Despite recent advances in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to cardiac arrhythmia, its incidence in the population at large has remained unacceptably high. Better understanding of the interaction among various functional, structural, and genetic factors underlying the susceptibility to, and initiation of, fatal arrhythmias is a major goal and will provide new tools for the prediction, prevention, and therapy of SCD. Here, we review the role of aberrant intracellular Ca2+ handling, ionic imbalances associated with acute myocardial ischemia, neurohumoral changes, and genetic predisposition in the pathogenesis of SCD due to cardiac arrhythmia. Therapeutic measures to prevent SCD are also discussed.
Lymphangiogenesis is associated with pathological processes such as the metastatic spread of carcinoma cells and organization of immunologically active lymphocytic infiltrates following organ transplantation. It has not yet been established whether expansion of the lymphatic vascular meshwork is driven by incorporation of progenitor cells or by local endothelial cell division. In this issue of the JCI, Maruyama et al. provide evidence that after mouse corneal transplant, CD11b+ macrophages infiltrate the corneal stroma and transdifferentiate into lymphatic endothelial cell clusters that join existing lymphatic vessels. In complementary in vitro experiments, murine peritoneal macrophages expressed lymphatic endothelial markers and formed vessel-like protrusions. These findings add yet another facet to the plasticity of macrophages, which are already known to transform from naive monocytes into VEGF-C–producing cells. Thus, macrophages support lymphangiogenesis in 2 different ways, either by transdifferentiating and directly incorporating into the endothelial layer or by stimulating division of preexistent local lymphatic endothelial cells.
Ang II plays a key role in cardiovascular regulation and participates in vascular pathobiology, including inflammation and remodeling. Whether these tissue effects are mediated by direct Ang II actions or indirectly as a result of its influence on hemodynamics is being debated. In vitro data have shown that Ang II induces vascular cellular transcriptional activation and gene expression, but the mechanisms explaining its long-term tissue effects in vivo are relatively unknown. Do the multiple in vivo vascular activities elicited by Ang II (such as inflammation, fibrosis, and vascular cell hypertrophy/proliferation) occur via independent pathways, or do common transcription mechanisms mediate these multiple effects? In this issue, Zhan et al. identify Ets-1 as a critical downstream transcriptional mediator of vascular inflammation and remodeling in vivo; their data suggest that Ets-1 may be a common denominator of a complex process that involves multiple pathways previously considered to be mechanistically independent. Characterization of the critical transcription programs activated by Ang II in vivo and determination of the hierarchy of responses are vital to the understanding of the mechanism of vascular disease and to the development of therapies targeted at inhibiting the common transcription effectors of vascular pathology.
Parathyroid hormone–related protein (PTHrP) acts as a paracrine regulator in several tissues, and its physiological roles also extend to bone. In this issue of the JCI, Miao et al. demonstrate that osteoblast-specific ablation of Pthrp in mice results in osteoporosis and impaired bone formation both in vivo and ex vivo. These mice recapitulate the phenotype of mice with haploinsufficiency of Pthrp. The findings demonstrate that PTHrP plays a central role in the physiological regulation of bone formation, by promoting recruitment and survival of osteoblasts, and probably plays a role in the physiological regulation of bone resorption, by enhancing osteoclast formation. This has implications for both our understanding of the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and its treatment.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is an important cause of infections, including meningitis. The molecular events underlying its pathogenesis are poorly understood. A study in this issue of the JCI reports that the GBS invasion-associated gene (iagA) contributes to meningeal infection and virulence by facilitating invasion of the cells that compose the blood-brain barrier and of other host cells. The mechanism involved most likely relates to the gene product’s role in synthesis of a glycolipid anchor for a bacterial cell-surface entity that interacts directly with host cells.
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are T lymphocytes that behave similarly to cells of the innate immune system. The glycolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) is a potent and specific activator of mouse and human iNKT cells and has been used in cancer clinical trials to drive NKT cell–mediated immune responses. However, little is known about the dynamics of the iNKT cell response to α-GalCer in vivo. In this issue of the JCI, Parekh and colleagues demonstrate that administration of α-GalCer causes iNKT cells to become unresponsive, for at least 1 month, in mice. This leads us to ask, should sequential administration of α-GalCer still be used to activate iNKT cells given the anergic state it has been shown here to induce? This intriguing article raises the issue of the avoidance of anergy induction in the design of treatment regimens that use α-GalCer as a specific activator of iNKT cells.
