Antibodies specific for the β1-adrenergic receptor are found in patients with chronic heart failure of various etiologies. From work presented in this issue of the JCI, we can now infer that these antibodies actually contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic heart failure. This commentary discusses mechanisms by which these antibodies may engender cardiomyopathy.
Neil J. Freedman, Robert J. Lefkowitz
There currently exist a great number of different mouse lines in which the activity of a particular gene of interest has been inactivated or enhanced. However, it is also possible to insert specific mutations in a gene so that the pharmacological sensitivity of the gene product is altered. An example of such an approach shows how the abolition of the sensitivity of an L-type Ca2+ channel isoform to dihydropyridines allows the investigation of the physiological role of these channels in different tissues .
Emmanuel Bourinet, Matteo E. Mangoni, Joël Nargeot
The amyloid β-peptide (Aβ peptide) is assumed to play a crucial and early role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. Thus, strategies for a pharmacotherapy aim at reducing Aβ peptide generation, which proteolytically derives from the amyloid precursor protein (APP). The main targets so far have been β- and γ-secretase, the two proteases that cleave APP at the N- and C-terminus of the Aβ peptide and are thus directly responsible for Aβ peptide generation. A different strategy, namely the activation of α-secretase, has barely been investigated for its therapeutic potential. α-Secretase cleaves within the Aβ peptide domain and thus precludes Aβ peptide generation. Now, new results demonstrate that activation of α-secretase indeed reduces Aβ peptide generation and toxicity in vivo.
Stefan F. Lichtenthaler, Christian Haass
Systemic bacterial infection may culminate in a frequently fatal septic shock syndrome. The underlying pathology is the result of an uncontrolled inflammatory response, stimulated by the pathogen and its products. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critically involved in sensing bacteria and, in the case of sepsis, stimulate a pathogenic response by the innate immune system. A new study reports a successful attempt to inhibit systemic inflammation in mice by disrupting the formation of complexes between Gram-positive bacteria and their cognate receptor, TLR2.
Kidney podocytes and their slit diaphragms form the final barrier to urinary protein loss. This explains why podocyte injury is typically associated with nephrotic syndrome. The present study uncovered an unanticipated novel role for costimulatory molecule B7-1 in podocytes as an inducible modifier of glomerular permselectivity. B7-1 in podocytes was found in genetic, drug-induced, immune-mediated, and bacterial toxin–induced experimental kidney diseases with nephrotic syndrome. The clinical significance of our results is underscored by the observation that podocyte expression of B7-1 correlated with the severity of human lupus nephritis. In vivo, exposure to low-dose LPS rapidly upregulates B7-1 in podocytes of WT and SCID mice, leading to nephrotic-range proteinuria. Mice lacking B7-1 are protected from LPS-induced nephrotic syndrome, suggesting a link between podocyte B7-1 expression and proteinuria. LPS signaling through toll-like receptor-4 reorganized the podocyte actin cytoskeleton in vitro, and activation of B7-1 in cultured podocytes led to reorganization of vital slit diaphragm proteins. In summary, upregulation of B7-1 in podocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of proteinuria by disrupting the glomerular filter and provides a novel molecular target to tackle proteinuric kidney diseases. Our findings suggest a novel function for B7-1 in danger signaling by nonimmune cells.
Jochen Reiser, Gero von Gersdorff, Martin Loos, Jun Oh, Katsuhiko Asanuma, Laura Giardino, Maria Pia Rastaldi, Novella Calvaresi, Haruko Watanabe, Karin Schwarz, Christian Faul, Matthias Kretzler, Anne Davidson, Hikaru Sugimoto, Raghu Kalluri, Arlene H. Sharpe, Jordan A. Kreidberg, Peter Mundel
E2F transcription factors are thought to be key regulators of cell growth control. Here we use mutant mouse strains to investigate the function of E2F1 and E2F2 in vivo. E2F1/E2F2 compound-mutant mice develop nonautoimmune insulin-deficient diabetes and exocrine pancreatic dysfunction characterized by endocrine and exocrine cell dysplasia, a reduction in the number and size of acini and islets, and their replacement by ductal structures and adipose tissue. Mutant pancreatic cells exhibit increased rates of DNA replication but also of apoptosis, resulting in severe pancreatic atrophy. The expression of genes involved in DNA replication and cell cycle control was upregulated in the E2F1/E2F2 compound-mutant pancreas, suggesting that their expression is repressed by E2F1/E2F2 activities and that the inappropriate cell cycle found in the mutant pancreas is likely the result of the deregulated expression of these genes. Interestingly, the expression of ductal cell and adipocyte differentiation marker genes was also upregulated, whereas expression of pancreatic cell marker genes were downregulated. These results suggest that E2F1/E2F2 activity negatively controls growth of mature pancreatic cells and is necessary for the maintenance of differentiated pancreatic phenotypes in the adult.
