Certain mitochondrial haplotypes (mthaps) are associated with disease, possibly through differences in oxidative phosphorylation and/or immunosurveillance. We explored whether mthaps are associated with allogeneic HCT outcomes. Recipient (n=437) and donor (n=327) DNA was genotyped for common European mthaps (H, J, U, T, Z, K, V, X, I, W, K2). HCT outcomes for mthap matched siblings (n=198), all recipients, and all donors were modeled using relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals and compared to mthap H, the most common. Siblings with I and V were significantly more likely to die within 5 years (RR=3.0;1.2-7.9 and 4.6;1.8-12.3, respectively). W siblings experienced higher aGVHD II-IV events (RR=2.1;1.1-2.4) with no events for K or K2. Similar results were observed for all recipients combined, although J recipients experienced lower GVHD and higher relapse. Patients with I donors had a 2.7 fold (1.2-6.2) increased risk of death in five years, while few patients with K2 or W donors died. No patients with K2 donors and few patients with U donors relapsed. Mthap may be an important consideration in HCT outcomes, although validation and functional studies are needed. If confirmed, it may be feasible to select donors based on mthap to increase positive or decrease negative outcomes.
Novel therapeutic tools to accelerate wound healing would have a major impact on the overall burden of skin disease. Lin et al. demonstrate in mice that endogenous bone marrow stem cell mobilization, produced by a pharmacologic combination of AMD3100 and tacrolimus, leads to faster and better-quality wound healing, findings that have exciting potential for clinical translation.
The use of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has previously been shown to ameliorate cutaneous blistering in pediatric patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), an inherited skin disorder that results from loss-of-function mutations in COL7A1 and manifests as deficient or absent type VII collagen protein (C7) within the epidermal basement membrane. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found within the HCT graft are believed to be partially responsible for this amelioration, in part due to their intrinsic immunomodulatory and trophic properties and also because they have been shown to restore C7 protein following intradermal injections in models of RDEB. However, MSCs have not yet been demonstrated to improve disease severity as a stand-alone systemic infusion therapy. Improving the efficacy and functional utility of MSCs via a pre-transplant conditioning regimen may bring systemic MSC infusions closer to clinical practice.
Natural killer (NK) cell efficacy correlates with in vivo proliferation, and we hypothesize that NK cell product manipulations may optimize this endpoint. Xenotransplantation was used to compare good manufacturing practice (GMP) grade freshly activated NK cells (FA-NK) and ex vivo expanded NK cells (Ex-NK). Cells were infused into NOD scid IL2 receptor gamma chain knockout (NSG) mice followed by IL-2, IL-15, or no cytokines. Evaluation of blood, spleen, and marrow showed that persistence and expansion was cytokine dependent, IL-15 being superior to IL-2. Cryopreservation and immediate infusion resulted in less cytotoxicity and fewer NK cells in vivo, and this could be rescued in FA-NK by overnight culture and testing the next day. Marked differences in the kinetics and homing of FA-NK versus Ex-NK were apparent: FA-NK cells preferentially homed to spleen and persisted longer after cytokine withdrawal. These data suggest that cryopreservation of FA-NK and Ex-NK is detrimental and that culture conditions profoundly affect homing, persistence, and expansion of NK cells in vivo. The NSG mouse model is an adjuvant to in vitro assays before clinical testing.
Little is known about the etiology of intracranial germ cell tumors (iGCTs), although international incidence data suggest that the highest incidence rates occur in Asian countries. In this analysis, we used 1992-2010 data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program to determine whether rates of iGCT were also high in Asian/Pacific Islanders living in the United States. Frequencies, incidence rates and survival rates were evaluated for the entire cohort and for demographic subgroups based on sex, age category (0-9 and 10-29 years), race (white, black, and Asian/Pacific Islander), and tumor location (pineal gland vs. other) as sample size permitted. Analyses were conducted using SEER*Stat 8.1.2. We observed a significantly higher incidence rate of iGCT in Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites (RR = 2.05, 95 % CI 1.57-2.64, RR = 3.04, 95 % CI 1.75-5.12 for males and females, respectively) in the 10-29 year age group. This difference was observed for tumors located both in the pineal gland and for tumors in other locations. Five-year relative survival differed by demographic and tumor characteristics, although these differences were not observed in comparisons limited to cases treated with radiation. Increased incidence rates of iGCT in individuals of Asian descent in the SEER registry are in agreement with data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, where Japan and Singapore were among the countries with highest incidence. The increased incidence in individuals of Asian ancestry in the United States suggests that underlying genetic susceptibility may play a role in the etiology of iGCT.
The fields of dermatology and transplantation biology have recently come together in clinical trials of bone marrow transplantation for severe inherited blistering skin diseases. But the original link between these two disciplines goes back to an extraordinary publication in 1953 in Nature by Peter Medawar and colleagues that explored the immunological basis of successful skin transplantation between different strains of mice and how 'foreign' antigens could be perceived as 'self'. This work led to the emergence of blood and bone marrow transplantation and thus transformed the practice of modern medicine.
There is accumulating evidence that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have their origin as perivascular cells (PVCs) in vivo, but precisely identifying them has been a challenge, as they have no single definitive marker and are rare. We have developed a fluorescent transgenic vertebrate model in which PVC can be visualized in vivo based upon sdf1 expression in the zebrafish. Prospective isolation and culture of sdf1(DsRed) PVC demonstrated properties consistent with MSC including prototypical cell surface marker expression; mesodermal differentiation into adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic lineages; and the ability to support hematopoietic cells. Global proteomic studies performed by two-dimensional liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry revealed a high degree of similarity to human MSC (hMSC) and discovery of novel markers (CD99, CD151, and MYOF) that were previously unknown to be expressed by hMSC. Dynamic in vivo imaging during fin regeneration showed that PVC may arise from undifferentiated mesenchyme providing evidence of a PVC-MSC relationship. This is the first model, established in zebrafish, in which MSC can be visualized in vivo and will allow us to better understand their function in a native environment.
Obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality after lung transplant and hematopoietic cell transplant. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to possess immunomodulatory properties in chronic inflammatory disease.
Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of inherited disorders that can be both systemic and life-threatening. Standard treatments for the most severe forms of this disorder, typically limited to palliative care, are ineffective in reducing the morbidity and mortality due to complications of the disease. Emerging therapies-such as the use of allogeneic cellular therapy, gene therapy, and protein therapy-have all shown promise, but it is likely that several approaches will need to be combined to realize a cure. For recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, each particular therapeutic approach has added to our understanding of type VII collagen (C7) function and the basic biology surrounding the disease. The efficacy of these therapies and the mechanisms by which they function also give us insight into developing future strategies for treating this and other extracellular matrix disorders.
Contrary to the prevailing professional opinion of the past few decades, recent experimental and clinical data support the fact that protein replacement therapy by allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation is not limited to freely diffusible molecules such as enzymes, but also large structural proteins such as collagens. A prime example is the cross-correction of type VII collagen deficiency in generalised severe recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, in which blood and marrow transplantation can attenuate the mucocutaneous manifestations of the disease and improve patients quality of life. Although allogeneic blood and marrow transplantation can improve the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, todays accomplishments are only the first steps on the long pathway to cure. Future strategies will be built on the lessons learned from these first transplant studies.
The transcription factor Runx1 (AML1) is a central regulator of hematopoiesis and is required for the formation of definitive hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Runx1 is alternatively expressed from two promoters: the proximal (P2) prevails during primitive hematopoiesis, while the distal (P1) dominates in definitive HSCs. Although some transcription factor binding sites and cis-regulatory elements have been identified, a mechanistic explanation for the alternative promoter usage remains elusive. We investigated DNA methylation of known Runx1 cis-elements at stages of hematopoietic development in vivo and during differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in vitro. In vivo, we find loss of methylation correlated with the primitive to definitive transition at the P1 promoter. In vitro, hypomethylation, acquisition of active chromatin modifications, and increased transcriptional activity at P1 are promoted by direct interaction with HOXB4, a transcription factor that confers definitive repopulation status on primitive hematopoietic progenitors. These data demonstrate a novel role for DNA methylation in the alternative promoter usage at the Runx1 locus and identify HOXB4 as a direct activator of the P1 promoter. This epigenetic signature should serve as a novel biomarker of HSC potential in vivo, and during ESC differentiation in vitro.
Hip dysplasia is common in patients with Hurler syndrome (HS). However, its prevalence and optimal management is not yet clear because of the rarity of the disease and the prior short life span of these patients. Recent advances in the management of these children using allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) has significantly increased their life expectancy, with many surviving into adulthood. This review was conducted to describe the experience of a single center with hip dysplasia in HS after HCT.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a critical complication after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. During GVHD, donor T cells are activated by host antigen-presenting cells and differentiate into T-effector cells (Teffs) that migrate to GVHD target organs. However, local environmental factors influencing Teff differentiation and migration are largely unknown. Vitamin A metabolism within the intestine produces retinoic acid, which contributes to intestinal homeostasis and tolerance induction. Here, we show that the expression and function of vitamin A-metabolizing enzymes were increased in the intestine and mesenteric lymph nodes in mice with active GVHD. Moreover, transgenic donor T cells expressing a retinoic acid receptor (RAR) response element luciferase reporter responded to increased vitamin A metabolites in GVHD-affected organs. Increasing RAR signaling accelerated GVHD lethality, whereas donor T cells expressing a dominant-negative RAR? (dnRAR?) showed markedly diminished lethality. The dnRAR? transgenic T cells showed reduced Th1 differentiation and ?4?7 and CCR9 expression associated with poor intestinal migration, low GVHD pathology, and reduced intestinal permeability, primarily via CD4(+) T cells. The inhibition of RAR signaling augmented donor-induced Treg generation and expansion in vivo, while preserving graft-versus-leukemia effects. Together, these results suggested that reagents blunting donor T-cell RAR signaling may possess therapeutic anti-GVHD properties.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is characterized by a functional deficit of type VII collagen protein due to gene defects in the type VII collagen gene (COL7A1). Gene augmentation therapies are promising, but run the risk of insertional mutagenesis. To abrogate this risk, we explored the possibility of using engineered transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN) for precise genome editing. We report the ability of TALEN to induce site-specific double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) leading to homology-directed repair (HDR) from an exogenous donor template. This process resulted in COL7A1 gene mutation correction in primary fibroblasts that were subsequently reprogrammed into inducible pluripotent stem cells and showed normal protein expression and deposition in a teratoma-based skin model in vivo. Deep sequencing-based genome-wide screening established a safety profile showing on-target activity and three off-target (OT) loci that, importantly, were at least 10?kb from a coding sequence. This study provides proof-of-concept for TALEN-mediated in situ correction of an endogenous patient-specific gene mutation and used an unbiased screen for comprehensive TALEN target mapping that will cooperatively facilitate translational application.
We report transplantation outcomes of 258 children with Hurler syndrome (HS) after a myeloablative conditioning regimen from 1995 to 2007. Median age at transplant was 16.7 months and median follow-up was 57 months. The cumulative incidence of neutrophil recovery at day 60 was 91%, acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (grade II-IV) at day 100 was 25%, and chronic GVHD and 5 years was 16%. Overall survival and event-free survival (EFS) at 5 years were 74% and 63%, respectively. EFS after HLA-matched sibling donor (MSD) and 6/6 matched unrelated cord blood (CB) donor were similar at 81%, 66% after 10/10 HLA-matched unrelated donor (UD), and 68% after 5/6 matched CB donor. EFS was lower after transplantation in 4/6 matched unrelated CB (UCB) (57%; P = .031) and HLA-mismatched UD (41%; P = .007). Full-donor chimerism (P = .039) and normal enzyme levels (P = .007) were higher after CB transplantation (92% and 98%, respectively) compared with the other grafts sources (69% and 59%, respectively). In conclusion, results of allogeneic transplantation for HS are encouraging, with similar EFS rates after MSD, 6/6 matched UCB, 5/6 UCB, and 10/10 matched UD. The use of mismatched UD and 4/6 matched UCB was associated with lower EFS.
We describe outcomes after allogeneic transplantation in 34 patients with dyskeratosis congenita who underwent transplantation between 1981 and 2009. The median age at transplantation was 13 years (range, 2 to 35). Approximately 50% of transplantations were from related donors. Bone marrow was the predominant source of stem cells (24 of 34). The day-28 probability of neutrophil recovery was 73% and the day-100 platelet recovery was 72%. The day-100 probability of grade II to IV acute GVHD and the 3-year probability of chronic graft-versus-host disease were 24% and 37%, respectively. The 10-year probability of survival was 30%; 14 patients were alive at last follow-up. Ten deaths occurred within 4 months from transplantation because of graft failure (n = 6) or other transplantation-related complications; 9 of these patients had undergone transplantation from mismatched related or from unrelated donors. Another 10 deaths occurred after 4 months; 6 of them occurred more than 5 years after transplantation, and 4 of these were attributed to pulmonary failure. Transplantation regimen intensity and transplantations from mismatched related or unrelated donors were associated with early mortality. Transplantation of grafts from HLA-matched siblings with cyclophosphamide-containing nonradiation regimens was associated with early low toxicity. Late mortality was attributed mainly to pulmonary complications and likely related to the underlying disease.
The ability of cells to detect changes in the microenvironment is important in cell signaling and responsiveness to environmental fluctuations. Our interest is in understanding how human bone marrow stromal-derived cells (MSC) and their relatives, vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), interact with their environment through novel receptors. We found, through a proteomics screen, that MSC express the bitter taste receptor, TAS2R46, a protein more typically localized to the taste bud. Expression was also confirmed in VSMCs. A prototypical bitter compound that binds to the bitter taste receptor class, denatonium, increased intracellular calcium release and decreased cAMP levels as well as increased the extracellular release of ATP in human MSC. Denatonium also bound and activated rodent VSMC with a change in morphology upon compound exposure. Finally, rodents given denatonium in vivo had a significant drop in blood pressure indicating a vasodilator response. This is the first description of chemosensory detection by MSC and VSMCs via a taste receptor. These data open a new avenue of research into discovering novel compounds that operate through taste receptors expressed by cells in the marrow and vascular microenvironments.
Spontaneous reversion of disease-causing mutations has been observed in some genetic disorders. In our clinical observations of severe generalized recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), a currently incurable blistering genodermatosis caused by loss-of-function mutations in COL7A1 that results in a deficit of type VII collagen (C7), we have observed patches of healthy-appearing skin on some individuals. When biopsied, this skin revealed somatic mosaicism resulting from the self-correction of C7 deficiency. We believe this source of cells could represent an opportunity for translational "natural" gene therapy. We show that revertant RDEB keratinocytes expressing functional C7 can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and that self-corrected RDEB iPSCs can be induced to differentiate into either epidermal or hematopoietic cell populations. Our results give proof in principle that an inexhaustible supply of functional patient-specific revertant cells can be obtained-potentially relevant to local wound therapy and systemic hematopoietic cell transplantation. This technology may also avoid some of the major limitations of other cell therapy strategies, eg, immune rejection and insertional mutagenesis, which are associated with viral- and non-viral-mediated gene therapy. We believe this approach should be the starting point for autologous cellular therapies using "natural" gene therapy in RDEB and other diseases.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 6 December 2013. doi:10.1038/jid.2013.523.
PE can occur following HCT. However, the incidence, etiology, risk factors, and treatment remain unclear. We performed a retrospective study evaluating 355 pediatric recipients of HCT treated at a single institution between January 2005 and August 2010. No cases of PE were identified in the autologous HCT (auto-HCT) recipients (0/43), while 19% (57/296) of allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) developed PE. Among the 57 PE patients, 40 (70%) were males; the median age at transplantation was 6.6 yr (0.1-17.3 yr). Thirty-six patients (63%) had significant PE with 23 patients (40%) treated by pericardiocentesis, and 19 (33%) experiencing recurrent PE. OS rates for patients who developed PE were 84% at 100 days and 65% at three yr after HCT. Risk factors associated with PE on multivariate analysis included myeloablative conditioning (p = 0.01), delayed neutrophil engraftment (p < 0.01), and CMV + serostatus of the recipient (p = 0.03). Recipients with non-malignant diseases were significantly less likely to die after development of PE (p = 0.02 and 0.004 when comparing with standard and high-risk diseases, respectively). In summary, PE is a common and significant complication of pediatric allo-HCT. Prospective studies are needed to better determine the etiology and optimal method of PE treatment after HCT.
Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunosuppressant routinely used in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) to promote stem cell engraftment and prevent acute graft vs host disease. Administered as a prodrug, MMF is converted by esterases to the active moiety, mycophenolic acid (MPA). The impact of clinical covariates on unbound MPA exposure was investigated with a population pharmacokinetic approach. Pharmacokinetic data were obtained from routine area under the curve (AUC) monitoring of unbound MPA drug levels in 36 pediatric (n = 31) and young adult (n = 5) patients undergoing alloHCT for a variety of malignant and nonmalignant disorders. Unbound MPA pharmacokinetics were well described by a 2-compartment model with linear elimination and first-order absorption. The important clinical covariates affecting unbound MPA pharmacokinetics were weight, estimated creatinine clearance, and total bilirubin. Unbound MPA clearance was reduced, and exposure (AUC(0-8)) increased in individuals with decreased renal function. In individuals with severe hepatic dysfunction (total bilirubin >10 mg/dL) unbound MPA clearance was approximately 3-fold lower compared with patients with normal to mild hepatic impairment. In alloHCT recipients with renal dysfunction or severe hepatic injury, dose reductions may be necessary to prevent toxicity and ensure optimal immunosuppression.
Engineered zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) are a tool for genome manipulation that are of great interest to scientists in many fields. To meet the needs of researchers wishing to employ ZFNs, an inexpensive, rapid assembly procedure would be beneficial to laboratories that do not have access to the proprietary reagents often required for ZFN production. Using freely available sequence data derived from the Zinc Finger Targeter database, we developed a protocol for synthesis and directed insertion of user-defined ZFNs into a versatile plasmid expression system. This oligonucleotide-based isothermal DNA assembly protocol was used to determine whether we could generate functional nucleases capable of endogenous gene editing. We targeted the human ?-l-iduronidase (IDUA) gene on chromosome 4, mutations of which result in the severe lysosomal storage disease mucopolysaccharidosis type I. In approximately 1 week we were able to design, assemble, and test six IDUA-specific ZFNs. In a single-stranded annealing assay five of the six candidates we tested performed at a level comparable to or surpassing previously reported ZFNs. One of the five subsequently showed nuclease activity at the endogenous genomic IDUA locus. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of in silico-designed, oligonucleotide-assembled, synthetic ZFNs, requiring no specialized templates or reagents that are capable of endogenous human gene target site activity. This method, termed CoDA-syn (context-dependent assembly-synthetic), should facilitate a more widespread use of ZFNs in the research community.
The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system can insert defined sequences into chromosomes to direct the extended expression of therapeutic genes. Our goal is to develop the SB system for nonviral complementation of Fanconi anemia (FA), a rare autosomal recessive disorder accompanied by progressive bone marrow failure.
Deep venous system is known for its extreme variability but in anatomy it receives only marginal interest. Although a few previous anatomical studies have already pointed out the fact of a significant discrepancy between the autopsy findings and the literary description, it has not had any particular output so far. Our findings confirmed the deep femoral vein to be an alternative collateral vein connecting the popliteal with the femoral vein.
Outcome after unrelated donor bone marrow (BM) transplantation for severe aplastic anemia (SAA) has improved, with survival rates now approximately 75%. Increasing use of peripheral blood stem and progenitor cells (PBPCs) instead of BM as a graft source prompted us to compare outcomes of PBPC and BM transplantation for SAA. We studied 296 patients receiving either BM (n = 225) or PBPC (n = 71) from unrelated donors matched at human leukocyte antigen-A, -B, -C, -DRB1. Hematopoietic recovery was similar after PBPC and BM transplantation. Grade 2 to 4 acute graft-versus-host disease risks were higher after transplantation of PBPC compared with BM (hazard ratio = 1.68, P = .02; 48% vs 31%). Chronic graft-versus-host disease risks were not significantly different after adjusting for age at transplantation (hazard ratio = 1.39, P = .14). Mortality risks, independent of age, were higher after PBPC compared with BM transplantation (hazard ratio = 1.62, P = .04; 76% vs 61%). These data indicate that BM is the preferred graft source for unrelated donor transplantation in SAA.
In mammals, stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) promotes hematopoietic cell mobilization and migration. Although the zebrafish, Danio rerio, is an emerging model for studying hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), the role of SDF-1 in the adult zebrafish has yet to be determined. We sought to characterize sdf-1 expression and function in the adult zebrafish in the context of HCT. In situ hybridization of adult zebrafish organs shows sdf-1 expression in kidney tubules, gills, and skin. Radiation up-regulates sdf-1 expression in kidney to nearly 4-fold after 40 Gy. Assays indicate that zebrafish hematopoietic cells migrate toward sdf-1, with a migration ratio approaching 1.5 in vitro. A sdf-1a:DsRed2 transgenic zebrafish allows in vivo detection of sdf-1a expression in the adult zebrafish. Matings with transgenic reporters localized sdf-1a expression to the putative hematopoietic cell niche in proximal and distal renal tubules and collecting ducts. Importantly, transplant of hematopoietic cells into myelosuppressed recipients indicated migration of hematopoietic cells to sdf-1a-expressing sites in the kidney and skin. We conclude that sdf-1 expression and function in the adult zebrafish have important similarities to mammals, and this sdf-1 transgenic vertebrate will be useful in characterizing the hematopoietic cell niche and its interactions with hematopoietic cells.
