Degeneration of brain tissue following stroke leads to functional impairment with limited brain self-repair. New evidence suggests that delivery of circulating CD34+ human umbilical cord blood cells can produce functional recovery in an animal stroke model with concurrent angiogenesis and neurogenesis leading to some restoration of cortical tissue. While some alternative interpretations of this data are offered herein, the study provides encouraging evidence of functional recovery from stroke in an animal model using stem cell therapy.
Failure of the pancreas to secrete sufficient insulin results in type 2 diabetes, but the pathogenesis of pancreatic β cell dysfunction is still poorly understood. New insights into β cell failure come from defining the genes involved in rare genetic subtypes of diabetes and creating appropriate animal models. A new mouse model of transient neonatal diabetes mellitus emphasizes that both the number of β cells and their function are critical for insulin secretion and may be regulated by imprinted genes.
Oxidized LDL induces changes in several facets of the immune system, although the relationships between these facets and their contributions to atherogenesis have yet to be fully elucidated. A report in this issue of the JCI provides a novel demonstration of the adaptive immune system influencing the production of natural antibodies. The results demonstrate that injection of malondialdehyde-modified LDL promotes a Th2 response that in turn increases the titers of the natural antibody T15/EO6, which recognizes the oxidized phospholipid POVPC. Atherosclerotic lesion size in LDL receptor–deficient mice is reduced as a consequence of the increase in natural antibody titers, and IL-5 is identified as the link between the adaptive and natural immune systems.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating condition that leads to progressive lung destruction and scarring. Previous mechanistic research has focused on the local fibroproliferative process in the lung. However, emerging evidence suggests that circulating cells of hematopoietic origin play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of this disease .
The etiology and pathogenesis of bile duct obstruction in children with biliary atresia are largely unknown. We have previously reported that, despite phenotypic heterogeneity, genomic signatures of livers from patients display a proinflammatory phenotype. Here, we address the hypothesis that production of IFN-γ is a key pathogenic mechanism of disease using a mouse model of rotavirus-induced biliary atresia. We found that rotavirus infection of neonatal mice has a unique tropism to bile duct cells, and it triggers a hepatobiliary inflammation by IFN-γ–producing CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes. The inflammation is tissue specific, resulting in progressive jaundice, growth failure, and greater than 90% mortality due to obstruction of extrahepatic bile ducts. In this model, the genetic loss of IFN-γ did not alter the onset of jaundice, but it remarkably suppressed the tissue-specific targeting of T lymphocytes and completely prevented the inflammatory and fibrosing obstruction of extrahepatic bile ducts. As a consequence, jaundice resolved, and long-term survival improved to greater than 80%. Notably, administration of recombinant IFN-γ led to recurrence of bile duct obstruction following rotavirus infection of IFN-γ–deficient mice. Thus, IFN-γ–driven obstruction of bile ducts is a key pathogenic mechanism of disease and may constitute a therapeutic target to block disease progression in patients with biliary atresia.
Thrombo-occlusive cerebrovascular disease resulting in stroke and permanent neuronal loss is an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Because of the unique properties of cerebral vasculature and the limited reparative capability of neuronal tissue, it has been difficult to devise effective neuroprotective therapies in cerebral ischemia. Our results demonstrate that systemic administration of human cord blood–derived CD34+ cells to immunocompromised mice subjected to stroke 48 hours earlier induces neovascularization in the ischemic zone and provides a favorable environment for neuronal regeneration. Endogenous neurogenesis, suppressed by an antiangiogenic agent, is accelerated as a result of enhanced migration of neuronal progenitor cells to the damaged area, followed by their maturation and functional recovery. Our data suggest an essential role for CD34+ cells in promoting directly or indirectly an environment conducive to neovascularization of ischemic brain so that neuronal regeneration can proceed.
Transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TNDM) is a rare inherited diabetic syndrome apparent in the first weeks of life and again during early adulthood. The relative contributions of reduced islet β cell number and impaired β cell function to the observed hypoinsulinemia are unclear. The inheritance pattern of this imprinted disorder implicates overexpression of one or both genes within the TNDM locus: ZAC, which encodes a proapoptotic zinc finger protein, and HYMAI, which encodes an untranslated mRNA. To investigate the consequences for pancreatic function, we have developed a high-copy transgenic mouse line, TNDM29, carrying the human TNDM locus. TNDM29 neonates display hyperglycemia, and older adults, impaired glucose tolerance. Neonatal hyperglycemia occurs only on paternal transmission, analogous to paternal dependence of TNDM in humans. Embryonic pancreata of TNDM29 mice showed reductions in expression of endocrine differentiation factors and numbers of insulin-staining structures. By contrast, β cell mass was normal or elevated at all postnatal stages, whereas pancreatic insulin content in neonates and peak serum insulin levels after glucose infusion in adults were reduced. Expression of human ZAC and HYMAI in these transgenic mice thus recapitulates key features of TNDM and implicates impaired development of the endocrine pancreas and β cell function in disease pathogenesis.
Somatostatin (SRIF) analogs provide safe and effective therapy for acromegaly. In a proportion of patients, however, SRIF analogs may lead to discordant growth hormone (GH) and IGF-I suppression, which suggests a more complex mechanism than attributable to inhibition of GH release alone. To elucidate whether SRIF acts peripherally on the GH–IGF-I axis, we showed that rat hepatocytes express somatostatin receptor subtypes-2 and -3 and that IGF-I mRNA and protein levels were suppressed in a dose-dependent manner by administration of octreotide. The inhibitory effect of SRIF was not apparent without added GH and in the presence of GH was specific for IGF-I induction and did not inhibit GH-induced c-myc or extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. Pertussis toxin treatment of hepatocytes incubated with GH and SRIF, or with GH and octreotide, abrogated the inhibitory effect on GH-induced IGF-I, which confirms the requirement for the inhibitory G-protein. Treatment with SRIF and GH increased protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) activity and inhibited signal transducer and activator of transcription-5b (STAT5b) phosphorylation and nuclear localization. Octreotide also inhibited GH-stimulated IGF-I protein content of ex vivo–perfused rat livers. The results demonstrate that SRIF acts both centrally and peripherally to control the GH–IGF-I axis, providing a mechanistic explanation for SRIF analog action in treating patients with GH-secreting pituitary adenomas.
Regulation of energy balance by leptin involves regulation of several neuropeptides, including thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). Synthesized from a larger inactive precursor, its maturation requires proteolytic cleavage by prohormone convertases 1 and 2 (PC1 and PC2). Since this maturation in response to leptin requires prohormone processing, we hypothesized that leptin might regulate hypothalamic PC1 and PC2 expression, ultimately leading to coordinated processing of prohormones into mature peptides. Using hypothalamic neurons, we found that leptin stimulated PC1 and PC2 mRNA and protein expression and also increased PC1 and PC2 promoter activities in transfected 293T cells. Starvation of rats, leading to low serum leptin levels, decreased PC1 and PC2 gene and protein expression in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. Exogenous administration of leptin to fasted animals restored PC1 levels in the median eminence (ME) and the PVN to approximately the level found in fed control animals. Consistent with this regulation of PCs in the PVN, concentrations of TRH in the PVN and ME were substantially reduced in the fasted animals relative to the fed animals, and leptin reversed this decrease. Further analysis showed that proteolytic cleavage of pro–thyrotropin-releasing hormone (proTRH) at known PC cleavage sites was reduced by fasting and increased in animals given leptin. Combined, these findings suggest that leptin-dependent stimulation of hypothalamic TRH expression involves both activation of trh transcription and stimulation of PC1 and PC2 expression, which lead to enhanced processing of proTRH into mature TRH.
Cachexia is a syndrome characterized by wasting of skeletal muscle and contributes to nearly one-third of all cancer deaths. Cytokines and tumor factors mediate wasting by suppressing muscle gene products, but exactly which products are targeted by these cachectic factors is not well understood. Because of their functional relevance to muscle architecture, such targets are presumed to represent myofibrillar proteins, but whether these proteins are regulated in a general or a selective manner is also unclear. Here we demonstrate, using in vitro and in vivo models of muscle wasting, that cachectic factors are remarkably selective in targeting myosin heavy chain. In myotubes and mouse muscles, TNF-α plus IFN-γ strongly reduced myosin expression through an RNA-dependent mechanism. Likewise, colon-26 tumors in mice caused the selective reduction of this myofibrillar protein, and this reduction correlated with wasting. Under these conditions, however, loss of myosin was associated with the ubiquitin-dependent proteasome pathway, which suggests that mechanisms used to regulate the expression of muscle proteins may be cachectic factor specific. These results shed new light on cancer cachexia by revealing that wasting does not result from a general downregulation of muscle proteins but rather is highly selective as to which proteins are targeted during the wasting state.
