Little is known about leptin's interaction with other circulating proteins which could be important for its biological effects. Sephadex G-100 gel filtration elution profiles of 125I-leptin-serum complex demonstrated 125I-leptin eluting in significant proportion associated with macromolecules. The 125I-leptin binding to circulating macromolecules was specific, reversible, and displaceable with unlabeled leptin (ED50: 0.73 +/- 0.09 nM, mean +/- SEM, n = 3). Several putative leptin binding proteins were detected by leptin-affinity chromatography of which either 80- or 100-kD proteins could be the soluble leptin receptor as approximately 10% of the bound 125I-leptin was immunoprecipitable with leptin receptor antibodies. Significantly higher (P < 0.001) proportions of total leptin circulate in the bound form in lean (46.5 +/- 6.6%) compared with obese (21.4 +/- 3.4%) subjects. In lean subjects with 21% or less body fat, 60-98% of the total leptin was in the bound form. Short-term fasting significantly decreased basal leptin levels in three lean (P < 0.0005) and three obese (P < 0.005) subjects while refeeding restored it to basal levels. The effects of fasting on free leptin levels were more pronounced in lean subjects (basal vs. 24-h fasting: 19.6 +/- 1.9 vs. 1.3 +/- 0.4 ng/ml) compared with those in obese subjects (28.3 +/- 9.8 vs. 14.7 +/- 5.3). No significant (P > 0.05) decrease was observed in bound leptin in either group. These studies suggest that in obese individuals the majority of leptin circulates in free form, presumably bioactive protein, and thus obese subjects are resistant to free leptin. In lean subjects with relatively low adipose tissue, the majority of circulating leptin is in the bound form and thus may not be available to brain receptors for its inhibitory effects on food intake both under normal and food deprivation states.
Reactive oxidants generated by phagocytes are of central importance in host defenses, tumor surveillance, and inflammation. One important pathway involves the generation of potent halogenating agents by the myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide-chloride system. The chlorinating intermediate in these reactions is generally believed to be HOCl or its conjugate base, ClO-. However, HOCl is also in equilibrium with Cl2, raising the possibility that Cl2 executes oxidation/ halogenation reactions that have previously been attributed to HOCl/ClO-. In this study gas chromatography-mass spectrometric analysis of head space gas revealed that the complete myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide-chloride system generated Cl2. In vitro studies demonstrated that chlorination of the aromatic ring of free L-tyrosine was mediated by Cl2 and not by HOCl/ClO-. Thus, 3-chlorotyrosine serves as a specific marker for Cl2-dependent oxidation of free L-tyrosine. Phagocytosis of L-tyrosine encapsulated in immunoglobulin- and complement-coated sheep red blood cells resulted in the generation of 3-chlorotyrosine. Moreover, activation of human neutrophils adherent to a L-tyrosine coated glass surface also stimulated 3-chlorotyrosine formation. Thus, in two independent models of phagocytosis human neutrophils convert L-tyrosine to 3-chlorotyrosine, indicating that a Cl2-like oxidant is generated in the phagolysosome. In both models, synthesis of 3-chlorotyrosine was inhibited by heme poisons and the peroxide scavenger catalase, implicating the myeloperoxidase-hydrogen peroxide system in the reaction. Collectively, these results demonstrate that myeloperoxidase generates Cl2 and that human neutrophils use an oxidant with characteristics identical to those of Cl2 during phagocytosis. Moreover, our observations suggest that phagocytes exploit the chlorinating properties of Cl2 to execute oxidative and cytotoxic reactions at sites of inflammation and vascular disease.
In attempt to elucidate the mechanism of the HIV infection induced T cell unresponsiveness, we studied signal-transducing molecules proximal to the T cell receptor (TCR) in T lymphocytes of HIV-infected individuals. Total amounts of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) Lck, Fyn, and ZAP-70 and the zeta chain of the TCR were found significantly decreased in T cells of symptomatic/AIDS patients as well as in T cells of individuals in acute and early asymptomatic stages of HIV infection. Unexpectedly, the detection of Lck, Fyn, and ZAP-70 was reversed after the treatment of cell lysates with dithiothreitol. This suggests that PTKs Lck, Fyn, and ZAP-70 were modified by a mechanism altering the status of sulfhydryl groups. Moreover, this mechanism seems to affect selectively T cells of HIV infected patients since B cell PTKs Syk and Lyn were detected structurally and functionally intact. Interestingly, similar alterations of signaling molecules were not detected in T cells of HIV-infected long-term asymptomatic individuals. Modification of T cell PTKs may thus underlie the HIV-induced impairment of lymphocyte function and may potentially predict disease progression.
