Based on studies by our group and others, we hypothesized that IL-7 may possess antifibrotic activities in an IFN-γ–dependent and independent manner. Here, we have evaluated the antifibrotic therapeutic potential of IL-7 in both in vitro and in vivo pulmonary fibrosis models. IL-7 inhibited both TGF-β production and signaling in fibroblasts and required an intact JAK1/STAT1 signal transduction pathway. IL-7–mediated inhibition of TGF-β signaling was found to be associated with an increase in Smad7, a major inhibitory regulator in the SMAD family. In the presence of IL-7, Smad7 dominant negative fibroblasts restored TGF-β–induced collagen synthesis, indicating that an IL-7–mediated increase in Smad7 suppressed TGF-β signaling. Consistent with these in vitro findings, recombinant IL-7 decreased bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in vivo, independent of IFN-γ. The antifibrotic activities of IL-7 merit further basic and clinical investigation for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.
Min Huang, Sherven Sharma, Li X. Zhu, Michael P. Keane, Jie Luo, Ling Zhang, Marie D. Burdick, Ying Q. Lin, Mariam Dohadwala, Brian Gardner, Raj K. Batra, Robert M. Strieter, Steven M. Dubinett
Deficiency of the Golgi enzyme UDP-Gal:N-acetylglucosamine β-1,4-galactosyltransferase I (β4GalT I) (E.C.22.214.171.124) causes a new congenital disorder of glycosylation (CDG), designated type IId (CDG-IId), a severe neurologic disease characterized by a hydrocephalus, myopathy, and blood-clotting defects. Analysis of oligosaccharides from serum transferrin by HPLC, mass spectrometry, and lectin binding revealed the loss of sialic acid and galactose residues. In skin fibroblasts and leukocytes, galactosyltransferase activity was reduced to 5% that of controls. In fibroblasts, a truncated polypeptide was detected that was about 12 kDa smaller in size than wild-type β4GalT I and that failed to localize to the Golgi apparatus. Sequencing of the β4GalT I cDNA and gene revealed an insertion of a single nucleotide (1031-1032insC) leading to premature translation stop and loss of the C-terminal 50 amino acids of the enzyme. The patient was homozygous and his parents heterozygous for this mutation. Expression of a corresponding mutant cDNA in COS-7 cells led to the synthesis of a truncated, inactive polypeptide, which localized to the endoplasmic reticulum.
Bengt Hanßke, Christian Thiel, Torben Lübke, Martin Hasilik, Stefan Höning, Verena Peters, Peter H. Heidemann, Georg F. Hoffmann, Eric G. Berger, Kurt von Figura, Christian Körner
Increased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression is a component of the immune response and has been demonstrated in cardiomyocytes in septic shock, myocarditis, transplant rejection, ischemia, and dilated cardiomyopathy. To explore whether the consequences of such expression are adaptive or pathogenic, we have generated a transgenic mouse model conditionally targeting the expression of a human iNOS cDNA to myocardium. Chronic cardiac-specific upregulation of iNOS in transgenic mice led to increased production of peroxynitrite. This was associated with a mild inflammatory cell infiltrate, cardiac fibrosis, hypertrophy, and dilatation. While iNOS-overexpressing mice infrequently developed overt heart failure, they displayed a high incidence of sudden cardiac death due to bradyarrhythmia. This dramatic cardiac phenotype was rescued by specific attenuation of transgene activity. These data implicate cardiomyocyte iNOS overexpression as sufficient to cause cardiomyopathy, bradyarrhythmia, and sudden cardiac death.
Imran N. Mungrue, Robert Gros, Xiaomang You, Asif Pirani, Azar Azad, Tamas Csont, Richard Schulz, Jagdish Butany, Duncan J. Stewart, Mansoor Husain
To investigate the physiological role of the α1D-adrenergic receptor (α1D-AR) subtype, we created mice lacking the α1D-AR (α1D–/–) by gene targeting and characterized their cardiovascular function. In α1D–/– mice, the RT-PCR did not detect any transcript of the α1D-AR in any tissue examined, and there was no apparent upregulation of other α1-AR subtypes. Radioligand binding studies showed that α1-AR binding capacity in the aorta was lost, while that in the heart was unaltered in α1D–/– mice. Non-anesthetized α1D–/– mice maintained significantly lower basal systolic and mean arterial blood pressure conditions, relative to wild-type mice, and they showed no significant change in heart rate or in cardiac function, as assessed by echocardiogram. Besides hypotension, the pressor responses to phenylephrine and norepinephrine were decreased by 30–40% in α1D–/– mice. Furthermore, the contractile response of the aorta and the pressor response of isolated perfused mesenteric arterial beds to α1-AR stimulation were markedly reduced in α1D–/– mice. We conclude that the α1D-AR participates directly in sympathetic regulation of systemic blood pressure by vasoconstriction.
