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Abstract

In a wide array of kidney diseases, type 1 angiotensin (AT1) receptors are present on the immune cells that infiltrate the renal interstitium. Here, we examined the actions of AT1 receptors on macrophages in progressive renal fibrosis and found that macrophage-specific AT1 receptor deficiency exacerbates kidney fibrosis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). Macrophages isolated from obstructed kidneys of mice lacking AT1 receptors solely on macrophages had heightened expression of proinflammatory M1 cytokines, including IL-1. Evaluation of isolated AT1 receptor–deficient macrophages confirmed the propensity of these cells to produce exaggerated levels of M1 cytokines, which led to more severe renal epithelial cell damage via IL-1 receptor activation in coculture compared with WT macrophages. A murine kidney crosstransplantation concomitant with UUO model revealed that augmentation of renal fibrosis instigated by AT1 receptor–deficient macrophages is mediated by IL-1 receptor stimulation in the kidney. This study indicates that a key role of AT1 receptors on macrophages is to protect the kidney from fibrosis by limiting activation of IL-1 receptors in the kidney.

Authors

Jian-dong Zhang, Mehul B. Patel, Robert Griffiths, Paul C. Dolber, Phillip Ruiz, Matthew A. Sparks, Johannes Stegbauer, Huixia Jin, Jose A. Gomez, Anne F. Buckley, William S. Lefler, Daian Chen, Steven D. Crowley

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Abstract

In response to stress, the heart undergoes extensive cardiac remodeling that results in cardiac fibrosis and pathological growth of cardiomyocytes (hypertrophy), which contribute to heart failure. Alterations in microRNA (miRNA) levels are associated with dysfunctional gene expression profiles associated with many cardiovascular disease conditions; however, miRNAs have emerged recently as paracrine signaling mediators. Thus, we investigated a potential paracrine miRNA crosstalk between cardiac fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes and found that cardiac fibroblasts secrete miRNA-enriched exosomes. Surprisingly, evaluation of the miRNA content of cardiac fibroblast–derived exosomes revealed a relatively high abundance of many miRNA passenger strands (“star” miRNAs), which normally undergo intracellular degradation. Using confocal imaging and coculture assays, we identified fibroblast exosomal–derived miR-21_3p (miR-21*) as a potent paracrine-acting RNA molecule that induces cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Proteome profiling identified sorbin and SH3 domain-containing protein 2 (SORBS2) and PDZ and LIM domain 5 (PDLIM5) as miR-21* targets, and silencing SORBS2 or PDLIM5 in cardiomyocytes induced hypertrophy. Pharmacological inhibition of miR-21* in a mouse model of Ang II–induced cardiac hypertrophy attenuated pathology. These findings demonstrate that cardiac fibroblasts secrete star miRNA–enriched exosomes and identify fibroblast-derived miR-21* as a paracrine signaling mediator of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy that has potential as a therapeutic target.

Authors

Claudia Bang, Sandor Batkai, Seema Dangwal, Shashi Kumar Gupta, Ariana Foinquinos, Angelika Holzmann, Annette Just, Janet Remke, Karina Zimmer, Andre Zeug, Evgeni Ponimaskin, Andreas Schmiedl, Xiaoke Yin, Manuel Mayr, Rashi Halder, Andre Fischer, Stefan Engelhardt, Yuanyuan Wei, Andreas Schober, Jan Fiedler, Thomas Thum

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Abstract

A major dose-limiting side effect associated with cancer-treating antineoplastic drugs is the development of neuropathic pain, which is not readily relieved by available analgesics. A better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie pain generation has potential to provide targets for prophylactic management of chemotherapy pain. Here, we delineate a pathway for pain that is induced by the chemotherapeutic drug vincristine sulfate (VCR). In a murine model of chemotherapy-induced allodynia, VCR treatment induced upregulation of endothelial cell adhesion properties, resulting in the infiltration of circulating CX3CR1+ monocytes into the sciatic nerve. At the endothelial-nerve interface, CX3CR1+ monocytes were activated by the chemokine CX3CL1 (also known as fractalkine [FKN]), which promoted production of reactive oxygen species that in turn activated the receptor TRPA1 in sensory neurons and evoked the pain response. Furthermore, mice lacking CX3CR1 exhibited a delay in the development of allodynia following VCR administration. Together, our data suggest that CX3CR1 antagonists and inhibition of FKN proteolytic shedding, possibly by targeting ADAM10/17 and/or cathepsin S, have potential as peripheral approaches for the prophylactic treatment of chemotherapy-induced pain.

Authors

Elizabeth A. Old, Suchita Nadkarni, John Grist, Clive Gentry, Stuart Bevan, Ki-Wook Kim, Adrian J. Mogg, Mauro Perretti, Marzia Malcangio

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Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection accounts for approximately 64 million cases of respiratory disease and 200,000 deaths worldwide each year, yet no broadly effective prophylactic or treatment regimen is available. RSV deploys paired, self-associating, heptad repeat domains of its fusion protein, RSV-F, to form a fusogenic 6-helix bundle that enables the virus to penetrate the host cell membrane. Here, we developed hydrocarbon double-stapled RSV fusion peptides that exhibit stabilized α-helical structure and striking proteolytic resistance. Pretreatment with double-stapled RSV peptides that specifically bound to the RSV fusion bundle inhibited infection by both laboratory and clinical RSV isolates in cells and murine infection models. Intranasal delivery of a lead double-stapled RSV peptide effectively prevented viral infection of the nares. A chitosan-based nanoparticle preparation markedly enhanced pulmonary delivery, further preventing progression of RSV infection to the lung. Thus, our results provide a strategy for inhibiting RSV infection by mucosal and endotracheal delivery of double-stapled RSV fusion peptides.

Authors

Gregory H. Bird, Sandhya Boyapalle, Terianne Wong, Kwadwo Opoku-Nsiah, Raminder Bedi, W. Christian Crannell, Alisa F. Perry, Huy Nguyen, Viviana Sampayo, Ankita Devareddy, Subhra Mohapatra, Shyam S. Mohapatra, Loren D. Walensky

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Abstract

Downmodulation or loss-of-function mutations of the gene encoding NOTCH1 are associated with dysfunctional squamous cell differentiation and development of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in skin and internal organs. While NOTCH1 receptor activation has been well characterized, little is known about how NOTCH1 gene transcription is regulated. Using bioinformatics and functional screening approaches, we identified several regulators of the NOTCH1 gene in keratinocytes, with the transcription factors DLX5 and EGR3 and estrogen receptor β (ERβ) directly controlling its expression in differentiation. DLX5 and ERG3 are required for RNA polymerase II (PolII) recruitment to the NOTCH1 locus, while ERβ controls NOTCH1 transcription through RNA PolII pause release. Expression of several identified NOTCH1 regulators, including ERβ, is frequently compromised in skin, head and neck, and lung SCCs and SCC-derived cell lines. Furthermore, a keratinocyte ERβ–dependent program of gene expression is subverted in SCCs from various body sites, and there are consistent differences in mutation and gene-expression signatures of head and neck and lung SCCs in female versus male patients. Experimentally increased ERβ expression or treatment with ERβ agonists inhibited proliferation of SCC cells and promoted NOTCH1 expression and squamous differentiation both in vitro and in mouse xenotransplants. Our data identify a link between transcriptional control of NOTCH1 expression and the estrogen response in keratinocytes, with implications for differentiation therapy of squamous cancer.

Authors

Yang Sui Brooks, Paola Ostano, Seung-Hee Jo, Jun Dai, Spiro Getsios, Piotr Dziunycz, Günther F.L. Hofbauer, Kara Cerveny, Giovanna Chiorino, Karine Lefort, G. Paolo Dotto

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Abstract

Background. Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a leading cause of HIV-associated mortality globally. High fungal burden in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at diagnosis and poor fungal clearance during treatment are recognized adverse prognostic markers; however, the underlying pathogenic factors that drive these clinical manifestations are incompletely understood. We profiled a large set of clinical isolates for established cryptococcal virulence traits to evaluate the contribution of C. neoformans phenotypic diversity to clinical presentation and outcome in human cryptococcosis.

Methods. Sixty-five C. neoformans isolates from clinical trial patients with matched clinical data were assayed in vitro to determine murine macrophage uptake, intracellular proliferation rate (IPR), capsule induction, and laccase activity. Analysis of the correlation between prognostic clinical and host immune parameters and fungal phenotypes was performed using Spearman’s r, while the fungal-dependent impact on long-term survival was determined by Cox regression analysis.

Results. High levels of fungal uptake by macrophages in vitro, but not the IPR, were associated with CSF fungal burden (r = 0.38, P = 0.002) and long-term patient survival (hazard ratio [HR] 2.6, 95% CI 1.2–5.5, P = 0.012). High-uptake strains were hypocapsular (r = –0.28, P = 0.05) and exhibited enhanced laccase activity (r = 0.36, P = 0.003). Fungal isolates with greater laccase activity exhibited heightened survival ex vivo in purified CSF (r = 0.49, P < 0.0001) and resistance to clearance following patient antifungal treatment (r = 0.39, P = 0.003).

Conclusion. These findings underscore the contribution of cryptococcal-phagocyte interactions and laccase-dependent melanin pathways to human clinical presentation and outcome. Furthermore, characterization of fungal-specific pathways that drive clinical manifestation provide potential targets for the development of therapeutics and the management of CM.

Funding. This work was made possible by funding from the Wellcome Trust (WT088148MF), the Medical Research Council (MR/J008176/1), the NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre and the Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine (to R.C. May), and a Wellcome Trust Intermediate fellowship (089966, to T. Bicanic). The C. neoformans isolates were collected within clinical trials funded by the British Infection Society (fellowship to T. Bicanic), the Wellcome Trust (research training fellowships WT069991, to A.E. Brouwer and WT081794, to J.N. Jarvis), and the Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (76201). The funding sources had no role in the design or conduct of this study, nor in preparation of the manuscript.

Authors

Wilber Sabiiti, Emma Robertson, Mathew A. Beale, Simon A. Johnston, Annemarie E. Brouwer, Angela Loyse, Joseph N. Jarvis, Andrew S. Gilbert, Matthew C. Fisher, Thomas S. Harrison, Robin C. May, Tihana Bicanic

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Abstract

T cell activation is regulated by the interactions of surface receptors with stimulatory and inhibitory ligands. Programmed death-1 homolog (PD-1H, also called VISTA) is a member of the CD28 family of proteins and has been shown to act as a coinhibitory ligand on APCs that suppress T cell responses. Here, we determined that PD-1H functions as a coinhibitory receptor for CD4+ T cells. CD4+ T cells in mice lacking PD-1H exhibited a dramatically increased response to antigen stimulation. Furthermore, delivery of a PD-1H–specific agonist mAb directly inhibited CD4+ T cell activation both in vitro and in vivo, validating a coinhibitory function of PD-1H. In a murine model of acute hepatitis, administration of a PD-1H agonist mAb suppressed CD4+ T cell–mediated acute inflammation. PD-1H–deficient animals were highly resistant to tumor induction in a murine brain glioma model, and depletion of CD4+ T cells, but not CD8+ T cells, promoted tumor formation. Together, our findings suggest that PD-1H has potential as a target of immune modulation in the treatment of human inflammation and malignancies.

Authors

Dallas B. Flies, Xue Han, Tomoe Higuchi, Linghua Zheng, Jingwei Sun, Jessica Jane Ye, Lieping Chen

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Abstract

Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a secondary complication of diabetes with an unclear etiology. Based on a functional genomic evaluation of obesity-associated cardiac gene expression, we previously identified and cloned the gene encoding apolipoprotein O (APOO), which is overexpressed in hearts from diabetic patients. Here, we generated APOO-Tg mice, transgenic mouse lines that expresses physiological levels of human APOO in heart tissue. APOO-Tg mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited depressed ventricular function with reduced fractional shortening and ejection fraction, and myocardial sections from APOO-Tg mice revealed mitochondrial degenerative changes. In vivo fluorescent labeling and subcellular fractionation revealed that APOO localizes with mitochondria. Furthermore, APOO enhanced mitochondrial uncoupling and respiration, both of which were reduced by deletion of the N-terminus and by targeted knockdown of APOO. Consequently, fatty acid metabolism and ROS production were enhanced, leading to increased AMPK phosphorylation and Ppara and Pgc1a expression. Finally, we demonstrated that the APOO-induced cascade of events generates a mitochondrial metabolic sink whereby accumulation of lipotoxic byproducts leads to lipoapoptosis, loss of cardiac cells, and cardiomyopathy, mimicking the diabetic heart–associated metabolic phenotypes. Our data suggest that APOO represents a link between impaired mitochondrial function and cardiomyopathy onset, and targeting APOO-dependent metabolic remodeling has potential as a strategy to adjust heart metabolism and protect the myocardium from impaired contractility.

