Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, IMMUN-PHD (2015)
Bachelor of Arts, University of California Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology (2006)
Chronic intestinal inflammation accompanies familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer in patients with this disease, but the cause of such inflammation is unknown. Because retinoic acid (RA) plays a critical role in maintaining immune homeostasis in the intestine, we hypothesized that altered RA metabolism contributes to inflammation and tumorigenesis in FAP. To assess this hypothesis, we analyzed RA metabolism in the intestines of patients with FAP as well as APC(Min/+) mice, a model that recapitulates FAP in most respects. We also investigated the impact of intestinal RA repletion and depletion on tumorigenesis and inflammation in APC(Min/+) mice. Tumors from both FAP patients and APC(Min/+) mice displayed striking alterations in RA metabolism that resulted in reduced intestinal RA. APC(Min/+) mice placed on a vitamin A-deficient diet exhibited further reductions in intestinal RA with concomitant increases in inflammation and tumor burden. Conversely, restoration of RA by pharmacologic blockade of the RA-catabolizing enzyme CYP26A1 attenuated inflammation and diminished tumor burden. To investigate the effect of RA deficiency on the gut immune system, we studied lamina propria dendritic cells (LPDC) because these cells play a central role in promoting tolerance. APC(Min/+) LPDCs preferentially induced Th17 cells, but reverted to inducing Tregs following restoration of intestinal RA in vivo or direct treatment of LPDCs with RA in vitro These findings demonstrate the importance of intestinal RA deficiency in tumorigenesis and suggest that pharmacologic repletion of RA could reduce tumorigenesis in FAP patients. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(11); 917-26. ©2016 AACR.
View details for PubMedID 27638841
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Although all-trans-retinoic acid (atRA) is a key regulator of intestinal immunity, its role in colorectal cancer (CRC) is unknown. We found that mice with colitis-associated CRC had a marked deficiency in colonic atRA due to alterations in atRA metabolism mediated by microbiota-induced intestinal inflammation. Human ulcerative colitis (UC), UC-associated CRC, and sporadic CRC specimens have similar alterations in atRA metabolic enzymes, consistent with reduced colonic atRA. Inhibition of atRA signaling promoted tumorigenesis, whereas atRA supplementation reduced tumor burden. The benefit of atRA treatment was mediated by cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells, which were activated due to MHCI upregulation on tumor cells. Consistent with these findings, increased colonic expression of the atRA-catabolizing enzyme, CYP26A1, correlated with reduced frequencies of tumoral cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells and with worse disease prognosis in human CRC. These results reveal a mechanism by which microbiota drive colon carcinogenesis and highlight atRA metabolism as a therapeutic target for CRC.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.08.008
View details for PubMedID 27590114
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5132405
Obesity-related inflammation of metabolic tissues, including visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and liver, are key factors in the development of insulin resistance (IR), though many of the contributing mechanisms remain unclear. We show that nucleic-acid-targeting pathways downstream of extracellular trap (ET) formation, unmethylated CpG DNA, or ribonucleic acids drive inflammation in IR. High-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice show increased release of ETs in VAT, decreased systemic clearance of ETs, and increased autoantibodies against conserved nuclear antigens. In HFD-fed mice, this excess of nucleic acids and related protein antigens worsens metabolic parameters through a number of mechanisms, including activation of VAT macrophages and expansion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in the liver. Consistently, HFD-fed mice lacking critical responders of nucleic acid pathways, Toll-like receptors (TLR)7 and TLR9, show reduced metabolic inflammation and improved glucose homeostasis. Treatment of HFD-fed mice with inhibitors of ET formation or a TLR7/9 antagonist improves metabolic disease. These findings reveal a pathogenic role for nucleic acid targeting as a driver of metabolic inflammation in IR.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.06.024
View details for PubMedID 27373163
The goals of the study were to elucidate the immune mechanisms that contribute to desirable complete remissions of murine colon tumors treated with single radiation dose of 30 Gy. This dose is at the upper end of the ablative range used clinically to treat advanced or metastatic colorectal, liver, and non-small cell lung tumors.Changes in the tumor immune microenvironment of single tumor nodules exposed to radiation were studied using 21-day (>1 cm in diameter) CT26 and MC38 colon tumors. These are well-characterized weakly immunogenic tumors.We found that the high-dose radiation transformed the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment resulting in an intense CD8(+) T-cell tumor infiltrate, and a loss of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). The change was dependent on antigen cross-presenting CD8(+) dendritic cells, secretion of IFNγ, and CD4(+)T cells expressing CD40L. Antitumor CD8(+) T cells entered tumors shortly after radiotherapy, reversed MDSC infiltration, and mediated durable remissions in an IFNγ-dependent manner. Interestingly, extended fractionated radiation regimen did not result in robust CD8(+) T-cell infiltration.For immunologically sensitive tumors, these results indicate that remissions induced by a short course of high-dose radiotherapy depend on the development of antitumor immunity that is reflected by the nature and kinetics of changes induced in the tumor cell microenvironment. These results suggest that systematic examination of the tumor immune microenvironment may help in optimizing the radiation regimen used to treat tumors by adding a robust immune response. Clin Cancer Res; 21(16); 3727-39. ©2015 AACR.
View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2824
View details for PubMedID 25869387
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4537844
In chronically inflamed tissues, such as those affected by autoimmune disease, activated Th cells often colocalize with monocytes. We investigate in this study how murine Th cells influence the phenotype and function of monocytes. The data demonstrate that Th1, Th2, and Th17 subsets promote the differentiation of autologous monocytes into MHC class II(+), CD11b(+), CD11c(+) DC that we call DCTh. Although all Th subsets induce the formation of DCTh, activated Th17 cells uniquely promote the formation of IL-12/IL-23-producing DCTh (DCTh17) that can polarize both naive and Th17 cells to a Th1 phenotype. In the inflamed CNS of mice with Th17-mediated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Th cells colocalize with DC, as well as monocytes, and the Th cells obtained from these lesions drive the formation of DCTh that are phenotypically indistinguishable from DCTh17 and polarize naive T cells toward a Th1 phenotype. These results suggest that DCTh17 are critical in the interplay of Th17- and Th1-mediated responses and may explain the previous finding that IL-17-secreting Th cells become IFN-γ-secreting Th1 cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and other autoimmune disorders.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1203201
View details for PubMedID 23794631
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Chronic inflammation characterized by T cell and macrophage infiltration of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is a hallmark of obesity-associated insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Here we show a fundamental pathogenic role for B cells in the development of these metabolic abnormalities. B cells accumulate in VAT in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice, and DIO mice lacking B cells are protected from disease despite weight gain. B cell effects on glucose metabolism are mechanistically linked to the activation of proinflammatory macrophages and T cells and to the production of pathogenic IgG antibodies. Treatment with a B cell-depleting CD20 antibody attenuates disease, whereas transfer of IgG from DIO mice rapidly induces insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Moreover, insulin resistance in obese humans is associated with a unique profile of IgG autoantibodies. These results establish the importance of B cells and adaptive immunity in insulin resistance and suggest new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for managing the disease.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nm.2353
View details for Web of Science ID 000290250400038
View details for PubMedID 21499269
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3270885
The most common preclinical models of pancreatic adenocarcinoma utilize human cells or tissues that are xenografted into immunodeficient hosts. Several immunocompetent, genetically engineered mouse models of pancreatic cancer exist; however, tumor latency and disease progression in these models are highly variable. We sought to develop an immunocompetent, orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic cancer with rapid and predictable growth kinetics.Cell lines with epithelial morphology were derived from liver metastases obtained from Kras(G12D/+);LSL-Trp53(R172H/+);Pdx-1-Cre mice. Tumor cells were implanted in the pancreas of immunocompetent, histocompatible B6/129 mice, and the mice were monitored for disease progression. Relevant tissues were harvested for histologic, genomic, and immunophenotypic analysis.All mice developed pancreatic tumors by two weeks. Invasive disease and liver metastases were noted by six to eight weeks. Histologic examination of tumors showed cytokeratin-19-positive adenocarcinoma with regions of desmoplasia. Genomic analysis revealed broad chromosomal changes along with focal gains and losses. Pancreatic tumors were infiltrated with dendritic cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, macrophages, and T lymphocytes. Survival was decreased in RAG(-/-) mice, which are deficient in T cells, suggesting that an adaptive immune response alters the course of disease in wild-type mice.We have developed a rapid, predictable orthotopic model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in immunocompetent mice that mimics human pancreatic cancer with regard to genetic mutations, histologic appearance, and pattern of disease progression. This model highlights both the complexity and relevance of the immune response to invasive pancreatic cancer and may be useful for the preclinical evaluation of new therapeutic agents.