We have identified a previously undescribed intrinsic cardiac adrenergic (ICA) cell type in rodent and human heart. Northern and Western blot analyses demonstrated that ICA cell isolates contain mRNA and protein of enzymes involved in catecholamine biosynthesis. Radioenzymatic catecholamine assays also revealed that the catecholamine profile of adult rat ICA cell isolates differed from that of sympathetic neurons. Unlike sympathetic neuronal cells, isolated ICA cells have abundant clear vesicles on electron microscopy. Endogenous norepinephrine and epinephrine constitutively released by ICA cells in vitro affect the spontaneous beating rate of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes in culture. Finally, ICA cells could be identified in human fetal hearts at a developmental stage before sympathetic innervation of the heart has been documented to occur. These findings support the concept that these cells constitute an ICA signaling system capable of participating in cardiac regulation that appears to be independent of sympathetic innervation.
The most prevalent mutation (delta F508) in cystic fibrosis patients inhibits maturation and transfer to the plasma membrane of the mutant cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). We have analyzed the properties of a delta F508 CFTR mouse model, which we described recently. We show that the mRNA levels of mutant CFTR are normal in all tissues examined. Therefore the reduced mRNA levels reported in two similar models may be related to their intronic transcription units. Maturation of mutant CFTR was greatly reduced in freshly excised oviduct, compared with normal. Accumulation of mutant CFTR antigen in the apical region of jejunum crypt enterocytes was not observed, in contrast to normal mice. In cultured gallbladder epithelial cells from delta F508 mice, CFTR chloride channel activity could be detected at only two percent of the normal frequency. However, in mutant cells that were grown at reduced temperature the channel frequency increased to over sixteen percent of the normal level at that temperature. The biophysical characteristics of the mutant channel were not significantly different from normal. In homozygous delta F508 mice we did not observe a significant effect of genetic background on the level of residual chloride channel activity, as determined by the size of the forskolin response in Ussing chamber experiments. Our data show that like its human homologue, mouse delta F508-CFTR is a temperature sensitive processing mutant. The delta F508 mouse is therefore a valid in vivo model of human delta F508-CFTR. It may help us to elucidate the processing pathways of complex membrane proteins. Moreover, it may facilitate the discovery of new approaches towards therapy of cystic fibrosis.
To characterize genes that become upregulated with malignant transformation of human hepatocytes, a library of monoclonal antibodies was produced against the FOCUS hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. Antibody FB-50 reacted with an antigen that was highly expressed in 4 of 10 primary hepatocellular carcinomas, in all 20 cholangiocarcinomas we studied, and in a variety of transformed cell lines. This antigen was also highly expressed in neoplastic epithelial cells of breast and colon carcinomas in contrast to its low level of expression in normal hepatocytes and in non-neoplastic epithelial cells. Among the normal adult tissues studied, high levels were observed only in proliferating trophoblastic cells of the placenta and in adrenal glands. A 636-bp partial cDNA, isolated from a gamma GT11 expression library generated with HepG2 human hepatoblastoma cells, and a complete cDNA, generated by reverse transcriptase-PCR, identified the antigen as the human form of aspartyl(asparaginyl)beta-hydroxylase. This enzyme catalyzes posttranslational hydroxylation of beta carbons of specific aspartyl and asparaginyl residues in EGF-like domains of certain proteins. Analyses of extracts prepared from several human tumor cell lines compared to their normal tissue counterparts indicate that the increase in hydroxylase, approximately 10-fold, is controlled at the level of transcription and the protein is expressed in an enzymatically active form. In similar analyses, comparing hepatocellular carcinomas to adjacent uninvolved liver from five patients, enzymatic activity was much higher in the tumor tissue from the four patients whose immunoblots revealed increased hydroxylase protein in the malignant tissue. EGF repeats in the extracellular domain of Notch or its homologs contain the consensus sequence for hydroxylation. Deletion mutants lacking this domain are gain-of-function mutants, suggesting that the domain modulates signal transduction by the cytoplasmic domain. While the function imparted by beta hydroxylation is unknown, our studies raise the possibility that beta hydroxylation is regulated in proteins like the mammalian Notch homologs, whose cytoplasmic domains have been shown to be oncogenic.
