Chronic Lower Airway Dysbiosis with Human Oral Commensals Leads to Both Increased IL-17A and Immune Exhaustion Tone in the Lower Airways [Meeting Abstract]
Microbial signatures in the lower airways of mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients associated with poor clinical outcome
Respiratory failure is associated with increased mortality in COVID-19 patients. There are no validated lower airway biomarkers to predict clinical outcome. We investigated whether bacterial respiratory infections were associated with poor clinical outcome of COVID-19 in a prospective, observational cohort of 589 critically ill adults, all of whom required mechanical ventilation. For a subset of 142 patients who underwent bronchoscopy, we quantified SARS-CoV-2 viral load, analysed the lower respiratory tract microbiome using metagenomics and metatranscriptomics and profiled the host immune response. Acquisition of a hospital-acquired respiratory pathogen was not associated with fatal outcome. Poor clinical outcome was associated with lower airway enrichment with an oral commensal (Mycoplasma salivarium). Increased SARS-CoV-2 abundance, low anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response and a distinct host transcriptome profile of the lower airways were most predictive of mortality. Our data provide evidence that secondary respiratory infections do not drive mortality in COVID-19 and clinical management strategies should prioritize reducing viral replication and maximizing host responses to SARS-CoV-2.
Hormonal intervention for the treatment of veterans with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization (HITCH): a multicenter, phase 2 randomized controlled trial of best supportive care vs best supportive care plus degarelix: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND:Therapeutic targeting of host-cell factors required for SARS-CoV-2 entry is an alternative strategy to ameliorate COVID-19 severity. SARS-CoV-2 entry into lung epithelium requires the TMPRSS2 cell surface protease. Pre-clinical and correlative data in humans suggest that anti-androgenic therapies can reduce the expression of TMPRSS2 on lung epithelium. Accordingly, we hypothesize that therapeutic targeting of androgen receptor signaling via degarelix, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonist, will suppress COVID-19 infection and ameliorate symptom severity. METHODS:This is a randomized phase 2, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial in 198 patients to compare efficacy of degarelix plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care on improving the clinical outcomes of male Veterans who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Enrolled patients must have documented infection with SARS-CoV-2 based on a positive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction result performed on a nasopharyngeal swab and have a severity of illness of level 3-5 (hospitalized but not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation). Patients stratified by age, history of hypertension, and severity are centrally randomized 2:1 (degarelix: placebo). The composite primary endpoint is mortality, ongoing need for hospitalization, or requirement for mechanical ventilation at 15 after randomization. Important secondary endpoints include time to clinical improvement, inpatient mortality, length of hospitalization, duration of mechanical ventilation, time to achieve a normal temperature, and the maximum severity of COVID-19 illness. Exploratory analyses aim to assess the association of cytokines, viral load, and various comorbidities with outcome. In addition, TMPRSS2 expression in target tissue and development of anti-viral antibodies will also be investigated. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:In this trial, we repurpose the FDA approved LHRH antagonist degarelix, commonly used for prostate cancer, to suppress TMPRSS2, a host cell surface protease required for SARS-CoV-2 cell entry. The objective is to determine if temporary androgen suppression with a single dose of degarelix improves the clinical outcomes of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04397718. Registered on May 21, 2020.
Functional lower airways genomic profiling of the microbiome to capture active microbial metabolism
RATIONALE/BACKGROUND:Microbiome studies of the lower airway based on bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing assess microbial community structure but can only infer functional characteristics. Microbial products, such as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), in the lower airways have significant impact on the host's immune tone. Thus, functional approaches to the analyses of the microbiome are necessary. METHODS:Here we used upper and lower airway samples from a research bronchoscopy smoker cohort. In addition, we validated our results in an experimental mouse model. MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:We extended our microbiota characterisation beyond 16S rRNA gene sequencing with the use of whole genome (WGS) and RNA metatranscriptome sequencing. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) were also measured in lower airway samples and correlated with each of the sequencing datasets. In the mouse model, 16S rRNA gene and RNA metatranscriptome sequencing were performed. MAIN RESULTS/RESULTS:Functional evaluations of the lower airway microbiota using inferred metagenome, WGS and metatranscriptome were dissimilar. Comparison with measured levels of SCFAs shows that the inferred metagenome from the 16S rRNA gene sequencing data was poorly correlated, while better correlations were noted when SCFAs levels were compared with WGS and metatranscriptome. Modelling lower airway aspiration with oral commensals in a mouse model showed that the metatranscriptome most efficiently captures transient active microbial metabolism, which was overestimated by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. CONCLUSIONS:Functional characterisation of the lower airway microbiota through metatranscriptome identify metabolically active organisms capable of producing metabolites with immunomodulatory capacity such as SCFAs.
