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Creators/Authors contains: "Roy, Krishnendu"

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  1. Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been widely investigated for regenerative medicine applications, from treating various inflammatory diseases as a cell therapy to generating engineered tissue constructs. Numerous studies have evaluated the potential effects of MSCs following therapeutic administration. By responding to their surrounding microenvironment, MSCs may mediate immunomodulatory effects through various mechanisms that directly (i.e., contact-dependent) or indirectly (i.e., paracrine activity) alter the physiology of endogenous cells in various disease pathologies. More specifically, a pivotal crosstalk between MSCs and tissue-resident macrophages and monocytes (TMφ) has been elucidated using in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies. An improved understanding of this crosstalk could help elucidate potential mechanisms of action (MOAs) of therapeutically administered MSCs. TMφ, by nature of their remarkable functional plasticity and prevalence within the body, are uniquely positioned as critical modulators of the immune system – not only in maintaining homeostasis but also during pathogenesis. This has prompted further exploration into the cellular and molecular alterations to TMφ mediated by MSCs. In vitro assays and in vivo preclinical trials have identified key interactions mediated by MSCs that polarize the responses of TMφ from a pro-inflammatory (i.e., classical activation) to a more anti-inflammatory/reparative (i.e., alternative activation) phenotype and function. In this review, we describe physiological and pathological TMφ functions in response to various stimuli and discuss the evidence that suggest specific mechanisms through which MSCs may modulate TMφ phenotypes and functions, including paracrine interactions (e.g., secretome and extracellular vesicles), nanotube-mediated intercellular exchange, bioenergetics, and engulfment by macrophages. Continued efforts to elucidate this pivotal crosstalk may offer an improved understanding of the immunomodulatory capacity of MSCs and inform the development and testing of potential MOAs to support the therapeutic use of MSCs and MSC-derived products in various diseases. 
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  2. Nikolich-Žugich, Janko (Ed.)
    There is a critical need for adjuvants that can safely elicit potent and durable T cell-based immunity to intracellular pathogens. Here, we report that parenteral vaccination with a carbomer-based adjuvant, Adjuplex (ADJ), stimulated robust CD8 T-cell responses to subunit antigens and afforded effective immunity against respiratory challenge with a virus and a systemic intracellular bacterial infection. Studies to understand the metabolic and molecular basis for ADJ’s effect on antigen cross-presentation by dendritic cells (DCs) revealed several unique and distinctive mechanisms. ADJ-stimulated DCs produced IL-1β and IL-18, suggestive of inflammasome activation, but in vivo activation of CD8 T cells was unaffected in caspase 1-deficient mice. Cross-presentation induced by TLR agonists requires a critical switch to anabolic metabolism, but ADJ enhanced cross presentation without this metabolic switch in DCs. Instead, ADJ induced in DCs, an unique metabolic state, typified by dampened oxidative phosphorylation and basal levels of glycolysis. In the absence of increased glycolytic flux, ADJ modulated multiple steps in the cytosolic pathway of cross-presentation by enabling accumulation of degraded antigen, reducing endosomal acidity and promoting antigen localization to early endosomes. Further, by increasing ROS production and lipid peroxidation, ADJ promoted antigen escape from endosomes to the cytosol for degradation by proteasomes into peptides for MHC I loading by TAP-dependent pathways. Furthermore, we found that induction of lipid bodies (LBs) and alterations in LB composition mediated by ADJ were also critical for DC cross-presentation. Collectively, our model challenges the prevailing metabolic paradigm by suggesting that DCs can perform effective DC cross-presentation, independent of glycolysis to induce robust T cell-dependent protective immunity to intracellular pathogens. These findings have strong implications in the rational development of safe and effective immune adjuvants to potentiate robust T-cell based immunity. 
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  3. Abstract

    Large‐scale, reproducible manufacturing of therapeutic cells with consistently high quality is vital for translation to clinically effective and widely accessible cell therapies. However, the biological and logistical complexity of manufacturing a living product, including challenges associated with their inherent variability and uncertainties of process parameters, currently make it difficult to achieve predictable cell‐product quality. Using a degradable microscaffold‐based T‐cell process, we developed an artificial intelligence (AI)‐driven experimental‐computational platform to identify a set of critical process parameters and critical quality attributes from heterogeneous, high‐dimensional, time‐dependent multiomics data, measurable during early stages of manufacturing and predictive of end‐of‐manufacturing product quality. Sequential, design‐of‐experiment‐based studies, coupled with an agnostic machine‐learning framework, were used to extract feature combinations from early in‐culture media assessment that were highly predictive of the end‐product CD4/CD8 ratio and total live CD4+and CD8+naïve and central memory T cells (CD63L+CCR7+). Our results demonstrate a broadly applicable platform tool to predict end‐product quality and composition from early time point in‐process measurements during therapeutic cell manufacturing.

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