Progenitor (“oval”) cell expansion accompanies many forms of liver injury, including alcohol toxicity and submassive parenchymal necrosis as well as experimental injury models featuring blocked hepatocyte replication. Oval cells can potentially become either hepatocytes or biliary epithelial cells and may be critical to liver regeneration, particularly when hepatocyte replication is impaired. The regulation of oval cell proliferation is incompletely understood. Herein we present evidence that a TNF family member called TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) stimulates oval cell proliferation in mouse liver through its receptor Fn14. TWEAK has no effect on mature hepatocytes and thus appears to be selective for oval cells. Transgenic mice overexpressing TWEAK in hepatocytes exhibit periportal oval cell hyperplasia. A similar phenotype was obtained in adult wild-type mice, but not Fn14-null mice, by administering TWEAK-expressing adenovirus. Oval cell expansion induced by 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) was significantly reduced in Fn14-null mice as well as in adult wild-type mice with a blocking anti-TWEAK mAb. Importantly, TWEAK stimulated the proliferation of an oval cell culture model. Finally, we show increased Fn14 expression in chronic hepatitis C and other human liver diseases relative to its expression in normal liver, which suggests a role for the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway in human liver injury. We conclude that TWEAK has a selective mitogenic effect for liver oval cells that distinguishes it from other previously described growth factors.
Reovirus induces apoptosis in cultured cells and in vivo. In cell culture models, apoptosis is contingent upon a mechanism involving reovirus-induced activation of transcription factor NF-κB complexes containing p50 and p65/RelA subunits. To explore the in vivo role of NF-κB in this process, we tested the capacity of reovirus to induce apoptosis in mice lacking a functional nfkb1/p50 gene. The genetic defect had no apparent effect on reovirus replication in the intestine or dissemination to secondary sites of infection. In comparison to what was observed in wild-type controls, apoptosis was significantly diminished in the CNS of p50-null mice following reovirus infection. In sharp contrast, the loss of p50 was associated with massive reovirus-induced apoptosis and uncontrolled reovirus replication in the heart. Levels of IFN-β mRNA were markedly increased in the hearts of wild-type animals but not p50-null animals infected with reovirus. Treatment of p50-null mice with IFN-β substantially diminished reovirus replication and apoptosis, which suggests that IFN-β induction by NF-κB protects against reovirus-induced myocarditis. These findings reveal an organ-specific role for NF-κB in the regulation of reovirus-induced apoptosis, which modulates encephalitis and myocarditis associated with reovirus infection.
The myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases (MDS/MPDs) are a heterogeneous group of myeloid neoplasms that share characteristics with chronic myeloproliferative diseases and myelodysplastic syndromes. The broad spectrum of clinical manifestations makes MDS/MPDs extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, with a median survival time of 1–5 years. No single gene defect has been firmly associated with MDS/MPDs, and no animal models have been developed for these diseases. The association of deletions on chromosome 20q with myeloid malignancies suggests the presence of unidentified tumor suppressor genes in this region. Here we show that the recently identified death inducer–obliterator (Dido) gene gives rise to at least 3 polypeptides (Dido1, Dido2, and Dido3) through alternative splicing, and we map the human gene to the long arm of chromosome 20. We found that targeting of murine Dido caused a transplantable disease whose symptoms and signs suggested MDS/MPDs. Furthermore, 100% of human MDS/MPD patients analyzed showed Dido expression abnormalities, which we also found in other myeloid but not lymphoid neoplasms or in healthy donors. Our findings suggest that Dido might be one of the tumor suppressor genes at chromosome 20q and that the Dido-targeted mouse may be a suitable model for studying MDS/MPD diseases and testing new approaches to their diagnosis and treatment.
In the inflamed cornea, there is a parallel outgrowth of blood and lymphatic vessels into the normally avascular cornea. We tested whether adaptive and/or innate immune cells were actively involved in the genesis of new lymphatic vessels. Our results indicate that innate immune cells (CD11b+ macrophages, but not CD11c+ dendritic cells) physically contributed to lymphangiogenesis under pathological conditions and that bone marrow–derived CD11b+ macrophages expressed lymphatic endothelial markers such as LYVE-1 and Prox-1 under inflamed conditions in the corneal stromata of mice. Furthermore, blood vascular endothelial cells that expressed the Tie2 promoter did not contribute to newly formed lymphatic vessels under inflamed conditions. Our in vitro experiments demonstrated that CD11b+ macrophages alone were capable of forming tube-like structures that expressed markers of lymphatic endothelium such as LYVE-1 and podoplanin. The novel finding that CD11b+ macrophages are critical for the development of inflammation-dependent lymphangiogenesis in the eye suggests a new mechanism of lymphangiogenesis.
