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1.  Elevation of Conjunctival Epithelial CD45INTCD11b+CD16+CD14− Neutrophils inOcular Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis 
Ocular complications related to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)–Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) may persist and progress after resolution of systemic disease. This is thought to be related in part to persistent ocular innate-immune signaling. In this study, our aim was to characterize infiltrative conjunctival cellular profiles during acute (<12 months) and chronic (>12 months) disease.
Consecutive patients presenting with SJS-TEN over a 12-month period were followed for 1 year. Detailed clinical examination and conjunctival impression cell recovery was analyzed by flow cytometry for the presence of intraepithelial leukocytes and compared with healthy controls (n = 21).
Ten patients were recruited of whom six had acute disease and five were classified as TEN (SCORTEN = 1, n = 4). Conjunctival inflammation was graded as absent/mild in a total of nine patients; but despite this, evidence of fornix shrinkage was observed in nine subjects. This inversely correlated with disease duration (P < 0.05). A reduction in percentage of CD8αβ+ T cells compared with controls (80% vs. 57%; P < 0.01) was associated with a corresponding increase in the number/percentage of CD45INTCD11b+CD16+CD14− neutrophils (186 vs. 3.4, P < 0.01, 31% vs. 0.8%, P < 0.001). Neutrophils inversely correlated with disease duration (r = −0.71, P = 0.03), yet there was no absolute change in the CD8αβ+ or neutrophil populations during the study period (P = 1.0).
These data highlight that a neutrophilic infiltrate is present in mildly inflamed or clinically quiescent conjunctival mucosa in patients with ocular SJS-TEN, where neutrophil numbers inversely correlate with disease duration. Neutrophil persistence endorses the hypothesis of an unresolved innate-inflammatory process that might account for disease progression.
Ocular Stevens-Johnson Syndrome-Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is characterized by elevated in conjunctival epithelial CD45INTCD11b+CD16+CD14− neutrophils in acute and chronic disease. Although neutrophils inversely correlate with disease duration, they persist above levels found in healthy subjects.
PMCID: PMC3711386  PMID: 23737478
SJS; TEN; neutrophils; innate immunity
2.  Aqueous Humor Suppression of Dendritic Cell Function Helps Maintain Immune Regulation in the Eye during Human Uveitis 
This study of DC function in human uveitis suggests that the ocular microenvironment continues to regulate DC function during uveitis, despite IFNγ-driven upregulation of MHC expression, supporting the hypothesis that immune regulation within the eye is maintained during inflammation.
Noninfectious uveitis is characterized by a dysregulated inflammatory or immune response in the eye. It is unclear whether this represents a failure of immune privilege or an overwhelming inflammatory drive that has exceeded the capacity of regulatory mechanisms that are still functioning. The authors investigated immune regulation in the human eye during intraocular inflammation (uveitis) and its impact on dendritic cell (DC) function and subsequent T-cell responses.
Myeloid DCs were isolated from the aqueous humor (AqH) and peripheral blood of patients with active uveitis and characterized by flow cytometry. The effect of uveitis AqH was interrogated in an in vitro model of peripheral blood monocyte-derived DCs from healthy controls.
Myeloid DCs isolated from uveitic AqH were characterized by elevated major histocompatibility complex classes I and II (MHC I/II), but reduced CD86 compared with matched peripheral blood DCs. Exposure of peripheral blood monocyte-derived DCs from healthy controls to the inflammatory AqH supernatant recapitulated this phenotype. Despite interferon gamma (IFNγ)–dependent upregulation of MHC I, inflammatory AqH was overall suppressive to DC function, with reduced CD86 expression and diminished T-cell responses. This suppressive effect was equal to or greater than that induced by noninflammatory AqH, but was glucocorticoid independent (in contrast to noninflammatory AqH).
These data indicate that the ocular microenvironment continues to regulate DC function during uveitis, despite IFNγ-driven upregulation of MHC expression, supporting the hypothesis that immune regulation within the eye is maintained during inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3317427  PMID: 22247464
3.  The stromal cell antigen CD248 (endosialin) is expressed on naive CD8+ human T cells and regulates proliferation 
Immunology  2011;133(3):288-295.
CD248 (endosialin) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is dynamically expressed on pericytes and fibroblasts during tissue development, tumour neovascularization and inflammation. Its role in tissue remodelling is associated with increased stromal cell proliferation and migration. We show that CD248 is also uniquely expressed by human, but not mouse (C57BL/6), CD8+ naive T cells. CD248 is found only on CD8+ CCR7+ CD11alow naive T cells and on CD8 single-positive T cells in the thymus. Transfection of the CD248 negative T-cell line MOLT-4 with CD248 cDNA surprisingly reduced cell proliferation. Knock-down of CD248 on naive CD8 T cells increased cell proliferation. These data demonstrate opposing functions for CD248 on haematopoietic (CD8+) versus stromal cells and suggests that CD248 helps to maintain naive CD8+ human T cells in a quiescent state.
PMCID: PMC3108880  PMID: 21466550
angiogenesis; CD248/endosialin; CD8; naive T cells; tumour therapy
4.  The dominant human conjunctival epithelial CD8αβ+ T cell population is maintained with age but the number of CD4+ T cells increases 
Age  2011;34(6):1517-1528.
The conjunctiva is a highly specialized ocular mucosal surface that, like other mucosa, houses a number of leukocyte populations. These leukocytes have been implicated in age-related inflammatory diseases such as dry-eye, but their phenotypic characteristics remain largely undetermined. Existing literature provides rudimentary data from predominantly immunohistochemical analyses of tissue sections, prohibiting detailed and longitudinal examination of these cells in health and disease. Using recovered cells from ocular surface impression cytology and flow cytometry, we examined the frequency of leukocyte subsets in human conjunctival epithelium and how this alters with age. Of the total CD45+ leukocyte population within the conjunctival epithelium, 87% [32–99] (median) [range] comprised lymphocytes, with 69% [47–90] identified as CD3 + CD56- T cells. In contrast to peripheral blood, the dominant conjunctival epithelial population was TCRαβ + CD8αβ + (80% [37–100]) with only 10% [0-56%] CD4+ cells. Whilst a significant increase in the CD4+ population was seen with age (r = 0.5; p < 0.01) the CD8+ population remained unchanged, resulting in an increase in the CD4:CD8 ratio (r = 0.5;p < 0.01). IFNγ expression was detectable in 18% [14–48] of conjunctival CD4+ T cells and this was significantly higher among older individuals (<35 years, 7[4–39] vs. >65 years, 43[20–145]; p < 0.05). The elevation of CD4+ cells highlights a potentially important age-related alteration in the conjunctival intra-epithelial leukocyte population, which may account for the vulnerability of the aging ocular surface to disease.
PMCID: PMC3528370  PMID: 21948184
Aging; T cell; Lymphocyte; Conjunctiva; Mucosa
5.  A Systems Biology Approach Identifies Molecular Networks Defining Skeletal Muscle Abnormalities in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(9):e1002129.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an inflammatory process of the lung inducing persistent airflow limitation. Extensive systemic effects, such as skeletal muscle dysfunction, often characterize these patients and severely limit life expectancy. Despite considerable research efforts, the molecular basis of muscle degeneration in COPD is still a matter of intense debate. In this study, we have applied a network biology approach to model the relationship between muscle molecular and physiological response to training and systemic inflammatory mediators. Our model shows that failure to co-ordinately activate expression of several tissue remodelling and bioenergetics pathways is a specific landmark of COPD diseased muscles. Our findings also suggest that this phenomenon may be linked to an abnormal expression of a number of histone modifiers, which we discovered correlate with oxygen utilization. These observations raised the interesting possibility that cell hypoxia may be a key factor driving skeletal muscle degeneration in COPD patients.
Author Summary
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a major life threatening disease of the lungs, characterized by airflow limitation and chronic inflammation. Progressive reduction of the body muscle mass is a condition linked to COPD that significantly decreases quality of life and survival. Physical exercise has been proposed as a therapeutic option but its utility is still a matter of debate. The mechanisms underlying muscle wasting are also still largely unknown. The results presented in this paper show that diseased muscles are largely unable to coordinate the expression of muscle remodelling and bioenergetics pathways and that the cause of this phenomena may be tissue hypoxia. These findings contrast with current hypotheses based on the role of chronic inflammation and show that a mechanism based on an oxygen driven, epigenetic control of these two important functions may be an important disease mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3164707  PMID: 21909251
6.  Interaction between integrin α9β1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) inhibits neutrophil apoptosis 
Blood  2005;107(3):1178-1183.
According to the prevailing paradigm, neutrophils are short-lived cells that undergo spontaneous apoptosis within 24 hours of their release from the bone marrow. However, neutrophil survival can be significantly prolonged within inflamed tissue by cytokines, inflammatory mediators, and hypoxia. During screening experiments aimed at identifying the effect of the adhesive microenvironment on neutrophil survival, we found that VCAM-1 (CD106) was able to delay both spontaneous and Fas-induced apoptosis. VCAM-1–mediated survival was as efficient as that induced by the cytokine IFN-β and provided an additive, increased delay in apoptosis when given in combination with IFN-β. VCAM-1 delivered its antiapoptotic effect through binding the integrin α9β1. The α9β1 signaling pathway shares significant features with the IFN-β survival signaling pathway, requiring PI3 kinase, NF-κB activation, as well as de novo protein synthesis, but the kinetics of NF-κB activation by VCAM-1 were slower and more sustained compared with IFN-β. This study demonstrates a novel functional role for α9β1 in neutrophil biology and suggests that adhesive signaling pathways provide an important extrinsic checkpoint for the resolution of inflammatory responses in tissues.
PMCID: PMC3132455  PMID: 16223772
7.  Differential Survival of Leukocyte Subsets Mediated by Synovial, Bone Marrow, and Skin Fibroblasts 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2006;54(7):2096-2108.
Synovial fibroblasts share a number of phenotype markers with fibroblasts derived from bone marrow. In this study we investigated the role of matched fibroblasts obtained from 3 different sources (bone marrow, synovium, and skin) to test the hypothesis that synovial fibroblasts share similarities with bone marrow–derived fibroblasts in terms of their ability to support survival of T cells and neutrophils.
Matched synovial, bone marrow, and skin fibroblasts were established from 8 different patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were undergoing knee or hip surgery. Resting or activated fibroblasts were cocultured with either CD4 T cells or neutrophils, and the degree of leukocyte survival, apoptosis, and proliferation were measured.
Fibroblasts derived from all 3 sites supported increased survival of CD4 T cells, mediated principally by interferon-β. However, synovial and bone marrow fibroblasts shared an enhanced site-specific ability to maintain CD4 T cell survival in the absence of proliferation, an effect that was independent of fibroblast activation or proliferation but required direct T cell–fibroblast cell contact. In contrast, fibroblast-mediated neutrophil survival was less efficient, being independent of the site of origin of the fibroblast but dependent on prior fibroblast activation, and mediated solely by soluble factors, principally granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor.
These results suggest an important functional role for fibroblasts in the differential accumulation of leukocyte subsets in a variety of tissue microenvironments. The findings also provide a potential explanation for site-specific differences in the pattern of T cell and neutrophil accumulation observed in chronic inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3119431  PMID: 16802344
8.  Validation of a fornix depth measurer: a putative tool for the assessment of progressive cicatrising conjunctivitis 
Documentation of conjunctival forniceal foreshortening in cases of progressive cicatrising conjunctivitis (PCC) is important in ascertaining disease stage and progression. Lower fornix shortening is often documented subjectively or semi-objectively, whereas upper forniceal obliteration is seldom quantified. Although tools such as fornix depth measurers (FDMs) have been described, their designs limit upper fornix measurement. The purpose of this study was to custom-design a FDM to evaluate the upper fornix and to assess variability in gauging fornix depth.
A polymethylmethacrylate FDM was constructed using industry-standard jewellery computer software and machinery. Two observers undertook a prospective independent evaluation of central lower fornix depth in a heterogeneous cohort of patients with clinically normal and abnormal conjunctival fornices both subjectively and by using the FDM (in mm). Upper central fornix depth was also measured. Agreement was assessed using Bland–Altman plots.
Fifty-one eyes were evaluated. There was 100% intraobserver agreement to within 1 mm for each observer for lower fornix measurement. The mean difference in fornix depth loss using the FDM between observer 1 and 2 was 1.19%, with 95% confidence of agreement (±2SD) of −15% to +20%. In total, 86% (44/51) of measurements taken by the two observers agreed to within 10% of total lower fornix depth (ie, ±1 mm) versus only 63% (32/51) of the subjective measurements. Mean upper fornix difference was 0.57 mm, with 95% confidence of agreement of between −2 and +3 mm.
This custom-designed FDM is well tolerated by patients and shows low intraobserver and interobserver variability. This enables repeatable and reproducible measurement of upper and lower fornix depths, facilitating improved rates of detection and better monitoring of progression of conjunctival scarring.
PMCID: PMC3099360  PMID: 20956276
Conjunctiva; inflammation; diagnostic tests/investigations; treatment medical
9.  Distinct Types of Fibrocyte Can Differentiate from Mononuclear Cells in the Presence and Absence of Serum 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9730.
Fibrocytes are bone-marrow derived cells, expressing both haematopoietic and stromal cell markers, which contribute to tissue repair as well as pathological fibrosis. The differentiation of fibrocytes remains poorly characterised and this has limited understanding of their biology and function. In particular two methods are used to generate fibrocytes in vitro that differ fundamentally by the presence or absence of serum.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We show here that fibrocytes grown in the absence of serum (SF) differentiate more efficiently from peripheral blood mononuclear cells than CD14+ monocytes, and respond to serum by losing their spindle-shaped fibrocyte morphology. Although fibrocytes generated in the presence of serum (SC) express the same range of markers, they differentiate more efficiently from CD14+ monocytes and do not change their morphology in response to serum. Transcriptional analysis revealed that both types of fibrocyte are distinct from each other, fibroblasts and additional monocyte-derived progeny. The gene pathways that differ significantly between SF and SC fibrocytes include those involved in cell migration, immune responses and response to wounding.
These data show that SF and SC fibrocytes are distinct but related cell types, and suggest that they will play different roles during tissue repair and fibrosis where changes in serum proteins may occur.
PMCID: PMC2841180  PMID: 20305780
10.  Decreased TNF-α synthesis by macrophages restricts cutaneous immunosurveillance by memory CD4+ T cells during aging 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(9):1929-1940.
Immunity declines during aging, however the mechanisms involved in this decline are not known. In this study, we show that cutaneous delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to recall antigens are significantly decreased in older individuals. However, this is not related to CC chemokine receptor 4, cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen, or CD11a expression by CD4+ T cells or their physical capacity for migration. Instead, there is defective activation of dermal blood vessels in older subject that results from decreased TNF-α secretion by macrophages. This prevents memory T cell entry into the skin after antigen challenge. However, isolated cutaneous macrophages from these subjects can be induced to secrete TNF-α after stimulation with Toll-like receptor (TLR) 1/2 or TLR 4 ligands in vitro, indicating that the defect is reversible. The decreased conditioning of tissue microenvironments by macrophage-derived cytokines may therefore lead to defective immunosurveillance by memory T cells. This may be a predisposing factor for the development of malignancy and infection in the skin during aging.
PMCID: PMC2737169  PMID: 19667063
11.  Differential regulation of nuclear and mitochondrial Bcl-2 in T cell apoptosis 
Apoptosis  2007;13(1):109-117.
Activated T cells require anti-apoptotic cytokines for their survival. The anti-apoptotic effects of these factors are mediated by their influence on the balance of expression and localisation of pro- and anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family. Among the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, the expression level of Bcl-2 itself and its interaction with the pro-apoptotic protein Bim are now regarded as crucial for the regulation of survival in activated T cells. We studied the changes in Bcl-2 levels and its subcellular distribution in relation to mitochondrial depolarisation and caspase activation in survival factor deprived T cells. Intriguingly, the total Bcl-2 level appeared to remain stable, even after caspase 3 activation indicated entry into the execution phase of apoptosis. However, cell fractionation experiments showed that while the dominant nuclear pool of Bcl-2 remained stable during apoptosis, the level of the smaller mitochondrial pool was rapidly downregulated. Signals induced by anti-apoptotic cytokines continuously replenish the mitochondrial pool, but nuclear Bcl-2 is independent of such signals. Mitochondrial Bcl-2 is lost rapidly by a caspase independent mechanism in the absence of survival factors, in contrast only a small proportion of the nuclear pool of Bcl-2 is lost during the execution phase and this loss is a caspase dependent process. We conclude that these two intracellular pools of Bcl-2 are regulated through different mechanisms and only the cytokine-mediated regulation of the mitochondrial pool is relevant to the control of the initiation of apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2668593  PMID: 17957472
Bcl-2; Cytokines; Survival; Lymphocytes; Programmed cell death
12.  Synovial fluid leukocyte apoptosis is inhibited in patients with very early rheumatoid arthritis 
Synovial leukocyte apoptosis is inhibited in established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In contrast, high levels of leukocyte apoptosis are seen in self-limiting crystal arthritis. The phase in the development of RA at which the inhibition of leukocyte apoptosis is first apparent, and the relationship between leukocyte apoptosis in early RA and other early arthritides, has not been defined. We measured synovial fluid leukocyte apoptosis in very early arthritis and related this to clinical outcome. Synovial fluid was obtained at presentation from 81 patients with synovitis of ≤ 3 months duration. The percentages of apoptotic neutrophils and lymphocytes were assessed on cytospin preparations. Patients were assigned to diagnostic groups after 18 months follow-up. The relationship between leukocyte apoptosis and patient outcome was assessed. Patients with early RA had significantly lower levels of neutrophil apoptosis than patients who developed non-RA persistent arthritis and those with a resolving disease course. Similarly, lymphocyte apoptosis was absent in patients with early RA whereas it was seen in patients with other early arthritides. The inhibition of synovial fluid leukocyte apoptosis in the earliest clinically apparent phase of RA distinguishes this from other early arthritides. The mechanisms for this inhibition may relate to the high levels of anti-apoptotic cytokines found in the early rheumatoid joint (e.g. IL-2, IL-4, IL-15 GMCSF, GCSF). It is likely that this process contributes to an accumulation of leukocytes in the early rheumatoid lesion and is involved in the development of the microenvironment required for persistent RA.
PMCID: PMC1779404  PMID: 16859518
13.  Early rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by a distinct and transient synovial fluid cytokine profile of T cell and stromal cell origin 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(4):R784-R795.
Pathological processes involved in the initiation of rheumatoid synovitis remain unclear. We undertook the present study to identify immune and stromal processes that are present soon after the clinical onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by assessing a panel of T cell, macrophage, and stromal cell related cytokines and chemokines in the synovial fluid of patients with early synovitis. Synovial fluid was aspirated from inflamed joints of patients with inflammatory arthritis of duration 3 months or less, whose outcomes were subsequently determined by follow up. For comparison, synovial fluid was aspirated from patients with acute crystal arthritis, established RA and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid factor activity was blocked in the synovial fluid samples, and a panel of 23 cytokines and chemokines measured using a multiplex based system. Patients with early inflammatory arthritis who subsequently developed RA had a distinct but transient synovial fluid cytokine profile. The levels of a range of T cell, macrophage and stromal cell related cytokines (e.g. IL-2, IL-4, IL-13, IL-17, IL-15, basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor) were significantly elevated in these patients within 3 months after symptom onset, as compared with early arthritis patients who did not develop RA. In addition, this profile was no longer present in established RA. In contrast, patients with non-rheumatoid persistent synovitis exhibited elevated levels of interferon-γ at initiation. Early synovitis destined to develop into RA is thus characterized by a distinct and transient synovial fluid cytokine profile. The cytokines present in the early rheumatoid lesion suggest that this response is likely to influence the microenvironment required for persistent RA.
PMCID: PMC1175027  PMID: 15987480
20.  The Crico-Hyoid Muscle 
British Medical Journal  1885;2(1301):1087.
PMCID: PMC2308888
21.  Students' Residences 
British Medical Journal  1883;1(1158):481.
PMCID: PMC2372173

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