Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Prevent cytopenia in septic patients

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in critically ill patients in the USA, affecting particularly young children and the elderly. A hallmark of septic shock patients upon diagnosis is peripheral blood cytopenia. This persistent cytopenia commonly affects myeloid, lymphoid and erythroid lineages resulting in immunosuppression and is a well-established predictor of fatal outcome. Clinical trials targeting the production ...more »

Submitted by (@ben.croker)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The current standard-of-care for sepsis patients involves supportive therapy and the early administration of antibiotics, which has been essentially unchanged in 40 years. Therapies that prevent the loss of immune cells are likely to be beneficial to avoid immune suppression and prevent the development of life-threatening systemic infection.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

One of the challenges of addressing this question are the large number of biochemical pathways that influence hematopoiesis. Most have not been studied in the context of infection in animal models or in clinical samples. But many animal models and reagents exist that would enable researchers to study this problem. The study of hematopoiesis during infection is feasible and a number of broad questions could be addressed:

a. Do hematopoietic cells and their precursors undergo cell death in response to intracellular pathogens leading to immune suppression?

b. Are hematopoietic cells and their precursors affected by extracellular pathogen-derived products or host-derived molecules resulting from severe injury? Does this lead to cell death and/or prevent the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells?

c. How do genetic factors, chronic infection and comorbidities increase the activity of cell death pathways and/or impair the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells?

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Ben Croker

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

The Human Virome and Host Interactions in Heart, Lung, and Blood

What are the unknown elements of the human virome, and what host-virome interactions affect the heart, lung, and blood health and diseases? A major challenge has been the need for in vitro culture systems and animal models for studying the virome, which is a significant limitation that has forced current studies of the virome to be mostly descriptive. NHLBI has supported one research group to identify human virome and ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

• The virome contains the most abundant and fastest mutating genetic elements on Earth. The human virome is constituted of viruses that infect host cells, virus-derived elements in our chromosomes, and viruses that infect the broad array of other types of organisms that inhabit us. The virome may influence the host in profound ways independent of classical viral disease. The immune system is continuously stimulated by chronic systemic viruses and this aspect of host-microbiome interactions appears specific to the virome. The virome is considered one of the drivers of idiopathic systemic inflammation that has been linked to many of the most severe public health threats, including cardiovascular diseases. Disruptions in immunity by immunosuppressing events can undoubtedly alter the interactions of the virome with the host. However, little research has been done in all of these aspects other than limited descriptive studies to identify the presence or composition of the human virome. The NHLBI Microbiome Working Group in June 2014 clearly identified under-representation of studies of the human virome. Identification and characterization of unknown viral elements of the human virome and research on the interactions with the host will allow exploration of their impact on heart, lung and blood health and diseases, including impact in the presence of immunosuppression with the host such as in AIDS or HIV infection.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This initiative is feasible because of new technologies that have been developed recently such as the deep sequencing techniques. The initiative is also timely in that research supported by the NIH Human Microbiome Program and other programs has allowed us to better understand microbiome, especially bacteria in and on humans, and we began to realize the magnitude of the virome. This initiative will attract more investigators to not only identify more elements of the virome but more importantly to understand the roles of the human virome in heart, lung and blood health and diseases, and eventually to help develop diagnostic and intervention strategies.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Influence of the Gut Microbiome on Pulmonary Immunity in HIV-Infected Individuals

It has become increasingly clear that gut microbiota have a tremendous impact on human health and disease. While it is well known that commensal gut bacteria are crucial in maintaining immune homeostasis in the intestine, there is also evidence of indirect effects on the lung. Multiple studies have shown that alterations in gut microbiota can lead to severe defects in pulmonary immune responses and reduced ability to ...more »

Submitted by (@brent.palmer)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

HIV-infected individuals are at significant risk of developing and dying from infectious and non-infectious pulmonary complications. Alteration of gut microbiota have been shown to have dramatic effects on pulmonary immunity and severity of lung infections. For instance, multiple studies have indicated that probiotic treatment with certain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains results in reduced incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract infections in children. Similarly, a recent study showed that treatment with the minimally absorbed antibiotic neomycin was associated with alterations in gut microbiota composition and concomitant reduced pulmonary immunity and the inability to control Influenza infection in mice. It was recently described that HIV infection is associated with a dramatic alteration in gut microbiota and that these changes persist with antiretroviral therapy (ART). Thus, it is important to understand how these alterations may effect lung immunity, since the majority of HIV-infected individuals develop pulmonary infections. Furthermore, gut microbiota contribute to development of non-infectious complications such as atherosclerosis, metabolic disease, obesity and diabetes. It is thus highly plausible that the gut microbiota may also play a role in the development of non-infectious complications of the lung such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension, the rates of which are elevated in HIV-infected individuals.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

A better understanding of how alterations in gut microbiota associated with HIV infection affects pulmonary infectious and noninfectious complication could lead to therapies to protect this “at risk” group. Furthermore, manipulation of the gut microbiota in HIV-infected individuals using pro- and/or pre-biotics, antibiotics or diet modification to a composition that is associated with increased pulmonary immunity, reduced infections and lung complications are all low risk therapeutic strategies that could substantially improve lung heath in these individuals.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Brent Palmer (NHLBI-INHALD group member) and Catherine Lozupone

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Microbiome, immunity and health

What is the influence of the microbiome on the immune system and other development processes across the normal human lifespan?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

There is a potential of microbiome-based therapeutics to treat human disease. A deep understanding of the mechanisms governing the interactions between microbiomes, immune development and metabolic networks are key to improve health outcomes. New therapeutic approaches including personalized pre- and probiotics and nutritional interventions, narrow spectrum antibiotics and fecal transplantation therapies may provide an avenue for safer alternatives to traditional clinical interventions for chronic diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Through the Human Microbiome Project investigators have started to characterize and analyze the microbial communities in the body. Today metagenomics tools and other technologies developed through these projects are available to the broader scientific community. Such tools and standardized protocols can be applied and improved in future research to address functional and mechanistic consequences of host-microbiome interactions and their influence in human health.

Bacterial communities colonize the human host from birth, giving rise to a highly adapted microbiota that is established, but dynamic, in healthy individuals though life. Growing evidence suggests that this complex symbiotic relationship between microbiome and its host fulfills critical physiological roles, immune maturation, and diverse metabolic functions. Immune maturity and balance is conquered and maintained partly due to the influential interaction among the resident gut microbiota and host mucosal immune system. In addition, the immune system is continuously stimulated by chronic systemic viruses; the human virome is considered one of the drivers of idiopathic systemic inflammation that has been linked to many of the most severe public health threats, including cardiovascular diseases. In depth understanding of the underlying mechanisms that control homeostasis and dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) of the gut, lung and/or other host microbiota are vital for our ability to potentially manipulate the microbiota to achieve positive clinical outcomes for systemic diseases.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Lung Microbiome and Innate Immunity

How does the lung microbiome shape its innate immunity? Is there a commensal immune system in the lung? Is the lung microbiome metabolically active?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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