Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University (2020)
Bachelor of Science, Ohio State University (2014)
Philip Tsao, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
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Individuals over the age of 65 are highly susceptible to infectious diseases, which account for one-third of deaths in this age group. Vaccines are a primary tool to combat infection, yet they are less effective in the elderly population. While many groups have aimed to address this problem by studying vaccine-induced peripheral blood responses in the elderly, work from our lab and others demonstrate that immune responses to vaccination and infectious challenge may differ between tissue sites and the periphery. In this pilot study, we established an in vivo delayed-type hypersensitivity model of Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccination and tuberculin skin test in two adult and two aged baboons. Vaccination generates BCG-specific immune cells that are recruited to the skin upon tuberculin challenge. We tested short term recall responses (8?weeks post-vaccination) and long term recall responses (25?weeks post-vaccination) by performing skin punch biopsies around the site of tuberculin injection. In short term recall responses, we found increased oxidation and decreased production of immune proteins in aged baboon skin at the site of TST challenge, in comparison to adult skin. Differences between adult and aged animals normalized in the long term response to tuberculin. In vitro, aged peripheral blood mononuclear cells had increased migration and functional responses to antigen-specific stimulation, suggesting that age-related changes in the tissue in vivo impairs aged immune recall responses to antigenic challenge. These findings highlight the impact of age-associated changes in the local tissue environment in memory recall responses, which may be more broadly applied to the study of other tissues. Moreover, these findings should be considered in future studies aimed at understanding and improving aging immune responses to vaccination and tissue challenge.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12979-021-00229-w
View details for Web of Science ID 000637773900001
View details for PubMedID 33827617
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8024439
Vaccine and antiviral development against SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease would benefit from validated small animal models. Here, we show that transgenic mice expressing human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) by the human cytokeratin 18 promoter (K18 hACE2) represent a susceptible rodent model. K18 hACE2 transgenic mice succumbed to SARS-CoV-2 infection by day 6, with virus detected in lung airway epithelium and brain. K18 ACE2 transgenic mice produced a modest TH1/2/17 cytokine storm in the lung and spleen that peaked by day 2, and an extended chemokine storm that was detected in both lungs and brain. This chemokine storm was also detected in the brain at day 6. K18 hACE2 transgenic mice are, therefore, highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and represent a suitable animal model for the study of viral pathogenesis, and for identification and characterization of vaccines (prophylactic) and antivirals (therapeutics) for SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated severe COVID-19 disease.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-19891-7
View details for Web of Science ID 000617695100005
View details for PubMedID 33257679
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7705712
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death due to a single infectious disease. Knowing when a person was infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) is critical as recent infection is the strongest clinical risk factor for progression to TB disease in immunocompetent individuals. However, time since M.tb infection is challenging to determine in routine clinical practice. To define a biomarker for recent TB exposure, we determined whether gene expression patterns in blood RNA correlated with time since M.tb infection or exposure. First, we found RNA signatures that accurately discriminated early and late time periods after experimental infection in mice and cynomolgus macaques. Next, we found a 6-gene blood RNA signature that identified recently exposed individuals in two independent human cohorts, including adult household contacts of TB cases and adolescents who recently acquired M.tb infection. Our work supports the need for future longitudinal studies of recent TB contacts to determine whether biomarkers of recent infection can provide prognostic information of TB disease risk in individuals and help map recent transmission in communities.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-73942-z
View details for Web of Science ID 000615371900006
View details for PubMedID 33037303
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7547102
View details for Web of Science ID 000589972402629
Membranous organelles are major endogenous sources of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. When present at high levels, these species can cause macromolecular damage and disease. To better detect and scavenge free radical forms of the reactive species at their sources, we investigated whether nitrone spin traps could be selectively targeted to intracellular membranes using a bioorthogonal imaging approach. Electron paramagnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that the novel cyclic nitrone 5-dodecylcarbamoyl-5-N-dodecylacetamide-1-pyroline-N-oxide (diC12PO) could be used to target the nitrone moiety to liposomes composed of phosphatidyl choline. To test localization with authentic membranes in living cells, fluorophores were introduced via strain-promoted alkyne-nitrone cycloaddition (SPANC). Two fluorophore-conjugated alkynes were investigated: hexynamide-fluoresceine (HYA-FL) and dibenzylcyclooctyne-PEG4-5/6-sulforhodamine B (DBCO-Rhod). Computational and mass spectrometry experiments confirmed the cycloadduct formation of DBCO-Rhod (but not HYA-FL) with diC12PO in cell-free solution. Confocal microscopy of bovine aortic endothelial cells treated sequentially with diC12PO and DBCO-Rhod demonstrated clear localization of fluorescence with intracellular membranes. These results indicate that targeting of nitrone spin traps to cellular membranes is feasible, and that a bioorthogonal approach can aid the interrogation of their intracellular compartmentalization properties.
View details for DOI 10.1039/c9ob01334b
View details for Web of Science ID 000482070400011
View details for PubMedID 31328213
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6703941
Biological aging dynamically alters normal immune and cardiac function, favoring the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1?, IL-6, and TNF-?) and increased instances of cardiac distress. Cardiac failure is the primary reason for hospitalization of the elderly (65+ years). The elderly are also increasingly susceptible to developing chronic bacterial infections due to aging associated immune abnormalities. Since bacterial infections compound the rates of cardiac failure in the elderly, and this phenomenon is not entirely understood, the interplay between the immune system and cardiovascular function in the elderly is of great interest. Using Mycobacterium avium, an opportunistic pathogen, we investigated the effect of mycobacteria on cardiac function in aged mice. Young (2-3 months) and old (18-20 months) C57BL/6 mice were intranasally infected with M. avium strain 104, and we compared the bacterial burden, immune status, cardiac electrical activity, pathology, and function of infected mice against uninfected age-matched controls. Herein, we show that biological aging may predispose old mice infected with M. avium to mycobacterial dissemination into the heart tissue and this leads to cardiac dysfunction. M. avium infected old mice had significant dysrhythmia, cardiac hypertrophy, increased recruitment of CD45+ leukocytes, cardiac fibrosis, and increased expression of inflammatory genes in isolated heart tissue. This is the first study to report the effect of mycobacteria on cardiac function in an aged model. Our findings are critical to understanding how nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) and other mycobacterial infections contribute to cardiac dysfunction in the elderly population.
View details for DOI 10.1111/acel.12926
View details for Web of Science ID 000467861100032
View details for PubMedID 30834643
Research has shown promise of using bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) for craniofacial bone regeneration; yet little is known about the differences of BMSCs from limb and craniofacial bones. This study compared pig mandibular and tibia BMSCs for their in vitro proliferation, osteogenic differentiation properties and gene expression.Bone marrow was aspirated from the tibia and mandible of 3-4 month-old pigs (n=4), followed by BMSC isolation, culture-expansion and characterization by flow cytometry. Proliferation rates were assessed using population doubling times. Osteogenic differentiation was evaluated by alkaline phosphatase activity. Affymetrix porcine microarray was used to compare gene expressions of tibial and mandibular BMSCs, followed by real-time RT-PCR evaluation of certain genes.Our results showed that BMSCs from both locations expressed MSC markers but not hematopoietic markers. The proliferation and osteogenic differentiation potential of mandibular BMSCs were significantly stronger than those of tibial BMSCs. Microarray analysis identified 404 highly abundant genes, out of which 334 genes were matched between the two locations and annotated into the same functional groups including osteogenesis and angiogenesis, while 70 genes were mismatched and annotated into different functional groups. In addition, 48 genes were differentially expressed by at least 1.5-fold difference between the two locations, including higher expression of cranial neural crest-related gene BMP-4 in mandibular BMSCs, which was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR.Altogether, these data indicate that despite strong similarities in gene expression between mandibular and tibial BMSCs, mandibular BMSCs express some genes differently than tibial BMSCs and have a phenotypic profile that may make them advantageous for craniofacial bone regeneration.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2017.01.012
View details for Web of Science ID 000399868100001
View details for PubMedID 28135571
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5366281
Hyperglycemia has been implicated in the development of endothelial dysfunction through heightened ROS production. Since nitrones reverse endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) dysfunction, increase antioxidant enzyme activity, and suppress pro-apoptotic signaling pathway and mitochondrial dysfunction from ROS-induced toxicity, the objective of this study was to determine whether nitrone spin traps DMPO, PBN and PBN-LA were effective at duplicating these effects and improving glucose uptake in an in vitro model of hyperglycemia-induced dysfunction using bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). BAEC were cultured in DMEM medium with low (5.5mM glucose, LG) or high glucose (50mM, HG) for 14 days to model in vivo hyperglycemia as experienced in humans with metabolic disease. Improvements in cell viability, intracellular oxidative stress, NO and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4)? levels, mitochondrial membrane potential, glucose transport, and activity of antioxidant enzymes were measured from single treatment of BAEC with nitrones for 24h after hyperglycemia. Chronic hyperglycemia significantly increased intracellular ROS by 50%, decreased cell viability by 25%, reduced NO bioavailability by 50%, and decreased (BH4) levels by 15% thereby decreasing NO production. Intracellular glucose transport and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were also decreased by 50% and 25% respectively. Nitrone (PBN and DMPO, 50 ?M) treatment of BAEC grown in hyperglycemic conditions resulted in the normalization of outcome measures except for SOD and catalase activities. Our findings demonstrate that the nitrones reverse the deleterious effects of hyperglycemia in BAEC. We believe that in vivo testing of these nitrone compounds in models of cardiometabolic disease is warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bcp.2016.01.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000371952600011
View details for PubMedID 26774452
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5248535