Here we describe 2 mutations in growth and differentiation factor 5 (GDF5) that alter receptor-binding affinities. They cause brachydactyly type A2 (L441P) and symphalangism (R438L), conditions previously associated with mutations in the GDF5 receptor bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 1b (BMPR1B) and the BMP antagonist NOGGIN, respectively. We expressed the mutant proteins in limb bud micromass culture and treated ATDC5 and C2C12 cells with recombinant GDF5. Our results indicated that the L441P mutant is almost inactive. The R438L mutant, in contrast, showed increased biological activity when compared with WT GDF5. Biosensor interaction analyses revealed loss of binding to BMPR1A and BMPR1B ectodomains for the L441P mutant, whereas the R438L mutant showed normal binding to BMPR1B but increased binding to BMPR1A, the receptor normally activated by BMP2. The binding to NOGGIN was normal for both mutants. Thus, the brachydactyly type A2 phenotype (L441P) is caused by inhibition of the ligand-receptor interaction, whereas the symphalangism phenotype (R438L) is caused by a loss of receptor-binding specificity, resulting in a gain of function by the acquisition of BMP2-like properties. The presented experiments have identified some of the main determinants of GDF5 receptor-binding specificity in vivo and open new prospects for generating antagonists and superagonists of GDF5.
Forkhead box O (Foxo) transcription factors are emerging as critical transcriptional integrators among pathways regulating differentiation, proliferation, and survival, yet the role of the distinct Foxo family members in angiogenic activity of endothelial cells and postnatal vessel formation has not been studied. Here, we show that Foxo1 and Foxo3a are the most abundant Foxo isoforms in mature endothelial cells and that overexpression of constitutively active Foxo1 or Foxo3a, but not Foxo4, significantly inhibits endothelial cell migration and tube formation in vitro. Silencing of either Foxo1 or Foxo3a gene expression led to a profound increase in the migratory and sprout-forming capacity of endothelial cells. Gene expression profiling showed that Foxo1 and Foxo3a specifically regulate a nonredundant but overlapping set of angiogenesis- and vascular remodeling–related genes. Whereas angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) was exclusively regulated by Foxo1, eNOS, which is essential for postnatal neovascularization, was regulated by Foxo1 and Foxo3a. Consistent with these findings, constitutively active Foxo1 and Foxo3a repressed eNOS protein expression and bound to the eNOS promoter. In vivo, Foxo3a deficiency increased eNOS expression and enhanced postnatal vessel formation and maturation. Thus, our data suggest an important role for Foxo transcription factors in the regulation of vessel formation in the adult.
Cold hyperalgesia is a well-documented symptom of inflammatory and neuropathic pain; however, the underlying mechanisms of this enhanced sensitivity to cold are poorly understood. A subset of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels mediates thermosensation and is expressed in sensory tissues, such as nociceptors and skin. Here we report that the pharmacological blockade of TRPA1 in primary sensory neurons reversed cold hyperalgesia caused by inflammation and nerve injury. Inflammation and nerve injury increased TRPA1, but not TRPM8, expression in tyrosine kinase A–expressing dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Intrathecal administration of anti–nerve growth factor (anti-NGF), p38 MAPK inhibitor, or TRPA1 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide decreased the induction of TRPA1 and suppressed inflammation- and nerve injury–induced cold hyperalgesia. Conversely, intrathecal injection of NGF, but not glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor, increased TRPA1 in DRG neurons through the p38 MAPK pathway. Together, these results demonstrate that an NGF-induced TRPA1 increase in sensory neurons via p38 activation is necessary for cold hyperalgesia. Thus, blocking TRPA1 in sensory neurons might provide a fruitful strategy for treating cold hyperalgesia caused by inflammation and nerve damage.
Mice heterozygous for targeted disruption of Pthrp exhibit, by 3 months of age, diminished bone volume and skeletal microarchitectural changes indicative of advanced osteoporosis. Impaired bone formation arising from decreased BM precursor cell recruitment and increased apoptotic death of osteoblastic cells was identified as the underlying mechanism for low bone mass. The osteoporotic phenotype was recapitulated in mice with osteoblast-specific targeted disruption of Pthrp, generated using Cre-LoxP technology, and defective bone formation was reaffirmed as the underlying etiology. Daily administration of the 1–34 amino-terminal fragment of parathyroid hormone (PTH 1–34) to Pthrp+/– mice resulted in profound improvement in all parameters of skeletal microarchitecture, surpassing the improvement observed in treated WT littermates. These findings establish a pivotal role for osteoblast-derived PTH-related protein (PTHrP) as a potent endogenous bone anabolic factor that potentiates bone formation by altering osteoblast recruitment and survival and whose level of expression in the bone microenvironment influences the therapeutic efficacy of exogenous PTH 1–34.
The umbrella cells that line the bladder are mechanosensitive, and bladder filling increases the apical surface area of these cells; however, the upstream signals that regulate this process are unknown. Increased pressure stimulated ATP release from the isolated uroepithelium of rabbit bladders, which was blocked by inhibitors of vesicular transport, connexin hemichannels, ABC protein family members, and nucleoside transporters. Pressure-induced increases in membrane capacitance (a measure of apical plasma membrane surface area where 1 μF ≈ 1 cm2) were inhibited by the serosal, but not mucosal, addition of apyrase or the purinergic receptor antagonist PPADS. Upon addition of purinergic receptor agonists, increased capacitance was observed even in the absence of pressure. Moreover, knockout mice lacking expression of P2X2 and/or P2X3 receptors failed to show increases in apical surface area when exposed to hydrostatic pressure. Treatments that prevented release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores or activation of PKA blocked ATPγS-stimulated changes in capacitance. These results indicate that increased hydrostatic pressure stimulates release of ATP from the uroepithelium and that upon binding to P2X and possibly P2Y receptors on the umbrella cell, downstream Ca2+ and PKA second messenger cascades may act to stimulate membrane insertion at the apical pole of these cells.
Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) appears to play a key pathogenic role in Alzheimer disease (AD). Immune therapy in mouse models of AD via Aβ immunization or passive administration of Aβ antibodies markedly reduces Aβ levels and reverses behavioral impairment. However, a human trial of Aβ immunization led to meningoencephalitis in some patients and was discontinued. Here we show that nasal vaccination with a proteosome-based adjuvant that is well tolerated in humans plus glatiramer acetate, an FDA-approved synthetic copolymer used to treat multiple sclerosis, potently decreases Aβ plaques in an AD mouse model. This effect did not require the presence of antibody, as it was observed in B cell–deficient (Ig μ–null) mice. Vaccinated animals developed activated microglia that colocalized with Aβ fibrils, and the extent of microglial activation correlated strongly with the decrease in Aβ fibrils. Activation of microglia and clearing of Aβ occurred with the adjuvant alone, although to a lesser degree. Our results identify a novel approach to immune therapy for AD that involves clearing of Aβ through the utilization of compounds that have been safely tested on or are currently in use in humans.
Direct evidence that hyperglycemia, rather than concomitant increases in known risk factors, induces atherosclerosis is lacking. Most diabetic mice do not exhibit a higher degree of atherosclerosis unless the development of diabetes is associated with more severe hyperlipidemia. We hypothesized that normal mice were deficient in a gene that accelerated atherosclerosis with diabetes. The gene encoding aldose reductase (AR), an enzyme that mediates the generation of toxic products from glucose, is expressed at low levels in murine compared with human tissues. Mice in which diabetes was induced through streptozotocin (STZ) treatment, but not nondiabetic mice, expressing human AR (hAR) crossed with LDL receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) C57BL/6 male mice had increased aortic atherosclerosis. Diabetic hAR-expressing heterozygous LDL receptor–knockout mice (Ldlr+/–) fed a cholesterol/cholic acid–containing diet also had increased aortic lesion size. Lesion area at the aortic root was increased by STZ treatment alone but was further increased by hAR expression. Macrophages from hAR-transgenic mice expressed more scavenger receptors and had greater accumulation of modified lipoproteins than macrophages from nontransgenic mice. Expression of genes that regulate regeneration of glutathione was reduced in the hAR-expressing aortas. Thus, hAR increases atherosclerosis in diabetic mice. Inhibitors of AR or other enzymes that mediate glucose toxicity could be useful in the treatment of diabetic atherosclerosis.
