Activated but impaired IFN-γproduction of mucosal-associated invariant T cells in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Wenyong Huang, Dongmei Ye, Wenjing He, Xiaoshun He, Xiaomin Shi, Yifang Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are innate T cells with immunoregulatory activity and were recently found to be associated with various tumor types. The role of intrasinusoidal MAIT cells in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been fully characterized. Design Peripheral blood samples were obtained from patients with HCC and healthy controls. Liver-associated mononuclear cells (LMCs) were collected from liver perfusions of donors and patients with HCC undergoing liver transplantation. Blood and liver perfusates from patients with HCC were analyzed by flow cytometry for CD3 +CD161+Vα7.2+MAIT cell frequency, phenotype, and function. Results There were fewer MAIT cells in the peripheral blood and liver of patients with HCC than in the healthy controls. Interferon-γ(IFN-γ 3) production by these cells was also reduced. Peripheral MAIT cells showed upregulation of HLA-DR (Human Leukocyte Antigen DRï 1/4‰ and the inhibitory molecule PD-1 (Programmed Cell Death Protein 1), but no significant differences in upregulation were found in intrasinusoidal MAIT cells. MAIT cells were significantly enriched in the liver relative to that in the peripheral blood of patients with HCC. High levels of activation markers and exhaustion markers including HLA-DR, CD69, and PD-1 were observed in LMCs of patients with HCC but not in the peripheral blood. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed that intrasinusoidal MAIT cells exhibited distinct features in patients with HCC and the controls. Conclusion Our study showed that alterations in MAIT cells are associated with HCC. The distinct activity and function of MAIT cells in the peripheral blood and liver of patients with HCC might suggest a potential role of these cells in disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere003685
JournalJournal for immunotherapy of cancer
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 17 2021

Keywords

  • cellular
  • immunity
  • immunity
  • innate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research

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