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1.  Vaginal yeast colonisation, prevalence of vaginitis, and associated local immunity in adolescents 
Objectives: To evaluate point prevalence vaginal yeast colonisation and symptomatic vaginitis in middle adolescents and to identify relation of these yeast conditions with reproductive hormones, sexual activity, sexual behaviours, and associated local immunity.
Methods: Middle adolescent females (n = 153) were evaluated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), asymptomatic yeast colonisation, and symptomatic vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) by standard criteria. Also evaluated were local parameters, including vaginal associated cytokines, chemokines, and antibodies, vaginal epithelial cell antifungal activity, and Candida specific peripheral blood lymphocyte responses. Correlations between yeast colonisation/vaginitis and local immunomodulators, reproductive hormones, douching, sexual activity, condom use, and STIs were identified.
Results: Rates of point prevalence asymptomatic yeast colonisation (22%) were similar to adults and similarly dominated by Candida albicans, but with uncharacteristically high vaginal yeast burden. In contrast with the high rate of STIs (18%), incidence of symptomatic VVC was low (<2%). Immunological properties included high rates of Candida specific systemic immune sensitisation, a Th2 type vaginal cytokine profile, total and Candida specific vaginal antibodies dominated by IgA, and moderate vaginal epithelial cell anti-Candida activity. Endogenous reproductive hormones were in low concentration. Sexual activity positively correlated with vaginal yeast colonisation, whereas vaginal cytokines (Th1, Th2, proinflammatory), chemokines, antibodies, contraception, douching, or condom use did not.
Conclusion: Asymptomatic vaginal yeast colonisation in adolescents is distinct in some ways with adults, and positively correlates with sexual activity, but not with local immunomodulators or sexual behaviours. Despite several factors predictive for VVC, symptomatic VVC was low compared to STIs.
PMCID: PMC1758371  PMID: 14755036
2.  Circulating CD4 and CD8 T cells have little impact on host defense against experimental vaginal candidiasis. 
Infection and Immunity  1995;63(7):2403-2408.
The etiology of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in otherwise healthy women of child-bearing age remains an enigma. To date, results from both clinical studies and a murine model of vaginal candidiasis indicate that Candida vaginitis can occur in the presence of Candida-specific Th1-type cell-mediated immunity expressed in the peripheral circulation. The present study was designed to determine the role of circulating CD4 and CD8 cells in primary and secondary vaginal infections with Candida albicans. Vaginal fungal burden, Candida-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), and lymph node cell Th1/Th2 cytokine production were monitored in CD4 and/or CD8 cell-depleted mice during persistent primary vaginal infections and secondary vaginal infections against which partial protection was observed. Treatment of mice with anti-CD4 or anti-CD8 antibodies resulted in 90% or greater depletion of the respective cell populations. Mice depleted of CD4 cells had significantly reduced Candida-specific DTH and lymph node cell Th1-type cytokine production during a primary vaginal infection, as well as reduced anamnestic DTH during a secondary vaginal infection. In contrast, mice depleted of CD8 cells showed only reduced gamma interferon production during a primary infection; no alterations in DTH were observed. Despite reductions in DTH and cytokine production, however, CD4 and/or CD8 cell depletion had no effect on vaginal C. albicans burden in mice after a primary or secondary vaginal inoculation. Taken together, these results suggest that while circulating CD4 and CD8 cells contribute to systemic Candida-specific cell-mediated immunity in vaginally infected mice, neither CD4 nor CD8 circulating T cells appear to provide significant host defenses against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa.
PMCID: PMC173321  PMID: 7790050
3.  Local Production of Chemokines during Experimental Vaginal Candidiasis 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(11):5820-5826.
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, caused by Candida albicans, is a significant problem in women of childbearing age. Although cell-mediated immunity (CMI) due to T cells and cytokines is the predominant host defense mechanism against C. albicans at mucosal tissue sites, host defense mechanisms against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa are poorly understood. Based on an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis, our data suggest that systemic CMI is ineffective against C. albicans vaginal infections. Thus, we have postulated that local immune mechanisms are critical for protection against infection. In the present study, the kinetic production of chemokines normally associated with the chemotaxis of T cells, macrophages (RANTES, MIP-1α, MCP-1), and polymorphonuclear neutrophils (MIP-2) was examined following intravaginal inoculation of C. albicans in estrogen-treated or untreated mice. Results showed significant increases in MCP-1 protein and mRNA in vaginal tissue of infected mice as early as 2 and 4 days postinoculation, respectively, that continued through a 21-day observation period, irrespective of estrogen status. No significant changes were observed with RANTES, MIP-1α, or MIP-2, although relatively high constitutive levels of RANTES mRNA and MIP-2 protein were observed. Furthermore, intravaginal immunoneutralization of MCP-1 with anti-MCP-1 antibodies resulted in a significant increase in vaginal fungal burden early during infection, suggesting that MCP-1 plays some role in reducing the fungal burden during vaginal infection. However, the lack of changes in leukocyte profiles in vaginal lavage fluids collected from infected versus uninfected mice suggests that MCP-1 functions to control vaginal C. albicans titers in a manner independent of cellular chemotactic activity.
PMCID: PMC96961  PMID: 10531235
4.  Use of cellular depletion analysis to examine circulation of immune effector function between the vagina and the periphery. 
Infection and Immunity  1997;65(9):3939-3943.
Results from an animal model of vaginal candidiasis suggest that Candida-specific cell-mediated immunity in the systemic circulation does not mediate protection against vaginitis. The present study used cellular depletion analysis to examine the circulation of immune effector function between the vagina and the periphery. Results showed that anti-Thy-1.2 antibodies given intravenously to mice depleted Thy-1+ T lymphocytes in the systemic compartment but not in the vaginal mucosa, while the same antibodies injected intravaginally significantly reduced Thy-1+ T cells in both the vaginal and systemic compartments. These results support a lack or low level of circulation of immune effector function from the periphery to the vaginal mucosa.
PMCID: PMC175562  PMID: 9284175
5.  Detailed characterization of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in two distinct human solid malignancies show phenotypic similarities 
We examined the phenotype and function of lymphocytes collected from the peripheral blood (PBL) and tumor (TIL) of patients with two different solid malignancies: colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM) and ovarian cancer (OVC).
Tumor and corresponding peripheral blood were collected from 16 CRLM and 22 OVC patients; immediately following resection they were processed and analyzed using a multi-color flow cytometry panel. Cytokine mRNA from purified PBL and TIL CD4+ T cells were also analyzed by qPCR.
Overall, we found similar changes in the phenotypic and cytokine profiles when the TIL were compared to PBL from patients with two different malignancies. The percentage of Treg (CD4+/CD25+/FoxP3+) in PBL and TIL was similar: 8.1% versus 10.2%, respectively in CRLM patients. However, the frequency of Treg in primary OVC TIL was higher than PBL: 19.2% versus 4.5% (p <0.0001). A subpopulation of Treg expressing HLA-DR was markedly increased in TIL compared to PBL in both tumor types, CRLM: 69.0% versus 31.7% (p = 0.0002) and OVC 74.6% versus 37.0% (p <0.0001), which suggested preferential Treg activation within the tumor. The cytokine mRNA profile showed that IL-6, a cytokine known for its immunosuppressive properties through STAT3 upregulation, was increased in TIL samples in patients with OVC and CRLM. Both TIL populations also contained a significantly higher proportion of activated CD8+ T cells (HLA-DR+/CD38+) compared to PBL (CRLM: 30.2% vs 7.7%, (p = 0.0012), OVC: 57.1% vs 12.0%, (p <0.0001)).
This study demonstrates that multi-color flow cytometry of freshly digested tumor samples reveals phenotypic differences in TIL vs PBL T cell sub-populations. The TIL composition in primary and metastatic tumors from two distinct histologies were remarkably similar, showing a greater proportion of activated/suppressive Treg (HLA-DR+, CD39+, CTLA-4+ and Helios+) and activated cytotoxic T cells (CD8+/HLA-DR+/CD38+) when compared to PBL and an increase in IL-6 mRNA from CD4 TIL.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40425-014-0038-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4247679  PMID: 25436113
Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes; Regulatory T cells
6.  Distinctive Features of the Differentiated Phenotype and Infiltration of Tumor-reactive Lymphocytes in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Cancer research  2012;72(23):6119-6129.
Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is considered an immunogenic tumor, but it has been difficult to identify tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) that show in vitro tumor recognition. We compared the characteristics of fresh RCC TIL to peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) or melanoma TIL. Our results demonstrated that RCC TIL contained fewer CD27+ T-cells, and fewer naïve and central memory (CM) T-cells, but more effector memory (EM) T-cells than melanoma TIL or renal PBL. We hypothesized that factors in the RCC microenvironment were skewing TIL phenotype towards EM. One possibility was the expression of CD70 on nearly all human RCCs, but not melanomas. Differentiation of naïve T cells to EM cells only occurred from CD70 costimulation in concert with TCR stimulation (“signal one”), suggesting that EM TIL responding to CD70 would be enriched for T-cells reactive with local antigens, including those associated with RCC. Clonotypic analysis of T cell receptors (TCRs) in fresh RCCs showed that EM T-cells were more clonally-expanded than CM or naïve T cells, and the clonal expansion occurred at the tumor site as oligoclonal TCRs were distinct from PBL TCRs from the same patient. In addition, we found that two TCRs from the highly represented EM TIL clones, when re-expressed in fresh PBL, recognized an MHC-class II or MHC-class I- restricted antigens shared by multiple RCC lines. Our results suggest that RCC-reactive TIL do exist in situ, but may be difficult to recover and study due to proliferative exhaustion, driven by tumor-expressed CD70.
PMCID: PMC3513562  PMID: 23071066
7.  Use of recombinant lentivirus pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G for efficient generation of human anti-cancer chimeric T cells by transduction of human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro 
Virology Journal  2006;3:8.
Genetic redirection of lymphocytes that have been genetically engineered to recognize antigens other than those originally programmed in their germlines is a potentially powerful tool for immunotherapy of cancers and potentially also of persistent viral infections. The basis for this procedure is that both cancers and some viruses have developed strikingly similar mechanisms of evading attacks by host immune mechanisms. To redirect human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) with a chimeric T cell receptor (chTCR) so that they recognize a new target requires a high degree of transfection efficiency, a process that is regarded as technically demanding.
Infection with a retroviral vector carrying a chTCR cassette was shown to transduce 100% of rapidly dividing murine T cells but typically, only ~10% of PBLs could be infected with the same vector. In contrast with other retroviruses, lentiviruses integrate their genomes into non-dividing cells. To increase host cell range, vesicular stomatitis virus G protein was pseudotyped with a lentivirus vector, which resulted in ~100% PBL transduction efficiency. Signaling of PBLs bearing chimeric receptors was shown by specific proliferation on exposure to cells expressing cognate ligand. Further, T-bodies against CEA showed a startling abilty to cause regression of maligant colon tumors in a nude mouse model of human cancer.
A lentivirus/VSV pseudotyped virus, which does not require replicating cells for integration of its genome, efficiently transduced a high proportion of human PBLs with chTCRs against CEA. PBLs transduced by infection with a lentivirus/VSV pseudotyped vector were able to proliferate specifically in vitro on exposure to CEA-expressing cells and further they had a startling therapeutic effect in a mouse model of human colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC1413513  PMID: 16507098
8.  In-vitro inhibition of IFNγ+ iTreg mediated by monoclonal antibodies against cell surface determinants essential for iTreg function 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:47.
