ResearchPad - immunology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Low LEF1 expression is a biomarker of early T-cell precursor, an aggressive subtype of T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13868 Early T-cell precursor (ETP) is the only subtype of acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) listed in the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia. Patients with ETP tend to have worse disease outcomes. ETP is defined by a series of immune markers. The diagnosis of ETP status can be vague due to the limitation of the current measurement. In this study, we performed unsupervised clustering and supervised prediction to investigate whether a molecular biomarker can be used to identify the ETP status in order to stratify risk groups. We found that the ETP status can be predicted by the expression level of Lymphoid enhancer binding factor 1 (LEF1) with high accuracy (AUC of ROC = 0.957 and 0.933 in two T-ALL cohorts). The patients with ETP subtype have a lower level of LEF1 comparing to the those without ETP. We suggest that incorporating the biomarker LEF1 with traditional immune-phenotyping will improve the diagnosis of ETP.

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<![CDATA[Betanin purification from red beetroots and evaluation of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity on LPS-activated microglial cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13861 Microglial activation can release free radicals and various pro-inflammatory cytokines, which implicates the progress of a neurodegenerative disease. Therefore suppression of microglial activation can be an appropriate strategy for combating neurodegenerative diseases. Betanin is a red food dye that acts as free radical scavenger and can be a promising candidate for this purpose. In this study, purification of betanin from red beetroots was carried out by normal phase colum chromatography, yielding 500 mg of betanin from 100 g of red beetroot. The purified betanin was evaluated by TLC, UV-visible, HPLC, ESI-MASS, FT-IR spectroscopy. Investigation on the inhibitory effect of betanin on activated microglia was performed using primary microglial culture. The results showed that betanin significantly inhibited lipopolysaccharide induced microglial function including the production of nitric oxide free radicals, reactive oxygen species, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). Moreover, betanin modulated mitochondrial membrane potential, lysosomal membrane permeabilization and adenosine triphosphate. We further investigated the interaction of betanin with TNF-α, IL-6 and Nitric oxide synthase (iNOS or NOS2) using in silico molecular docking analysis. The docking results demonstrated that betanin have significant negative binding energy against active sites of TNF-α, IL-6 and iNOS.

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<![CDATA[Mortality estimates by age and sex among persons living with HIV after ART initiation in Zambia using electronic medical records supplemented with tracing a sample of lost patients: A cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13858 Despite many studies demonstrating differences in HIV-related outcomes between men and women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa, few studies use a probability sample that would enable them to offer regionally representative estimates.Many studies taken from routine service delivery settings are unable to account for outcomes among individuals lost to follow-up, which may threaten the validity of estimates comparing mortality in men and women.Furthermore, whether differences in survival between men and women vary across other important sociodemographic characteristics (such as age) remains underexplored.What did the researchers do and find?We used a multistage sampling approach to enumerate an analysis population of HIV-positive patients visiting public health facilities in 4 provinces in Zambia (Lusaka, Southern, Eastern, and Western).We estimated the association between sex and mortality overall and by age, adjusting for other sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.Of 49,129 adults newly initiating ART, the mortality rate was almost twice as high in men compared to women.Analysis of age-by-sex interactions revealed particularly elevated mortality among young males (as compared to females of the same age). While mortality rates appeared to fall with age among men, mortality rates rose with age among women, and by 50 years of age, women had a 2–3 times higher rate of death compared to women under 30.What do these findings mean?Among adults living with HIV in Zambia, men on average experience greater mortality compared to women, but this difference varies markedly by age, even after adjustment for other sociodemographic and clinical characteristics (e.g., baseline level of immunosuppression).Additional means of engaging and supporting younger men in HIV care is urgently needed and may include improved access to self-testing, use of financial incentives, and male-friendly services that feature flexible hours, an integrated multi-disease care model, and reduced visit frequency.Rising mortality associated with age in women greater than would be expected in the general population suggests that health services targeting women of reproductive age may be in part responsible for good clinical outcomes in younger women, but also highlights the need for specific programs to engage older women in care. ]]> <![CDATA[Likely questionnaire-diagnosed food allergy in 78, 890 adults from the northern Netherlands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13854 It is challenging to define likely food allergy (FA) in large populations which limited the number of large studies regarding risk factors for FA.ObjectiveWe studied the prevalence and characteristics of self-reported FA (s-rFA) in the large, population-based Dutch Lifelines cohort and identified associated risk factors.MethodsLikely food allergic cases (LikelyFA) were classified based on questionnaire reported characteristics consistent with FA. Subjects with atypical characteristics were classified as Indeterminate. We investigated 13 potential risk factors for LikelyFA such as birth mode and living on a farm and addressed health-related quality of life (H-RQOL).ResultsOf the 78, 890 subjects, 12.1% had s-rFA of which 4.0% and 8.1% were classified as LikelyFA and Indeterminate, respectively. Younger age, female sex, asthma, eczema and nasal allergy increased the risk of LikelyFA (p-value range <1.00*10−250–1.29*10−7). Living in a small city/large village or suburb during childhood was associated with a higher risk of LikelyFA than living on a farm (p-value = 7.81*10−4 and p = 4.84*10−4, respectively). Subjects classified as Indeterminate more often reported depression and burn-out compared to those without FA (p-value = 1.46*10−4 and p = 8.39*10−13, respectively). No association was found with ethnicity, (duration of) breastfeeding, birth mode and reported eating disorder. Mental and physical component scores measuring H-RQOL were lower in both those classified as LikelyFA and Indeterminate compared to those without FA.ConclusionThe prevalence of s-rFA among adults is considerable and one-third reports characteristics consistent with LikelyFA. Living on a farm decreased the risk of LikelyFA. The association of poorer H-RQOL as well as depression and burn-out with questionable self-perceived FA is striking and a priority for future study. ]]> <![CDATA[Differential expression of interferon-lambda receptor 1 splice variants determines the magnitude of the antiviral response induced by interferon-lambda 3 in human immune cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13835 Type III IFNs (IFN-λs) are antiviral cytokines that are thought to act on specific subsets of cells, especially to protect mucosal barriers. Here, we demonstrate that IFN-λ3 differentially binds multiple human immune cell subsets, indicating the specific receptor subunit, IFN-λR1, is more broadly expressed in the human immune system, compared to published mouse models. IFN-λR1 expression increased after cellular activation, and antiviral responses were inhibited by a soluble version of the receptor. The direct interaction of IFN-λs with human immune cells, and specific regulation of IFN-λR1 expression, has broad mechanistic implications in the modulation of inflammatory or anti-cancer immune responses, and future antiviral therapies.

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<![CDATA[Murine gammaherpesvirus infection is skewed toward Igλ+ B cells expressing a specific heavy chain V-segment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13826 Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 is a rodent pathogen that is closely related to the human gammaherpesviruses Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated virus. All know gammaherpesviruses are associated with the development of lymphomas, as well as other cancers, in a small subset of infected individuals–particularly those with underlying defects in their immune system (i.e., transplant recipients and HIV infected patients). Because there are very limited small animal models for the human gammaherpesviruses, studies on murine gammaherepsviruses 68 can provide important insights into critical aspects of gammaherpesvirus infections and the association of these viruses with disease development. Another feature of all gammaherpesviruses is their ability to establish a chronic infection of their host–where the virus is maintained for the lifetime of the infected individual. The major target cell harboring chronic gammaherepsvirus infection are B lymphocytes–the cells in the immune system that produce antibodies in response to infections. Here we provide a detailed characterization of the populations of B lymphocytes that become infected by murine gammaherpesvirus 68. This has led to the identification of a specific population of B lymphocytes that is preferentially infected by the virus. This supports a model in which murine gammaherpesvirus infection of B lymphocytes is not random. However, it remains unclear why the virus targets this specific population of B cells for infection.

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<![CDATA[A systematic review of alternative surveillance approaches for lymphatic filariasis in low prevalence settings: Implications for post-validation settings]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13802 Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a mosquito-borne disease, which can result in complications including swelling affecting the limbs (lymphoedema) or scrotum (hydrocele). LF can be eliminated by mass drug administration (MDA) which involves whole communities taking drug treatment at regular intervals. After MDA programmes, country programmes conduct the Transmission Assessment Survey (TAS), which tests school children for LF. It is important to continue testing for LF after elimination because there can be a 10-year period between becoming infected and developing symptoms, but it is thought that the use of TAS in such settings is likely to be too expensive and also not sensitive enough to detect low-level infections. Our study assesses the results from 44 studies in areas of low LF prevalence that have investigated methods of surveillance for LF which differ from the standardised TAS approach. These include both human and mosquito studies. Results show that there is currently no standardised approach to testing, but that surveillance can be made more sensitive through the use of new diagnostic tests, such as antibody testing, and also by targeting higher risk populations. However, further research is needed to understand whether these approaches work in a range of settings and whether they are affordable on the ground.

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<![CDATA[Osthole, a Natural Plant Derivative Inhibits MRGPRX2 Induced Mast Cell Responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12941 Mast cells are tissue-resident innate immune cells known for their prominent role in mediating allergic reactions. MAS-related G-protein coupled receptor-X2 (MRGPRX2) is a promiscuous G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) expressed on mast cells that is activated by several ligands that share cationic and amphipathic properties. Interestingly, MRGPRX2 ligands include certain FDA-approved drugs, antimicrobial peptides, and neuropeptides. Consequently, this receptor has been implicated in causing mast cell-dependent pseudo-allergic reactions to these drugs and chronic inflammation associated with asthma, urticaria and rosacea in humans. In the current study we examined the role of osthole, a natural plant coumarin, in regulating mast cell responses when activated by the MRGPRX2 ligands, including compound 48/80, the neuropeptide substance P, and the cathelicidin LL-37. We demonstrate that osthole attenuates both the early (Ca2+ mobilization and degranulation) and delayed events (chemokine/cytokine production) of mast cell activation via MRGPRX2 in vitro. Osthole also inhibits MrgprB2- (mouse ortholog of human MRGPRX2) dependent inflammation in in vivo mouse models of pseudo-allergy. Molecular docking analysis suggests that osthole does not compete with the MRGPRX2 ligands for interaction with the receptor, but rather regulates MRGPRX2 activation via allosteric modifications. Furthermore, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy experiments reveal that osthole reduces both surface and intracellular expression levels of MRGPRX2 in mast cells. Collectively, our data demonstrate that osthole inhibits MRGPRX2/MrgprB2-induced mast cell responses and provides a rationale for the use of this natural compound as a safer alternative treatment for pseudo-allergic reactions in humans.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of the Impact of Daclizumab Beta on Circulating Natural Killer Cells by Mass Cytometry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12934 Daclizumab beta is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD25 and selectively inhibits high-affinity IL-2 receptor signaling. As a former treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), daclizumab beta induces robust expansion of the CD56bright subpopulation of NK cells that is correlated with the drug’s therapeutic effects. As NK cells represent a heterogeneous population of lymphocytes with a range of phenotypes and functions, the goal of this study was to better understand how daclizumab beta altered the NK cell repertoire to provide further insight into the possible mechanism(s) of action in RMS. We used mass cytometry to evaluate expression patterns of NK cell markers and provide a comprehensive assessment of the NK cell repertoire in individuals with RMS treated with daclizumab beta or placebo over the course of 1 year. Treatment with daclizumab beta significantly altered the NK cell repertoire compared to placebo treatment. As previously reported, daclizumab beta significantly increased expression of CD56 on total NK cells. Within the CD56bright NK cells, treatment was associated with multiple phenotypic changes, including increased expression of NKG2A and NKp44, and diminished expression of CD244, CD57, and NKp46. These alterations occurred broadly across the CD56bright population, and were not associated with a specific subset of CD56bright NK cells. While the changes were less dramatic, CD56dim NK cells responded distinctly to daclizumab beta treatment, with higher expression of CD2 and NKG2A, and lower expression of FAS-L, HLA-DR, NTB-A, NKp30, and Perforin. Together, these data indicate that the expanded CD56bright NK cells share features of both immature and mature NK cells. These findings show that daclizumab beta treatment is associated with unique changes in NK cells that may enhance their ability to kill autoreactive T cells or to exert immunomodulatory functions.

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<![CDATA[Necrostatin-1 Ameliorates Neutrophilic Inflammation in Asthma by Suppressing MLKL Phosphorylation to Inhibiting NETs Release]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12929 Neutrophilic inflammation occurs during asthma exacerbation, and especially, in patients with steroid-refractory asthma, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Recently, a significant accumulation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the airways of neutrophilic asthma has been documented, suggesting that NETs may play an important role in the pathogenesis. In this study, we firstly demonstrated that NETs could induce human airway epithelial cell damage in vitro. In a mouse asthmatic model of neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation, we found that NETs were markedly increased in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), and the formation of NETs exacerbated the airway inflammation. Additionally, a small-molecule drug necrostatin-1 (Nec-1) shown to inhibit NETs formation was found to alleviate the neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation. Nec-1 reduced total protein concentration, myeloperoxidase activity, and the levels of inflammatory cytokines in BAL. Finally, further experiments proved that the inhibition of Nec-1 on NETs formation might be related to its ability to inhibiting mixed lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL) phosphorylation and perforation. Together, these results document that NETs are closely associated with the pathogenesis of neutrophilic asthma and inhibition of the formation of NETs by Nec-1 may be a new therapeutic strategy to ameliorate neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation.

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<![CDATA[Serological Approaches for COVID-19: Epidemiologic Perspective on Surveillance and Control]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12922 Since December 2019, the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has garnered global attention due to its rapid transmission, which has infected more than two million people worldwide. Early detection of SARS-CoV-2 is one of the crucial interventions to control virus spread and dissemination. Molecular assays have been the gold standard to directly detect for the presence of viral genetic material in infected individuals. However, insufficient viral RNA at the point of detection may lead to false negative results. As such, it is important to also employ immune-based assays to determine one's exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as to assist in the surveillance of individuals with prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Within a span of 4 months, extensive studies have been done to develop serological systems to characterize the antibody profiles, as well as to identify and generate potentially neutralizing antibodies during SARS-CoV-2 infection. The vast diversity of novel findings has added value to coronavirus research, and a strategic consolidation is crucial to encompass the latest advances and developments. This review aims to provide a concise yet extensive collation of current immunoassays for SARS-CoV-2, while discussing the strengths, limitations and applications of antibody detection in SARS-CoV-2 research and control.

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<![CDATA[Linker histone H1.2 and H1.4 affect the neutrophil lineage determination]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12760 Neutrophils are important innate immune cells that tackle invading pathogens with different effector mechanisms. They acquire this antimicrobial potential during their maturation in the bone marrow, where they differentiate from hematopoietic stem cells in a process called granulopoiesis. Mature neutrophils are terminally differentiated and short-lived with a high turnover rate. Here, we show a critical role for linker histone H1 on the differentiation and function of neutrophils using a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen in the human cell line PLB-985. We systematically disrupted expression of somatic H1 subtypes to show that individual H1 subtypes affect PLB-985 maturation in opposite ways. Loss of H1.2 and H1.4 induced an eosinophil-like transcriptional program, thereby negatively regulating the differentiation into the neutrophil lineage. Importantly, H1 subtypes also affect neutrophil differentiation and the eosinophil-directed bias of murine bone marrow stem cells, demonstrating an unexpected subtype-specific role for H1 in granulopoiesis.

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<![CDATA[SKAP2 is required for defense against <i>K. pneumoniae</i> infection and neutrophil respiratory burst]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12711 Klebsiella pneumoniae is a type of bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections – including pneumonia, blood stream infections, and urinary tract infections – in hospitalized patients. These infections can be difficult to treat because some K. pneumoniae are resistant to antibiotics. The bacteria are normally found in the human intestine, and they do not usually cause infections in healthy people. This implies that healthy people’s immune systems are better able to fend off K. pneumoniae infections; learning how could help scientists develop new ways to treat or prevent infections in hospitalized patients.

In healthy people, a type of immune cell called neutrophils are the first line of defense against bacterial infections. Several different proteins are needed to activate neutrophils, including a protein called SKAP2. But the role of this protein in fighting K. pneumoniae infections is not clear.

To find out what role SKAP2 plays in the defense against pneumonia caused by K. pneumoniae, Nguyen et al. compared infections in mice with and without the protein. Mice lacking SKAP2 in their white blood cells had more bacteria in their lungs than normal mice. The experiments showed that neutrophils from mice with SKAP2 produce a burst of chemicals called “reactive oxygen species”, which can kill bacteria. But neutrophils without the protein do not. Without SKAP2, several proteins that help produce reactive oxygen species do not work.

Understanding the role of SKAP2 in fighting infections may help scientists better understand the immune system. This could help clinicians to treat conditions that cause it to be hyperactive or ineffective. More studies are needed to determine if SKAP2 works the same way in human neutrophils and if it works against all types of K. pneumoniae. If it does, then scientists might be able use this information to develop therapies that help the immune system fight infections.

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<![CDATA[SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12573 An understanding of protective immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for vaccine and public health strategies aimed at ending the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A key unanswered question is whether infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in protective immunity against reexposure. We developed a rhesus macaque model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and observed that macaques had high viral loads in the upper and lower respiratory tract, humoral and cellular immune responses, and pathologic evidence of viral pneumonia. After the initial viral clearance, animals were rechallenged with SARS-CoV-2 and showed 5 log10 reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa compared with after the primary infection. Anamnestic immune responses after rechallenge suggested that protection was mediated by immunologic control. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induced protective immunity against reexposure in nonhuman primates.

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<![CDATA[DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12572 The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has made the development of a vaccine a top biomedical priority. In this study, we developed a series of DNA vaccine candidates expressing different forms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and evaluated them in 35 rhesus macaques. Vaccinated animals developed humoral and cellular immune responses, including neutralizing antibody titers at levels comparable to those found in convalescent humans and macaques infected with SARS-CoV-2. After vaccination, all animals were challenged with SARS-CoV-2, and the vaccine encoding the full-length S protein resulted in >3.1 and >3.7 log10 reductions in median viral loads in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal mucosa, respectively, as compared with viral loads in sham controls. Vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibody titers correlated with protective efficacy, suggesting an immune correlate of protection. These data demonstrate vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in nonhuman primates.

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<![CDATA[Conversion of ATP to adenosine by CD39 and CD73 in multiple myeloma can be successfully targeted together with adenosine receptor A2A blockade]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_12564 PD1/PDL1-directed therapies have been unsuccessful for multiple myeloma (MM), an incurable cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Therefore, other immune checkpoints such as extracellular adenosine and its immunosuppressive receptor should be considered. CD39 and CD73 convert extracellular ATP to adenosine, which inhibits T-cell effector functions via the adenosine receptor A2A (A2AR). We set out to investigate whether blocking the adenosine pathway could be a therapy for MM.MethodsExpression of CD39 and CD73 on BM cells from patients and T-cell proliferation were determined by flow cytometry and adenosine production by Liquid chromatograpy-mass spectrometry (HPCL/MS). ENTPD1 (CD39) mRNA expression was determined on myeloma cells from patients enrolled in the publicly available CoMMpass study. Transplantable 5T33MM myeloma cells were used to determine the effect of inhibiting CD39, CD73 and A2AR in mice in vivo.ResultsElevated level of adenosine was found in BM plasma of MM patients. Myeloma cells from patients expressed CD39, and high gene expression indicated reduced survival. CD73 was found on leukocytes and stromal cells in the BM. A CD39 inhibitor, POM-1, and an anti-CD73 antibody inhibited adenosine production and reduced T-cell suppression in vitro in coculture of myeloma and stromal cells. Blocking the adenosine pathway in vivo with a combination of Sodium polyoxotungstate (POM-1), anti-CD73, and the A2AR antagonist AZD4635 activated immune cells, increased interferon gamma production, and reduced the tumor load in a murine model of MM.ConclusionsOur data suggest that the adenosine pathway can be successfully targeted in MM and blocking this pathway could be an alternative to PD1/PDL1 inhibition for MM and other hematological cancers. Inhibitors of the adenosine pathway are available. Some are in clinical trials and they could thus reach MM patients fairly rapidly. ]]> <![CDATA[Lamotrigine-induced DRESS Syndrome Manifesting as ‘Eosinophilic Colitis’: An Uncommon Presentation of a Very Uncommon Condition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11584 Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) is a rare drug-induced hypersensitivity reaction that manifests with a variety of signs and symptoms. It is an important condition that must be recognized by all physicians because if untreated, it can be fatal. There are a variety of medications that are responsible for this condition. The liver, lungs, and kidneys are commonly affected, with the involvement of the gastrointestinal tract being very rare; only a few cases are reported worldwide. We are presenting a case of lamotrigine-induced DRESS syndrome manifesting as colitis. A 32-year-old female presented with diarrhea, two weeks after the initiation of lamotrigine. Her condition worsened with the development of a generalized rash and bloody diarrhea. Further investigations revealed that she likely had a drug reaction secondary to lamotrigine. Fortunately, prompt initiation of systemic steroids led to the resolution of her symptoms.

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<![CDATA[Administration of lower doses of radium-224 to ankylosing spondylitis patients results in no evidence of significant overall detriment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11232 The use of low doses of radium-224 (224Ra) chloride for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis was stopped following the discovery that patients treated with it had a higher than control incidence of leukaemia and other cancers. This was so even though the treatment resulted in decreased pain and increased mobility–both of which are associated with decreased mortality. It was decided to re-analyze the epidemiological data looking at all causes of death. The risk of leukaemia, solid cancer, death from non-cancer causes and from all causes in a study populations of men that received either the typical dose of 5.6 to 11.1 MBq of 224Ra, any dose of 224Ra or no radium were compared using the Cox proportional hazard model. For patients that received the typical dose of 224Ra agreed with the excess cancer was similar to that reported in previous studies. In contrast, these patients were less likely to die from non-cancer diseases and from all causes of death than the control patients. No excess mortality was also found in the population of all males that received the radionuclide. It is concluded that 224Ra treatment administered at low doses to patients with ankylosing spondylitis did not impact mortality from all causes. The study demonstrates the need to consider all causes of death and longevity when assessing health impacts following irradiation.

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<![CDATA[A model for the assessment of bluetongue virus serotype 1 persistence in Spain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11225 Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arbovirus of ruminants that has been circulating in Europe continuously for more than two decades and has become endemic in some countries such as Spain. Spain is ideal for BTV epidemiological studies since BTV outbreaks from different sources and serotypes have occurred continuously there since 2000; BTV-1 has been reported there from 2007 to 2017. Here we develop a model for BTV-1 endemic scenario to estimate the risk of an area becoming endemic, as well as to identify the most influential factors for BTV-1 persistence. We created abundance maps at 1-km2 spatial resolution for the main vectors in Spain, Culicoides imicola and Obsoletus and Pulicaris complexes, by combining environmental satellite data with occurrence models and a random forest machine learning algorithm. The endemic model included vector abundance and host-related variables (farm density). The three most relevant variables in the endemic model were the abundance of C. imicola and Obsoletus complex and density of goat farms (AUC 0.86); this model suggests that BTV-1 is more likely to become endemic in central and southwestern regions of Spain. It only requires host- and vector-related variables to identify areas at greater risk of becoming endemic for bluetongue. Our results highlight the importance of suitable Culicoides spp. prediction maps for bluetongue epidemiological studies and decision-making about control and eradication measures.

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<![CDATA[Preclinical Studies of the Off-Target Reactivity of AFP<sub>158</sub>-Specific TCR Engineered T Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_10934 Autologous T cells engineered with T receptor genes (TCR) are being studied to treat cancers. We have recently identified a panel of mouse TCRs specific for the HLA-A0201/alpha fetoprotein epitope (AFP158) complex and have shown that human T cells engineered with these TCR genes (TCR-Ts) can eradicate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) xenografts in NSG mice. However, due to TCR’s promiscuity, their off-target cross-reactivity must be studied prior to conducting clinical trials. In this study, we conducted in vitro X-scan assay and in silico analysis to determine the off-target cross-reactivity of 3 AFP158-specific TCR-Ts. We found that the 3 AFP158-specific TCR-Ts could be cross-activated by ENPP1436 peptide and that the TCR3-Ts could also be activated by another off-target peptide, RCL1215. However, compared to AFP158, it requires 250 times more ENPP1436 and 10,000 times more RCL1215 peptides to achieve the same level of activation. The EC50 of ENPP1436 peptide for activating TCR-Ts is approximately 17–33 times higher than AFP158. Importantly, the ENPP1+ tumor cells did not activate TCR1-Ts and TCR2-Ts, and only weakly activated TCR3-Ts. The IFNγ produced by TCR3-Ts after ENPP1+ cell stimulation was >22x lower than that after HepG2 cells. And, all TCR-Ts did not kill ENPP1 + tumor cells. Furthermore, ectopic over-expression of ENPP1 protein in HLA-A2+ tumor cells did not activate TCR-Ts. In silico analysis showed that the ENPP1436 peptide affinity for HLA-A0201 was ranked 40 times lower than AFP158 and the chance of ENPP1436 peptide being processed and presented by HLA-A0201 was 100 times less likely than AFP158. In contrast, the two off-targets (Titin and MAGE-A3) that did cause severe toxicity in previous trials have the same or higher MHC-binding affinity and the same or higher chance of being processed and presented. In conclusion, our data shows that TCR-Ts can be activated by off-target ENPP1436 peptide. But, compared to target AFP158, it requires at least 250 times more ENPP1436 to achieve the same level of activation. Importantly, ENPP1436 peptide in human cells is not processed and presented to a sufficient level to activate the AFP158-specific TCR-Ts. Thus, these TCR-Ts, especially the TCR1-Ts and TCR2-Ts, will unlikely cause significant off-target toxicity.

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