A pinboard by Preeyam Patel

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Jewish Health

Interested in T cell fate decisions during early life

Pinboard Summary

Early life microbial exposure can suppress allergies by promoting a balance among T cell subsets

Currently, an estimated 20% of the population worldwide suffers from an allergic disorder. Rates of allergies and asthma are disproportionately increased among children in industrialized countries compared to those in developing ones. The “hygiene hypothesis” suggests that these high rates of asthma are attributed to decreased exposure to microbes during early life.

Children are born with immune systems that are skewed towards being pro-allergic, which often times leads to them developing allergies and asthma. This allergic disposition is due to a skewing towards allergy-inducing T cells called TH2 cells. These TH2 cells can be suppressed or balanced out by other T cell subsets such as TH1 or regulatory T cells (Treg) that are stimulated by microbes. Although it is not possible to permanently alter the balance between these specialized T cell subsets (TH1, TH2, and Tregs) during adult life following the onset of asthma, it may be possible to do so during early life.

Unlike adult T cells, neonatal T cells exhibit a great deal of plasticity, and upon stimulation can become asthma-suppressing Tregs. Our laboratory has developed mice that express fluorescent reporters to track and identify TH1, TH2, and Tregs throughout development. I am currently interested in developing a microbe-derived vaccine or probiotic that will be administered during childhood to decrease the skewing towards a TH2 response and promote a balance among TH1, TH2, and Treg cells for the prevention of asthma.

19 items pinned

Neonatal exposure to pneumococcal phosphorylcholine modulates the development of house dust mite allergy during adult life.

Abstract: Currently, ∼20% of the global population suffers from an allergic disorder. Allergies and asthma occur at higher rates in developed and industrialized countries. It is clear that many human atopic diseases are initiated neonatally and herald more severe IgE-mediated disorders, including allergic asthma, which is driven by the priming of Th2 effector T cells. The hygiene hypothesis attempts to link the increased excessively sanitary conditions early in life to a default Th2 response and increasing allergic phenomena. Despite the substantial involvement of IgE Abs in such conditions, little attention has been paid to the effects of early microbial exposure on the B cell repertoire prior to the initiation of these diseases. In this study, we use Ab-binding assays to demonstrate that Streptococcus pneumoniae and house dust mite (HDM) bear similar phosphorylcholine (PC) epitopes. Neonatal C57BL/6 mice immunized with a PC-bearing pneumococcal vaccine expressed increased frequencies of PC-specific B cells in the lungs following sensitizing exposure to HDM as adults. Anti-PC IgM Abs in the lung decreased the interaction of HDM with pulmonary APCs and were affiliated with lowered allergy-associated cell infiltration into the lung, IgE production, development of airway hyperresponsiveness, and Th2 T cell priming. Thus, exposure of neonatal mice to PC-bearing pneumococci significantly reduced the development of HDM-induced allergic disease during adult life. Our findings demonstrate that B cells generated against conserved epitopes expressed by bacteria, encountered early in life, are also protective against the development of allergic disease during adult life.

Pub.: 10 May '15, Pinned: 01 Jul '17

The Neonatal CD8+ T Cell Repertoire Rapidly Diversifies during Persistent Viral Infection.

Abstract: CMV is the most common congenital infection in the United States. The major target of congenital CMV is the brain, with clinical manifestations including mental retardation, vision impairment, and sensorineural hearing loss. Previous reports have shown that CD8(+) T cells are required to control viral replication and significant numbers of CMV-specific CD8(+) T cells persist in the brain even after the initial infection has been cleared. However, the dynamics of CD8(+) T cells in the brain during latency remain largely undefined. In this report, we used TCR sequencing to track the development and maintenance of neonatal clonotypes in the brain and spleen of mice during chronic infection. Given the discontinuous nature of tissue-resident memory CD8(+) T cells, we hypothesized that neonatal TCR clonotypes would be locked in the brain and persist into adulthood. Surprisingly, we found that the Ag-specific T cell repertoire in neonatal-infected mice diversified during persistent infection in both the brain and spleen, while maintaining substantial similarity between the CD8(+) T cell populations in the brain and spleen in both early and late infection. However, despite the diversification of, and potential interchange between, the spleen and brain Ag-specific T cell repertoires, we observed that germline-encoded TCR clonotypes, characteristic of neonatal infection, persisted in the brain, albeit sometimes in low abundance. These results provide valuable insights into the evolution of CD8(+) T cell repertoires following neonatal CMV infection and thus have important implications for the development of therapeutic strategies to control CMV in early life.

Pub.: 15 Jan '16, Pinned: 30 Jun '17

"Default" generation of neonatal regulatory T cells.

Abstract: CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells were shown to control all aspects of immune responses. How these Treg cells develop is not fully defined, especially in neonates during development of the immune system. We studied the induction of Treg cells from neonatal T cells with various TCR stimulatory conditions, because TCR stimulation is required for Treg cell generation. Independent of the types of TCR stimulus and without the addition of exogenous TGF-beta, up to 70% of neonatal CD4(+)Foxp3(-) T cells became CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells, whereas generally <10% of adult CD4(+)Foxp3(-) T cells became CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells under the same conditions. These neonatal Treg cells exert suppressive function and display relatively stable Foxp3 expression. Importantly, this ability of Treg cell generation gradually diminishes within 2 wk of birth. Consistent with in vitro findings, the in vivo i.p. injection of anti-CD3 mAb to stimulate T cells also resulted in a >3-fold increase in Treg cells in neonates but not in adults. Furthermore, neonatal or adult Foxp3(-) T cells were adoptively transferred into Rag1(-/-) mice. Twelve days later, the frequency of CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T cells converted from neonatal cells was 6-fold higher than that converted from adult cells. Taken together, neonatal CD4(+) T cells have an intrinsic "default" mechanism to become Treg cells in response to TCR stimulations. This finding provides intriguing implications about neonatal immunity, Treg cell generation, and tolerance establishment early in life.

Pub.: 26 May '10, Pinned: 01 Jul '17

Early-life compartmentalization of human T cell differentiation and regulatory function in mucosal and lymphoid tissues.

Abstract: It is unclear how the immune response in early life becomes appropriately stimulated to provide protection while also avoiding excessive activation as a result of diverse new antigens. T cells are integral to adaptive immunity; mouse studies indicate that tissue localization of T cell subsets is important for both protective immunity and immunoregulation. In humans, however, the early development and function of T cells in tissues remain unexplored. We present here an analysis of lymphoid and mucosal tissue T cells derived from pediatric organ donors in the first two years of life, as compared to adult organ donors, revealing early compartmentalization of T cell differentiation and regulation. Whereas adult tissues contain a predominance of memory T cells, in pediatric blood and tissues the main subset consists of naive recent thymic emigrants, with effector memory T cells (T(EM)) found only in the lungs and small intestine. Additionally, regulatory T (T(reg)) cells comprise a high proportion (30-40%) of CD4(+) T cells in pediatric tissues but are present at much lower frequencies (1-10%) in adult tissues. Pediatric tissue T(reg) cells suppress endogenous T cell activation, and early T cell functionality is confined to the mucosal sites that have the lowest T(reg):T(EM) cell ratios, which suggests control in situ of immune responses in early life.

Pub.: 15 Dec '15, Pinned: 30 Jun '17