Akito Tanoue, Yoshihisa Nasa, Takaaki Koshimizu, Hitomi Shinoura, Sayuri Oshikawa, Takayuki Kawai, Sachie Sunada, Satoshi Takeo, Gozoh Tsujimoto
There is increasing evidence that bacterial superantigens contribute to inflammation and T cell responses in psoriasis. Psoriatic inflammation entails a complex series of inductive and effector processes that require the regulated expression of various proinflammatory genes, many of which require NF-κB for maximal trans-activation. PS-519 is a potent and selective proteasome inhibitor based upon the naturally occurring compound lactacystin, which inhibits NF-κB activation by blocking the degradation of its inhibitory protein IκB. We report that proteasome inhibition by PS-519 reduces superantigen-mediated T cell–activation in vitro and in vivo. Proliferation was inhibited along with the expression of very early (CD69), early (CD25), and late T cell (HLA-DR) activation molecules. Moreover, expression of E-selectin ligands relevant to dermal T cell homing was reduced, as was E-selectin binding in vitro. Finally, PS-519 proved to be therapeutically effective in a SCID-hu xenogeneic psoriasis transplantation model. We conclude that inhibition of the proteasome, e.g., by PS-519, is a promising means to treat T cell–mediated disorders such as psoriasis.
Thomas M. Zollner, Maurizio Podda, Christine Pien, Peter J. Elliott, Roland Kaufmann, Wolf-Henning Boehncke
Three genes, TTF1, TTF2, and PAX8, involved in thyroid gland development and migration have been identified. Yet systematic screening for defects in these genes in thyroid dysgenesis gave essentially negative results. In particular, no TTF1 gene defects were found in 76 individuals with thyroid dysgenesis even though a deletion of this gene in the mouse results in thyroid and lung agenesis and defective diencephalon. We report a 6-year-old boy with predominant dyskinesia, neonatal respiratory distress, and mild hyperthyrotropinemia. One allele of his TTF1 gene had a guanidine inserted into codon 86 producing a nonsense protein of 407, rather than 371, amino acids. The mutant TTF1 did not bind to its canonical cis-element or transactivate a reporter gene driven by the thyroglobulin promoter, a natural target of TTF1. Failure of the mutant TTF1 to interfere with binding and transactivation functions of the wild-type TTF1 suggested that the syndrome was caused by haploinsufficiency. This was confirmed in mice heterozygous for Ttf1 gene deletion, heretofore considered to be normal. Compared with wild-type littermates, Ttf1+/– mice had poor coordination and a significant elevation of serum thyrotropin. Therefore, haploinsufficiency of the TTF1 gene results in a predominantly neurological phenotype and secondary hyperthyrotropinemia.
Joachim Pohlenz, Alexandra Dumitrescu, Dorothee Zundel, Ursula Martiné, Winfried Schönberger, Eugene Koo, Roy E. Weiss, Ronald N. Cohen, Shioko Kimura, Samuel Refetoff
The occurrence of neurological symptoms and developmental delay in patients affected by congenital hypothyroidism (CH) has been attributed to the lack of thyroid hormone in the developing CNS. Accordingly, after the introduction of neonatal screening programs for CH, which allowed early and adequate treatment, an almost normal outcome for most CH patients could be achieved. However, a few patients did not reach this favorable outcome despite early and adequate treatment. Here we describe five patients with variable degrees of CH who suffered from choreoathetosis, muscular hypotonia, and pulmonary problems, an association of symptoms that had not been described before this study. Since this clinical picture matched the phenotype of mice targeted for deletion of the transcription factor gene Nkx2-1, we investigated the human NKX2-1 gene in these five patients. We found heterozygous loss of function mutations in each of these five patients, e.g., one complete gene deletion, one missense mutation (G2626T), and three nonsense mutations (2595insGG, C2519A, C1302A). Therefore, the unfavorable outcome in patients with CH, especially those with choreoathetosis and pulmonary symptoms, can be explained by mutations in the NKX2-1 gene rather than by hypothyroidism. Moreover, the association of symptoms in the patients with NKX2-1 mutations points to an important role of human NKX2-1 in the development and function of thyroid, basal ganglia, and lung, as already described for rodents.
Heiko Krude, Barbara Schütz, Heike Biebermann, Arpad von Moers, Dirk Schnabel, Heidi Neitzel, Holger Tönnies, Dagmar Weise, Antony Lafferty, Siegfried Schwarz, Mario DeFelice, Andreas von Deimling, Frank van Landeghem, Roberto DiLauro, Annette Grüters
The congenital polycystic kidney (cpk) mutation is the most extensively characterized mouse model of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The renal cystic disease is fully expressed in homozygotes and is strikingly similar to human autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD), whereas genetic background modulates the penetrance of the corresponding defect in the developing biliary tree. We now describe the positional cloning, mutation analysis, and expression of a novel gene that is disrupted in cpk mice. The cpk gene is expressed primarily in the kidney and liver and encodes a hydrophilic, 145–amino acid protein, which we term cystin. When expressed exogenously in polarized renal epithelial cells, cystin is detected in cilia, and its expression overlaps with polaris, another PKD-related protein. We therefore propose that the single epithelial cilium is important in the functional differentiation of polarized epithelia and that ciliary dysfunction underlies the PKD phenotype in cpk mice.
Xiaoying Hou, Michal Mrug, Bradley K. Yoder, Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Gabriel Kremmidiotis, Peter D’Eustachio, David R. Beier, Lisa M. Guay-Woodford