IFNγ-producing CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ PBL represent a subtype of iTreg that are associated with good long-term graft outcome in renal transplant recipients and suppress alloresponses in-vitro. To study the mechanism of immunosuppression, we attempted to block cell surface receptors and thereby inhibited the function of this iTreg subset in-vitro using monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins.
PBL of healthy control individuals were stimulated polyclonally in-vitro in the presence of monoclonal antibodies or recombinant proteins against/of CD178, CD152, CD279, CD28, CD95, and HLA-DR. Induction of IFNγ+ iTreg and proliferation of effector cells was determined using four-color fluorescence flow cytometry. Blockade of iTreg function was analyzed using polyclonally stimulated co-cultures with separated CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ+ PBL.
High monoclonal antibody concentrations inhibited the induction of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IFNγ+ PBL (anti-CD152, anti-CD279, anti-CD95: p < 0.05) and CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ+ PBL (anti-CD178, anti-CD152, anti-CD279, anti-CD95: p < 0.05). Effector cell proliferation increased with increasing antibody concentrations in culture medium (anti-CD178 and anti-CD279: p < 0.05). Conversely, high concentrations of recombinant proteins induced formation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+IFNγ+ PBL (rCD152 and rCD95: p < 0.05) and decreased cell proliferation dose-dependently (rCD178 and rCD95: p < 0.05). Our data suggest an inverse association of iTreg induction with effector cell proliferation in cell culture which is dependent on the concentration of monoclonal antibodies against iTreg surface determinants. 3-day co-cultures of polyclonally stimulated PBL with separated CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ+ PBL showed lower cell proliferation than co-cultures with CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ- PBL (p < 0.05). Cell proliferation increased strongly in CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ- PBL-containing co-cultures in the presence of monoclonal antibody (anti-CD28, anti-CD152, anti-CD279: p < 0.05) but remained low in co-cultures with CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ+ PBL (with the exception anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody: p < 0.05). Monoclonal antibodies prevent iTreg induction in co-cultures with CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ- PBL but do not efficiently block suppressive iTreg function in co-cultures with CD4+CD25+CD127-IFNγ+ PBL.
CD178, CD152, CD279, CD28, CD95, and HLA-DR determinants are important for induction and suppressive function of IFNγ+ iTreg.
PMCID: PMC3482559  PMID: 22905732
IFNγ+ iTreg; IFNγ+Foxp3+; IFNγ+CD127-; CD178; CD152; CD279; CD28; CD95; HLA-DR; Inhibition; Cell proliferation
9.  Protein L: a novel reagent for the detection of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) expression by flow cytometry 
There has been significant progress in the last two decades on the design of chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) for adoptive immunotherapy targeting tumor-associated antigens. Structurally CARs consist of a single chain antibody fragment directed against a tumor-associated antigen fused to an extracellular spacer and transmembrane domain followed by T cell cytoplasmic signaling moieties. Currently several clinical trials are underway using gene modified peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) with CARs directed against a variety of tumor associated antigens. Despite the improvements in the design of CARs and expansion of the number of target antigens, there is no universal flow cytometric method available to detect the expression of CARs on the surface of transduced lymphocytes.
Currently anti-fragment antigen binding (Fab) conjugates are most widely used to determine the expression of CARs on gene-modified lymphocytes by flow cytometry. The limitations of these reagents are that many of them are not commercially available, generally they are polyclonal antibodies and often the results are inconsistent. In an effort to develop a simple universal flow cytometric method to detect the expression of CARs, we employed protein L to determine the expression of CARs on transduced lymphocytes. Protein L is an immunoglobulin (Ig)-binding protein that binds to the variable light chains (kappa chain) of Ig without interfering with antigen binding site. Protein L binds to most classes of Ig and also binds to single-chain antibody fragments (scFv) and Fab fragments.
We used CARs derived from both human and murine antibodies to validate this novel protein L based flow cytometric method and the results correlated well with other established methods. Activated human PBLs were transduced with retroviral vectors expressing two human antibody based CARs (anti-EGFRvIII, and anti-VEGFR2), two murine antibody derived CARs (anti-CSPG4, and anti-CD19), and two humanized mouse antibody based CARs (anti-ERBB2, and anti-PSCA). Transduced cells were stained first with biotin labeled protein L followed by phycoerythrin (PE)-conjugated streptavidin (SA) and analyzed by flow cytometry. For comparison, cells were stained in parallel with biotin conjugated goat-anti-mouse Fab or CAR specific fusion proteins. Using protein L, all CAR transduced lymphocytes exhibited specific staining pattern ranging from 40 to 80% of positive cells (compared to untransduced cells) and staining was comparable to the pattern observed with anti-Fab antibodies.
Our data demonstrate the feasibility of employing Protein L as a general reagent for the detection of CAR expression on transduced lymphocytes by flow cytometry.
PMCID: PMC3299624  PMID: 22330761
10.  T cell receptor (TCR) structure of autologous melanoma-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones: tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes overexpress in vivo the TCR beta chain sequence used by an HLA-A2- restricted and melanocyte-lineage-specific CTL clone 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1993;178(4):1231-1246.
