IBy discovering that the protein huntingtin can control ciliogenesis, Keryer and colleagues have revealed a new pathogenic mechanism in Huntington disease (page 4372). Mutant huntingtin led to abnormally long primary cilia and disorganized cilia layers in mice and humans with Huntington disease. Longer cilia resulted in alterations of the cerebrospinal fluid flow.
Ischemic kidney injury often occurs in the context of multiple organ failure and sepsis. Here, we review the major components of this dynamic process, which involves hemodynamic alterations, inflammation, and endothelial and epithelial cell injury, followed by repair that can be adaptive and restore epithelial integrity or maladaptive, leading to chronic kidney disease. Better understanding of the cellular pathophysiological processes underlying kidney injury and repair will hopefully result in the design of more targeted therapies to prevent the injury, hasten repair, and minimize chronic progressive kidney disease.
Nearly all stress stimuli (e.g., inflammatory cytokines, glucocorticoids, chemotherapeutics, etc.) induce sphingolipid synthesis, leading to the accumulation of ceramides and ceramide metabolites. While the role of these lipids in the regulation of cell growth and death has been studied extensively, recent studies suggest that a primary consequence of ceramide accumulation is an alteration in metabolism. In both cell-autonomous systems and complex organisms, ceramides modify intracellular signaling pathways to slow anabolism, ensuring that catabolism ensues. These ceramide actions have important implications for diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Peripheral nerves are easily damaged, resulting in loss of motor and sensory function. Recovery of motor and sensory function after peripheral nerve injury is suboptimal, even after appropriate surgical repair. This is due to the slow rate of axonal elongation during regeneration and atrophic changes that occur in denervated Schwann cells and target muscle with proximal lesions. One way to solve this problem is to accelerate the rate at which the axons regenerate. In this issue of the JCI, Ma and colleagues show that this can be achieved in mice by overexpression of heat shock protein 27, providing hope for enhanced functional recovery in patients after peripheral nerve damage.
Dengue virus (DV) reacts with myeloid DAP12-associating lectin–1 (MDL-1) on immature polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Interaction of DV with MDL-1+ cells triggers systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), with subsequent multi-organ failure. In this issue of the JCI, Cheung et al. find that sterile acute liver injury in mice is associated with the accumulation of MDL-1+ cells and that triggering of these cells by DV or an MDL-1–specific agonist antibody leads to SIRS, shock, and death. These findings may have broad mechanistic and therapeutic implications for the development of SIRS, sepsis, and shock in humans exposed to a wide array of infectious and non-infectious conditions.
Huntington disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder that is caused by a mutant huntingtin (HTT) gene encoding a version of the Htt protein with an expanded polyglutamine stretch. Although the HTT gene was discovered more than 18 years ago, the functions of normal Htt and the mechanisms by which mutant Htt causes disease are not well defined. In this issue of the JCI, Keryer et al. uncovered a novel function for normal Htt in ciliogenesis and report that mutant Htt causes hypermorphic ciliogenesis and ciliary dysfunction. These observations suggest that it is now critical to understand the extent to which ciliary dysfunction contributes to the different symptoms of HD and to determine whether therapeutic strategies designed to normalize ciliary function can ameliorate the disease.
Fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) is a condition characterized by thrombocytopenia in the newborn. If severe, the thrombocytopenia can lead to intracranial hemorrhage. FNAIT arises when maternal antibodies specific for platelet antigens, most commonly β3 integrin, cross the placenta and destroy fetal platelets. Surprisingly, few cases of FNAIT are associated with antibodies specific for the platelet antigen GPIbα, which is a common target in patients with immune thrombocytopenia. In this issue of the JCI, Li et al. have identified a potential reason for this — they find that in the majority of pregnant mice, anti-GPIbα antibodies enhance platelet activation and accelerate thrombus formation in the placenta and that this leads to miscarriage.
