Auto-aggressive CXCR6 CD8 T cells cause liver immune pathology in NASH.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a manifestation of systemic metabolic disease related to obesity, and causes liver disease and cancer. The accumulation of metabolites leads to cell stress and inflammation in the liver, but mechanistic understandings of liver damage in NASH are incomplete. Here, using a preclinical mouse model that displays key features of human NASH (hereafter, NASH mice), we found an indispensable role for T cells in liver immunopathology. We detected the hepatic accumulation of CD8 T cells with phenotypes that combined tissue residency (CXCR6) with effector (granzyme) and exhaustion (PD1) characteristics. Liver CXCR6 CD8 T cells were characterized by low activity of the FOXO1 transcription factor, and were abundant in NASH mice and in patients with NASH. Mechanistically, IL-15 induced FOXO1 downregulation and CXCR6 upregulation, which together rendered liver-resident CXCR6 CD8 T cells susceptible to metabolic stimuli (including acetate and extracellular ATP) and collectively triggered auto-aggression. CXCR6 CD8 T cells from the livers of NASH mice or of patients with NASH had similar transcriptional signatures, and showed auto-aggressive killing of cells in an MHC-class-I-independent fashion after signalling through P2X7 purinergic receptors. This killing by auto-aggressive CD8 T cells fundamentally differed from that by antigen-specific cells, which mechanistically distinguishes auto-aggressive and protective T cell immunity.
Reduced Lysosomal Acid Lipase Activity in Blood and Platelets Is Associated With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
Ferri Flaminia,Mischitelli Monica,Tozzi Giulia,Messina Emanuele,Mignini Irene,Mazzuca Sergio,Pellone Monica,Parisse Simona,Marrapodi Ramona,Visentini Marcella,Baratta Francesco,Del Ben Maria,Pastori Daniele,Perciballi Roberta,Attilia Maria Luisa,Carbone Martina,De Santis Adriano,Violi Francesco,Angelico Francesco,Ginanni Corradini Stefano
Clinical and translational gastroenterology
OBJECTIVES:To investigate whether blood total lysosomal acid lipase activity (BT-LAL) levels are uniquely associated with the noncirrhotic and cirrhotic stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and with protection from NAFLD in metabolically/genetically predisposed subjects and a normal liver. To clarify which enzyme-carrying circulating cells are involved in reduced BT-LAL of NAFLD. METHODS:In a cross-sectional study, BT-LAL was measured by a fluorigenic method in patients with NAFLD (n = 118), alcoholic (n = 116), and hepatitis C virus-related disease (n = 49), in 103 controls with normal liver and in 58 liver transplant recipients. Intracellular platelet and leukocyte LAL was measured in 14 controls and 28 patients with NAFLD. RESULTS:Compared with controls, (i) BT-LAL and LAL in platelets, but not in leukocytes, were progressively reduced in noncirrhotic NAFLD and in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-related cirrhosis; (ii) platelet and leukocyte counts did not differ in patients with noncirrhotic NAFLD; and (iii) BT-LAL did not differ in alcoholic and hepatitis C virus noncirrhotic patients. BT-LAL progressively increased in controls with metabolic syndrome features according to their PNPLA3 rs738409 steatosis-associated variant status (II vs IM vs MM), and their BT-LAL was higher than that of noncirrhotic NAFLD, only when carriers of the PNPLA3 unfavorable alleles were considered. Liver transplant recipients with de novo NAFLD compared with those without de novo NAFLD had lower BT-LAL. DISCUSSION:LAL in blood and platelets is progressively and uniquely reduced in NAFLD according to disease severity. High BT-LAL is associated with protection from NAFLD occurrence in subjects with metabolic and genetic predisposition. Low LAL in platelets and blood could play a pathogenetic role in NAFLD.
Platelet GPIbα is a mediator and potential interventional target for NASH and subsequent liver cancer.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ranges from steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), potentially progressing to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we show that platelet number, platelet activation and platelet aggregation are increased in NASH but not in steatosis or insulin resistance. Antiplatelet therapy (APT; aspirin/clopidogrel, ticagrelor) but not nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment with sulindac prevented NASH and subsequent HCC development. Intravital microscopy showed that liver colonization by platelets depended primarily on Kupffer cells at early and late stages of NASH, involving hyaluronan-CD44 binding. APT reduced intrahepatic platelet accumulation and the frequency of platelet-immune cell interaction, thereby limiting hepatic immune cell trafficking. Consequently, intrahepatic cytokine and chemokine release, macrovesicular steatosis and liver damage were attenuated. Platelet cargo, platelet adhesion and platelet activation but not platelet aggregation were identified as pivotal for NASH and subsequent hepatocarcinogenesis. In particular, platelet-derived GPIbα proved critical for development of NASH and subsequent HCC, independent of its reported cognate ligands vWF, P-selectin or Mac-1, offering a potential target against NASH.
NASH limits anti-tumour surveillance in immunotherapy-treated HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can have viral or non-viral causes. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an important driver of HCC. Immunotherapy has been approved for treating HCC, but biomarker-based stratification of patients for optimal response to therapy is an unmet need. Here we report the progressive accumulation of exhausted, unconventionally activated CD8PD1 T cells in NASH-affected livers. In preclinical models of NASH-induced HCC, therapeutic immunotherapy targeted at programmed death-1 (PD1) expanded activated CD8PD1 T cells within tumours but did not lead to tumour regression, which indicates that tumour immune surveillance was impaired. When given prophylactically, anti-PD1 treatment led to an increase in the incidence of NASH-HCC and in the number and size of tumour nodules, which correlated with increased hepatic CD8PD1CXCR6, TOX, and TNF T cells. The increase in HCC triggered by anti-PD1 treatment was prevented by depletion of CD8 T cells or TNF neutralization, suggesting that CD8 T cells help to induce NASH-HCC, rather than invigorating or executing immune surveillance. We found similar phenotypic and functional profiles in hepatic CD8PD1 T cells from humans with NAFLD or NASH. A meta-analysis of three randomized phase III clinical trials that tested inhibitors of PDL1 (programmed death-ligand 1) or PD1 in more than 1,600 patients with advanced HCC revealed that immune therapy did not improve survival in patients with non-viral HCC. In two additional cohorts, patients with NASH-driven HCC who received anti-PD1 or anti-PDL1 treatment showed reduced overall survival compared to patients with other aetiologies. Collectively, these data show that non-viral HCC, and particularly NASH-HCC, might be less responsive to immunotherapy, probably owing to NASH-related aberrant T cell activation causing tissue damage that leads to impaired immune surveillance. Our data provide a rationale for stratification of patients with HCC according to underlying aetiology in studies of immunotherapy as a primary or adjuvant treatment.