Mutant isoforms of the KIT or PDGF receptors expressed by gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are considered the therapeutic targets for STI571 (imatinib mesylate; Gleevec), a specific inhibitor of these tyrosine kinase receptors. Case reports of clinical efficacy of Gleevec in GISTs lacking the typical receptor mutations prompted a search for an alternate mode of action. Here we show that Gleevec can act on host DCs to promote NK cell activation. DC-mediated NK cell activation was triggered in vitro and in vivo by treatment of DCs with Gleevec as well as by a loss-of-function mutation of KIT. Therefore, tumors that are refractory to the antiproliferative effects of Gleevec in vitro responded to Gleevec in vivo in an NK cell–dependent manner. Longitudinal studies of Gleevec-treated GIST patients revealed a therapy-induced increase in IFN-γ production by NK cells, correlating with an enhanced antitumor response. These data point to a novel mode of antitumor action for Gleevec.
SAMP1/YitFc mice develop discontinuous, transmural inflammatory lesions in the terminal ileum, similar to what is found in human Crohn disease. Compared with the mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) of AKR control mice, SAMP1/YitFc MLNs contain a 4.3-fold expansion in total B cell number and a 2.5-fold increased percentage of CD4+ T cells expressing the αEβ7 integrin. Although αEβ7+CD4+ T cells possess a regulatory phenotype (CD25+, L-selectinlo, and CD45RBlo), express IL-10, and suppress effector T cell proliferation in vitro, they cannot prevent ileitis development in SCID mice adoptively transferred with effector CD4+ T cells, although the CD4+CD25+ subset, which overlaps with the αEβ7+CD4+ subset, prevents colitis. The αEβ7+CD4+ T cells express high levels of ICOS, a costimulatory molecule that augments B cell function, suggesting their involvement in the increase in B cells, IgA+ cells, and soluble IgA found within the MLNs and ileum of SAMP1/YitFc mice. MLN B cell numbers correlate with ileitis severity in SAMP1/YitFc mice, and cotransfer of SAMP1/YitFc MLN B cells along with CD4+ T cells increases ileitis severity in SCID mice compared with transfer of CD4+ T cells alone. SAMP1/YitFc B cells prevent αEβ7+CD4+ T cells from suppressing effector T cell proliferation. We conclude that SAMP1/YitFc MLN B cells contribute to the development of SAMP1/YitFc ileitis.
Mechanical injury to the skin results in activation of the complement component C3 and release of the anaphylatoxin C3a. C3a binds to a seven-transmembrane G protein–coupled receptor, C3aR. We used C3aR–/– mice to examine the role of C3a in a mouse model of allergic inflammation induced by epicutaneous sensitization with OVA. C3aR–/– mice exhibited an exaggerated Th2 response to epicutaneous but not to intraperitoneal sensitization with OVA, as evidenced by significantly elevated levels of serum OVA-specific IgG1 and significantly increased secretion of the Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10 by antigen-stimulated splenocytes. Presentation of OVA peptide by C3aR–/– APCs caused significantly more IL-4 and IL-5 secretion by T cells from OVA–T cell receptor (OVA-TCR) transgenic mice compared with presentation by WT APCs. C3a inhibited the ability of splenocytes, but not of highly purified T cells, to secrete Th2 cytokines in response to TCR ligation. This inhibition was mediated by IL-12 secreted by APCs in response to C3a. These results suggest that C3a-C3aR interactions inhibit the ability of APCs to drive Th2 cell differentiation in response to epicutaneously introduced antigen and may have important implications for allergic skin diseases.
The precise signals responsible for differentiation of blood-borne monocytes into tissue macrophages are incompletely defined. “Outside-in” signaling by integrins has been implicated in modulation of gene expression that affects cellular differentiation. Herein, using differential display PCR, we have cloned an 85-kDa forkhead transcription factor (termed Mac-1–regulated forkhead [MFH] and found subsequently to be identical to Foxp1) that is downregulated in β2-integrin Mac-1–clustered compared with Mac-1–nonclustered monocytic THP-1 cells. MFH/Foxp1 is expressed in untreated HL60 cells, and its expression was markedly reduced during phorbol ester–induced monocyte differentiation, but not retinoic acid–induced granulocyte differentiation. Overexpression of MFH/Foxp1 markedly attenuated phorbol ester–induced expression of c-fms, which encodes the M-CSF receptor and is obligatory for macrophage differentiation. This was accompanied by decreased CD11b expression, cell adhesiveness, and phagocytosis. Using electromobility shift and reporter assays, we have established that MFH/Foxp1 binds to previously uncharacterized sites within the c-fms promoter and functions as a transcriptional repressor. Deficiency of Mac-1 is associated with altered regulation of MFH/Foxp1 and monocyte maturation in vivo. Taken together, these observations suggest that Mac-1 engagement orchestrates monocyte-differentiation signals by regulating the expression of the forkhead transcription repressor MFH/Foxp1. This represents a new pathway for integrin-dependent modulation of gene expression and control of cellular differentiation.
The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors are key regulators of cell cycle progression. Although implicated in carcinogenesis, they inhibit the proliferation of a variety of normal cell types, and their role in diverse human diseases is not fully understood. Here, we report that p27Kip1 plays a major role in cardiovascular disease through its effects on the proliferation of bone marrow–derived (BM-derived) immune cells that migrate into vascular lesions. Lesion formation after mechanical arterial injury was markedly increased in mice with homozygous deletion of p27Kip1, characterized by prominent vascular infiltration by immune and inflammatory cells. Vascular occlusion was substantially increased when BM-derived cells from p27–/– mice repopulated vascular lesions induced by mechanical injury in p27+/+ recipients, in contrast to p27+/+ BM donors. To determine the contribution of immune cells to vascular injury, transplantation was performed with BM derived from RAG–/– and RAG+/+ mice. RAG+/+ BM markedly exacerbated vascular proliferative lesions compared with what was found in RAG–/– donors. Taken together, these findings suggest that vascular repair and regeneration is regulated by the proliferation of BM-derived hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells through a p27Kip1-dependent mechanism and that immune cells largely mediate these effects.
During atherogenesis, LDL is oxidized, generating various oxidation-specific neoepitopes, such as malondialdehyde-modified (MDA-modified) LDL (MDA-LDL) or the phosphorylcholine (PC) headgroup of oxidized phospholipids (OxPLs). These epitopes are recognized by both adaptive T cell–dependent (TD) and innate T cell–independent type 2 (TI-2) immune responses. We previously showed that immunization of mice with MDA-LDL induces a TD response and atheroprotection. In addition, a PC-based immunization strategy that leads to a TI-2 expansion of innate B-1 cells and secretion of T15/EO6 clonotype natural IgM antibodies, which bind the PC of OxPLs within oxidized LDL (OxLDL), also reduces atherogenesis. T15/EO6 antibodies inhibit OxLDL uptake by macrophages. We now report that immunization with MDA-LDL, which does not contain OxPL, unexpectedly led to the expansion of T15/EO6 antibodies. MDA-LDL immunization caused a preferential expansion of MDA-LDL–specific Th2 cells that prominently secreted IL-5. In turn, IL-5 provided noncognate stimulation to innate B-1 cells, leading to increased secretion of T15/EO6 IgM. Using a bone marrow transplant model, we also demonstrated that IL-5 deficiency led to decreased titers of T15/EO6 and accelerated atherosclerosis. Thus, IL-5 links adaptive and natural immunity specific to epitopes of OxLDL and protects from atherosclerosis, in part by stimulating the expansion of atheroprotective natural IgM specific for OxLDL.
Previous reports have identified a circulating pool of CD45+ collagen I+ CXCR4+ (CD45+Col I+CXCR4+) cells, termed fibrocytes, that traffic to areas of fibrosis. No studies have demonstrated that these cells actually contribute to fibrosis, however. Pulmonary fibrosis was originally thought to be mediated solely by resident lung fibroblasts. Here we show that a population of human CD45+Col I+CXCR4+ circulating fibrocytes migrates in response to CXCL12 and traffics to the lungs in a murine model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Next, we demonstrated that murine CD45+Col I+CXCR4+ fibrocytes also traffic to the lungs in response to a bleomycin challenge. Maximal intrapulmonary recruitment of CD45+Col I+CXCR4+ fibrocytes directly correlated with increased collagen deposition in the lungs. Treatment of bleomycin-exposed animals with specific neutralizing anti-CXCL12 Ab’s inhibited intrapulmonary recruitment of CD45+Col I+CXCR4+ circulating fibrocytes and attenuated lung fibrosis. Thus, our results demonstrate, we believe for the first time, that circulating fibrocytes contribute to the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation