Epiontis

Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

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Sehouli J.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Loddenkemper C.,TU Munich | Cornu T.,Epiontis | Schwachula T.,Epiontis | And 10 more authors.
Epigenetics | Year: 2011

The immune system plays a pivotal role in tumor establishment. However, the role of T-lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment as major cellular component of the adaptive effector immune response and their counterpart, regulatory T cells (Treg), responsible for suppressive immune modulation, is not completely understood. This is partly due to the lack of reliable technical solutions for specific cell quantification in solid tissues. Previous reports indicated that epigenetic marks of immune cells, such as the Treg specifically demethylated region (TSDR) within the FOXP3 gene, may be exploited as robust analytical tool for Treg-quantification. Here, we expand the concept of epigenetic immunophenotyping to overall T-lymphocytes (oTL). This tool allows cell quantification with at least equivalent precision to FACS and is adoptable for analysis of blood and solid tissues. Based on this method, we analyze the frequency of Treg, oTL and their ratio in independent cohorts of healthy and tumorous ovarian, colorectal and bronchial tissues with 616 partly donor-matched samples. We find a shift of the median ratio of Treg-to-oTL from 3-8% in healthy tissue to 18-25% in all tumor entities. Epigenetically determined oTL frequencies correlate with the outcome of colorectal and ovarian cancers. Together, our data show that the composition of immune cells in tumor microenvironments can be quantitatively assessed by epigenetic measurements. This composition is disturbed in solid tumors, indicating a fundamental mechanism of tumor immune evasion. Epigenetic quantification of T-lymphocytes serves as independent clinical parameter for outcome prognosis. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.


PubMed | San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Stanford University and Epiontis
Type: | Journal: Clinical and translational allergy | Year: 2015

The FOXP3 gene is the master regulator for T regulatory cells and is under tight DNA methylation control at the Treg specific demethylated region (TSDR) in its first intron. This said, methylation of its promoter region, the significance of which is unknown, has also been associated with various immune-related disease states such as asthma, food allergy, auto-immunity and cancer. Here, we used induced T regulatory cells (iTreg) as a target cell population to identify candidate hypomethylated CpG sites in the FOXP3 gene promoter to design a DNA methylation quantitative assay for this region.Three CpG sites at the promoter region showed clear demethylation pattern associated with high FOXP3 expression after activation in presence of TGF and were selected as primary targets to design methylation-dependent RT-PCR primers and probes. We then examined the methylation of this inducible-promoter-demethylated-region (IPDR) in various FOXP3+ T cell subsets. Both nave and memory thymic-derived Treg cells were found to be fully demethylated at both the IPDR and TSDR. Interestingly, in addition to iTregs, both CD25- and CD25(lo) conventional memory CD4+CD45RA- T cells displayed a high fraction of IPDR demethylated cells in absence of TSDR demethylation.This implies that the fraction of memory T cells should be taken in account when interpreting FOXP3 promoter methylation results from clinical studies. This approach, which is available for testing in clinical samples could have diagnostic and prognostic value in patients with immune or auto-inflammatory diseases.


Pohla H.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Pohla H.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Buchner A.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Stadlbauer B.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 16 more authors.
Molecular Medicine | Year: 2012

Our previously reported phase I clinical trial with the allogeneic gene-modified tumor cell line RCC-26/CD80/IL-2 showed that vaccination was well tolerated and feasible in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients. Substantial disease stabilization was observed in most patients despite a high tumor burden at study entry. To investigate alterations in immune responses that might contribute to this effect, we performed an extended immune monitoring that included analysis of reactivity against multiple antigens, cytokine/chemokine changes in serum and determination of the frequencies of immune suppressor cell populations, including natural regulatory T cells (nTregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cell subsets (MDSCs). An overall immune response capacity to virus-derived control peptides was present in 100% of patients before vaccination. Vaccine-induced immune responses to tumor-associated antigens occurred in 75% of patients, demonstrating the potent immune stimulatory capacity of this generic vaccine. Furthermore, some patients reacted to peptide epitopes of antigens not expressed by the vaccine, showing that epitope-spreading occurred in vivo. Frequencies of nTregs and MDSCs were comparable to healthy donors at the beginning of study. A significant decrease of nTregs was detected after vaccination (p = 0.012). High immune response rates, decreased frequencies of nTregs and a mixed T helper 1/T helper 2 (TH1/TH2)-like cytokine pattern support the applicability of this RCC generic vaccine for use in combination therapies.


Noyan F.,Hannover Medical School | Lee Y.-S.,Hannover Medical School | Hardtke-Wolenski M.,Hannover Medical School | Knoefel A.-K.,Hannover Medical School | And 4 more authors.
Transplantation Proceedings | Year: 2013

CD4+CD25highFOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) can control allospecific immune responses in vitro and in titrated lymphopenic transplantation models. However, under non-lymphopenic conditions, as seen in patients with autoimmune diseases or after organ transplantation, polyspecific Tregs so far have been largely ineffective to control immune responses in animal models. Yet currently polyspecific CD4+CD25high Tregs are being tested in clinical trials. Donor materials are usually limited for the generation of donor-specific Tregs. Herein we have developed a method to produce large quantities of activated donor B cells by stimulation of donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells with 3T3 fibroblasts expressing CD40L. These activated donor B cells are potent stimulators of CD4+CD25high Tregs, which were expanded efficiently to inhibit an allo-MLR in donor-specific fashion. They were far more potent in inhibiting alloimmune responses in humanized mice compared with the polyspecific CD4+CD25high Tregs. Generation of donor-specific Tregs could be performed under good manufacturing practice conditions. Donor-reactive Tregs may be a valuable tool to control immune responses after transplantation a setting in which polyspecific Tregs have failed to date. © 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.

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