The congenital long QT syndrome is a rare disorder in which mutation carriers are at risk for polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and/or sudden cardiac death. Discovery and analysis of gene mutations associated with variants of this disorder have provided novel insight into mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmia and have raised the possibility of mutation-specific therapeutic intervention.
The spring term of 2001 saw the start of a new, unique graduate research training program at the Centre for Allergy Research at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. The program was created to bridge the gaps between basic, clinical, social, and behavioral sciences and to establish a global approach to the study of asthma and allergy. A reflection, two years on, discusses the strategies that are key to this model’s success and the challenges in introducing a multidisciplinary research program.
Prevailing views concerning the pathogenic mechanisms of AIDS have shifted from models that focus primarily on direct HIV-mediated killing of CD4+ T cells to models that emphasize the pathogenic role of generalized immune system activation. The observation that increases in T cell turnover seen in HIV-infected individuals primarily reflect increased proliferation of effector-memory T cells supports the concept that chronic immune activation plays a prominent, if not predominant, role in the pathogenesis of AIDS.
Histone acetylation, regulated by two antagonistic enzymes — histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) — results in transcriptional changes and also plays a critical role in cardiac development and disease. A new study shows that overexpression of the atypical transcriptional corepressor homeodomain-only protein (Hop) causes cardiac hypertrophy via recruitment of a class I HDAC. In contrast to the body of work on transcriptional mechanisms that drive cardiac hypertrophy, including class II HDACs, this report elucidates a novel growth-suppressing transcriptional pathway in cardiac muscle that opposes hypertrophic growth.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is usually caused by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells by T cells. Methodologies to track the development, migration, and functional activation of one class of such T cells (CD4 T cells) have been limited. However, it now appears that this limitation has been overcome .
15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) affects gene transcription by activating PPARγ and by covalent addition to transcription factors and signaling molecules, However, it is not known whether the high concentrations of 15d-PGJ2 required for these responses are consistent with physiological levels. A new study suggests that in vivo 15d-PGJ2 levels are actually several orders of magnitude below the levels required to induce many of the biological effects attributed to this molecule.
Containment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other chronic human viral infections is associated with persistence of virus-specific CD4 T cells, but ex vivo characterization of circulating CD4 T cells has not been achieved. To further define the phenotype and function of these cells, we developed a novel approach for the generation of tetrameric forms of MHC class II/peptide complexes that is based on the cellular peptide-exchange mechanism. HLA-DR molecules were expressed as precursors with a covalently linked CLIP peptide, which could be efficiently exchanged with viral peptides following linker cleavage. In subjects who spontaneously resolved HCV viremia, but not in those with chronic progressive infection, HCV tetramer–labeled cells could be isolated by magnetic bead capture despite very low frequencies (1:1,200 to 1:111,000) among circulating CD4 T cells. These T cells expressed a set of surface receptors (CCR7+CD45RA–CD27+) indicative of a surveillance function for secondary lymphoid structures and had undergone significant in vivo selection since they utilized a restricted Vβ repertoire. These studies demonstrate a relationship between clinical outcome and the presence of circulating CD4 T cells directed against this virus. Moreover, they show that rare populations of memory CD4 T cells can be studied ex vivo in human diseases.
The AP-1 transcription factor, composed of Jun and Fos proteins, plays a crucial role in the fine tuning of cell proliferation. We showed previously that AP-1 complexes are activated during the proliferative response that parallels the development of renal lesions after nephron reduction, but little is known about the specific role of individual Jun/Fos components in the deterioration process. Here we used JunD knockout (JunD–/–) mice and an experimental model of chronic renal injury (75% nephron reduction) to explore the role of JunD. Nephron reduction resulted in an initial compensatory growth phase that did not require JunD. JunD, however, was essential to inhibit a second wave of cell proliferation and to halt the development of severe glomerular sclerosis, tubular dilation, and interstitial fibrosis. We show that the effects of junD inactivation are not cell autonomous and involve upregulation of the paracrine mitogen, TGF-α. Expression of a transgene (REM) encoding a dominant negative isoform of the EGFR, the receptor for TGF-α, prevented the second wave of cell proliferation and the development of renal lesions in bitransgenic JunD–/–/REM mice. We propose that JunD is part of a regulatory network that controls proliferation to prevent pathological progression in chronic renal diseases.
Trousseau described spontaneous, recurrent superficial migratory thrombophlebitis associated with occult cancers, and this was later correlated with disseminated microangiopathy (platelet-rich clots in small blood vessels). Trousseau syndrome often occurs with mucinous adenocarcinomas, which secrete abnormally glycosylated mucins and mucin fragments into the bloodstream. Since carcinoma mucins can have binding sites for selectins, we hypothesized that selectin-mucin interactions might trigger this syndrome. When highly purified, tissue-factor free carcinoma mucin preparations were intravenously injected into mice, platelet-rich microthrombi were rapidly generated. This pathology was markedly diminished in P- or L-selectin–deficient mice. Heparin (an antithrombin-potentiating agent that can also block P- and L-selectin recognition of ligands) ameliorated this platelet aggregation, but had no additional effect in P- or L-selectin–deficient mice. Inhibition of endogenous thrombin by recombinant hirudin also did not block platelet aggregation. Mucins generated platelet aggregation in vitro in hirudinized whole blood, but not in platelet-rich leukocyte-free plasma nor in whole blood from L-selectin–deficient mice. Thus, Trousseau syndrome is likely triggered by interactions of circulating carcinoma mucins with leukocyte L-selectin and platelet P-selectin without requiring accompanying thrombin generation. These data may also explain why heparin ameliorates Trousseau syndrome, while vitamin K antagonists that merely depress thrombin production do not.
Activation of multiple pathways is associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Repression of antihypertrophic pathways has rarely been demonstrated to cause cardiac hypertrophy in vivo. Hop is an unusual homeodomain protein that is expressed by embryonic and postnatal cardiac myocytes. Unlike other homeodomain proteins, Hop does not bind DNA. Rather, it modulates cardiac growth and proliferation by inhibiting the transcriptional activity of serum response factor (SRF) in cardiomyocytes. Here we show that Hop can inhibit SRF-dependent transcriptional activation by recruiting histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and can form a complex that includes HDAC2. Transgenic mice that overexpress Hop develop severe cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and premature death. A mutant form of Hop, which does not recruit HDAC activity, does not induce hypertrophy. Treatment of Hop transgenic mice with trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor, prevents hypertrophy. In addition, trichostatin A also attenuates hypertrophy induced by infusion of isoproterenol. Thus, chromatin remodeling and repression of otherwise active transcriptional processes can result in hypertrophy and heart failure, and this process can be blocked with chemical HDAC inhibitors.
CD69 is induced after activation of leukocytes at inflammatory sites, but its physiological role during inflammation remains unknown. We explored the role of CD69 in autoimmune reactivity by analyzing a model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in WT and CD69-deficient mice. CD69–/– mice showed higher incidence and severity of CIA, with exacerbated T and B cell immune responses to type II collagen. Levels of TGF-β1 and TGF-β2, which act as protective agents in CIA, were reduced in CD69–/– mice inflammatory foci, correlating with the increase in the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and RANTES. Local injection of blocking anti–TGF-β antibodies increased CIA severity and proinflammatory cytokine mRNA levels in CD69+/+ but not in CD69–/– mice. Moreover, in vitro engagement of CD69 induced total and active TGF-β1 production in Concanavalin A–activated splenocyte subsets, mouse and human synovial leukocytes, and Jurkat stable transfectants of human CD69 but not in the parental CD69 negative cell line. Our results show that CD69 is a negative modulator of autoimmune reactivity and inflammation through the synthesis of TGF-β, a cytokine that in turn downregulates the production of various proinflammatory mediators.
Activation of A2A adenosine receptors (A2ARs) protects kidneys from ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). A2ARs are expressed on bone marrow–derived (BM-derived) cells and renal smooth muscle, epithelial, and endothelial cells. To measure the contribution of A2ARs on BM-derived cells in suppressing renal IRI, we examined the effects of a selective agonist of A2ARs, ATL146e, in chimeric mice in which BM was ablated by lethal radiation and reconstituted with donor BM cells derived from GFP, A2AR-KO, or WT mice to produce GFP→WT, A2A-KO→WT, or WT→WT mouse chimera. We found little or no repopulation of renal vascular endothelial cells by donor BM with or without renal IRI. ATL146e had no effect on IRI in A2A-KO mice or A2A-KO→WT chimera, but reduced the rise in plasma creatinine from IRI by 75% in WT mice and by 60% in WT→WT chimera. ATL146e reduced the induction of IL-6, IL-1β, IL-1ra, and TGF-α mRNA in WT→WT mice but not in A2A-KO→WT mice. Plasma creatinine was significantly greater in A2A-KO than in WT mice after IRI, suggesting some renal protection by endogenous adenosine. We conclude that protection from renal IRI by A2AR agonists or endogenous adenosine requires activation of receptors expressed on BM-derived cells.
Parkinson disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a loss of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons accompanied by a deficit in mitochondrial respiration. 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) is a neurotoxin that causes dopaminergic neurodegeneration and a mitochondrial deficit reminiscent of PD. Here we show that the infusion of the ketone body D-β-hydroxybutyrate (DβHB) in mice confers partial protection against dopaminergic neurodegeneration and motor deficits induced by MPTP. These effects appear to be mediated by a complex II–dependent mechanism that leads to improved mitochondrial respiration and ATP production. Because of the safety record of ketone bodies in the treatment of epilepsy and their ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, DβHB may be a novel neuroprotective therapy for PD.
To detect and characterize autoreactive T cells in diabetes-prone NOD mice, we have developed a multimeric MHC reagent with high affinity for the BDC-2.5 T cell receptor, which is reactive against a pancreatic autoantigen. A distinct population of T cells is detected in NOD mice that recognizes the same MHC/peptide target. These T cells are positively selected in the thymus at a surprisingly high frequency and exported to the periphery. They are activated specifically in the pancreatic LNs, demonstrating an autoimmune specificity that recapitulates that of the BDC-2.5 cell. These phenomena are also observed in mouse lines that share with NOD the H-2g7 MHC haplotype but carry diabetes-resistance background genes. Thus, a susceptible haplotype at the MHC seems to be the only element required for the selection and emergence of autoreactive T cells, without requiring other diabetogenic loci from the NOD genome.
The mechanisms through which estrogen prevents bone loss are uncertain. Elsewhere, estrogen exerts beneficial actions by suppression of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS stimulate osteoclasts, the cells that resorb bone. Thus, estrogen might prevent bone loss by enhancing oxidant defenses in bone. We found that glutathione and thioredoxin, the major thiol antioxidants, and glutathione and thioredoxin reductases, the enzymes responsible for maintaining them in a reduced state, fell substantially in rodent bone marrow after ovariectomy and were rapidly normalized by exogenous 17-β estradiol. Moreover, administration of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or ascorbate, antioxidants that increase tissue glutathione levels, abolished ovariectomy-induced bone loss, while L-buthionine-(S,R)-sulphoximine (BSO), a specific inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, caused substantial bone loss. The 17-β estradiol increased glutathione and glutathione and thioredoxin reductases in osteoclast-like cells in vitro. Furthermore, in vitro NAC prevented osteoclast formation and NF-κB activation. BSO and hydrogen peroxide did the opposite. Expression of TNF-α, a target for NF-κB and a cytokine strongly implicated in estrogen-deficiency bone loss, was suppressed in osteoclasts by 17-β estradiol and NAC. These observations strongly suggest that estrogen deficiency causes bone loss by lowering thiol antioxidants in osteoclasts. This directly sensitizes osteoclasts to osteoclastogenic signals and entrains ROS-enhanced expression of cytokines that promote osteoclastic bone resorption.
