Publications by authors named "Stacey R Dillon"

35 Publications

ICOSL plasmacytoid dendritic cells as inducer of graft-versus-host disease, responsive to a dual ICOS/CD28 antagonist.

Sci Transl Med 2020 10;12(564)

Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

Acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) remains a major complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). CD146 and CCR5 are proteins that mark activated T helper 17 (Th17) cells. The Th17 cell phenotype is promoted by the interaction of the receptor ICOS on T cells with ICOS ligand (ICOSL) on dendritic cells (DCs). We performed multiparametric flow cytometry in a cohort of 156 HCT recipients and conducted experiments with aGVHD murine models to understand the role of ICOSL DCs. We observed an increased frequency of ICOSL plasmacytoid DCs, correlating with CD146CCR5 T cell frequencies, in the 64 HCT recipients with gastrointestinal aGVHD. In murine models, donor bone marrow cells from ICOSL-deficient mice compared to those from wild-type mice reduced aGVHD-related mortality. Reduced aGVHD resulted from lower intestinal infiltration of pDCs and pathogenic Th17 cells. We transplanted activated human ICOSL pDCs along with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells into immunocompromised mice and observed infiltration of intestinal CD146CCR5 T cells. We found that prophylactic administration of a dual human ICOS/CD28 antagonist (ALPN-101) prevented aGVHD in this model better than did the clinically approved belatacept (CTLA-4-Fc), which binds CD80 (B7-1) and CD86 (B7-2) and interferes with the CD28 T cell costimulatory pathway. When started at onset of aGVHD signs, ALPN-101 treatment alleviated symptoms of ongoing aGVHD and improved survival while preserving antitumoral cytotoxicity. Our data identified ICOSL-pDCs as an aGVHD biomarker and suggest that coinhibition of the ICOSL/ICOS and B7/CD28 axes with one biologic drug may represent a therapeutic opportunity to prevent or treat aGVHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aay4799DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811191PMC
October 2020

IL-31 transgenic mice show reduced allergen-induced lung inflammation.

Eur J Immunol 2021 01 21;51(1):191-196. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Department of Biosciences, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a Th2 cell-derived cytokine that has been closely linked to pruritic skin inflammation. More recently, enhanced IL-31 serum levels have also been observed in patients with allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Therefore, the main aim of this study was to unravel the contribution of IL-31 to allergen-induced lung inflammation. We analyzed lung inflammation in response to the timothy grass (Phleum pratense) pollen allergen Phl p 5 in C57BL/6 wild-type (wt) mice, IL-31 transgenic (IL-31tg) mice, and IL-31 receptor alpha-deficient animals (IL-31RA ). IL-31 and IL-31RA levels were monitored by qRT-PCR. Cellular infiltrate in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue inflammation, mucus production as well as epithelial thickness were measured by flow cytometry and histomorphology. While allergen challenge induced IL-31RA expression in lung tissue of wt and IL-31tg mice, high IL-31 expression was exclusively observed in lung tissue of IL-31tg mice. Upon Phl p 5 challenge, IL-31tg mice showed reduced numbers of leukocytes and eosinophils in BALF and lung tissue as well as diminished mucin expression and less pronounced epithelial thickening compared to IL-31RA or wt animals. These findings suggest that the IL-31/IL-31RA axis may regulate local, allergen-induced inflammation in the lungs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eji.202048547DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7818168PMC
January 2021

Novel Immunomodulatory Proteins Generated via Directed Evolution of Variant IgSF Domains.

Front Immunol 2019 21;10:3086. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Alpine Immune Sciences Inc., Seattle, WA, United States.

Immunoglobulin superfamily member (IgSF) proteins play a significant role in regulating immune responses with surface expression on all immune cell subsets, making the IgSF an attractive family of proteins for therapeutic targeting in human diseases. We have developed a directed evolution platform capable of engineering IgSF domains to increase affinities for cognate ligands and/or introduce binding to non-cognate ligands. Using this scientific platform, ICOSL domains have been derived with enhanced binding to ICOS and with additional high-affinity binding to the non-cognate receptor, CD28. Fc-fusion proteins containing these engineered ICOSL domains significantly attenuate T cell activation and and can inhibit development of inflammatory diseases in mouse models. We also present evidence that engineered ICOSL domains can be formatted to selectively provide costimulatory signals to augment T cell responses. Our scientific platform thus provides a system for developing therapeutic protein candidates with selective biological impact for treatments of a wide array of human disorders including cancer and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.03086DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6985287PMC
November 2020

Interleukin-21 combined with PD-1 or CTLA-4 blockade enhances antitumor immunity in mouse tumor models.

Oncoimmunology 2017;7(1):e1377873. Epub 2017 Oct 4.

Oncology Discovery Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Seattle, WA.

Recent advances in cancer treatment with checkpoint blockade of receptors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1 have demonstrated that combinations of agents with complementary immunomodulatory effects have the potential to enhance antitumor activity as compared to single agents. We investigated the efficacy of immune-modulatory interleukin-21 (IL-21) combined with checkpoint blockade in several syngeneic mouse tumor models. After tumor establishment, mice were administered recombinant mouse IL-21 (mIL-21) alone or in combination with blocking monoclonal antibodies against mouse PD-1 or CTLA-4. In contrast to monotherapy, IL-21 enhanced antitumor activity of mCTLA-4 mAb in four models and anti-PD-1 mAb in two models, with evidence of synergy for one or both of the combination treatments in the EMT-6 and MC38 models. The enhanced efficacy was associated with increased intratumoral CD8+ T cell infiltrates, CD8+ T cell proliferation, and increased effector memory T cells, along with decreased frequency of central memory CD8+ T cells. depletion of CD8+ T cells abolished the antitumor activities observed for both combination and monotherapy treatments, further supporting a beneficial role for CD8+ T cells. In all studies, the combination therapies were well tolerated. These results support the hypothesis that the combination of recombinant human IL-21 with CTLA-4 or PD-1 monoclonal antibodies could lead to improved outcomes in cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2017.1377873DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5739581PMC
October 2017

Conditioned media from the renal cell carcinoma cell line 786.O drives human blood monocytes to a monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cell phenotype.

Cell Immunol 2018 01 31;323:49-58. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

ZymoGenetics, a Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, 1201 Eastlake Ave. East, Seattle, WA 98102, United States.

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are immature myeloid cells critical in mediating immune suppression in cancer patients. To develop an in vitro assay system that functionally mimics the tumor microenvironment, we cultured human monocytes with conditioned media from several cancer cell lines. Conditioned media from five tumor cell lines induced survival and differentiation of monocytes into cells characteristically similar to macrophages and MDSCs. Notably, media from the 786.O renal cell carcinoma line induced monocytes to acquire a monocytic MDSC phenotype characterized by decreased HLA-DR expression, increased nitric oxide production, enhanced proliferation, and ability to suppress autologous CD3 T cell proliferation. We further demonstrated that these in vitro MDSCs are phenotypically and functionally similar to patient-derived MDSCs. Inhibitors of STAT3, CK2, and GM-CSF resulted in partial reversal of the MDSC phenotype. MDSCs generated in vitro from 786.O tumor conditioned media represent a platform to identify potential therapeutics that inhibit MDSC activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellimm.2017.10.014DOI Listing
January 2018

IL-31-Driven Skin Remodeling Involves Epidermal Cell Proliferation and Thickening That Lead to Impaired Skin-Barrier Function.

PLoS One 2016 24;11(8):e0161877. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America.

Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a type 2 helper T-cell-derived cytokine that has recently been shown to cause severe inflammation and tissue remodeling in multiple chronic diseases of the skin and lungs. IL-31 is upregulated in allergic and inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, cutaneous T-cell lymphomas, and allergic rhinitis, as well as autoimmune diseases such as systemic erythematosus. Overexpression of IL-31 in T cells causes severe inflammation, with histological features similar to skin lesions of patients with atopic dermatitis. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in IL31-driven pathological remodeling in skin diseases remain largely unknown. Here, we studied the role of IL-31 in skin damage as a result of intradermal administration of recombinant IL-31 into mice. Notably, IL-31 was sufficient to increase epidermal basal-cell proliferation and thickening of the epidermal skin layer. Our findings demonstrate a progressive increase in transepidermal water loss with chronic administration of IL-31 into the skin. Further, analysis of the skin transcriptome indicates a significant increase in the transcripts involved in epidermal-cell proliferation, epidermal thickening, and mechanical integrity. In summary, our findings demonstrate an important role for IL-31 signaling in epidermal cell proliferation and thickening that together may lead to impaired skin-barrier function in pathological remodeling of the skin.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161877PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996532PMC
July 2017

The pruritus- and TH2-associated cytokine IL-31 promotes growth of sensory nerves.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2016 08 6;138(2):500-508.e24. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: Pruritus is a cardinal symptom of atopic dermatitis, and an increased cutaneous sensory network is thought to contribute to pruritus. Although the immune cell-IL-31-neuron axis has been implicated in severe pruritus during atopic skin inflammation, IL-31's neuropoietic potential remains elusive.

Objective: We sought to analyze the IL-31-related transcriptome in sensory neurons and to investigate whether IL-31 promotes sensory nerve fiber outgrowth.

Methods: In vitro primary sensory neuron culture systems were subjected to whole-transcriptome sequencing, ingenuity pathway analysis, immunofluorescence, and nerve elongation, as well as branching assays after IL-31 stimulation. In vivo we investigated the cutaneous sensory neuronal network in wild-type, Il31-transgenic, and IL-31 pump-equipped mice.

Results: Transgenic Il31 overexpression and subcutaneously delivered IL-31 induced an increase in the cutaneous nerve fiber density in lesional skin in vivo. Transcriptional profiling of IL-31-activated dorsal root ganglia neurons revealed enrichment for genes promoting nervous system development and neuronal outgrowth and negatively regulating cell death. Moreover, the growth cones of primary small-diameter dorsal root ganglia neurons showed abundant IL-31 receptor α expression. Indeed, IL-31 selectively promoted nerve fiber extension only in small-diameter neurons. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation mediated IL-31-induced neuronal outgrowth, and pharmacologic inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 completely abolished this effect. In contrast, transient receptor potential cation channel vanilloid subtype 1 channels were dispensable for IL-31-induced neuronal sprouting.

Conclusions: The pruritus- and TH2-associated novel cytokine IL-31 induces a distinct transcriptional program in sensory neurons, leading to nerve elongation and branching both in vitro and in vivo. This finding might help us understand the clinical observation that patients with atopic dermatitis experience increased sensitivity to minimal stimuli inducing sustained itch.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2016.02.020DOI Listing
August 2016

Th2 Cytokines Augment IL-31/IL-31RA Interactions via STAT6-dependent IL-31RA Expression.

