Publications by authors named "Jessica K Wang"

8 Publications

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Sex differences in inflammatory markers in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection: Insights from the MGH COVID-19 patient registry.

PLoS One 2021 28;16(4):e0250774. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

From the Cardiovascular Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States of America.

Background: Men are at higher risk for serious complications related to COVID-19 infection than women. More robust immune activation in women has been proposed to contribute to decreased disease severity, although systemic inflammation has been associated with worse outcomes in COVID-19 infection. Whether systemic inflammation contributes to sex differences in COVID-19 infection is not known.

Study Design And Methods: We examined sex differences in inflammatory markers among 453 men (mean age 61) and 328 women (mean age 62) hospitalized with COVID-19 infection at the Massachusetts General Hospital from March 8 to April 27, 2020. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the association of sex with initial and peak inflammatory markers. Exploratory analyses examined the association of sex and inflammatory markers with 28-day clinical outcomes using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Initial and peak CRP were higher in men compared with women after adjustment for baseline differences (initial CRP: ß 0.29, SE 0.07, p = 0.0001; peak CRP: ß 0.31, SE 0.07, p<0.0001) with similar findings for IL-6, PCT, and ferritin (p<0.05 for all). Men had greater than 1.5-greater odds of dying compared with women (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.04-2.80, p = 0.03). Sex modified the association of peak CRP with both death and ICU admission, with stronger associations observed in men compared with women (death: OR 9.19, 95% CI 4.29-19.7, p <0.0001 in men vs OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.52-5.18, p = 0.009 in women, Pinteraction = 0.02).

Conclusions: In a sample of 781 men and women hospitalized with COVID-19 infection, men exhibited more robust inflammatory activation as evidenced by higher initial and peak inflammatory markers, as well as worse clinical outcomes. Better understanding of sex differences in immune responses to COVID-19 infection may shed light on the pathophysiology of COVID-19 infection.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0250774PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8081177PMC
May 2021

The role of obesity in inflammatory markers in COVID-19 patients.

Obes Res Clin Pract 2021 Jan-Feb;15(1):96-99. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

The Cardiovascular Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States; Division of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, United States. Electronic address:

Obesity has emerged as a significant risk factor for severe COVID-19 worldwide. Given both COVID-19 infection and obesity have been associated with increased systemic inflammation, we evaluated inflammatory markers in obese and non-obese individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 at Massachusetts General Hospital. We hypothesized that obese patients would have a more exuberant inflammatory response as evidenced by higher initial and peak inflammatory markers along with worse clinical outcomes. Of the 781 patients, 349 were obese (45%). Obese individuals had higher initial and peak levels of CRP and ESR as well as higher peak d-dimer (P < 0.01 for all) in comparison to non-obese individuals, while. IL-6 and ferritin were similar. In addition, obese individuals had a higher odds of requiring vasopressor use (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.00-2.38, P = 0.05), developing hypoxemic respiratory failure (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.04-2.40, P = 0.03) and death (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.31-3.70, P = 0.003) within 28 days of presentation to care. Finally, higher baseline levels of CRP and D-dimer were associated with worse clinical outcomes even after adjustment for BMI. Our findings suggest greater disease severity in obese individuals is characterized by more exuberant inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orcp.2020.12.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833898PMC
February 2021

MicroRNA-125 in immunity and cancer.

Cancer Lett 2019 07 12;454:134-145. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States; Center of Systems Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100005, China; Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine, Suzhou, 215123, China. Electronic address:

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that play a wide variety of critical roles in different biological processes by post-transcriptionally regulating gene expression. They access diverse regulatory pathways during various stages of cellular differentiation, growth, and apoptosis, and can contribute to both normal and diseased functions. One important family of miRNAs involved in these functions is the miR-125 family (miR-125a and miR-125b). Investigations have been made to increasingly uncover the mechanisms by which the miR-125 family regulates normal homeostasis and growth in a variety of cell types including immune cells, and how dysregulation of miR-125a and miR-125b can lead to disease pathogenesis and tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize what is currently known about miR-125a and miR-125b, mainly focusing on their roles in immune cell development and function as well as tumor suppression and promotion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2019.04.015DOI Listing
July 2019

T cell antigen discovery via trogocytosis.

Nat Methods 2019 02 28;16(2):183-190. Epub 2019 Jan 28.

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.

T cell receptor (TCR) ligand discovery is essential for understanding and manipulating immune responses to tumors. We developed a cell-based selection platform for TCR ligand discovery that exploits a membrane transfer phenomenon called trogocytosis. We discovered that T cell membrane proteins are transferred specifically to target cells that present cognate peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Co-incubation of T cells expressing an orphan TCR with target cells collectively presenting a library of peptide-MHCs led to specific labeling of cognate target cells, enabling isolation of these target cells and sequencing of the cognate TCR ligand. We validated this method for two clinically employed TCRs and further used the platform to identify the cognate neoepitope for a subject-derived neoantigen-specific TCR. Thus, target cell trogocytosis is a robust tool for TCR ligand discovery that will be useful for studying basic tumor immunology and identifying new targets for immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41592-018-0305-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719556PMC
February 2019

Functional TCR T cell screening using single-cell droplet microfluidics.

Lab Chip 2018 12;18(24):3733-3749

Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, Sue & Bill Gross Hall CIRM Institute, University of California, Irvine, 845 Health Sciences Road, Suite 3027, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.

Adoptive T cell transfer, in particular TCR T cell therapy, holds great promise for cancer immunotherapy with encouraging clinical results. However, finding the right TCR T cell clone is a tedious, time-consuming, and costly process. Thus, there is a critical need for single cell technologies to conduct fast and multiplexed functional analyses followed by recovery of the clone of interest. Here, we use droplet microfluidics for functional screening and real-time monitoring of single TCR T cell activation upon recognition of target tumor cells. Notably, our platform includes a tracking system for each clone as well as a sorting procedure with 100% specificity validated by downstream single cell reverse-transcription PCR and sequencing of TCR chains. Our TCR screening prototype will facilitate immunotherapeutic screening and development of T cell therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8lc00818cDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279597PMC
December 2018

Epigenetic silencing of miR-125b is required for normal B-cell development.

Blood 2018 04 19;131(17):1920-1930. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering and.

Deregulation of several microRNAs (miRs) can influence critical developmental checkpoints during hematopoiesis as well as cell functions, eventually leading to the development of autoimmune disease or cancer. We found that miR-125b is expressed in bone marrow multipotent progenitors and myeloid cells but shut down in the B-cell lineage, and the gene encoding miR-125b lacked transcriptional activation markers in B cells. To understand the biological importance of the physiological silencing of miR-125b expression in B cells, we drove its expression in the B-cell lineage and found that dysregulated miR-125b expression impaired egress of immature B cells from the bone marrow to peripheral blood. Such impairment appeared to be mediated primarily by inhibited expression of the sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1). Enforced expression of S1PR1 or clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/Cas9-mediated genome editing of the miR-125b targeting site in the S1PR1 3' untranslated region rescued the miR-125b-mediated defect in B-cell egress. In addition to impaired B-cell egress, miR-125b dysregulation initially reduced pre-B-cell output but later induced pre-B-cell lymphoma/leukemia in mice. Genetic deletion of IRF4 was found in miR-125b-induced B-cell cancer, but its role in oncogenic miR-125b-induced B-cell transformation is still unknown. Here, we further demonstrated an interaction of the effects of miR-125b and IRF4 in cancer induction by showing that miR125b-induced B-cell leukemia was greatly accelerated in IRF4 homozygous mutant mice. Thus, we conclude that physiological silencing of miR-125b is required for normal B-cell development and also acts as a mechanism of cancer suppression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-01-824540DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5921965PMC
April 2018

STAT4 and T-bet control follicular helper T cell development in viral infections.

J Exp Med 2018 01 6;215(1):337-355. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Department of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Follicular helper T (Tfh) cells promote germinal center (GC) B cell survival and proliferation and guide their differentiation and immunoglobulin isotype switching by delivering contact-dependent and soluble factors, including IL-21, IL-4, IL-9, and IFN-γ. IL-21 and IFN-γ are coexpressed by Tfh cells during viral infections, but transcriptional regulation of these cytokines is not completely understood. In this study, we show that the T helper type 1 cell (Th1 cell) transcriptional regulators T-bet and STAT4 are coexpressed with Bcl6 in Tfh cells after acute viral infection, with a temporal decline in T-bet in the waning response. T-bet is important for Tfh cell production of IFN-γ, but not IL-21, and for a robust GC reaction. STAT4, phosphorylated in Tfh cells upon infection, is required for expression of T-bet and Bcl6 and for IFN-γ and IL-21. These data indicate that T-bet is expressed with Bcl6 in Tfh cells and is required alongside STAT4 to coordinate Tfh cell IL-21 and IFN-γ production and for promotion of the GC response after acute viral challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20170457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748849PMC
January 2018
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