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Articles from this Volume

Bernadette R Gochuico, Marjan Huizing, Gretchen A Golas, Charles D Scher, Maria Tsokos, Stacey D Denver, Melissa J Frei-Jones, and William A Gahl

Pulmonary fibrosis develops in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) types 1 and 4. Limited information is available about lung disease in HPS type 2 (HPS-2), which is characterized by abnormal function of the adaptor protein-3 (AP-3) complex. To define lung disease in HPS-2, one child and two adults with HPS-2 were evaluated at the National Institutes of Health on at least two visits, and another child was evaluated at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. All four subjects with HPS-2 had findings of interstitial lung disease (ILD) on a high-resolution computed tomography scan of the chest. The predominant feature was ground glass opacification. Subject 1, a 14-year-old male, and subject 4, a 4-year-old male, had severe ILD, pulmonary fibrosis, secondary
pulmonary hypertension and recurrent lung infections. Lung biopsy performed at 20 months of age in subject 1 revealed interstitial fibrosis and prominent type II pneumocyte hyperplasia without lamellar body enlargement. Subject 2, a 27-year-old male smoker, had mild ILD. Subject 3, a 22-year-old male nonsmoker and brother of subject 2, had minimal ILD. Severe impairment of gas exchange was found in subjects 1 and 4 and not in subjects 2 or 3. Plasma concentrations of transforming growth factor- β1 and interleukin-17A correlated with severity of HPS-2 ILD. These data show that children and young adults with HPS-2 and functional defects of the AP-3 complex are at risk for ILD and pulmonary fibrosis.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 6, 2012 12:00 AM CST
Mohamed N Ahmed, Yinzhong Zhang, Champa Codipilly, Nahla Zaghloul, Dhara Patel, Michael Wolin, and Edmund J Miller
Hypoxia leads to free radical production, which has a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of pulmonary hypertension (PH). We hypothesized that treatment with extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) could ameliorate the development of PH induced by hypoxia. In vitro studies using pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells showed that cells transfected with EC-SOD had significantly less accumulation of xanthine oxidase and reactive oxygen species than nontransfected cells after hypoxia exposure for 24 h. To study the prophylactic role of EC-SOD, adult male wild-type (WT) and transgenic (TG) mice, with lung-specific overexpression of human EC-SOD (hEC-SOD), were exposed to fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) 10% for 10 d. After exposure, right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), right ventricular mass (RV/S + LV), pulmonary vascular wall thickness (PVWT) and pulmonary artery contraction/relaxation were assessed. TG mice were protected against PH compared with WT mice with significantly lower RVSP (23.9 ± 1.24 versus 47.2 ± 3.4), RV/S + LV (0.287 ± 0.015 versus 0.335 ± 0.022) and vascular remodeling, indicated by PVWT (14.324 ± 1.107 versus 18.885 ± 1.529). Functional studies using pulmonary arteries isolated from mice indicated that EC-SOD prevents hypoxia-mediated attenuation of nitric oxide–induced relaxation. Therapeutic potential was assessed by exposing WT mice to FiO2 10% for 10 d. Half of the group was transfected with plasmid containing cDNA encoding human EC-SOD. The remaining animals were transfected with empty vector. Both groups were exposed to FiO2 10% for a further 10 d. Transfected mice had significantly reduced RVSP (18.97 ± 1.12 versus 41.3 ± 1.5), RV/S + LV (0.293 ± 0.012 versus 0.372 ± 0.014) and PVWT (12.51 ± 0.72 versus 18.98 ± 1.24). On the basis of these findings, we concluded that overexpression of EC-SOD prevents the development of PH and ameliorates established PH.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 5, 2012 12:00 AM CST
Karina Zitta, Patrick Meybohm, Berthold Bein, Christin Heinrich, Jochen Renner, Jochen Cremer,
Markus Steinfath, Jens Scholz, and Martin Albrecht

Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) can be induced by transient occlusion of blood flow to a limb with a blood pressure cuff and exerts multiorgan protection from ischemia/reperfusion injury. Ischemia/reperfusion injury in the intestinal tract leads to intestinal barrier dysfunction and can result in multiple organ failure. Here we used an intestinal cell line (CaCo-2) to evaluate the effects of RIPC-conditioned patient sera on hypoxia-induced cell damage in vitro and to identify serum factors that mediate RIPC effects. Patient sera (n = 10) derived before RIPC (T0), directly after RIPC (T1) and 1 h after RIPC (T2) were added to the culture medium at the onset of hypoxia until 48 h after hypoxia. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays, caspase-3/7 assays, silver staining, gelatin zymography and Western blotting were performed. Hypoxia led to morphological signs of cell damage and increased the release of LDH in cultures containing sera T0 (P < 0.01) and T1 (P < 0.05), but not sera T2, which reduced the hypoxia-mediated LDH release compared with sera T0 (P < 0.05). Gelatin zymography revealed a significant reduction of activities of the matrixmetalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 in the protective sera T2 compared with the nonprotective sera T0 (MMP-2: P < 0.01; MMP-9: P < 0.05). Addition of human recombinant MMP-2 and MMP-9 to MMP-deficient culture media increased the sensitivity of CaCo-2 cells to hypoxia-induced cell damage (P < 0.05), but did not result in a reduced phosphorylation of prosurvival kinases p42/44 and protein kinase B (Akt) or increased activity of caspase-3/7. Our results suggest MMP-2 and MMP-9 as currently unknown humoral factors that may be involved in RIPC-mediated cytoprotection in the intestine.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 4, 2012 12:00 AM CST
Jessie-F Fecteau, Ila S Bharati, Morgan O'Hayre, Tracy M Handel, Thomas J Kipps, and
Davorka Messmer

