TitleVaccination-based immunotherapy to target profibrotic cells in liver and lung.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSobecki M, Chen J, Krzywinska E, Nagarajan S, Fan Z, Nelius E, Rodriguez JMMonné, Seehusen F, Hussein A, Moschini G, Hajam EY, Kiran R, Gotthardt D, Debbache J, Badoual C, Sato T, Isagawa T, Takeda N, Tanchot C, Tartour E, Weber A, Werner S, Loffing J, Sommer L, Sexl V, Münz C, Feghali-Bostwick C, Pachera E, Distler O, Snedeker J, Jamora C, Stockmann C
JournalCell Stem Cell
Date Published2022 Oct 06
KeywordsAnimals, Epitopes, Fibroblasts, Fibrosis, Immunotherapy, Liver, Lung, Mice, Vaccination, Zinc Finger Protein GLI1

Fibrosis is the final path of nearly every form of chronic disease, regardless of the pathogenesis. Upon chronic injury, activated, fibrogenic fibroblasts deposit excess extracellular matrix, and severe tissue fibrosis can occur in virtually any organ. However, antifibrotic therapies that target fibrogenic cells, while sparing homeostatic fibroblasts in healthy tissues, are limited. We tested whether specific immunization against endogenous proteins, strongly expressed in fibrogenic cells but highly restricted in quiescent fibroblasts, can elicit an antigen-specific cytotoxic T cell response to ameliorate organ fibrosis. In silico epitope prediction revealed that activation of the genes Adam12 and Gli1 in profibrotic cells and the resulting "self-peptides" can be exploited for T cell vaccines to ablate fibrogenic cells. We demonstrate the efficacy of a vaccination approach to mount CD8 T cell responses that reduce fibroblasts and fibrosis in the liver and lungs in mice. These results provide proof of principle for vaccination-based immunotherapies to treat fibrosis.

Alternate JournalCell Stem Cell
PubMed ID36113462