Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by a chronic inflammation of the synovial joints resulting from hyperplasia of synovial fibroblasts and infiltration of lymphocytes, macrophages, and plasma cells, all of which manifest signs of activation. Recent studies have revealed the essential role of osteoclasts in joint destruction in RA. Src family tyrosine kinases are implicated in various intracellular signaling pathways, including mitogenic response to growth factors in fibroblasts, activation of lymphocytes, and osteoclastic bone resorption. Therefore, inhibiting Src activity can be a good therapeutic strategy to prevent joint inflammation and destruction in RA. We constructed an adenovirus vector carrying the csk gene, which negatively regulates Src family tyrosine kinases. Csk overexpression in cultured rheumatoid synoviocytes remarkably suppressed Src kinase activity and reduced their proliferation rate and IL-6 production. Bone-resorbing activity of osteoclasts was strongly inhibited by Csk overexpression. Furthermore, local injection of the virus into rat ankle joints with adjuvant arthritis not only ameliorated inflammation but suppressed bone destruction. In conclusion, adenovirus-mediated direct transfer of the csk gene is useful in repressing bone destruction and inflammatory reactions, suggesting the involvement of Src family tyrosine kinases in arthritic joint breakdown and demonstrating the feasibility of intervention in the kinases for gene therapy in RA.
Hiroshi Takayanagi ... Kozo Nakamura, Sakae Tanaka
Recent data point to the contribution of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) to digoxin elimination. On the basis of clinical observations of patients in whom digoxin levels decreased considerably when treated with rifampin, we hypothesized that concomitant rifampin therapy may affect digoxin disposition in humans by induction of P-gp. We compared single-dose (1 mg oral and 1 mg intravenous) pharmacokinetics of digoxin before and after coadministration of rifampin (600 mg/d for 10 days) in 8 healthy volunteers. Duodenal biopsies were obtained from each volunteer before and after administration of rifampin. The area under the plasma concentration time curve (AUC) of oral digoxin was significantly lower during rifampin treatment; the effect was less pronounced after intravenous administration of digoxin. Renal clearance and half-life of digoxin were not altered by rifampin. Rifampin treatment increased intestinal P-gp content 3.5 ± 2.1–fold, which correlated with the AUC after oral digoxin but not after intravenous digoxin. P-gp is a determinant of the disposition of digoxin. Concomitant administration of rifampin reduced digoxin plasma concentrations substantially after oral administration but to a lesser extent after intravenous administration. The rifampin-digoxin interaction appears to occur largely at the level of the intestine. Therefore, induction of intestinal P-gp could explain this new type of drug-drug interaction.
Bernd Greiner ... Johannes Zundler, Heyo K. Kroemer
TNF and Fas ligand induce apoptosis in tumor cells; however, their severe toxicity toward normal tissues hampers their application to cancer therapy. Apo2 ligand (Apo2L, or TRAIL) is a related molecule that triggers tumor cell apoptosis. Apo2L mRNA is expressed in many tissues, suggesting that the ligand may be nontoxic to normal cells. To investigate Apo2L’s therapeutic potential, we generated in bacteria a potently active soluble version of the native human protein. Several normal cell types were resistant in vitro to apoptosis induction by Apo2L. Repeated intravenous injections of Apo2L in nonhuman primates did not cause detectable toxicity to tissues and organs examined. Apo2L exerted cytostatic or cytotoxic effects in vitro on 32 of 39 cell lines from colon, lung, breast, kidney, brain, and skin cancer. Treatment of athymic mice with Apo2L shortly after tumor xenograft injection markedly reduced tumor incidence. Apo2L treatment of mice bearing solid tumors induced tumor cell apoptosis, suppressed tumor progression, and improved survival. Apo2L cooperated synergistically with the chemotherapeutic drugs 5-fluorouracil or CPT-11, causing substantial tumor regression or complete tumor ablation. Thus, Apo2L may have potent anticancer activity without significant toxicity toward normal tissues.
Avi Ashkenazi ... Zahra Shahrokh, Ralph H. Schwall
Gastric adenocarcinomas carrying Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) are known to be accompanied by massive lymphocyte infiltration. To characterize the tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), we isolated and cultured such cells from a surgically resected EBV-associated gastric carcinoma. They were found to be positive for CD3, CD8, T-cell receptor β chain, and cytotoxic molecules. The isolated TILs consisted of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I–restricted CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which killed autologous EBV-transformed cells (but not phytohemagglutinin blast cells) and recognized HLA-A24 as restriction molecules. However, the TILs did not recognize known EBV antigenic peptides presented by HLA-A24 molecules, nor HLA-A24+ fibroblasts infected with vaccinia recombinant virus expressing each of the EBV latent proteins. EBV+ gastric carcinomas do not express conventional target proteins of EBV-specific CTLs, and the data suggest that some cellular proteins may be involved in the strong T-cell response to EBV-associated gastric carcinoma. In addition, our data suggest that class I–restricted, antigen-specific CD8+ CTLs are specifically expanded within EBV+ gastric carcinoma tissue.
Kiyotaka Kuzushima ... Tohru Kiyono, Tatsuya Tsurumi
Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent antigen-presenting cells that initiate protective T-cell immunity in mice. To study the immunogenicity of DCs in humans, we injected 9 healthy subjects subcutaneously with a control injection of autologous monocyte-derived, mature DCs, followed 4–6 weeks later by DCs pulsed with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), HLA-A*0201–positive restricted influenza matrix peptide (MP), and tetanus toxoid (TT). Four more subjects received these antigens without DCs. Injection of unpulsed DCs, or antigens alone, failed to immunize. Priming of CD4+ T cells to KLH was observed in all 9 subjects injected with KLH-pulsed DCs, and boosting of TT-specific T-cell immunity was seen in 5 of 6 subjects injected with TT-pulsed DCs. Injection of antigen-pulsed DCs led to a severalfold increase in freshly isolated MP-specific, IFN-γ–secreting CD8+ T cells in all 6 HLA-A*0201–positive subjects, as early as 7 days after injection. When T cells were boosted in culture, there was an increase in MHC tetramer–binding cells and cytotoxic T cells after DC vaccination. These data provide the first controlled evidence of the immunogenicity of DCs in humans, and demonstrate that a single injection of mature DCs rapidly expands T-cell immunity.
Madhav V. Dhodapkar ... Douglas F. Nixon, Nina Bhardwaj
The angiotensin subtype-1 (AT1) receptor mediates renal prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production, and pharmacological blockade of the angiotensin subtype-2 (AT2) receptor potentiates the action of angiotensin II (Ang II) to increase PGE2 levels. We investigated the role of the AT2 receptor in prostaglandin metabolism in mice with targeted deletion of the AT2 receptor gene. Mice lacking the AT2 receptor (AT2-null) had normal blood pressure that was slightly elevated compared with that of wild-type (WT) control mice. AT2-null mice had higher renal interstitial fluid (RIF) 6-keto-PGF1α (a stable hydrolysis product of prostacyclin [PGI2]) and PGE2 levels than did WT mice, and had similar increases in PGE2 and 6-keto-PGF1α in response to dietary sodium restriction and Ang II infusion. In contrast, AT2-null mice had lower PGF2α levels compared with WT mice during basal conditions and in response to dietary sodium restriction or infusion of Ang II. RIF cAMP was markedly higher in AT2-null mice than in WT mice, both during basal conditions and during sodium restriction or Ang II infusion. AT1 receptor blockade with losartan decreased PGE2, PGI2, and cAMP to levels observed in WT mice. To determine whether increased vasodilator prostanoids prevented hypertension in AT2-null mice, we treated AT2-null and WT mice with indomethacin for 14 days. PGI2, PGE2, and cAMP were markedly decreased in both WT and AT2-null mice. Blood pressure increased to hypertensive levels in AT2-null mice but was unchanged in WT. These results demonstrate that in the absence of the AT2 receptor, increased vasodilator prostanoids protect against the development of hypertension.
Helmy M. Siragy, Takaaki Senbonmatsu, Toshihiro Ichiki, Tadashi Inagami, Robert M. Carey
Mice expressing lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus nucleoprotein (LCMV-NP) as a transgene in their β cells develop insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) only after LCMV infection. Inoculation of plasmid DNA encoding the insulin B chain reduced the incidence of IDDM by 50% in this model. The insulin B-chain DNA vaccination was effective through induction of regulatory CD4 lymphocytes that react with the insulin B chain, secrete IL-4, and locally reduce activity of LCMV-NP–autoreactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the pancreatic draining lymph node. In contrast, similar vaccination with plasmids expressing the LCMV viral (“self”) protein did not prevent IDDM, because no such regulatory cells were induced. Thus, DNA immunization with plasmids expressing self-antigens might constitute a novel and attractive therapeutic approach to prevent autoimmune diseases, if the antigens are carefully preelected for an ability to induce regulatory lymphocytes in vivo.
Bryan Coon, Ling-Ling An, J. Lindsay Whitton, Matthias G. von Herrath
In the renal proximal tubule, the activities of the basolateral Na+/HCO3– cotransporter (NBC) and the apical Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE3) uniformly vary in parallel, suggesting that they are coordinately regulated. PKA-mediated inhibition of NHE3 is mediated by a PDZ motif–containing protein, the Na+/H+ exchanger regulatory factor (NHE-RF). Given the common inhibition of these transporters after protein kinase A (PKA) activation, we sought to determine whether NHE-RF also plays a role in PKA-regulated NBC activity. Renal cortex immunoblot analysis using anti-peptide antibodies directed against rabbit NHE-RF demonstrated the presence of this regulatory factor in both brush-border membranes (BBMs) and basolateral membranes (BLMs). Using a reconstitution assay, we found that limited trypsin digestion of detergent solubilized rabbit renal BLM preparations resulted in NBC activity that was unaffected by PKA activation. Co-reconstitution of these trypsinized preparations with a recombinant protein corresponding to wild-type rabbit NHE-RF restored the inhibitory effect of PKA on NBC activity in a concentration-dependent manner. NBC activity was inhibited 60% by 10–8M NHE-RF; this effect was not observed in the absence of PKA. Reconstitution with heat-denatured NHE-RF also failed to attenuate NBC activity. To establish further a physiologic role for NHE-RF in NBC regulation, the renal epithelial cell line B-SC-1, which lacks detectable endogenous NHE-RF expression, was engineered to express stably an NHE-RF transgene. NHE-RF–expressing B-SC-1 cells (B-SC-RF) exhibited markedly lower basal levels of NBC activity than did wild-type controls. Inhibition of NBC activity in B-SC-RF cells was enhanced after 10 μM of forskolin treatment, consistent with a postulated role for NHE-RF in mediating the inhibition of NBC activity by PKA. These findings not only suggest NHE-RF involvement in PKA-regulated NBC activity, but also provide a unique molecular mechanism whereby basolateral NBC and apical NHE3 activities may be coordinately regulated in renal proximal tubule cells.
Angelito A. Bernardo ... R. Brooks Robey, Edward J. Weinman
Mother-to-child transmission is an important route for hepatitis B virus (HBV) dissemination. It has been established that HBV traces persist for years after complete clinical recovery from hepatitis B. Similarly, resolution of hepatitis caused by HBV-related woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) is followed by occult lifelong carriage of pathogenic virus. In this study, we documented that WHV persisting after termination of acute hepatitis is transmittable to newborns as an asymptomatic long-term infection. All 11 offspring from 4 dams studied carried transcriptionally active WHV genomes for 3.5 years after birth without immunovirological markers of infection. WHV genomes and mRNA were detected both in the liver and lymphoid tissue in the majority of offspring; WHV covalently closed circular DNA was detected in some samples. In 4 offspring, however, the virus was restricted to the lymphatic system. In the circulation, WHV DNA–reactive particles were DNase resistant and of comparable size and density to complete virions. Importantly, the virus in offspring with or without hepatic WHV DNA expression was infectious to WHV-naive woodchucks. Finally, offspring challenged with WHV were not protected against reinfection. These findings show that mothers with occult hepadnaviral carriage transmit pathogenic virus to their offspring, inducing a persistent infection invariably within the lymphatic system but not always in the liver.
Carla S. Coffin, Tomasz I. Michalak
Antioxidants can inhibit atherosclerosis, but it is unclear how inhibition of intimal lipid oxidation relates to atherogenesis. Here we tested the effect of probucol and its metabolite bisphenol on aortic lipid (per)oxidation and atherogenesis in Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits. LDL and aortas from rabbits fed probucol contained bisphenol at concentrations comparable to those in bisphenol-treated animals. Bisphenol treatment increased plasma cholesterol slightly, and plasma and aortic α-tocopherol more substantially; these parameters were unaffected by probucol. Bisphenol and probucol treatment both enhanced the resistance of circulating LDL to peroxyl radical–induced lipid peroxidation; this was due to bisphenol, not probucol. Only probucol enhanced LDL’s resistance to Cu2+-induced oxidation. Both bisphenol and probucol treatment strongly inhibited aortic accumulation of hydroperoxides and hydroxides of cholesteryl esters and triglycerides [LO(O)H]. Despite this, however, probucol had a modestly significant effect on the extent of lesion formation; bisphenol had no inhibitory effect. In addition, the extent of atherosclerosis did not correlate with amounts of aortic LO(O)H present, but, as expected, it did correlate with aortic α-tocopherol and cholesterol. Together, these results suggest that aortic accumulation of LO(O)H is not required for, nor is α-tocopherol depleted during, the initiation and progression of atherogenesis in WHHL rabbits.
Paul Witting ... Maria Wågberg, Roland Stocker
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