HLA-A2+ melanomas express common melanoma-associated antigens (Ags) recognized in vitro by autologous cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). However, it is not known whether tumor Ags can drive in vivo a selective accumulation/expansion of Ag-specific, tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TIL). Therefore, to evaluate this possibility, 39 CTL clones isolated from several independent mixed lymphocyte tumor cultures (MLTC) of TIL and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of an HLA- A2+ melanoma patient and selected for T cell receptor (TCR)-dependent, HLA-restricted tumor lysis, were used for analysis of TCR alpha and beta chain structure by the cDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique with variable gene-specific primers followed by sequencing. Despite absence of oligoclonality in fresh TIL and PBL, as well as in T cells of day 28 MLTC (day of cloning), sequence analysis of TCR alpha and beta chains of TIL clones revealed a dominance of a major category of melanoma-specific, HLA-A2-restricted T cells expressing a V alpha 8.2/J alpha AP511/C alpha and V beta 2.1/D beta 1/J beta 1.1/C beta 1 TCR. The same TCR was also found in 2 out of 14 PBL clones. The other PBL clones employed a V alpha 2.1 gene segment associated with either V beta 13.2, 14, or w22. Clones A81 (V alpha 2.1/J alpha IGRJ alpha 04/C alpha and V beta 14/D beta 1/J beta 1.2/C beta 1) and A21 (V alpha 8.2/J alpha AP511/C alpha and V beta 2.1/D beta 1/J beta 1.1/C beta 1), representative of the two most frequent TCR of PBL and TIL, respectively, expressed different lytic patterns, but both were HLA-A2 restricted and lysed only HLA-A2+ melanomas and normal melanocytes, thus indicating recognition of two distinct HLA-A2-associated and tissue-related Ags. Finally, by the inverse PCR technique, the specific TCR beta chain (V beta 2.1/D beta 1/J beta 1.1/C beta 1) expressed by the dominant TIL clone was found to represent 19 and 18.4% of all V beta 2 sequences expressed in the fresh tumor sample and in the purified TIL, respectively, but < 0.19% of V beta 2+ sequences expressed in PBL. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that a clonal expansion/accumulation of a melanocyte-lineage-specific and HLA-A2-restricted T cell clone occurred in vivo at the site of tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC2191209  PMID: 8376931
11.  Lymphokine-activated killer cell phenomenon. II. Precursor phenotype is serologically distinct from peripheral T lymphocytes, memory cytotoxic thymus-derived lymphocytes, and natural killer cells 
Culture of human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) in partially purified and lectin-free interleukin 2 results in the generation of cytotoxic effector cells which have the unique property of lysing natural killer (NK)-resistant fresh human tumor cells. We have termed these effector cells “lymphokine- activated killer” cells (LAK). LAK are generated from both normal and cancer patients' PBL and are able to lyse both autologous and allogeneic tumor cells from all histologic tumor types tested. Our previous studies suggested that the LAK phenomenon was distinct from either the cytotoxic thymus-derived lymphocyte (CTL) or NK systems based on a variety of criteria. This study reports that the cell type involved is also distinct, as determined by phenotypic characteristics. The LAK effector cell phenotype was analyzed in parallel with alloimmune CTL, and LAK were found to be similarly susceptible to the monoclonal anti-T cell antibodies OKT-3 or OKT-8 plus complement. In contrast the LAK precursor was not susceptible to the OKT-3 or Leu-1 antibodies plus complement, while the ability to generate alloimmune CTL was totally obliterated when tested using the same PBL responder population; in fact, generation of LAK was found to be augmented five- to sixfold, clearly suggesting that LAK precursor cells are not T lymphocytes as defined by these antibodies. LAK precursors were found to be abundant in NK cell-enriched Percoll gradient fractions, which had been depleted of the 29 degrees C E- rosetting “high affinity” T cells. However, LAK precursors were found to be distinct from the majority of NK cells since lysis of fresh PBL with the monoclonal antibodies OKM-1, Leu-7, or OKT-11 significantly depleted or totally eliminated NK activity, while subsequent activation of the remaining cells generated high levels of LAK and in some cases augmented levels of LAK. LAK precursors were found to be distributed in the thymus, bone marrow, spleen, lymph node, and thoracic duct in addition to the PBL. Therefore, while the cell(s) responsible for activation and expression of LAK activity have some common features with the classic T cell-mediated CTL and NK cell systems, the LAK precursor cells are clearly distinct as determined by phenotype analysis using monoclonal antibodies and complement, and at present must be classified as a “null” cell.
PMCID: PMC2186968  PMID: 6601174
12.  Cell Adhesion Molecule and Lymphocyte Activation Marker Expression during Experimental Vaginal Candidiasis 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(8):5072-5079.
Cell-mediated immunity by Th1-type CD4+ T cells is the predominant host defense mechanism against mucosal candidiasis. However, studies using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis have demonstrated little to no change in resident vaginal T cells during infection and no systemic T-cell infiltration despite the presence of Candida-specific systemic Th1-type responses in infected mice. The present study was designed to further investigate these observations by characterizing T-cell activation and cell adhesion molecule expression during primary and secondary C. albicans vaginal infections. While flow cytometry analysis of activation markers showed some evidence for activation of CD3+ draining lymph node and/or vaginal lymphocytes during both primary and secondary vaginal Candida infection, CD3+ cells expressing the homing receptors and integrins α4β7, αM290β7, and α4β1 in draining lymph nodes of mice with primary and secondary infections were reduced compared to results for uninfected mice. At the local level, few vaginal lymphocytes expressed integrins, with only minor changes observed during both primary and secondary infections. On the other hand, immunohistochemical analysis of vaginal cell adhesion molecule expression showed increases in mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression during both primary and secondary infections. Altogether, these data suggest that although the vaginal tissue is permissive to cellular infiltration during a vaginal Candida infection, the reduced numbers of systemic cells expressing the reciprocal cellular adhesion molecules may preempt cellular infiltration, thereby limiting Candida-specific T-cell responses against infection.
PMCID: PMC98602  PMID: 11447188
13.  Differences in TCR-Vβ Repertoire and Effector Phenotype between Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes Increase with Age 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102327.
Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) reflect the host's anti-tumor immune response, and can be a valuable predictor of prognosis. However, many properties of TIL are not fully understood. In the present study, TCR-Vβ repertoires of cancer patients were primarily analyzed by flow cytometry. Abnormally expressed TCR-Vβ subfamilies were generally found in both TIL and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of each patient. Of note, increased patient age was associated with increasingly biased TCR-Vβ repertoire in TIL but not in PBL, and the dispersion degree of the differences of TCR-Vβ subfamilies between TIL and PBL correlated positively with age (P = 0.007). Utilizing immunoscope analysis, we identified the age-related reduction in TCR-Vβ diversity, but polyclonal pattern was predominant in significantly expanded TCR-Vβ subfamilies. In addition, we found that older patients possessed a decreased ratio of CD8+CD62L+ non-effector cells in TIL compared to PBL, implying age-related increase of CD8+CD62L− effector cells in TIL. The colocalization analysis of CD8 and CD3, however, suggested the suppressed activity of these effector cells in tumor microenvironment. These findings further elucidate the properties of TIL, showing an increasing difference between TIL and PBL with age, which may provide insight for the development of effective immunotherapies for cancer patients of different ages.
PMCID: PMC4096599  PMID: 25019226
14.  Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Distinct Patterns of Long Noncoding RNAs in Heart and Plasma of Mice with Heart Failure 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77938.
To assess the global changes in and characteristics of the transcriptome of long noncoding RNAs (LncRNAs) in heart tissue, whole blood and plasma during heart failure (HF) and association with expression of paired coding genes.
Here we used microarray assay to examine the transcriptome of LncRNAs deregulated in the heart, whole blood, and plasma during HF in mice. We confirmed the changes in LncRNAs by quantitative PCR.
We revealed and confirmed a number of LncRNAs that were deregulated during HF, which suggests a potential role of LncRNAs in HF. Strikingly, the patterns of expression of LncRNA differed between plasma and other tissue during HF. LncRNA expression was associated with LncRNA length in all samples but not in plasma during HF, which suggests that the global association of LncRNA expression and LncRNA length in plasma could be biomarkers for HF. In total, 32 LncRNAs all expressed in the heart, whole blood and plasma showed changed expression with HF, so they may be biomarkers in HF. In addition, sense-overlapped LncRNAs tended to show consistent expression with their paired coding genes, whereas antisense-overlapped LncRNAs tended to show the opposite expression in plasma; so different types of LncRNAs may have different characteristics in HF. Interestingly, we revealed an inverse correlation between changes in expression of LncRNAs in plasma and in heart, so circulating levels of LncRNAs may not represent just passive leakage from the HF heart but also active regulation or release of circulatory cells or other cells during HF.
We reveal stable expression of LncRNAs in plasma during HF, which suggests a newly described component in plasma. The distinct expression patterns of circulatory LncRNAs during HF indicate that LncRNAs may actively respond to stress and thus serve as biomarkers of HF diagnosis and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3812140  PMID: 24205036
15.  Multiple chimeric antigen receptors successfully target chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 in several different cancer histologies and cancer stem cells 
The development of immunotherapy has led to significant progress in the treatment of metastatic cancer, including the development of genetic engineering technologies that redirect lymphocytes to recognize and target a wide variety of tumor antigens. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are hybrid proteins combining antibody recognition domains linked to T cell signaling elements. Clinical trials of CAR-transduced peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) have induced remission of both solid organ and hematologic malignancies. Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4) is a promising target antigen that is overexpressed in multiple cancer histologies including melanoma, triple-negative breast cancer, glioblastoma, mesothelioma and sarcoma.
CSPG4 expression in cancer cell lines was assayed using flow cytometry (FACS) and reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR). Immunohistochemistry was utilized to assay resected melanomas and normal human tissues (n = 30) for CSPG4 expression and a reverse-phase protein array comprising 94 normal tissue samples was also interrogated for CSPG4 expression. CARs were successfully constructed from multiple murine antibodies (225.28S, TP41.2, 149.53) using second generation (CD28.CD3ζ) signaling domains. CAR sequences were cloned into a gamma-retroviral vector with subsequent successful production of retroviral supernatant and PBL transduction. CAR efficacy was assayed by cytokine release and cytolysis following coculture with target cell lines. Additionally, glioblastoma stem cells were generated from resected human tumors, and CSPG4 expression was determined by RT-PCR and FACS.
Immunohistochemistry demonstrated prominent CSPG4 expression in melanoma tumors, but failed to demonstrate expression in any of the 30 normal human tissues studied. Two of 94 normal tissue protein lysates were positive by protein array. CAR constructs demonstrated cytokine secretion and cytolytic function after co-culture with tumor cell lines from multiple different histologies, including melanoma, breast cancer, mesothelioma, glioblastoma and osteosarcoma. Furthermore, we report for the first time that CSPG4 is expressed on glioblastoma cancer stem cells (GSC) and demonstrate that anti-CSPG4 CAR-transduced T cells recognize and kill these GSC.
The functionality of multiple different CARs, with the widespread expression of CSPG4 on multiple malignancies, suggests that CSPG4 may be an attractive candidate tumor antigen for CAR-based immunotherapies using appropriate technology to limit possible off-tumor toxicity.
PMCID: PMC4155770  PMID: 25197555
Immunotherapy; CSPG4; Chimeric antigen receptor; Cancer stem cells; Melanoma; Glioblastoma
16.  Susceptibility of different leukocyte cell types to Vaccinia virus infection 
Virology Journal  2004;1:10.
Vaccinia virus, the prototype member of the family Poxviridae, was used extensively in the past as the Smallpox vaccine, and is currently considered as a candidate vector for new recombinant vaccines. Vaccinia virus has a wide host range, and is known to infect cultures of a variety of cell lines of mammalian origin. However, little is known about the virus tropism in human leukocyte populations. We report here that various cell types within leukocyte populations have widely different susceptibility to infection with vaccinia virus.
We have investigated the ability of vaccinia virus to infect human PBLs by using virus recombinants expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP), and monoclonal antibodies specific for PBL subpopulations. Flow cytometry allowed the identification of infected cells within the PBL mixture 1–5 hours after infection. Antibody labeling revealed that different cell populations had very different infection rates. Monocytes showed the highest percentage of infected cells, followed by B lymphocytes and NK cells. In contrast to those cell types, the rate of infection of T lymphocytes was low. Comparison of vaccinia virus strains WR and MVA showed that both strains infected efficiently the monocyte population, although producing different expression levels. Our results suggest that MVA was less efficient than WR in infecting NK cells and B lymphocytes. Overall, both WR and MVA consistently showed a strong preference for the infection of non-T cells.
When infecting fresh human PBL preparations, vaccinia virus showed a strong bias towards the infection of monocytes, followed by B lymphocytes and NK cells. In contrast, very poor infection of T lymphocytes was detected. These finding may have important implications both in our understanding of poxvirus pathogenesis and in the development of improved smallpox vaccines.
PMCID: PMC535549  PMID: 15555076
17.  Expression of IL-2R, IL-4R, IL-6R on peripheral blood lymphocytes in systemic lupus erythematosus and correlation with disease activity: a prospective study. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1996;49(8):660-663.
AIMS: To study the expression of interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R), interleukin-4 receptor (IL-4R) and interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) on peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); to correlate the level of expression of these receptors with SLE disease activity. METHODS: Peripheral blood lymphocytes were studied by a high sensitivity flow cytometry technique using monoclonal antibodies directed against CD25 (IL-2R alpha chain), CD122 (IL-2R beta chain), CD124 (IL-4R), and CD126 (IL-6R). SLE disease activity was scored using the SLE Disease Activity Index, C3 and C4 concentrations, anti-dsDNA level, and absolute lymphocyte count. RESULTS: Compared with normal controls, PBL from patients with SLE had a higher percentage of CD25+ cells (median 20.8% v 16.5%) and a lower percentage of CD122+ cells (median 13.1% v 22.4%). The difference in CD122+ cells was greater in the CD122weak population than the CD122strong (natural killer cell) population. The percentages of CD124+ and CD126+ PBLs in patients with SLE and controls were similar. On CD25+ cells, the relative antigenic level of the IL-2R alpha chain was significantly higher in patients with SLE (median 2.01 v 1.81). The relative antigenic levels of CD122+, CD124+ and CD126+ cells were similar in patients and controls. Neither the percentages nor the relative antigenic levels of all of these cytokine receptors were correlated with any of the parameters of disease activity. CONCLUSION: Lymphocyte activation in patients with SLE was evident from the increase in CD25 expression on PBL, with a reciprocal decrease in CD122 expression. As the expression of IL-2R, IL-4R, IL-6R did not correlate with disease activity, it seems that these cytokine/receptor systems do not play a direct role in disease activation in SLE.
PMCID: PMC500611  PMID: 8881918
18.  Chicken CRTAM Binds Nectin-Like 2 Ligand and Is Upregulated on CD8+ αβ and γδ T Lymphocytes with Different Kinetics 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81942.
During a search for immunomodulatory receptors in the chicken genome, we identified a previously cloned chicken sequence as CRTAM homologue by its overall identity and several conserved sequence features. For further characterization, we generated a CRTAM specific mab. No staining was detectable in freshly isolated cell preparations from thymus, bursa, caecal tonsils, spleen, blood and intestine. Activation of splenocytes with recombinant IL-2 increased rapid CRTAM expression within a 2 h period on about 30% of the cells. These CRTAM+ cells were identified as CD8+ γδ T lymphocytes. In contrast, CRTAM expression could not be stimulated on PBL with IL-2, even within a 48 h stimulation period. As a second means of activation, T cell receptor (TCR) crosslinking using an anti-αβ-TCR induced CRTAM on both PBL and splenocytes. While CRTAM expression was again rapidly upregulated on splenocytes within 2 h, it took 48 h to reach maximum levels of CRTAM expression in PBL. Strikingly, albeit the stimulation of splenocytes was performed with anti-αβ-TCR, CRTAM expression after 2 h was mainly restricted to CD8+ γδ T lymphocytes, however, the longer anti-TCR stimulation of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) resulted in CRTAM expression on αβ T lymphocytes. In order to characterize the potential ligand we cloned and expressed chicken Necl-2, a member of the nectin and nectin-like family which is highly homologous to its mammalian counterpart. Three independent assays including a reporter assay, staining with a CRTAM-Ig fusion protein and a cell conjugate assay confirmed the interaction of CRTAM with Necl-2 which could also be blocked by a soluble CRTAM-Ig fusion protein or a CRTAM specific mab. These results suggest that chicken CRTAM represents an early activation antigen on CD8+ T cells which binds to Necl-2 and is upregulated with distinct kinetics on αβ versus γδ T lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3858274  PMID: 24339981
19.  Specific and non-specific lymphocyte cytotoxicity in colon carcinoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1981;44(6):846-855.
The cytotoxic activity of peripheral-blood (PBL), lymph-node (LNC) and tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) from 47 patients undergoing surgery for colon carcinoma (Duke's Stage A, 1 patient; B, 24; C, 15 and C with metastases, 7) was examined in short-term 51Cr-release assays, against fresh autologous tumour cells, allogeneic colon cancer cells and the erythroleukaemia cell line, K562. Cytotoxicity against autologous cells was detected in at least one effector population in 23/47 patients (49%), with overall frequencies which did not differ for patients in different Duke's stages of disease. By contrast, lysis of allogeneic tumour cells was infrequent (11%) regardless of the effector population to which they were exposed. Cytotoxicity against K562, cells highly sensitive to NK activity, though variable, was detected in 93% of PBL of normal donors and 83% of patients, and among the latter showed no evidence of significant decline with advancing disease. However, LNC and TIL anti-K562 activity was infrequent (17%) in concordance with previous reports. There was no correlation between the ability of patients' PBL to lyse autologous tumour and K562 cells. The independence of these 2 cytotoxic actions was further explored in studies fractionating lymphocytes: autologous tumour killing was augmented in T-enriched PBL; whereas the greatest anti-K562 activity was found in the corresponding non-T fraction. Lymphocyte cytotoxicity in colonic neoplasia is thus manifest in 2 apparently independent lymphocyte populations; a relatively specific killer T-cell population, detectable in PBL, LNC and TIL, which is preferentially reactive with the autologous cells; and a non-specific killer population, largely limited to PBL, with the properties of NK cells. The activity of neither population reflects the clinical status of patients with this disease.
PMCID: PMC2010877  PMID: 6976792
20.  Immune Cell-Mediated Protection against Vaginal Candidiasis: Evidence for a Major Role of Vaginal CD4+ T Cells and Possible Participation of Other Local Lymphocyte Effectors  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(9):4791-4797.
The protective roles of different lymphocyte subsets were investigated in a rat vaginal candidiasis model by adoptive transfer of vaginal lymphocytes (VL) or sorted, purified CD3+ T cells, CD4+ or CD8+ T cells, or CD3− CD5+ B cells from the vaginas of naïve or immune rats following three rounds of Candida albicans infection. The adoptive transfer of total VL from nonimmune animals did not alter the course of vaginal candidiasis of the recipient rats. In contrast, the animals receiving total VL or CD3+ T cells from immune rats showed a highly significant acceleration of fungus clearance compared with animals which received nonimmune VL. The animals with vaginal CD3− CD5+ B cells transferred from immune rats also had fewer Candida CFU than the controls, but fungal clearance was significantly retarded with respect to the animals administered immune T cells. Sorted, purified CD4+ and CD8+ vaginal T cells from immune rats were also adoptively transferred to naïve animals. Although both populations were seen to accelerate the clearance of the fungus from the vagina, CD4+ T cells were much more effective than CD8+ T cells. Overall, there was no difference between the antifungal effects of immune vaginal CD4+ T cells and those achievable with the transfer of whole, immune VL. Histological observations of the vaginal tissues of rats with adoptively transferred immune T cells demonstrated a remarkable accumulation of lymphocytes in the subepithelial lamina propria and also infiltrating the mucosal epithelium. These results strongly suggest that distinct vaginal lymphocyte subsets participate in the adaptive anti-Candida immunity at the vaginal level, with the vaginal CD4+ T cells probably playing a major role.
PMCID: PMC128254  PMID: 12183521
21.  SAL-RNAs: Senescence-associated long non-coding RNAs 
Aging cell  2013;12(5):890-900.
Non-coding RNAs include small transcripts, such as microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs, and a wide range of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Although many lncRNAs have been identified, only a small number of lncRNAs have been characterized functionally. Here, we sought to identify lncRNAs differentially expressed during replicative senescence. We compared lncRNAs expressed in proliferating, early passage, ‘young’ human diploid WI-38 fibroblasts [population doubling (PDL) 20] with those expressed in senescent, late-passage, ‘old’ fibroblasts (PDL 52) by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Numerous transcripts in all lncRNA groups (antisense lncRNAs, pseudogene-encoded lncRNAs, previously described lncRNAs and novel lncRNAs) were validated using reverse transcription (RT) and real-time, quantitative (q)PCR. Among the novel senescence-associated lncRNAs (SAL-RNAs) showing lower abundance in senescent cells, SAL-RNA1 (XLOC_023166) was found to delay senescence, since reducing SAL-RNA1 levels enhanced the appearance of phenotypic traits of senescence, including an enlarged morphology, positive β-galactosidase activity, and heightened p53 levels. Our results reveal that the expression of known and novel lncRNAs changes with senescence and suggest that SAL-RNAs play direct regulatory roles in this important cellular process.
PMCID: PMC3773026  PMID: 23758631
post-transcriptional gene regulation; transcriptome; non-coding; proliferation; senescence-associated gene expression patterns
22.  Anti-SCID mouse reactivity shapes the human CD4+ T cell repertoire in hu-PBL-SCID chimeras 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1994;180(5):1817-1827.
Injecting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice results in long-term engraftment of human lymphocytes, of which > 98% are phenotypically mature, activated T cells. Here we have characterized the human T cells that populate such hu-PBL-SCID chimeras. We report that these human T cells do not mobilize Ca2+ after CD3 stimulation, i.e., their T cell receptor (TCR)- mediated signal transduction is deficient. Chimera-derived human T cells do not secrete lymphokines or undergo blastogenesis after CD3 stimulation, but proliferate in response to interleukin 2 (IL-2), defining the chimera derived human T cells as anergic. Anergy was seen in both the CD4+ and the CD8+ subpopulations. We established human T cell lines from chimeras. These T cells retained their anergic state for 1-2 mo in culture, after which they simultaneously regained the ability to mobilize Ca2+, secrete lymphokines, and to undergo blastogenesis following stimulation via the TCR. Once regaining proliferative responsiveness to CD3 stimulation, these CD4+ T cell lines displayed anti-SCID mouse reactivity and showed no specificity for recall antigens. All CD3-responsive CD4+ T cell clones obtained from such lines were SCID mouse specific, recognizing native major histocompatibility complex class II products on the murine cells. In contrast, chimera-derived human CD8+ cell lines and clones did not display detectable anti-mouse reactivity. The data show that the human T cell system in long term hu-PBL-SCID chimeras is nonfunctional due to both anergy and the limitation of the CD4+ repertoire to xenoreactive clones. The data suggest that long-term hu-PBL-SCID chimerism represents an atypical graft-versus-host reaction in which the human effector T cells become anergic in the murine environment.
PMCID: PMC2191753  PMID: 7964463
23.  Elotuzumab enhances natural killer cell activation and myeloma cell killing through interleukin-2 and TNF-α pathways 
Elotuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody specific for signaling lymphocytic activation molecule-F7 (SLAMF7, also known as CS1, CD319, or CRACC) that enhances natural killer (NK) cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of SLAMF7-expressing myeloma cells. This study explored the mechanisms underlying enhanced myeloma cell killing with elotuzumab as a single agent and in combination with lenalidomide, to support ongoing phase III trials in patients with relapsed/refractory or newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM). An in vitro peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL)/myeloma cell co-culture model was developed to evaluate the combination of elotuzumab and lenalidomide. Expression of activation markers and adhesion receptors was evaluated by flow cytometry, cytokine expression by Luminex and ELISPOT assays, and cytotoxicity by myeloma cell counts. Elotuzumab activated NK cells and promoted myeloma cell death in PBL/myeloma cell co-cultures. The combination of elotuzumab plus lenalidomide demonstrated superior anti-myeloma activity on established MM xenografts in vivo and in PBL/myeloma cell co-cultures in vitro than either agent alone. The combination enhanced myeloma cell killing by modulating NK cell function that coincided with the upregulation of adhesion and activation markers, including interleukin (IL)-2Rα expression, IL-2 production by CD3+CD56+ lymphocytes, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production. In co-culture assays, TNF-α directly increased NK cell activation and myeloma cell death with elotuzumab or elotuzumab plus lenalidomide, and neutralizing TNF-α decreased NK cell activation and myeloma cell death with elotuzumab. These results demonstrate that elotuzumab activates NK cells and induces myeloma cell death via NK cell-mediated ADCC, which is further enhanced when combined with lenalidomide.
PMCID: PMC4282702  PMID: 25287778
Elotuzumab; Interleukin-2; Lenalidomide; Multiple myeloma; Natural killer cell activation; SLAMF7
24.  Inhibition of tumour necrosis factor and IL-17 production by leflunomide involves the JAK/STAT pathway 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;68(10):1644-1650.
To study the effects of different disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) on different events mediated by IL-15-activated lymphocytes.
Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were isolated from healthy donors and activated with IL-15 after exposure to different DMARD: leflunomide, cyclosporin A, methotrexate, mycophenolic acid, FK-506, sulphasalazine and sodium aurothiomalate. The expression of different surface molecules on the PBL was then determined by flow cytometry. Cells were also co-cultured with the monocytic cell line THP-1 and the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) concentration in the supernatant was measured after 24 h using an immunoenzyme assay. The effect of the aforementioned drugs on IL-17 production by IL-15-activated PBL was also studied.
Treatment of PBL with leflunomide, cyclosporin A and FK-506 inhibited the IL-15-induced expression of both CD54 and CD69 by PBL, as well as TNF production in co-cultures of activated PBL and THP-1 cells. The downregulation of CD54 and CD69 in PBL was correlated with the inhibition of TNF production. Likewise, leflunomide, cyclosporin A and FK-506 all inhibited IL-17 production in IL-15-activated PBL. Interestingly, the effect of leflunomide was not reverted by the presence of uridine in the medium. In addition, leflunomide inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT6 in vitro.
Inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway may represent an additional effect of leflunomide in chronic polyarthritis because it impairs certain events that control proinflammatory TNF and IL-17 cytokine production.
PMCID: PMC2946060  PMID: 18957484
25.  Promoter Analysis Reveals Globally Differential Regulation of Human Long Non-Coding RNA and Protein-Coding Genes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109443.
Transcriptional regulation of protein-coding genes is increasingly well-understood on a global scale, yet no comparable information exists for long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes, which were recently recognized to be as numerous as protein-coding genes in mammalian genomes. We performed a genome-wide comparative analysis of the promoters of human lncRNA and protein-coding genes, finding global differences in specific genetic and epigenetic features relevant to transcriptional regulation. These two groups of genes are hence subject to separate transcriptional regulatory programs, including distinct transcription factor (TF) proteins that significantly favor lncRNA, rather than coding-gene, promoters. We report a specific signature of promoter-proximal transcriptional regulation of lncRNA genes, including several distinct transcription factor binding sites (TFBS). Experimental DNase I hypersensitive site profiles are consistent with active configurations of these lncRNA TFBS sets in diverse human cell types. TFBS ChIP-seq datasets confirm the binding events that we predicted using computational approaches for a subset of factors. For several TFs known to be directly regulated by lncRNAs, we find that their putative TFBSs are enriched at lncRNA promoters, suggesting that the TFs and the lncRNAs may participate in a bidirectional feedback loop regulatory network. Accordingly, cells may be able to modulate lncRNA expression levels independently of mRNA levels via distinct regulatory pathways. Our results also raise the possibility that, given the historical reliance on protein-coding gene catalogs to define the chromatin states of active promoters, a revision of these chromatin signature profiles to incorporate expressed lncRNA genes is warranted in the future.
PMCID: PMC4183604  PMID: 25275320

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