Ainhoa Iglesias, Matilde Murga, Usua Laresgoiti, Anouchka Skoudy, Irantzu Bernales, Asier Fullaondo, Bernardino Moreno, José Lloreta, Seth J. Field, Francisco X. Real, Ana M. Zubiaga
We explored the effects of bile acids on triglyceride (TG) homeostasis using a combination of molecular, cellular, and animal models. Cholic acid (CA) prevents hepatic TG accumulation, VLDL secretion, and elevated serum TG in mouse models of hypertriglyceridemia. At the molecular level, CA decreases hepatic expression of SREBP-1c and its lipogenic target genes. Through the use of mouse mutants for the short heterodimer partner (SHP) and liver X receptor (LXR) α and β, we demonstrate the critical dependence of the reduction of SREBP-1c expression by either natural or synthetic farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonists on both SHP and LXRα and LXRβ. These results suggest that strategies aimed at increasing FXR activity and the repressive effects of SHP should be explored to correct hypertriglyceridemia.
Mitsuhiro Watanabe, Sander M. Houten, Li Wang, Antonio Moschetta, David J. Mangelsdorf, Richard A. Heyman, David D. Moore, Johan Auwerx
Today, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) represents the main cause of severe heart failure and disability in younger adults and thus is a challenge for public health. About 30% of DCM cases are genetic in origin; however, the large majority of cases are sporadic, and a viral or immune pathogenesis is suspected. Following the established postulates for pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, here we provide direct evidence that an autoimmune attack directed against the cardiac β1-adrenergic receptor may play a causal role in DCM. First, we immunized inbred rats against the second extracellular β1-receptor loop (β1-ECII; 100% sequence identity between human and rat) every month. All these rats developed first, receptor-stimulating anti–β1-ECII Ab’s and then, after 9 months, progressive severe left ventricular dilatation and dysfunction. Second, we transferred sera from anti–β1-ECII–positive and Ab-negative animals every month to healthy rats of the same strain. Strikingly, all anti–β1-ECII–transferred rats also developed a similar cardiomyopathic phenotype within a similar time frame, underlining the pathogenic potential of these receptor Ab’s. As a consequence, β1-adrenergic receptor–targeted autoimmune DCM should now be categorized with other known receptor Ab-mediated autoimmune diseases, such as Graves disease or myasthenia gravis. Although carried out in an experimental animal model, our findings should further encourage the development of therapeutic strategies that combat harmful anti–β1-ECII in receptor Ab–positive DCM patients.
Roland Jahns, Valérie Boivin, Lutz Hein, Sven Triebel, Christiane E. Angermann, Georg Ertl, Martin J. Lohse
Cav1.2 and Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCCs) are believed to underlie Ca2+ currents in brain, pancreatic β cells, and the cardiovascular system. In the CNS, neuronal LTCCs control excitation-transcription coupling and neuronal plasticity. However, the pharmacotherapeutic implications of CNS LTCC modulation are difficult to study because LTCC modulators cause card iovascular (activators and blockers) and neurotoxic (activators) effects. We selectively eliminated high dihydropyridine (DHP) sensitivity from Cav1.2 α1 subunits (Cav1.2DHP–/–) without affecting function and expression. This allowed separation of the DHP effects of Cav1.2 from those of Cav1.3 and other LTCCs. DHP effects on pancreatic β cell LTCC currents, insulin secretion, cardiac inotropy, and arterial smooth muscle contractility were lost in Cav1.2DHP–/– mice, which rules out a direct role of Cav1.3 for these physiological processes. Using Cav1.2DHP–/– mice, we established DHPs as mood-modifying agents: LTCC activator–induced neurotoxicity was abolished and disclosed a depression-like behavioral effect without affecting spontaneous locomotor activity. LTCC activator BayK 8644 (BayK) activated only a specific set of brain areas. In the ventral striatum, BayK-induced release of glutamate and 5-HT, but not dopamine and noradrenaline, was abolished. This animal model provides a useful tool to elucidate whether Cav1.3-selective channel modulation represents a novel pharmacological approach to modify CNS function without major peripheral effects.
Martina J. Sinnegger-Brauns, Alfred Hetzenauer, Irene G. Huber, Erik Renström, Georg Wietzorrek, Stanislav Berjukov, Maurizio Cavalli, Doris Walter, Alexandra Koschak, Ralph Waldschütz, Steffen Hering, Sergio Bova, Patrik Rorsman, Olaf Pongs, Nicolas Singewald, Jörg Striessnig
Extracellular nucleotides play an important role in thrombosis and inflammation, triggering a range of effects such as platelet activation and recruitment, endothelial cell activation, and vasoconstriction. CD39, the major vascular nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (NTPDase), converts ATP and ADP to AMP, which is further degraded to the antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory mediator adenosine. Deletion of CD39 renders mice exquisitely sensitive to vascular injury, and CD39-null cardiac xenografts show reduced survival. Conversely, upregulation of CD39 by somatic gene transfer or administration of soluble NTPDases has major benefits in models of transplantation and inflammation. In this study we examined the consequences of transgenic expression of human CD39 (hCD39) in mice. Importantly, these mice displayed no overt spontaneous bleeding tendency under normal circumstances. The hCD39 transgenic mice did, however, exhibit impaired platelet aggregation, prolonged bleeding times, and resistance to systemic thromboembolism. Donor hearts transgenic for hCD39 were substantially protected from thrombosis and survived longer in a mouse cardiac transplant model of vascular rejection. These thromboregulatory manifestations in hCD39 transgenic mice suggest important therapeutic potential in clinical vascular disease and in the control of serious thrombotic events that compromise the survival of porcine xenografts in primates.
Karen M. Dwyer, Simon C. Robson, Harshal H. Nandurkar, Duncan J. Campbell, Hilton Gock, Lisa J. Murray-Segal, Nella Fisicaro, Tharun B. Mysore, Elzbieta Kaczmarek, Peter J. Cowan, Anthony J.F. d’Apice
Cortical spreading depression (CSD) is a propagating wave of neuronal and glial depolarization and has been implicated in disorders of neurovascular regulation such as stroke, head trauma, and migraine. In this study, we found that CSD alters blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability by activating brain MMPs. Beginning at 3–6 hours, MMP-9 levels increased within cortex ipsilateral to the CSD, reaching a maximum at 24 hours and persisting for at least 48 hours. Gelatinolytic activity was detected earliest within the matrix of cortical blood vessels and later within neurons and pia arachnoid (≥3 hours), particularly within piriform cortex; this activity was suppressed by injection of the metalloprotease inhibitor GM6001 or in vitro by the addition of a zinc chelator (1,10-phenanthroline). At 3–24 hours, immunoreactive laminin, endothelial barrier antigen, and zona occludens-1 diminished in the ipsilateral cortex, suggesting that CSD altered proteins critical to the integrity of the BBB. At 3 hours after CSD, plasma protein leakage and brain edema developed contemporaneously. Albumin leakage was suppressed by the administration of GM6001. Protein leakage was not detected in MMP-9–null mice, implicating the MMP-9 isoform in barrier disruption. We conclude that intense neuronal and glial depolarization initiates a cascade that disrupts the BBB via an MMP-9–dependent mechanism.
Yasemin Gursoy-Ozdemir, Jianhua Qiu, Norihiro Matsuoka, Hayrunnisa Bolay, Daniela Bermpohl, Hongwei Jin, Xiaoying Wang, Gary A. Rosenberg, Eng H. Lo, Michael A. Moskowitz
Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by excessive deposition of amyloid β-peptides (Aβ peptides) in the brain. In the nonamyloidogenic pathway, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is cleaved by the α-secretase within the Aβ peptide sequence. Proteinases of the ADAM family (adisintegrin and metalloproteinase) are the main candidates as physiologically relevant α-secretases, but early lethality of knockout animals prevented a detailed analysis in neuronal cells. To overcome this restriction, we have generated transgenic mice that overexpress either ADAM10 or a catalytically inactive ADAM10 mutant. In this report we show that a moderate neuronal overexpression of ADAM10 in mice transgenic for human APP[V717I] increased the secretion of the neurotrophic soluble α-secretase–released N-terminal APP domain (APPsα), reduced the formation of Aβ peptides, and prevented their deposition in plaques. Functionally, impaired long-term potentiation and cognitive deficits were alleviated. Expression of mutant catalytically inactive ADAM10 led to an enhancement of the number and size of amyloid plaques in the brains of double-transgenic mice. The results provide the first in vivo evidence for a proteinase of the ADAM family as an α-secretase of APP, reveal activation of ADAM10 as a promising therapeutic target, and support the hypothesis that a decrease in α-secretase activity contributes to the development of AD.
Rolf Postina, Anja Schroeder, Ilse Dewachter, Juergen Bohl, Ulrich Schmitt, Elzbieta Kojro, Claudia Prinzen, Kristina Endres, Christoph Hiemke, Manfred Blessing, Pascaline Flamez, Antoine Dequenne, Emile Godaux, Fred van Leuven, Falk Fahrenholz
Recently, pathological prion protein PrPSc, the putative key constituent of infectious agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), was found in muscles of rodents experimentally infected with scrapie and in patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). For the assessment of risk scenarios originating from these findings (e.g., alimentary transmission of pathogens associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE] and chronic wasting disease [CWD] via tainted beef and game or iatrogenic dissemination of CJD agent through contaminated surgical instruments) more detailed information about the time course of PrPSc accumulation in muscles at preclinical and clinical stages of incubation is needed. Here we show that PrPSc in muscles of hamsters fed with scrapie can be detected prior to the onset of clinical symptoms, but that the bulk of PrPSc was deposited late in clinical disease. Additionally, regarding the question of how muscles become invaded, we report on the intramuscular location of PrPSc and substantial indications for centrifugal spread of infection from spinal motor neurons to myofibers. Our findings in a well-established animal model for TSEs contribute to a better assessment of the risks for public health emanating from “Prions in skeletal muscle” and provide new insights into the pathophysiological spread of TSE agents through the body.
Achim Thomzig, Walter Schulz-Schaeffer, Christine Kratzel, Jessica Mai, Michael Beekes
Hyperactivation of immune cells by bacterial products through toll-like receptors (TLRs) is thought of as a causative mechanism of septic shock pathology. Infections with Gram-negative or Gram-positive bacteria provide TLR2-specific agonists and are the major cause of severe sepsis. In order to intervene in TLR2-driven toxemia, we raised mAb’s against the extracellular domain of TLR2. Surface plasmon resonance analysis showed direct and specific interaction of TLR2 and immunostimulatory lipopeptide, which was blocked by T2.5 in a dose-dependent manner. Application of mAb T2.5 inhibited cell activation in experimental murine models of infection. T2.5 also antagonized TLR2-specific activation of primary human macrophages. TLR2 surface expression by murine macrophages was surprisingly weak, while both intra- and extracellular expression increased upon systemic microbial challenge. Systemic application of T2.5 upon lipopeptide challenge inhibited release of inflammatory mediators such as TNF-α and prevented lethal shock-like syndrome in mice. Twenty milligrams per kilogram of T2.5 was sufficient to protect mice, and administration of 40 mg/kg of T2.5 was protective even 3 hours after the start of otherwise lethal challenge with Bacillus subtilis. These results indicate that epitope-specific binding of exogenous ligands precedes specific TLR signaling and suggest therapeutic application of a neutralizing anti-TLR2 antibody in acute infection.
Guangxun Meng, Mark Rutz, Matthias Schiemann, Jochen Metzger, Alina Grabiec, Ralf Schwandner, Peter B. Luppa, Frank Ebel, Dirk H. Busch, Stefan Bauer, Hermann Wagner, Carsten J. Kirschning
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate host responses to bacterial gene products. As the airway epithelium is potentially exposed to many diverse inhaled bacteria, TLRs involved in defense of the airways must be broadly responsive, available at the exposed apical surface of the cells, and highly regulated to prevent activation following trivial encounters with bacteria. We demonstrate that TLR2 is enriched in caveolin-1–associated lipid raft microdomains presented on the apical surface of airway epithelial cells after bacterial infection. These receptor complexes include myeloid differentiation protein (MyD88), interleukin-1 receptor–activated kinase-1, and TNF receptor–associated factor 6. The signaling capabilities of TLR2 are amplified through its association with the asialoganglioside gangliotetraosylceramide (Galβ1,2GalNAcβ1,4Galβ1,4Glcβ1,1Cer), which has receptor function itself for many pulmonary pathogens. Ligation of either TLR2 or asialoGM1 by ligands with specificity for either receptor, by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or by Staphylococcus aureus stimulates IL-8 production through activation of NF-κB, as mediated by TLR2 and MyD88. Thus, TLR2 in association with asialo-glycolipids presented within the context of lipid rafts provides a broadly responsive signaling complex at the apical surfaces of airway cells to initiate the host response to potential bacterial infection.
Grace Soong, Bharat Reddy, Sach Sokol, Robert Adamo, Alice Prince
While Crohn disease (CD) has been clearly identified as a Th1 inflammation, the immunopathogenesis of its counterpart inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), remains enigmatic. Here we show that lamina propria T (LPT) cells from UC patients produce significantly greater amounts of IL-13 (and IL-5) than control cells and little IFN-γ, whereas comparable cells from CD patients produce large amounts of IFN-γ and small amounts of IL-13. We then show that stimulation of UC LPT cells bearing an NK marker (CD161) with anti-CD2/anti-CD28 or with B cells expressing transfected CD1d induces substantial IL-13 production. While this provided firm evidence that the IL-13–producing cell is an NK T (NKT) cell, it became clear that this cell does not express invariant NKT cell receptors characteristic of most NKT cells since there was no increase in cells binding α-galactosylceramide–loaded tetramers, and α-galactosylceramide did not induce IL-13 secretion. Finally, we show that both human NKT cell lines as well as UC CD161+ LPT cells are cytotoxic for HT-29 epithelial cells and that this cytotoxicity is augmented by IL-13. These studies show that UC is associated with an atypical Th2 response mediated by nonclassical NKT cells producing IL-13 and having cytotoxic potential for epithelial cells.
Ivan J. Fuss, Frank Heller, Monica Boirivant, Francisco Leon, Masaru Yoshida, Stefan Fichtner-Feigl, Zhiqiong Yang, Mark Exley, Atsushi Kitani, Richard S. Blumberg, Peter Mannon, Warren Strober
The clonotypic surface Ig receptor expressed by malignant B cells, idiotype, is a tumor-specific antigen and an attractive target for active immunotherapy. While Ab’s specific for tumor idiotype have been well described in patients with B cell malignancies, the precise antigenic epitopes in human idiotype recognized by autologous T cells remain largely unknown. We report here that T cell lines generated from lymphoma patients actively immunized with idiotype protein specifically recognized multiple, unique immunodominant epitopes in autologous tumor idiotype. Synthetic peptides corresponding to hypervariable, but not framework, regions of Ig heavy chain specifically stimulated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to proliferate and secrete proinflammatory cytokines in an MHC-associated manner. Detailed analysis revealed a minimal determinant of an immunodominant epitope, comprising critical residues at the amino terminus that may be a product of somatic hypermutation. Association of idiotype-specific T cell responses with previously documented molecular remissions in idiotype-vaccinated patients suggests that the newly identified T cell epitopes may be clinically relevant. Such antigenic epitopes may serve as candidates for novel peptide-vaccine strategies, and as tools to selectively expand tumor antigen–specific T cells for adoptive immunotherapy and for monitoring T cell immunity in vaccinated patients.
Sivasubramanian Baskar, Carol B. Kobrin, Larry W. Kwak