Oral administration of self-antigens has been proposed as a therapy to prevent and treat autoimmune diseases. Here we report that oral treatment with insulin prevents virus-induced insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in a transgenic (tg) mouse model. Such mice express the viral nucleoprotein (NP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) under control of the rat insulin promoter in their pancreatic beta cells and < 2% spontaneously develop diabetes. However, 2 mo after challenge with LCMV, IDDM occurs in > 95% of tg mice but not in controls. Oral treatment with 1 mg of insulin twice per week for 2 mo starting either 1 wk before or 10 d after initiating LCMV infection prevents IDDM in > 50% of the tg mice (observation time 8 mo). Thus, insulin therapy is effective in preventing progression to overt IDDM in prediabetic tg mice with ongoing islet infiltration. Oral administration of insulin does not affect the generation of LCMV-NP-specific anti-self cytotoxic T lymphocytes nor the infiltration of lymphocytes into the pancreas. However, less beta cells are destroyed in insulin-treated mice, upregulation of MHC class I and II molecules does not occur, and antiviral (self) cytotoxic T lymphocytes are not found in the islets, events present in tg mice developing IDDM. The majority of lymphocytes in the islets of insulin-treated tg mice without IDDM produces IL-4, IL-10, and TGF-beta. In contrast, lymphocytes from islets of tg mice developing IDDM mainly make gamma-IFN.
Retinoid-dependent pathways play a central role in regulating cardiac morphogenesis. Recently, we characterized gene-targeted RXR alpha -/- embryos, which display an atrial-like ventricular phenotype with the development of heart failure and lethality at embryonic day 14.5. To quantitate the frequency and complexity of cardiac morphogenic defects, we now use microdissection and scanning electron microscopy to examine 107 wild-type, heterozygous, and homozygous embryos at embryonic day 13.5, 14.5, and 15.5. RXR alpha -/- embryos display complex defects, including ventricular septal, atrioventricular cushion, and conotruncal ridge defects, with double outlet right ventricle, aorticopulmonary window, and persistent truncus arteriosus. In addition, heterozygous RXR alpha embryos display a predisposition for trabecular and papillary muscle defects, ventricular septal defects, conotruncal ridge defects, atrioventricular cushion defects, and pulmonic stenosis. Lastly, we show that the intermediate anatomic phenotype displayed by heterozygous embryos is mirrored in the molecular marker MLC-2a. The intermediate phenotype of RXR alpha heterozygous embryos documents a gene dosage effect for RXR alpha in maintaining normal cardiac morphogenesis. In addition, some defects in RXR alpha mutant mice are phenocopies of human congenital heart defects, thereby suggesting that a relative deficiency in RXR alpha or molecules downstream in its signaling pathway may represent congenital heart disease-susceptibility genes.
To identify disease-specific T cell changes that occur in Crohn's disease (CD), the T cell receptor BV repertoires of lamina propria lymphocytes (LPL) isolated from both the inflamed and "disease-inactive" colons of seven CD patients were compared by the quantitative PCR and DNA sequence analysis. It was observed that the BV repertoires of LPL isolated from the disease-active and disease-inactive parts of the colon from the same individual were very different. Furthermore, nearly all of the differences occurred in CD4+ LPL, with very few differences in the CD8+ population of LPL. Although the pattern of BV segments that was increased in disease-active tissue relative to disease-inactive tissue was different for all seven CD patients, there were several BV segments that increased uniformly in the disease-active tissue of all seven individuals. CDR3 length analysis and DNA sequencing of these BV segments revealed that in six of the seven CD patients there was a striking degree of oligoclonality that was absent from disease-inactive tissue of the same individual. These observations suggest that at least some of the inflammation in CD is the result of responses by CD4+ T cells to specific antigens. The isolation of such inflammation-specific CD4+ T cells may make it possible to identify the antigens that are responsible for the inflammatory process in CD and provide a better understanding of its pathogenesis.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common form of primary myocardial disorder, accounting for 60% of all cardiomyopathies. In 20-30% of cases, familial inheritance can be demonstrated; an autosomal dominant transmission is the usual type of inheritance pattern identified. Previously, genetic heterogeneity was demonstrated in familial autosomal dominant dilated cardiomyopathy (FDCM). Gene localization to chromosome 1 (1p1-1q1 and 1q32), chromosome 3 (3p25-3p22), and chromosome 9 (9q13-9q22) has recently been identified. We report one family with 26 members (12 affected) with familial autosomal dominant dilated cardiomyopathy in which linkage to chromosome 10 at the 10q21-q23 locus is identified. Using short tandem repeat polymorphism (STR) markers with heterozygosity > 70%, 169 markers (50% of the genome) were used before linkage was found to markers D10S605 and D10S201 with a pairwise LOD score = 3.91, theta = 0, penetrance = 100% for both markers. Linkage to 1p1-1q1, 1q32, 3p25-3p22, and 9q13-9q22 was excluded. We conclude that a new locus for pure autosomal dominant FDCM exists, and that this gene is localized to a 9 cM region of 10q21-10q23. The search for the disease causing gene and the responsible mutation(s) is ongoing.
The relative role of protein synthesis and degradation in determining postprandial net protein deposition in human muscle is not known. To this aim, we studied forearm leucine and phenylalanine turnover by combining the arteriovenous catheterization with tracer infusions, before and following a 4 h administration of a mixed meal in normal volunteers. Forearm amino acid kinetics were assessed in both whole blood and plasma. Fasting forearm protein degradation exceeded synthesis (P < 0.01) using either tracer, indicating net muscle protein loss. The net negative forearm protein balance was quantitatively similar in whole blood and in plasma. After the meal, forearm proteolysis was suppressed (P < 0.05- < 0.03), while forearm protein synthesis was stimulated (P < 0.05- < 0.01). However, stimulation of protein synthesis was greater (P < 0.05- < 0.01) in whole blood (leucine data: +50.4 +/- 7.8 nmol/min x 100 ml of forearm; phenylalanine data: +30.4 +/- 11.6) than in plasma (leucine data: +17.8 +/- 5.6 nmol/min x 100 ml of forearm; phenylalanine data: +5.7 +/- 2.1). Consequently, the increment of net amino acid balance was approximately two to fourfold greater (P < 0.04- < 0.03) in whole blood than in plasma. In conclusion, meal ingestion stimulates forearm protein deposition through both enhanced protein synthesis and inhibited proteolysis. Plasma data underestimate net postprandial forearm protein synthesis, suggesting a key role of red blood cells and/or of blood mass in mediating mealenhanced protein accretion.
We used an ELISA employing extracts of human glomerular basement membrane (GBM) to detect, characterize, and evaluate the clinical significance of glomerular-binding IgG in patients with SLE nephritis. Most patients with SLE nephritis exhibited GBM-binding IgG, although many patients with active nonrenal SLE or symptomatic, drug-induced lupus had similar reactivity, albeit at lower levels. IgG binding to GBM in SLE nephritis patients was decreased by DNase pretreatment of GBM, restored after DNase with nuclear antigens (most notably with nucleosomes), inhibited by exogenous nuclear antigens (particularly nucleosomes), but unaffected by exposure of serum to DNase/high ionic strength. The characteristics of IgG binding to GBM largely paralleled the patients' underlying autoimmune response, which was dominated either by antibodies to DNA/nucleosomes or to nucleosomes alone. Binding of lupus sera to nonrenal extracellular matrix (even with nucleosomes) was not equivalent to GBM. Collagenase pretreatment of GBM variably decreased IgG binding, depending on the level and type of binding. SLE nephritis patients with high levels of GBM-binding IgG exhibited more severe disease clinically, but the same renal histopathology, as patients with lower levels. The level of GBM-binding IgG at presentation did not predict the therapeutic response, but decreased in responders to therapy. In sum, glomerular-binding IgG in lupus nephritis binds to epitopes on chromatin, which adheres to GBM in part via collagen. These autoantibodies appear necessary, but not sufficient, for the development of nephritis, and correlate with clinical rather than histopathologic parameters of disease activity.
The liver's response to chronic injury is fibrosis, which is analogous to wound healing in other organs. Hepatic wounding is characterized by the "activation" of resident stellate cells (lipocytes, Ito cells) to myofibroblast-like cells that produce increased amounts of smooth muscle alpha-actin and extracellular matrix. Stellate cells possess abundant endothelin (ET) receptors (ETA/B) and, therefore, are subject to the effects of ET-1 and 3. In this study, we investigated whether ETs contribute to the activation of stellate cells and consequently, fibrogenesis. In cultured stellate cells, ET-1 and sarafotoxin S6C (a potent ETB receptor agonist) stimulated stellate cell activation, as assessed by expression of smooth muscle alpha-actin. Furthermore, the mixed ETA/B receptor antagonist, bosentan, blocked this process. Next, we administered bosentan during the induction of liver injury in two mechanistically distinct forms of hepatic wounding. Bosentan reduced levels of type I collagen and cellular fibronectin mRNAs in whole-liver tissue extracts in both models. In freshly isolated stellate cells from injured livers, bosentan reduced expression of activation markers, including smooth muscle alpha-actin and extracellular matrix mRNAs. We further demonstrate that endothelin antagonism after establishment of fibrosing injury reduced stellate cell activation and matrix production. These data indicate that ET contributes to stellate cell activation and fibrogenesis. Because ET is upregulated in diverse forms of parenchymal injury, we speculate that ET may play an important role in the wound-healing response.
Skin-derived antileukoproteinase (SKALP), also known as elafin, is a serine proteinase inhibitor first discovered in keratinocytes from hyperproliferative human epidermis. In addition to the proteinase inhibiting domain which is directed against polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) derived enzymes such as elastase and proteinase 3, SKALP contains multiple transglutaminase (TGase) substrate domains which enable crosslinking to extracellular and cell envelope proteins. Here we show that SKALP is constitutively expressed in several epithelia that are continuously subjected to inflammatory stimuli, such as the oral cavity and the vagina where it co-localizes with type 1 TGase. All epithelia from sterile body cavities are negative for SKALP. In general, stratified squamous epithelia are positive, whereas pseudostratified epithelia, simple/glandular epithelia and normal epidermis are negative. SKALP was found in fetal tissues of the oral cavity from 17 wk gestation onwards where it continued to be expressed up to adult life. Remarkably, in fetal epidermis SKALP was found from week 28 onwards, but was downregulated to undetectable levels in neonatal skin within three months, suggesting a role during pregnancy in feto-maternal interactions or in the early maturation phase of the epidermis. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed the presence of SKALP in secretory vesicles including the lamellar granules. In culture models for epidermal keratinocytes we found that expression of the endogenous SKALP gene provided protection against cell detachment caused by purified elastase or activated PMNs. Addition of exogenous recombinant SKALP fully protected the keratinocytes against PMN-dependent detachment whereas superoxide dismutase and catalase were only marginally effective. These findings strongly suggest that the constitutive expression of SKALP in squamous epithelia, and the inducible expression in epidermis participate in the control of epithelial integrity, by inhibiting PMN derived proteinases.
Brain tumor-associated cerebral edema arises because tumor capillaries lack normal blood-brain barrier function; vascular permeability factor (VPF, also known as vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF) is a likely mediator of this phenomenon. Clinically, dexamethasone reduces brain tumor-associated vascular permeability through poorly understood mechanisms. Our goals were to determine if suppression of permeability by dexamethasone might involve inhibition of VPF action or expression, and if dexamethasone effects in this setting are mediated by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). In two rat models of permeability (peripheral vascular permeability induced by intradermal injection of 9L glioma cell-conditioned medium or purified VPF, and intracerebral vascular permeability induced by implanted 9L glioma), dexamethasone suppressed permeability in a dose-dependent manner. Since 80% of the permeability-inducing activity in 9L-conditioned medium was removed by anti-VPF antibodies, we examined dexamethasone effects of VPF expression in 9L cells. Dexamethasone inhibited FCS- and PDGF-dependent induction of VPF expression. At all levels (intradermal, intracranial, and cell culture), dexamethasone effects were reversed by the GR antagonist mifepristone (RU486). Dexamethasone may decrease brain tumor-associated vascular permeability by two GR-dependent mechanisms: reduction of the response of the vasculature to tumor-derived permeability factors (including VPF), and reduction of VPF expression by tumor cells.
Cytokine-induced glucocorticoid secretion and glucocorticoid inhibition of cytokine synthesis and pleiotropic actions act as important safeguards in preventing cytokine overreaction. We found that TNF-alpha increased glucocorticoid-induced transcriptional activity of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) via the glucocorticoid response elements (GRE) in L-929 mouse fibroblasts transfected with a glucocorticoid-inducible reporter plasmid. In addition, TNF-alpha also enhanced GR number. The TNF-alpha effect on transcriptional activity was absent in other cell lines that express TNF-alpha receptors but not GRs, and became manifest when a GR expression vector was cotransfected, indicating that TNF-alpha, independent of any effect it may have on GR number, has a stimulatory effect on the glucocorticoid-induced transcriptional activity of the GR. Moreover, TNF-alpha increased GR binding to GRE. As a functional biological correlate of this mechanism, priming of L-929 cells with a low (noncytotoxic) dose of TNF-alpha significantly increased the sensitivity to glucocorticoid inhibition of TNF-alpha-induced cytotoxicity/apoptosis. TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta had the same stimulatory action on glucocorticoid-induced transcriptional activity of the GR via the GRE, in different types of cytokine/glucocorticoid target cells (glioma, pituitary, epithelioid). The phenomenon may therefore reflect a general molecular mechanism whereby cytokines modulate the transcriptional activity of the GR, thus potentiating the counterregulation by glucocorticoids at the level of their target cells.
Porcine pancreatic islets were microencapsulated in alginate-polylysine-alginate capsules and transplanted intraperitoneally into nine spontaneously diabetic monkeys. After one, two, or three transplants of 3-7 x 10(4) islets per recipient, seven of the monkeys became insulin independent for periods ranging from 120 to 804 d with fasting blood glucose levels in the normoglycemic range. Glucose clearance rates in the transplant recipients were significantly higher than before the graft administration and the insulin secretion during glucose tolerance tests was significantly higher compared with pretransplant tests. Porcine C-peptide was detected in all transplant recipients throughout their period of normoglycemia while none was found before the graft administration. Hemoglobin A1C levels dropped significantly within 2 mo after transplantation. While ketones were detected in the urine of all recipients before the graft administration, all experimental animals became ketone free 2 wk after transplantation. Capsules recovered from two recipients 3 mo after the restoration of normoglycemia were found physically intact with enclosed islets clearly visible. The capsules were free of cellular overgrowth. Examination of internal organs of two of the animals involved in our transplantation studies for the duration of 2 yr revealed no untoward effect of the extended presence of the microcapsules.
The role of the androgen receptor (AR) in male sexual differentiation is revealed in part by the analysis of naturally occurring mutations in families with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS). We have investigated a family with partial AIS affecting three generations and have identified a G to A substitution in the AR gene at the fourth position 3' from the A of the ATG initiation codon changing the second amino acid residue from glutamic acid to lysine (EK2). Transient expression of the mutant EK2-pCMVhAR expression vector in COS cells revealed decreased translation with a 20-50% reduction in mutant protein relative to wild type AR by immunoblot analysis. The rate of dissociation of [3H]methyltrienolone from the EK2 mutant (half-time [t1/2] = 1.7 +/- 0.08 SE h) was increased compared with wild type AR (t1/2 = 2.4 +/- 0.11 h). Cotransfection studies using an androgen responsive luciferase reporter vector demonstrated a 50% reduction in transcriptional activation by EK2. These functional alterations are consistent with the partial AIS phenotype in affected males, corroborate the AR amino-terminal domain effect on kinetics of androgen binding, and provide physiological evidence for earlier translation experiments identifying the nucleotide sequence for optimal translation initiation.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are present in the peripheral blood and liver of chronically infected patients. The current study was performed to study the relationship between the strength of the CTL response, liver disease severity, and viral load. The results may be summarized as follows: first, using CTL precursor frequency (CTLpf) analysis to quantitate the peripheral blood CTL response, chronically infected patients were less strongly sensitized to a panel of well-defined HCV epitopes than they were to an epitope within the influenza matrix protein. Second, HCV-specific CTLpf did not correlate with disease activity or viral load in the majority of patients on a cross-sectional basis, although it did increase in three patients concomitant with sharp increases in liver disease. Finally, interferon therapy did not enhance the CTLpf against the HCV epitopes studied in these patients, indicating that its antiviral effect is independent of the CTL response. Since the HCV-specific CTLpf in the blood is actually quite low, the CTL may contribute to ongoing liver disease in these patients while being quantitatively inadequate to destroy all of the infected hepatocytes, thereby facilitating HCV persistence and contributing to chronic liver disease.
In vitro as well as in vivo observations have shown that IL6 plays a key role in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma. Therefore we started a phase I/II dose escalating study with chimeric monoclonal anti-IL6 antibodies (cMab) in multiple myeloma (MM) patients resistant to second-line chemotherapy. Here we describe the pharmacological data as well as a new method for calculating the endogenous IL6 production. The cMab (CLB IL6/8; Kd: 6.25 x 10(-12) M) was given in two cycles of 14 daily infusions, starting on day 1 and day 28. Daily dose: 5 mg in patients 1-3, 10 mg in patients 4-6, and 20 mg in patients 7-9 (total dose 140, 280, and 560 mg of anti-IL6, respectively). Using the pharmacokinetic data of free IL6 and the binding characteristics of the cMab, the endogenous IL6 production could be calculated from day to day using a one-compartment open model. The median half-life time of this antibody was 17.6 d. No human antichimeric antibodies were induced. Pre-treatment median endogenous IL6 production in the MM patients was 60 micrograms/d (range 13.8-230; normal controls < 7 micrograms/d). During treatment with anti-IL6 cMabs, the endogenous IL6 production immediately decreased in all patients to below 3 micrograms/d and never reached the pre-treatment value during the treatment period, except in two patients who developed an active infection, resulting in an IL6 production of 128 and 1,208 micrograms/d, respectively. We concluded that in MM patients endogenous IL6 production is 2-30 times higher than in healthy individuals. The anti-IL6 cMab strongly suppress this endogenous IL6 production, probably by blocking a positive feed-back loop, but this cMab does not prevent infection-induced IL6 production. The chimeric anti-IL6 Mabs have a long half-life time, a low immunogenicity, and are able to block IL6-dependent processes in vivo.
