Research ArticleALLERGY

A phenotypically and functionally distinct human TH2 cell subpopulation is associated with allergic disorders

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Aug 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 401, eaam9171
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aam9171
  • Fig. 1. Allergic disease–related phenotypic differences emerged in the TH2 cell subset.

    (A) Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)–based T cell surface expression screening revealed up-regulated and down-regulated T cell surface markers in ex vivo magnetically enriched allergen-specific CD4+ T cells compared to total CRTH2+ CD4+ T cells. Average expression levels for each T cell surface marker in the allergen-specific CD4+ T cell group and in total CRTH2+ CD4+ T cell group are plotted against each other. Data are means from four allergic subjects per group. The gray field depicted less than 20% expression variation between groups. Differences between groups were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test. (B) Examples of intensity distributions of total CRTH2+ CD4+ T cells (blue) and ex vivo magnetically enriched CRTH2+ allergen-specific CD4+ T cells tracked by pMHCII tetramer (red) stained with candidate cell surface markers. Data are representative of at least three allergic donors. (C) Real-time PCR analysis confirms that allergen-specific TH2 cells express CD161 but are not related to a type 17 phenotype. Data are means ± SEM from at least three subjects per group.

  • Fig. 2. A unique allergic disease footprint across allergen-specific TH cells.

    (A) Average frequencies of CRTH2+ allergen-specific T cells in allergic (white box) and nonallergic subjects (black box) are indicated for each allergen tested. Data are means ± SEM from at least six individuals per group. *P < 0.001. Differences between groups were analyzed by using the Mann-Whitney U test. (B) Percentage of CRTH2+, CD161+, and CD27+ cells among ex vivo magnetically enriched allergen-specific CD4+ T cells from allergic individuals is indicated for each allergen tested. Each dot represents a single donor. (C) Plots show representative ex vivo profile of alder pollen–specific CD4+ T cells in alder-allergic patient according to CD27, CCR4, CD45RB, CD161, CD49d, and CRTH2 expression. Data are representative of at least three donors.

  • Fig. 3. A distinct subset of TH2 cells include pathogenic allergen-specific CD4+ T cells.

    (A) Gating strategy for defining proallergic TH2 cells (TH2A cells). PBMCs were first gated according to their size, expression of CD4 and CD45RO, and after the exclusion of dead cells. Gates then identify CD45RBlow cells among live memory (CD45RO+) CD4+ T cells, CD27CD49d+ cell subset, and then CRTH2+CD161+ T cell subset. Representative staining in allergic individual and nonatopic subject is shown. (B) Frequency of CD45RBlowCD27CRTH2+CD161+CD49d+ CD4+ T cells (TH2A) between allergic subjects (n = 80) and nonatopic individuals (n = 34). Each dot represents a single donor, and differences between groups were analyzed by using the Mann-Whitney U test. (C) TH2 and TH2A phenotype observed over a culture time of 6 weeks with subsequent T cell receptor (TCR) stimulations. (D and E) Percentage of TH2A and TH2 cells expressing CD38 in and out grass pollen season in grass-allergic individuals. Data are representative of at least three donors (A, C, and D). Differences between groups were analyzed by using the Wilcoxon matched pairs test. NS, not significant.

  • Fig. 4. Peanut-specific TH2A cells are specifically targeted during immunotherapy.

    (A) Ex vivo phenotype of peanut-reactive CD4+ T cells before and after DBPCFC with peanut flour. Each dot represents a single donor. (B) Ex vivo frequency of peanut-reactive CD4+ T cells before and after DBPCFC. (C) Plots show representative ex vivo profile of peanut-reactive CD4+ T cells according to CD27, CD161, and CRTH2 expression before and after CODIT both in placebo and active groups. Data are representative of at least three donors per group. Percentages of CD27 allergen-specific T cells expressing the given marker are indicated in the upper left quadrant. (D) Ex vivo peanut-specific TH2A cell frequencies before and after CODIT both in placebo (n = 3) and active (n = 4) groups. Differences between groups were analyzed by using the Wilcoxon matched pairs test (A and B) and unpaired t test (D). *P < 0.05.

  • Fig. 5. TH2A cell subset may differentially contribute to TH2-driven pathology.

    (A) Cytokine production by TH2A (white bar), conventional TH2 (gray bar), and TH1/TH17 (black bar) cell subset. T effector cell subset from allergic individuals was sorted by FACS and stimulated for 5 hours with PMA/ionomycin in the presence of a protein transport inhibitor. Data are means ± SEM of four subjects per group. Differences between groups were analyzed by using the Mann-Whitney U test. *P < 0.01. (B) Plots show representative ex vivo intracellular cytokine staining for IL-4, IL-13, IL-5, and IL-9 in FACS-sorted TH2 and TH2A subset. Numbers indicate relative percentages in each quadrant. (C) Pie charts show the proportion of cells producing simultaneously one, two, three, or four cardinal TH2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, and IL-13) after polyclonal activation. Data are mean percentage of cytokine-producing cells from four allergic donors. Comparisons between groups were performed using Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) on ranks. *P < 0.01. (D) Plots show representative intracellular cytokine staining for IL-5 and IL-9 in TH2 and TH2A cell clone from the same allergic individuals. Data are representative of at least three allergic donors (B and D).

  • Fig. 6. TH2A cell subset shows distinct gene expression patterns.

    (A) Scatterplot of the average signal of TH2A versus conventional TH2 cell gene expression microarray data. Shown are genes whose transcription has been up-regulated (red) or down-regulated (blue) by a factor of 2. Genes that have previously been linked to allergic diseases are listed. (B) Hierarchical clustering heat map of all genes with expression fold changes of eight in one cell subset relative to the other three subsets. Data are mean normalized raw gene expression values from two independent microarray experiments on cells sorted from different donor pools (each pool containing blood from two to three donors). (C) Real-time PCR analysis showing mRNA expression profile of the most relevant genes up-regulated in TH2A cell subset in total CRTH2+ T cells (gray) and in allergen-specific T cells from nonallergic individuals (white) or allergic subjects (black). Data are means ± SEM from at least three subjects per group.

Supplementary Materials

  • www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/9/401/eaam9171/DC1

    Fig. S1. Flow cytometric plots showing phenotyping of ex vivo enriched allergen-specific CD4+ T cells in allergic subjects.

    Fig. S2. Characteristics of allergic disease causing CD4+ T cells.

    Fig. S3. Allergen-specific TH2 cells are highly mature cells.

    Fig. S4. Allergen-specific TH2 cells fall into the CD27CD161+CD45RBCD49d+ CD4+ T cell subset.

    Fig. S5. Discrimination between proallergic TH2A and conventional TH2 cell subset.

    Fig. S6. Influence of OFC and oral immunotherapy on peanut-specific CD4+ T cells.

    Fig. S7. Expression of TH2 cytokines is restricted to the allergen-specific TH2A cell subset.

    Fig. S8. Overview of TH2A phenotype.

    Fig. S9. Gating strategy for TH cell subset isolation.

    Table S1. List of antibodies used in this study for the allergen-specific CD4+ T cell profiling.

    Table S2. List of all up-regulated genes in the TH2A cell subset relative to conventional TH2 cells.

    Table S3. Primary data.

    Table S4. List of pMHCII tetramer reagents used in this study.

  • Supplementary Material for:

    A phenotypically and functionally distinct human TH2 cell subpopulation is associated with allergic disorders

    Erik Wambre,* Veronique Bajzik, Jonathan H. DeLong, Kimberly O'Brien, Quynh-Anh Nguyen, Cate Speake, Vivian H. Gersuk, Hannah A. DeBerg, Elizabeth Whalen, Chester Ni, Mary Farrington, David Jeong, David Robinson, Peter S. Linsley, Brian P. Vickery, William W. Kwok

    *Corresponding author. Email: ewambre{at}benaroyaresearch.org

    Published 2 August 2017, Sci. Transl. Med. 9, eaam9171 (2017)
    DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aam9171

    This PDF file includes:

    • Fig. S1. Flow cytometric plots showing phenotyping of ex vivo enriched allergen-specific CD4+ T cells in allergic subjects.
    • Fig. S2. Characteristics of allergic disease causing CD4+ T cells.
    • Fig. S3. Allergen-specific TH2 cells are highly mature cells.
    • Fig. S4. Allergen-specific TH2 cells fall into the CD27CD161+CD45RBCD49d+CD4+ T cell subset.
    • Fig. S5. Discrimination between proallergic TH2A and conventional TH2 cell subset.
    • Fig. S6. Influence of OFC and oral immunotherapy on peanut-specific CD4+ T cells.
    • Fig. S7. Expression of TH2 cytokines is restricted to the allergen-specific TH2A cell subset.
    • Fig. S8. Overview of TH2A phenotype.
    • Fig. S9. Gating strategy for TH cell subset isolation.
    • Table S1. List of antibodies used in this study for the allergen-specific CD4+ T cell profiling.
    • Table S2. List of all up-regulated genes in the TH2A cell subset relative to conventional TH2 cells.
    • Legend for table S3
    • Table S4. List of pMHCII tetramer reagents used in this study.

    [Download PDF]

    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Table S3 (Microsoft Excel format). Primary data.

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