Biliary atresia (BA) is a destructive cholangiopathy of childhood in which Th1 immunity has been mechanistically linked to the bile duct inflammation and obstruction that culminate in liver injury. Based on reports of decreased Th1 cytokines in some patients and the development of BA in mice lacking CD4+ T cells, we hypothesized that Th1-independent mechanisms can also activate effector cells and induce BA. Here, we tested this hypothesis using Stat1–/– mice, which lack the ability to mount Th1 immune responses. Infection of Stat1–/– mice with rhesus rotavirus type A (RRV) on postnatal day 1 induced a prominent Th2 response, duct epithelial injury and obstruction within 7 days, and atresia shortly thereafter. A high degree of phosphorylation of the Th2 transcription factor Stat6 was observed; however, concurrent inactivation of Stat1 and Stat6 in mice did not prevent BA after RRV infection. In contrast, depletion of macrophages or combined loss of Il13 and Stat1 reduced tissue infiltration by lymphocytes and myeloid cells, maintained epithelial integrity, and prevented duct obstruction. In concordance with our mouse model, humans at the time of BA diagnosis exhibited differential hepatic expression of Th2 genes and serum Th2 cytokines. These findings demonstrate compatibility between Th2 commitment and the pathogenesis of BA, and suggest that patient subgrouping in future clinical trials should account for differences in Th2 status.
Loss of cellular polarity is a hallmark of epithelial cancers, raising the possibility that regulators of polarity have a role in suppressing tumorigenesis. The Scribble complex is one of at least three interacting protein complexes that have a critical role in establishing and maintaining epithelial polarity. In human colorectal, breast, and endometrial cancers, expression of the Scribble complex member SCRIB is often mislocalized and deregulated. Here, we report that Scrib is indispensable for prostate homeostasis in mice. Scrib heterozygosity initiated prostate hyperplasia, while targeted biallelic Scrib loss predisposed mice to prostate intraepithelial neoplasia. Mechanistically, Scrib was shown to negatively regulate the MAPK cascade to suppress tumorigenesis. Further analysis revealed that prostate-specific loss of Scrib in mice combined with expression of an oncogenic Kras mutation promoted the progression of prostate cancer that recapitulated the human disease. The clinical significance of the work in mice was highlighted by our observation that SCRIB deregulation strongly correlated with poor survival in human prostate cancer. These data suggest that the polarity network could provide a new avenue for therapeutic intervention.
Current therapies for non-Hodgkin lymphoma commonly include CD20 mAb to deplete tumor cells. However, the response is not durable in a substantial proportion of patients. Herein, we report our studies in mice testing the hypothesis that heterogeneity in endogenous tissue CD20+ B cell depletion influences in vivo lymphoma therapy. Using highly effective CD20 mAbs that efficiently deplete endogenous mature B cells and homologous CD20+ primary lymphoma cells through monocyte- and antibody-dependent mechanisms, we found that lymphoma depletion and survival were reduced when endogenous host B cells were not depleted, particularly a rare IL-10–producing B cell subset (B10 cells) known to regulate inflammation and autoimmunity. Even small numbers of adoptively transferred B10 cells dramatically suppressed CD20 mAb–mediated lymphoma depletion by inhibiting mAb-mediated monocyte activation and effector function through IL-10–dependent mechanisms. However, the activation of innate effector cells using a TLR3 agonist that did not activate B10 cells overcame the negative regulatory effects of endogenous B10 cells and enhanced lymphoma depletion during CD20 immunotherapy in vivo. Thus, we conclude that endogenous B10 cells are potent negative regulators of innate immunity, with even small numbers of residual B10 cells able to inhibit lymphoma depletion by CD20 mAbs. Consequently, B10 cell removal could provide a way to optimize CD20 mAb–mediated clearance of malignant B cells in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Skeletal muscle insulin resistance is a key component of the etiology of type 2 diabetes. Caloric restriction (CR) enhances the sensitivity of skeletal muscle to insulin. However, the molecular signals within skeletal muscle linking CR to improved insulin action remain largely unknown. Recently, the mammalian ortholog of Sir2, sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), has been identified as a potential transducer of perturbations in cellular energy flux into subsequent metabolic adaptations, including modulation of skeletal muscle insulin action. Here, we have demonstrated that CR increases Sirt1 deacetylase activity in skeletal muscle in mice, in parallel with enhanced insulin-stimulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling and glucose uptake. These adaptations in skeletal muscle insulin action were completely abrogated in mice lacking Sirt1 deacetylase activity. Mechanistically, Sirt1 was found to be required for the deacetylation and inactivation of the transcription factor Stat3 during CR, which resulted in decreased gene and protein expression of the p55α/p50α subunits of PI3K, thereby promoting more efficient PI3K signaling during insulin stimulation. Thus, these data demonstrate that Sirt1 is an integral signaling node in skeletal muscle linking CR to improved insulin action, primarily via modulation of PI3K signaling.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is caused primarily by cigarette smoking, is a major health problem worldwide. The progressive decline in lung function that occurs in COPD is a result of persistent inflammation of the airways and destruction of the lung parenchyma. Despite the key role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of COPD, treatment with corticosteroids — normally highly effective antiinflammatory drugs — has little therapeutic benefit. This corticosteroid resistance is largely caused by inactivation of histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2), which is critical for the transrepressive activity of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) that mediates the antiinflammatory effect of corticosteroids. Here, we show that in alveolar macrophages from patients with COPD, S-nitrosylation of HDAC2 is increased and that this abolishes its GR-transrepression activity and promotes corticosteroid insensitivity. Cys-262 and Cys-274 of HDAC2 were found to be the targets of S-nitrosylation, and exogenous glutathione treatment of macrophages from individuals with COPD restored HDAC2 activity. Treatment with sulforaphane, a small-molecule activator of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (NRF2), was also able to denitrosylate HDAC2, restoring dexamethasone sensitivity in alveolar macrophages from patients with COPD. These effects of sulforaphane were glutathione dependent. We conclude that NRF2 is a novel drug target for reversing corticosteroid resistance in COPD and other corticosteroid-resistant inflammatory diseases.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that shows familial aggregation in humans and likely has genetic determinants. Disease linkage studies have revealed many susceptibility loci for T1D in mice and humans. The mouse T1D susceptibility locus insulin-dependent diabetes susceptibility 3 (
Therapies inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are effective against some human cancers when they lead to simultaneous downregulation of PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling. However, mutant KRAS has the capacity to directly activate ERK and PI3K signaling, and this is thought to underlie the resistance of KRAS mutant cancers to RTK inhibitors. Here, we have elucidated the molecular regulation of both the PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling pathways in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cells and identified combination therapies that lead to robust cancer cell apoptosis. KRAS knockdown using shRNA suppressed ERK signaling in all of the human KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cell lines examined. However, no decrease, and actually a modest increase, in AKT phosphorylation was often seen. By performing PI3K immunoprecipitations, we determined that RTKs, often IGF-IR, regulated PI3K signaling in the KRAS mutant cell lines. This conclusion was also supported by the observation that specific RTK inhibition led to marked suppression of PI3K signaling and biochemical assessment of patient specimens. Interestingly, combination of RTK and MEK inhibitors led to concomitant inhibition of PI3K and MEK signaling, marked growth suppression, and robust apoptosis of human KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cell lines in vitro and upon xenografting in mice. These findings provide a framework for utilizing RTK inhibitors in the treatment of KRAS mutant colorectal cancers.
CD8+ T cells are a key component of the adaptive immune response to viral infection. An inadequate CD8+ T cell response is thought to be partly responsible for the persistent chronic infection that arises following infection with HIV. It is therefore critical to identify ways to define what constitutes an adequate or inadequate response. IFN-γ production has been used as a measure of T cell function, but the relationship between cytokine production and the ability of a cell to lyse virus-infected cells is not clear. Moreover, the ability to assess multiple CD8+ T cell functions with single-cell resolution using freshly isolated blood samples, and subsequently to recover these cells for further functional analyses, has not been achieved. As described here, to address this need, we have developed a high-throughput, automated assay in 125-pl microwells to simultaneously evaluate the ability of thousands of individual CD8+ T cells from HIV-infected patients to mediate lysis and to produce cytokines. This concurrent, direct analysis enabled us to investigate the correlation between immediate cytotoxic activity and short-term cytokine secretion. The majority of in vivo primed, circulating HIV-specific CD8+ T cells were discordant for cytolysis and cytokine secretion, notably IFN-γ, when encountering cognate antigen presented on defined numbers of cells. Our approach should facilitate determination of signatures of functional variance among individual effector CD8+ T cells, including those from mucosal samples and those induced by vaccines.
