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Clinical Practice: Mini-Review

Free Access

Role of Immune Cells in Acute Kidney Injury and Repair

Lee S.A.a, c · Noel S.a · Sadasivam M.b · Hamad A.R.A.b · Rabb H.a

Author affiliations

aDepartment of Medicine, and bDepartment of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; cYonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

Corresponding Author

Dr. Hamid Rabb

Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

720 Rutland Avenue, Ross 965

Baltimore, MD 21205 (USA)

E-Mail hrabb1@jhmi.edu

Related Articles for ""

Nephron 2017;137:282–286

Abstract

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a significant problem in both native and transplant kidneys. There have been significant advances in understanding the role of immune cells in the early injury and repair from AKI. In this brief review, we aim to update information on the pathophysiologic impact of various immune cells in AKI, with special emphasis on repair. An improved understanding of the AKI immunopathology will lead to new therapies that prevent AKI, accelerate repair, and prevent the progression of AKI to chronic kidney disease.

© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel


Introduction

Work over the last 20 years has demonstrated important roles for different immune cells in the pathogenesis of early injury during acute kidney injury (AKI) (Fig. 1). More recent advances point to their role in recovery and repair from AKI as well (Fig. 2). We will briefly update the reader on these advances, with special emphasis on recent literature.

Fig. 1

Several types of resident immune cells are present in the normal kidney. After renal injury, very early inflammation is likely initiated by the resident immune cells, which is followed by rapid infiltration of circulating immune cells in response to the inflammatory cytokines and chemokines secreted from activated/damaged resident cells. DAMPs and PAMPs secreted from damaged cells enhance immune cell recruitment to injured kidney tissue and participate in the establishment of initial tissue injury in early AKI. AKI, acute kidney injury; DN T cell, double negative T cell; DAMPs, damage-associated molecular patterns; PAMPs, pathogen-associated molecular patterns; PRP, pattern recognition receptor. Modified from Jang and Rabb [5].

/WebMaterial/ShowPic/845720

Fig. 2

The regional immunologic response after AKI determines the consequence of renal injury, either in tissue repair and regeneration or in chronic inflammation with renal fibrosis. During adaptive repair, reparatory responses occur to restore the normal structure and tissue homeostasis in the kidney. Tolerogenic DCs, M2 macrophages and regulatory T cells modulate the renal immune response by direct cell-cell contact or by humoral mediators, leading to endothelial and renal tubular repair and regeneration. However, when there is prolonged or severe AKI, maladaptive repair process begins resulting in chronic inflammation and tissue fibrosis. Inflammatory cells continue to infiltrate into renal interstitium with secretion of pro-inflammatory/pro-fibrotic cytokines. Growth-arrested tubular cells also participate in the formation of pro-fibrotic renal microenvironment with secretion of profibrotic cytokines and growth factors. The interaction of pericyte and endothelial cells is impaired due to endothelial injury during AKI, which leads to activation and proliferation of pericytes. Active pericytes evolve into scar-producing myofibroblasts, which induces renal fibrosis and clinically leads to chronic kidney disease. AKI, acute kidney injury; DCs, dendritic cells; DN T cell, double negative T cell. Modified from Jang and Rabb [5].

/WebMaterial/ShowPic/845719

Immune Cells in AKI

Neutrophils

Neutrophils traffic into kidney and cause microvascular plugging during AKI. Neutrophils adhere to endothelium and transmigrate into renal interstitium using adhesion molecules like P-selectin and intracellular adhesion molecule-1, promoting kidney injury through the secretion of cytokines, reactive oxygen species and proteases [1]. Because of the traditional view of neutrophils as “first responders,” neutrophils were the main white blood cells investigated in earlier AKI studies. However, discordant results led to the questioning of the role of neutrophils during early AKI pathogenesis [2]. Recent studies, however, have shown that blocking neutrophil infiltration by the inhibition of vascular adhesion protein-1 or leukotriene B4-leukotriene B4 receptor axis had a protective effect against ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and cisplatin-induced AKI, respectively [3,4].

Macrophages and Dendritic Cells

Resident mononuclear phagocytic cells (MPCs), which are traditionally classified as macrophages based on their phagocytic function or as dendritic cells (DCs) by their antigen-presenting activity, serve important roles as immune-regulators during steady state as well as serve as a bridge between innate and adoptive cells in tissue injury and repair. During AKI, renal MPCs contribute to the expansion of the inflammatory cascade and leukocyte recruitment with multiple chemotactic factors. Circulating monocytes infiltrate into kidney following renal injury and differentiate into macrophages or inflammatory DCs depending on the renal microenvironment. Macrophages are divided into 2 broad subsets, M1 (classically activated, pro-inflammatory) and M2 (alternatively activated, tissue-reparative). The M1 phenotype is largely controlled by toll-like receptor ligation and interferon (IFN)-γ, whereas interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 are responsible for M2 differentiation [5]. M1 macrophages predominate in early AKI, whereas skewing to M2 macrophages occurs in the later stages. Macrophage ablation in mice before early IRI decreased renal injury, whereas macrophage ablation after established AKI resulted in aggravated tissue injury due to reduced M2 macrophages [6].

DCs also possess functional plasticity governed by different renal interstitial microenvironments. Several studies revealed seemingly disparate roles for DCs that were pathogenic in ischemic AKI and protective in cisplatin-induced AKI [7,8]. This could be because DC function is regulated by injury stimulus and local environment. For these reasons, the induction of tolerogenic DCs has received attention to regulate inflammation following AKI.

T Lymphocytes

T lymphocytes accumulate in the kidney within a few hours after AKI, and play important roles in the development and maintenance of AKI [9]. T-cell-deficient athymic mice are protected from IRI, and have accentuated renal injury after adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes [10]. CD4-deficient mice are more protected than CD8-deficient mice in both ischemia- and cisplatin-induced AKI models [10,11]. Upon activation, CD4+ T cells differentiate into distinct effector subtypes. Among them, IFN-γ-producing T helper 1 (Th1) cells are viewed as pathogenic, whereas IL-4-producing T helper 2 (Th2) cells are viewed as protective. Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) 4 and STAT6 regulate the development of Th1 and Th2 cells in mice, respectively, and STAT4-/- mice are protected from renal IRI, while STAT6-/- mice develop severe injury, confirming the respective roles of CD4+ Th1 and Th2 cells in IRI [12]. IL-17-producing Th17 cells promote renal inflammation by directly damaging the tissue or by enhancing the pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion from neighboring immune cells.

Several studies have focused on mediators of CD4+ T-cell-induced renal injury. IL-33 promote AKI by enhancing CD4+ T-cell infiltration and CD4+ T-cell-mediated production of chemokine ligand 1, suggesting the presence of therapeutic potential of IL-33 inhibition in AKI [13]. Another study demonstrated that cholinergic stimulation of splenic CD4+ T cells using ultrasound pretreatment showed a reno-protective effect in IRI [14]. Furthermore, the activation of type 1 angiotensin II (AT1) receptors have a tissue-specific effect on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity and suggested blocking AT1 receptors in the kidneys but activating AT1 receptors on circulating T cell as a promising intervention from cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity [15]. In addition, T-lymphocyte-specific activation of Nrf2, a transcription factor mitigating oxidative stress, also showed functional and histologic protection from ischemic AKI [16]. Further studies are required to elucidate the underlying role of T lymphocytes and their interaction with other neighboring cells in AKI.

B Lymphocytes

B cells play a central role in the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis and allograft rejection, but only few studies have investigated the role of B cells in renal AKI. B cells infiltrate the kidney following IRI and their deficiency in mice showed protection with reduced tubular damage in the early phase of IRI and increased tubular proliferation in the late phase of IRI, which were reversed by adoptively transferred B cells [17]. Naturally occurring IgM antibodies from B1 cells also protect mice from renal IRI, which is mediated by IgM anti-leukocyte autoantibodies [18].

Immune Cells in AKI Repair

Macrophages and Tolerogenic DCs

In addition to their well-established pro-inflammatory effects during early AKI, macrophages also serve a critical role in wound healing and tissue regeneration. M2 macrophages could serve important roles during the repair process by inhibiting the progression of AKI to chronic kidney disease and fibrosis [6]. Intrinsic IL-10, colony-stimulating factor 1, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor participate in tissue recovery and immune regulation by M2 macrophages [19]. Recently, a novel role for IL-1 receptor-associated kinase-M expressed on macrophages in the regulation of wound healing and tissue regeneration in AKI was reported [20]. In the case of sustained kidney injury, however, M2 macrophages can also participate in maladaptive repair-causing renal fibrosis and extracellular matrix deposition.

Tolerogenic DCs serve important parts in peripheral tolerance by inducing regulatory T cells and T-cell anergy [21]. Based on the plasticity of DCs, engineering DCs into a tolerogenic type is an attractive therapeutic approach in AKI. For example, treatment of DCs with adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) agonist induced tolerogenic DCs and protected the kidney from ischemic IRI by suppressing natural killer T cells [21]. A2AR-stimulation can also prevent DC migration and promote Th2-skewing of CD4+ T cells as well as CD8+ cell anergy [22]. The high plasticity and diversity of macrophage and DCs make them attractive candidates for cell therapy in AKI. Future studies are required to explore their potential for AKI modulation.

Regulatory T Cells and Double-Negative T Cells

Although T cells are traditionally associated with a deleterious role in tissue injury, certain T cells possess tissue-protective activities: CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells and TCR+CD4-CD8- double-negative (DN) T cells. Tregs suppress pro-inflammatory response by direct cell-contact and through soluble factor-mediated mechanisms [23]. Treg-mediated tissue protection has been confirmed in both ischemic- and nephrotoxic AKI by multiple studies using depletion and expansion approaches [23]. The therapeutic potential of Tregs in AKI has been actively pursued, including the adaptive transfer of Treg cells, which enhanced the repair process and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production by other T-cell subsets [24]. Diverse Treg-enhancing drugs, including A2AR, bee venom or dimethylsphingosine, are also showing promising results of the Treg-driven immunotherapy [23].

DN T cells are rarely present in the peripheral blood and lymphoid organs but comprise a significant component of renal T cells accounting for 18-32% of resident T cells in both mouse and humans [25]. Renal DN T cells expand significantly in the early phase of AKI, express a higher level of IL-10 and IL-27 compared to conventional T lymphocytes, and adoptive transfer of DN T cells reduce ischemic AKI in mice. There is very little information on DN T cells in the kidney despite their significant numbers.

In addition to these well-studied cell types, other immune cell subsets like NK T cells and γδ T cells are also being actively studied for their role in AKI. Future studies are required to further ascertain their specific pathophysiologic and therapeutic functions.

Conclusion

A more in-depth understanding of the role of immune cells, particularly in view of successful immunotherapy for cancer, is expected to lead to novel therapeutic approaches to prevent and treat AKI.

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01-DK111209 and R01-DK104662). We also thank the support of Mr. Rogelio Miro of Panama.

Disclosure Statement

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


References

  1. Bolisetty S, Agarwal A: Neutrophils in acute kidney injury: not neutral any more. Kidney Int 2009;75:674-676.
  2. Thornton MA, Winn R, Alpers CE, Zager RA: An evaluation of the neutrophil as a mediator of in vivo renal ischemic-reperfusion injury. Am J Pathol 1989;135:509-515.
  3. Tanaka S, Tanaka T, Kawakami T, Takano H, Sugahara M, Saito H, Higashijima Y, Yamaguchi J, Inagi R, Nangaku M: Vascular adhesion protein-1 enhances neutrophil infiltration by generation of hydrogen peroxide in renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. Kidney Int 2017;pii:S0085-2538(17)30041-8.
  4. Deng B, Lin Y, Ma S, Zheng Y, Yang X, Li B, Yu W, Xu Q, Liu T, Hao C, He R, Ding F: The leukotriene B4-leukotriene B4 receptor axis promotes cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury by modulating neutrophil recruitment. Kidney Int 2017;pii:S0085-2538(17)30036-4.
  5. Jang HR, Rabb H: Immune cells in experimental acute kidney injury. Nat Rev Nephrol 2015;11:88-101.
  6. Lee S, Huen S, Nishio H, Nishio S, Lee HK, Choi BS, Ruhrberg C, Cantley LG: Distinct macrophage phenotypes contribute to kidney injury and repair. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:317-326.
  7. Dong X, Swaminathan S, Bachman LA, Croatt AJ, Nath KA, Griffin MD: Resident dendritic cells are the predominant TNF-secreting cell in early renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Kidney Int 2007;71:619-628.
  8. Tadagavadi RK, Reeves WB: Renal dendritic cells ameliorate nephrotoxic acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2010;21:53-63.
  9. Friedewald JJ, Rabb H: Inflammatory cells in ischemic acute renal failure. Kidney Int 2004;66:486-491.
  10. Burne MJ, Daniels F, El Ghandour A, Mauiyyedi S, Colvin RB, O'Donnell MP, Rabb H: Identification of the CD4(+) T cell as a major pathogenic factor in ischemic acute renal failure. J Clin Invest 2001;108:1283-1290.
  11. Liu M, Chien CC, Burne-Taney M, Molls RR, Racusen LC, Colvin RB, Rabb H: A pathophysiologic role for T lymphocytes in murine acute cisplatin nephrotoxicity. J Am Soc Nephrol 2006;17:765-774.
  12. Yokota N, Burne-Taney M, Racusen L, Rabb H: Contrasting roles for STAT4 and STAT6 signal transduction pathways in murine renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2003;285:F319-F325.
  13. Akcay A, Nguyen Q, He Z, Turkmen K, Won Lee D, Hernando AA, Altmann C, Toker A, Pacic A, Ljubanovic DG, Jani A, Faubel S, Edelstein CL: IL-33 exacerbates acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:2057-2067.
  14. Gigliotti JC, Huang L, Ye H, Bajwa A, Chattrabhuti K, Lee S, Klibanov AL, Kalantari K, Rosin DL, Okusa MD: Ultrasound prevents renal ischemia-reperfusion injury by stimulating the splenic cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. J Am Soc Nephrol 2013;24:1451-1460.
  15. Zhang J, Rudemiller NP, Patel MB, Wei Q, Karlovich NS, Jeffs AD, Wu M, Sparks MA, Privratsky JR, Herrera M, Gurley SB, Nedospasov SA, Crowley SD: Competing actions of type 1 angiotensin II receptors expressed on T lymphocytes and kidney epithelium during cisplatin-induced AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2016;27:2257-2264.
  16. Noel S, Martina MN, Bandapalle S, Racusen LC, Potteti HR, Hamad AR, Reddy SP, Rabb H: T lymphocyte-specific activation of Nrf2 protects from AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015;26:2989-3000.
  17. Jang HR, Gandolfo MT, Ko GJ, Satpute SR, Racusen L, Rabb H: B cells limit repair after ischemic acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2010;21:654-665.
  18. Lobo PI, Bajwa A, Schlegel KH, Vengal J, Lee SJ, Huang L, Ye H, Deshmukh U, Wang T, Pei H, Okusa MD: Natural IgM anti-leukocyte autoantibodies attenuate excess inflammation mediated by innate and adaptive immune mechanisms involving Th-17. J Immunol 2012;188:1675-1685.
  19. Huen SC, Huynh L, Marlier A, Lee Y, Moeckel GW, Cantley LG: GM-CSF promotes macrophage alternative activation after renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015;26:1334-1345.
  20. Lech M, Grobmayr R, Ryu M, Lorenz G, Hartter I, Mulay SR, Susanti HE, Kobayashi KS, Flavell RA, Anders HJ: Macrophage phenotype controls long-term AKI outcomes - kidney regeneration versus atrophy. J Am Soc Nephrol 2014;25:292-304.
  21. Okusa MD, Li L: Dendritic cells in acute kidney injury: cues from the microenvironment. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 2012;123:54-62; discussion 62-63.
  22. Vincent IS, Okusa MD: Adenosine 2A receptors in acute kidney injury. Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2015;214:303-310.
  23. Kinsey GR, Sharma R, Okusa MD: Regulatory T cells in AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2013;24:1720-1726.
  24. Gandolfo MT, Jang HR, Bagnasco SM, Ko GJ, Agreda P, Satpute SR, Crow MT, King LS, Rabb H: Foxp3+ regulatory T cells participate in repair of ischemic acute kidney injury. Kidney Int 2009;76:717-729.
  25. Martina MN, Noel S, Saxena A, Bandapalle S, Majithia R, Jie C, Arend LJ, Allaf ME, Rabb H, Hamad AR: Double-negative αβ T cells are early responders to AKI and are found in human kidney. J Am Soc Nephrol 2016;27:1113-1123.

