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  • A protease-activated, near-infrared fluorescent probe for early endoscopic detection of premalignant gastrointestinal lesions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Yim, J. J., Harmsen, S., Flisikowski, K., Flisikowska, T., Namkoong, H., Garland, M., van den Berg, N. S., Vilches-Moure, J. G., Schnieke, A., Saur, D., Glasl, S., Gorpas, D., Habtezion, A., Ntziachristos, V., Contag, C. H., Gambhir, S. S., Bogyo, M., Rogalla, S. 2021; 118 (1)

    Abstract

    Fluorescence imaging is currently being actively developed for surgical guidance; however, it remains underutilized for diagnostic and endoscopic surveillance of incipient colorectal cancer in high-risk patients. Here we demonstrate the utility and potential for clinical translation of a fluorescently labeled cathepsin-activated chemical probe to highlight gastrointestinal lesions. This probe stays optically dark until it is activated by proteases produced by tumor-associated macrophages and accumulates within the lesions, enabling their detection using an endoscope outfitted with a fluorescence detector. We evaluated the probe in multiple murine models and a human-scale porcine model of gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. The probe provides fluorescence-guided surveillance of gastrointestinal lesions and augments histopathological analysis by highlighting areas of dysplasia as small as 400 m, which were visibly discernible with significant tumor-to-background ratios, even in tissues with a background of severe inflammation and ulceration. Given these results, we anticipate that this probe will enable sensitive fluorescence-guided biopsies, even in the presence of highly inflamed colorectal tissue, which will improve early diagnosis to prevent gastrointestinal cancers.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2008072118

    View details for PubMedID 33443161

  • Gastric Mucosal Immune Profiling and Dysregulation in Idiopathic Gastroparesis. Clinical and translational gastroenterology Gottfried-Blackmore, A. n., Namkoong, H. n., Adler, E. n., Martin, B. n., Gubatan, J. n., Fernandez-Becker, N. n., Clarke, J. O., Idoyaga, J. n., Nguyen, L. n., Habtezion, A. n. 2021; 12 (5): e00349

    Abstract

    It is unclear how immune perturbations may influence the pathogenesis of idiopathic gastroparesis, a prevalent functional disorder of the stomach which lacks animal models. Several studies have noted altered immune characteristics in the deep gastric muscle layer associated with gastroparesis, but data are lacking for the mucosal layer, which is endoscopically accessible. We hypothesized that immune dysregulation is present in the gastroduodenal mucosa in idiopathic gastroparesis and that specific immune profiles are associated with gastroparesis clinical parameters.In this cross-sectional prospective case-control study, routine endoscopic biopsies were used for comprehensive immune profiling by flow cytometry, multicytokine array, and gene expression in 3 segments of the stomach and the duodenal bulb. Associations of immune endpoints with clinical parameters of gastroparesis were also explored.The gastric mucosa displayed large regional variation of distinct immune profiles. Furthermore, several-fold increases in innate and adaptive immune cells were found in gastroparesis. Various immune cell types showed positive correlations with duration of disease, proton pump inhibitor dosing, and delayed gastric emptying.This initial observational study showed immune compartmentalization of the human stomach mucosa and significant immune dysregulation at the level of leukocyte infiltration in idiopathic gastroparesis patients that extends to the duodenum. Select immune cells, such as macrophages, may correlate with clinicopathological traits of gastroparesis. This work supports further mucosal studies to advance our understanding of gastroparesis pathophysiology.

    View details for DOI 10.14309/ctg.0000000000000349

    View details for PubMedID 33979305

  • Clinical and immunomodulatory effects of transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation for idiopathic gastroparesis Gottfried-Blackmore, A., Namkoong, H., Adler, E. P., Fernandez-Becker, N., Clarke, J., Habtezion, A., Nguyen, L. WILEY. 2020
  • Distinct immune characteristics distinguish hereditary and idiopathic chronic pancreatitis. The Journal of clinical investigation Lee, B., Adamska, J. Z., Namkoong, H., Bellin, M. D., Wilhelm, J. J., Szot, G. L., Louis, D. M., Davis, M. M., Pandol, S., Habtezion, A. 2020

    Abstract

    Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is considered an irreversible fibroinflammatory pancreatic disease. Despite numerous animal model studies, questions remain about local immune characteristics in human CP. We profiled pancreatic immune cell characteristics in control organ donors and CP patients that included hereditary and idiopathic CP undergoing total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation. Flow cytometric analysis revealed a significant increase in the frequency of CD68+ macrophages in idiopathic CP. In contrast, hereditary CP showed a significant increase in CD3+ T cell frequency, which prompted us to investigate the T cell receptor beta (TCRbeta) repertoire in CP and controls. TCRbeta-sequencing revealed a significant increase in TCRbeta repertoire diversity and reduced clonality in both CP groups versus controls. Interestingly, we observed differences in Vbeta-Jbeta gene family usage between hereditary and idiopathic CP and a positive correlation of TCRbeta rearrangements with disease severity scores. Immunophenotyping analyses in hereditary and idiopathic CP pancreata indicate differences in innate and adaptive immune responses, which highlights differences in immunopathogenic mechanism of disease among subtypes of CP. TCR repertoire analysis further suggests a role for specific T cell responses in hereditary versus idiopathic CP pathogenesis providing new insights into immune responses associated with human CP.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI134066

    View details for PubMedID 32053120

  • Dysbiosis-Induced Secondary Bile Acid Deficiency Promotes Intestinal Inflammation. Cell host & microbe Sinha, S. R., Haileselassie, Y., Nguyen, L. P., Tropini, C., Wang, M., Becker, L. S., Sim, D., Jarr, K., Spear, E. T., Singh, G., Namkoong, H., Bittinger, K., Fischbach, M. A., Sonnenburg, J. L., Habtezion, A. 2020

    Abstract

    Secondary bile acids (SBAs) are derived from primary bile acids (PBAs) in a process reliant on biosynthetic capabilities possessed by few microbes. To evaluate the role of BAs in intestinal inflammation, we performed metabolomic, microbiome, metagenomic, and transcriptomic profiling of stool from ileal pouches (surgically created resevoirs) in colectomy-treated patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) versus controls (familial adenomatous polyposis [FAP]). We show that relative to FAP, UC pouches have reduced levels of lithocholic acid and deoxycholic acid (normally the most abundant gut SBAs), genes required to convert PBAs to SBAs, and Ruminococcaceae (one of few taxa known to include SBA-producing bacteria). In three murine colitis models, SBA supplementation reduces intestinal inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect is in part dependent on the TGR5 bile acid receptor. These data suggest that dysbiosis induces SBA deficiency in inflammatory-prone UC patients, which promotes a pro-inflammatory state within the intestine that may be treated by SBA restoration.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2020.01.021

    View details for PubMedID 32101703

  • Pyruvate controls the checkpoint inhibitor PD-L1 and suppresses T cell immunity. The Journal of clinical investigation Watanabe, R. n., Shirai, T. n., Namkoong, H. n., Zhang, H. n., Berry, G. J., Wallis, B. B., Schaefgen, B. n., Harrison, D. G., Tremmel, J. A., Giacomini, J. C., Goronzy, J. J., Weyand, C. M. 2017; 127 (7): 2725?38

    Abstract

    Patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at high risk for reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) and development of herpes zoster (HZ). Here, we found that macrophages from patients with CAD actively suppress T cell activation and expansion, leading to defective VZV-specific T cell immunity. Monocyte-derived and plaque-infiltrating macrophages from patients with CAD spontaneously expressed high surface density of the immunoinhibitory ligand programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), thereby providing negative signals to programmed death-1+ (PD-1+) T cells. We determined that aberrant PD-L1 expression in patient-derived macrophages was metabolically controlled. Oversupply of the glycolytic intermediate pyruvate in mitochondria from CAD macrophages promoted expression of PD-L1 via induction of the bone morphogenetic protein 4/phosphorylated SMAD1/5/IFN regulatory factor 1 (BMP4/p-SMAD1/5/IRF1) signaling pathway. Thus, CAD macrophages respond to nutrient excess by activating the immunoinhibitory PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint, leading to impaired T cell immunity. This finding indicates that metabolite-based immunotherapy may be a potential strategy for restoring adaptive immunity in CAD.

    View details for PubMedID 28604383

  • Diversification of the antigen-specific T cell receptor repertoire after varicella zoster vaccination. Science translational medicine Qi, Q., Cavanagh, M. M., Le Saux, S., Namkoong, H., Kim, C., Turgano, E., Liu, Y., Wang, C., Mackey, S., Swan, G. E., Dekker, C. L., Olshen, R. A., Boyd, S. D., Weyand, C. M., Tian, L., Goronzy, J. J. 2016; 8 (332): 332ra46-?

    Abstract

    Diversity and size of the antigen-specific T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire are two critical determinants for successful control of chronic infection. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) that establishes latency during childhood can escape control mechanisms, in particular with increasing age. We examined the TCR diversity of VZV-reactive CD4 T cells in individuals older than 50 years by studying three identical twin pairs and three unrelated individuals before and after vaccination with live attenuated VZV. Although all individuals had a small number of dominant T cell clones, the breadth of the VZV-specific repertoire differed markedly. A genetic influence was seen for the sharing of individual TCR sequences from antigen-reactive cells but not for repertoire richness or the selection of dominant clones. VZV vaccination favored the expansion of infrequent VZV antigen-reactive TCRs, including those from na´ve T cells with lesser boosting of dominant T cell clones. Thus, vaccination does not reinforce the in vivo selection that occurred during chronic infection but leads to a diversification of the VZV-reactive T cell repertoire. However, a single-booster immunization seems insufficient to establish new clonal dominance. Our results suggest that repertoire analysis of antigen-specific TCRs can be an important readout to assess whether a vaccination was able to generate memory cells in clonal sizes that are necessary for immune protection.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf1725

    View details for PubMedID 27030598

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