Our purpose here is to test the hypothesis that Randall’s plaques, calcium phosphate deposits in kidneys of patients with calcium renal stones, arise in unique anatomical regions of the kidney, their formation conditioned by specific stone-forming pathophysiologies. To test this hypothesis, we performed intraoperative biopsies of plaques in kidneys of idiopathic-calcium-stone formers and patients with stones due to obesity-related bypass procedures and obtained papillary specimens from non–stone formers after nephrectomy. Plaque originates in the basement membranes of the thin loops of Henle and spreads from there through the interstitium to beneath the urothelium. Patients who have undergone bypass surgery do not produce such plaque but instead form intratubular hydroxyapatite crystals in collecting ducts. Non–stone formers also do not form plaque. Plaque is specific to certain kinds of stone-forming patients and is initiated specifically in thin-limb basement membranes by mechanisms that remain to be elucidated.
β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR) stimulation activates the classic cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway to regulate vital cellular processes from the change of gene expression to the control of metabolism, muscle contraction, and cell apoptosis. Here we show that sustained β1AR stimulation promotes cardiac myocyte apoptosis by activation of Ca2+/calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII), independently of PKA signaling. β1AR-induced apoptosis is resistant to inhibition of PKA by a specific peptide inhibitor, PKI14-22, or an inactive cAMP analogue, Rp-8-CPT-cAMPS. In contrast, the β1AR proapoptotic effect is associated with non–PKA-dependent increases in intracellular Ca2+ and CaMKII activity. Blocking the L-type Ca2+ channel, buffering intracellular Ca2+, or inhibiting CaMKII activity fully protects cardiac myocytes against β1AR-induced apoptosis, and overexpressing a cardiac CaMKII isoform, CaMKII-δC, markedly exaggerates the β1AR apoptotic effect. These findings indicate that CaMKII constitutes a novel PKA-independent linkage of β1AR stimulation to cardiomyocyte apoptosis that has been implicated in the overall process of chronic heart failure.
FTY720 is a sphingosine-derived immunosuppressant. Phosphorylated FTY720 promotes T cell homing from spleen and peripheral blood to LNs by acting as an agonist for sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors. Here we demonstrate that FTY720 enhances the activity of the sphingosine transporter Abcb1 (Mdr1) and the leukotriene C4 transporter Abcc1 (Mrp1). Both transporters must be active for FTY720-mediated T cell migration and LN homing. Migration and homing driven by FTY720, phosphorylated FTY720, or S1P also require 5-lipoxygenase–mediated synthesis of cysteinyl leukotrienes and their efflux from the cell. FTY720-mediated LN homing events further downstream are dependent on CCL19, CCL21, VLA-4α, and CD44. Use of T cells deficient in 5-lipoxygenase, Abcb1, and Abcc1, and comparison of the effects of FTY720 with those of S1P, suggest a model of sequential engagement of Abcb1, SP1 receptors, 5-lipoxygenase, and Abcc1 to enhance T cell migration and homing.
We have shown that cytotoxic T lymphocytes specific for PR1, an HLA-A2–restricted nonopeptide derived from proteinase 3, kill leukemia cells and may contribute to the elimination of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) after treatment with IFN or allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Some patients with persistent disease also have circulating PR1-specific T cells, however, suggesting the likelihood of immune tolerance. Here we show that both high- and low-avidity PR1-specific T cells from the peripheral blood of healthy donors can be identified and selectively expanded in vitro. Although high-avidity PR1-specific T cells killed CML more effectively than low-avidity T cells, only high-avidity T cells underwent apoptosis when stimulated with high PR1 peptide concentration or when exposed to leukemia that overexpressed proteinase 3. No high-avidity PR1-specific T cells could be identified or expanded from newly diagnosed leukemia patients, whereas low-avidity T cells were readily expanded. Circulating high-avidity PR1-specific T cells were identified in IFN-sensitive patients in cytogenetic remission, however. These results provide evidence that CML shapes the host immune response and that leukemia outgrowth may result in part from leukemia-induced selective deletion of high-avidity PR1-specific T cells.
