Review

Abstract

Endogenous danger signals, or damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), are generated in response to cell stress and activate innate immunity to provide a pivotal mechanism by which an organism can respond to damaged self. Accumulating experimental and clinical data have established the importance of DAMPs, which signal through innate pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) or DAMP-specific receptors, in regulating the alloresponse to solid organ transplantation (SOT). Moreover, DAMPs may incite distinct downstream cellular responses that could specifically contribute to the development of allograft fibrosis and chronic graft dysfunction. A growing understanding of the role of DAMPs in directing the immune response to transplantation has suggested novel avenues for the treatment or prevention of allograft rejection that complement contemporary immunosuppression and could lead to improved outcomes for solid organ recipients.

Authors

Jamie L. Todd, Scott M. Palmer

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Abstract

An increasing number of older people receive organ transplants for various end-stage conditions. Although organ transplantation is an effective therapy for older patients (i.e., older than 65 years of age), such as in end-stage renal disease, this therapy has not been optimized for older patients because of our lack of understanding of the effect of aging and the immune response to organ transplantation. Here, we provide an overview of the impact of aging on both the allograft and the recipient and its effect on the immune response to organ transplantation. We describe what has been determined to date, discuss existing gaps in our knowledge, and make suggestions on necessary future studies to optimize organ transplantation for older people.

Authors

Monica M. Colvin, Candice A. Smith, Stefan G. Tullius, Daniel R. Goldstein

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Abstract

Although gene-environment interactions have been investigated for many years to understand people’s susceptibility to autoimmune diseases or cancer, a role for environmental factors in modulating alloimmune responses and transplant outcomes is only now beginning to emerge. New data suggest that diet, hyperlipidemia, pollutants, commensal microbes, and pathogenic infections can all affect T cell activation, differentiation, and the kinetics of graft rejection. These observations reveal opportunities for novel therapeutic interventions to improve graft outcomes as well as for noninvasive biomarker discovery to predict or diagnose graft deterioration before it becomes irreversible. In this Review, we will focus on the impact of these environmental factors on immune function and, when known, on alloimmune function, as well as on transplant fate.

Authors

Leonardo V. Riella, Jessamyn Bagley, John Iacomini, Maria-Luisa Alegre

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Abstract

Despite the prevalence of viral infections in the American population, we still have a limited understanding of how they affect pregnancy and fetal development. Viruses can gain access to the decidua and placenta by ascending from the lower reproductive tract or via hematogenous transmission. Viral tropism for the decidua and placenta is then dependent on viral entry receptor expression in these tissues as well as on the maternal immune response to the virus. These factors vary by cell type and gestational age and can be affected by changes to the in utero environment and maternal immunity. Some viruses can directly infect the fetus at specific times during gestation, while some only infect the placenta. Both scenarios can result in severe birth defects or pregnancy loss. Systemic maternal viral infections can also affect the pregnancy, and these can be especially dangerous, because pregnant women suffer higher virus-associated morbidity and mortality than do nonpregnant counterparts. In this Review, we discuss the potential contributions of maternal, placental, and fetal viral infection to pregnancy outcome, fetal development, and maternal well-being.

Authors

Karen Racicot, Gil Mor

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Abstract

The cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) not only provides mechanical support, but also transduces essential molecular signals in health and disease. Following myocardial infarction, dynamic ECM changes drive inflammation and repair. Early generation of bioactive matrix fragments activates proinflammatory signaling. The formation of a highly plastic provisional matrix facilitates leukocyte infiltration and activates infarct myofibroblasts. Deposition of matricellular proteins modulates growth factor signaling and contributes to the spatial and temporal regulation of the reparative response. Mechanical stress due to pressure and volume overload and metabolic dysfunction also induce profound changes in ECM composition that contribute to the pathogenesis of heart failure. This manuscript reviews the role of the ECM in cardiac repair and remodeling and discusses matrix-based therapies that may attenuate remodeling while promoting repair and regeneration.

Authors

Nikolaos G. Frangogiannis

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Abstract

Steroid hormones mediate critical lineage-specific developmental and physiologic responses. They function by binding their cognate receptors, which are transcription factors that drive specific gene expression programs. The requirement of most prostate cancers for androgen and most breast cancers for estrogen has led to the development of endocrine therapies that block the action of these hormones in these tumors. While initial endocrine interventions are successful, resistance to therapy often arises. We will review how steroid receptor–dependent genomic signaling is affected by genetic alterations in endocrine therapy resistance. The detailed understanding of these interactions will not only provide improved treatment options to overcome resistance, but, in the future, will also be the basis for implementing precision cancer medicine approaches.

Authors

Anna C. Groner, Myles Brown

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Abstract

Following the first isolation of nuclear receptor (NR) genes, genetic disorders caused by NR gene mutations were initially discovered by a candidate gene approach based on their known roles in endocrine pathways and physiologic processes. Subsequently, the identification of disorders has been informed by phenotypes associated with gene disruption in animal models or by genetic linkage studies. More recently, whole exome sequencing has associated pathogenic genetic variants with unexpected, often multisystem, human phenotypes. To date, defects in 20 of 48 human NR genes have been associated with human disorders, with different mutations mediating phenotypes of varying severity or several distinct conditions being associated with different changes in the same gene. Studies of individuals with deleterious genetic variants can elucidate novel roles of human NRs, validating them as targets for drug development or providing new insights into structure-function relationships. Importantly, human genetic discoveries enable definitive disease diagnosis and can provide opportunities to therapeutically manage affected individuals. Here we review germline changes in human NR genes associated with “monogenic” conditions, including a discussion of the structural basis of mutations that cause distinctive changes in NR function and the molecular mechanisms mediating pathogenesis.

Authors

John C. Achermann, John Schwabe, Louise Fairall, Krishna Chatterjee

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Abstract

Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptors (PPARs) regulate energy metabolism and hence are therapeutic targets in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While they share anti-inflammatory activities, the PPAR isotypes distinguish themselves by differential actions on lipid and glucose homeostasis. In this Review we discuss the complementary and distinct metabolic effects of the PPAR isotypes together with the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms, as well as the synthetic PPAR ligands that are used in the clinic or under development. We highlight the potential of new PPAR ligands with improved efficacy and safety profiles in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders.

Authors

Vanessa Dubois, Jérôme Eeckhoute, Philippe Lefebvre, Bart Staels

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Abstract

Members of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily of ligand-regulated transcription factors play important roles in reproduction, development, and physiology. In humans, genetic mutations in NRs are causes of rare diseases, while hormones and drugs that target NRs are in widespread therapeutic use. The present issue of the JCI includes a series of Review articles focused on specific NRs and their wide range of biological functions. Here I reflect on the past, present, and potential future highlights of research on the NR superfamily.

Authors

Mitchell A. Lazar

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Abstract

Glucocorticoids (GCs; referred to clinically as corticosteroids) are steroid hormones with potent anti-inflammatory and immune modulatory profiles. Depending on the context, these hormones can also mediate pro-inflammatory activities, thereby serving as primers of the immune system. Their target receptor, the GC receptor (GR), is a multi-tasking transcription factor, changing its role and function depending on cellular and organismal needs. To get a clearer idea of how to improve the safety profile of GCs, recent studies have investigated the complex mechanisms underlying GR functions. One of the key findings includes both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles of GR, and a future challenge will be to understand how such paradoxical findings can be reconciled and how GR ultimately shifts the balance to a net anti-inflammatory profile. As such, there is consensus that GR deserves a second life as a drug target, with either refined classic GCs or a novel generation of nonsteroidal GR-targeting molecules, to meet the increasing clinical needs of today to treat inflammation and cancer.

Authors

Sofie J. Desmet, Karolien De Bosscher

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Abstract

The nuclear receptors PPARα (encoded by NR1C1) and farnesoid X receptor (FXR, encoded by NR1H4) are activated in the liver in the fasted and fed state, respectively. PPARα activation induces fatty acid oxidation, while FXR controls bile acid homeostasis, but both nuclear receptors also regulate numerous other metabolic pathways relevant to liver energy balance. Here we review evidence that they function coordinately to control key nutrient pathways, including fatty acid oxidation and gluconeogenesis in the fasted state and lipogenesis and glycolysis in the fed state. We have also recently reported that these receptors have mutually antagonistic impacts on autophagy, which is induced by PPARα but suppressed by FXR. Secretion of multiple blood proteins is a major drain on liver energy and nutrient resources, and we present preliminary evidence that the liver secretome may be directly suppressed by PPARα, but induced by FXR. Finally, previous studies demonstrated a striking deficiency in bile acid levels in malnourished mice that is consistent with results in malnourished children. We present evidence that hepatic targets of PPARα and FXR are dysregulated in chronic undernutrition. We conclude that PPARα and FXR function coordinately to integrate liver energy balance.

Authors

Geoffrey A. Preidis, Kang Ho Kim, David D. Moore

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Abstract

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a reemerging arbovirus, causes a crippling musculoskeletal inflammatory disease in humans characterized by fever, polyarthralgia, myalgia, rash, and headache. CHIKV is transmitted by Aedes species of mosquitoes and is capable of an epidemic, urban transmission cycle with high rates of infection. Since 2004, CHIKV has spread to new areas, causing disease on a global scale, and the potential for CHIKV epidemics remains high. Although CHIKV has caused millions of cases of disease and significant economic burden in affected areas, no licensed vaccines or antiviral therapies are available. In this Review, we describe CHIKV epidemiology, replication cycle, pathogenesis and host immune responses, and prospects for effective vaccines and highlight important questions for future research.

Authors

Laurie A. Silva, Terence S. Dermody

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Abstract

Many RNA species have been identified as important players in the development of chronic diseases, including cancer. Over the past decade, numerous studies have highlighted how regulatory RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play crucial roles in the development of a disease state. It is clear that the aberrant expression of miRNAs promotes tumor initiation and progression, is linked with cardiac dysfunction, allows for the improper physiological response in maintaining glucose and insulin levels, and can prevent the appropriate integration of neuronal networks, resulting in neurodegenerative disorders. Because of this, there has been a major effort to therapeutically target these noncoding RNAs. In just the past 5 years, over 100 antisense oligonucleotide–based therapies have been tested in phase I clinical trials, a quarter of which have reached phase II/III. Most notable are fomivirsen and mipomersen, which have received FDA approval to treat cytomegalovirus retinitis and high blood cholesterol, respectively. The continued improvement of innovative RNA modifications and delivery entities, such as nanoparticles, will aid in the development of future RNA-based therapeutics for a broader range of chronic diseases. Here we summarize the latest promises and challenges of targeting noncoding RNAs in disease.

Authors

Brian D. Adams, Christine Parsons, Lisa Walker, Wen Cai Zhang, Frank J. Slack

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Abstract

Regulatory B cells (Bregs) modulate immune responses predominantly, although not exclusively, via the release of IL-10. The importance of human Bregs in the maintenance of immune homeostasis comes from a variety of immune-related pathologies, such as autoimmune diseases, cancers, and chronic infections that are often associated with abnormalities in Breg numbers or function. A continuous effort toward understanding Breg biology in healthy individuals will provide new opportunities to develop Breg immunotherapy that could prove beneficial in treating various immune-mediated pathologies. In this Review, we discuss findings regarding human Bregs, including their mechanisms of suppression and role in different disease settings. We also propose several therapeutic strategies targeting Bregs for better management of immune disorders.

Authors

Claudia Mauri, Madhvi Menon

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Abstract

Hemolysis is a fundamental feature of sickle cell anemia that contributes to its pathophysiology and phenotypic variability. Decompartmentalized hemoglobin, arginase 1, asymmetric dimethylarginine, and adenine nucleotides are all products of hemolysis that promote vasomotor dysfunction, proliferative vasculopathy, and a multitude of clinical complications of pulmonary and systemic vasculopathy, including pulmonary hypertension, leg ulcers, priapism, chronic kidney disease, and large-artery ischemic stroke. Nitric oxide (NO) is inactivated by cell-free hemoglobin in a dioxygenation reaction that also oxidizes hemoglobin to methemoglobin, a non–oxygen-binding form of hemoglobin that readily loses heme. Circulating hemoglobin and heme represent erythrocytic danger-associated molecular pattern (eDAMP) molecules, which activate the innate immune system and endothelium to an inflammatory, proadhesive state that promotes sickle vaso-occlusion and acute lung injury in murine models of sickle cell disease. Intravascular hemolysis can impair NO bioavailability and cause oxidative stress, altering redox balance and amplifying physiological processes that govern blood flow, hemostasis, inflammation, and angiogenesis. These pathological responses promote regional vasoconstriction and subsequent blood vessel remodeling. Thus, intravascular hemolysis represents an intrinsic mechanism for human vascular disease that manifests clinical complications in sickle cell disease and other chronic hereditary or acquired hemolytic anemias.

Authors

Gregory J. Kato, Martin H. Steinberg, Mark T. Gladwin

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Abstract

In addition to being a component of innate immunity and an ancient defense mechanism against invading pathogens, complement activation also participates in the adaptive immune response, inflammation, hemostasis, embryogenesis, and organ repair and development. Activation of the complement system via classical, lectin, or alternative pathways generates anaphylatoxins (C3a and C5a) and membrane attack complex (C5b-9) and opsonizes targeted cells. Complement activation end products and their receptors mediate cell-cell interactions that regulate several biological functions in the extravascular tissue. Signaling of anaphylatoxin receptors or assembly of membrane attack complex promotes cell dedifferentiation, proliferation, and migration in addition to reducing apoptosis. As a result, complement activation in the tumor microenvironment enhances tumor growth and increases metastasis. In this Review, I discuss immune and nonimmune functions of complement proteins and the tumor-promoting effect of complement activation.

Authors

Vahid Afshar-Kharghan

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Abstract

The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is the single known regulatory mediator of hormonal 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] in higher vertebrates. It acts in the nucleus of vitamin D target cells to regulate the expression of genes whose products control diverse, cell type–specific biological functions that include mineral homeostasis. In this Review we describe progress that has been made in defining new cellular sites of action of this receptor, the mechanisms through which this mediator controls the expression of genes, the biology that ensues, and the translational impact of this receptor on human health and disease. We conclude with a brief discussion of what comes next in understanding vitamin D biology and the mechanisms that underlie its actions.

Authors

J. Wesley Pike, Mark B. Meyer, Seong-Min Lee, Melda Onal, Nancy A. Benkusky

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Abstract

Neural pathways, especially those in the hypothalamus, integrate multiple nutritional, hormonal, and neural signals, resulting in the coordinated control of body weight balance and glucose homeostasis. Nuclear receptors (NRs) sense changing levels of nutrients and hormones, and therefore play essential roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Understanding the role and the underlying mechanisms of NRs in the context of energy balance control may facilitate the identification of novel targets to treat obesity. Notably, NRs are abundantly expressed in the brain, and emerging evidence indicates that a number of these brain NRs regulate multiple aspects of energy balance, including feeding, energy expenditure and physical activity. In this Review we summarize some of the recent literature regarding effects of brain NRs on body weight regulation and discuss mechanisms underlying these effects.

Authors

Yong Xu, Bert W. O’Malley, Joel K. Elmquist

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Abstract

The adult heart is uniquely designed and equipped to provide a continuous supply of energy in the form of ATP to support persistent contractile function. This high-capacity energy transduction system is the result of a remarkable surge in mitochondrial biogenesis and maturation during the fetal-to-adult transition in cardiac development. Substantial evidence indicates that nuclear receptor signaling is integral to dynamic changes in the cardiac mitochondrial phenotype in response to developmental cues, in response to diverse postnatal physiologic conditions, and in disease states such as heart failure. A subset of cardiac-enriched nuclear receptors serve to match mitochondrial fuel preferences and capacity for ATP production with changing energy demands of the heart. In this Review, we describe the role of specific nuclear receptors and their coregulators in the dynamic control of mitochondrial biogenesis and energy metabolism in the normal and diseased heart.

Authors

Rick B. Vega, Daniel P. Kelly

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Abstract

Parasitic worms infect billions of people worldwide. Current treatments rely on a small group of drugs that have been used for decades. A shortcoming of these drugs is their inability to target the intractable infectious stage of the parasite. As well-known therapeutic targets in mammals, nuclear receptors have begun to be studied in parasitic worms, where they are widely distributed and play key roles in governing metabolic and developmental transcriptional networks. One such nuclear receptor is DAF-12, which is required for normal nematode development, including the all-important infectious stage. Here we review the emerging literature that implicates DAF-12 and potentially other nuclear receptors as novel anthelmintic targets.

Authors

Zhu Wang, Nathaniel E. Schaffer, Steven A. Kliewer, David J. Mangelsdorf

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