? production, a feature that was enhanced with CMV / EBV co-infection. Further, the frequency of CD56neg NK cells correlated with accumulation of end-stage-differentiated T cells and a reduced CD4 / CD8 T cell ratio, reflecting an immune risk profile. CD56neg NK cells had a mature phenotype characterized by low CD57 and KIR expression and lacked characteristics of cell senescence. No changes in their activating NK cell receptor expression, and no upregulation of the negative co-stimulation receptors PD-1 or TIM-3 were observed. In all, our data identify expansion of dysfunctional CD56neg NK cells in CMV+EBV+ elderly individuals suggesting that these cells may function as shape-shifters of cellular immunity and argue for a previously unrecognized role of EBV in mediating immune risk in the elderly.