Author Contacts

Dr. Hamid Rabb

Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

720 Rutland Avenue, Ross 965

Baltimore, MD 21205 (USA)

E-Mail hrabb1@jhmi.edu


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Practice: Mini-Review

Received: April 04, 2017
Accepted: April 27, 2017
Published online: June 10, 2017
Issue release date: Published online first

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1660-8151 (Print)
eISSN: 2235-3186 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NEF


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References

  1. Bolisetty S, Agarwal A: Neutrophils in acute kidney injury: not neutral any more. Kidney Int 2009;75:674-676.
  2. Thornton MA, Winn R, Alpers CE, Zager RA: An evaluation of the neutrophil as a mediator of in vivo renal ischemic-reperfusion injury. Am J Pathol 1989;135:509-515.
  3. Tanaka S, Tanaka T, Kawakami T, Takano H, Sugahara M, Saito H, Higashijima Y, Yamaguchi J, Inagi R, Nangaku M: Vascular adhesion protein-1 enhances neutrophil infiltration by generation of hydrogen peroxide in renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. Kidney Int 2017;pii:S0085-2538(17)30041-8.
  4. Deng B, Lin Y, Ma S, Zheng Y, Yang X, Li B, Yu W, Xu Q, Liu T, Hao C, He R, Ding F: The leukotriene B4-leukotriene B4 receptor axis promotes cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury by modulating neutrophil recruitment. Kidney Int 2017;pii:S0085-2538(17)30036-4.
  5. Jang HR, Rabb H: Immune cells in experimental acute kidney injury. Nat Rev Nephrol 2015;11:88-101.
  6. Lee S, Huen S, Nishio H, Nishio S, Lee HK, Choi BS, Ruhrberg C, Cantley LG: Distinct macrophage phenotypes contribute to kidney injury and repair. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:317-326.
  7. Dong X, Swaminathan S, Bachman LA, Croatt AJ, Nath KA, Griffin MD: Resident dendritic cells are the predominant TNF-secreting cell in early renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Kidney Int 2007;71:619-628.
  8. Tadagavadi RK, Reeves WB: Renal dendritic cells ameliorate nephrotoxic acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2010;21:53-63.
  9. Friedewald JJ, Rabb H: Inflammatory cells in ischemic acute renal failure. Kidney Int 2004;66:486-491.
  10. Burne MJ, Daniels F, El Ghandour A, Mauiyyedi S, Colvin RB, O'Donnell MP, Rabb H: Identification of the CD4(+) T cell as a major pathogenic factor in ischemic acute renal failure. J Clin Invest 2001;108:1283-1290.
  11. Liu M, Chien CC, Burne-Taney M, Molls RR, Racusen LC, Colvin RB, Rabb H: A pathophysiologic role for T lymphocytes in murine acute cisplatin nephrotoxicity. J Am Soc Nephrol 2006;17:765-774.
  12. Yokota N, Burne-Taney M, Racusen L, Rabb H: Contrasting roles for STAT4 and STAT6 signal transduction pathways in murine renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2003;285:F319-F325.
  13. Akcay A, Nguyen Q, He Z, Turkmen K, Won Lee D, Hernando AA, Altmann C, Toker A, Pacic A, Ljubanovic DG, Jani A, Faubel S, Edelstein CL: IL-33 exacerbates acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:2057-2067.
  14. Gigliotti JC, Huang L, Ye H, Bajwa A, Chattrabhuti K, Lee S, Klibanov AL, Kalantari K, Rosin DL, Okusa MD: Ultrasound prevents renal ischemia-reperfusion injury by stimulating the splenic cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. J Am Soc Nephrol 2013;24:1451-1460.
  15. Zhang J, Rudemiller NP, Patel MB, Wei Q, Karlovich NS, Jeffs AD, Wu M, Sparks MA, Privratsky JR, Herrera M, Gurley SB, Nedospasov SA, Crowley SD: Competing actions of type 1 angiotensin II receptors expressed on T lymphocytes and kidney epithelium during cisplatin-induced AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2016;27:2257-2264.
  16. Noel S, Martina MN, Bandapalle S, Racusen LC, Potteti HR, Hamad AR, Reddy SP, Rabb H: T lymphocyte-specific activation of Nrf2 protects from AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015;26:2989-3000.
  17. Jang HR, Gandolfo MT, Ko GJ, Satpute SR, Racusen L, Rabb H: B cells limit repair after ischemic acute kidney injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2010;21:654-665.
  18. Lobo PI, Bajwa A, Schlegel KH, Vengal J, Lee SJ, Huang L, Ye H, Deshmukh U, Wang T, Pei H, Okusa MD: Natural IgM anti-leukocyte autoantibodies attenuate excess inflammation mediated by innate and adaptive immune mechanisms involving Th-17. J Immunol 2012;188:1675-1685.
  19. Huen SC, Huynh L, Marlier A, Lee Y, Moeckel GW, Cantley LG: GM-CSF promotes macrophage alternative activation after renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015;26:1334-1345.
  20. Lech M, Grobmayr R, Ryu M, Lorenz G, Hartter I, Mulay SR, Susanti HE, Kobayashi KS, Flavell RA, Anders HJ: Macrophage phenotype controls long-term AKI outcomes - kidney regeneration versus atrophy. J Am Soc Nephrol 2014;25:292-304.
  21. Okusa MD, Li L: Dendritic cells in acute kidney injury: cues from the microenvironment. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 2012;123:54-62; discussion 62-63.
  22. Vincent IS, Okusa MD: Adenosine 2A receptors in acute kidney injury. Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2015;214:303-310.
  23. Kinsey GR, Sharma R, Okusa MD: Regulatory T cells in AKI. J Am Soc Nephrol 2013;24:1720-1726.
  24. Gandolfo MT, Jang HR, Bagnasco SM, Ko GJ, Agreda P, Satpute SR, Crow MT, King LS, Rabb H: Foxp3+ regulatory T cells participate in repair of ischemic acute kidney injury. Kidney Int 2009;76:717-729.
  25. Martina MN, Noel S, Saxena A, Bandapalle S, Majithia R, Jie C, Arend LJ, Allaf ME, Rabb H, Hamad AR: Double-negative αβ T cells are early responders to AKI and are found in human kidney. J Am Soc Nephrol 2016;27:1113-1123.
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