Although peripheral nerves can regenerate after injury, proximal nerve injury in humans results in minimal restoration of motor function. One possible explanation for this is that injury-induced axonal growth is too slow. Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) is a regeneration-associated protein that accelerates axonal growth in vitro. Here, we have shown that it can also do this in mice after peripheral nerve injury. While rapid motor and sensory recovery occurred in mice after a sciatic nerve crush injury, there was little return of motor function after sciatic nerve transection, because of the delay in motor axons reaching their target. This was not due to a failure of axonal growth, because injured motor axons eventually fully re-extended into muscles and sensory function returned; rather, it resulted from a lack of motor end plate reinnervation. Tg mice expressing high levels of Hsp27 demonstrated enhanced restoration of motor function after nerve transection/resuture by enabling motor synapse reinnervation, but only within 5 weeks of injury. In humans with peripheral nerve injuries, shorter wait times to decompression surgery led to improved functional recovery, and, while a return of sensation occurred in all patients, motor recovery was limited. Thus, absence of motor recovery after nerve damage may result from a failure of synapse reformation after prolonged denervation rather than a failure of axonal growth.
Wounds that fail to heal in a timely manner, for example, diabetic foot ulcers, pose a health, economic, and social problem worldwide. For decades, conventional wisdom has pointed to growth factors as the main driving force of wound healing; thus, growth factors have become the center of therapeutic developments. To date, becaplermin (recombinant human PDGF-BB) is the only US FDA-approved growth factor therapy, and it shows modest efficacy, is costly, and has the potential to cause cancer in patients. Other molecules that drive wound healing have therefore been sought. In this context, it has been noticed that wounds do not heal without the participation of secreted Hsp90α. Here, we report that a 115-aa fragment of secreted Hsp90α (F-5) acts as an unconventional wound healing agent in mice. Topical application of F-5 peptide promoted acute and diabetic wound closure in mice far more effectively than did PDGF-BB. The stronger effect of F-5 was due to 3 properties not held by conventional growth factors: its ability to recruit both epidermal and dermal cells; the fact that its ability to promote dermal cell migration was not inhibited by TGF-β; and its ability to override the inhibitory effects of hyperglycemia on cell migration in diabetes. The discovery of F-5 challenges the long-standing paradigm of wound healing factors and reveals a potentially more effective and safer agent for healing acute and diabetic wounds.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fewer than 5% of patients benefit from the only intervention approved to treat stroke. Thus, there is an enormous need to identify new therapeutic targets. The role of inducible cyclooxygenase (COX-2) activity in stroke and other neurologic diseases is complex, as both activation and sustained inhibition can engender cerebral injury. Whether COX-2 induces cerebroprotective or injurious effects is probably dependent on which downstream prostaglandin receptors are activated. Here, we investigated the function of the PGE2 receptor EP4 in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia. Systemic administration of a selective EP4 agonist after ischemia reduced infarct volume and ameliorated long-term behavioral deficits. Expression of EP4 was robust in neurons and markedly induced in endothelial cells after ischemia-reperfusion, suggesting that neuronal and/or endothelial EP4 signaling imparts cerebroprotection. Conditional genetic inactivation of neuronal EP4 worsened stroke outcome, consistent with an endogenous protective role of neuronal EP4 signaling in vivo. However, endothelial deletion of EP4 also worsened stroke injury and decreased cerebral reperfusion. Systemic administration of an EP4 agonist increased levels of activated eNOS in cerebral microvessels, an effect that was abolished with conditional deletion of endothelial EP4. Thus, our data support the concept of targeting protective prostaglandin receptors therapeutically after stroke.
Huntington disease (HD) is a devastating autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder. It is caused by expansion of a CAG repeat in the first exon of the huntingtin (HTT) gene that encodes a mutant HTT protein with a polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion at the amino terminus. Here, we demonstrate that WT HTT regulates ciliogenesis by interacting through huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1) with pericentriolar material 1 protein (PCM1). Loss of Htt in mouse cells impaired the retrograde trafficking of PCM1 and thereby reduced primary cilia formation. In mice, deletion of Htt in ependymal cells led to PCM1 mislocalization, alteration of the cilia layer, and hydrocephalus. Pathogenic polyQ expansion led to centrosomal accumulation of PCM1 and abnormally long primary cilia in mouse striatal cells. PCM1 accumulation in ependymal cells was associated with longer cilia and disorganized cilia layers in a mouse model of HD and in HD patients. Longer cilia resulted in alteration of the cerebrospinal fluid flow. Thus, our data indicate that WT HTT is essential for protein trafficking to the centrosome and normal ciliogenesis. In HD, hypermorphic ciliogenesis may affect signaling and neuroblast migration so as to dysregulate brain homeostasis and exacerbate disease progression.
