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See detailNatural killer and dendritic cells collaborate in the immune response induced by the vaccine against uterine cervical cancer.
Langers, Inge ULg; Renoux, Virginie; Reschner, Anca et al

in European journal of immunology (in press)

Virus-like particles (VLPs) of human papillomavirus (HPV) are used as a vaccine against HPV-induced cancer, and recently we have shown that these VLPs are able to activate natural killer (NK) cells. Since ... [more ▼]

Virus-like particles (VLPs) of human papillomavirus (HPV) are used as a vaccine against HPV-induced cancer, and recently we have shown that these VLPs are able to activate natural killer (NK) cells. Since NK cells collaborate with dendritic cells (DCs) to induce an immune response against viral infections and tumors, we studied the impact of this crosstalk in the context of HPV vaccination. NK cells in the presence of HPV-VLPs enhanced DC maturation as shown by an upregulation of CD86 and HLA-DR and an increased production of IL-12p70, but not of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. This activation was bi-directional. Indeed, in the presence of HPV-VLPs, DCs further activated NK cells by inducing the upregulation of cell surface activation markers (CD69 and HLA-DR). The function of NK cells was also improved as shown by an increase in IFN-gamma secretion and cytotoxic activity against an HPV+ cell line. This crosstalk between NK cells and DCs needed CD40 interaction and IL-12p70 secretion, whereas NKG2D was not implicated. Our results provide insight into how VLPs interact with innate immune cells and how NK cells and DCs play a role in the immune response induced by this vaccine agent. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailDeltaNp63 isoform-mediated beta-defensin family up-regulation is associated with (lymph)angiogenesis and poor prognosis in patients with squamous cell carcinoma.
Suarez-Carmona, Meggy ULg; Hubert, Pascale ULg; Gonzalez, Arnaud ULg et al

in Oncotarget (2014), 5(7), 1856-1868

Beside a role in normal development/differentiation, high p63 immunoreactivity is also frequently observed in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Due to the complexity of the gene, the role of each p63 isotype ... [more ▼]

Beside a role in normal development/differentiation, high p63 immunoreactivity is also frequently observed in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Due to the complexity of the gene, the role of each p63 isotype in tumorigenesis is still confusing. Constitutively produced or induced in inflammatory conditions, human beta-defensins (HbetaDs) are cationic peptides involved in host defenses against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Here, we investigated both the role of p63 proteins in the regulation of HbetaDs and the implication of these antimicrobial peptides in tumor (lymph)angiogenesis. Thus, in contrast to TAp63 isotypes, we observed that DeltaNp63 proteins (alpha, beta, gamma) induce HbetaD1, 2 and 4 expression. Similar results were observed in cancer tissues and cell lines. We next demonstrated that DeltaNp63-overexpressing SCC are associated with both a poor prognosis and a high tumor vascularisation and lymphangiogenesis. Moreover, we showed that HbetaDs exert a chemotactic activity for (lymphatic) endothelial cells in a CCR6-dependent manner. The ability of HbetaDs to enhance (lymph)angiogenesis in vivo was also evaluated. We observed that HbetaDs increase the vessel number and induce a significant increase in relative vascular area compared to negative control. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that DeltaNp63-regulated HbetaD could promote tumor (lymph)angiogenesis in SCC microenvironment. [less ▲]

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See detailAltered alpha-defensin 5 expression in cervical squamocolumnar junction: implication in the formation of a viral/tumour-permissive microenvironment.
Hubert, Pascale ULg; Herman, Ludivine; Roncarati, Patrick et al

in The Journal of pathology (2014)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, particularly type 16, is causally associated with cancer of the uterine cervix, which mainly develops at the squamocolumnar (SC) junction. The progression of cervical ... [more ▼]

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, particularly type 16, is causally associated with cancer of the uterine cervix, which mainly develops at the squamocolumnar (SC) junction. The progression of cervical HPV infections into (pre)neoplastic lesions suggests that viral antigens are not adequately recognized by innate immunity or presented to the adaptive immune system. Members of the defensin family have recently been found to inhibit viral and bacterial pathogens, to stimulate the migration of immune cells and to play a role in anticancer responses. In the present study, we focused on the poorly characterized human alpha-defensin 5 (HD-5) and its possible role in these processes. We showed that HD-5 was able to prevent HPV virion entry into cervical keratinocytes and to influence adaptive immunity. Indeed, this peptide specifically induced the chemoattraction and proliferation of both activated T lymphocytes and immature dendritic cells in a CCR2/CCR6-dependent manner and stimulated the infiltration of these professional antigen-presenting cells in a (pre)neoplastic epithelium transplanted in vivo in immunodeficient mice. No chemotactic effect was observed with plasmacytoid dendritic cells, macrophages or natural killer cells. Proliferative and angiogenic effects of HD-5 were also assessed in vitro and in vivo. However there was a striking regional disparity in expression of HD-5, being prominent in ectocervical, vaginal and vulvar neoplasia, while absent, or nearly so, in the cervical SC junction. Taken together, these results suggest one possible explanation for why the SC junction is uniquely vulnerable to both high-risk HPV infection (via reduced HD-5 expression and viral entry) and progression of neoplasia (via altered cell-mediated immune responses and altered microenvironment). Copyright (c) 2014 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [less ▲]

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See detailOncogenic human papillomavirus could directly interact with Natural Killer cells
Renoux, Virginie; Bastin, Renaud ULg; Boniver, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2012, December 10)

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See detailHuman papillomavirus capsids trigger crosstalk between dendritic and NK cells
Langers, Inge ULg; Renoux, Virginie; Pirotte, Evelyne et al

Poster (2012, September 26)

The immune system controls, at least partially, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and subsequent tumour development as demonstrated by a higher tumour prevalence in immunodeficient patients. More than ... [more ▼]

The immune system controls, at least partially, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and subsequent tumour development as demonstrated by a higher tumour prevalence in immunodeficient patients. More than 90% of HPV-infected women will clear the virus within two years. However, it remains unclear which immune cells are implicated in this process and although dendritic cells (DC) and NK cells play a key role in host resistance to virus and tumour, no study has been performed evaluating their crosstalk in this context. Virus-like particles (VLP) formed by the HPV major capsid protein L1 are licensed as vaccine against cervical cancer and we have recently shown that NK cells can directly interact with these HPV-VLP [1]. Here, we investigated the impact of this activation on NK-DC crosstalk. Interestingly, NK cells increase DC maturation induced by HPV-VLP as shown by an up-regulation of HLA-DR and CD86 on DC. Transwell experiments indicated that the expression of HLA-DR is cell-cell contact and soluble factor dependent, whereas only soluble factors seem to be required for CD86 expression. Moreover, in the presence of HPV-VLP and NK cells, DC produce higher amounts of IL12p70, while the production of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL10 remains unchanged. We also demonstrated that DC can up-regulate the expression of NK activation markers (CD69 and HLA-DR) in the presence of HPV-VLP. This up-regulation requires both cell-cell contact and soluble factors. Regarding HLA-DR marker, the increased expression on CD56bright cells is mediated by soluble factors, whereas cell-cell contacts are also important for HLA-DR expression on CD56dim cells. In the presence of DC activated by HPV-VLP, the function of NK cells is also modified since they become more cytotoxic against HPV+ cell line and secrete more IFN-γ. Our results suggest that NK-DC crosstalk could play a role in the immune response induced by HPV-VLP during vaccination protocols against cervical cancer. [less ▲]

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See detailOncogenic human papillomavirus could directly interact with Natural Killer cells
Renoux, Virginie; Bastin, Renaud ULg; Boniver, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2012, June 22)

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See detailγδ T cells could promote cancer progression of HPV-induced lesions
Van hede, Dorien ULg; Bastin, Renaud; Francis, Floriane et al

Conference (2012, June 02)

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See detailOncogenic human papillomavirus could directly interact with Natural Killer cells
Renoux, Virginie; Bastin, Renaud ULg; Boniver, Jacques ULg et al

Poster (2012, May 04)

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See detailγδ T cells could promote cancer progression of HPV-induced lesions
Van hede, Dorien ULg; Bastin, Renaud ULg; Francis, Floriane et al

Conference (2012, February 04)