We report the case of a child who presented with nonspecific symptoms suggestive of a rheumatologic disorder, whose bone marrow had a complex translocation involving the FGFR1 locus. Hematopathologic findings were subtle and did not definitively indicate malignancy. Because he responded poorly to initial treatment with hydroxyurea, and in light of the progressive clinical course associated with the 8p11 myeloproliferative syndrome, he underwent an unrelated-donor hematopoietic stem cell transplant. This patients atypical presentation highlights the importance of obtaining cytogenetic analysis at the time of bone marrow sampling and considering this uncommon entity in the differential diagnosis of hematologic disorders.
Cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (cALD) remains a devastating neurodegenerative disease; only allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been shown to provide long-term disease stabilization and survival. Sixty boys undergoing HCT for cALD from 2000 to 2009 were analyzed. The median age at HCT was 8.7 years; conditioning regimens and allograft sources varied. At HCT, 50% demonstrated a Loes radiographic severity score ? 10, and 62% showed clinical evidence of neurologic dysfunction. A total of 78% (n = 47) are alive at a median 3.7 years after HCT. The estimate of 5-year survival for boys with Loes score < 10 at HCT was 89%, whereas that for boys with Loes score ? 10 was 60% (P = .03). The 5-year survival estimate for boys absent of clinical cerebral disease at HCT was 91%, whereas that for boys with neurologic dysfunction was 66% (P = .08). The cumulative incidence of transplantation-related mortality at day 100 was 8%. Post-transplantation progression of neurologic dysfunction depended significantly on the pre-HCT Loes score and clinical neurologic status. We describe the largest single-institution analysis of survival and neurologic function outcomes after HCT in cALD. These trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00176904, #NCT00668564, and #NCT00383448.
Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is an X-linked peroxisomal disorder characterized by the abnormal beta-oxidation of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA). In 35-40% of children with ALD, an acute inflammatory process occurs in the central nervous system (CNS) leading to demyelination that is rapidly progressive, debilitating and ultimately fatal. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can halt disease progression in cerebral ALD (C-ALD) if performed early. In contrast, for advanced patients the risk of morbidity and mortality is increased with transplantation. To date there is no means of quantitating neuroinflammation in C-ALD, nor is there an accepted measure to determine prognosis for more advanced patients.
New therapies for the treatment of mucopolysaccharidoses that target the brain, including intrathecal enzyme replacement, are being explored. Quantitative analysis of the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that accumulate in these disorders is required to assess the disease burden and monitor the effect of therapy in affected patients. Because current methods lack the required limit of quantification and specificity to analyze GAGs in small volumes of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), we developed a method based on ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS).
The skin is constantly exposed to environmental insults and requires effective repair processes to maintain its protective function. Wound healing is severely compromised in people with congenital absence of structural proteins of the skin, such as in dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a severe congenital mechanobullous disorder caused by mutations in collagen type VII. Remarkably, stem cell transplantation can ameliorate deficiency of this skin-specific structural protein in both animal models and in children with the disorder. Healthy donor cells from the hematopoietic graft migrate to the injured skin; simultaneously, there is an increase in the production of collagen type VII, increased skin integrity, and reduced tendency to blister formation. How hematogenous stem cells from bone marrow and cord blood can alter skin architecture and wound healing in a robust, clinically meaningful way is unclear. We review the data and the resulting hypotheses that have a potential to illuminate the mechanisms for these effects. Further modifications in the use of stem cell transplantation as a durable source of extracellular matrix proteins may make this regenerative medicine approach effective in other cutaneous and extracutaneous conditions.
The goal of this study was to determine if we could establish a mesenchymal stromal line from zebrafish that would support hematopoietic cells. Such a coculture system would be a great benefit to study of the hematopoietic cell-stromal cell interaction in both in vitro and in vivo environments. Zebrafish stromal cells (ZStrC) were isolated from the "mesenchymal" tissue of the caudal tail and expanded in a specialized growth media. ZStrC were evaluated for phenotype, gene expression, and ability to maintain zebrafish marrow cells in coculture experiments. ZStrC showed mesenchymal and endothelial gene expression. Although ZStrC lacked the ability to differentiate into classic mesenchymal stromal cell lineages (i.e., osteocytes, adipocytes, chondrocytes), they did have the capacity for endotube formation on Matrigel and low-density lipoprotein uptake. ZStrC supported marrow cells for >2 weeks in vitro. Importantly, marrow cells were shown to retain homing ability in adoptive transfer experiments. ZStrC were also shown to improve hematopoietic recovery after sublethal irradiation after adoptive transfer. As the zebrafish model grows in popularity and importance in the study of hematopoiesis, new tools to aid in our understanding of the hematopoietic cell-stromal cell interaction are required. ZStrC represent an additional tool in the study of hematopoiesis and will be useful in understanding the factors that mediate the stromal cell-hematopoietic cell interactions that are important in hematopoietic cell maintenance.
Survival rates after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for Fanconi anemia (FA) have increased dramatically since 2000. However, the use of autologous stem cell gene therapy, whereby the patients own blood stem cells are modified to express the wild-type gene product, could potentially avoid the early and late complications of allogeneic HCT. Over the last decades, gene therapy has experienced a high degree of optimism interrupted by periods of diminished expectation. Optimism stems from recent examples of successful gene correction in several congenital immunodeficiencies, whereas diminished expectations come from the realization that gene therapy will not be free of side effects. The goal of the 1st International Fanconi Anemia Gene Therapy Working Group Meeting was to determine the optimal strategy for moving stem cell gene therapy into clinical trials for individuals with FA. To this end, key investigators examined vector design, transduction method, criteria for large-scale clinical-grade vector manufacture, hematopoietic cell preparation, and eligibility criteria for FA patients most likely to benefit. The report summarizes the roadmap for the development of gene therapy for FA.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been shown to mediate immune responses in vitro and in vivo. These observations have led to clinical trials of MSC administration to ameliorate acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), the most serious complication arising after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Clinical data suggest a benefit in approximately two-thirds of patients with steroid-resistant acute GVHD. Preliminary studies have been reported on the use of MSCs to treat de novo acute GVHD, for prophylaxis of the condition, and more recently, in the management of chronic GVHD. Although preclinical data inferred a possible role of MSCs in affecting GVHD mechanisms, more robust animal models became available only after numerous clinical trials with these cells had been undertaken. Further clinical trials, the development of more appropriate animal models and an effective means of tracking and imaging the introduced cells in real time in patients, are required to better define their role in this important area of medicine.
Human progeroid syndromes and premature aging mouse models present as segmental, accelerated aging because some tissues and not others are affected. Skeletal muscle is detrimentally changed by normal aging but whether it is an affected tissue in progeria has not been resolved. We hypothesized that mice which mimic Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome would exhibit age-related alterations of skeletal muscle. Zmpste24 (-/-) and Zmpste24 (+/+) littermates were assessed for skeletal muscle functions, histo-morphological characteristics, and ankle joint mechanics. Twenty-four-hour active time, ambulation, grip strength, and whole body tension were evaluated as markers of neuromuscular performance, each of which was at least 33% lower in Zmpste24 (-/-) mice compared with littermates (p?0.06). Contractile capacity of the posterior leg muscles were not affected in Zmpste24 (-/-) mice, but muscles of the anterior leg were 30-90% weaker than those of Zmpste24 (+/+) mice (p?0.01). Leg muscles were 32-47% smaller in the Zmpste24 (-/-) mice and contained ~60% greater collagen relative to littermates (p?0.01). Soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles of Zmpste24 (-/-) mice had excessive myonuclei and altered fiber size distributions but, otherwise, appeared normal. Ankle range of motion was 70% lower and plantar- and dorsiflexion passive torques were nearly 3-fold greater in Zmpste24 (-/-) than Zmpste24 (+/+) mice (p???0.01). The combined factors of muscle atrophy, collagen accumulation, and perturbed joint mechanics likely contributed to poor neuromuscular performance and selective muscle weakness displayed by Zmpste24 (-/-)mice. In summary, these characteristics are similar to those of aged mice indicating accelerated aging of skeletal muscle in progeria.
Approximately one third of boys with X-linked adrenoleukodystophy (X-ALD) develop an acute, progressive inflammatory process of the central nervous system, resulting in rapid neurologic deterioration and death. Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) can halt the progression of neurologic disease if performed early in the course of the cerebral form of X-ALD. We describe a retrospective cohort study of 90 boys with X-ALD evaluated at our institution between 2000 and 2009, to determine if early diagnosis of X-ALD following the diagnosis of unexplained adrenal insufficiency (AI) improves outcomes. We describe seven cases with a delay in the diagnosis of X-ALD and compare their outcomes to ten controls with the diagnosis of ALD made within 12 months following diagnosis of AI. At the time of evaluation for HCT, boys with a delay in the diagnosis of X-ALD had more extensive cerebral involvement and more limited functioning. These boys also were 3.9 times more likely to die and had significant advancement of cerebral disease after HCT, compared with boys with a timely diagnosis of X-ALD. In conclusion, the early diagnosis of cerebral X-ALD following the diagnosis of unexplained AI, and subsequent treatment with HCT improves both neurological outcomes and survival in boys with cerebral X-ALD.
Hurler syndrome (MPS IH) is caused by a mutation in the gene encoding alpha-L-iduronidase (IDUA) and leads to the accumulation of partially degraded glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Ganglioside content is known to increase secondary to GAG accumulation. Most studies in organisms with MPS IH have focused on changes in gangliosides GM3 and GM2, without the study of other lipids. We evaluated the total lipid distribution in the whole brain and cerebellum of MPS IH (Idua?/?) and control (Idua(+/?)) mice at 6 months and at 12 months of age. The content of total sialic acid and levels of gangliosides GM3, GM2, and GD3 were greater in the whole brains of Idua?/? mice then in Idua (+/?) mice at 12 months of age. No other significant lipid differences were found in either whole brain or in cerebellum at either age. The accumulation of ganglioside GD3 suggests that neurodegeneration occurs in the Idua?/?) mouse brain, but not to the extent seen in human MPS IH brain.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is an inherited blistering skin disorder caused by mutations in the COL7A1 gene-encoding type VII collagen (Col7), the major component of anchoring fibrils at the dermal-epidermal junction. Individuals with RDEB develop painful blisters and mucosal erosions, and currently, there are no effective forms of therapy. Nevertheless, some advances in patient therapy are being made, and cell-based therapies with mesenchymal and hematopoietic cells have shown promise in early clinical trials. To establish a foundation for personalized, gene-corrected, patient-specific cell transfer, we generated induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from three subjects with RDEB (RDEB iPS cells). We found that Col7 was not required for stem cell renewal and that RDEB iPS cells could be differentiated into both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic lineages. The specific epigenetic profile associated with de-differentiation of RDEB fibroblasts and keratinocytes into RDEB iPS cells was similar to that observed in wild-type (WT) iPS cells. Importantly, human WT and RDEB iPS cells differentiated in vivo into structures resembling the skin. Gene-corrected RDEB iPS cells expressed Col7. These data identify the potential of RDEB iPS cells to generate autologous hematopoietic grafts and skin cells with the inherent capacity to treat skin and mucosal erosions that typify this genodermatosis.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by mutations to the ?-L-iduronidase (IDUA) gene resulting in inactivation of the IDUA enzyme. The loss of IDUA protein results in the progressive accumulation of glycosaminoglycans within the lysosomes resulting in severe, multi-organ system pathology. Gene replacement strategies have relied on the use of viral or nonviral gene delivery systems. Drawbacks to these include laborious production procedures, poor efficacy due to plasmid-borne gene silencing, and the risk of insertional mutagenesis. This report demonstrates the efficacy of a nonintegrating, minicircle (MC) DNA vector that is resistant to epigenetic gene silencing in vivo. To achieve sustained expression of the immunogenic IDUA protein we investigated the use of a tissue-specific promoter in conjunction with microRNA target sequences. The inclusion of microRNA target sequences resulted in a slight improvement in long-term expression compared to their absence. However, immune modulation by costimulatory blockade was required and permitted for IDUA expression in MPS I mice that resulted in the biochemical correction of pathology in all of the organs analyzed. MC gene delivery combined with costimulatory pathway blockade maximizes safety, efficacy, and sustained gene expression and is a new approach in the treatment of lysosomal storage disease.
Cardiac dysfunction is a common cause of death among pediatric patients with mutations in the lysosomal hydrolase ?-l-iduronidase (IDUA) gene, which causes mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS-I). The purpose of this study was to analyze adrenergic regulation of cardiac hemodynamic function in MPS-I. An analysis of murine heart function was performed using conductance micromanometry to assess in vivo cardiac hemodynamics. Although MPS-I (IDUA(-/-)) mice were able to maintain normal cardiac output and ejection fraction at baseline, this cohort had significantly compromised systolic and diastolic function compared with IDUA(+/-) control mice. During dobutamine infusion MPS-I mice did not significantly increase cardiac output from baseline, indicative of blunted cardiac reserve. Autonomic tone, measured functionally by ?-blockade, indicated that MPS-I mice required catecholaminergic stimulation to maintain baseline hemodynamics. Survival analysis showed mortality only among MPS-I mice. Linear regression analysis revealed that heightened end-systolic volume in the resting heart is significantly correlated with susceptibility to mortality in MPS-I hearts. This study reveals that cardiac remodeling in the pathology of MPS-I involves heightened adrenergic tone at the expense of cardiac reserve with cardiac decompensation predicted on the basis of increased baseline systolic volumes.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS IH; Hurler syndrome) is a congenital deficiency of ?-L-iduronidase, leading to lysosomal storage of glycosaminoglycans that is ultimately fatal following an insidious onset after birth. Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a life-saving measure in MPS IH. However, because a suitable hematopoietic donor is not found for everyone, because HCT is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and because there is no known benefit of immune reaction between the host and the donor cells in MPS IH, gene-corrected autologous stem cells may be the ideal graft for HCT. Thus, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells from 2 patients with MPS IH (MPS-iPS cells). We found that ?-L-iduronidase was not required for stem cell renewal, and that MPS-iPS cells showed lysosomal storage characteristic of MPS IH and could be differentiated to both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells. The specific epigenetic profile associated with de-differentiation of MPS IH fibroblasts into MPS-iPS cells was maintained when MPS-iPS cells are gene-corrected with virally delivered ?-L-iduronidase. These data underscore the potential of MPS-iPS cells to generate autologous hematopoietic grafts devoid of immunologic complications of allogeneic transplantation, as well as generating nonhematopoietic cells with the potential to treat anatomical sites not fully corrected with HCT.