Previous studies indicate a pivotal role for complement in mediating both local and remote injury following ischemia and reperfusion of the intestine. Here, we report on the use of a mouse model of intestinal ischemia/reperfusion injury to investigate the strategy of targeting complement inhibition to sites of complement activation by linking an iC3b/C3dg-binding fragment of mouse complement receptor 2 (CR2) to a mouse complement-inhibitory protein, Crry. We show that the novel CR2-Crry fusion protein targets sites of local and remote (lung) complement activation following intestinal ischemia and reperfusion injury and that CR2-Crry requires a 10-fold lower dose than its systemic counterpart, Crry-Ig, to provide equivalent protection from both local and remote injury. CR2-Crry has a significantly shorter serum half-life than Crry-Ig and, unlike Crry-Ig, had no significant effect on serum complement activity at minimum effective therapeutic doses. Furthermore, the minimum effective dose of Crry-Ig significantly enhanced susceptibility to infection in a mouse model of acute septic peritonitis, whereas the effect of CR2-Crry on susceptibility to infection was indistinguishable from that of PBS control. Thus, compared with systemic inhibition, CR2-mediated targeting of a complement inhibitor of activation improved bioavailability, significantly enhanced efficacy, and maintained host resistance to infection.
A major stumbling block for research on and treatment of type 1 diabetes is the inability to directly, but noninvasively, visualize the lymphocytic/inflammatory lesions in the pancreatic islets. One potential approach to surmounting this impediment is to exploit MRI of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) to visualize changes in the microvasculature that invariably accompany inflammation. MNP-MRI did indeed detect vascular leakage in association with insulitis in murine models of type 1 diabetes, permitting noninvasive visualization of the inflammatory lesions in vivo in real time. We demonstrate, in proof-of-principle experiments, that this strategy allows one to predict, within 3 days of completing treatment with an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody, which NOD mice with recent-onset diabetes are responding to therapy and may eventually be cured. Importantly, an essentially identical MNP-MRI strategy has previously been used with great success to image lymph node metastases in prostate cancer patients. This success strongly argues for rapid translation of these preclinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease; this would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy.
NIDDM is characterized by progressive insulin resistance and the failure of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells to compensate for this resistance. Hyperinsulinemia, inflammation, and prolonged activation of the insulin receptor (INSR) have been shown to induce insulin resistance by decreasing INSR substrate (IRS) protein levels. Here we describe a role for SOCS7 in regulating insulin signaling. Socs7-deficient mice exhibited lower glucose levels and prolonged hypoglycemia during an insulin tolerance test and increased glucose clearance in a glucose tolerance test. Six-month-old Socs7-deficient mice exhibited increased growth of pancreatic islets with mildly increased fasting insulin levels and hypoglycemia. These defects correlated with increased IRS protein levels and enhanced insulin action in cells lacking SOCS7. Additionally, SOCS7 associated with the INSR and IRS1 — molecules that are essential for normal regulation of insulin action. These data suggest that SOCS7 is a potent regulator of glucose homeostasis and insulin signaling.
The tuberculosis vaccine Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) was equipped with the membrane-perforating listeriolysin (Hly) of Listeria monocytogenes, which was shown to improve protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Following aerosol challenge, the Hly-secreting recombinant BCG (hly+ rBCG) vaccine was shown to protect significantly better against aerosol infection with M. tuberculosis than did the parental BCG strain. The isogenic, urease C–deficient hly+ rBCG (ΔureC hly+ rBCG) vaccine, providing an intraphagosomal pH closer to the acidic pH optimum for Hly activity, exhibited still higher vaccine efficacy than parental BCG. ΔureC hly+ rBCG also induced profound protection against a member of the M. tuberculosis Beijing/W genotype family while parental BCG failed to do so consistently. Hly not only promoted antigen translocation into the cytoplasm but also apoptosis of infected macrophages. We concluded that superior vaccine efficacy of ΔureC hly+ rBCG as compared with parental BCG is primarily based on improved cross-priming, which causes enhanced T cell–mediated immunity.
