Targeting Enclysis in Liver Autoimmunity, Transplantation, Viral Infection and Cancer

Yara O Aghabi, Alia Yasin, James I Kennedy, Scott P Davies, Amber E Butler, Zania Stamataki

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Persistent liver inflammation can lead to cirrhosis, which associates with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. There are no curative treatments beyond transplantation, followed by long-term immunosuppression. The global burden of end stage liver disease has been increasing and there is a shortage of donor organs, therefore new therapies are desperately needed. Harnessing the power of the immune system has shown promise in certain autoimmunity and cancer settings. In the context of the liver, regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies are in development. The hypothesis is that these specialized lymphocytes that dampen inflammation may reduce liver injury in patients with chronic, progressive diseases, and promote transplant tolerance. Various strategies including intrinsic and extracorporeal expansion of Treg cells, aim to increase their abundance to suppress immune responses. We recently discovered that hepatocytes engulf and delete Treg cells by enclysis. Herein, we propose that inhibition of enclysis may potentiate existing regulatory T cell therapeutic approaches in patients with autoimmune liver diseases and in patients receiving a transplant. Moreover, in settings where the abundance of Treg cells could hinder beneficial immunity, such us in chronic viral infection or liver cancer, enhancement of enclysis could result in transient, localized reduction of Treg cell numbers and tip the balance towards antiviral and anti-tumor immunity. We describe enclysis as is a natural process of liver immune regulation that lends itself to therapeutic targeting, particularly in combination with current Treg cell approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number662134
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Aghabi, Yasin, Kennedy, Davies, Butler and Stamataki.


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