Mutations in human FYVE, RhoGEF, and PH domain–containing 1 (FGD1) cause faciogenital dysplasia (FGDY; also known as Aarskog syndrome), an X-linked disorder that affects multiple skeletal structures. FGD1 encodes a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that specifically activates the Rho GTPase CDC42. However, the mechanisms by which mutations in FGD1 affect skeletal development are unknown. Here, we describe what we believe to be a novel signaling pathway in osteoblasts initiated by FGD1 that involves the MAP3K mixed-lineage kinase 3 (MLK3). We observed that MLK3 functions downstream of FGD1 to regulate ERK and p38 MAPK, which in turn phosphorylate and activate the master regulator of osteoblast differentiation, Runx2. Mutations in FGD1 found in individuals with FGDY ablated its ability to activate MLK3. Consistent with our description of this pathway and the phenotype of patients with FGD1 mutations, mice with a targeted deletion of Mlk3 displayed multiple skeletal defects, including dental abnormalities, deficient calvarial mineralization, and reduced bone mass. Furthermore, mice with knockin of a mutant Mlk3 allele that is resistant to activation by FGD1/CDC42 displayed similar skeletal defects, demonstrating that activation of MLK3 specifically by FGD1/CDC42 is important for skeletal mineralization. Thus, our results provide a putative biochemical mechanism for the skeletal defects in human FGDY and suggest that modulating MAPK signaling may benefit these patients.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a public health epidemic that increases risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an important mechanism of cardiovascular disease in individuals with CKD. Elevated levels of FGF23 have been linked to greater risks of LVH and mortality in patients with CKD, but whether these risks represent causal effects of FGF23 is unknown. Here, we report that elevated FGF23 levels are independently associated with LVH in a large, racially diverse CKD cohort. FGF23 caused pathological hypertrophy of isolated rat cardiomyocytes via FGF receptor–dependent activation of the calcineurin-NFAT signaling pathway, but this effect was independent of klotho, the coreceptor for FGF23 in the kidney and parathyroid glands. Intramyocardial or intravenous injection of FGF23 in wild-type mice resulted in LVH, and klotho-deficient mice demonstrated elevated FGF23 levels and LVH. In an established animal model of CKD, treatment with an FGF–receptor blocker attenuated LVH, although no change in blood pressure was observed. These results unveil a klotho-independent, causal role for FGF23 in the pathogenesis of LVH and suggest that chronically elevated FGF23 levels contribute directly to high rates of LVH and mortality in individuals with CKD.
During lung development, parabronchial SMC (PSMC) progenitors in the distal mesenchyme secrete fibroblast growth factor 10 (Fgf10), which acts on distal epithelial progenitors to promote their proliferation. β-catenin signaling within PSMC progenitors is essential for their maintenance, proliferation, and expression of Fgf10. Here, we report that this Wnt/Fgf10 embryonic signaling cascade is reactivated in mature PSMCs after naphthalene-induced injury to airway epithelium. Furthermore, we found that this paracrine Fgf10 action was essential for activating surviving variant Clara cells (the cells in the airway epithelium from which replacement epithelial cells originate) located at the bronchoalveolar duct junctions and adjacent to neuroendocrine bodies. After naphthalene injury, PSMCs secreted Fgf10 to activate Notch signaling and induce Snai1 expression in surviving variant Clara cells, which subsequently underwent a transient epithelial to mesenchymal transition to initiate the repair process. Epithelial Snai1 expression was important for regeneration after injury. We have therefore identified PSMCs as a stem cell niche for the variant Clara cells in the lung and established that paracrine Fgf10 signaling from the niche is critical for epithelial repair after naphthalene injury. These findings also have implications for understanding the misregulation of lung repair in asthma and cancer.
TLRs are a family of receptors that mediate immune system pathogen recognition. In the respiratory system, TLR activation has both beneficial and deleterious effects in asthma. For example, clinical data indicate that TLR6 activation exerts protective effects in asthma. Here, we explored the mechanism or mechanisms through which TLR6 mediates this effect using mouse models of Aspergillus fumigatus–induced and house dust mite antigen–induced (HDM antigen–induced) chronic asthma. Tlr6–/– mice with fungal- or HDM antigen–induced asthma exhibited substantially increased airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and remodeling compared with WT asthmatic groups. Surprisingly, whole-lung levels of IL-23 and IL-17 were markedly lower in Tlr6–/– versus WT asthmatic mice. Tlr6–/– DCs generated less IL-23 upon activation with lipopolysaccharide, zymosan, or curdlan. Impaired IL-23 generation in Tlr6–/– mice also corresponded with lower levels of expression of the pathogen-recognition receptor dectin-1 and expansion of Th17 cells both in vivo and in vitro. Exogenous IL-23 treatment of asthmatic Tlr6–/– mice restored IL-17A production and substantially reduced airway hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, and lung fungal burden compared with that in untreated asthmatic Tlr6–/– mice. Together, our data demonstrate that TLR6 activation is critical for IL-23 production and Th17 responses, which both regulate the allergic inflammatory response in chronic fungal-induced asthma. Thus, therapeutics targeting TLR6 activity might prove efficacious in the treatment of clinical asthma.
CD4+ T cells play a central role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV/AIDS, and their depletion during chronic HIV infection is a hallmark of disease progression. However, the relative contribution of CD4+ T cells as mediators of antiviral immune responses and targets for virus replication is still unclear. Here, we have generated data in SIV-infected rhesus macaques (RMs) that suggest that CD4+ T cells are essential in establishing control of virus replication during acute infection. To directly assess the role of CD4+ T cells during primary SIV infection, we in vivo depleted these cells from RMs prior to infecting the primates with a pathogenic strain of SIV. Compared with undepleted animals, CD4+ lymphocyte–depleted RMs showed a similar peak of viremia, but did not manifest any post-peak decline of virus replication despite CD8+ T cell– and B cell–mediated SIV-specific immune responses comparable to those observed in control animals. Interestingly, depleted animals displayed rapid disease progression, which was associated with increased virus replication in non-T cells as well as the emergence of CD4-independent SIV-envelopes. Our results suggest that the antiviral CD4+ T cell response may play an important role in limiting SIV replication, which has implications for the design of HIV vaccines.
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is a potentially lethal condition, as it can progress to shock, multi-organ failure, and death. It can be triggered by infection, tissue damage, or hemorrhage. The role of tissue injury in the progression from SIRS to shock is incompletely understood. Here, we show that treatment of mice with concanavalin A (ConA) to induce liver injury triggered a G-CSF–dependent hepatic infiltration of CD11b+Gr-1+Ly6G+Ly6C+ immature myeloid cells that expressed the orphan receptor myeloid DAP12–associated lectin–1 (MDL-1; also known as CLEC5A). Activation of MDL-1 using dengue virus or an agonist MDL-1–specific antibody in the ConA-treated mice resulted in shock. The MDL-1+ cells were pathogenic, and in vivo depletion of MDL-1+ cells provided protection. Triggering MDL-1 on these cells induced production of NO and TNF-α, which were found to be elevated in the serum of treated mice and required for MDL-1–induced shock. Surprisingly, MDL-1–induced NO and TNF-α production required eNOS but not iNOS. Activation of DAP12, DAP10, Syk, PI3K, and Akt was critical for MDL-1–induced shock. In addition, Akt physically interacted with and activated eNOS. Therefore, triggering of MDL-1 on immature myeloid cells and production of NO and TNF-α may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of shock. Targeting the MDL-1/Syk/PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway represents a potential new therapeutic strategy to prevent the progression of SIRS to shock.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with platelet hyperactivity, which leads to increased morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. This is coupled with enhanced levels of thromboxane (TX), an eicosanoid that facilitates platelet aggregation. Although intensely studied, the mechanism underlying the relationship among hyperglycemia, TX generation, and platelet hyperactivity remains unclear. We sought to identify key signaling components that connect high levels of glucose to TX generation and to examine their clinical relevance. In human platelets, aldose reductase synergistically modulated platelet response to both hyperglycemia and collagen exposure through a pathway involving ROS/PLCγ2/PKC/p38α MAPK. In clinical patients with platelet activation (deep vein thrombosis; saphenous vein graft occlusion after coronary bypass surgery), and particularly those with diabetes, urinary levels of a major enzymatic metabolite of TX (11-dehydro-TXB2 [TX-M]) were substantially increased. Elevated TX-M persisted in diabetic patients taking low-dose aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, ASA), suggesting that such patients may have underlying endothelial damage, collagen exposure, and thrombovascular disease. Thus, our study has identified multiple potential signaling targets for designing combination chemotherapies that could inhibit the synergistic activation of platelets by hyperglycemia and collagen exposure.
Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. The protein encoded by the sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) gene, which is a mouse homolog of yeast Sir2, is implicated in the regulation of glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity; however, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, using mice with a liver-specific null mutation of Sirt1, we have identified a signaling pathway involving Sirt1, Rictor (a component of mTOR complex 2 [mTorc2]), Akt, and Foxo1 that regulates gluconeogenesis. We found that Sirt1 positively regulates transcription of the gene encoding Rictor, triggering a cascade of phosphorylation of Akt at S473 and Foxo1 at S253 and resulting in decreased transcription of the gluconeogenic genes glucose-6-phosphatase (G6pase) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pepck). Liver-specific Sirt1 deficiency caused hepatic glucose overproduction, chronic hyperglycemia, and increased ROS production. This oxidative stress disrupted mTorc2 and impaired mTorc2/Akt signaling in other insulin-sensitive organs, leading to insulin resistance that could be largely reversed with antioxidant treatment. These data delineate a pathway through which Sirt1 maintains insulin sensitivity and suggest that treatment with antioxidants might provide protection against progressive insulin resistance in older human populations.
The growth arrest and DNA damage–inducible 45 (Gadd45) proteins act in many cellular processes. In the liver, Gadd45b (encoding Gadd45β) is the gene most strongly induced early during both compensatory regeneration and drug-induced hyperplasia. The latter response is associated with the dramatic and rapid hepatocyte growth that follows administration of the xenobiotic TCPOBOP (1,4-bis[2-(3,5)-dichoropyridyloxy] benzene), a ligand of the nuclear receptor constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). Here, we have shown that Gadd45b–/– mice have intact proliferative responses following administration of a single dose of TCPOBOP, but marked growth delays. Moreover, early transcriptional stimulation of CAR target genes was weaker in Gadd45b–/– mice than in wild-type animals, and more genes were downregulated. Gadd45β was then found to have a direct role in transcription by physically binding to CAR, and TCPOBOP treatment caused both proteins to localize to a regulatory element for the CAR target gene cytochrome P450 2b10 (Cyp2b10). Further analysis defined separate Gadd45β domains that mediated binding to CAR and transcriptional activation. Although baseline hepatic expression of Gadd45b was broadly comparable to that of other coactivators, its 140-fold stimulation by TCPOBOP was striking and unique. The induction of Gadd45β is therefore a response that facilitates increased transcription, allowing rapid expansion of liver mass for protection against xenobiotic insults.
Tregs not only keep immune responses to autoantigens in check, but also restrain those directed toward pathogens and the commensal microbiota. Control of peripheral immune homeostasis by Tregs relies on their capacity to accumulate at inflamed sites and appropriately adapt to their local environment. To date, the factors involved in the control of these aspects of Treg physiology remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the canonical Th2 transcription factor GATA3 is selectively expressed in Tregs residing in barrier sites including the gastrointestinal tract and the skin. GATA3 expression in both murine and human Tregs was induced upon TCR and IL-2 stimulation. Although GATA3 was not required to sustain Treg homeostasis and function at steady state, GATA3 played a cardinal role in Treg physiology during inflammation. Indeed, the intrinsic expression of GATA3 by Tregs was required for their ability to accumulate at inflamed sites and to maintain high levels of Foxp3 expression in various polarized or inflammatory settings. Furthermore, our data indicate that GATA3 limits Treg polarization toward an effector T cell phenotype and acquisition of effector cytokines in inflamed tissues. Overall, our work reveals what we believe to be a new facet in the complex role of GATA3 in T cells and highlights what may be a fundamental role in controlling Treg physiology during inflammation.
Mutations in human SLC26A4 are a common cause of hearing loss associated with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA). SLC26A4 encodes pendrin, an anion-base exchanger expressed in inner ear epithelial cells that secretes HCO3– into endolymph. Studies of Slc26a4-null mice indicate that pendrin is essential for inner ear development, but have not revealed whether pendrin is specifically necessary for homeostasis. Slc26a4-null mice are profoundly deaf, with severe inner ear malformations and degenerative changes that do not model the less severe human phenotype. Here, we describe studies in which we generated a binary transgenic mouse line in which Slc26a4 expression could be induced with doxycycline. The transgenes were crossed onto the Slc26a4-null background so that all functional pendrin was derived from the transgenes. Varying the temporal expression of Slc26a4 revealed that E16.5 to P2 was the critical interval in which pendrin was required for acquisition of normal hearing. Lack of pendrin during this period led to endolymphatic acidification, loss of the endocochlear potential, and failure to acquire normal hearing. Doxycycline initiation at E18.5 or discontinuation at E17.5 resulted in partial hearing loss approximating the human EVA auditory phenotype. These data collectively provide mechanistic insight into hearing loss caused by SLC26A4 mutations and establish a model for further studies of EVA-associated hearing loss.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Metastases in the liver, the most common metastatic site for colorectal cancer, are found in one-third of the patients who die of colorectal cancer. Currently, the genes and molecular mechanisms that are functionally critical in modulating colorectal cancer hepatic metastasis remain unclear. Here, we report our studies using functional selection in an orthotopic mouse model of colorectal cancer to identify a set of genes that play an important role in mediating colorectal cancer liver metastasis. These genes included APOBEC3G, CD133, LIPC, and S100P. Clinically, we found these genes to be highly expressed in a cohort of human hepatic metastasis and their primary colorectal tumors, suggesting that it might be possible to use these genes to predict the likelihood of hepatic metastasis. We have further revealed what we believe to be a novel mechanism in which APOBEC3G promotes colorectal cancer hepatic metastasis through inhibition of miR-29–mediated suppression of MMP2. Together, our data elucidate key factors and mechanisms involved in colorectal cancer liver metastasis, which could be potential targets for diagnosis and treatment.
Fetal and neonatal immune thrombocytopenia (FNIT) is a severe bleeding disorder caused by maternal antibody–mediated destruction of fetal/neonatal platelets. It is the most common cause of severe thrombocytopenia in neonates, but the frequency of FNIT-related miscarriage is unknown, and the mechanism(s) underlying fetal mortality have not been explored. Furthermore, although platelet αIIbβ3 integrin and GPIbα are the major antibody targets in immune thrombocytopenia, the reported incidence of anti-GPIbα–mediated FNIT is rare. Here, we developed mouse models of FNIT mediated by antibodies specific for GPIbα and β3 integrin and compared their pathogenesis. We found, unexpectedly, that miscarriage occurred in the majority of pregnancies in our model of anti-GPIbα–mediated FNIT, which was far more frequent than in anti-β3–mediated FNIT. Dams with anti-GPIbα antibodies exhibited extensive fibrin deposition and apoptosis/necrosis in their placentas, which severely impaired placental function. Furthermore, anti-GPIbα (but not anti-β3) antiserum activated platelets and enhanced fibrin formation in vitro and thrombus formation in vivo. Importantly, treatment with either intravenous IgG or a monoclonal antibody specific for the neonatal Fc receptor efficiently prevented anti-GPIbα–mediated FNIT. Thus, the maternal immune response to fetal GPIbα causes what we believe to be a previously unidentified, nonclassical FNIT (i.e., spontaneous miscarriage but not neonatal bleeding) in mice. These results suggest that a similar pathology may have masked the severity and frequency of human anti-GPIbα–mediated FNIT, but also point to possible therapeutic interventions.
Pulmonary hypertension is a severe and progressive disease, a key feature of which is pulmonary vascular remodeling. Several growth factors, including EGF, PDGF, and TGF-β1, are involved in pulmonary vascular remodeling during pulmonary hypertension. However, increased knowledge of the downstream signaling cascades is needed if effective clinical interventions are to be developed. In this context, calpain provides an interesting candidate therapeutic target, since it is activated by EGF and PDGF and has been reported to activate TGF-β1. Thus, in this study, we examined the role of calpain in pulmonary vascular remodeling in two rodent models of pulmonary hypertension. These data showed that attenuated calpain activity in calpain-knockout mice or rats treated with a calpain inhibitor resulted in prevention of increased right ventricular systolic pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy, as well as collagen deposition and thickening of pulmonary arterioles in models of hypoxia- and monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. Additionally, inhibition of calpain in vitro blocked intracellular activation of TGF-β1, which led to attenuated Smad2/3 phosphorylation and collagen synthesis. Finally, smooth muscle cells of pulmonary arterioles from patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension showed higher levels of calpain activation and intracellular active TGF-β. Our data provide evidence that calpain mediates EGF- and PDGF-induced collagen synthesis and proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells via an intracrine TGF-β1 pathway in pulmonary hypertension.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation