Hyper-IgM syndrome (HIGM) is a primary immunodeficiency characterized by normal to elevated serum levels of IgM and low levels or the absence of IgG, IgA, and IgE. A new study AID expression in nonlymphoid cells (see related article on pages 136–142) characterizes HIGM type 4, a previously undocumented defect in antibody gene diversification caused by a selective block in class-switch recombination, providing significant insight towards understanding HIGM immunodeficiencies.
The apoptotic machinery has become the latest target of vaccinologists attempting to improve the efficacy of DNA vaccines. While workers have previously sought to induce apoptotic death in transfected DCs as a means to activate immunity, a new approach (see related article on pages 109–117) instead seeks to delay apoptosis in host DCs after DNA vaccination.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) represents a major cause of morbidity and mortality following conventional allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). A study in mice (see related article on pages 101–108) demonstrates that the selective administration of donor memory CD4+ T cells results in immune reconstitution without GVHD, a result that, if translatable to humans, has important clinical implications for HSCT.
Oxygen administration to premature infants suppresses retinal VEGF expression and results in the catastrophic vessel loss associated with retinopathy of prematurity. A study investigating the development of the retinal vasculature in mice (see related article on pages 50–57) demonstrates that specific activation of VEGF receptor-1 by placental growth factor-1 protects against oxygen-induced vessel loss without stimulating vascular proliferation and neovascularization.
The ECM protein Del-1 is one of several novel ECM proteins that accumulate around angiogenic blood vessels in embryonic and tumor tissue and promote angiogenesis in the absence of exogenous growth factors. Del-1 expressed in mouse or rabbit ischemic hind-limb muscle by gene transfer rapidly promotes new blood vessel formation and restores muscle function. This angiogenic ECM protein initiates angiogenesis by binding to integrin αvβ5 on resting endothelium, thereby resulting in expression of the transcription factor Hox D3 and integrin αvβ3. Hox D3 converts resting endothelium to angiogenic endothelium by inducing expression of proangiogenic molecules such as integrin αvβ3. These findings provide evidence for an angiogenic switch that can be initiated in the absence of exogenous growth factors and indicate that the angiogenic matrix protein Del-1 may be a useful tool for the therapy of ischemic disease.
The paradigm for recovery of the renal tubule from acute tubular necrosis is that surviving cells from the areas bordering the injury must migrate into the regions of tubular denudation and proliferate to re-establish the normal tubular epithelium. However, therapies aimed at stimulating these events have failed to alter the course of acute renal failure in human trials. In the present study, we demonstrate that Lin–Sca-1+ cells from the adult mouse bone marrow are mobilized into the circulation by transient renal ischemia and home specifically to injured regions of the renal tubule. There they differentiate into renal tubular epithelial cells and appear to constitute the majority of the cells present in the previously necrotic tubules. Loss of stem cells following bone marrow ablation results in a greater rise in blood urea nitrogen after renal ischemia, while stem cell infusion after bone marrow ablation reverses this effect. Thus, therapies aimed at enhancing the mobilization, propagation, and/or delivery of bone marrow stem cells to the kidney hold potential as entirely new approaches for the treatment of acute tubular necrosis.
Oxygen administration to immature neonates suppresses VEGF-A expression in the retina, resulting in the catastrophic vessel loss that initiates retinopathy of prematurity. To investigate the mechanisms responsible for survival of blood vessels in the developing retina, we characterized two VEGF-A receptors, VEGF receptor–1 (VEGFR-1, also known as Flt-1) and VEGF receptor–2 (VEGFR-2, also known as Flk-1). Surprisingly, these two VEGF-A receptors differed markedly during normal retinal development in mice. At 5 days postpartum (P5), VEGFR-1 protein was colocalized with retinal vessels, whereas VEGFR-2 was detected only in the neural retina. Real-time RT-PCR identified a 60-fold induction of VEGFR-1 mRNA in retina from P3 (early vascularization) to P26 (fully vascularized), and no significant change in VEGFR-2 mRNA expression. Placental growth factor-1 (PlGF-1), which exclusively binds VEGFR-1, decreased hyperoxia-induced retinal vaso-obliteration from 22.2% to 5.1%, whereas VEGF-E, which exclusively binds VEGFR-2, had no effect on blood vessel survival. Importantly, under the same conditions, PlGF-1 did not increase vasoproliferation during (a) normal vessel growth, (b) revascularization following hyperoxia-induced ischemia, or (c) the vasoproliferative phase, indicating a selective function supporting blood vessel survival. We conclude that VEGFR-1 is critical in maintaining the vasculature of the neonatal retina, and that activation of VEGFR-1 by PlGF-1 is a selective strategy for preventing oxygen-induced retinal ischemia without provoking retinal neovascularization.
Fibrin deposition and thrombosis within the microvasculature is now appreciated to play a pivotal role in the hepatocellular injury observed in experimental and human viral hepatitis. Importantly, the pathways by which fibrin generation is elicited in viral hepatitis may be mechanistically distinct from the classical pathways of coagulation induced by mechanical trauma or bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In the setting of murine hepatitis virus strain-3 (MHV-3) infection, a member of the Coronaviridae, activated endothelial cells and macrophages express distinct cell-surface procoagulants, including a novel prothrombinase, Fgl2/fibroleukin, which are important for both the initiation and localization of fibrin deposition. To assess the role of Fgl2/fibroleukin in murine viral hepatitis we generated a Fgl2/fibroleukin–deficient mouse. Peritoneal macrophages isolated from Fgl2/fibroleukin–/– mice did not generate a procoagulant response when infected with MHV-3. Fibrin deposition and liver necrosis were markedly reduced, and survival was increased in mice infected with MHV-3. To address the relevance of Fgl2/fibroleukin in human chronic viral hepatitis we studied patients with minimal and marked chronic hepatitis B. We detected robust expression of Fgl2/fibroleukin mRNA transcripts and protein in liver tissue isolated from patients with marked chronic hepatitis B. Fibrin deposition was strongly associated with Fgl2/fibroleukin expression. Collectively, these data indicate a critical role for Fgl2/fibroleukin in the pathophysiology of experimental and human viral hepatitis.
Although the renin angiotensin system (RAS) is a major regulator of vascular homeostasis, the role of the RAS in tumor angiogenesis is little understood. Here we show that host angiotensin II (ATII) type 1 (AT1) receptor plays an important role in angiogenesis and growth of tumor cells engrafted in mice. Subcutaneous B16-F1 melanoma-induced angiogenesis as assessed by tissue capillary density and microangiography was prominent in WT mice but was reduced in AT1a receptor–deficient (AT1a–/–) mice. Consequently, tumor growth rate was significantly slower, and the mouse survival rate was greater, in AT1a–/– mice than in WT mice. Tumor growth was also reduced in WT mice treated with TCV-116, a selective blocker of AT1 receptor. Because the β-galactosidase gene was inserted into the AT1a gene locus in AT1a–/– mice, the site of β-galactosidase expression represents the AT1a receptor expression in these mutant mice. In tumor-implanted AT1a–/– mice, the major site of the β-galactosidase expression was macrophages in tissues surrounding tumors. Moreover, the number of infiltrated macrophages was significantly lower in AT1a–/– mice than in WT mice, and double-immunofluorescence staining revealed that these macrophages expressed VEGF protein intensively. Therefore, the host ATII-AT1 receptor pathway supports tumor-associated macrophage infiltration, which results in enhanced tissue VEGF protein levels. The host ATII-AT1 receptor pathway thereby plays important roles in tumor-related angiogenesis and growth in vivo.
Macula densa (MD) cells express COX-2 and COX-2–derived PGs appear to signal the release of renin from the renal juxtaglomerular apparatus, especially during volume depletion. However, the synthetic machinery and identity of the specific prostanoid released from intact MD cells remains uncertain. In the present studies, a novel biosensor tool was engineered to directly determine whether MD cells release PGE2 in response to low luminal NaCl concentration ([NaCl]L). HEK293 cells were transfected with the Ca2+-coupled E-prostanoid receptor EP1 (HEK/EP1) and loaded with fura-2. HEK/EP1 cells produced a significant elevation in intracellular [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i) by 29.6 ± 12.8 nM (n = 6) when positioned at the basolateral surface of isolated perfused MD cells and [NaCl]L was reduced from 150 mM to zero. HEK/EP1 [Ca2+]i responses were observed mainly in preparations from rabbits on a low-salt diet and were completely inhibited by either a selective COX-2 inhibitor or an EP1 antagonist, and also by 100 μM luminal furosemide. Also, 20-mM graduated reductions in [NaCl]L between 80 and 0 mM caused step-by-step increases in HEK/EP1 [Ca2+]i. Low-salt diet greatly increased the expression of both COX-2 and microsome-associated PGE synthase (mPGES) in the MD. These studies provide the first direct evidence that intact MD cells synthesize and release PGE2 during reduced luminal salt content and suggest that this response is important in the control of renin release and renal vascular resistance during salt deprivation.
