Elastases degrade the extracellular matrix, releasing growth factors and chemotactic peptides, inducing glycoproteins such as tenascin, and thereby promoting vascular cell proliferation and migration. Administration of serine elastase inhibitors reduces experimentally induced vascular disease. The ability to mount an intrinsic anti-elastase response may, therefore, protect against intimal/medial thickening after vascular injury. To investigate this, we showed that wire-induced endothelial denudation of the carotid artery is associated with transient elevation in elastase activity and confirmed that this is abolished in transgenic mice overexpressing the serine elastase inhibitor, elafin, targeted to the cardiovascular system. Ten days after injury, nontransgenic littermates show vessel enlargement, intimal thickening, increased medial area and cellularity, and 2-fold increase in tenascin. Injured vessels in transgenic mice become enlarged but are otherwise similar to sham-operated controls. Injury-induced vessel wall thickening, which is observed only in nontransgenic mice, is related to foci of neutrophils and macrophages, in addition to smooth muscle cells that fail to stain for α-actin and are likely dedifferentiated. Our study therefore suggests that a major determinant of the vascular response to injury is the early transient induction of serine elastase activity, which leads to cellular proliferation and inflammatory cell migration.
Bone destruction is the most difficult target in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we report that local overexpression of IL-4, introduced by a recombinant human type 5 adenovirus vector (Ad5E1mIL-4) prevents joint damage and bone erosion in the knees of mice with collagen arthritis (CIA). No difference was noted in the course of CIA in the injected knee joints between Ad5E1mIL-4 and the control vector, but radiographic analysis revealed impressive reduction of joint erosion and more compact bone structure in the Ad5E1mIL-4 group. Although severe inflammation persisted in treated mice, Ad5E1mIL-4 prevented bone erosion and diminished tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity, indicating that local IL-4 inhibits the formation of osteoclast-like cells. Messenger RNA levels of IL-17, IL-12, and cathepsin K in the synovial tissue were suppressed, as were IL-6 and IL-12 protein production. Osteoprotegerin ligand (OPGL) expression was markedly suppressed by local IL-4, but no loss of OPG expression was noted with Ad5E1mIL-4 treatment. Finally, in in vitro studies, bone samples of patients with arthritis revealed consistent suppression by IL-4 of type I collagen breakdown. IL-4 also enhanced synthesis of type I procollagen, suggesting that it promoted tissue repair. These findings may have significant implications for the prevention of bone erosion in arthritis.
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is an ATP-gated Cl– channel that regulates other epithelial transport proteins by uncharacterized mechanisms. We employed a yeast two-hybrid screen using the COOH-terminal 70 residues of CFTR to identify proteins that might be involved in such interactions. The α1 (catalytic) subunit of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) was identified as a dominant and novel interacting protein. The interaction is mediated by residues 1420–1457 in CFTR and by the COOH-terminal regulatory domain of α1-AMPK. Mutations of two protein trafficking motifs within the 38–amino acid region in CFTR each disrupted the interaction. GST-fusion protein pull-down assays in vitro and in transfected cells confirmed the CFTR-α1-AMPK interaction and also identified α2-AMPK as an interactor with CFTR. AMPK is coexpressed in CFTR-expressing cell lines and shares an apical distribution with CFTR in rat nasal epithelium. AMPK phosphorylated full-length CFTR in vitro, and AMPK coexpression with CFTR in Xenopus oocytes inhibited cAMP-activated CFTR whole-cell Cl– conductance by approximately 35–50%. Because AMPK is a metabolic sensor in cells and responds to changes in cellular ATP, regulation of CFTR by AMPK may be important in inhibiting CFTR under conditions of metabolic stress, thereby linking transepithelial transport to cell metabolic state.
We sought to delineate the molecular regulatory events involved in the energy substrate preference switch from fatty acids to glucose during cardiac hypertrophic growth. α1-adrenergic agonist–induced hypertrophy of cardiac myocytes in culture resulted in a significant decrease in palmitate oxidation rates and a reduction in the expression of the gene encoding muscle carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (M-CPT I), an enzyme involved in mitochondrial fatty acid uptake. Cardiac myocyte transfection studies demonstrated that M-CPT I promoter activity is repressed during cardiac myocyte hypertrophic growth, an effect that mapped to a peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α (PPARα) response element. Ventricular pressure overload studies in mice, together with PPARα overexpression studies in cardiac myocytes, demonstrated that, during hypertrophic growth, cardiac PPARα gene expression falls and its activity is altered at the posttranscriptional level via the extracellular signal–regulated kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Hypertrophied myocytes exhibited reduced capacity for cellular lipid homeostasis, as evidenced by intracellular fat accumulation in response to oleate loading. These results indicate that during cardiac hypertrophic growth, PPARα is deactivated at several levels, leading to diminished capacity for myocardial lipid and energy homeostasis.