J Biol Chem 2015 May 6;290(21):13510-20. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

From the Divisions of Pulmonary Medicine and

Interleukin 31 receptor α (IL-31RA) is a novel Type I cytokine receptor that pairs with oncostatin M receptor to mediate IL-31 signaling. Binding of IL-31 to its receptor results in the phosphorylation and activation of STATs, MAPK, and JNK signaling pathways. IL-31 plays a pathogenic role in tissue inflammation, particularly in allergic diseases. Recent studies demonstrate IL-31RA expression and signaling in non-hematopoietic cells, but this receptor is poorly studied in immune cells. Macrophages are key immune-effector cells that play a critical role in Th2-cytokine-mediated allergic diseases. Here, we demonstrate that Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 are capable of up-regulating IL-31RA expression on both peritoneal and bone marrow-derived macrophages from mice. Our data also demonstrate that IL-4Rα-driven IL-31RA expression is STAT6 dependent in macrophages. Notably, the inflammation-associated genes Fizz1 and serum amyloid A (SAA) are significantly up-regulated in M2 macrophages stimulated with IL-31, but not in IL-4 receptor-deficient macrophages. Furthermore, the absence of Type II IL-4 receptor signaling is sufficient to attenuate the expression of IL-31RA in vivo during allergic asthma induced by soluble egg antigen, which may suggest a role for IL-31 signaling in Th2 cytokine-driven inflammation and allergic responses. Our study reveals an important counter-regulatory role between Th2 cytokine and IL-31 signaling involved in allergic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M114.622126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505597PMC
May 2015

RNA sequencing atopic dermatitis transcriptome profiling provides insights into novel disease mechanisms with potential therapeutic implications.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 May 31;135(5):1218-27. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY; Department of Dermatology and the Laboratory for Inflammatory Skin Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Electronic address:

Background: Genomic profiling of lesional and nonlesional skin of patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) using microarrays has led to increased understanding of AD and identification of novel therapeutic targets. However, the limitations of microarrays might decrease detection of AD genes. These limitations might be lessened with next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq).

Objective: We sought to define the lesional AD transcriptome using RNA-seq and compare it using microarrays performed on the same cohort.

Methods: RNA-seq and microarrays were performed to identify differentially expressed genes (criteria: fold change, ≥ 2.0; false discovery rate ≤ 0.05) in lesional versus nonlesional skin from 18 patients with moderate-to-severe AD, with real-time PCR (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry used for validation.

Results: Both platforms showed robust disease transcriptomes and correlated well with RT-PCR. The common AD transcriptome identified by using both techniques contained 217 genes, including inflammatory (S100A8/A9/A12, CXCL1, and 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase-like [OASL]) and barrier (MKi67, keratin 16 [K16], and claudin 8 [CLDN8]) AD-related genes. Although fold change estimates determined by using RNA-seq showed somewhat better agreement with RT-PCR (intraclass correlation coefficient, 0.57 and 0.70 for microarrays and RNA-seq vs RT-PCR, respectively), bias was not eliminated. Among genes uniquely identified by using RNA-seq were triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1 (TREM-1) signaling (eg, CCL2, CCL3, and single immunoglobulin domain IL1R1 related [SIGIRR]) and IL-36 isoform genes. TREM-1 is a surface receptor implicated in innate and adaptive immunity that amplifies infection-related inflammation.

Conclusions: This is the first report of a lesional AD phenotype using RNA-seq and the first direct comparison between platforms in this disease. Both platforms robustly characterize the AD transcriptome. Through RNA-seq, we unraveled novel disease pathology, including increased expression of the novel TREM-1 pathway and the IL-36 cytokine in patients with AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2015.03.003DOI Listing
May 2015

A sensory neuron-expressed IL-31 receptor mediates T helper cell-dependent itch: Involvement of TRPV1 and TRPA1.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014 Feb 25;133(2):448-60. Epub 2013 Dec 25.

Departments of Dermatology and Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif; Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: Although the cytokine IL-31 has been implicated in inflammatory and lymphoma-associated itch, the cellular basis for its pruritic action is yet unclear.

Objective: We sought to determine whether immune cell-derived IL-31 directly stimulates sensory neurons and to identify the molecular basis of IL-31-induced itch.

Methods: We used immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR to determine IL-31 expression levels in mice and human subjects. Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, quantitative real-time PCR, in vivo pharmacology, Western blotting, single-cell calcium imaging, and electrophysiology were used to examine the distribution, functionality, and cellular basis of the neuronal IL-31 receptor α in mice and human subjects.

Results: Among all immune and resident skin cells examined, IL-31 was predominantly produced by TH2 and, to a significantly lesser extent, mature dendritic cells. Cutaneous and intrathecal injections of IL-31 evoked intense itch, and its concentrations increased significantly in murine atopy-like dermatitis skin. Both human and mouse dorsal root ganglia neurons express IL-31RA, largely in neurons that coexpress transient receptor potential cation channel vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1). IL-31-induced itch was significantly reduced in TRPV1-deficient and transient receptor channel potential cation channel ankyrin subtype 1 (TRPA1)-deficient mice but not in c-kit or proteinase-activated receptor 2 mice. In cultured primary sensory neurons IL-31 triggered Ca(2+) release and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation, inhibition of which blocked IL-31 signaling in vitro and reduced IL-31-induced scratching in vivo.

Conclusion: IL-31RA is a functional receptor expressed by a small subpopulation of IL-31RA(+)/TRPV1(+)/TRPA1(+) neurons and is a critical neuroimmune link between TH2 cells and sensory nerves for the generation of T cell-mediated itch. Thus targeting neuronal IL-31RA might be effective in the management of TH2-mediated itch, including atopic dermatitis and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2013.10.048DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960328PMC
February 2014

Serum from patients with SLE instructs monocytes to promote IgG and IgA plasmablast differentiation.

J Exp Med 2012 Jul 11;209(7):1335-48. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, Dallas, TX 75204, USA.

The development of autoantibodies is a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE serum can induce monocyte differentiation into dendritic cells (DCs) in a type I IFN-dependent manner. Such SLE-DCs activate T cells, but whether they promote B cell responses is not known. In this study, we demonstrate that SLE-DCs can efficiently stimulate naive and memory B cells to differentiate into IgG- and IgA-plasmablasts (PBs) resembling those found in the blood of SLE patients. SLE-DC-mediated IgG-PB differentiation is dependent on B cell-activating factor (BAFF) and IL-10, whereas IgA-PB differentiation is dependent on a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL). Importantly, SLE-DCs express CD138 and trans-present CD138-bound APRIL to B cells, leading to the induction of IgA switching and PB differentiation in an IFN-α-independent manner. We further found that this mechanism of providing B cell help is relevant in vivo, as CD138-bound APRIL is expressed on blood monocytes from active SLE patients. Collectively, our study suggests that a direct myeloid DC-B cell interplay might contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20111644DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405503PMC
July 2012

Stromal endothelial cells establish a bidirectional crosstalk with chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells through the TNF-related factors BAFF, APRIL, and CD40L.

J Immunol 2012 Jun 16;188(12):6071-83. Epub 2012 May 16.

Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clonal B cell disorder of unknown origin. Accessory signals from the microenvironment are critical for the survival, expansion, and progression of malignant B cells. We found that the CLL stroma included microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) expressing BAFF and APRIL, two TNF family members related to the T cell-associated B cell-stimulating molecule CD40L. Constitutive release of soluble BAFF and APRIL increased upon engagement of CD40 on MVECs by CD40L aberrantly expressed on CLL cells. In addition to enhancing MVEC expression of CD40, leukemic CD40L induced cleavases that elicited intracellular processing of pro-BAFF and pro-APRIL proteins in MVECs. The resulting soluble BAFF and APRIL proteins delivered survival, activation, Ig gene remodeling, and differentiation signals by stimulating CLL cells through TACI, BAFF-R, and BCMA receptors. BAFF and APRIL further amplified CLL cell survival by upregulating the expression of leukemic CD40L. Inhibition of TACI, BCMA, and BAFF-R expression on CLL cells; abrogation of CD40 expression in MVECs; or suppression of BAFF and APRIL cleavases in MVECs reduced the survival and diversification of malignant B cells. These data indicate that BAFF, APRIL, and CD40L form a CLL-enhancing bidirectional signaling network linking neoplastic B cells with the microvascular stroma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1102066DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370079PMC
June 2012

Generation and characterization of human anti-human IL-21 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies.

MAbs 2012 Jan-Feb;4(1):69-83

Department of Preclinical Research and Development, ZymoGenetics, Inc., Seattle, WA, USA.

Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a type I four-helical bundle cytokine that exerts a variety of significant effects on many hematopoietic cells, including T and B lymphocytes and natural killer cells. IL-21 is produced predominantly by CD4+ T cells and natural killer T cells and, when aberrantly overexpressed, appears to play important roles in a wide variety of autoimmune disorders. To generate potential therapeutic reagents capable of inhibiting IL-21 for clinical use, we immunized human immunoglobulin transgenic mice with IL-21 and then identified and cloned a panel of human anti-human IL-21 binding monoclonal antibodies. IL-21 neutralizing and IL-21-binding, non-neutralizing antibodies were assigned to distinct epitope "bins" based on surface plasmon resonance competition studies. The most potent neutralizing antibodies had extremely high (sub pM) affinity for IL-21 and were able to block IL-21 activity in various biological assays using either an IL-21R-transfected pre-B-cell line or primary human B cells, and their neutralizing activity was, in some cases, superior to that of a soluble form of the high affinity heterodimeric IL-21 receptor. Characterization of this panel of IL-21 antibodies provided the basis for the selection of a therapeutic candidate antibody capable of inhibiting IL-21 activity for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/mabs.4.1.18713DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3338942PMC
June 2012

Blocking IL-21 signaling ameliorates xenogeneic GVHD induced by human lymphocytes.

Blood 2012 Jan 10;119(2):619-28. Epub 2011 Nov 10.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 55455, USA.

In rodent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) models, anti-IL-21 neutralizing mAb treatment ameliorates lethality and is associated with decreases in Th1 cytokine production and gastrointestinal tract injury. GVHD prevention was dependent on the in vivo generation of donor-inducible regulatory T cells (Tregs). To determine whether the IL-21 pathway might be targeted for GVHD prevention, skin and colon samples obtained from patients with no GVHD or grade 2 to 4 GVHD were analyzed for IL-21 protein expression. By immunohistochemistry staining, IL-21 protein-producing cells were present in all gastrointestinal tract samples and 54% of skin samples obtained from GVHD patients but not GVHD-free controls. In a human xenogeneic GVHD model, human IL-21-secreting cells were present in the colon of GVHD recipients and were associated with elevated serum IL-21 levels. A neutralizing anti-human IL-21 mAb given prophylactically significantly reduced GVHD-associated weight loss and mortality, resulting in a concomitant increase in Tregs and a decrease in T cells secreting IFN-γ or granzyme B. Based on these findings, anti-IL-21 mAb could be considered for GVHD prevention in the clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-07-368027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257019PMC
January 2012

IL-31 expression by inflammatory cells is preferentially elevated in atopic dermatitis.

Acta Derm Venereol 2012 Jan;92(1):24-8

Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zürich, Switzerland.

Interleukin-31 (IL-31) is a recently discovered cytokine expressed in many human tissues, and predominantly by activated CD4(+) T cells. IL-31 signals through a heterodimeric receptor consisting of IL-31 receptor alpha (IL-31RA) and oncostatin M receptor beta (OSMR). Earlier studies have shown involvement of IL-31 and its receptor components IL-31RA and OSMR in atopic dermatitis, pruritus and Th2-weighted inflammation at the mRNA level. The aim of this study was to investigate IL-31 protein expression in skin of such conditions. Immunohistochemical staining for IL-31, IL-31RA and OSMR was performed in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens. IL-31 expression was increased in the inflammatory infiltrates from skin biopsies taken from subjects with atopic dermatitis, compared with controls (p ≤ 0.05). IL-31, IL-31RA and OSMR protein immunoreactivity was not increased in biopsies from subjects with other Th2-weighted and pruritic skin diseases. Our results confirm, at the protein level, the relationship between IL-31 expression and atopic dermatitis. Our results do not support a general relationship between expression of IL-31/IL-31R and pruritic or Th2-mediated diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/00015555-1191DOI Listing
January 2012

Toll-like receptor 9, transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor, and CD40 synergize in causing B-cell activation.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011 Sep 7;128(3):601-9.e1-4. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Background: B cells receive activating signals from T cells through CD40, from microbial DNA through Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9, and from dendritic cells through transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI). TLR9 and CD40 ligation augment TACI-driven B-cell activation, but only the mechanism of synergy between CD40 and TACI has been explored. Synergy between CD40 and TLR9 in B-cell activation is controversial.

Objective: We sought to examine the mechanisms by which TLR9 modulates CD40- and TACI-mediated activation of B cells and to determine whether all 3 receptors synergize to activate B cells.

Methods: Naive murine B cells and human PBMCs were stimulated with combinations of anti-CD40, CpG, and a proliferation inducing ligand in the presence of IL-4. Proliferation was measured by means of tritiated thymidine incorporation. Immunoglobulin production was measured by means of ELISA. Class-switch recombination (CSR) was examined by measuring mRNA for germline transcripts, activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AICDA), and mature immunoglobulin transcripts. Plasma cell differentiation was examined by using syndecan-1/CD138 staining and mRNA expression of B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (Blimp-1).

Results: TLR9 synergized with CD40 and TACI in driving CSR and inducing IgG(1) and IgE secretion by naive murine B cells and synergized with TACI in driving B-cell proliferation and plasma cell differentiation. All 3 receptors synergized together in driving murine B-cell proliferation, CSR, plasma cell differentiation, and IgG(1) and IgE secretion. TLR9 synergized with CD40 and TACI in driving IgG secretion in IL-4-stimulated human B cells.

Conclusion: Signals from TLR9, TACI, and CD40 are integrated to promote B-cell activation and differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2011.04.052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3164940PMC
September 2011

Increased BCMA expression in lupus marks activated B cells, and BCMA receptor engagement enhances the response to TLR9 stimulation.

Autoimmunity 2011 Mar 20;44(2):69-81. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) and APRoliferation inducing ligand (APRIL) are members of the TNF superfamily that regulate B-cell survival and autoreactivity. To further understand the significance of elevated BLyS and APRIL in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we examined the expression profiles of their receptors (B-cell-activating factor (BAFF)-R, transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor, and B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)) on B-cell subsets in SLE and also investigated the differential expression and function of BCMA in TLR9-induced B-cell activation. While BAFF-R expression on SLE B cells was significantly lower compared to healthy control B cells (p = 0.003), BCMA expression was substantially higher on SLE B cells (p = 0.038), especially on memory cells and plasmablasts. BCMA(+) cells had higher CD19 and CD86 expression, indicating a greater degree of activation in both healthy and lupus patients. CpG stimulation increased BCMA expression on B cells and induced the proliferation and maturation of BCMA(+) B cells. A BCMA agonistic antibody also enhanced CpG-induced proliferation, activation, and IgG secretion by B cells in both healthy controls and lupus patients. Furthermore, the agonistic BCMA antibody co-stimulated auto-antibody production by CpG-stimulated lupus B cells in vitro. Signaling through BCMA enhances B cell activation following exposure to TLR9 agonists, and increased expression in SLE may contribute to the production of IgG autoantibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/08916934.2010.509122DOI Listing
March 2011

IL-31 receptor (IL-31RA) knockout mice exhibit elevated responsiveness to oncostatin M.

J Immunol 2010 Nov 18;185(10):6023-30. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Department of Immunology, ZymoGenetics Inc., Seattle, WA 98102, USA.

IL-31 signals through the heterodimeric receptor IL-31RA and oncostatin M receptor (OSMR), and has been linked with the development of atopic dermatitis, a Th2 cytokine-associated disease in humans. However, recent studies of IL-31RA knockout (KO) mice have suggested that IL-31 signaling may be required to negatively regulate Th2 type responses rather than exacerbate them. Because those studies were performed on genetically modified mice, we examined whether neutralizing IL-31 with a specific mAb would give similar results to IL-31RA KO mice in two Th2 cytokine-associated immune models. We report no difference in lymphocyte Th2-type cytokine production after Ag immunization between IL-31RA KO mice, mice treated with the IL-31 mAb, or control animals. Second, we tested whether the absence of the IL-31RA subunit in IL-31RA KO mice may allow for increased pairing of the OSMR subunit with another cytokine receptor, gp130, resulting in overrepresentation of the heterodimeric receptor for OSM and increased responsiveness to OSM protein. We found that intranasal OSM challenge of IL-31RA KO mice resulted in increased IL-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor production in the lung compared with wild-type littermate control animals. Moreover, PBS-challenged IL-31RA KO mice already had increased levels of vascular endothelial growth factor, which were further increased by OSM challenge. These data imply that IL-31RA-deficient mice produce increased levels of OSM-inducible cytokines during airway sensitization and challenge, which may be the driving force behind the apparent exacerbation of Th2-type inflammatory responses previously observed in these mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.0902769DOI Listing
November 2010

The C104R mutant impairs the function of transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) through haploinsufficiency.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010 Dec;126(6):1234-41.e2

Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Background: TNFRSF13B, which encodes transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI), is mutated in 10% of patients with common variable immunodeficiency. One of the 2 most common TACI mutations in common variable immunodeficiency, C104R, abolishes ligand binding and is found predominantly in the heterozygous state. The murine TACI mutant C76R is the equivalent of the human TACI mutant C104R.

Objective: We sought to define the consequence of the C76R mutation on TACI function in mice that express both wild-type TACI and the murine C76R mutant.

Methods: Transgenic mice that express murine TACI C76R, the counterpart of human TACI C104R, on the TACI(+/-) B6/129 background (C76R/TACI(+/-) mice) were constructed. Serum immunoglobulins and antibody responses to the type II T-independent antigen trinitrophenylated (TNP)-Ficoll were determined by means of ELISA. B-cell proliferation in response to a proliferation-inducing ligand was determined based on tritiated thymidine incorporation into DNA. IgG1 secretion by B cells in response to a proliferation-inducing ligand plus IL-4 was determined by means of ELISA.

Results: C76R/TACI(+/-) mice had significantly impaired antibody responses to the type II T-independent antigen TNP-Ficoll compared with TACI(+/+) B6/129 control animals, and their B cells were impaired in their capacity to proliferate and secrete IgG1 in response to TACI ligation. Unexpectedly, TACI(+/-) mice had similarly impaired B-cell function as C76R/TACI(+/-) littermates. Impaired TACI function caused by haploinsufficiency was confirmed in TACI(+/-) mice on the C57BL/6 background.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the human TACI mutant C104R might impair TACI function in heterozygotes through haploinsufficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2010.08.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122265PMC
December 2010

B-lymphocyte stimulator/a proliferation-inducing ligand heterotrimers are elevated in the sera of patients with autoimmune disease and are neutralized by atacicept and B-cell maturation antigen-immunoglobulin.

Arthritis Res Ther 2010 19;12(2):R48. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Preclinical Research and Development, ZymoGenetics, Inc, 1201 Eastlake Ave East, Seattle, WA 98102, USA.

Introduction: B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family that regulate B-cell maturation, survival, and function. They are overexpressed in a variety of autoimmune diseases and reportedly exist in vivo not only as homotrimers, but also as BLyS/APRIL heterotrimers.

Methods: A proprietary N-terminal trimerization domain was used to produce recombinant BLyS/APRIL heterotrimers. Heterotrimer biologic activity was compared with that of BLyS and APRIL in a 4-hour signaling assay by using transmembrane activator and CAML interactor (TACI)-transfected Jurkat cells and in a 4-day primary human B-cell proliferation assay. A bead-based immunoassay was developed to quantify native heterotrimers in human sera from healthy donors (n = 89) and patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; n = 89) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA; n = 30). Heterotrimer levels were compared with BLyS and APRIL homotrimer levels in a subset of these samples.

Results: The recombinant heterotrimers consisted mostly of one BLyS and two APRIL molecules. Heterotrimer signaling did not show any significant difference compared with APRIL in the TACI-Jurkat assay. Heterotrimers were less-potent inducers of B-cell proliferation than were homotrimeric BLyS or APRIL (EC(50), nMol/L: BLyS, 0.02; APRIL, 0.17; heterotrimers, 4.06). The soluble receptor fusion proteins atacicept and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-immunoglobulin (Ig) neutralized the activity of BLyS, APRIL, and heterotrimers in both cellular assays, whereas B-cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family receptor (BAFF-R)-Ig neutralized only the activity of BLyS. In human sera, significantly more patients with SLE had detectable BLyS (67% versus 18%; P < 0.0001), APRIL (38% versus 3%; P < 0.0002), and heterotrimer (27% versus 8%; P = 0.0013) levels compared with healthy donors. Significantly more patients with RA had detectable APRIL, but not BLyS or heterotrimer, levels compared with healthy donors (83% versus 3%; P < 0.0001). Heterotrimer levels weakly correlated with BLyS, but not APRIL, levels.

Conclusions: Recombinant BLyS/APRIL heterotrimers have biologic activity and are inhibited by atacicept and BCMA-Ig, but not by BAFF-R-Ig. A novel immunoassay demonstrated that native BLyS/APRIL heterotrimers, as well as BLyS and APRIL homotrimers, are elevated in patients with autoimmune diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/ar2959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2888197PMC
September 2010

The murine equivalent of the A181E TACI mutation associated with common variable immunodeficiency severely impairs B-cell function.

Blood 2009 Sep 15;114(11):2254-62. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Division of Immunology, Children's Hospital and Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

TNFRSF13B, which encodes TACI (transmembrane activator and calcium-modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor), is mutated in 10% of patients with common variable immune deficiency (CVID). One of the 2 most common TACI mutations in CVID, A181E, introduces a negative charge into the transmembrane domain. To define the consequence of the A181E mutation on TACI function, we studied the effect of its murine equivalent, mTACI A144E, on TACI signaling in transfected cells and on TACI function in transgenic mice. The mTACI A144E mutant, like its human TACI A181E counterpart, was expressed on the surface of 293T transfectants and was able to bind ligand, but exhibited impaired constitutive and ligand-induced NF kappaB signaling. In addition, constitutive and ligand-induced clustering of the intracellular domain was deficient for A144E as measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Transgenic mice expressing the A144E mutant on TACI(-/-) background had low serum IgA levels and significantly impaired antibody responses to the type II T-independent antigen TNP-Ficoll. B cells from A144E transgenic mice were impaired in their capacity to proliferate and secrete IgG1 and IgA in response to TACI ligation. These results suggest that mTACI A144E mutation and its human counterpart, A181E, disrupt TACI signaling and impair TACI-dependent B-cell functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-11-189720DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2745845PMC
September 2009

APRIL and TACI interact with syndecan-1 on the surface of multiple myeloma cells to form an essential survival loop.

Eur J Haematol 2009 Aug 30;83(2):119-29. Epub 2009 May 30.

CHU Montpellier, Institute of Research in Biotherapy, Montpellier, France.

BLyS and APRIL share two receptors - transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) - and BLyS binds to a third receptor, BAFF-R. We previously reported that TACI gene expression is a good indicator of a BLyS-binding receptor in human multiple myeloma cell lines (HMCLs), unlike BCMA, which is expressed by all HMCLs or BAFF-R which is typically not expressed by late-stage B cells. We hypothesised a link between APRIL and TACI through syndecan-1, similar to the situation reported for FGF and FGFR. We observed very strong binding of APRIL, but not BLyS, at the surface of all syndecan-1(+) HMCLs and primary multiple myeloma cells (MMC). All syndecan-1(+) HMCLs and MMC could also bind TACI-Fc, but not BCMA-Fc or BAFF-R-Fc molecules. Binding of APRIL or TACI-Fc was abrogated by heparin or cell pretreatment with heparitinase, which cleaves heparan sulfate chains. The growth factor activity of APRIL on MMC was also inhibited by heparin. Our data identify syndecan-1 as a co-receptor for APRIL and TACI at the cell surface of MMC, promoting the activation of an APRIL/TACI pathway that induces survival and proliferation in MMC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0609.2009.01262.xDOI Listing
August 2009

Genetic variation in B-cell-activating factor is associated with an increased risk of developing B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Cancer Res 2009 May 21;69(10):4217-24. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Elevated B-cell-activating factor (BAFF; TNFSF13B) levels have been found in patients with B-cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases, suggesting that it may play a pathogenic role. We previously found that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the TNFSF13B promoter resulted in increased transcription, suggesting that genetic variation in TNFSF13B may influence its expression. We therefore wanted to determine if genetic variation in TNFSF13B is associated with high BAFF levels and non-Hogkin lymphoma (NHL) risk. We genotyped 9 tagSNPs within TNFSF13B in a clinic-based study of 441 NHL cases and 475 matched controls and evaluated the association of individual SNPs with risk of NHL; 3 tagSNPs were significant (P < 0.05). When categorized into low-, moderate-, and high-risk groups based on risk alleles, we found the permutation-corrected odds ratio for the trend to be 1.43 (P = 0.0019) for risk of B-cell NHL, 1.69 (P = 0.0093) for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 1.43 (P = 0.029) for follicular lymphoma, and 1.06 (P = 0.21) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. The mean serum BAFF level in those who carried the low-risk alleles was 2 ng/mL compared with 4.3 ng/mL in those with the high-risk alleles (P = 0.02). Taken together, our data suggest that genetic variation in the TNFSF13B gene is significantly associated with NHL risk and elevated serum BAFF levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2743448PMC
May 2009

A proliferation-inducing ligand mediates follicular lymphoma B-cell proliferation and cyclin D1 expression through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-regulated mammalian target of rapamycin activation.