Obesity is closely associated with the metabolic syndrome, a combination of disorders including insulin resistance, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. A role for local glucocorticoid reamplification in obesity and the metabolic syndrome has been suggested. The enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) regenerates active cortisol from inactive 11-keto forms, and aP2-HSD1 mice with relative transgenic overexpression of this enzyme in fat cells develop visceral obesity with insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. Here we report that aP2-HSD1 mice also have high arterial blood pressure (BP). The mice have increased sensitivity to dietary salt and increased plasma levels of angiotensinogen, angiotensin II, and aldosterone. This hypertension is abolished by selective angiotensin II receptor AT-1 antagonist at a low dose that does not affect BP in non-Tg littermates. These findings suggest that activation of the circulating renin-angiotensin system (RAS) develops in aP2-HSD1 mice. The long-term hypertension is further reflected by an appreciable hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the distal tubule epithelium of the nephron, resembling salt-sensitive or angiotensin II–mediated hypertension. Taken together, our findings suggest that overexpression of 11β-HSD1 in fat is sufficient to cause salt-sensitive hypertension mediated by an activated RAS. The potential role of adipose 11β-HSD1 in mediating critical features of the metabolic syndrome extends beyond obesity and metabolic complications to include the most central cardiovascular feature of this disorder.
Adiponectin has recently been shown to be a promising candidate for the treatment of obesity-associated metabolic syndromes. Replenishment of recombinant adiponectin in mice can decrease hyperglycemia, reverse insulin resistance, and cause sustained weight loss without affecting food intake. Here we report its potential roles in alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases in mice. Circulating concentrations of adiponectin decreased significantly following chronic consumption of high-fat ethanol-containing food. Delivery of recombinant adiponectin into these mice dramatically alleviated hepatomegaly and steatosis (fatty liver) and also significantly attenuated inflammation and the elevated levels of serum alanine aminotransferase. These therapeutic effects resulted partly from the ability of adiponectin to increase carnitine palmitoyltransferase I activity and enhance hepatic fatty acid oxidation, while it decreased the activities of two key enzymes involved in fatty acid synthesis, including acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase. Furthermore, adiponectin treatment could suppress the hepatic production of TNF-α and plasma concentrations of this proinflammatory cytokine. Adiponectin was also effective in ameliorating hepatomegaly, steatosis, and alanine aminotransferase abnormality associated with nonalcoholic obese, ob/ob mice. These results demonstrate a novel mechanism of adiponectin action and suggest a potential clinical application of adiponectin and its agonists in the treatment of liver diseases.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT). Donor T cells that accompany stem cell grafts cause GVHD by attacking recipient tissues; therefore, all patients receive GVHD prophylaxis by depletion of T cells from the allograft or through immunosuppressant drugs. In addition to providing a graft-versus-leukemia effect, donor T cells are critical for reconstituting T cell–mediated immunity. Ideally, immunity to infectious agents would be transferred from donor to host without GVHD. Most donors have been exposed to common pathogens and have an increased precursor frequency of memory T cells against pathogenic antigens. We therefore asked whether memory CD62L–CD44+ CD4+ T cells would induce less GVHD than unfractionated or naive CD4+ T cells. Strikingly, we found that memory CD4 cells induced neither clinical nor histologic GVHD. This effect was not due to the increased number of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells found in the CD62L–CD44+ fraction because memory T cells depletion of these cells did not cause GVHD. Memory CD4 cells engrafted and responded to antigen both in vivo and in vitro. If these murine results are applicable to human alloSCT, selective administration of memory T cells could greatly improve post-transplant immune reconstitution.
Intradermal vaccination by gene gun efficiently delivers DNA vaccines into DCs of the skin, resulting in the activation and priming of antigen-specific T cells in vivo. DCs, however, have a limited life span, hindering their long-term ability to prime antigen-specific T cells. We reason that a strategy that prolongs the survival of DNA-transduced DCs will enhance priming of antigen-specific T cells and DNA vaccine potency. Here we show that codelivery of DNA encoding inhibitors of apoptosis (BCL-xL, BCL-2, XIAP, dominant negative caspase-9, or dominant negative caspase-8) with DNA encoding model antigens prolongs the survival of transduced DCs. More importantly, vaccinated mice exhibited significant enhancement in antigen-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses, resulting in a potent antitumor effect against antigen-expressing tumors. Among these antiapoptotic factors, BCL-xL demonstrated the greatest enhancement in antigen-specific immune responses and antitumor effects. Thus, coadministration of DNA vaccines with DNA encoding antiapoptotic proteins represents an innovative approach to enhance DNA vaccine potency.
Due to genetic defects in apical membrane chloride channels, the cystic fibrosis (CF) intestine does not secrete chloride normally. Depressed chloride secretion leaves CF intestinal absorptive processes unopposed, which results in net fluid hyperabsorption, dehydration of intestinal contents, and a propensity to inspissated intestinal obstruction. This theory is based primarily on in vitro studies of jejunal mucosa. To determine if CF patients actually hyperabsorb fluid in vivo, we measured electrolyte and water absorption during steady-state perfusion of the jejunum. As expected, chloride secretion was abnormally low in CF, but surprisingly, there was no net hyperabsorption of sodium or water during perfusion of a balanced electrolyte solution. This suggested that fluid absorption processes are reduced in CF jejunum, and further studies revealed that this was due to a marked depression of passive chloride absorption. Although Na+-glucose cotransport was normal in the CF jejunum, absence of passive chloride absorption completely blocked glucose-stimulated net sodium absorption and reduced glucose-stimulated water absorption 66%. This chloride absorptive abnormality acts in physiological opposition to the classic chloride secretory defect in the CF intestine. By increasing the fluidity of intraluminal contents, absence of passive chloride absorption may reduce the incidence and severity of intestinal disease in patients with CF.
It has been proposed that bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are distributed along an oxygen (O2) gradient, where stem cells reside in the most hypoxic areas and proliferating progenitors are found in O2-rich areas. However, the effects of hypoxia on human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have not been characterized. Our objective was to evaluate the functional and molecular responses of human BM progenitors and stem cells to hypoxic conditions. BM lineage–negative (Lin–) CD34+CD38– cells were cultured in serum-free medium under 1.5% O2 (hypoxia) or 20% O2 (normoxia) for 4 days. Using limiting dilution analysis, we demonstrate that the absolute number of SCID-repopulating cells (SRCs) increased by 5.8-fold in hypoxic cultures compared with normoxia, and by 4.2-fold compared with freshly isolated Lin–CD34+CD38– cells. The observed increase in BM-repopulating activity was associated with a preferential expansion of Lin–CD34+CD38– cells. We also demonstrate that, in response to hypoxia, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α protein was stabilized, surface expression of angiogenic receptors was upregulated, and VEGF secretion increased in BM Lin–CD34+ cultures. The use of low O2 levels to enhance the survival and/or self-renewal of human BM HSCs in vitro represents an important advance and could have valuable clinical implications.
Hyper-IgM syndrome (HIGM) is a heterogeneous condition characterized by impaired Ig class-switch recombination (CSR). The molecular defects that have so far been associated with this syndrome — which affect the CD40 ligand in HIGM type 1 (HIGM1), CD40 in HIGM3, and activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) in HIGM2 — do not account for all cases. We investigated the clinical and immunological characteristics of 15 patients with an unidentified form of HIGM. Although the clinical manifestations were similar to those observed in HIGM2, these patients exhibited a slightly milder HIGM syndrome with residual IgG production. We found that B cell CSR was intrinsically impaired. However, the generation of somatic hypermutations was observed in the variable region of the Ig heavy chain gene, as in control B lymphocytes. In vitro studies showed that the molecular defect responsible for this new HIGM entity (HIGM4) occurs downstream of the AID activity, as the AID gene was induced normally and AID-induced DNA double-strand breaks in the switch μ region of the Ig heavy chain locus were detected during CSR as normal. Thus, HIGM4 is probably the consequence of a selective defect either in a CSR-specific factor of the DNA repair machinery or in survival signals delivered to switched B cells.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation