All Publications

  • Immunotherapy-related cognitive impairment after CAR T cell therapy in mice. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology Geraghty, A. C., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Rotiroti, M., Dutton, S., O'Dea, M. R., Woo, P. J., Xu, H., Shamardani, K., Mancusi, R., Ni, L., Mulinyawe, S. B., Kim, W. J., Liddelow, S. A., Majzner, R. G., Monje, M. 2024


    Persistent central nervous system (CNS) immune dysregulation and consequent dysfunction of multiple neural cell types is central to the neurobiological underpinnings of a cognitive impairment syndrome that can occur following traditional cancer therapies or certain infections. Immunotherapies have revolutionized cancer care for many tumor types, but the potential long-term cognitive sequelae are incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrate in mouse models that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for both CNS and non-CNS cancers can impair cognitive function and induce a persistent CNS immune response characterized by white matter microglial reactivity and elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytokines and chemokines. Consequently, oligodendroglial homeostasis and hippocampal neurogenesis are disrupted. Microglial depletion rescues oligodendroglial deficits and cognitive performance in a behavioral test of attention and short-term memory function. Taken together, these findings illustrate similar mechanisms underlying immunotherapy-related cognitive impairment (IRCI) and cognitive impairment following traditional cancer therapies and other immune challenges.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2024.05.14.594163

    View details for PubMedID 38798554

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC11118392

  • Training the next generation of community-engaged physicians: a mixed-methods evaluation of a novel course for medical service learning in the COVID-19 era. BMC medical education Scala, J. J., Cha, H., Shamardani, K., Rashes, E. R., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Mediratta, R. P. 2024; 24 (1): 426


    Medical school curricula strive to train community-engaged and culturally competent physicians, and many use service learning to instill these values in students. The current standards for medical service learning frameworks have opportunities for improvement, such as encouraging students to have more sustainable and reciprocal impact and to ingrain service learning as a value to carry throughout their careers rather than a one-time experience. PEDS 220: A COVID-19 Elective is a Stanford University course on the frontlines of this shift; it provides timely education on the COVID-19 pandemic, integrating community-oriented public health work to help mitigate its impact.To analyze our medical service learning curriculum, we combined qualitative and quantitative methods to understand our students' experiences. Participants completed the Course Experience Questionnaire via Qualtrics, and were invited to complete an additional interview via Zoom. Interview transcripts were analyzed using an interactive, inductive, and team-based codebook development process, where recurring themes were identified across participant interviews.We demonstrate through self-determination theory that our novel curriculum gives students valuable leadership and project management experience, awards strong academic and community-based connections, and motivates them to pursue future community-engaged work.This educational framework, revolving around students, communities, and diversity, can be used beyond the COVID-19 pandemic at other educational institutions to teach students how to solve other emergent global health problems. Using proven strategies that empower future physicians to view interdisciplinary, community-engaged work as a core pillar of their responsibility to their patients and communities ensures long-term, sustainable positive impact.N/A.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12909-024-05372-8

    View details for PubMedID 38649984

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC11034080

  • Basal stem cell progeny establish their apical surface in a junctional niche during turnover of an adult barrier epithelium. Nature cell biology Galenza, A., Moreno-Roman, P., Su, Y. H., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Debec, A., Guichet, A., Knapp, J. M., Kizilyaprak, C., Humbel, B. M., Kolotuev, I., O'Brien, L. E. 2023


    Barrier epithelial organs face the constant challenge of sealing the interior body from the external environment while simultaneously replacing the cells that contact this environment. New replacement cells-the progeny of basal stem cells-are born without barrier-forming structures such as a specialized apical membrane and occluding junctions. Here, we investigate how new progeny acquire barrier structures as they integrate into the intestinal epithelium of adult Drosophila. We find they gestate their future apical membrane in a sublumenal niche created by a transitional occluding junction that envelops the differentiating cell and enables it to form a deep, microvilli-lined apical pit. The transitional junction seals the pit from the intestinal lumen until differentiation-driven, basal-to-apical remodelling of the niche opens the pit and integrates the now-mature cell into the barrier. By coordinating junctional remodelling with terminal differentiation, stem cell progeny integrate into a functional, adult epithelium without jeopardizing barrier integrity.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41556-023-01116-w

    View details for PubMedID 36997641

    View details for PubMedCentralID 5742542

  • Multifocal demyelinating leukoencephalopathy and oligodendroglial lineage cell loss with immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS) following CD19 CAR T-cell therapy for mantle cell lymphoma. Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology Nie, E. H., Ahmadian, S. S., Bharadwaj, S. N., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Threlkeld, Z. D., Frank, M. J., Miklos, D. B., Monje, M., Scott, B. J., Vogel, H. 2023


    Immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS) is a prevalent condition seen after treatment with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy and other cancer cell therapies. The underlying pathophysiology and neuropathology of the clinical syndrome are incompletely understood due to the limited availability of brain tissue evaluation from patient cases, and a lack of high-fidelity preclinical animal models for translational research. Here, we present the cellular and tissue neuropathologic analysis of a patient who experienced grade 4 ICANS after treatment with anti-CD19 CAR T therapy for mantle cell lymphoma. Our pathologic evaluation reveals a pattern of multifocal demyelinating leukoencephalopathy associated with a clinical course of severe ICANS. A focused analysis of glial subtypes further suggests region-specific oligodendrocyte lineage cell loss as a potential cellular and pathophysiologic correlate in severe ICANS. We propose a framework for the continuum of neuropathologic changes thus far reported across ICANS cases. Future elucidation of the mechanistic processes underlying ICANS will be critical in minimizing neurotoxicity following CAR T-cell and related immunotherapy treatments across oncologic and autoimmune diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/jnen/nlac121

    View details for PubMedID 36592076

  • Mild respiratory COVID can cause multi-lineage neural cell and myelin dysregulation. Cell Fernández-Castañeda, A., Lu, P., Geraghty, A. C., Song, E., Lee, M. H., Wood, J., O'Dea, M. R., Dutton, S., Shamardani, K., Nwangwu, K., Mancusi, R., Yalçın, B., Taylor, K. R., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Malacon, K., Keough, M. B., Ni, L., Woo, P. J., Contreras-Esquivel, D., Toland, A. M., Gehlhausen, J. R., Klein, J., Takahashi, T., Silva, J., Israelow, B., Lucas, C., Mao, T., Peña-Hernández, M. A., Tabachnikova, A., Homer, R. J., Tabacof, L., Tosto-Mancuso, J., Breyman, E., Kontorovich, A., McCarthy, D., Quezado, M., Vogel, H., Hefti, M. M., Perl, D. P., Liddelow, S., Folkerth, R., Putrino, D., Nath, A., Iwasaki, A., Monje, M. 2022


    COVID survivors frequently experience lingering neurological symptoms that resemble cancer-therapy-related cognitive impairment, a syndrome for which white matter microglial reactivity and consequent neural dysregulation is central. Here, we explored the neurobiological effects of respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection and found white-matter-selective microglial reactivity in mice and humans. Following mild respiratory COVID in mice, persistently impaired hippocampal neurogenesis, decreased oligodendrocytes, and myelin loss were evident together with elevated CSF cytokines/chemokines including CCL11. Systemic CCL11 administration specifically caused hippocampal microglial reactivity and impaired neurogenesis. Concordantly, humans with lasting cognitive symptoms post-COVID exhibit elevated CCL11 levels. Compared with SARS-CoV-2, mild respiratory influenza in mice caused similar patterns of white-matter-selective microglial reactivity, oligodendrocyte loss, impaired neurogenesis, and elevated CCL11 at early time points, but after influenza, only elevated CCL11 and hippocampal pathology persisted. These findings illustrate similar neuropathophysiology after cancer therapy and respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection which may contribute to cognitive impairment following even mild COVID.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2022.06.008

    View details for PubMedID 35768006

  • Multifocal demyelinating leukoencephalopathy and oligodendroglial lineage cell loss with CD19 CAR T-cell lymphoma therapy Nie, E., Ahmadian, S., Bharadwaj, S., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Threlkeld, Z., Frank, M., Miklos, D., Born, D., Scott, B., Monje, M., Vogel, H. OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC. 2022: 464
  • Mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause multi-lineage cellular dysregulation and myelin loss in the brain. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology Fernández-Castañeda, A., Lu, P., Geraghty, A. C., Song, E., Lee, M. H., Wood, J., Yalçın, B., Taylor, K. R., Dutton, S., Acosta-Alvarez, L., Ni, L., Contreras-Esquivel, D., Gehlhausen, J. R., Klein, J., Lucas, C., Mao, T., Silva, J., Peña-Hernández, M. A., Tabachnikova, A., Takahashi, T., Tabacof, L., Tosto-Mancuso, J., Breyman, E., Kontorovich, A., McCarthy, D., Quezado, M., Hefti, M., Perl, D., Folkerth, R., Putrino, D., Nath, A., Iwasaki, A., Monje, M. 2022


    Survivors of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection frequently experience lingering neurological symptoms, including impairment in attention, concentration, speed of information processing and memory. This long-COVID cognitive syndrome shares many features with the syndrome of cancer therapy-related cognitive impairment (CRCI). Neuroinflammation, particularly microglial reactivity and consequent dysregulation of hippocampal neurogenesis and oligodendrocyte lineage cells, is central to CRCI. We hypothesized that similar cellular mechanisms may contribute to the persistent neurological symptoms associated with even mild SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infection. Here, we explored neuroinflammation caused by mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection - without neuroinvasion - and effects on hippocampal neurogenesis and the oligodendroglial lineage. Using a mouse model of mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection induced by intranasal SARS-CoV-2 delivery, we found white matter-selective microglial reactivity, a pattern observed in CRCI. Human brain tissue from 9 individuals with COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 infection exhibits the same pattern of prominent white matter-selective microglial reactivity. In mice, pro-inflammatory CSF cytokines/chemokines were elevated for at least 7-weeks post-infection; among the chemokines demonstrating persistent elevation is CCL11, which is associated with impairments in neurogenesis and cognitive function. Humans experiencing long-COVID with cognitive symptoms (48 subjects) similarly demonstrate elevated CCL11 levels compared to those with long-COVID who lack cognitive symptoms (15 subjects). Impaired hippocampal neurogenesis, decreased oligodendrocytes and myelin loss in subcortical white matter were evident at 1 week, and persisted until at least 7 weeks, following mild respiratory SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice. Taken together, the findings presented here illustrate striking similarities between neuropathophysiology after cancer therapy and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and elucidate cellular deficits that may contribute to lasting neurological symptoms following even mild SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2022.01.07.475453

    View details for PubMedID 35043113

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8764721