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See detailProinflammatory Cytokines Induce Bronchial Hyperplasia and Squamous Metaplasia in Smokers: Implications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease therapy.
Herfs, Michael ULg; Hubert, Pascale ULg; POIRRIER, Anne-Lise ULg et al

in American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology (2012), 47(1), 67-79

Tracheobronchial squamous metaplasia is common in smokers and is associated with both airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and increased risk of lung cancer. Whereas this ... [more ▼]

Tracheobronchial squamous metaplasia is common in smokers and is associated with both airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and increased risk of lung cancer. Whereas this reversible epithelial replacement is almost always observed in association with chronic inflammation, the role of inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of squamous metaplasia is still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the implication of cigarette smoke-mediated pro-inflammatory cytokine up-regulation in the development and treatment of tracheobronchial epithelial hyperplasia and squamous metaplasia. By using immunohistological techniques, we showed a higher epithelial expression of TNFalpha, IL-1beta and IL-6 as well as an activation of NF-kappaB and AP-1/MAPK signalling pathways in the respiratory tract of smoking patients compared to the normal ciliated epithelium of non-smoking patients. In addition, we demonstrated that these signalling pathways strongly influence the proliferation and the differentiation state of in vitro generated normal human airway epithelial basal cells. Finally, we exposed mice to cigarette smoke for 16 weeks and demonstrated that anti-TNFalpha (etanercept), anti-IL-1beta (anakinra) and/or anti-IL-6R (tocilizumab) therapies significantly reduced epithelial hyperplasia and squamous metaplasia development. These data highlight the importance of soluble inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of tracheobronchial squamous metaplasia. Therefore, administration of pro-inflammatory cytokine antagonists may have clinical application in the management of COPD patients. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of spontaneous bone marrow recovery after sublethal total body irradiation: importance of the osteoblastic/adipocytic balance.
Poncin, Géraldine ULg; Beaulieu, Aurore ULg; Humblet, Chantal ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2012), 7(2), 30818

Many studies have already examined the hematopoietic recovery after irradiation but paid with very little attention to the bone marrow microenvironment. Nonetheless previous studies in a murine model of ... [more ▼]

Many studies have already examined the hematopoietic recovery after irradiation but paid with very little attention to the bone marrow microenvironment. Nonetheless previous studies in a murine model of reversible radio-induced bone marrow aplasia have shown a significant increase in alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP) prior to hematopoietic regeneration. This increase in ALP activity was not due to cell proliferation but could be attributed to modifications of the properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). We thus undertook a study to assess the kinetics of the evolution of MSC correlated to their hematopoietic supportive capacities in mice treated with sub lethal total body irradiation. In our study, colony-forming units - fibroblasts (CFU-Fs) assay showed a significant MSC rate increase in irradiated bone marrows. CFU-Fs colonies still possessed differentiation capacities of MSC but colonies from mice sacrificed 3 days after irradiation displayed high rates of ALP activity and a transient increase in osteoblastic markers expression while ppargamma and neuropilin-1 decreased. Hematopoietic supportive capacities of CFU-Fs were also modified: as compared to controls, irradiated CFU-Fs significantly increased the proliferation rate of hematopoietic precursors and accelerated the differentiation toward the granulocytic lineage. Our data provide the first evidence of the key role exerted by the balance between osteoblasts and adipocytes in spontaneous bone marrow regeneration. First, (pre)osteoblast differentiation from MSC stimulated hematopoietic precursor's proliferation and granulopoietic regeneration. Then, in a second time (pre)osteoblasts progressively disappeared in favour of adipocytic cells which down regulated the proliferation and granulocytic differentiation and then contributed to a return to pre-irradiation conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailHuman papillomavirus entry into NK cells requires CD16 expression and triggers cytotoxic activity and cytokine secretion.
Renoux, Virginie ULg; Bisig, Bettina ULg; Langers, Inge ULg et al

in European journal of immunology (2011), 41(11), 3240-3252

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections account for more than 50% of infection-linked cancers in women worldwide. The immune system controls, at least partially, viral infection and around 90% of HPV ... [more ▼]

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections account for more than 50% of infection-linked cancers in women worldwide. The immune system controls, at least partially, viral infection and around 90% of HPV-infected women clear the virus within two years. However, it remains unclear which immune cells are implicated in this process and no study has evaluated the direct interaction between HPVs and NK cells, a key player in host resistance to viruses and tumors. We demonstrated an NK cell infiltration in HPV-associated pre-neoplastic cervical lesions. Since HPVs cannot grow in vitro, virus-like particles (VLPs) were used as a model for studying the NK cell response against the virus. Interestingly, NK cells displayed higher cytotoxic activity and cytokine production (TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) in the presence of HPV-VLPs. Using flow cytometry and microscopy we observed that NK cell stimulation was linked to rapid VLP entry into these cells by macropinocytosis. Using CD16(+) and CD16(-) NK cell lines and a CD16-blocking antibody, we demonstrated that CD16 is necessary for HPV-VLP internalization, as well as for degranulation and cytokine production. Thus, we show for the first time that NK cells interact with HPVs and can participate in the immune response against HPV-induced lesions. [less ▲]

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See detailLe cas clinique du mois. A propos d'un cas de sequestration pulmonaire intralobaire diagnostique a l'age adulte.
Somja, Joan ULg; de Leval, Laurence ULg; Boniver, Jacques ULg et al

in Revue Médicale de Liège (2011), 66(1), 7-12

Pulmonary sequestration is a rare congenital lung malformation characterized by an abnormal segment of bronchopulmonary tissue supplied by aberrant systemic arteries. Due to the non-specific ... [more ▼]

Pulmonary sequestration is a rare congenital lung malformation characterized by an abnormal segment of bronchopulmonary tissue supplied by aberrant systemic arteries. Due to the non-specific symptomatology, the diagnosis can be missed. Imaging is the cornerstone of the diagnosis. Complete surgical resection provides the definitive treatment. We report a case of pulmonary sequestration associated with an asymptomatic aspergillosis presenting during adulthood and describe briefly the epidemiology, embryology, histology, imaging and surgical treatment of this congenital abnormality. [less ▲]

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See detailThe human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene in European patients with advanced colorectal cancer harbors infrequent mutations in its tyrosine kinase domain.
Metzger, B.; Chambeau, L.; Begon, Dominique ULg et al

in BMC medical genetics (2011), 12(1), 144

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a member of the ErbB family of receptors, is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase (TK) activated by the binding of extracellular ligands of ... [more ▼]

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a member of the ErbB family of receptors, is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase (TK) activated by the binding of extracellular ligands of the EGF-family and involved in triggering the MAPK signaling pathway, which leads to cell proliferation. Mutations in the EGFR tyrosine kinase domain are frequent in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, to date, only very few, mainly non-European, studies have reported rare EGFR mutations in colorectal cancer (CRC). METHODS: We screened 236 clinical tumor samples from European patients with advanced CRC by direct DNA sequencing to detect potential, as yet unknown mutations, in the EGFR gene exons 18 to 21, mainly covering the EGFR TK catalytic domain. RESULTS: EGFR sequences showed somatic missense mutations in exons 18 and 20 at a frequency of 2.1% and 0.4% respectively. Somatic SNPs were also found in exons 20 and 21 at a frequency of about 3.1% and 0.4% respectively. Of these mutations, four have not yet been described elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS: These mutation frequencies are higher than in a similarly sized population characterized by Barber and colleagues, but still too low to account for a major role played by the EGFR gene in CRC. [less ▲]

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See detailLes cellules souches cancereuses.
Boniver, Jacques ULg; Herfs, Michael ULg

in Bulletin et Mémoires de l'Académie Royale de Médecine de Belgique (2011), 166(3-4), 141-5146

In tumours, a significant fraction of neoplastic cells are engaged in the cell cycle (growth fraction) and are therefore targets for radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, in most disseminated ... [more ▼]

In tumours, a significant fraction of neoplastic cells are engaged in the cell cycle (growth fraction) and are therefore targets for radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, in most disseminated cancers, such treatments cannot lead to complete cure. Many different mechanisms have been described to explain this resistance. The hypothesis of the existence of "cancer stem cells "has been recently proposed. Indeed, the tumour would contain a small subpopulation of cancer cells displaying the phenotypical characteristics of multipotential stem cells. Since such cells display different signalling pathways compared with more differentiated cells, this might explain at least partially the resistance to treatments. Chronic myeloid leukaemia is a good model in favour of cancer stem cells, but the presence of such cells in all types of cancers is still a matter of debate. Several questions emerge: is the multipotential stem cell, the cell of origin of cancer? What is the relevance of the cancer stem cell paradigm for understanding cancer cell biology and to envision new therapeutic, hopefully curative, therapies? The case of chronic myeloid leukaemia is used to discuss these questions. [less ▲]

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See detailLeptin Reverts Pro-Apoptotic and Antiproliferative Effects of α-Linolenic Acids in BCR-ABL Positive Leukemic Cells: Involvement of PI3K Pathway
Beaulieu, Aurore ULg; Poncin, Géraldine ULg; Belaid-Choucair, Zakia et al

in PLoS ONE (2011), 6(10), 25651

It is suspected that bone marrow (BM) microenvironmental factors may influence the evolution of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). In this study, we postulated that adipocytes and lipids could be involved ... [more ▼]

It is suspected that bone marrow (BM) microenvironmental factors may influence the evolution of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). In this study, we postulated that adipocytes and lipids could be involved in the progression of CML. To test this hypothesis, adipocytes were co-cultured with two BCR-ABL positive cell lines (PCMDS and K562). T cell (Jurkat) and stroma cell (HS-5) lines were used as controls. In the second set of experiments, leukemic cell lines were treated with stearic, oleic, linoleic or α-linolenic acids in presence or absence of leptin. Survival, proliferation, leptin production, OB-R isoforms (OB-Ra and OB-Rb), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3k) and BCL-2 expression have been tested after 24h, 48h and 72h of treatment. Our results showed that adipocytes induced a decrease of CML proliferation and an increase in lipid accumulation in leukemic cells. In addition, CML cell lines induced adipocytes cell death. Chromatography analysis showed that BM microenvironment cells were full of saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids, fatty acids that protect tumor cells against external agents. Stearic acid increased Bcl-2 expression in PCMDS, whereas oleic and linoleic acids had no effects. In contrast, α-linolenic acid decreased the proliferation and the survival of CML cell lines as well as BCL-2 and OB-R expression. The effect of α-linolenic acids seemed to be due to PI3K pathway and Bcl-2 inhibition. Leptin production was detected in the co-culture medium. In the presence of leptin, the effect of α-linolenic acid on proliferation, survival, OB-R and BCl-2 expression was reduced.</p> [less ▲]

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See detailHPV triggers NK cell cytotoxic activity and cytokine secretion
Jacobs, Nathalie ULg; Renoux, Virginie ULg; Bisig, Bettina ULg et al

Conference (2011)

Background The immune system controls, at least partially, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and subsequent tumor development as demonstrated by a higher tumor prevalence in immunodeficient patients ... [more ▼]

Background The immune system controls, at least partially, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and subsequent tumor development as demonstrated by a higher tumor prevalence in immunodeficient patients. Around 90% of HPV-infected women will clear the virus within two years. However, it remains unclear which immune cells are implicated in this process and no study has been performed evaluating the direct interaction between HPV and Natural Killer (NK) cells although these cells play a key role in host resistance to virus and tumor. Methods/Results By immunochemistry, we demonstrated an NK cell infiltration in HPV+ squamous pre-neoplasic lesions. Since HPV cannot grow in vitro, virus-like particles (VLP) were used as a model for studying the NK cell response against the virus. Interestingly, NK cells displayed a higher cytotoxic activity (CD107 and chromium release assays) and cytokine production (TNF-α and IFN-γ) in the presence of HPV-VLP. Uptake of HPV-VLP by dendritic cells (DC) has been shown to induce their activation, therefore, we investigated by flow cytometry and microscopy whether the stimulation of NK cell activity is linked to VLP internalization. We observed a faster entry into these cells compared to DC. Furthermore, virus uptake by NK cells is mediated by macropinocytosis, whereas this entry is dependent on clathrin or caveolin endocytosis pathways in DC. Using NK cell lines expressing or not CD16 and blocking antibody, we demonstrated that CD16 is necessary for HPV-VLP internalization, but also for degranulation and cytokine production. Conclusion Thus, we show for the first time that NK cells interact with HPV and could participate in the immune response against HPV-induced tumors. [less ▲]

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