Episodic Aspiration with Oral Commensals Induces a MyD88-dependent, Pulmonary Th17 Response that Mitigates Susceptibility to Streptococcus pneumoniae
Rationale Cross-sectional human data suggest that enrichment of oral anaerobic bacteria in the lung is associated with increased Th17 inflammatory phenotype. In this study we evaluated the microbial and host immune response dynamics after aspiration with a oral commensals using a preclinical mouse model. Methods Aspiration with a mixture of human oral commensals (MOC; Prevotella melaninogenica, Veillonella parvula, and Streptococcus mitis) was modeled in mice followed by variable time of sacrifice. Genetic background of mice included WT, MyD88 knock out and STAT3C. Measurements 16S rRNA gene sequencing characterized changes in microbiota. Flow cytometry, cytokine measurement via Luminex and RNA host transcriptome sequencing was used to characterize host immune phenotype. Main Results While MOC aspiration correlated with lower airway dysbiosis that resolved within five days, it induced an extended inflammatory response associated with IL17-producing T-cells lasting at least 14 days. MyD88 expression was required for the IL-17 response to MOC aspiration, but not for T-cell activation or IFN-Î³ expression. MOC aspiration prior to a respiratory challenge with S. pneumoniae led to a decreased in host's susceptibility to this pathogen. Conclusions Thus, in otherwise healthy mice, a single aspiration event with oral commensals are rapidly cleared from the lower airways, but induce a prolonged Th17 response that secondarily decreased susceptibility to respiratory pathogens. Translationally, these data implicate an immuno-protective role of episodic microaspiration of oral microbes in the regulation of the lung immune phenotype and mitigation of host susceptibility to infection with lower airway pathogens.
Lower airway microbiota predicts malignancy recurrence of surgically resected early-stage lung cancer [Meeting Abstract]
Rationale: In early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), surgery is curative in about 70% of cases. Unfortunately, there are no useful biomarkers that predict recurrence. We have previously shown that lower airway dysbiosis due to enrichment with oral commensals in patients with different stages of lung cancer is associated with activation of airway transcriptomic signatures involved in inflammation, oncogenesis, tumor burden, and prognosis. Here, we investigated the lower airway microbiota of subjects with early-stage NSCLC undergoing surgical resection as a biomarker that predicts tumor recurrence.
Method(s): 150 subjects with stage I NSCLC who underwent primary surgical resection were followed for up to 10 years for cancer recurrence. Microbiota of the tumor and adjacent unaffected lung tissue was examined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing while host transcriptome was characterized by RNA sequencing.
Result(s): Of the 150 subjects, 44 had recurrence of malignancy (in the forms of locoregional disease, metastatic disease, and second primary NSCLC). Comparison of microbial community composition based on Bray Curtis dissimilarity index showed significant differences between tumor and lung and, within those different sample types, between recurrence and no recurrence. In tumor samples, recurrence was associated with enrichment with Methylophilaceae, while in adjacent lung tissue there was a significant enrichment with Methylophilaceae and Vellonella. In lung samples, Flavobacterium, a common background contaminant, was negatively associated with recurrence. Shannon's diversity (H) was statistically different between tumor and adjacent tissue in subjects without recurrence; H was not statistically different between tumor and adjacent tissue in those with recurrence. Transcriptome data by DESseq2 analyses identified few transcripts in tumors associated with recurrence (272 up regulated, 91 downregulated, FDR=0.2), many more were identified in healthy lung (579 up regulated, 216 downregulated, FDR=0.2). Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) found recurrence was associated with upregulation of many cancer associated pathways, IL-17 and PD-1, PD-L1 pathways.
Conclusion(s): In this investigation we identified lower airway microbiota signatures and host immune signatures present at time of surgical resection of early-stage NSLCL that predict tumor recurrence. Further investigation to dissect possible causal associations of microbial host interactions leading to recurrence is warranted
Derived Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio as a Potential Biomarker for Lung Cancer Survival [Meeting Abstract]
RATIONALE: Derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (dNLR) of peripheral blood, a marker of host inflammation and cytokine activation, may be a surrogate for more aggressive disease. It is a biomarker that has been associated with survival and response to immunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although an optimal threshold value has not been established. We had previously found in a NSCLC cohort that a dNLR cutoff of 2 was an optimal cutoff to predict survival at 6 months in patients with NSCLC; median survival was significantly shorter in patients with a >=2 dNLR (7.0 months) versus those with a <2 dNLR (64.5 months; p = 0.004). Here we present an interim analysis aiming to validate the use of this biomarker in a second cohort.
METHOD(S): A veteran cohort (n=42) from the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, who underwent diagnostic bronchoscopy and found to have NSCLC, was used as a validation cohort. Peripheral blood was obtained pre-treatment and at or near the time of diagnosis. The dNLR was calculated as ANC/(W
The effect of lower airway dysbiosis on pd-1 therapy in lung cancer [Meeting Abstract]
Rational Recent investigations support that the gut microbiota influences anti-PD-1 cancer immunotherapy. Lower airway dysbiosis with enrichment with oral commensals are associated with lung cancer. Recently we had shown, in both a prospective human cohort and preclinical mice model, that lung dysbiotic signatures were associated with clinical lung cancer prognosis and progression. To further understand the role of lung dysbiosis in lung cancer, we examined the role of PD-1 expression and anti- PD treatment in a lung cancer and lung dysbiotic model. Method KrasLSL-G12D/+;p53fl/fl Non-small cell Lung Cancer mice (KP) were challenged with an oral commensal, Veillonella parvula, through intra-tracheal inoculation and exposed to immune inhibition (anti- PD-1). Measurements included tumor burden and lower airway inflammatory markers (PD-1 expression and neutrophils) by FACS. Results In a preclinical lung cancer model, inoculation with Veillonella parvula, a marker taxon for the dysbiotic signature found in humans, led to: 1) decrease survival with increase tumor burden; 2) dysbiosis with oral commensal is associated with elevated level of PD-1 expression and neutrophils level compared to control. With exposure to PD-1 inhibition we observe a reverse of tumor growth (at day 7); there was significant decrease in tumor growth compared with Isotype-control (p=0.030, day7-14) and observed that PD-1+ level (p=0.0007) and Neutrophil level (p=0.0027) were lower as well. Discussion Our study suggests that lower airway dysbiosis induced by microaspiration of oral commensals may affect lung carcinogenesis due to increase in inflammatory markers and increase in the checkpoint inhibitor tone in the lower airways that may lead to suboptimal immune surveillance. These effects of lower airway dysbiosis can be partially blunted by PD-1 blockade. These data supports that treatment in lung cancer may be influenced by lower airway dysbiosis and dynamic changes in the microbial-host interaction in the lower airways
Lower airway microbial signatures in early copd [Meeting Abstract]
Rationale: Chronic airway colonization and recurrent infections are common in advanced stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, changes in the lung microbiota in early stages of this disease remain unclear. Here, we characterized the upper and lower airway microbiota of patients with early stage COPD and smoker controls.
Method(s): Upper and lower airway samples (plus appropriate environmental and technical controls) were obtained from patients with GOLD 1-2 COPD (n = 26) and smoker controls (n = 31). Bacterial load was measured with droplet digital PCR while microbiota profiling was performed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Data was analyzed using QIIME, Phyloseq, Vegan and DESeq. Parallel RNA metatranscriptome sequencing and host Transcriptome approach were just completed and data is becoming available.
Result(s): Characterization of the lower airway microbial communities with 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that compared to smoker controls, COPD patients exhibited lower alpha Shannon diversity (Fig.1a, p = 0.0037). Beta diversity analysis based on Bray Curtis Dissimilarity index showed that the composition of the microbial communities in the lower airway samples were clearly distinct from background and upper airway as a whole. Some samples overlapped with both of those areas suggesting that for some subjects their lower airway microbiota was enriched with taxa commonly found in the oral cavity. We then evaluated for differentially enriched taxa in BAL samples using DESeq. The lower airway microbiota of subjects with COPD was enriched with oral commensals such as Veillonella, Prevotella (Fig 1c). Comparison of bacterial load based on bacterial composition was performed based on cluster determination of lower airway samples enriched with oral commensals (SPT for supraglottic predominant taxa) or enriched with background taxa (BPT for background predominant taxa). The bacterial load of lower airway samples categorized as SPT was one log higher than those categorized as BPT among the COPD group but not among the smoker controls (Fig.1d, p < 0.001).
Conclusion(s): Our results suggest that lower airway exposure to oral commensals occurs more frequently among subjects with COPD. Further investigation with functional microbiome approaches such as metatranscriptomics are warranted. This may be of importance given significant data showing that these taxa may contribute to an increase in lower airway inflammatory tone (especially in the Th17 pathway) that may lead to airway/parenchymal inflammatory damage and/or affect treatment response and clinical outcome in this disease
Microbial signatures in the lower airways of mechanically ventilated COVID19 patients associated with poor clinical outcome
Mortality among patients with COVID-19 and respiratory failure is high and there are no known lower airway biomarkers that predict clinical outcome. We investigated whether bacterial respiratory infections and viral load were associated with poor clinical outcome and host immune tone. We obtained bacterial and fungal culture data from 589 critically ill subjects with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. On a subset of the subjects that underwent bronchoscopy, we also quantified SARS-CoV-2 viral load, analyzed the microbiome of the lower airways by metagenome and metatranscriptome analyses and profiled the host immune response. We found that isolation of a hospital-acquired respiratory pathogen was not associated with fatal outcome. However, poor clinical outcome was associated with enrichment of the lower airway microbiota with an oral commensal ( Mycoplasma salivarium ), while high SARS-CoV-2 viral burden, poor anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, together with a unique host transcriptome profile of the lower airways were most predictive of mortality. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that 1) the extent of viral infectivity drives mortality in severe COVID-19, and therefore 2) clinical management strategies targeting viral replication and host responses to SARS-CoV-2 should be prioritized.