Genetic defects in the IFN-γ response pathway cause unique susceptibility to intracellular pathogens, particularly mycobacteria, but are rare and do not explain mycobacterial disease in the majority of affected patients. We postulated that acquired defects in macrophage activation by IFN-γ may cause a similar immunological phenotype and thus explain the occurrence of disseminated intracellular infections in some patients without identifiable immune deficiency. Macrophage activation in response to IFN-γ and IFN-γ production were studied in whole blood and PBMCs of 3 patients with severe, unexplained nontuberculous mycobacterial infection. In all 3 patients, IFN-γ was undetectable following mitogen stimulation of whole blood, but significant quantities were detectable in the supernatants of PBMCs when stimulated in the absence of the patients’ own plasma. The patients’ plasma inhibited the ability of IFN-γ to increase production of TNF-α by both autologous and normal donor PBMCs, and recovery of exogenous IFN-γ from the patients’ plasma was greatly reduced. Using affinity chromatography, surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry, and sequencing, we isolated an IFN-γ–neutralizing factor from the patients’ plasma and showed it to be an autoantibody against IFN-γ. The purified anti–IFN-γ antibody was shown to be functional first in blocking the upregulation of TNF-α production in response to endotoxin; second in blocking induction of IFN-γ–inducible genes (according to results of high-density cDNA microarrays); and third in inhibiting upregulation of HLA class II expression on PBMCs. Acquired defects in the IFN-γ pathway may explain unusual susceptibility to intracellular pathogens in other patients without underlying, genetically determined immunological defects.
End-product feedback inhibition of cholesterol synthesis was first demonstrated in living animals by Schoenheimer 72 years ago. Current studies define Insig proteins as essential elements of this feedback system in mouse liver. In cultured cells, Insig proteins are required for sterol-mediated inhibition of the processing of sterol regulatory element–binding proteins (SREBPs) to their nuclear forms. We produced mice with germline disruption of the Insig2 gene and Cre-mediated disruption of the Insig1 gene in liver. On a chow diet, these double-knockout mice overaccumulated cholesterol and triglycerides in liver. Despite this accumulation, levels of nuclear SREBPs and mRNAs for SREBP target genes in lipogenic pathways were not reduced. Whereas cholesterol feeding reduced nuclear SREBPs and lipogenic mRNAs in wild-type mice, this feedback response was severely blunted in the double-knockout mice, and synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids was not repressed. The amount of HMG-CoA reductase protein was elevated out of proportion to the mRNA in the double-knockout mice, apparently owing to the failure of cholesterol to accelerate degradation of the enzyme. These studies indicate that the essential elements of the regulatory pathway for lipid synthesis function in liver as they do in cultured cells.
Group B streptococci (GBSs) are the leading cause of neonatal meningitis. GBSs enter the CNS by penetrating the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which consists of specialized human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMECs). To identify GBS factors required for BBB penetration, we generated random mutant libraries of a virulent strain and screened for loss of hBMEC invasion in vitro. Two independent hypo-invasive mutants possessed disruptions in the same gene, invasion associated gene (iagA), which encodes a glycosyltransferase homolog. Allelic replacement of iagA in the GBS chromosome produced a 4-fold decrease in hBMEC invasiveness. Mice challenged with the GBS ΔiagA mutant developed bacteremia comparably to WT mice, yet mortality was significantly lower (20% vs. 90%), as was the incidence of meningitis. The glycolipid diglucosyldiacylglycerol, a cell membrane anchor for lipoteichoic acid (LTA) and predicted product of the IagA glycosyltransferase, was absent in the ΔiagA mutant, which consequently shed LTA into the media. Attenuation of virulence of the ΔiagA mutant was found to be independent of TLR2-mediated signaling, but bacterial supernatants from the ΔiagA mutant containing released LTA inhibited hBMEC invasion by WT GBS. Our data suggest that LTA expression on the GBS surface plays a role in bacterial interaction with BBB endothelium and the pathogenesis of neonatal meningitis.
Ang II is a central mediator of vascular inflammation and remodeling. The transcription factor Ets-1 is rapidly induced in vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells of the mouse thoracic aorta in response to systemic Ang II infusion. Arterial wall thickening, perivascular fibrosis, and cardiac hypertrophy are significantly diminished in Ets1–/– mice compared with control mice in response to Ang II. The induction of 2 known targets of Ets-1, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21CIP and plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 (PAI-1), by Ang II is markedly blunted in the aorta of Ets1–/– mice compared with wild-type controls. Expression of p21CIP in VSMCs leads to cellular hypertrophy, whereas expression of p21CIP in endothelial cells is associated with cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and endothelial dysfunction. PAI-1 promotes the development of perivascular fibrosis. We have identified monocyte chemoattractant protein–1 (MCP-1) as a novel target for Ets-1. Expression of MCP-1 is similarly reduced in Ets1–/– mice compared with control mice in response to Ang II, which results in significantly diminished recruitment of T cells and macrophages to the vessel wall. In summary, our results support a critical role for Ets-1 as a transcriptional mediator of vascular inflammation and remodeling in response to Ang II.
Thyroid hormone (TH) action is mediated by TH receptors (TRs), which are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. In vitro studies have demonstrated that TR activity is regulated by interactions with corepressor and coactivator proteins (CoRs and CoAs, respectively). TH stimulation is thought to involve dissociation of CoRs and recruitment of CoAs to the liganded TR. In contrast, negative regulation by TH is thought to occur via recruitment of CoRs to the liganded TR. The physiological role of CoAs bound to TRs, however, has yet to be defined. In this study, we used gene-targeting techniques to mutate the TR-β locus within its activation function–2 (AF-2) domain (E457A). This mutation was chosen because it completely abolished CoA recruitment in vitro, while preserving normal triiodothyronine (T3) binding and CoR interactions. As expected, TH-stimulated gene expression was reduced in homozygous E457A mice. However, these animals also displayed abnormal regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Serum thyroxine, T3, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and pituitary Tshb mRNA levels were inappropriately elevated compared with those of WT animals, and L-T3 treatment failed to suppress serum TSH and pituitary Tshb mRNA levels. Therefore, the AF-2 domain of TR-β is required for positive and, paradoxically, for negative regulation by TH in vivo.
The relative roles of the types 1 and 2 iodothyronine deiodinases (D1 and D2) in extrathyroidal 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) production in humans are unknown. We calculated the rate of thyroxine (T4) to T3 conversion by intact cells transiently expressing D1 or D2 at low (2 pM), normal (20 pM), and high (200 pM) free T4 concentrations. Deiodinase activities were then assayed in cell sonicates. The ratio of T3 production in cell sonicates (catalytic efficiency) was multiplied by the tissue activities reported in human liver (D1) and skeletal muscle (D2). From these calculations, we predict that in euthyroid humans, D2-generated T3 is 29 nmol/d, while that of D1-generated T3 is 15 nmol/d, from these major deiodinase-expressing tissues. The total estimated extrathyroidal T3 production, 44 nmol/d, is in close agreement with the 40 nmol T3/d based on previous kinetic studies. D2-generated T3 production accounts for approximately 71% of the peripheral T3 production in hypothyroidism, but D1 for approximately 67% in thyrotoxic patients. We also show that the intracellular D2-generated T3 has a greater effect on T3-dependent gene transcription than that from D1, which indicates that generation of nuclear T3 is an intrinsic property of the D2 protein. We suggest that impairment of D2-generated T3 is the major cause of the reduced T3 production in the euthyroid sick syndrome.
Difficulties in understanding the mechanisms of HIV neuropathogenesis include the inability to study dynamic processes of infection, cumulative effects of the virus, and contributing host immune responses. We used 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy and studied monocyte activation and progression of CNS neuronal injury in a CD8 lymphocyte depletion model of neuroAIDS in SIV-infected rhesus macaque monkeys. We found early, consistent neuronal injury coincident with viremia and SIV infection/activation of monocyte subsets and sought to define the role of plasma virus and monocytes in contributing to CNS disease. Antiretroviral therapy with essentially non–CNS-penetrating agents resulted in slightly decreased levels of plasma virus, a significant reduction in the number of activated and infected monocytes, and rapid, near-complete reversal of neuronal injury. Robust macrophage accumulation and productive virus replication were found in brains of infected and CD8 lymphocyte–depleted animals, but no detectable virus and few scattered infiltrating macrophages were observed in CD8 lymphocyte–depleted animals compared with animals not receiving antiretroviruses that were sacrificed at the same time after infection. These results underscore the role of activated monocytes and monocyte infection outside of the brain in driving CNS disease.