Although recent advances in therapy offer the promise for improving survival in patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA), the small size of the patient population, lack of a mechanism in North America for longitudinal follow-up of patients, and inadequate cooperation among hematologists, scientists, and transplant physicians remain obstacles to conducting large studies that would advance the field. To address this issue, the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) convened a group of international experts in March 2010 to define the most important questions in the basic science, immunosuppressive therapy (IST), and bone marrow transplantation (BMT) of SAA and propose initiatives to facilitate clinical and biologic research. Key conclusions of the working group were: (1) new patients should obtain accurate, expert diagnosis and early identification of biologic risk; (2) a population-based SAA outcomes registry should be established in North America to collect data on patients longitudinally from diagnosis through and after treatment; (3) a repository of biologic samples linked to the clinical data in the outcomes registry should be developed; (4) innovative approaches to unrelated donor BMT that decrease graft-versus-host disease are needed; and (5) alternative donor transplantation approaches for patients lacking HLA-matched unrelated donors must be improved. A partnership of BMT, IST, and basic science researchers will develop initiatives and partner with advocacy and funding organizations to address these challenges. Collaboration with similar study groups in Europe and Asia will be pursued.
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is an incurable, often fatal mucocutaneous blistering disease caused by mutations in COL7A1, the gene encoding type VII collagen (C7). On the basis of preclinical data showing biochemical correction and prolonged survival in col7 ?/? mice, we hypothesized that allogeneic marrow contains stem cells capable of ameliorating the manifestations of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa in humans.
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a well-defined population of cells that accumulate in the tissue of tumor-bearing animals and are known to inhibit immune responses. Within 4 days, bone marrow cells cultured in granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor resulted in the generation of CD11b(+)Ly6G(lo)Ly6C(+) MDSCs, the majority of which are interleukin-4R? (IL-4R?(+)) and F4/80(+). Such MDSCs potently inhibited in vitro allogeneic T-cell responses. Suppression was dependent on L-arginine depletion by arginase-1 activity. Exogenous IL-13 produced an MDSC subset (MDSC-IL-13) that was more potently suppressive and resulted in arginase-1 up-regulation. Suppression was reversed with an arginase inhibitor or on the addition of excess L-arginine to the culture. Although both MDSCs and MDSC-IL-13 inhibited graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) lethality, MDSC-IL-13 were more effective. MDSC-IL-13 migrated to sites of allopriming. GVHD inhibition was associated with limited donor T-cell proliferation, activation, and proinflammatory cytokine production. GVHD inhibition was reduced when arginase-1-deficient MDSC-IL-13 were used. MDSC-IL-13 did not reduce the graft-versus-leukemia effect of donor T cells. In vivo administration of a pegylated form of human arginase-1 (PEG-arg1) resulted in L-arginine depletion and significant GVHD reduction. MDSC-IL-13 and pegylated form of human arginase-1 represent novel strategies to prevent GVHD that can be clinically translated.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are gaining in popularity as an experimental therapy for a number of conditions that often require expansion ex vivo prior to use. Data comparing clinical-grade MSC from various ages of donors are scant. We hypothesized that MSC from older donors may display differences in cellular fitness when expanded for clinical use.
Mesenchymal stromal cells or mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have captured considerable scientific and public interest because of their potential to limit physical and immune injury, to produce bioactive molecules and to regenerate tissues. MSCs are phenotypically heterogeneous and distinct subpopulations within MSC cultures are presumed to contribute to tissue repair and the modulation of allogeneic immune responses. As the first example of efficacy, clinical trials for prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation show that MSCs can effectively treat human disease. The view of the mechanisms whereby MSCs function as immunomodulatory and reparative cells has evolved simultaneously. Initially, donor MSCs were thought to replace damaged cells in injured tissues of the recipient. More recently, however, it has become increasingly clear that even transient MSC engraftment may exert favorable effects through the secretion of cytokines and other paracrine factors, which engage and recruit recipient cells in productive tissue repair. Thus, an important reason to investigate MSCs in mechanistic preclinical models and in clinical trials with well-defined end points and controls is to better understand the therapeutic potential of these multifunctional cells. Here, we review the controversies and recent insights into MSC biology, the regulation of alloresponses by MSCs in preclinical models, as well as clinical experience with MSC infusions (Table 1) and the challenges of manufacturing a ready supply of highly defined transplantable MSCs.
Tumor-induced immune defects can weaken host immune response and permit tumor cell growth. In a systemic model of murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML), tumor progression resulted in increased regulatory T cells (Treg) and elevation of program death-1 (PD-1) expression on CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) at the tumor site. PD-1 knockout mice were more resistant to AML despite the presence of similar percentage of Tregs compared with wild type. In vitro, intact Treg suppression of CD8(+) T-cell responses was dependent on PD-1 expression by T cells and Tregs and PD-L1 expression by antigen-presenting cells. In vivo, the function of adoptively transferred AML-reactive CTLs was reduced by AML-associated Tregs. Anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody treatment increased the proliferation and function of CTLs at tumor sites, reduced AML tumor burden, and resulted in long-term survivors. Treg depletion followed by PD-1/PD-L1 blockade showed superior efficacy for eradication of established AML. These data demonstrated that interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 can facilitate Treg-induced suppression of T-effector cells and dampen the antitumor immune response. PD-1/PD-L1 blockade coupled with Treg depletion represents an important new approach that can be readily translated into the clinic to improve the therapeutic efficacy of adoptive AML-reactive CTLs in advanced AML disease.
Clofarabine, a newer purine analog with reduced central nervous system toxicity, may prove advantageous in hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients for whom neurotoxicity is a natural part of disease progression. This study evaluated clofarabine pharmacokinetics in adult and pediatric patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation for the treatment of high-risk, inherited metabolic disorders. Clofarabine (40 mg/m(2)/d) was administered intravenously on days -7 to -3. Kinetic sampling occurred with doses 1 and 5, along with a single level collected on day of transplant (day(0)). Sixteen patients were studied with a median (range) age and body surface area (BSA) of 7.5 years (0.5-43) and 0.94 m(2) (0.31-2.3), respectively. Clofarabine area under the concentration-time curve from time 0 to infinity was 931 ng·h/mL (685-1876), maximum concentration was 226 ng/mL (162-600), and minimum concentration was 3.2 ng/mL (1.7-5.6). Clofarabine clearance was 1.6 L/h/kg (0.7-2.4) and weakly correlated with weight (r(2) = 0.33) and BSA (r(2) = 0.26). No difference in plasma concentrations was found between dose 1 and dose 5 (all P > .05). All concentrations were below the limit of quantification (1 ng/mL) on day(0) in patients with normal renal function. Variability in clofarabine clearance was approximately 3-fold and was not adequately explained by covariates describing renal function and body size. In patients with adequate renal function, no drug accumulation occurs with consecutive daily dosing.
Inherited metabolic disorders (IMD) or inborn errors of metabolism are a diverse group of diseases arising from genetic defects in lysosomal enzymes or peroxisomal function. These diseases are characterized by devastating systemic processes affecting neurologic and cognitive function, growth and development, and cardiopulmonary status. Onset in infancy or early childhood is typically accompanied by rapid deterioration. Early death is a common outcome. Timely diagnosis and immediate referral to an IMD specialist are essential steps in management of these disorders. Treatment recommendations are based on the disorder, its phenotype including age at onset and rate of progression, severity of clinical signs and symptoms, family values and expectations, and the risks and benefits associated with available therapies such as allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This review discusses indications for HSCT and outcomes of HSCT for selected IMD. An international perspective on progress, limitations, and future directions in the field is provided.
Previous research has suggested that human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) may integrate into host cell chromosomes and be vertically transmitted in the germ line, but the evidence--primarily fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)--is indirect. We sought, first, to definitively test these two hypotheses. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from families in which several members, including at least one parent and child, had unusually high copy numbers of HHV-6 DNA per milliliter of blood. FISH confirmed that HHV-6 DNA colocalized with telomeric regions of one allele on chromosomes 17p13.3, 18q23, and 22q13.3, and that the integration site was identical among members of the same family. Integration of the HHV-6 genome into TTAGGG telomere repeats was confirmed by additional methods and sequencing of the integration site. Partial sequencing of the viral genome identified the same integrated HHV-6A strain within members of families, confirming vertical transmission of the viral genome. We next asked whether HHV-6A infection of naïve cell lines could lead to integration. Following infection of naïve Jjhan and HEK-293 cell lines by HHV-6, the virus integrated into telomeres. Reactivation of integrated HHV-6A virus from individuals PBMCs as well as cell lines was successfully accomplished by compounds known to induce latent herpesvirus replication. Finally, no circular episomal forms were detected even by PCR. Taken together, the data suggest that HHV-6 is unique among human herpesviruses: it specifically and efficiently integrates into telomeres of chromosomes during latency rather than forming episomes, and the integrated viral genome is capable of producing virions.
Severe mucopolysaccharidosis type I (Hurler syndrome) is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease of childhood that results in accumulation of glycosaminoglycans within cardiac valves and consequent valve dysfunction. Valve thickening in mucopolysaccharidosis type I (Hurler syndrome) is due, in part, to the presence of glycosaminoglycan-laden cells (the so-called "clear" or "Hurler" cells) within the valve that remain largely unstudied with respect to identity, origin, and function. We hypothesized that the "clear" or "Hurler" cells within the atrioventricular valves from individuals with untreated mucopolysaccharidosis type I are activated valvular interstitial cells.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been used for three decades as therapy for lysosomal storage diseases. Stable engraftment following transplantation has the potential to provide a source of an enzyme for the life of a patient. Recombinant enzyme is available for disorders that do not have a primary neurologic component. However, for diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS), intravenous enzyme is ineffective due to its inability to cross the blood-brain barrier. For selected lysosomal disorders, including metachromatic leukodystrophy and globoid cell leukodystrophy, disease phenotype and the extent of disease at the time of transplantation are of fundamental importance in determining outcomes. Adrenoleukodystrophy is an X-linked, peroxisomal disorder, and in approximately 40% of cases a progressive, inflammatory condition develops in the CNS. Early in the course of the disease, allogeneic transplantation can arrest the disease process in cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy, while more advanced patients do poorly. In many of these cases, the utilization of cord blood grafts allows expedient transplantation, which can be critical in achieving optimal outcomes.
Hurler syndrome (mucopolysaccharidosis type I/H; MPS I/H) is a lethal heritable enzymopathy that leads to an accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and dysfunction of multiple organs of the body, including the heart. As gender-related differences are common in heart disease and a murine model for mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPSI) has been used for the preclinical evaluation of strategies to correct heart valve disease in Hurler syndrome, the study aim was to determine the impact of gender on heart disease in the murine MPSI model.
A major goal in haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is to retain the lymphohaematopoietic potential of the cell transfer without its side effects. In addition to the physical injury caused by the conditioning regimen, donor T cells can react to alloantigens of the recipient and cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which accounts for the largest share of morbidity and mortality after HCT. Immune modulator cells, such as regulatory T cells (Tregs) and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have shown promise in their ability to control GVHD and yet, in preclinical models, preserve the graft-versus-malignancy effect. Initially, MSCs and Tregs have been isolated from adult sources, such as bone marrow or peripheral blood, respectively. More recent studies have indicated that umbilical cord blood (UCB) is a rich source of both cell types. We will review the current data on UCB-derived Tregs and MSCs and their therapeutic implications.
Tumor-induced immune suppression can permit tumor cells to escape host immune resistance. To elucidate host factors contributing to the poor response of adoptively transferred tumor-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), we used a systemic model of murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML). AML progression resulted in a progressive regulatory T-cell (Treg) accumulation in disease sites. The adoptive transfer of in vitro-generated, potently lytic anti-AML-reactive CTLs failed to reduce disease burden or extend survival. Compared with non-AML-bearing hosts, transferred CTLs had reduced proliferation in AML sites of metastases. Treg depletion by a brief course of interleukin-2 diphtheria toxin (IL-2DT) transiently reduced AML disease burden but did not permit long-term survival. In contrast, IL-2DT prevented anti-AML CTL hypoproliferation, increased the number of transferred CTLs at AML disease sites, reduced AML tumor burden, and resulted in long-term survivors that sustained an anti-AML memory response. These data demonstrated that Tregs present at AML disease sites suppress adoptively transferred CTL proliferation, limiting their in vivo expansion, and Treg depletion before CTL transfer can result in therapeutic efficacy in settings of substantial pre-existing tumor burden in which antitumor reactive CTL infusion alone has proven ineffective.
The zebrafish is an increasingly popular model for studying many aspects of biology. Recently, ztert, the zebrafish homolog of the mammalian telomerase gene has been cloned and sequenced. In contrast to humans, it has been shown that the zebrafish maintains telomerase activity for much of its adult life and has remarkable regenerative capacity. To date, there has been no longitudinal study to assess whether this retention of telomerase activity equates to the retention of chromosome telomere length through adulthood.
In vitro differentiated monocytes were used to characterize the cellular defect in a type of osteopetrosis with minimally functional osteoclasts, in which defects associated with common causes of osteopetrosis were excluded by gene sequencing. Monocytes from the blood of a 28-year-old patient were differentiated in media with RANKL and CSF-1. Cell fusion, acid compartments within cells, and tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity were normal. However, the osteoclasts made abnormally small pits on the dentine. Phalloidin labeling showed that the cell attachments lacked the peripheral ring structure that supports lacunar resorption. Instead, the osteoclasts had clusters of podosomes near the center of cell attachments. Antibody to the alphavbeta3 integrin pair or to the C-terminal of beta3 did not label podosomes, but antibody to alphav labeled them. Western blots using antibody to the N-terminal of beta3 showed a protein of reduced size. Integrins beta1 and beta5 were upregulated, but, in contrast to observations in beta3 defects, alpha2 had not increased. The rho-GTP exchange protein Vav3, a key attachment organizing protein, did not localize normally with peripheral attachment structures. Vav3 forms of 70 kD and 90 kD were identified on western blots. However, the proteins beta3 integrin, Vav3, Plekhm1, and Src, implicated in attachment defects, had normal exon sequences. In this new type of osteopetrosis, the integrin-organizing complex is dysfunctional, and at least two attachment proteins may be partially degraded.
Multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) are nonhematopoietic stem cells capable of giving rise to a broad range of tissue cells. As such, MAPCs hold promise for tissue injury repair after transplant. In vitro, MAPCs potently suppressed allogeneic T-cell activation and proliferation in a dose-dependent, cell contact-independent, and T-regulatory cell-independent manner. Suppression occurred primarily through prostaglandin E(2) synthesis in MAPCs, which resulted in decreased proinflammatory cytokine production. When given systemically, MAPCs did not home to sites of allopriming and did not suppress graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). To ensure that MAPCs would colocalize with donor T cells, MAPCs were injected directly into the spleen at bone marrow transplantation. MAPCs limited donor T-cell proliferation and GVHD-induced injury via prostaglandin E(2) synthesis in vivo. Moreover, MAPCs altered the balance away from positive and toward inhibitory costimulatory pathway expression in splenic T cells and antigen-presenting cells. These findings are the first to describe the immunosuppressive capacity and mechanism of MAPC-induced suppression of T-cell alloresponses and illustrate the requirement for MAPC colocalization to sites of initial donor T-cell activation for GVHD inhibition. Such data have implications for the use of allogeneic MAPCs and possibly other immunomodulatory nonhematopoietic stem cells for preventing GVHD in the clinic.
Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is a heterogeneous inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, characterized by abnormally short telomeres and mutations in telomere biology genes. The spectrum of telomere biology disorders is growing and the clinical management of these patients is complex. A DC-specific workshop was held at the NIH on September 19, 2008; participants included physicians, patients with DC, their family members, and representatives from other support groups. Data from the UKs DC Registry and the NCIs DC cohort were described. Updates on the function of the known DC genes were presented. Clinical aspects discussed included androgen therapy, stem cell transplant, cancer risk, and cancer screening. Families with DC met for the first time and formed a family support group (http://www.dcoutreach.com/). Ongoing, open collaboration between the clinical, scientific, and family communities is required for continued improvement in our understanding of DC and the clinical consequences of telomeric defects.
Lactic acidosis together with hypoglycemia in the face of hematologic malignancy is a grave development. A 7-year-old male with pre-B-cell ALL following hematopoietic cell transplant was admitted to our hospital in his second relapse. On hospital days 4 and 5, he developed refractory hypoglycemia, lactic acidosis, central respiratory failure, and acute renal failure. Bicarbonate infusion, B vitamins, and hemodialysis were not effective. Care was withdrawn on hospital day 9. Further understanding of the mechanisms that cause the combined onset of lactic acidosis and hypoglycemia will help clinicians in implementing timely therapies that may reduce mortality.
The recessive dystrophic form of epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a disorder of incurable skin fragility and blistering caused by mutations in the type VII collagen gene (Col7a1). The absence of type VII collagen production leads to the loss of adhesion at the basement membrane zone due to the absence of anchoring fibrils, which are composed of type VII collagen. We report that wild-type, congenic bone marrow cells homed to damaged skin, produced type VII collagen protein and anchoring fibrils, ameliorated skin fragility, and reduced lethality in the murine model of RDEB generated by targeted Col7a1 disruption. These data provide the first evidence that a population of marrow cells can correct the basement membrane zone defect found in mice with RDEB and offer a potentially valuable approach for treatment of human RDEB and other extracellular matrix disorders.
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy results from mutations in the ABCD1 gene disrupting the metabolism of very-long-chain fatty acids. The most serious form of ALD, cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (cALD), causes neuroinflammation and demyelination. Neuroimaging in cALD shows inflammatory changes and indicates blood-brain-barrier (BBB) disruption. We hypothesize that disruption may occur through the degradation of the extracellular matrix defining the BBB by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs have not been evaluated in the setting of cALD.
People with severe forms of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) develop widespread blistering and progressively debilitating multisystem complications that may result in a shortened lifespan. As some wounds in EB individuals are difficult or impossible to access with topical therapy, we examined the potential of systemic therapy with normal haematopoietic stem cells. In both animal models and children with EB, healthy donor cells from the haematopoietic graft migrated to the injured skin; simultaneously, there was an increase in the production of skin-specific structural proteins deficient in EB, increased skin integrity and reduced tendency to blister formation. Even though the majority of evaluable individuals have had a positive response in skin healing, frequently changing their quality of life, the improvement in lifestyle has been varied and the overall clinical response incomplete. To change the current amelioration of disease into a full cure, we propose to (i) increase safety as well as efficacy of haematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) using co-infusion of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells with haematopoietic stem cells and non-myeloablative conditioning for transplant; (ii) optimize homing of donor cells into the skin erosions in animal models of EB; and (iii) discover and test new drugs for EB therapy using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells. We conclude that although HCT has always been a risky treatment restricted to those with serious life-threatening or debilitating diseases, by most benchmarks, the results of HCT in EB have shown that HCT has the potential of being a durable, systemic therapy for people with severe forms of EB.
To investigate whether intravenous enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) benefits cognitive function in patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type IH (Hurler syndrome) undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).
Although hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) arrests the cognitive decline in mucopolysaccharidosis type IH (Hurler syndrome, MPS IH), these children continue to have neuropsychological deficits as they age. Both compromised attention and effects on white matter have been observed in cancer patients who have had chemotherapy. Therefore, we explored the effects of disease and treatment on brain function in children with MPS I who have had HCT with those with attenuated MPS I treated with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT).
We contribute a novel, ball-histogram approach to DNA-binding propensity prediction of proteins. Unlike state-of-the-art methods based on constructing an ad-hoc set of features describing physicochemical properties of the proteins, the ball-histogram technique enables a systematic, Monte-Carlo exploration of the spatial distribution of amino acids complying with automatically selected properties. This exploration yields a model for the prediction of DNA binding propensity. We validate our method in prediction experiments, improving on state-of-the-art accuracies. Moreover, our method also provides interpretable features involving spatial distributions of selected amino acids.
Analysis of gene expression data in terms of a priori-defined gene sets has recently received significant attention as this approach typically yields more compact and interpretable results than those produced by traditional methods that rely on individual genes. The set-level strategy can also be adopted with similar benefits in predictive classification tasks accomplished with machine learning algorithms. Initial studies into the predictive performance of set-level classifiers have yielded rather controversial results. The goal of this study is to provide a more conclusive evaluation by testing various components of the set-level framework within a large collection of machine learning experiments.
Excessive adverse events were encountered in a Phase I/II study of cyclophosphamide (CY) dose deescalation in a fludarabine-based conditioning regimen for bone marrow transplantation from unrelated donors in patients with severe aplastic anemia. All patients received fixed doses of antithymocyte globulin, fludarabine, and low-dose total body irradiation. The starting CY dose was 150 mg/kg, with deescalation to 100 mg/kg, 50 mg/kg, or 0 mg/kg. CY dose level 0 mg/kg was closed due to graft failure in 3 of 3 patients. CY dose level 150 mg/kg was closed due to excessive organ toxicity (n = 6) or viral pneumonia (n = 1), resulting in the death of 7 of 14 patients. CY dose levels 50 and 100 mg/kg remain open. Thus, CY at doses of 150 mg/kg in combination with total body irradiation (2 Gy), fludarabine (120 mg/m(2)), and antithymocyte globulin was associated with excessive organ toxicity.
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a metabolic, peroxisomal disease that results from a mutation in the ABCD1 gene. The most severe course of ALD progression is the cerebral inflammatory and demyelinating form of the disease, cALD. To date there is very little information on the cytokine mediators in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) of these boys.
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