Authors

Annie Turkieh, Céline Caubère, Manon Barutaut, Franck Desmoulin, Romain Harmancey, Michel Galinier, Matthieu Berry, Camille Dambrin, Carlo Polidori, Louis Casteilla, François Koukoui, Philippe Rouet, Fatima Smih

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Abstract

The increase in immunosuppressed patient populations has correlated with a rise in clinical fungal infections, including cryptococcosis. Patient outcome following Cryptococcus infection is linked to initial fungal burden in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and fungal clearance following treatment; however, the role of the pathogen in disease prognosis is poorly defined. In this issue of the JCI, Sabiiti and colleagues have directly correlated phenotypic traits of Cryptococcus neoformans with clinical outcome of infected patients. A better understanding of both the host and pathogen contributions to disease etiology will provide more options for targeted treatment strategies.

Authors

John R. Perfect

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Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is responsible for lower respiratory tract infections and annually results in 200,000 deaths worldwide. Despite the burden of RSV-associated disease, treatments and preventative measures are limited. In this issue of JCI, Bird and colleagues describe their work using a peptide stapling technique that allowed synthesis of a stable peptide mimic of a portion of the RSV fusion protein. Pretreatment of cells with the stable peptide effectively blocked virus entry. When introduced into mice prior to RSV exposure, the peptide produced a substantial prophylactic effect. This work provides a new way forward in RSV prevention.

Authors

Sarah P. Katen, Terence S. Dermody

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Abstract

Three years ago, two research groups independently identified a previously undescribed T cell cosignaling molecule; one referred to it as V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA), and the other used the term programmed death-1 homolog (PD-1H). Recombinant and ectopically expressed PD-1H functions as a coinhibitory ligand for T cell responses. However, the function of endogenous PD-1H is not clear. In this issue of the JCI, Flies and colleagues demonstrate that endogenous PD-1H on both T cells and APCs serves as a coinhibitory molecule for T cell activation and provide further support for targeting PD-1H as a therapeutic strategy for transplantation and cancers.

Authors

Yang Liu

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Abstract

Left ventricular hypertrophy is an initial compensatory mechanism in response to cardiac stress that can degenerate into heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Recent studies have shown that microRNAs (miRs) regulate several aspects of cardiovascular diseases. In this issue of the JCI, Bang and colleagues identified an exosome-mediated communication mechanism between cardiac fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes. Specifically, cardiac fibroblasts secrete miR-enriched exosomes, which are subsequently taken up by cardiomyocytes, in which they alter gene expression. In particular, a passenger strand miR, miR-21*, was identified as a potent paracrine factor that induces cardiomyocyte hypertrophy when shuttled through exosomes. These advanced comprehensive analyses represent a major step forward in our understanding of cardiovascular physiopathology, providing a promising adjunctive target for possible therapeutic approaches, namely the miR-mediated paracrine signaling network.

Authors

Ciro Indolfi, Antonio Curcio

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April 2014


124-4-cover

April 2014 Issue

On the cover:
Sonic hedgehog signaling

Neuroepithelium stained for tight junction protein ZO1(white), phospho-histone H3 (cyan), and DAPI (blue). Cleft lip is a common orofacial birth defect that results from incomplete growth and fusion of facial processes. In this month’s issue, Hiroshi Kurosaka and colleagues uncover a critical link between WNT signaling and the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway in the development of cleft lip (1660). Their studies reveal that altered SHH signaling promotes the formation of cleft lip by antagonizing the canonical WNT pathway and reducing expression of interferon regulatory factor (IRF6).

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Jci_impact_2014_04

April 2014 Impact

JCI Impact is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published in each month's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Review Series - More

Review_series_85
Lymphatic Vasculature
Series edited by Dontscho Kerjaschki

Significant progress in the last 15 years has transformed the field of lymphatic vasculature research into a boom area. The relatively recent identification of specific growth factors and molecular markers that distinguish endothelial cells of the lymphatic and blood vasculature lineages were pivotal for this development. Given the almost ubiquituous distribution of lymphatic vessels in most organs, it is not surprising that this type of vasculature is actively or passively involved in a large number of human diseases. The reviews in this series aim to describe a number of emerging areas in lymphatic biology, including mechanisms that mediate lymphangiogenesis, the development of mammalian lymphatic vasculature, the genetics of lymphatic anomalies, new technologies for studying the lymphatic vasculature, and the role of lymphatics in disease, including lymphedema and cancer, and physiological processes, such as inflammation and immunity. Cover image credit: K.Pichler/CeMM/MedUni Wien/Josephinum (www.josephinum.ac.at).

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