Patients with infectious mononucleosis (IM) undergoing primary EBV infection show large expansions of EBV-specific CD8+ T cells in the blood. While latent infection of the B cell pool is quickly controlled, virus shedding from lytically infected cells in the oropharynx remains high for several months. We therefore studied how responses localize to the tonsil, a major target site for EBV, during primary infection and persistence. In acute IM, EBV-specific effectors were poorly represented among CD8+ T cells in tonsil compared with blood, coincident with absence of the CCR7 lymphoid homing marker on these highly activated cells. In patients who had recently recovered from IM, latent epitope reactivities were quicker than lytic reactivities both to acquire CCR7 and to accumulate in the tonsil, with some of these cells now expressing the CD103 integrin, which mediates retention at mucosal sites. By contrast, in long-term virus carriers in whom both lytic and latent infections had been controlled, there was 2- to 5-fold enrichment of lytic epitope reactivities and 10- to 20-fold enrichment of latent epitope reactivities in tonsil compared with blood; up to 20% of tonsillar CD8+ T cells were EBV specific, and many now expressed CD103. We suggest that efficient control of EBV infection requires appropriate CD8+ T cell homing to oropharyngeal sites.
The abnormal accumulation of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) in the form of senile (or amyloid) plaques is one of the main characteristics of Alzheimer disease (AD). Both cholesterol and Cu2+ have been implicated in AD pathogenesis and plaque formation. Aβ binds Cu2+ with very high affinity, forming a redox-active complex that catalyzes H2O2 production from O2 and cholesterol. Here we show that Aβ:Cu2+ complexes oxidize cholesterol selectively at the C-3 hydroxyl group, catalytically producing 4-cholesten-3-one and therefore mimicking the activity of cholesterol oxidase, which is implicated in cardiovascular disease. Aβ toxicity in neuronal cultures correlated with this activity, which was inhibited by Cu2+ chelators including clioquinol. Cell death induced by staurosporine or H2O2 did not elevate 4-cholesten-3-one levels. Brain tissue from AD subjects had 98% more 4-cholesten-3-one than tissue from age-matched control subjects. We observed a similar increase in the brains of Tg2576 transgenic mice compared with nontransgenic littermates; the increase was inhibited by in vivo treatment with clioquinol, which suggests that brain Aβ accumulation elevates 4-cholesten-3-one levels in AD. Cu2+-mediated oxidation of cholesterol may be a pathogenic mechanism common to atherosclerosis and AD.
The most common cause of cystic fibrosis (CF) is deletion of phenylalanine 508 (ΔF508) in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel. The ΔF508 mutation produces defects in folding, stability, and channel gating. To identify small-molecule correctors of defective cellular processing, we assayed iodide flux in ΔF508-CFTR–transfected epithelial cells using a fluorescent halide indicator. Screening of 150,000 chemically diverse compounds and more than 1,500 analogs of active compounds yielded several classes of ΔF508-CFTR correctors (aminoarylthiazoles, quinazolinylaminopyrimidinones, and bisaminomethylbithiazoles) with micromolar potency that produced greater apical membrane chloride current than did low-temperature rescue. Correction was seen within 3–6 hours and persisted for more than 12 hours after washout. Functional correction was correlated with plasma membrane expression of complex-glycosylated ΔF508-CFTR protein. Biochemical studies suggested a mechanism of action involving improved ΔF508-CFTR folding at the ER and stability at the cell surface. The bisaminomethylbithiazoles corrected ΔF508-CFTR in ΔF508/ΔF508 human bronchial epithelia but did not correct a different temperature-sensitive CFTR mutant (P574H-CFTR) or a dopamine receptor mutant. Small-molecule correctors may be useful in the treatment of CF caused by the ΔF508 mutation.
Natural killer T (NKT) cells recognize glycolipid antigens presented by the MHC class I–related glycoprotein CD1d. The in vivo dynamics of the NKT cell population in response to glycolipid activation remain poorly understood. Here, we show that a single administration of the synthetic glycolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) induces long-term NKT cell unresponsiveness in mice. NKT cells failed to proliferate and produce IFN-γ upon α-GalCer restimulation but retained the capacity to produce IL-4. Consequently, we found that activation of anergic NKT cells with α-GalCer exacerbated, rather than prevented, B16 metastasis formation, but that these cells retained their capacity to protect mice against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. NKT cell anergy was induced in a thymus-independent manner and maintained in an NKT cell–autonomous manner. The anergic state could be broken by IL-2 and by stimuli that bypass proximal TCR signaling events. Collectively, the kinetics of initial NKT cell activation, expansion, and induction of anergy in response to α-GalCer administration resemble the responses of conventional T cells to strong stimuli such as superantigens. Our findings have important implications for the development of NKT cell–based vaccines and immunotherapies.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation