In this issue, Yonker et al. report that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is associated with increased gastrointestinal mucosal permeability. They suggest this could allow SARS-CoV-2 antigens in the gastrointestinal tract to leak into the bloodstream, triggering cytokine storm and hyperinflammatory responses. Image credit: SciStories.
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Hypothalamic glucose sensing enables an organism to match energy expenditure and food intake to circulating levels of glucose, the main energy source of the brain. Here, we established that tanycytes of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, specialized glia that line the wall of the third ventricle, convert brain glucose supplies into lactate that they transmit through monocarboxylate transporters to arcuate proopiomelanocortin neurons, which integrate this signal to drive their activity and to adapt the metabolic response to meet physiological demands. Furthermore, this transmission required the formation of extensive Connexin-43 gap-junction-mediated metabolic networks by arcuate tanycytes. Selectively suppressing either tanycytic monocarboxylate transporters or gap junctions resulted in altered feeding behavior and energy metabolism. Tanycytic intercellular communication and lactate production are thus integral to the mechanism by which hypothalamic neurons that regulate energy and glucose homeostasis efficiently perceive alterations in systemic glucose levels as a function of the physiological state of the organism.
Tori Lhomme, Jerome Clasadonte, Monica Imbernon, Daniela Fernandois, Florent Sauve, Emilie Caron, Natalia Lima, Violeta Heras, Ines Martinez-Corral, Helge Müller-Fielitz, S. Rasika, Markus Schwaninger, Ruben Nogueiras, Vincent Prevot
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is associated with an increased risk of sudden death, activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), and reductions in multiple cardiac ion channels. When activated, the protein kinase-like ER kinase (PERK) branch of the UPR reduces protein translation and abundance. We hypothesized that PERK inhibition could prevent ion channel downregulation and reduce arrhythmic risk after myocardial infarct (MI). MI induced by coronary artery ligation resulted in mice exhibited reduced ion channel levels, ventricular tachycardia (VT), and prolonged corrected intervals between the Q and T waves of the ECGs (QTc). Protein levels of major cardiac ion channels were decreased. MI cardiomyocytes showed significantly prolonged action potential duration and decreased maximum upstroke velocity. Cardiac-specific PERK knockout (PERKKO) reduced electrical remodeling in response to MI with shortened QTc intervals, less VT episodes, and higher survival rates (P<0.05 vs. MI). Pharmacological PERK inhibition had similar effects. In conclusion, activated PERK during MI contributed to arrhythmic risk by downregulation of select cardiac ion channels. PERK inhibition prevented these changes and reduced arrhythmic risk. These results suggest that ion channel downregulation during MI is a fundamental arrhythmic mechanism and maintaining ion channel levels is antiarrhythmic.
Man Liu, Hong Liu, Preethy Parthiban, Gyeoung-Jin Kang, Guangbin Shi, Feng Feng, Anyu Zhou, Lianzhi Gu, Courtney Karnopp, Elena G. Tolkacheva, Samuel C. Dudley
Natural killer (NK) cell suppression of T cells is a key determinant of viral pathogenesis and vaccine efficacy. This process involves perforin-dependent elimination of activated CD4 T cells during the first three days of infection. Although this mechanism requires cell-cell contact, NK cells and T cells typically reside in different compartments of lymphoid tissues at steady state. Here, we showed that NK-cell suppression of T cells is associated with transient accumulation of NK cells within T cell-rich sites of the spleen during lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection. The chemokine receptor CXCR3 was required for this relocation and suppression of antiviral T cells. Accordingly, NK-cell migration was mediated by type I interferon (IFN)-dependent promotion of CXCR3 ligand expression. In contrast, adenoviral vectors that weakly induced type I IFN and did not stimulate NK-cell inhibition of T cells also did not promote measurable redistribution of NK cells to T-cell zones. Exogenous IFN rescued NK-cell migration during adenoviral vector immunization. Thus, type I IFN and CXCR3 were critical for properly positioning NK cells to constrain antiviral T-cell responses. Development of strategies to curtail migration of NK cells between lymphoid compartments may enhance vaccine-elicited immune responses.
Ayad Ali, Laura M. Canaday, H. Alex Feldman, Hilal Cevik, Michael T. Moran, Sanjeeth Rajaram, Nora Lakes, Jasmine A. Tuazon, Harsha Seelamneni, Durga Krishnamurthy, Eryn Blass, Dan H. Barouch, Stephen N. Waggoner
The start codon c.1A>G mutation in KLHL24, encoding ubiquitin-ligase KLHL24, results in the loss of 28 N-terminal amino acids (KLHL24-ΔN28) by skipping the initial start codon. In skin, KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to gain of function, excessively targeting intermediate filament keratin-14 for proteasomal degradation, ultimately causing epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS). The majority of these EBS-patients are also diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), but the pathological mechanism in the heart is unknown. As desmin is the cardiac homologue of keratin-14, we hypothesized that KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to excessive degradation of desmin, resulting in DCM. Dynamically loaded engineered heart tissues (dyn-EHTs) were generated from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes from two patients and three (non)familial controls. Ten-fold lower desmin protein levels were observed in patient-derived dyn-EHTs, in line with diminished desmin levels detected in patients’ explanted heart. This was accompanied by tissue dilatation, impaired mitochondrial function, decreased force values and increased cardiomyocyte stress. HEK293 transfection studies confirmed KLHL24-mediated desmin degradation. KLHL24 RNA interference or direct desmin overexpression recovered desmin protein levels, restoring morphology and function in patient-derived dyn-EHTs. To conclude, presence of KLHL24-ΔN28 in cardiomyocytes leads to excessive degradation of desmin, affecting tissue morphology and function, that can be prevented by restoring desmin protein levels.
Mathilde C.S.C. Vermeer, Maria C. Bolling, Jacqueline M. Bliley, Karla F. Arevalo Gomez, Mario G. Pavez-Giani, Duco Kramer, Pedro H. Romero-Herrera, B. Daan Westenbrink, Gilles F.H. Diercks, Maarten P. van den Berg, Adam W. Feinberg, Herman H. W. Silljé, Peter van der Meer
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and societal cost, and pharmacological treatment options for AUD are limited. The endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling system is critically involved in reward processing and alcohol intake is positively correlated with release of the eCB ligand 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) within reward neurocircuitry. Here we show that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL), the rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of 2-AG, reduces alcohol consumption in a variety of preclinical models ranging from a voluntary free-access model to aversion resistant-drinking and dependence-like drinking induced via chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure in mice. DAGL inhibition during either chronic alcohol consumption or protracted withdrawal was devoid of anxiogenic and depressive-like behavioral effects. Lastly, DAGL inhibition also prevented ethanol-induced suppression of GABAergic transmission onto midbrain dopamine neurons, providing mechanistic insight into how DAGL inhibition could affect alcohol reward. These data suggest reducing 2-AG signaling via inhibition of DAGL could represent an effective approach to reduce alcohol consumption across the spectrum of AUD severity.
Nathan D. Winters, Gaurav Bedse, Anastasia A. Astafyev, Toni A. Patrick, Megan Altemus, Amanda J. Morgan, Snigdha Mukerjee, Keenan D. Johnson, Vikrant R. Mahajan, Md. Jashim Uddin, Philip J. Kingsley, Samuel W. Centanni, Cody A. Siciliano, David C. Samuels, Lawrence J. Marnett, Danny G. Winder, Sachin Patel
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
This collection of reviews focuses on the gut-brain axis, highlighting crosstalk between the gastrointestinal tract and the enteric and central nervous systems. While the enteric nervous system can exert independent control over the gut, multi-directional communication with the central nervous system, as well as intestinal epithelial, stromal, immune, and enteroendocrine cells can result in wide-ranging influences on health and disease. The gut microbiome and its metabolites add further complexity to this intricate interactive network. Reviews in this series take a critical approach to describing the role of gut-brain connections in conditions affecting both gut and brain, with the common goal of illuminating the importance of the central and enteric nervous system interface in disease pathogenesis and identifying nodes that offer therapeutic potential.