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Cells ; 10(10)2021 10 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480599


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) constitute a plastic and heterogeneous cell population among immune cells within the tumour microenvironment (TME) that support cancer progression and resistance to therapy. During tumour progression, cancer cells modify their metabolism to sustain an increased energy demand to cope with uncontrolled cell proliferation and differentiation. This metabolic reprogramming of cancer establishes competition for nutrients between tumour cells and leukocytes and most importantly, among tumour-infiltrating immune cells. Thus, MDSCs that have emerged as one of the most decisive immune regulators of TME exhibit an increase in glycolysis and fatty acid metabolism and also an upregulation of enzymes that catabolise essential metabolites. This complex metabolic network is not only crucial for MDSC survival and accumulation in the TME but also for enhancing immunosuppressive functions toward immune effectors. In this review, we discuss recent progress in the field of MDSC-associated metabolic pathways that could facilitate therapeutic targeting of these cells during cancer progression.

Immunosuppression Therapy , Metabolic Networks and Pathways , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/immunology , Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells/metabolism , Tumor Microenvironment/immunology , Animals , Humans , Molecular Targeted Therapy , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/pathology , Neoplasms/therapy
Cell Death Differ ; 29(2): 420-438, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406388


Inflammatory responses rapidly detect pathogen invasion and mount a regulated reaction. However, dysregulated anti-pathogen immune responses can provoke life-threatening inflammatory pathologies collectively known as cytokine release syndrome (CRS), exemplified by key clinical phenotypes unearthed during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The underlying pathophysiology of CRS remains elusive. We found that FLIP, a protein that controls caspase-8 death pathways, was highly expressed in myeloid cells of COVID-19 lungs. FLIP controlled CRS by fueling a STAT3-dependent inflammatory program. Indeed, constitutive expression of a viral FLIP homolog in myeloid cells triggered a STAT3-linked, progressive, and fatal inflammatory syndrome in mice, characterized by elevated cytokine output, lymphopenia, lung injury, and multiple organ dysfunctions that mimicked human CRS. As STAT3-targeting approaches relieved inflammation, immune disorders, and organ failures in these mice, targeted intervention towards this pathway could suppress the lethal CRS inflammatory state.

COVID-19/physiopathology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/etiology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/metabolism , Inflammation/metabolism , STAT3 Transcription Factor/metabolism , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Caspase 8/metabolism , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , STAT3 Transcription Factor/genetics , Signal Transduction
J Clin Invest ; 130(12): 6409-6416, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011054


BACKGROUNDPatients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) develop pneumonia generally associated with lymphopenia and a severe inflammatory response due to uncontrolled cytokine release. These mediators are transcriptionally regulated by the JAK/STAT signaling pathways, which can be disabled by small molecules.METHODSWe treated a group of patients (n = 20) with baricitinib according to an off-label use of the drug. The study was designed as an observational, longitudinal trial and approved by the local ethics committee. The patients were treated with 4 mg baricitinib twice daily for 2 days, followed by 4 mg per day for the remaining 7 days. Changes in the immune phenotype and expression of phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3) in blood cells were evaluated and correlated with serum-derived cytokine levels and antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (anti-SARS-CoV-2). In a single treated patient, we also evaluated the alteration of myeloid cell functional activity.RESULTSWe provide evidence that patients treated with baricitinib had a marked reduction in serum levels of IL-6, IL-1ß, and TNF-α, a rapid recovery of circulating T and B cell frequencies, and increased antibody production against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, all of which were clinically associated with a reduction in the need for oxygen therapy and a progressive increase in the P/F (PaO2, oxygen partial pressure/FiO2, fraction of inspired oxygen) ratio.CONCLUSIONThese data suggest that baricitinib prevented the progression to a severe, extreme form of the viral disease by modulating the patients' immune landscape and that these changes were associated with a safer, more favorable clinical outcome for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.TRIAL NCT04438629.FUNDINGThis work was supported by the Fondazione Cariverona (ENACT Project) and the Fondazione TIM.

Azetidines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Off-Label Use , Purines/administration & dosage , Pyrazoles/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2 , Sulfonamides/administration & dosage , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , B-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cytokines/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Severity of Illness Index , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , T-Lymphocytes/pathology