Investigating the Dynamics of T cell Exhaustion in Glioblastoma and Other Solid Tumors

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2024

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Abstract

While terminally exhausted T cells (Tex_term) retain important anti-tumor cytotoxic function, it is the relative preservation of renewable, stem-like progenitor exhaustion (Tex_prog) that better indicates immunotherapeutic responsivity. Therefore, elucidating the requirements for progression from Tex_prog to Tex_term takes on clinical significance, where the cellular interactions in a tumor microenvironment (TME) governing such progression remain poorly established. Employing glioblastoma (GBM) and other solid tumors as models of severe exhaustion, we provide a detailed characterization of the progression from Tex_prog to Tex_term within the TME, where we observe a striking and disproportionate loss of Tex_prog over time. We find exhaustion concentrated within tumor-specific T cell subsets, with cognate antigenic exposure requisite for acquisition of the Tex_term phenotype. However, we identify tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), and not tumor cells, as the source of antigenic exposure governing the Tex_prog to Tex_term transition. Using cell – cell interaction analysis, we additionally highlight candidate receptor–ligand communications that may be specifically mediating the progression to Tex_term within the TME.

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Waibl Polania, Jessica (2024). Investigating the Dynamics of T cell Exhaustion in Glioblastoma and Other Solid Tumors. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30806.

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