Iron is bound to transferrin in the plasma. A specific receptor on the cell surface binds transferrin and internalizes transferrin and the iron in clathrin-coated pits. These invaginate to form vesicles which release iron to the cytoplasm. Inorganic iron can be transported by an alternative pathway from iron citrate, utilizing a cell surface integrin and a cytoplasmic protein mobilferrin. This article shows that the two pathways donate iron to mobilferrin which acts as an intermediate between the iron bound to transferrin and the incorporation of iron into hemoglobin. Mobilferrin is found associated with the transferrin containing vesicles, and becomes labeled with iron released from transferrin in the vesicles. Mobilferrin is also found in the cytoplasm where pulse-chase experiments show that it, in turn, releases iron to be used for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Aggregation and retention of LDL in the arterial wall are key events in atherogenesis, but the mechanisms in vivo are not known. Previous work from our laboratories has shown that exposure of LDL to bacterial sphingomyelinase (SMase) in vitro leads to the formation of LDL aggregates that can be retained by extracellular matrix and that are able to stimulate macrophage foam cell formation. We now provide evidence that retained LDL is hydrolyzed by an arterial-wall SMase activity. First, we demonstrated that SMase-induced aggregation is caused by an increase in particle ceramide content, even in the presence of excess sphingomyelin (SM). This finding is compatible with previous data showing that lesional LDL is enriched in SM, though its ceramide content has not previously been reported. To address this critical compositional issue, the ceramide content of lesional LDL was assayed and, remarkably, found to be 10-50-fold enriched compared with plasma LDL ceramide. Furthermore, the ceramide was found exclusively in lesional LDL that was aggregated; unaggregated lesional LDL, which accounted for 20-25% of the lesional material, remained ceramide poor. When [3H]SM-LDL was incubated with strips of rabbit aorta ex vivo, a portion of the LDL was retained, and the [3H]SM of this portion, but not that of unretained LDL, was hydrolyzed to [3H]ceramide by a nonlysosomal arterial hydrolase. In summary, LDL retained in atherosclerotic lesions is acted upon by an arterial-wall SMase, which may participate in LDL aggregation and possibly other SMase-mediated processes during atherogenesis.
Hydralazine has been shown to reduce mortality in patients with congestive heart failure when given concomitantly with isosorbide dinitrate. Recently, we demonstrated that nitrate tolerance is in part due to enhanced vascular superoxide .O2- production. We sought to determine mechanisms whereby hydralazine may prevent tolerance. Rabbits either received no treatment, nitroglycerin patches (1.5 micrograms/kg/min x 3 d), hydralazine alone (10 mg/kg/d in drinking water), or hydralazine and nitroglycerin. Aortic segments were studied in organ chambers and relative rates of vascular .O2- production were determined using lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. Nitroglycerin treatment markedly inhibited relaxations to nitroglycerin (maximum relaxations in untreated: 92 +/- 1 vs. 64 +/- 3% in nitroglycerin-treated patients and increased vascular .O2- production by over two-fold (P < 0.05). Treatment with hydralazine in rabbits not receiving nitroglycerin significantly decreased .O2- production in intact rabbit aorta and increased sensitivity to nitroglycerin. When given concomitantly with nitroglycerin, hydralazine completely prevented the development of nitrate tolerance and normalized endogenous rates of vascular .O2- production. Studies of vessel homogenates demonstrated that the major source of .O2- was an NADH-dependent membrane-associated oxidase displaying activities of 67 +/- 12 vs. 28 +/- 2 nmol .O2-.min-1.mg protein-1 in nitroglycerin-treated vs. untreated aortic homogenates. In additional studies, we found that acute addition of hydralazine (10 microM) to nitroglycerin-tolerant vessels immediately inhibited .O2- production and NADH oxidase activity in vascular homogenates. The chemiluminescence signal was inhibited by a recombinant heparin-binding superoxide dismutase (HBSOD) demonstrating the specificity of this assay for .O2-. These observations suggest that a specific membrane-associated oxidase is activated by chronic nitroglycerin treatment, and the activity of this oxidase is inhibited by hydralazine, providing a mechanism whereby hydralazine may prevent tolerance. The ability of hydralazine to inhibit vascular .O2- anion production represents a novel mechanism of action for this drug.