Preeclampsia, a syndrome affecting 5% of pregnancies, causes substantial maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology of preeclampsia remains largely unknown. It has been hypothesized that placental ischemia is an early event, leading to placental production of a soluble factor or factors that cause maternal endothelial dysfunction, resulting in the clinical findings of hypertension, proteinuria, and edema. Here, we confirm that placental soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1), an antagonist of VEGF and placental growth factor (PlGF), is upregulated in preeclampsia, leading to increased systemic levels of sFlt1 that fall after delivery. We demonstrate that increased circulating sFlt1 in patients with preeclampsia is associated with decreased circulating levels of free VEGF and PlGF, resulting in endothelial dysfunction in vitro that can be rescued by exogenous VEGF and PlGF. Additionally, VEGF and PlGF cause microvascular relaxation of rat renal arterioles in vitro that is blocked by sFlt1. Finally, administration of sFlt1 to pregnant rats induces hypertension, proteinuria, and glomerular endotheliosis, the classic lesion of preeclampsia. These observations suggest that excess circulating sFlt1 contributes to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) mediated by donor T cells recognizing host alloantigens is associated with beneficial graft-versus-tumor effects in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplants. Since leukemias and lymphomas reside largely within the lymphohematopoietic system, we have proposed that the desired graft-versus-leukemia or graft-versus-lymphoma effect can be separated from the complication of GvHD by confinement of the graft-versus-host alloresponse to the lymphohematopoietic tissues. Since the new sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor agonist immunosuppressive drug FTY720 leads to trapping of T cells in secondary lymphoid tissues, we evaluated the possibility that this drug could diminish GvHD, a disease involving epithelial target tissues, while permitting a beneficial alloresponse to take place within the lymphohematopoietic system, leading to graft-versus-lymphoma effects. We demonstrate here that FTY720 markedly reduces GvHD in a clinically relevant, haploidentical strain combination, while permitting antitumor effects against a T cell lymphoma of unshared host MHC haplotype to proceed unhindered. These results establish a potential new immunotherapeutic approach to separating graft-versus-leukemia effects from GvHD.
Cardiac antigen–specific CD8+ T cells are involved in the autoimmune component of human myocarditis. Here, we studied the differentiation and migration of pathogenic CD8+ T cell effector cells in a new mouse model of autoimmune myocarditis. A transgenic mouse line was derived that expresses cardiac myocyte restricted membrane-bound ovalbumin (CMy-mOva). The endogenous adaptive immune system of CMy-mOva mice displays tolerance to ovalbumin. Adoptive transfer of naive CD8+ T cells from the ovalbumin-specific T cell receptor–transgenic (TCR-transgenic) OT-I strain induces myocarditis in CMy-mOva mice only after subsequent inoculation with ovalbumin-expressing vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-Ova). OT-I effector T cells derived in vitro in the presence or absence of IL-12 were adoptively transferred into CMy-mOva mice, and the consequences were compared. Although IL-12 was not required for the generation of cytolytic and IFN-γ–producing effector T cells, only effectors primed in the presence of IL-12 infiltrated CMy-mOva hearts in significant numbers, causing lethal myocarditis. Furthermore, analysis of OT-I effectors collected from a mediastinal draining lymph node indicated that only effectors primed in vitro in the presence of IL-12 proliferated in vivo. These data demonstrate the importance of IL-12 in the differentiation of pathogenic CD8+ T cells that can cause myocarditis.
Cell migration and phagocytosis are both important for controlling Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and are critically dependent on the reorganization of the cytoskeleton. Since CD44 is an adhesion molecule involved in inflammatory responses and is connected to the actin cytoskeleton, we investigated the role of CD44 in both these processes. Macrophage (Mφ) recruitment into M. tuberculosis–infected lungs and delayed-type hypersensitivity sites was impaired in CD44-deficient (CD44–/–) mice. In addition, the number of T lymphocytes and the concentration of the protective key cytokine IFN-γ were reduced in the lungs of infected CD44–/– mice. The production of IFN-γ by splenocytes of CD44–/– mice was profoundly increased upon antigen-specific stimulation. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that soluble CD44 can directly bind to virulent M. tuberculosis. Mycobacteria also interacted with Mφ-associated CD44, as reflected by reduced binding and internalization of bacilli by CD44–/– Mφs. This suggests that CD44 is a receptor on Mφs for binding of M. tuberculosis. CD44–/– mice displayed a decreased survival and an enhanced mycobacterial outgrowth in lungs and liver during pulmonary tuberculosis. In summary, we have identified CD44 as a new Mφ binding site for M. tuberculosis that mediates mycobacterial phagocytosis, Mφ recruitment, and protective immunity against pulmonary tuberculosis.
Elevation of lung capillary pressure causes exocytosis of the leukocyte adhesion receptor P-selectin in endothelial cells (ECs), indicating that lung ECs generate a proinflammatory response to pressure-induced stress. To define underlying mechanisms, we followed the EC signaling sequence leading to P-selectin exocytosis through application of real-time, in situ fluorescence microscopy in lung capillaries. Pressure elevation increased the amplitude of cytosolic Ca2+ oscillations that triggered increases in the amplitude of mitochondrial Ca2+ oscillations and in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Responses to blockers of the Ca2+ oscillations and of mitochondrial electron transport indicated that the ROS production was Ca2+ dependent and of mitochondrial origin. A new proinflammatory mechanism was revealed in that pressure-induced exocytosis of P-selectin was inhibited by both antioxidants and mitochondrial inhibitors, indicating that the exocytosis was driven by mitochondrial ROS. In this signaling pathway mitochondria coupled pressure-induced Ca2+ oscillations to the production of ROS that in turn acted as diffusible messengers to activate P-selectin exocytosis. These findings implicate mitochondrial mechanisms in the lung’s proinflammatory response to pressure elevation and identify mitochondrial ROS as critical to P-selectin exocytosis in lung capillary ECs.
CD4+ helper Th cells play a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Th cell activation, differentiation, and immune function are regulated by costimulatory molecules. Inducible costimulator (ICOS) is a novel costimulatory receptor expressed on activated T cells. We, as well as others, recently demonstrated its importance in Th2 cytokine expression and Ab class switching by B cells. In this study, we examined the role of ICOS in rheumatoid arthritis using a collagen-induced arthritis model. We found that ICOS knockout mice on the DBA/1 background were completely resistant to collagen-induced arthritis and exhibited absence of joint tissue inflammation. These mice, when immunized with collagen, exhibited reduced anti-collagen IgM Ab’s in the initial stage and IgG2a Ab’s at the effector phase of collagen-induced arthritis. Furthermore, ICOS regulates the in vitro and in vivo expression of IL-17, a proinflammatory cytokine implicated in rheumatoid arthritis. These data indicate that ICOS is essential for collagen-induced arthritis and may suggest novel means for treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Kidney disease affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Although the causes of renal failure are diverse, the glomerular filtration barrier is often the target of injury. Dysregulation of VEGF expression within the glomerulus has been demonstrated in a wide range of primary and acquired renal diseases, although the significance of these changes is unknown. In the glomerulus, VEGF-A is highly expressed in podocytes that make up a major portion of the barrier between the blood and urinary spaces. In this paper, we show that glomerular-selective deletion or overexpression of VEGF-A leads to glomerular disease in mice. Podocyte-specific heterozygosity for VEGF-A resulted in renal disease by 2.5 weeks of age, characterized by proteinuria and endotheliosis, the renal lesion seen in preeclampsia. Homozygous deletion of VEGF-A in glomeruli resulted in perinatal lethality. Mutant kidneys failed to develop a filtration barrier due to defects in endothelial cell migration, differentiation, and survival. In contrast, podocyte-specific overexpression of the VEGF-164 isoform led to a striking collapsing glomerulopathy, the lesion seen in HIV-associated nephropathy. Our data demonstrate that tight regulation of VEGF-A signaling is critical for establishment and maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier and strongly supports a pivotal role for VEGF-A in renal disease.
Although lymphedema is a common clinical condition, treatment for this disabling condition remains limited and largely ineffective. Recently, it has been reported that overexpression of VEGF-C correlates with increased lymphatic vessel growth (lymphangiogenesis). However, the effect of VEGF-C–induced lymphangiogenesis on lymphedema has yet to be demonstrated. Here we investigated the impact of local transfer of naked plasmid DNA encoding human VEGF-C (phVEGF-C) on two animal models of lymphedema: one in the rabbit ear and the other in the mouse tail. In a rabbit model, following local phVEGF-C gene transfer, VEGFR-3 expression was significantly increased. This gene transfer led to a decrease in thickness and volume of lymphedema, improvement of lymphatic function demonstrated by serial lymphoscintigraphy, and finally, attenuation of the fibrofatty changes of the skin, the final consequences of lymphedema. The favorable effect of phVEGF-C on lymphedema was reconfirmed in a mouse tail model. Immunohistochemical analysis using lymphatic-specific markers: VEGFR-3, lymphatic endothelial hyaluronan receptor-1, together with the proliferation marker Ki-67 Ab revealed that phVEGF-C transfection potently induced new lymphatic vessel growth. This study, we believe for the first time, documents that gene transfer of phVEGF-C resolves lymphedema through direct augmentation of lymphangiogenesis. This novel therapeutic strategy may merit clinical investigation in patients with lymphedema.
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a major COX metabolite, plays important roles in several facets of tumor biology. We characterized the contribution of the PGE2 EP2 receptor to cancer-associated immune deficiency using EP2–/– mice. EP2–/– mice exhibited significantly attenuated tumor growth and longer survival times when challenged with MC26 or Lewis lung carcinoma cell lines as compared with their wild-type littermates. While no differences in T cell function were observed, PGE2 suppressed differentiation of DCs from wild-type bone marrow progenitors, whereas EP2-null cells were refractory to this effect. Stimulation of cells in mixed lymphocyte reactions by wild-type DCs was suppressed by treatment with PGE2, while EP2–/–-derived DCs were resistant to this effect. In vivo, DCs, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells were significantly more abundant in draining lymph nodes of tumor-bearing EP2–/– mice than in tumor-bearing wild-type mice, and a significant antitumor cytotoxic T lymphocyte response could be observed only in the EP2–/– animals. Our data demonstrate an important role for the EP2 receptor in PGE2-induced inhibition of DC differentiation and function and the diminished antitumor cellular immune responses in vivo.
To elucidate the function of PPARγ in leptin-deficient mouse (ob/ob) liver, a PPARγ liver-null mouse on an ob/ob background, ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre+, was produced using a floxed PPARγ allele, PPARγ(fl/fl), and Cre recombinase under control of the albumin promoter (AlbCre). The liver of ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre+ mice had a deletion of exon 2 and a corresponding loss of full-length PPARγ mRNA and protein. The PPARγ-deficient liver in ob/ob mice was smaller and had a dramatically decreased triglyceride (TG) content compared with equivalent mice lacking the AlbCre transgene (ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre–). Messenger RNA levels of the hepatic lipogenic genes, fatty acid synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1, were reduced in ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre+ mice, and the levels of serum TG and FFA in ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre+ mice were significantly higher than in the control ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre– mice. Rosiglitazone treatment exacerbated the fatty liver in ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre– mice compared with livers from nonobese Cre– mice; there was no effect of rosiglitazone in ob/ob-PPARγ(fl/fl)AlbCre+ mice. The deficiency of hepatic PPARγ further aggravated the severity of diabetes in ob/ob mice due to decreased insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat. These data indicate that hepatic PPARγ plays a critical role in the regulation of TG content and in the homeostasis of blood glucose and insulin resistance in steatotic diabetic mice.
β3 integrin–null osteoclasts are dysfunctional, but their numbers are increased in vivo. In vitro, however, the number of β3–/– osteoclasts is reduced because of arrested differentiation. This paradox suggests cytokine regulation of β3–/– osteoclastogenesis differs in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, additional MCSF, but not receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL), completely rescues β3–/– osteoclastogenesis. Similarly, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) and expression of c-Fos, both essential for osteoclastogenesis, are attenuated in β3–/– preosteoclasts, but completely restored by additional MCSF. In fact, circulating and bone marrow cell membrane-bound MCSFs are enhanced in β3–/– mice, correlating with the increase in the osteoclast number. To identify components of the MCSF receptor that is critical for osteoclastogenesis in β3–/– cells, we retrovirally transduced authentic osteoclast precursors with chimeric c-Fms constructs containing various cytoplasmic domain mutations. Normalization of osteoclastogenesis and ERK activation, in β3–/– cells, uniquely requires c-Fms tyrosine 697. Finally, like high-dose MCSF, overexpression of c-Fos normalizes the number of β3–/– osteoclasts in vitro, but not their ability to resorb dentin. Thus, while c-Fms and αvβ3 collaborate in the osteoclastogenic process via shared activation of the ERK/c-Fos signaling pathway, the integrin is essential for matrix degradation.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation