Immune-based assays are promising tools to help to formulate diagnosis of active tuberculosis. A multiparameter flow cytometry assay assessing T-cell responses specific to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the combination of both CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses accurately discriminated between active tuberculosis and latent infection.
In the present study, we have investigated the functional profile of CD4 T cells from patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), including production of cytokines and proliferation in response to bacteria and virus-derived antigens. We show that the functional impairment of CD4 T cells, including the reduced capacity to proliferate and to produce IFN-? and IL-2, was restricted to bacteria-specific and not virus-specific CD4 T cells. High levels of endotoxins were found in the plasma of patients with CVID, suggesting that CD4 T cell dysfunction might be caused by bacterial translocation. Of note, endotoxemia was associated with significantly higher expression of programmed death 1 (PD-1) on CD4 T cells. The blockade of the PD-1-PD-L1/2 axis in vitro restored CD4 T cell proliferation capacity, thus indicating that PD-1 signaling negatively regulates CD4 T cell functions. Finally, we showed that intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIG) treatment significantly reduced endotoxemia and the percentage of PD-1(+) CD4 T cells, and restored bacteria-specific CD4 T cell cytokine production and proliferation. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that the CD4 T cell exhaustion and functional impairment observed in CVID patients is associated with bacterial translocation and that IVIG treatment resolves bacterial translocation and restores CD4 T cell functions.
Expression of co-inhibitory molecules is generally associated with T-cell dysfunction in chronic viral infections such as HIV or HCV. However, their relative contribution in the T-cell impairment remains unclear. In the present study, we have evaluated the impact of the expression of co-inhibitory molecules such as 2B4, PD-1 and CD160 on the functions of CD8 T-cells specific to influenza, EBV and CMV. We show that CD8 T-cell populations expressing CD160, but not PD-1, had reduced proliferation capacity and perforin expression, thus indicating that the functional impairment in CD160(+) CD8 T cells may be independent of PD-1 expression. The blockade of CD160/CD160-ligand interaction restored CD8 T-cell proliferation capacity, and the extent of restoration directly correlated with the ex vivo proportion of CD160(+) CD8 T cells suggesting that CD160 negatively regulates TCR-mediated signaling. Furthermore, CD160 expression was not up-regulated upon T-cell activation or proliferation as compared to PD-1. Taken together, these results provide evidence that CD160-associated CD8 T-cell functional impairment is independent of PD-1 expression.
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells play a critical role as providers of B-cell help and dysfunction in Tfh/B-cell interactions can lead to autoimmunity or immunodeficiency. These observations have generated a great deal of interest in understanding how these cells are affected during HIV infection and how their functional changes might affect antibody responses.
The factors determining the functional avidity and its relationship with the broad heterogeneity of antiviral T cell responses remain partially understood. We investigated HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses in 85 patients with primary HIV infection (PHI) or chronic (progressive and non-progressive) infection. The functional avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells was not different between patients with progressive and non-progressive chronic infection. However, it was significantly lower in PHI patients at the time of diagnosis of acute infection and after control of virus replication following one year of successful antiretroviral therapy. High-avidity HIV-specific CD8 T cells expressed lower levels of CD27 and CD28 and were enriched in cells with an exhausted phenotype, i.e. co-expressing PD-1/2B4/CD160. Of note, a significant increase in the functional avidity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells occurred in early-treated PHI patients experiencing a virus rebound after spontaneous treatment interruption. This increase in functional avidity was associated with the accumulation of PD-1/2B4/CD160 positive cells, loss of polyfunctionality and increased TCR renewal. The increased TCR renewal may provide the mechanistic basis for the generation of high-avidity HIV-specific CD8 T cells. These results provide insights on the relationships between functional avidity, viremia, T-cell exhaustion and TCR renewal of antiviral CD8 T cell responses.
Major advances have been made in the delineation of HIV-specific immune response and in the mechanisms of virus escape. The kinetics of the immunological and virological events occurring during primary HIV infection indicate that the establishment of the latent HIV reservoir, the major obstacle to HIV eradication likely occurs during the very early stages of primary infection, that is, the eclipse phase, prior to the development of the HIV-specific immune response which has limited efficacy in the control of the early events of infection. Therefore, the window of opportunity to develop effective interventions either to clear HIV during primary infection or to prevent rebound of HIV in patients successfully treated who stop antiretroviral therapy is very narrow.
Protective immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) remains poorly understood and the role of Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells is controversial. Here we performed a broad phenotypic and functional characterization of Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells in 326 subjects with latent Mtb infection (LTBI) or active TB disease (TB). Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells were detected in most (60%) TB patients and few (15%) LTBI subjects but were of similar magnitude. Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells in LTBI subjects were mostly T EMRA cells (CD45RA(+) CCR7(-)), coexpressing 2B4 and CD160, and in TB patients were mostly TEM cells (CD45RA(-) CCR7(-)), expressing 2B4 but lacking PD-1 and CD160. The cytokine profile was not significantly different in both groups. Furthermore, Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells expressed low levels of perforin and granulysin but contained granzymes A and B. However, in vitro-expanded Mtb-specific CD8(+) T cells expressed perforin and granulysin. Finally, Mtb-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses were less frequently detected in extrapulmonary TB compared with pulmonary TB patients. Mtb-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation was also greater in patients with extrapulmonary compared with pulmonary TB. Thus, the activity of Mtb infection and clinical presentation are associated with distinct profiles of Mtb-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses. These results provide new insights in the interaction between Mtb and the host immune response.
The majority of HIV-infected individuals fail to produce protective antibodies and have diminished responses to new immunizations. We report here that even though there is an expansion of follicular helper T (TFH) cells in HIV-infected individuals, the cells are unable to provide adequate B cell help. We found a higher frequency of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)(+) germinal center B cells from lymph nodes of HIV-infected individuals suggesting a potential role for PD-1-PD-L1 interaction in regulating TFH cell function. In fact, we show that engagement of PD-1 on TFH cells leads to a reduction in cell proliferation, activation, inducible T-cell co-stimulator (ICOS) expression and interleukin-21 (IL-21) cytokine secretion. Blocking PD-1 signaling enhances HIV-specific immunoglobulin production in vitro. We further show that at least part of this defect involves IL-21, as addition of this cytokine rescues antibody responses and plasma cell generation in vitro. Our results suggest that deregulation of TFH cell-mediated B cell help diminishes B cell responses during HIV infection and may be related to PD-1 triggering on TFH cells. These results demonstrate a role for TFH cell impairment in HIV pathogenesis and suggest that enhancing their function could have a major impact on the outcome and control of HIV infection, preventing future infections and improving immune responses to vaccinations.
Protective immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is commonly ascribed to a Th1 profile; however, the involvement of Th17 cells remains to be clarified. Here, we characterized Mtb-specific CD4(+) T cells in blood and bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs) from untreated subjects with either active tuberculosis disease (TB) or latent Mtb infection (LTBI), considered as prototypic models of uncontrolled or controlled infection, respectively. The production of IL-17A, IFN-?, TNF-?, and IL-2 by Mtb-specific CD4(+) T cells was assessed both directly ex vivo and following in vitro antigen-specific T-cell expansion. Unlike for extracellular bacteria, Mtb-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses lacked immediate ex vivo IL-17A effector function in both LTBI and TB individuals. Furthermore, Mtb-specific Th17 cells were absent in BALs, while extracellular bacteria-specific Th17 cells were identified in gut biopsies of healthy individuals. Interestingly, only Mtb-specific CD4(+) T cells from 50% of LTBI but not from TB subjects acquired the ability to produce IL-17A following Mtb-specific T-cell expansion. Finally, IL-17A acquisition by Mtb-specific CD4(+) T cells correlated with the coexpression of CXCR3 and CCR6, currently associated to Th1 or Th17 profiles, respectively. Our data demonstrate that Mtb-specific Th17 cells are selectively undetectable in peripheral blood and BALs from TB patients.
In the present study, we have investigated the anatomic distribution in blood and gut mucosal tissues of memory poxvirus-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells in subjects vaccinated with smallpox and compared it with vector (NYVAC)-specific and HIV insert-specific T-cell responses induced by an experimental DNA-C/ NYVAC-C vaccine regimen. Smallpox-specific CD4 T-cell responses were present in the blood of 52% of the subjects studied, while smallpox-specific CD8 T cells were rarely detected (12%). With one exception, smallpox-specific T cells were not measurable in gut tissues. Interestingly, NYVAC vector-specific and HIV-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses were detected in almost 100% of the subjects immunized with DNA-C/NYVAC-C in blood and gut tissues. The large majority (83%) of NYVAC-specific CD4 T cells expressed ?4?7 integrins and the HIV coreceptor CCR5. These results demonstrate that the experimental DNA-C/NYVAC-C HIV vaccine regimen induces the homing of potentially protective HIV-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells in the gut, the port of entry of HIV and one of the major sites for HIV spreading and the depletion of CD4 T cells.
Newborns are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections due to qualitative and quantitative deficiencies of the neonatal innate immune system. However, the mechanisms underlying these deficiencies are poorly understood. Given that fetuses are exposed to high concentrations of estradiol and progesterone during gestation and at time of delivery, we analyzed the effects of these hormones on the response of neonatal innate immune cells to endotoxin, bacterial lipopeptide, and Escherichia coli and group B Streptococcus, the two most common causes of early-onset neonatal sepsis. Here we show that at concentrations present in umbilical cord blood, estradiol and progesterone are as powerful as hydrocortisone for inhibition of cytokine production by cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) and newborn monocytes. Interestingly, CBMCs and newborn monocytes are more sensitive to the effects of estradiol and progesterone than adult peripheral blood mononuclear cells and monocytes. This increased sensitivity is associated with higher expression levels of estrogen and membrane progesterone receptors but is independent of a downregulation of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), TLR4, and myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 in newborn cells. Estradiol and progesterone mediate their anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of the NF-?B pathway but not the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in CBMCs. Altogether, these results suggest that elevated umbilical cord blood concentrations of estradiol and progesterone acting on mononuclear cells expressing high levels of steroid receptors contribute to impair innate immune responses in newborns. Therefore, intrauterine exposure to estradiol and progesterone may participate in increasing susceptibility to infection during the neonatal period.
Rapid diagnosis of active Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection remains a clinical and laboratory challenge. We have analyzed the cytokine profile (interferon-? (IFN-?), tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) and interleukin-2 (IL-2)) of Mtb-specific T cells by polychromatic flow cytometry. We studied Mtb-specific CD4+ T cell responses in subjects with latent Mtb infection and active tuberculosis disease. The results showed substantial increase in the proportion of single-positive TNF-? Mtb-specific CD4+ T cells in subjects with active disease, and this parameter was the strongest predictor of diagnosis of active disease versus latent infection. We validated the use of this parameter in a cohort of 101 subjects with tuberculosis diagnosis unknown to the investigator. The sensitivity and specificity of the flow cytometry-based assay were 67% and 92%, respectively, the positive predictive value was 80% and the negative predictive value was 92.4%. Therefore, the proportion of single-positive TNF-? Mtb-specific CD4+ T cells is a new tool for the rapid diagnosis of active tuberculosis disease.
As expression of Cxs in cells of the immune system increases upon cellular activation, we investigated whether Cxs and especially CxHcs play a major role during T cell-mediated responses. In particular, we studied the expression of Cx43Hc following CD4(+) T cell stimulation using flow cytometry, real-time PCR, and Western blot analysis. We showed that expression of Cx43 and its phosphorylated isoforms increased in response to the engagement of CD3 and CD28. Cx43Hcs were found to be involved in sustaining proliferation of T cells, as assessed by cell cycle staining, thymidine incorporation assays, and CFSE analysis of cells exposed to mimetic peptide inhibitors of the plasma membrane Cx channels and antibodies generated to an extracellular region of Cx. The reduction of T cell proliferation mediated by Cx channel inhibitors suppressed cysteine uptake but not cytokine production. We conclude that upon antigen recognition, T cells require CxHc to sustain their clonal expansion.
Cytotoxicity and proliferation capacity are key functions of antiviral CD8 T cells. In the present study, we investigated a series of markers to define these functions in virus-specific CD8 T cells. We provide evidence that there is a lack of coexpression of perforin and CD127 in human CD8 T cells. CD127 expression on virus-specific CD8 T cells correlated positively with proliferation capacity and negatively with perforin expression and cytotoxicity. Influenza virus-, cytomegalovirus-, and Epstein-Barr virus/human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific CD8 T cells were predominantly composed of CD127(+) perforin(-)/CD127(-) perforin(+), and CD127(-)/perforin(-) CD8 T cells, respectively. CD127(-)/perforin(-) and CD127(-)/perforin(+) cells expressed significantly more PD-1 and CD57, respectively. Consistently, intracellular cytokine (gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-2 [IL-2]) responses combined to perforin detection confirmed that virus-specific CD8 T cells were mostly composed of either perforin(+)/IL-2(-) or perforin(-)/IL-2(+) cells. In addition, perforin expression and IL-2 secretion were negatively correlated in virus-specific CD8 T cells (P < 0.01). As previously shown for perforin, changes in antigen exposure modulated also CD127 expression. Based on the above results, proliferating (CD127(+)/IL-2-secreting) and cytotoxic (perforin(+)) CD8 T cells were contained within phenotypically distinct T-cell populations at different stages of activation or differentiation and showed different levels of exhaustion and senescence. Furthermore, the composition of proliferating and cytotoxic CD8 T cells for a given antiviral CD8 T-cell population appeared to be influenced by antigen exposure. These results advance our understanding of the relationship between cytotoxicity, proliferation capacity, the levels of senescence and exhaustion, and antigen exposure of antiviral memory CD8 T cells.
Although it has been known for 50 years that adenoviruses (Ads) interact with erythrocytes ex vivo, the molecular and structural basis for this interaction, which has been serendipitously exploited for diagnostic tests, is unknown. In this study, we characterized the interaction between erythrocytes and unrelated Ad serotypes, human 5 (HAd5) and 37 (HAd37), and canine 2 (CAV-2). While these serotypes agglutinate human erythrocytes, they use different receptors, have different tropisms and/or infect different species. Using molecular, biochemical, structural and transgenic animal-based analyses, we found that the primary erythrocyte interaction domain for HAd37 is its sialic acid binding site, while CAV-2 binding depends on at least three factors: electrostatic interactions, sialic acid binding and, unexpectedly, binding to the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) on human erythrocytes. We show that the presence of CAR on erythrocytes leads to prolonged in vivo blood half-life and significantly reduced liver infection when a CAR-tropic Ad is injected intravenously. This study provides i) a molecular and structural rationale for Ad-erythrocyte interactions, ii) a basis to improve vector-mediated gene transfer and iii) a mechanism that may explain the biodistribution and pathogenic inconsistencies found between human and animal models.
In the present study, we have investigated the distribution of HIV-specific and HIV-infected CD4 T cells within different populations of memory CD4 T cells isolated from lymph nodes of viremic HIV-infected subjects. Four memory CD4 T cell populations were identified on the basis of the expression of CXCR5, PD-1, and Bcl-6: CXCR5(-)PD-1(-)Bcl-6(-), CXCR5(+)PD-1(-)Bcl-6(-), CXCR5(-)PD-1(+)Bcl-6(-), and CXCR5(+)PD-1(+)Bcl-6(+). On the basis of Bcl-6 expression and functional properties (IL-21 production and B cell help), the CXCR5(+)PD-1(+)Bcl-6(+) cell population was considered to correspond to the T follicular helper (Tfh) cell population. We show that Tfh and CXCR5(-)PD-1(+) cell populations are enriched in HIV-specific CD4 T cells, and these populations are significantly increased in viremic HIV-infected subjects as compared with healthy subjects. The Tfh cell population contained the highest percentage of CD4 T cells harboring HIV DNA and was the most efficient in supporting productive infection in vitro. Replication competent HIV was also readily isolated from Tfh cells in subjects with nonprogressive infection and low viremia (<1,000 HIV RNA copies). However, only the percentage of Tfh cells correlated with the levels of plasma viremia. These results demonstrate that Tfh cells serve as the major CD4 T cell compartment for HIV infection, replication, and production.
The functional avidity is determined by exposing T-cell populations in vitro to different amounts of cognate antigen. T-cells with high functional avidity respond to low antigen doses. This in vitro measure is thought to correlate well with the in vivo effector capacity of T-cells. We here present the multifaceted factors determining and influencing the functional avidity of T-cells. We outline how changes in the functional avidity can occur over the course of an infection. This process, known as avidity maturation, can occur despite the fact that T-cells express a fixed TCR. Furthermore, examples are provided illustrating the importance of generating T-cell populations that exhibit a high functional avidity when responding to an infection or tumors. Furthermore, we discuss whether criteria based on which we evaluate an effective T-cell response to acute infections can also be applied to chronic infections such as HIV. Finally, we also focus on observations that high-avidity T-cells show higher signs of exhaustion and facilitate the emergence of virus escape variants. The review summarizes our current understanding of how this may occur as well as how T-cells of different functional avidity contribute to antiviral and anti-tumor immunity. Enhancing our knowledge in this field is relevant for tumor immunotherapy and vaccines design.
Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors and specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) generate immune complexes (ICs) which are potent inducers of dendritic cell (DC) maturation. Here we show that ICs generated with rare Ad vector serotypes, such as Ad26 and Ad35, which are lead candidates in HIV vaccine development, are poor inducers of DC maturation and that their potency in inducing DC maturation strongly correlated with the number of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-agonist motifs present in the Ad vectors genome. In addition, we showed that antihexon but not antifiber antibodies are responsible for the induction of Ad IC-mediated DC maturation.
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