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URMC / Labs / Mosmann Lab / Projects / T Cell Studies in Patients Treated with TNF Antagonist

T Cell Studies in Patients Treated with TNF Antagonist

Our project is focused on understanding the T cell immune response in immunocompromised patients treated with anti-TNF-a. Immunocompromised individuals may be more susceptible to infections because of defects in expression of particular immune effector functions during natural infection, and may also fail to generate protective immunity in response to standard vaccination methods. Because of the complexity of T cell effector functions, it is critical to understand the type of T cell responses induced by various vaccines, and how these responses differ qualitatively and quantitatively in immunocompromised individuals.

cytokine graph
Cytokine secretion patterns following SEB stimulation in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients under anti-TNFa therapy.

As part as the University of Rochester Program for Biodefense for Immnocompromised Populations (URPBIP), our lab has access to a chord of patients including: healthy controls, new/early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients without any treatment, RA patients treated only with methotrexate or anti-TNF and RA patients treated with both methotrexate and anti-TNF. All the groups are vaccinated for Influenza and blood is drawn at different time point.

The aims of this project are the following:

  1. Identifying any change in the phenotype of CD4 and CD8 T cells in patients treated versus the non-treated after the influenza vaccination. Our primary focus is the effector and memory CD4 T phenotype and effector diversity.
  2. Analyze of the serum proteins levels in all the patients groups using the Luminex (Multiplex) technology.
  3. Identify the T cell Influenza-specific response during RA and TNF antagonist therapy.

To summarize, our project is to focus on how the immune system reacts to a specific antigen in an immunocompromised environment.