The immune response to oxidized LDL (OxLDL) may play an important role in atherogenesis. Working with apoE-deficient mice, we isolated a panel of OxLDL-specific B-cell lines that secrete IgM Abs that specifically bind to oxidized phospholipids such as 1-palmitoyl-2-(5-oxovaleroyl)-sn-glycero-3-phosphorylcholine (POVPC). These Abs block uptake of OxLDL by macrophages, recognize similar oxidation-specific epitopes on apoptotic cells, and are deposited in atherosclerotic lesions. The Abs were found to be structurally and functionally identical to classic “natural” T15 anti-PC Abs that are of B-1 cell origin and are reported to provide optimal protection from virulent pneumococcal infection. These findings suggest that there has been natural selection for B-1 cells secreting oxidation-specific/T15 antibodies, both for their role in natural immune defense and for housekeeping roles against oxidation-dependent neodeterminants in health and disease.
To clarify the physiological roles of histamine H2 receptor (H2R), we have generated histamine H2R-deficient mice by gene targeting. Homozygous mutant mice were viable and fertile without apparent abnormalities and, unexpectedly, showed normal basal gastric pH. However, the H2R-deficient mice exhibited a marked hypertrophy with enlarged folds in gastric mucosa and an elevated serum gastrin level. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed increased numbers of parietal and enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells. Despite this hypertrophy, parietal cells in mutant mice were significantly smaller than in wild-type mice and contained enlarged secretory canaliculi with a lower density of microvilli and few typical tubulovesicles in the narrow cytoplasm. Induction of gastric acid secretion by histamine or gastrin was completely abolished in the mutant mice, but carbachol still induced acid secretion. The present study clearly demonstrates that H2R-mediated signal(s) are required for cellular homeostasis of the gastric mucosa and normally formed secretory membranes in parietal cells. Moreover, impaired acid secretion due to the absence of H2R could be overcome by the signals from cholinergic receptors.
Exposure of skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to induce NF-κB activation, but the functional role for this pathway in UV-induced cutaneous inflammation remains uncertain. In this study, we examined whether experimentally induced sunburn reactions in mice could be prevented by blocking UV-induced, NF-κB–dependent gene transactivation with oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing the NF-κB cis element (NF-κB decoy ODNs). UV-induced secretion of IL-1, IL-6, TNF-α, and VEGF by skin-derived cell lines was inhibited by the decoy ODNs, but not by the scrambled control ODNs. Systemic or local injection of NF-κB decoy ODNs also inhibited cutaneous swelling responses to UV irradiation. Moreover, local UV-induced inflammatory changes (swelling, leukocyte infiltration, epidermal hyperplasia, and accumulation of proinflammatory cytokines) were all inhibited specifically by topically applied decoy ODNs. Importantly, these ODNs had no effect on alternative types of cutaneous inflammation caused by irritant or allergic chemicals. These results indicate that sunburn reactions culminate from inflammatory events that are triggered by UV-activated transcription of NF-κB target genes, rather than from nonspecific changes associated with tissue damage.
Pancreatic islet transplantation represents a potential treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. However, the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms of the immune reactions against allogeneic and xenogeneic transplanted islets remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that CD4+ Vα14 natural killer T (NKT) cells, a recently identified lymphoid cell lineage, are required for the acceptance of intrahepatic rat islet xenografts. An anti-CD4 mAb, administrated after transplantation, allowed islet xenografts to be accepted by C57BL/6 mice, with no need for immunosuppressive drugs. The dose of anti-CD4 mAb was critical, and the beneficial effect appeared to be associated with the reappearance of CD4+ NKT cells at around 14 days after transplantation. Interestingly, rat islet xenografts were rejected, despite the anti-CD4 mAb treatment, in Vα14 NKT cell–deficient mice, which exhibit the normal complement of conventional lymphoid cells; adoptive transfer of Vα14 NKT cells into Vα14 NKT cell–deficient mice restored the acceptance of rat islet xenografts. In addition, rat islet xenografts were accepted by Vα14 NKT mice having only Vα14 NKT cells and no other lymphoid cells. These results indicate that Vα14 NKT cells play a crucial role in the acceptance of rat islet xenografts in mice treated with anti-CD4 antibody, probably by serving as immunosuppressive regulatory cells.
Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is an emerging cause of acute and persistent diarrhea worldwide. EAEC infections are associated with intestinal inflammation and growth impairment in infected children, even in the absence of diarrhea. We previously reported that prototype EAEC strains rapidly induce IL-8 production by Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells, and that this effect is mediated by a soluble, heat-stable factor released by these bacteria in culture. We herein report the cloning, sequencing, and expression of this biologically active IL-8–releasing factor from EAEC, and its identification as a flagellin that is unique among known expressed proteins. Flagella purified from EAEC 042 and several other EAEC isolates potently release IL-8 from Caco-2 cells; an engineered aflagellar mutant of 042 does not release IL-8. Finally, cloned EAEC flagellin expressed in nonpathogenic E. coli as a polyhistidine-tagged fusion protein maintains its proinflammatory activity. These findings demonstrate a major new means by which EAEC may cause intestinal inflammation, persistent diarrhea, and growth impairment that characterize human infection with these organisms. Furthermore, they open new approaches for diagnosis and vaccine development. This novel pathogenic mechanism of EAEC extends an emerging paradigm of bacterial flagella as inflammatory stimuli.
Mixed hematopoietic chimerism may provide a treatment for patients with nonmalignant hematologic diseases, and may tolerize patients to organ allografts without requiring chronic immunosuppression. However, the toxicity of the usual conditioning regimens has limited the clinical applicability of this approach. These regimens generally include some level of whole body irradiation (WBI), which is thought to facilitate engraftment either by making room for donor hematopoietic stem cells or by providing sufficient host immunosuppression to enable donor cells to engraft. Here, we have established mixed chimerism across both minor and major histocompatibility barriers in swine, by using high doses of peripheral blood stem cells in the absence of WBI. After mixed chimerism was established, swine leukocyte antigen–matched (SLA-matched) donor skin grafts were tolerated and maintained for a prolonged period, whereas third-party SLA-matched skin was rejected promptly. Donor-matched kidney allografts were also accepted without additional immunosuppression. Because of its low toxicity, this approach has potential for a wide range of clinical applications. Our data may indicate that niches for engrafting stem cells are filled by mass action and that WBI, which serves to empty some of these niches, can be omitted if the donor inoculum is sufficiently large and if adequate host T-cell depletion is achieved before transplant.
Obesity and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle are two major factors in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Mice with muscle-specific inactivation of the insulin receptor gene (MIRKO) are normoglycemic but have increased fat mass. To identify the potential mechanism for this important association, we examined insulin action in specific tissues of MIRKO and control mice under hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic conditions. We found that insulin-stimulated muscle glucose transport and glycogen synthesis were decreased by about 80% in MIRKO mice, whereas insulin-stimulated fat glucose transport was increased threefold in MIRKO mice. These data demonstrate that selective insulin resistance in muscle promotes redistribution of substrates to adipose tissue thereby contributing to increased adiposity and development of the prediabetic syndrome.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex disease, with contributions from systemic autoimmunity and local inflammation. Persistent synovial joint inflammation and invasive synovial pannus tissue lead to joint destruction. RA is characterized by the production of inflammatory mediators, many of which are regulated by the Rel/NF-κB transcription factors. Although an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in inflammatory diseases, Rel/NF-κB is involved in normal physiology, thus global inhibition could be harmful. An alternate approach is to identify and target the Rel/NF-κB subunits critical for components of disease. To assess this, mice with null mutations in c-rel or nfkb1 were used to examine directly the roles of c-Rel and p50 in models of acute and chronic inflammatory arthritis. We found c-Rel–deficient mice were resistant to collagen-induced arthritis but had a normal response in an acute, destructive arthritis model (methylated BSA/IL-1 induced arthritis) suggesting c-Rel is required for systemic but not local joint disease. In contrast, p50-deficient mice were refractory to induction of both the chronic and acute arthritis models, showing this subunit is essential for local joint inflammation and destruction. Our data suggest Rel/NF-κB subunits play distinct roles in the pathogenesis of inflammatory arthritis and may provide a rationale for more specific therapeutic blockade of Rel/NF-κB in RA.
We used wild-type (WT) mice and mice engineered to express either apoB-100 only (B100 mice) or apoB-48 only (B48 mice) to examine the effects of streptozotocin-induced diabetes (DM) on apoB-100– and apoB-48–containing lipoproteins. Plasma lipids increased with DM in WT mice, and fat tolerance was markedly impaired. Lipoprotein profiles showed increased levels and cholesterol enrichment of VLDL in diabetic B48 mice but not in B100 mice. C apolipoproteins, in particular apoC-I in VLDL, were increased. To investigate the basis of the increase in apoB-48 lipoproteins in streptozotocin-treated animals, we characterized several parameters of lipoprotein metabolism. Triglyceride and apoB production rates were normal, as were plasma lipase activity, VLDL glycosaminoglycan binding, and VLDL lipolysis. However, β-VLDL clearance decreased due to decreased trapping by the liver. Whereas LRP activity was normal, livers from treated mice incorporated significantly less sulfate into heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) than did controls. Hepatoma (HepG2) cells and endothelial cells cultured in high glucose also showed decreased sulfate and glucosamine incorporation into HSPG. Western blots of livers from diabetic mice showed a decrease in the HSPG core protein, perlecan. Delayed clearance of postprandial apoB-48–containing lipoproteins in DM appears to be due to decreased hepatic perlecan HSPG.
Hepatic steatosis is a frequent complication in nonobese patients with breast cancer treated with tamoxifen, a potent antagonist of estrogen. In addition, hepatic steatosis became evident spontaneously in the aromatase-deficient (ArKO) mouse, which lacks intrinsic estrogen production. These clinical and laboratory observations suggest that estrogen helps to maintain constitutive lipid metabolism. To clarify this hypothesis, we characterized the expression and activity in ArKO mouse liver of enzymes involved in peroxisomal and mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation. Northern analysis showed reduced expression of mRNAs for very long fatty acyl-CoA synthetase, peroxisomal fatty acyl-CoA oxidase, and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, enzymes required in fatty acid β-oxidation. In vitro assays of fatty acid β-oxidation activity using very long (C24:0), long (C16:0), or medium (C12:0) chain fatty acids as the substrates confirmed that the corresponding activities are also diminished. Impaired gene expression and enzyme activities of fatty acid β-oxidation were restored to the wild-type levels, and hepatic steatosis was substantially diminished in animals treated with 17β-estradiol. Wild-type and ArKO mice showed no difference in the binding activities of the hepatic nuclear extracts to a peroxisome proliferator response element. These findings demonstrate the pivotal role of estrogen in supporting constitutive hepatic expression of genes involved in lipid β-oxidation and in maintaining hepatic lipid homeostasis.
Obesity in humans and in rodents is usually associated with high circulating leptin levels and leptin resistance. To examine the molecular basis for leptin resistance, we determined the ability of leptin to induce hypothalamic STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) signaling in C57BL/6J mice fed either low-fat or high-fat diets. In mice fed the low-fat diet, leptin activated STAT3 signaling when administered via the intraperitoneal (ip) or the intracerebroventricular (icv) route, with the half-maximal dose being 30-fold less when given by the icv route. The high-fat diet increased body-weight gain and plasma leptin levels. After 4 weeks on the diet, hypothalamic STAT3 signaling after ip leptin administration was equivalent in both diet groups. In contrast, peripherally administered leptin was completely unable to activate hypothalamic STAT3 signaling, as measured by gel shift assay after 15 weeks of high-fat diet. Despite the absence of detectable signaling after peripheral leptin at 15 weeks, the mice fed the high-fat diet retained the capacity to respond to icv leptin, although the magnitude of STAT3 activation was substantially reduced. These results suggest that leptin resistance induced by a high-fat diet evolves during the course of the diet and has at least two independent causes: an apparent defect in access to sites of action in the hypothalamus that markedly limits the ability of peripheral leptin to activate hypothalamic STAT signaling, and an intracellular signaling defect in leptin-responsive hypothalamic neurons that lies upstream of STAT3 activation.
Paget’s disease is characterized by highly localized areas of increased osteoclast (OCL) activity. This suggests that the microenvironment in pagetic lesions is highly osteoclastogenic, or that OCL precursors in these lesions are hyperresponsive to osteoclastogenic factors (or both). To examine these possibilities, we compared RANK ligand (RANKL) mRNA expression in a marrow stromal cell line developed from a pagetic lesion (PSV10) with that in a normal stromal cell line (Saka), and expression in marrow samples from affected bones of Paget’s patients with that in normal marrow. RANKL mRNA was increased in PSV10 cells and pagetic marrow compared with Saka cells and normal marrow, and was also increased in marrow from affected bones compared with uninvolved bones from Paget’s patients. Furthermore, pagetic marrow cells formed OCLs at much lower RANKL concentrations than did normal marrow. Anti–IL-6 decreased the RANKL responsivity of pagetic marrow to normal levels, whereas addition of IL-6 to normal marrow enhanced RANKL responsivity. Thus, RANKL expression and responsivity is increased in pagetic lesions, in part mediated by IL-6. These data suggest that the combination of enhanced expression of RANKL in affected bones and increased RANKL sensitivity of pagetic OCL precursors may contribute to the elevated numbers of OCLs in Paget’s disease.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation