Background: Chronic HCV-infection is characterized by a severe impairment of HCV-specific CD4 T cell help that is driven by chronic antigen stimulation. We aimed to study the fate of HCV-specific CD4 T cells after viral elimination. Methods:HCV-specific CD4 T cell responses were longitudinally analyzed using MHC class II tetramer-technology, multicolor flow cytometry and RNA sequencing in a cohort of chronically HCV-infected patients undergoing therapy with direct-acting antivirals. In addition, HCV-specific neutralizing antibodies and CXCL13 levels were analyzed. Results: We observed that the frequency of HCV-specific CD4 T cells increased within two weeks after initiation of DAA therapy. Multicolor flow cytometry revealed a downregulation of exhaustion and activation markers and an upregulation of memory-associated markers. While cells with a Th1 phenotype were the predominant subset at baseline, cells with phenotypic and transcriptional characteristics of follicular T helper cells increasingly shaped the circulating HCV-specific CD4 T cell repertoire, suggesting antigen-independent survival of this subset. These changes were accompanied by a decline of HCV-specific neutralizing antibodies and the germinal center activity. Conclusion: We identified a population of HCV-specific CD4 T cells with a follicular T helper cell signature that is maintained after therapy-induced elimination of persistent infection and may constitute an important target population for vaccination efforts to prevent re-infection and immunotherapeutic approaches for persistent viral infections.
Maike Smits, Katharina Zoldan, Naveed Ishaque, Zuguang Gu, Katharina Jechow, Dominik Wieland, Christian Conrad, Roland Eils, Catherine Fauvelle, Thomas F. Baumert, Florian Emmerich, Bertram Bengsch, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Maike Hofmann, Robert Thimme, Tobias Boettler
Leptomeningeal anastomoses or pial collateral vessels play a critical role in cerebral blood flow (CBF) restoration following ischemic stroke. The magnitude of this adaptive response is postulated to be controlled by the endothelium, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain under investigation. Here we demonstrated that endothelial genetic deletion, using EphA4f/f/Tie2-Cre and EphA4f/f/VeCahderin-CreERT2 mice and vessel painting strategies, implicated EphA4 receptor tyrosine kinase as a major suppressor of pial collateral remodeling, CBF and functional recovery following permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. Pial collateral remodeling is limited by the cross talk between EphA4-Tie2 signaling in vascular endothelial cells, which is mediated through p-Akt regulation. Furthermore, peptide inhibition of EphA4 resulted in acceleration of the pial arteriogenic response. Our findings demonstrate EphA4 is a negative regulator of Tie2 receptor signaling which limits pial collateral arteriogenesis following cerebrovascular occlusion. Therapeutic targeting of EphA4 and/or Tie2 represents an attractive new strategy for improving collateral function, neural tissue health and functional recovery following ischemic stroke.
Benjamin Okyere, William A. Mills III, Xia Wang, Michael Chen, Jiang Chen, Amanda Hazy, Yun Qian, John B. Matson, Michelle H. Theus
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), a genetic bleeding disorder leading to systemic arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the ALK1-ENG-Smad1/5/8 pathway. Evidence suggests that HHT pathogenesis strongly relies on overactivated PI3K-Akt-mTOR and VEGFR2 pathways in endothelial cells (ECs). In the BMP9/10-immunoblocked (BMP9/10ib) neonatal mouse model of HHT, we report here that the mTOR inhibitor, sirolimus, and the receptor tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, nintedanib, could synergistically fully block, but also reversed, retinal AVMs to avert retinal bleeding and anemia. Sirolimus plus nintedanib prevented vascular pathology in the oral mucosa, lungs, and liver of the BMP9/10ib mice, as well as significantly reduced gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia in inducible ALK1-deficient adult mice. Mechanistically, in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs, sirolimus and nintedanib blocked the overactivation of mTOR and VEGFR2, respectively. Furthermore, we found that sirolimus activated ALK2-mediated Smad1/5/8 signaling in primary ECs—including in HHT patient blood outgrowth ECs—and partially rescued Smad1/5/8 activity in vivo in BMP9/10ib mouse ECs. These data demonstrate that the combined correction of endothelial Smad1/5/8, mTOR, and VEGFR2 pathways opposes HHT pathogenesis. Repurposing of sirolimus plus nintedanib might provide therapeutic benefit in HHT patients.
Santiago Ruiz, Haitian Zhao, Pallavi Chandakkar, Julien Papoin, Hyunwoo Choi, Aya Nomura-Kitabayashi, Radhika Patel, Matthew Gillen, Li Diao, Prodyot K. Chatterjee, Mingzhu He, Yousef Al-Abed, Ping Wang, Christine N. Metz, S. Paul Oh, Lionel Blanc, Fabien Campagne, Philippe Marambaud