We describe the effects of the overexpression of noggin, a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) inhibitor, on osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Cells of the osteoblast and chondrocyte lineages, as well as bone marrow macrophages, showed intense β-gal histo- or cytostaining in adult noggin+/– mice that had a LacZ transgene inserted at the site of noggin deletion. Despite identical BMP levels, however, osteoblasts of 20-month-old C57BL/6J and 4-month-old senescence-accelerated mice (SAM-P6 mice) had noggin expression levels that were approximately fourfold higher than those of 4-month-old C57BL/6J and SAM-R1 (control) mice, respectively. U-33 preosteoblastic cells overexpressing the noggin gene showed defective maturation and, in parallel, a decreased expression of Runx-2, bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin, and RANK-L. Noggin did not inhibit the ligandless signaling and pro-differentiation action of the constitutively activated BMP receptor type 1A, ca-ALK-3. Transgenic mice overexpressing noggin in mature osteocalcin-positive osteoblasts showed dramatic decreases in bone mineral density and bone formation rates with histological evidence of decreased trabecular bone and CFU-osteoblast colonies at 4 and 8 months. Together, the results provide compelling evidence that noggin, expressed in mature osteoblasts, inhibits osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Thus, the overproduction of noggin during biological aging may result in impaired osteoblast formation and function and hence, net bone loss.
PKCλ is implicated as a downstream effector of PI3K in insulin action. We show here that mice that lack PKCλ specifically in the liver (L-λKO mice), produced with the use of the Cre-loxP system, exhibit increased insulin sensitivity as well as a decreased triglyceride content and reduced expression of the sterol regulatory element–binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) gene in the liver. Induction of the hepatic expression of Srebp1c and of its target genes involved in fatty acid/triglyceride synthesis by fasting and refeeding or by hepatic expression of an active form of PI3K was inhibited in L-λKO mice compared with that in control animals. Expression of Srebp1c induced by insulin or by active PI3K in primary cultured rat hepatocytes was inhibited by a dominant-negative form of PKCλ and was mimicked by overexpression of WT PKCλ. Restoration of PKCλ expression in the liver of L-λKO mice with the use of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer corrected the metabolic abnormalities of these animals. Hepatic PKCλ is thus a determinant of hepatic lipid content and whole-body insulin sensitivity.
15-deoxy-Δ12,14-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2) has been identified as an endogenous ligand for PPARγ, inducing adipogenesis in vitro. Additional roles for this molecule in the propagation and resolution of inflammation, ligation of NF-κB, and mediation of apoptosis have been proposed. However, quantitative, physiochemical evidence for the formation of 15d-PGJ2 in vivo is lacking. We report that 15d-PGJ2 is detectable using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry–mass spectrometry at low picomolar concentrations in the medium of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. However, despite induction of COX-2, production of PGs, including 15d-PGJ2, does not increase during adipocyte differentiation, a process unaltered by COX inhibition. 15d-PGJ2 is detectable as a minor product of COX-2 in human urine. However, its biosynthesis is unaltered during or after COX activation in vivo by LPS. Furthermore, the biosynthesis of 15d-PGJ2 is not augmented in the joint fluid of patients with arthritis, nor is its urinary excretion increased in patients with diabetes or obesity. 15d-PGJ2 is not the endogenous mediator of PPARγ-dependent adipocyte activation and is unaltered in clinical settings in which PPARγ activation has been implicated.
Antigenic stimulation of T cells gives rise to short-lived effector cells and long-lived memory cells. We used two stable isotope-labeling techniques to identify kinetically distinct subpopulations of T cells and to determine the effect of advanced infection with HIV-1. Long-term deuterated water (2H2O) incorporation into DNA demonstrated biphasic accrual of total and of memory/effector (m/e)–phenotype but not naive-phenotype T cells, consistent with the presence of short-lived and longer-lived subpopulations within the m/e-phenotype T cell pool. These results were mirrored by biphasic die-away kinetics in m/e- but not naive-phenotype T cells after short-term 2H-glucose labeling. Persistent label retention was observed in a subset of m/e-phenotype T cells (presumably memory T cells), confirming the presence of T cells with very different life spans in humans. In advanced HIV-1 infection, much higher proportions of T cells were short-lived, compared to healthy controls. Effective long-term anti-retroviral therapy restored values to normal. These results provide the first quantitative evidence that long-lived and quiescent T cells do indeed predominate in the T cell pool in humans and determine T cell pool size, as in rodents. The greatest impact of advanced HIV-1 infection is to reduce the generation of long-lived, potential progenitor T cells.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation