• BCG Vaccination in Humans Elicits Trained Immunity via the Hematopoietic Progenitor Compartment.

      Cirovic, Branko; de Bree, L Charlotte J; Groh, Laszlo; Blok, Bas A; Chan, Joyce; van der Velden, Walter J F M; Bremmers, M E J; van Crevel, Reinout; Händler, Kristian; Picelli, Simone; et al. (Elsevier (Cell Press), 2020-06-09)
      Induction of trained immunity by Bacille-Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination mediates beneficial heterologous effects, but the mechanisms underlying its persistence and magnitude remain elusive. In this study, we show that BCG vaccination in healthy human volunteers induces a persistent transcriptional program connected to myeloid cell development and function within the hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) compartment in the bone marrow. We identify hepatic nuclear factor (HNF) family members 1a and b as crucial regulators of this transcriptional shift. These findings are corroborated by higher granulocyte numbers in BCG-vaccinated infants, HNF1 SNP variants that correlate with trained immunity, and elevated serum concentrations of the HNF1 target alpha-1 antitrypsin. Additionally, transcriptomic HSPC remodeling was epigenetically conveyed to peripheral CD14+ monocytes, displaying an activated transcriptional signature three months after BCG vaccination. Taken together, transcriptomic, epigenomic, and functional reprogramming of HSPCs and peripheral monocytes is a hallmark of BCG-induced trained immunity in humans.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid IL-1β is elevated in tuberculous meningitis patients but not associated with mortality.

      Koeken, Valerie A C M; Ganiem, Ahmad R; Dian, Sofiati; Ruslami, Rovina; Chaidir, Lidya; Netea, Mihai G; Kumar, Vinod; Alisjahbana, Bachti; van Crevel, Reinout; van Laarhoven, Arjan; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-07-30)
      Background & aims: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a cancer with multiple aetiologies and widespread prevalence. Largely refractory to current treatments, HCC is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators in HCCs. We aimed to identify tumour suppressor miRNAs during tumour regression in a conditional c-MYC-driven mouse model (LT2/MYC) of HCC, and to evaluate their therapeutic potential for HCC treatment. Methods: We performed miRNA expression profiling of developed and regressing LT2/MYC tumours and in-depth in vitro gain- and loss-of-function analyses. The effect of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated miR-342-3p treatment was evaluated in 3 HCC mouse models. Results: We identified miR-342-3p as a tumour suppressor miRNA in HCC, with increased expression in regressing tumours. Forced miR-342-3p expression in hepatoma cells showed significantly decreased cell proliferation, migration, and colony formation. In vivo administration of AAV-miR-342-3p led to significant attenuation of tumour development and increased overall survival. We identified monocarboxylic acid transporter 1 (MCT1) as a bona fide target of miR-342-3p in HCC. We show that the tumour suppressor role of miR-342-3p is executed partly by modulating the lactate transport function of MCT1. Importantly, we find miR-342-3p downregulated in tumours from patients with HCC compared with matched non-tumour tissues, inversely correlating with MCT1 expression. We observed similar findings in TCGA-LIHC data. Conclusions: In our study, we identified and validated miR-342-3p as a tumour suppressor miRNA in HCC. We demonstrated its therapeutic efficacy in significantly attenuating tumour development, and prolonging survival, in different HCC mouse models. Identification of miR-342-3p as an effective tumour suppressor opens a therapeutic avenue for miRNA-mediated attenuation of HCC development. Lay summary: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, affects diverse populations and has a global impact, being the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. There are currently no systemic therapies for HCC that can significantly prolong long-term survival. Thus, novel effective treatment options are urgently required. To understand the molecular basis of tumour regression, we compared tumours and regressing liver tumours in mice. We show that a small non-coding miRNA, miR-342-3p, is a tumour suppressor in HCC. Expression of miR-342-3p is low in tumours and high in regressing tumours. When miR-342-3p is delivered to mouse livers with HCC, it can significantly slow down liver tumour development and improve survival. Our study highlights the promising therapeutic potential of miR-342-3p intervention in HCC.
    • Comparative host transcriptome in response to pathogenic fungi identifies common and species-specific transcriptional antifungal host response pathways.

      Bruno, Mariolina; Dewi, Intan M W; Matzaraki, Vicky; Ter Horst, Rob; Pekmezovic, Marina; Rösler, Berenice; Groh, Laszlo; Röring, Rutger J; Kumar, Vinod; Li, Yang; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-12-26)
      Candidiasis, aspergillosis, and mucormycosis cause the majority of nosocomial fungal infections in immunocompromised patients. Using an unbiased transcriptional profiling in PBMCs exposed to the fungal species causing these infections, we found a core host response in healthy individuals that may govern effective fungal clearance: it consists of 156 transcripts, involving canonical and non-canonical immune pathways. Systematic investigation of key steps in antifungal host defense revealed fungal-specific signatures. As previously demonstrated, Candida albicans induced type I and Type II interferon-related pathways. In contrast, central pattern recognition receptor, reactive oxygen species production, and host glycolytic pathways were down-regulated in response to Rhizopus oryzae, which was associated with an ER-stress response. TLR5 was identified to be uniquely regulated by Aspergillus fumigatus and to control cytokine release in response to this fungus. In conclusion, our data reveals the transcriptional profiles induced by C. albicans, A. fumigatus, and R. oryzae, and describes both the common and specific antifungal host responses that could be exploited for novel therapeutic strategies.
    • Evolution of cytokine production capacity in ancient and modern European populations.

      Domínguez-Andrés, Jorge; Kuijpers, Yunus; Bakker, Olivier B; Jaeger, Martin; Xu, Cheng-Jian; Van der Meer, Jos Wm; Jakobsson, Mattias; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Joosten, Leo Ab; Li, Yang; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2021-09-07)
      As our ancestors migrated throughout different continents, natural selection increased the presence of alleles advantageous in the new environments. Heritable variations that alter the susceptibility to diseases vary with the historical period, the virulence of the infections, and their geographical spread. In this study we built polygenic scores for heritable traits that influence the genetic adaptation in the production of cytokines and immune-mediated disorders, including infectious, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases, and applied them to the genomes of several ancient European populations. We observed that the advent of the Neolithic was a turning point for immune-mediated traits in Europeans, favoring those alleles linked with the development of tolerance against intracellular pathogens and promoting inflammatory responses against extracellular microbes. These evolutionary patterns are also associated with an increased presence of traits related to inflammatory and auto-immune diseases.
    • Glutathione Metabolism Contributes to the Induction of Trained Immunity.

      Ferreira, Anaisa V; Koeken, Valerie A C M; Matzaraki, Vasiliki; Kostidis, Sarantos; Alarcon-Barrera, Juan Carlos; de Bree, L Charlotte J; Moorlag, Simone J C F M; Mourits, Vera P; Novakovic, Boris; Giera, Martin A; et al. (MDPI, 2021-04-21)
      The innate immune system displays heterologous memory characteristics, which are characterized by stronger responses to a secondary challenge. This phenomenon termed trained immunity relies on epigenetic and metabolic rewiring of innate immune cells. As reactive oxygen species (ROS) production has been associated with the trained immunity phenotype, we hypothesized that the increased ROS levels and the main intracellular redox molecule glutathione play a role in the induction of trained immunity. Here we show that pharmacological inhibition of ROS in an in vitro model of trained immunity did not influence cell responsiveness; the modulation of glutathione levels reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production in human monocytes. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in glutathione metabolism were found to be associated with changes in pro-inflammatory cytokine production capacity upon trained immunity. Also, plasma glutathione concentrations were positively associated with ex vivo IL-1β production, a biomarker of trained immunity, produced by monocytes of BCG-vaccinated individuals. In conclusion, glutathione metabolism is involved in the induction of trained immunity, and future studies are warranted to explore its functional consequences in human diseases.
    • The Immunological Factors Predisposing to Severe Covid-19 Are Already Present in Healthy Elderly and Men.

      Kilic, Gizem; Bulut, Ozlem; Jaeger, Martin; Ter Horst, Rob; Koeken, Valerie A C M; Moorlag, Simone J C F M; Mourits, Vera P; de Bree, Charlotte; Domínguez-Andrés, Jorge; Joosten, Leo A B; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-08-09)
      Male sex and old age are risk factors for COVID-19 severity, but the underlying causes are unknown. A possible explanation for this might be the differences in immunological profiles in males and the elderly before the infection. With this in mind, we analyzed the abundance of circulating proteins and immune populations associated with severe COVID-19 in 2 healthy cohorts. Besides, given the seasonal profile of COVID-19, the seasonal response against SARS-CoV-2 could also be different in the elderly and males. Therefore, PBMCs of female, male, young, and old subjects in different seasons of the year were stimulated with heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 to investigate the season-dependent anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune response. We found that several T cell subsets, which are known to be depleted in severe COVID-19 patients, were intrinsically less abundant in men and older individuals. Plasma proteins increasing with disease severity, including HGF, IL-8, and MCP-1, were more abundant in the elderly and males. Upon in vitro SARS-CoV-2 stimulation, the elderly produced significantly more IL-1RA and had a dysregulated IFNγ response with lower production in the fall compared with young individuals. Our results suggest that the immune characteristics of severe COVID-19, described by a differential abundance of immune cells and circulating inflammatory proteins, are intrinsically present in healthy men and the elderly. This might explain the susceptibility of men and the elderly to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Integration of metabolomics, genomics, and immune phenotypes reveals the causal roles of metabolites in disease.

      Chu, Xiaojing; Jaeger, Martin; Beumer, Joep; Bakker, Olivier B; Aguirre-Gamboa, Raul; Oosting, Marije; Smeekens, Sanne P; Moorlag, Simone; Mourits, Vera P; Koeken, Valerie A C M; et al. (BMC, 2021-07-06)
      Background: Recent studies highlight the role of metabolites in immune diseases, but it remains unknown how much of this effect is driven by genetic and non-genetic host factors. Result: We systematically investigate circulating metabolites in a cohort of 500 healthy subjects (500FG) in whom immune function and activity are deeply measured and whose genetics are profiled. Our data reveal that several major metabolic pathways, including the alanine/glutamate pathway and the arachidonic acid pathway, have a strong impact on cytokine production in response to ex vivo stimulation. We also examine the genetic regulation of metabolites associated with immune phenotypes through genome-wide association analysis and identify 29 significant loci, including eight novel independent loci. Of these, one locus (rs174584-FADS2) associated with arachidonic acid metabolism is causally associated with Crohn's disease, suggesting it is a potential therapeutic target. Conclusion: This study provides a comprehensive map of the integration between the blood metabolome and immune phenotypes, reveals novel genetic factors that regulate blood metabolite concentrations, and proposes an integrative approach for identifying new disease treatment targets.
    • Polymorphisms within Autophagy-Related Genes Influence the Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Four Large Cohorts.

      Sainz, Juan; García-Verdejo, Francisco José; Martínez-Bueno, Manuel; Kumar, Abhishek; Sánchez-Maldonado, José Manuel; Díez-Villanueva, Anna; Vodičková, Ludmila; Vymetálková, Veronika; Martin Sánchez, Vicente; Da Silva Filho, Miguel Inacio; et al. (MDPI, 2021-03-12)
      The role of genetic variation in autophagy-related genes in modulating autophagy and cancer is poorly understood. Here, we comprehensively investigated the association of autophagy-related variants with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk and provide new insights about the molecular mechanisms underlying the associations. After meta-analysis of the genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from four independent European cohorts (8006 CRC cases and 7070 controls), two loci, DAPK2 (p = 2.19 × 10-5) and ATG5 (p = 6.28 × 10-4) were associated with the risk of CRC. Mechanistically, the DAPK2rs11631973G allele was associated with IL1 β levels after the stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with Staphylococcus aureus (p = 0.002), CD24 + CD38 + CD27 + IgM + B cell levels in blood (p = 0.0038) and serum levels of en-RAGE (p = 0.0068). ATG5rs546456T allele was associated with TNF α and IL1 β levels after the stimulation of PBMCs with LPS (p = 0.0088 and p = 0.0076, respectively), CD14+CD16- cell levels in blood (p = 0.0068) and serum levels of CCL19 and cortisol (p = 0.0052 and p = 0.0074, respectively). Interestingly, no association with autophagy flux was observed. These results suggested an effect of the DAPK2 and ATG5 loci in the pathogenesis of CRC, likely through the modulation of host immune responses.
    • Reprogramming of bone marrow myeloid progenitor cells in patients with severe coronary artery disease.

      Noz, Marlies P; Bekkering, Siroon; Groh, Laszlo; Nielen, Tim Mj; Lamfers, Evert Jp; Schlitzer, Andreas; El Messaoudi, Saloua; van Royen, Niels; Huys, Erik Hjpg; Preijers, Frank Wmb; et al. (elifesciences.org, 2020-11-10)
      Atherosclerosis is the major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Monocyte-derived macrophages are the most abundant immune cells in atherosclerotic plaques. In patients with atherosclerotic CVD, leukocytes have a hyperinflammatory phenotype. We hypothesize that immune cell reprogramming in these patients occurs at the level of myeloid progenitors. We included 13 patients with coronary artery disease due to severe atherosclerosis and 13 subjects without atherosclerosis in an exploratory study. Cytokine production capacity after ex vivo stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) and bone marrow MNCs was higher in patients with atherosclerosis. In BM-MNCs this was associated with increased glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. The BM composition was skewed towards myelopoiesis and transcriptome analysis of HSC/GMP cell populations revealed enrichment of neutrophil- and monocyte-related pathways. These results show that in patients with atherosclerosis, activation of innate immune cells occurs at the level of myeloid progenitors, which adds exciting opportunities for novel treatment strategies.
    • Resolving trained immunity with systems biology.

      Koeken, Valerie A C M; van Crevel, Reinout; Netea, Mihai G; Li, Yang; CiiM, Zentrum für individualisierte Infektionsmedizin, Feodor-Lynen-Str.7, 30625 Hannover. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-02-11)
      Trained immunity is characterized by long-term functional reprogramming of innate immune cells following challenge with pathogens or microbial ligands during infection or vaccination. This cellular reprogramming leads to increased responsiveness upon re-stimulation, and is mediated through epigenetic and metabolic modifications. In this review, we describe how molecular mechanisms underlying trained immunity, for example induced by β-glucan or Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination, can be investigated by using and integrating different layers of information, including genome, epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, microbiome, immune cell phenotyping and function. We also describe the most commonly used experimental and computational techniques. Finally, we provide a number of examples of how a systems biology approach was applied to study trained immunity to understand inter-individual variation or the complex interplay between molecular layers. In conclusion, trained immunity represents an opportunity for regulating innate immune function, and understanding the complex interplay of mechanisms that mediate trained immunity might enable us to employ it as a clinical tool in the future. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    • The role of sirtuin 1 on the induction of trained immunity.

      Mourits, Vera P; Helder, Leonie S; Matzaraki, Vasiliki; Koeken, Valerie A C M; Groh, Laszlo; de Bree, L Charlotte J; Moorlag, Simone J C F M; van der Heijden, Charlotte D C C; Keating, Samuel T; van Puffelen, Jelmer H; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-06-12)
      Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) has been described to modify immune responses by modulation of gene transcription. As transcriptional reprogramming is the molecular substrate of trained immunity, a de facto innate immune memory, we investigated the role of SIRT1 in the induction of trained immunity. We identified various SIRT1 genetic single nucleotide polymorphisms affecting innate and adaptive cytokine production of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in response to various stimuli on the one hand, and in vitro induction of trained immunity on the other hand. Furthermore, inhibition of SIRT1 upregulated pro-inflammatory innate cytokine production upon stimulation of PBMCs. However, inhibition of SIRT1 in vitro had no effect on cytokine responses upon induction of trained immunity, while activation of SIRT1 mildly modified trained immunity responses. In conclusion, SIRT1 modifies innate cytokine production by PBMCs in response to various microbes, but has only a secondary role for BCG and β-glucan-induced trained immunity responses.
    • The Set7 Lysine Methyltransferase Regulates Plasticity in Oxidative Phosphorylation Necessary for Trained Immunity Induced by β-Glucan.

      Keating, Samuel T; Groh, Laszlo; van der Heijden, Charlotte D C C; Rodriguez, Hanah; Dos Santos, Jéssica C; Fanucchi, Stephanie; Okabe, Jun; Kaipananickal, Harikrishnan; van Puffelen, Jelmer H; Helder, Leonie; et al.
      Trained immunity confers a sustained augmented response of innate immune cells to a secondary challenge, via a process dependent on metabolic and transcriptional reprogramming. Because of its previous associations with metabolic and transcriptional memory, as well as the importance of H3 histone lysine 4 monomethylation (H3K4me1) to innate immune memory, we hypothesize that the Set7 methyltransferase has an important role in trained immunity induced by β-glucan. Using pharmacological studies of human primary monocytes, we identify trained immunity-specific immunometabolic pathways regulated by Set7, including a previously unreported H3K4me1-dependent plasticity in the induction of oxidative phosphorylation. Recapitulation of β-glucan training in vivo additionally identifies Set7-dependent changes in gene expression previously associated with the modulation of myelopoiesis progenitors in trained immunity. By revealing Set7 as a key regulator of trained immunity, these findings provide mechanistic insight into sustained metabolic changes and underscore the importance of characterizing regulatory circuits of innate immune memory.
    • Sex-Specific Regulation of Inflammation and Metabolic Syndrome in Obesity.

      Ter Horst, Rob; van den Munckhof, Inge C L; Schraa, Kiki; Aguirre-Gamboa, Raul; Jaeger, Martin; Smeekens, Sanne P; Brand, Tessa; Lemmers, Heidi; Dijkstra, Helga; Galesloot, Tessel E; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2020-05-28)
      Metabolic dysregulation and inflammation are important consequences of obesity and impact susceptibility to cardiovascular disease. Anti-inflammatory therapy in cardiovascular disease is being developed under the assumption that inflammatory pathways are identical in women and men, but it is not known if this is indeed the case. In this study, we assessed the sex-specific relation between inflammation and metabolic dysregulation in obesity. Approach and Results: Three hundred two individuals were included, half with a BMI 27 to 30 kg/m2 and half with a BMI>30 kg/m2, 45% were women. The presence of metabolic syndrome was assessed according to the National Cholesterol Education Program-ATPIII criteria, and inflammation was studied using circulating markers of inflammation, cell counts, and ex vivo cytokine production capacity of isolated immune cells. Additionally, lipidomic and metabolomic data were gathered, and subcutaneous fat biopsies were histologically assessed. Metabolic syndrome is associated with an increased inflammatory profile that profoundly differs between women and men: women with metabolic syndrome show a lower concentration of the anti-inflammatory adiponectin, whereas men show increased levels of several pro-inflammatory markers such as IL (interleukin)-6 and leptin. Adipose tissue inflammation showed similar sex-specific associations with these markers. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from men, but not women, with metabolic syndrome display enhanced cytokine production capacity.
    • Validation of GWAS-Identified Variants for Anti-TNF Drug Response in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Meta-Analysis of Two Large Cohorts.

      Sánchez-Maldonado, Jose Manuel; Cáliz, Rafael; López-Nevot, Miguel Ángel; Cabrera-Serrano, Antonio José; Moñiz-Díez, Ana; Canhão, Helena; Ter Horst, Rob; Quartuccio, Luca; Sorensen, Signe B; Glintborg, Bente; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-10-27)
      We aimed to validate the association of 28 GWAS-identified genetic variants for response to TNF inhibitors (TNFi) in a discovery cohort of 1361 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients monitored in routine care and ascertained through the REPAIR consortium and DANBIO registry. We genotyped selected markers and evaluated their association with response to TNFi after 6 months of treatment according to the change in disease activity score 28 (ΔDAS28). Next, we confirmed the most interesting results through meta-analysis of our data with those from the DREAM cohort that included 706 RA patients treated with TNFi. The meta-analysis of the discovery cohort and DREAM registry including 2067 RA patients revealed an overall association of the LINC02549 rs7767069 SNP with a lower improvement in DAS28 that remained significant after correction for multiple testing (per-allele ORMeta=0.83, P Meta=0.000077; P Het=0.61). In addition, we found that each copy of the LRRC55 rs717117G allele was significantly associated with lower improvement in DAS28 in rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive patients (per-allele ORMeta=0.67, P=0.00058; P Het=0.06) whereas an opposite but not significant effect was detected in RF-negative subjects (per-allele ORMeta=1.38, P=0.10; P Het=0.45; P Interaction=0.00028). Interestingly, although the identified associations did not survive multiple testing correction, the meta-analysis also showed overall and RF-specific associations for the MAFB rs6071980 and CNTN5 rs1813443 SNPs with decreased changes in DAS28 (per-allele ORMeta_rs6071980 = 0.85, P=0.0059; P Het=0.63 and ORMeta_rs1813443_RF+=0.81, P=0.0059; P Het=0.69 and ORMeta_rs1813443_RF-=1.00, P=0.99; P Het=0.12; P Interaction=0.032). Mechanistically, we found that subjects carrying the LINC02549 rs7767069T allele had significantly increased numbers of CD45RO+CD45RA+ T cells (P=0.000025) whereas carriers of the LINC02549 rs7767069T/T genotype showed significantly increased levels of soluble scavengers CD5 and CD6 in serum (P=0.00037 and P=0.00041). In addition, carriers of the LRRC55 rs717117G allele showed decreased production of IL6 after stimulation of PBMCs with B burgdorferi and E coli bacteria (P=0.00046 and P=0.00044), which suggested a reduced IL6-mediated anti-inflammatory effect of this marker to worsen the response to TNFi. In conclusion, this study confirmed the influence of the LINC02549 and LRRC55 loci to determine the response to TNFi in RA patients and suggested a weak effect of the MAFB and CNTN5 loci that need to be further investigated.