Patients with tienilic acid hepatitis exhibit autoantibodies that recognize unalkylated cytochrome P450 2C9 in humans but recognize 2C11 in rats. Our aim was to determine whether the immune reaction is also directed against neoantigens. Rats were treated with tienilic acid and hepatocytes were isolated. Immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, and flow cytometry experiments were performed with an anti-tienilic acid or an anti-cytochrome P450 2C11 antibody. Cytochrome P450 2C11 was the main microsomal or plasma membrane protein that was alkylated by tienilic acid. Inhibitors of vesicular transport decreased flow cytometric recognition of both unalkylated and tienilic acid-alkylated cytochrome P450 2C11 on the plasma membrane of cultured hepatocytes. Tienilic acid hepatitis sera that were preadsorbed on microsomes from untreated rats (to remove autoantibodies), poorly recognized untreated hepatocytes in flow cytometry experiments, but better recognized tienilic acid-treated hepatocytes. This recognition was decreased by adsorption with tienilic acid or by preexposure to the anti-tienilic acid or the anti-cytochrome P450 2C11 antibody. We conclude that cytochrome P450 2C11 is alkylated by tienilic acid and follows a vesicular route to the plasma membrane. Tienilic acid hepatitis sera contain antibodies against this tienilic acid adduct, in addition to the previously described anticytochrome P450 autoantibodies.
The rate of kidney protein turnover in humans is not known. To this aim, we have measured kidney protein synthesis and degradation in postabsorptive humans using the arterio-venous catheterization technique combined with 14C-leucine, 15N-leucine, and 3H-phenylalanine tracer infusions. These measurements were compared with those obtained across the splanchnic bed, the legs (approximately muscle) and in the whole body. In the kidneys, protein balance was negative, as the rate of leucine release from protein degradation (16.8 +/- 5.1 mumol/min.1.73 m2) was greater (P < 0.02) than its uptake into protein synthesis (11.6 +/- 5.1 mumol/min. 1.73 m2). Splanchnic net protein balance was approximately 0 since leucine from protein degradation (32.1 +/- 9.9 mumol/min. 1.73 m2) and leucine into protein synthesis (30.8 +/- 11.5 mumol/min. 1.73 m2) were not different. In the legs, degradation exceeded synthesis (27.4 +/- 6.6 vs. 20.3 +/- 6.5 mumol/min. 1.73 m2, P < 0.02). The kidneys extracted alpha-ketoisocaproic acid, accounting for approximately 70% of net splanchnic alpha-ketoisocaproic acid release. The contributions by the kidneys to whole-body leucine rate of appearance, utilization for protein synthesis, and oxidation were approximately 11%, approximately 10%, and approximately 26%, respectively; those by the splanchnic area approximately 22%, approximately 27%, and approximately 18%; those from estimated total skeletal muscle approximately 37%, approximately 34%, and approximately 48%. Estimated fractional protein synthetic rates were approximately 42%/d in the kidneys, approximately 12% in the splanchnic area, and approximately 1.5% in muscle. This study reports the first estimates of kidney protein synthesis and degradation in humans, also in comparison with those measured in the splanchnic area, the legs, and the whole-body.
The mitogenic effect of activated coagulation factor X (factor Xa) was examined in cultured aortic smooth muscle cells (VSMC) from Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY). Factor Xa stimulated DNA synthesis and cell growth in VSMC, not through the phospholipase C-protein kinase C pathway because increase of inositol monophosphate (IP) accumulation and intracellular Ca2+ concentration was not observed, but probably via the PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase pathway since the pathway's components, Ras, Raf-1, MAPK (both 42 and 44 kD), and the transcription factors, c-Fos and c-Jun, were activated. These appeared to be effected by the serine protease activity of factor Xa, since in the presence of serine protease inhibitors such as PMSF, leupeptin, benzamidine, TAP anticoagulant, and TLCK, the latter three being specific inhibitors of the factor Xa, active site, the effects were completely blocked. Anti-factor Xa mAb, 5224, which specifically negated the activity of factor Xa, also inhibited completely the mitogenic effect of factor Xa, but not that of thrombin. Addition of PDGF did not affect the effect of factor Xa, which, however, was inhibited by anti-PDGF-AB antibody. This observation and the activation of PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase pathway suggested that the factor Xa might exert its effect via PDGF-like function. Direct measurement confirmed that factor Xa stimulated the release of PDGF from VSMC. Factor Xa, therefore, exerts serine protease activity on VSMC, causing somehow the release of PDGF, that in turn acts on the PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase; the pathway is then turned on, leading eventually to DNA synthesis and cell proliferation.
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