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1.  Induction of ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+ TH Cells Correlates with Antibody Responses to Influenza Vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(176):176ra32.
Seasonal influenza vaccine protects 60 to 90% of healthy young adults from influenza infection. The immunological events that lead to the induction of protective antibody responses remain poorly understood in humans. We identified the type of CD4+ T cells associated with protective antibody responses after seasonal influenza vaccinations. The administration of trivalent split-virus influenza vaccines induced a temporary increase of CD4+ T cells expressing ICOS, which peaked at day 7, as did plasmablasts. The induction of ICOS was largely restricted to CD4+ T cells co-expressing the chemokine receptors CXCR3 and CXCR5, a subpopulation of circulating memory T follicular helper cells. Up to 60% of these ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells were specific for influenza antigens and expressed interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-10, IL-21, and interferon-γ upon antigen stimulation. The increase of ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells in blood correlated with the increase of preexisting antibody titers, but not with the induction of primary antibody responses. Consistently, purified ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells efficiently induced memory B cells, but not naïve B cells, to differentiate into plasma cells that produce influenza-specific antibodies ex vivo. Thus, the emergence of blood ICOS+CXCR3+CXCR5+CD4+ T cells correlates with the development of protective antibody responses generated by memory B cells upon seasonal influenza vaccination.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005191
PMCID: PMC3621097  PMID: 23486778
2.  Risk of Death in Heart Disease is Associated With Elevated Urinary Globotriaosylceramide 
Background
Elevated urinary globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) has been considered a hallmark of Fabry disease, an X‐linked lysosomal disorder that is a risk factor for most types of heart disease.
Methods and Results
We screened 1421 consecutive patients with common forms of heart disease for Fabry disease by measuring urinary Gb3 in whole urine using tandem mass spectrometry, α‐galactosidase A activity in dried blood spots, and we looked for GLA mutations by parallel sequencing of the whole gene (exons and introns) in pooled genomic DNA samples followed by Sanger sequencing verification. GLA variants were found in 13 patients. In the 1408 patients without GLA mutations, urinary Gb3 levels were significantly higher in heart disease patients compared to 116 apparently healthy controls (median difference=10.0 ng/mL and P<0.001). Urinary lipid profiling showed that levels of 5 other lipids significantly distinguished between urine of patients with Fabry disease (n=7) and heart disease patients with elevated urinary Gb3 (n=6). Sphingomyelin and Gb3 levels were abnormal in the left ventricular wall of patients with ischemic heart failure. Elevated levels of urinary Gb3 were independently associated with increased risk of death in the average follow‐up of 17 months (hazard ratio=1.59 for increase in Gb3 of 200, 95% CI=1.36 and 1.87, and P<0.0001).
Conclusions
In heart disease patients who do not have Fabry disease or GLA gene mutations, a higher level of urinary Gb3 is positively associated with near‐term mortality. The elevation of urinary Gb3 and that of other lipids suggests that heart disease is associated with multiorgan lipid abnormalities.
Clinical Trial Registration
URL: clinicaltrials.gov. Unique Identifier: NCT01019629.
doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000394
PMCID: PMC3959711  PMID: 24496231
globotriaosylceramide; heart disease; risk factor; sphingolipids
3.  Whole Blood Gene Expression Profiles to Assess Pathogenesis and Disease Severity in Infants with Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001549.
In this study, Mejias and colleagues found that specific blood RNA profiles of infants with RSV LRTI allowed for specific diagnosis, better understanding of disease pathogenesis, and better assessment of disease severity.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of viral lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and hospitalization in infants. Mostly because of the incomplete understanding of the disease pathogenesis, there is no licensed vaccine, and treatment remains symptomatic. We analyzed whole blood transcriptional profiles to characterize the global host immune response to acute RSV LRTI in infants, to characterize its specificity compared with influenza and human rhinovirus (HRV) LRTI, and to identify biomarkers that can objectively assess RSV disease severity.
Methods and Findings
This was a prospective observational study over six respiratory seasons including a cohort of infants hospitalized with RSV (n = 135), HRV (n = 30), and influenza (n = 16) LRTI, and healthy age- and sex-matched controls (n = 39). A specific RSV transcriptional profile was identified in whole blood (training cohort, n = 45 infants; Dallas, Texas, US) and validated in three different cohorts (test cohort, n = 46, Dallas, Texas, US; validation cohort A, n = 16, Turku, Finland; validation cohort B, n = 28, Columbus, Ohio, US) with high sensitivity (94% [95% CI 87%–98%]) and specificity (98% [95% CI 88%–99%]). It classified infants with RSV LRTI versus HRV or influenza LRTI with 95% accuracy. The immune dysregulation induced by RSV (overexpression of neutrophil, inflammation, and interferon genes, and suppression of T and B cell genes) persisted beyond the acute disease, and immune dysregulation was greatly impaired in younger infants (<6 mo). We identified a genomic score that significantly correlated with outcomes of care including a clinical disease severity score and, more importantly, length of hospitalization and duration of supplemental O2.
Conclusions
Blood RNA profiles of infants with RSV LRTI allow specific diagnosis, better understanding of disease pathogenesis, and assessment of disease severity. This study opens new avenues for biomarker discovery and identification of potential therapeutic or preventive targets, and demonstrates that large microarray datasets can be translated into a biologically meaningful context and applied to the clinical setting.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs)—bacterial and viral infections of the lungs and airways (the tubes that take oxygen-rich air to the lungs)—are major causes of illness and death in children worldwide. Pneumonia (infection of the lungs) alone is responsible for 14% of all child deaths. The leading cause of viral LTRIs in children is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is readily transmitted from person to person by direct contact with nasal fluids or airborne droplets. Almost all children have an RSV infection before their second birthday, but most have only minor symptoms similar to those of a common cold and are cared for at home. Unfortunately, some children develop more serious conditions when they become infected with RSV, such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis (swelling and mucus build-up in the bronchioles, the smallest air passages in the lungs). These children have to be admitted to the hospital for supportive care—there is no specific treatment for RSV infection—such as the provision of supplemental oxygen.
Why Was This Study Done?
The lack of a treatment (and of a vaccine) for RSV is largely due to our incomplete understanding of the cellular events and reactions, including the host immune response, that occur during the development of an RSV infection (disease pathogenesis). Moreover, based on physical examination and available diagnostic tools, it is impossible to predict which children infected with RSV will develop a serious condition that requires hospitalization and which ones can be safely nursed at home. Here, the researchers use microarrays to analyze the global host response to acute RSV LTRI in infants, to define gene expression patterns that are specific to RSV infection rather than infection with other common respiratory viruses, and to identify biomarkers that indicate the severity of RSV infection. “Microarray” analysis allows researchers to examine gene expression patterns (“RNA transcriptional profiles”) in, for example, whole blood; a biomarker is a molecule whose level in bodily fluids or tissues indicates how a disease might develop and helps with patient classification.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared the RNA transcriptional profile in whole blood taken from children less than two years old hospitalized with RSV, human rhinovirus, or influenza virus infection (rhinovirus and influenza are two additional viral causes of LRTI), and from healthy infants. Using “statistical group comparisons,” they identified more than 2,000 transcripts that were differentially expressed in blood from 45 infants with RSV infection and from 14 healthy matched controls. Genes related to interferon function (interferons are released by host cells in response to the presence of disease-causing organisms) and neutrophil function (neutrophils are immune system cells that, like interferons, are involved in the innate immune response, the body's first line of defense against infection) were among the most overexpressed genes in infants infected with RSV. Genes regulating T and B cells (components of the adaptive immune response, the body's second-line of defense against infection) were among the most underexpressed genes. This specific transcriptional profile, which was validated in three additional groups of infants, accurately distinguished between infants infected with RSV and those infected with human rhinovirus or influenza virus. Finally, a “molecular distance to health” score (a numerical score that quantifies the transcriptional perturbation associated with an illness) was correlated with the clinical disease severity score of the study participants, with how long they needed supplemental oxygen, and with their duration of hospitalization.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that it might be possible to use whole blood RNA transcriptional profiles to distinguish between infants infected with RSV and those with other viruses that commonly cause LRTI. Moreover, if these findings can be replicated in more patients (including non-hospitalized children), gene expression profiling might provide a strategy for triaging patients with RSV infections when they first present to an emergency department and for monitoring clinical changes during the course of the infection, particularly given the development of molecular tools that might soon enable the “real time” acquisition of transcriptional profiles in the clinical setting. Finally, although certain aspects of the study design limit the accuracy and generalizability of the study's findings, these data provide new insights into the pathogenesis of RSV infection and open new avenues for the discovery of biomarkers for RSV infection and for the identification of therapeutic and preventative targets.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001549.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Peter Openshaw
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about RSV infection
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides information about the respiratory system and about RSV infections
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about bronchiolitis
The British Lung Foundation also provides information on RSV and on bronchiolitis
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about RSV infections and about pneumonia (in English and Spanish); the MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on bronchiolitis (in English and Spanish)
PATH is an international non-profit organization investigating new RSV vaccines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001549
PMCID: PMC3825655  PMID: 24265599
4.  Interferon Signature in the Blood in Inflammatory Common Variable Immune Deficiency 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74893.
About half of all subjects with common variable immune deficiency (CVID) are afflicted with inflammatory complications including hematologic autoimmunity, granulomatous infiltrations, interstitial lung disease, lymphoid hyperplasia and/or gastrointestinal inflammatory disease. The pathogenesis of these conditions is poorly understood but singly and in aggregate, these lead to significantly increased (11 fold) morbidity and mortality, not experienced by CVID subjects without these complications. To explore the dysregulated networks in these subjects, we applied whole blood transcriptional profiling to 91 CVID subjects, 47 with inflammatory conditions and 44 without, in comparison to subjects with XLA and healthy controls. As compared to other CVID subjects, males with XLA or healthy controls, the signature of CVID subjects with inflammatory complications was distinguished by a marked up-regulation of IFN responsive genes. Chronic up-regulation of IFN pathways is known to occur in autoimmune disease due to activation of TLRs and other still unclarified cytoplasmic sensors. As subjects with inflammatory complications were also more likely to be lymphopenic, have reduced B cell numbers, and a greater reduction of B, T and plasma cell networks, we suggest that more impaired adaptive immunity in these subjects may lead to chronic activation of innate IFN pathways in response to environmental antigens. The unbiased use of whole blood transcriptome analysis may provides a tool for distinguishing CVID subjects who are at risk for increased morbidity and earlier mortality. As more effective therapeutic options are developed, whole blood transcriptome analyses could also provide an efficient means of monitoring the effects of treatment of the inflammatory phenotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074893
PMCID: PMC3775732  PMID: 24069364
6.  Transcriptional Blood Signatures Distinguish Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Pulmonary Sarcoidosis, Pneumonias and Lung Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70630.
Rationale
New approaches to define factors underlying the immunopathogenesis of pulmonary diseases including sarcoidosis and tuberculosis are needed to develop new treatments and biomarkers. Comparing the blood transcriptional response of tuberculosis to other similar pulmonary diseases will advance knowledge of disease pathways and help distinguish diseases with similar clinical presentations.
Objectives
To determine the factors underlying the immunopathogenesis of the granulomatous diseases, sarcoidosis and tuberculosis, by comparing the blood transcriptional responses in these and other pulmonary diseases.
Methods
We compared whole blood genome-wide transcriptional profiles in pulmonary sarcoidosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, to community acquired pneumonia and primary lung cancer and healthy controls, before and after treatment, and in purified leucocyte populations.
Measurements and Main Results
An Interferon-inducible neutrophil-driven blood transcriptional signature was present in both sarcoidosis and tuberculosis, with a higher abundance and expression in tuberculosis. Heterogeneity of the sarcoidosis signature correlated significantly with disease activity. Transcriptional profiles in pneumonia and lung cancer revealed an over-abundance of inflammatory transcripts. After successful treatment the transcriptional activity in tuberculosis and pneumonia patients was significantly reduced. However the glucocorticoid-responsive sarcoidosis patients showed a significant increase in transcriptional activity. 144-blood transcripts were able to distinguish tuberculosis from other lung diseases and controls.
Conclusions
Tuberculosis and sarcoidosis revealed similar blood transcriptional profiles, dominated by interferon-inducible transcripts, while pneumonia and lung cancer showed distinct signatures, dominated by inflammatory genes. There were also significant differences between tuberculosis and sarcoidosis in the degree of their transcriptional activity, the heterogeneity of their profiles and their transcriptional response to treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070630
PMCID: PMC3734176  PMID: 23940611
7.  Macrophages induce differentiation of plasma cells through CXCL10/IP-10 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(10):1813-1823.
Macrophage production of CXCL10 amplifies the production of IL-6 by B cells, leading to plasma cell differentiation.
In tonsils, CD138+ plasma cells (PCs) are surrounded by CD163+ resident macrophages (Mϕs). We show here that human Mϕs (isolated from tonsils or generated from monocytes in vitro) drive activated B cells to differentiate into CD138+CD38++ PCs through secreted CXCL10/IP-10 and VCAM-1 contact. IP-10 production by Mϕs is induced by B cell–derived IL-6 and depends on STAT3 phosphorylation. Furthermore, IP-10 amplifies the production of IL-6 by B cells, which sustains the STAT3 signals that lead to PC differentiation. IP-10–deficient mice challenged with NP-Ficoll show a decreased frequency of NP-specific PCs and lower titers of antibodies. Thus, our results reveal a novel dialog between Mϕs and B cells, in which IP-10 acts as a PC differentiation factor.
doi:10.1084/jem.20112142
PMCID: PMC3457728  PMID: 22987802
8.  An Interferon-Inducible Neutrophil-Driven Blood Transcriptional Signature in Human Tuberculosis 
Nature  2010;466(7309):973-977.
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and efforts to control TB are hampered by difficulties with diagnosis, prevention and treatment 1,2. Most people infected with M. tuberculosis remain asymptomatic, termed latent TB, with a 10% lifetime risk of developing active TB disease, but current tests cannot identify which individuals will develop disease 3. The immune response to M. tuberculosis is complex and incompletely characterized, hindering development of new diagnostics, therapies and vaccines 4,5. We identified a whole blood 393 transcript signature for active TB in intermediate and high burden settings, correlating with radiological extent of disease and reverting to that of healthy controls following treatment. A subset of latent TB patients had signatures similar to those in active TB patients. We also identified a specific 86-transcript signature that discriminated active TB from other inflammatory and infectious diseases. Modular and pathway analysis revealed that the TB signature was dominated by a neutrophil-driven interferon (IFN)-inducible gene profile, consisting of both IFN-γ and Type I IFNαβ signalling. Comparison with transcriptional signatures in purified cells and flow cytometric analysis, suggest that this TB signature reflects both changes in cellular composition and altered gene expression. Although an IFN signature was also observed in whole blood of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), their complete modular signature differed from TB with increased abundance of plasma cell transcripts. Our studies demonstrate a hitherto under-appreciated role of Type I IFNαβ signalling in TB pathogenesis, which has implications for vaccine and therapeutic development. Our study also provides a broad range of transcriptional biomarkers with potential as diagnostic and prognostic tools to combat the TB epidemic.
doi:10.1038/nature09247
PMCID: PMC3492754  PMID: 20725040
9.  Host Immune Transcriptional Profiles Reflect the Variability in Clinical Disease Manifestations in Patients with Staphylococcus aureus Infections 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34390.
Staphylococcus aureus infections are associated with diverse clinical manifestations leading to significant morbidity and mortality. To define the role of the host response in the clinical manifestations of the disease, we characterized whole blood transcriptional profiles of children hospitalized with community-acquired S. aureus infection and phenotyped the bacterial strains isolated. The overall transcriptional response to S. aureus infection was characterized by over-expression of innate immunity and hematopoiesis related genes and under-expression of genes related to adaptive immunity. We assessed individual profiles using modular fingerprints combined with the molecular distance to health (MDTH), a numerical score of transcriptional perturbation as compared to healthy controls. We observed significant heterogeneity in the host signatures and MDTH, as they were influenced by the type of clinical presentation, the extent of bacterial dissemination, and time of blood sampling in the course of the infection, but not by the bacterial isolate. System analysis approaches provide a new understanding of disease pathogenesis and the relation/interaction between host response and clinical disease manifestations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034390
PMCID: PMC3319567  PMID: 22496797
10.  Prophylactic PEG placement in head and neck cancer: How many feeding tubes are unused (and unnecessary)? 
AIM: To determine the rate of use and non-use of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes among patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) patients.
METHODS: All patients with HNC undergoing PEG between January 1, 2004 and June 30, 2006 were identified. Patients (or their next-of-kin) were surveyed by phone and all available medical records and cancer registry data were reviewed. Prophylactic PEG was defined as placement in the absence of dysphagia and prior to radiation or chemoradiation. Each patient with a prophylactic PEG was assessed for cancer diagnosis, type of therapy, PEG use, and complications related to PEG.
RESULTS: One hundred and three patients had PEG tubes placed for HNC. Thirty four patients (33%) could not be contacted for follow-up. Of the 23 (22.3%) patients with prophylactic PEG tubes, 11/23 (47.8%) either never used the PEG or used it for less than 2 wk. No association with PEG use vs non-use was observed for cancer diagnosis, stage, or specific cancer treatment. Non-use or limited use was observed in 3/6 (50%) treated with radiation alone vs 8/17 (47.1%) treated with chemoradiation (P = 1.0), and 3 of 10 (30%) treated with surgery vs 8 of 13 (62%) not treated with surgery (P = 0.21). Minor complications were reported in 5/23 (21.7%). One (4.3%) major complication was reported.