Blood 2009 May 25;113(21):5206-16. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), as well as its receptors transmembrane activator and calcium-modulating cyclophilin ligand (CAML) interactor (TACI) and B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), has been shown to be important in B-cell biology, and overexpression of APRIL in mice results in development of lymphoma. Limited data are available on APRIL-specific signaling responses, but knockout models suggest that signaling through TACI is critical to B-cell homeostasis. To better understand the mechanism by which APRIL exerts its effects and how it may contribute to lymphomagenesis, we sought to characterize the outcome of APRIL-TACI interactions. In support of murine studies, we find that APRIL induces proliferation of human patient follicular lymphoma (FL) B cells in a TACI-dependent manner. This study also shows that APRIL is expressed within the tumor microenvironment and that, upon engagement with TACI, APRIL mediates activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Activation of PI3K via APRIL results in phosphorylation of Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the mTOR-specific substrates p70S6 kinase and 4E-binding protein 1 in a TACI-dependent manner. APRIL-mediated signaling also results in phosphorylation of Rb and up-regulation of cyclin D1. These studies are the first to characterize APRIL-TACI-specific signaling and suggest a role for this ligand-receptor pair in FL B-cell growth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-09-179762DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686190PMC
May 2009

Serum BLyS levels increase after rituximab as initial therapy in patients with follicular Grade 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Am J Hematol 2009 Feb;84(2):71-3

Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

Serum B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) levels are elevated in a subset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients, particularly those with a family history of B-cell malignancies or a polymorphism in the BLyS gene. BLyS promotes growth of malignant B-cells and increased serum BLyS levels are associated with a poor clinical outcome. In this study, BLyS levels were measured before and after 4 weekly doses of rituximab in 30 patients with previously untreated follicular Grade 1 NHL. A significant increase was seen in the serum levels of BLyS (P = 0.0001) after rituximab therapy. The increase was independent of genetic variability in the BLyS gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.21328DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2774736PMC
February 2009

Cutting edge: the dependence of plasma cells and independence of memory B cells on BAFF and APRIL.

J Immunol 2008 Mar;180(6):3655-9

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth Medical School, The Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.

Memory B (B(MEM)) cells and long-lived bone marrow plasma cells (BM-PCs) persist within local environmental survival niches that afford cellular longevity. However, the factors supporting B(MEM) cell survival within the secondary lymphoid organs and allowing BM-PC persistence in the bone marrow remain poorly characterized. We report herein that long-lived B(MEM) cell survival and function are completely independent of BAFF (B cell-activating factor of the TNF family) or APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand). Thus, B(MEM) cells represent the only mature B2 lineage subset whose survival is independent of these ligands. We have previously shown that the TNFR family member receptor BCMA (B cell maturation Ag) is a critical survival receptor for BM-PC survival in vivo. We identify in this study the ligands critical for BM-PC survival and show that either BAFF or APRIL supports the survival of BM-PCs in vivo. These data define the BAFF/APRIL-dependent and -independent components of long-lived humoral immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.180.6.3655DOI Listing
March 2008

Phase I clinical study of atacicept in patients with relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2008 Feb;14(4):1105-10

Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

Purpose: B-lymphocyte stimulator and a proliferation-inducing ligand regulate B-cell homeostasis and immunoglobulin production and are overexpressed in B-cell malignancies. Atacicept (TACI-Ig), a recombinant fusion protein that inhibits both B-lymphocyte stimulator and a proliferation-inducing ligand, may be a novel treatment for B-cell malignancies.

Experimental Design: A phase 1, open-label, dose-escalation study of atacicept in patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma was done. Atacicept was given s.c. weekly for 5 weeks to sequential patient cohorts at doses of 2, 4, 7, or 10 mg/kg. Patients responding or with stable disease were eligible for treatment on an extension study for up to 24 weeks or until disease progression.

Results: All patients were heavily pretreated (median number of previous treatments, 5; range, 1-10), and four patients had previously received a stem cell transplant. Four patients were treated at the 2, 4, or 7 mg/kg dose levels, and three patients received 10 mg/kg of atacicept. Atacicept was well tolerated at all doses. Three adverse events with grade 3 severity were reported for one patient, including jaw pain, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and sepsis; all were considered unrelated to atacicept. Pharmacokinetic results were nonlinear, and treatment with atacicept resulted in dose-dependent decreases in immunoglobulin concentrations. Two patients had stable disease at 8 weeks, entered the extension study, and received additional doses of atacicept with no safety or tolerability concerns.

Conclusion: Atacicept at doses of up to 10 mg/kg was well tolerated and showed biological activity by decreasing immunoglobulin concentrations, although tumor responses were not observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-4435DOI Listing
February 2008

Hodgkin lymphoma cells express TACI and BCMA receptors and generate survival and proliferation signals in response to BAFF and APRIL.

Blood 2007 Jan 7;109(2):729-39. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Medical College, Cornell University, 1300 York Ave, Rm C-410, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) originates from the clonal expansion of malignant Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells. These B-cell-derived elements constitute less than 10% of the tumoral mass. The remaining tissue is comprised of an inflammatory infiltrate that includes myeloid cells. Myeloid cells activate B cells by producing BAFF and APRIL, which engage TACI, BCMA, and BAFF-R receptors on the B cells. Here, we studied the role of BAFF and APRIL in HL. Inflammatory and HRS cells from HL tumors expressed BAFF and APRIL. Unlike their putative germinal center B-cell precursors, HRS cells lacked BAFF-R, but expressed TACI and BCMA, a phenotype similar to that of plasmacytoid B cells. BAFF and APRIL enhanced HRS cell survival and proliferation by delivering nonredundant signals via TACI and BCMA receptors through both autocrine and paracrine pathways. These signals caused NF-kappaB activation; Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and c-Myc up-regulation; and Bax down-regulation, and were amplified by APRIL-binding proteoglycans on HRS cells. Interruption of BAFF and APRIL signaling by TACI-Ig decoy receptor, which binds to and neutralizes BAFF and APRIL, or by small-interfering RNAs targeting BAFF, APRIL, TACI, and BCMA inhibited HRS cell accumulation in vitro and might attenuate HL expansion in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2006-04-015958DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785096PMC
January 2007