Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous and fatal disease of the lung vasculature, where metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction may drive pathogenesis. Similar to the Warburg effect in cancer, a shift from mitochondrial oxidation to glycolysis occurs in diseased pulmonary vessels and the right ventricle. However, appreciation of metabolic events in PH beyond the Warburg effect is only just emerging. This Review discusses molecular, translational, and clinical concepts centered on the mitochondria and highlights promising, controversial, and challenging areas of investigation. If we can move beyond the “mountains” of obstacles in this field and elucidate these fundamental tenets of pulmonary vascular metabolism, such work has the potential to usher in much-needed diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the mitochondrial and metabolic management of PH.
Miranda K. Culley, Stephen Y. Chan
Current immune checkpoint-modulating agents have demonstrated clinical efficacy in certain tumor types, particularly those with a high burden of tumor-specific neoantigens, high tumor-mutational burden, and abundant tumor-infiltrating T cells. However, these tumors often stop responding, with signs of T cells exhaustion, decreased T cell effector function, and upregulated inhibitory checkpoints. To enhance antitumor immunity and rescue exhausted T cells, newer inhibitory and stimulatory checkpoint modulators are being tested as monotherapy or in combination with approved checkpoint inhibitors. In contrast, tumors with low tumor-mutational burden, low neoantigen burden, and a paucity of T cells are immunologically “cold,” and therefore first require the addition of agents to facilitate the induction of T cells into tumors. Cold tumors also often recruit immunosuppressive cell subsets, including regulatory T cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and macrophages, and secrete immunosuppressive soluble cytokines, chemokines, and metabolites. To unleash an optimal antitumor immune response, combinatorial therapeutics that combine immune checkpoints with other modalities, such as vaccines, are being developed. From current preclinical data, it appears that combinatorial strategies will provide robust and durable responses in patients with immunologically cold cancers.
Aleksandra Popovic, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Neeha Zaidi
The biological basis of human aging remains one of the greatest unanswered scientific questions. Increasing evidence, however, points to a role for alterations in mitochondrial function as a potential central regulator of the aging process. Here, we focus primarily on three aspects of mitochondrial biology that link this ancient organelle to how and why we age. In particular, we discuss the role of mitochondria in regulating the innate immune system, the mechanisms linking mitochondrial quality control to age-dependent pathology, and the possibility that mitochondrial-to-nuclear signaling might regulate the rate of aging.
Jiyong Yang, Arnon Blum, Jie Liu, Toren Finkel
Remodeling of mitochondrial metabolism plays an important role in regulating immune cell fate, proliferation, and activity. Furthermore, given their bacterial ancestry, disruption in mitochondrial fidelity leading to extravasation of their content initiates and amplifies innate immune surveillance with a myriad of physiologic and pathologic consequences. Investigations into the role of mitochondria in the immune system have come to the fore, and appreciation of mitochondrial function and quality control in immune regulation has enhanced our understanding of disease pathogenesis and identified new targets for immune modulation. This mitochondria-centered Review focuses on the role of mitochondrial metabolism and fidelity, as well as the role of the mitochondria as a structural platform, for the control of immune cell polarity, activation, and signaling. Mitochondria-linked disease and mitochondrially targeted therapeutic strategies to manage these conditions are also discussed.
Michael N. Sack
The motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by recessive, loss-of-function mutations of the survival motor neuron 1 gene (SMN1). Alone, such mutations are embryonically lethal, but SMA patients retain a paralog gene, SMN2, that undergoes alternative pre-mRNA splicing, producing low levels of SMN protein. By mechanisms that are not well understood, reduced expression of the ubiquitously expressed SMN protein causes an early-onset motor neuron disease that often results in infantile or childhood mortality. Recently, striking clinical improvements have resulted from two novel treatment strategies to increase SMN protein by (a) modulating the splicing of existing SMN2 pre-mRNAs using antisense oligonucleotides, and (b) transducing motor neurons with self-complementary adeno-associated virus 9 (scAAV9) expressing exogenous SMN1 cDNA. We review the recently published clinical trial results and discuss the differing administration, tissue targeting, and potential toxicities of these two therapies. We also focus on the challenges that remain, emphasizing the many clinical and biologic questions that remain open. Answers to these questions will enable further optimization of these remarkable SMA treatments as well as provide insights that may well be useful in application of these therapeutic platforms to other diseases.
Charlotte J. Sumner, Thomas O. Crawford
Leukotrienes are powerful immune-regulating lipid mediators with established pathogenic roles in inflammatory allergic diseases of the respiratory tract — in particular, asthma and hay fever. More recent work indicates that these lipids also contribute to low-grade inflammation, a hallmark of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases as well as cancer. Biosynthesis of leukotrienes involves oxidative metabolism of arachidonic acid and proceeds via a set of soluble and membrane enzymes that are primarily expressed by cells of myeloid origin. In activated immune cells, these enzymes assemble at the endoplasmic and perinuclear membrane, constituting a biosynthetic complex. This Review describes recent advances in our understanding of the components of the leukotriene-synthesizing enzyme machinery, emerging opportunities for pharmacological intervention, and the development of new medicines exploiting both antiinflammatory and pro-resolving mechanisms.
Jesper Z. Haeggström
Aging is defined as the progressive deterioration of physiological function with age. Incidence of many pathologies increases with age, including neurological and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Aging tissues become less adaptable and renewable, and cells undergo senescence, a process by which they “irreversibly” stop dividing. Senescence has been shown to serve as a tumor suppression mechanism with clear desirable effects. However, senescence also has deleterious consequences, especially for cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune systems. Sphingolipids are a major class of lipids that regulate cell biology, owing to their structural and bioactive properties and diversity. Their involvement in the regulation of aging and senescence has been demonstrated and studied in multiple organisms and cell types, especially that of ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate; ceramide induces cellular senescence and sphingosine-1–phosphate delays it. These discoveries could be very useful in the future to understand aging mechanisms and improve therapeutic interventions.
Magali Trayssac, Yusuf A. Hannun, Lina M. Obeid
Non-resolving inflammation drives the development of clinically dangerous atherosclerotic lesions by promoting sustained plaque inflammation, large necrotic cores, thin fibrous caps, and thrombosis. Resolution of inflammation is not merely a passive return to homeostasis, but rather an active process mediated by specific molecules, including fatty acid–derived specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). In advanced atherosclerosis, there is an imbalance between levels of SPMs and proinflammatory lipid mediators, which results in sustained leukocyte influx into lesions, inflammatory macrophage polarization, and impaired efferocytosis. In animal models of advanced atherosclerosis, restoration of SPMs limits plaque progression by suppressing inflammation, enhancing efferocytosis, and promoting an increase in collagen cap thickness. This Review discusses the roles of non-resolving inflammation in atherosclerosis and highlights the unique therapeutic potential of SPMs in blocking the progression of clinically dangerous plaques.
Canan Kasikara, Amanda C. Doran, Bishuang Cai, Ira Tabas
Chronic inflammation is an underlying feature of many diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. There is an increasing appreciation of the dysregulation of adaptive immunity in chronic inflammatory and allergic diseases. The discovery of specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) that actively promote the resolution of inflammation has opened new avenues for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Much work has been done focusing on the impact of SPMs on innate immune cells. However, much less is known about the influence of SPMs on the development of antigen-specific adaptive immune responses. This Review highlights the important breakthroughs concerning the effects of SPMs on the key cell types involved in the development of adaptive immunity, namely dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells.
Parker F. Duffney, Megan L. Falsetta, Ashley R. Rackow, Thomas H. Thatcher, Richard P. Phipps, Patricia J. Sime
Precision medicine seeks to treat disease with molecular specificity. Advances in genome sequence analysis, gene delivery, and genome surgery have allowed clinician-scientists to treat genetic conditions at the level of their pathology. As a result, progress in treating retinal disease using genetic tools has advanced tremendously over the past several decades. Breakthroughs in gene delivery vectors, both viral and nonviral, have allowed the delivery of genetic payloads in preclinical models of retinal disorders and have paved the way for numerous successful clinical trials. Moreover, the adaptation of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome engineering have enabled the correction of both recessive and dominant pathogenic alleles, expanding the disease-modifying power of gene therapies. Here, we highlight the translational progress of gene therapy and genome editing of several retinal disorders, including RPE65-, CEP290-, and GUY2D-associated Leber congenital amaurosis, as well as choroideremia, achromatopsia, Mer tyrosine kinase– (MERTK–) and RPGR X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, Usher syndrome, neovascular age-related macular degeneration, X-linked retinoschisis, Stargardt disease, and Leber hereditary optic neuropathy.
James E. DiCarlo, Vinit B. Mahajan, Stephen H. Tsang
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