View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2384
View details for Web of Science ID 000279903100017
View details for PubMedID 20534740
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3085509
The immune system is constantly exposed to dying cells, most of which arise during central tolerance and from effete circulating immune cells. Under homeostatic conditions, phagocytes (predominantly macrophages and dendritic cells) belonging to the innate immune system, rapidly ingest cells and their debris. Apoptotic cell removal requires recognition of altered self on the apoptotic membrane, a process which is facilitated by natural antibodies and serum opsonins. Recognition, may be site and context specific. Uptake and ingestion of apoptotic cells promotes an immunosuppressive environment that avoids inflammatory responses to self-antigens. However, it does not preclude a T cell response and it is likely that constant exposure to self-antigen, particularly by immature dendritic cells, leads to T cell tolerance. Tolerance occurs by several different mechanisms including anergy and deletion (for CD8+T cells) and induction of T regulatory cells (for CD4+T cells). Failed apoptotic cell clearance promotes immune responses to self-antigens, especially when the cellular contents are leaked from the cell (necrosis). Inflammatory responses may be induced by nucleic acid stimulation of Toll like receptors and other immune sensors, specific intracellular proteins and non-protein (uric acid) stimulation of inflammasomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jaut.2007.07.017
View details for Web of Science ID 000251338000015
View details for PubMedID 17888627
Vaccination of nonautoimmune prone mice with syngeneic dendritic cells (DC) readily induces anti-DNA autoantibodies but does not trigger systemic disease. We observed that anti-DNA autoantibody generation absolutely required alphabeta T cells and that gammadelta T cells also contributed to the response, but that regulatory T cells restrained autoantibody production. Although both NZB/W F(1) mice and DC vaccinated C57/BL6 mice produced autoantibodies against dsDNA, vaccinated mice had higher levels of Abs against H1 histone and lower levels of antinucleosome Abs than NZB/W F(1) mice. Despite a 100-fold increase in IL-12 and Th1 skewing to a foreign Ag, OVA, synergistic TLR activation of DC in vitro failed to augment anti-DNA Abs or promote class switching beyond that induced by LPS alone. TLR stimulation was not absolutely required for the initial loss of B cell tolerance because anti-DNA levels were similar when wild-type (WT) or MyD88-deficient DC were used for vaccination or WT and MyD88-deficient recipients were vaccinated with WT DC. In contrast, systemic administration of LPS, augmented anti-DNA Ab levels and promoted class switching, and this response was dependent on donor DC signaling via MyD88. LPS also augmented responses in the MyD88-deficient recipients, suggesting that LPS likely exerts its effects on both transferred DC and host B cells in vivo. These results indicate that both the alphabeta and gammadelta subsets are necessary for promoting autoantibody production by DC vaccination, and that although TLR/MyD88 signaling is not absolutely required for initiation, this pathway does promote augmentation, and Th1-mediated skewing, of anti-DNA autoantibodies.
View details for Web of Science ID 000250388000026
View details for PubMedID 17947655