CONCLUSION: There is a high rate of unnecessary PEG placement when done prophylactically in patients with head and neck cancer.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i8.1004
PMCID: PMC3057142  PMID: 21448351
Head and neck cancer; Percutaneous gastrostomy tube; Prophylactic
11.  Ribosomal protein mRNAs are translationally-regulated during human dendritic cells activation by LPS 
Immunome Research  2009;5:5.
Background
Dendritic cells (DCs) are the sentinels of the mammalian immune system, characterized by a complex maturation process driven by pathogen detection. Although multiple studies have described the analysis of activated DCs by transcriptional profiling, recent findings indicate that mRNAs are also regulated at the translational level. A systematic analysis of the mRNAs being translationally regulated at various stages of DC activation was performed using translational profiling, which combines sucrose gradient fractionation of polysomal-bound mRNAs with DNA microarray analysis.
Results
Total and polysomal-bound mRNA populations purified from immature, 4 h and 16 h LPS-stimulated human monocyte-derived DCs were analyzed on Affymetrix microarrays U133 2.0. A group of 375 transcripts was identified as translationally regulated during DC-activation. In addition to several biochemical pathways related to immunity, the most statistically relevant biological function identified among the translationally regulated mRNAs was protein biosynthesis itself. We singled-out a cluster of 11 large ribosome proteins mRNAs, which are disengaged from polysomes at late time of maturation, suggesting the existence of a negative feedback loop regulating translation in DCs and linking ribosomal proteins to immuno-modulatory function.
Conclusion
Our observations highlight the importance of translation regulation during the immune response, and may favor the identification of novel protein networks relevant for immunity. Our study also provides information on the potential absence of correlation between gene expression and protein production for specific mRNA molecules present in DCs.
doi:10.1186/1745-7580-5-5
PMCID: PMC2788525  PMID: 19943945
12.  Genomic transcriptional profiling identifies a candidate blood biomarker signature for the diagnosis of septicemic melioidosis 
Genome Biology  2009;10(11):R127.
A diagnostic signature for sepsis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei infection was identified from transcriptional profiling of the blood of septicemia patients.
Background
Melioidosis is a severe infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Gram-negative bacillus classified by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as a category B priority agent. Septicemia is the most common presentation of the disease with a 40% mortality rate even with appropriate treatments. Better diagnostic tests are therefore needed to improve therapeutic efficacy and survival rates.
Results
We have used microarray technology to generate genome-wide transcriptional profiles (>48,000 transcripts) from the whole blood of patients with septicemic melioidosis (n = 32), patients with sepsis caused by other pathogens (n = 31), and uninfected controls (n = 29). Unsupervised analyses demonstrated the existence of a whole blood transcriptional signature distinguishing patients with sepsis from control subjects. The majority of changes observed were common to both septicemic melioidosis and sepsis caused by other infections, including genes related to inflammation, interferon-related genes, neutrophils, cytotoxic cells, and T-cells. Finally, class prediction analysis identified a 37 transcript candidate diagnostic signature that distinguished melioidosis from sepsis caused by other organisms with 100% accuracy in a training set. This finding was confirmed in 2 independent validation sets, which gave high prediction accuracies of 78% and 80%, respectively. This signature was significantly enriched in genes coding for products involved in the MHC class II antigen processing and presentation pathway.
Conclusions
Blood transcriptional patterns distinguish patients with septicemic melioidosis from patients with sepsis caused by other pathogens. Once confirmed in a large scale trial this diagnostic signature might constitute the basis of a differential diagnostic assay.
doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-11-r127
PMCID: PMC3091321  PMID: 19903332
13.  A modular analysis framework for blood genomics studies: application to systemic lupus erythematosus 
Immunity  2008;29(1):150-164.
Summary
The analysis of patient blood transcriptional profiles offers a means to investigate immunological mechanisms relevant to human diseases on a genome-wide scale. In addition, such studies provide a basis for the discovery of clinically-relevant biomarker signatures. We designed a strategy for microarray analysis that is based on the identification of transcriptional modules formed by genes coordinately expressed in multiple disease datasets. Mapping changes in gene expression at the module-level generated disease-specific transcriptional fingerprints which provide a stable framework for the visualization and functional interpretation of microarray data. These transcriptional modules were used as a basis for the selection of biomarkers and the development of a multivariate transcriptional indicator of disease progression in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Thus, this work describes the implementation and application of a methodology designed to support systems-scale analysis of the human immune system in translational research settings.
doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2008.05.012
PMCID: PMC2727981  PMID: 18631455

Results 1-13 (13)