• Graph-based description of tertiary lymphoid organs at single-cell level.

      Schaadt, Nadine S; Schönmeyer, Ralf; Forestier, Germain; Brieu, Nicolas; Braubach, Peter; Nekolla, Katharina; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Feuerhake, Friedrich; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2020-02-01)
      Our aim is to complement observer-dependent approaches of immune cell evaluation in microscopy images with reproducible measures for spatial composition of lymphocytic infiltrates. Analyzing such patterns of inflammation is becoming increasingly important for therapeutic decisions, for example in transplantation medicine or cancer immunology. We developed a graph-based assessment of lymphocyte clustering in full whole slide images. Based on cell coordinates detected in the full image, a Delaunay triangulation and distance criteria are used to build neighborhood graphs. The composition of nodes and edges are used for classification, e.g. using a support vector machine. We describe the variability of these infiltrates on CD3/CD20 duplex staining in renal biopsies of long-term functioning allografts, in breast cancer cases, and in lung tissue of cystic fibrosis patients. The assessment includes automated cell detection, identification of regions of interest, and classification of lymphocytic clusters according to their degree of organization. We propose a neighborhood feature which considers the occurrence of edges with a certain type in the graph to distinguish between phenotypically different immune infiltrates. Our work addresses a medical need and provides a scalable framework that can be easily adjusted to the requirements of different research questions.
    • Image analysis of immune cell patterns in the human mammary gland during the menstrual cycle refines lymphocytic lobulitis.

      Schaadt, Nadine S; Alfonso, Juan Carlos López; Schönmeyer, Ralf; Grote, Anne; Forestier, Germain; Wemmert, Cédric; Krönke, Nicole; Stoeckelhuber, Mechthild; Kreipe, Hans H; Hatzikirou, Haralampos; et al. (Springer, 2017-07-01)
      Purpose: To improve microscopic evaluation of immune cells relevant in breast cancer oncoimmunology, we aim at distinguishing normal infiltration patterns from lymphocytic lobulitis by advanced image analysis. We consider potential immune cell variations due to the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives in non-neoplastic mammary gland tissue. METHODS: Lymphocyte and macrophage distributions were analyzed in the anatomical context of the resting mammary gland in immunohistochemically stained digital whole slide images obtained from 53 reduction mammoplasty specimens. Our image analysis workflow included automated regions of interest detection, immune cell recognition, and co-registration of regions of interest. RESULTS: In normal lobular epithelium, seven CD8[Formula: see text] lymphocytes per 100 epithelial cells were present on average and about 70% of this T-lymphocyte population was lined up along the basal cell layer in close proximity to the epithelium. The density of CD8[Formula: see text] T-cell was 1.6 fold higher in the luteal than in the follicular phase in spontaneous menstrual cycles and 1.4 fold increased under the influence of oral contraceptives, and not co-localized with epithelial proliferation. CD4[Formula: see text] T-cells were infrequent. Abundant CD163[Formula: see text] macrophages were widely spread, including the interstitial compartment, with minor variation during the menstrual cycle. CONCLUSIONS: Spatial patterns of different immune cell subtypes determine the range of normal, as opposed to inflammatory conditions of the breast tissue microenvironment. Advanced image analysis enables quantification of hormonal effects, refines lymphocytic lobulitis, and shows potential for comprehensive biopsy evaluation in oncoimmunolog
    • PD-1 Blockade Aggravates Epstein-Barr Virus Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder in Humanized Mice Resulting in Central Nervous System Involvement and CD4 T Cell Dysregulations.

      Volk, Valery; Theobald, Sebastian J; Danisch, Simon; Khailaie, Sahamoddin; Kalbarczyk, Maja; Schneider, Andreas; Bialek-Waldmann, Julia; Krönke, Nicole; Deng, Yun; Eiz-Vesper, Britta; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-01-12)
      Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is one of the most common malignancies after solid organ or allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Most PTLD cases are B cell neoplasias carrying Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A therapeutic approach is reduction of immunosuppression to allow T cells to develop and combat EBV. If this is not effective, approaches include immunotherapies such as monoclonal antibodies targeting CD20 and adoptive T cells. Immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) to treat EBV+ PTLD was not established clinically due to the risks of organ rejection and graft-versus-host disease. Previously, blockade of the programmed death receptor (PD)-1 by a monoclonal antibody (mAb) during ex vivo infection of mononuclear cells with the EBV/M81+ strain showed lower xenografted lymphoma development in mice. Subsequently, fully humanized mice infected with the EBV/B95-8 strain and treated in vivo with a PD-1 blocking mAb showed aggravation of PTLD and lymphoma development. Here, we evaluated vis-a-vis in fully humanized mice after EBV/B95-8 or EBV/M81 infections the effects of a clinically used PD-1 blocker. Fifteen to 17 weeks after human CD34+ stem cell transplantation, Nod.Rag.Gamma mice were infected with two types of EBV laboratory strains expressing firefly luciferase. Dynamic optical imaging analyses showed systemic EBV infections and this triggered vigorous human CD8+ T cell expansion. Pembrolizumab administered from 2 to 5 weeks post-infections significantly aggravated EBV systemic spread and, for the M81 model, significantly increased the mortality of mice. ICI promoted Ki67+CD30+CD20+EBER+PD-L1+ PTLD with central nervous system (CNS) involvement, mirroring EBV+ CNS PTLD in humans. PD-1 blockade was associated with lower frequencies of circulating T cells in blood and with a profound collapse of CD4+ T cells in lymphatic tissues. Mice treated with pembrolizumab showed an escalation of exhausted T cells expressing TIM-3, and LAG-3 in tissues, higher levels of several human cytokines in plasma and high densities of FoxP3+ regulatory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the tumor microenvironment. We conclude that PD-1 blockade during acute EBV infections driving strong CD8+ T cell priming decompensates T cell development towards immunosuppression. Given the variety of preclinical models available, our models conferred a cautionary note indicating that PD-1 blockade aggravated the progression of EBV+ PTLD.