We have previously shown that sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, exhibits cytotoxic effects on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells. Because the cellular microenvironment can protect CLL cells from drug-induced apoptosis, it is important to evaluate the effect of novel drugs in this context. Here we characterized the in vitro cytotoxic effects of sorafenib on CLL cells and the underlying mechanism in the presence of marrow stromal cells (MSCs) and nurselike cells (NLCs). One single dose of 10 μmol/L or the repeated addition of 1 μmol/L sorafenib caused caspase-dependent apoptosis and reduced levels of phosphorylated B-RAF, C-RAF, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1) in CLL cells in the presence of the microenvironment. We show that the RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/ERK pathway can modulate Mcl-1 expression and contribute to CLL cell viability, thereby associating sorafenib cytotoxicity to its impact on RAF and Mcl-1. To evaluate if the other targets of sorafenib can affect CLL cell viability and contribute to sorafenib-mediated cytotoxicity, we tested the sensitivity of CLL cells to several kinase inhibitors specific for these targets. Our data show that RAF and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) but not KIT, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) are critical for CLL cell viability. Taken together, our data suggest that sorafenib exerts its cytotoxic effect likely via inhibition of the VEGFR and RAF/MEK/ERK pathways, both of which can modulate Mcl-1 expression in CLL cells. Furthermore, sorafenib induced apoptosis of CLL cells from fludarabine refractory patients in the presence of NLCs or MSCs. Our results warrant further clinical exploration of sorafenib in CLL.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 3, 2012 12:00 AM CST
Kunfeng Yan, Xiong Deng, Xuguang Zhai, Mingming Zhou, Xin Jia, Lin Luo, Minghui Niu,
Huixia Zhu, Hui Qiang, and Yajun Zhou

Leptin, a key hormone in regulating energy homeostasis, is mainly produced by adipocytes. Cogent evidence indicates a unique role of leptin in the promotion of liver fibrosis. Hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation is a pivotal step in the process of liver fibrosis. Sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1c, a critical transcription factor for lipid synthesis and adipocyte differentiation, functions as a key transcription factor in inhibition of HSC activation. SREBP-1c is highly expressed in quiescent HSCs and downregulated upon HSC activation. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of leptin on SREBP-1c gene expression in HSCs in vitro and in vivo and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. The results of the present study demonstrated that leptin strongly inhibited SREBP-1c expression in HSCs in vivo and in vitro. p38 MAPK was involved in leptin regulation of SREBP-1c expression in cultured HSCs. Leptin-induced activation of p38 MAPK led to the decreases in liver X receptor (LXR)-α protein level, activity and its binding to the SREBP-1c promoter, which caused the downregulation of SREBP-1c expression. Moreover, leptin inhibition of SREBP- 1c expression via p38 MAPK increased the expression of alpha1(I) collagen in HSCs. Our results might provide new insights into the mechanisms of the unique role of leptin in the development of liver fibrosis and might have potential implications for clarifying the molecular mechanisms underlying liver fibrosis in diseases in which circulating leptin levels are elevated such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and alcoholic cirrhosis.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 2, 2012 12:00 AM CST
Gonghao He, Jing Hu, Teng Li, Xue Ma, Jingru Meng, Min Jia, Jun Lu, Hiroshi Ohtsu, Zhong Chen, and Xiaoxing Luo

The role of histamine as a newly recognized sympathetic neurotransmitter has been presented previously, and its postsynaptic effects greatly depended on the activities of sympathetic nerves. Cardiac sympathetic nerves become overactivated under acute myocardial ischemic conditions and release neurotransmitters in large amounts, inducing ventricular arrhythmia. Therefore, it is proposed that cardiac sympathetic histamine, in addition to norepinephrine, may have a significant arrhythmogenic effect. To test this hypothesis, we observed the release of cardiac sympathetic histamine and associated ventricular arrhythmogenesis that was induced by acute ischemia in isolated mouse hearts. Mast cell–deficient mice (MCDM) and histidine decarboxylase knockout (HDC–/–) mice were used to exclude the potential involvement of mast cells. Electrical field stimulation and acute ischemia-reperfusion evoked chemical sympathectomy–sensitive histamine release from the hearts of both MCDM and wild-type (WT) mice but not from HDC–/– mice. The release of histamine from the hearts of MCDM and WT mice was associated with the development of acute ischemia-induced ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. The incidence and duration of induced ventricular arrhythmias were found to decrease in the presence of the selective histamine H2 receptor antagonist famotidine. Additionally, the released histamine facilitated the arrhythmogenic effect of simultaneously released norepinephrine. We conclude that, under acute ischemic conditions, cardiac sympathetic histamine released by overactive sympathetic nerve terminals plays a certain arrhythmogenic role via H2 receptors. These findings provided novel insight into the pathophysiological roles of sympathetic histamine, which may be a new therapeutic target for acute ischemia-induced arrhythmias.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jan 1, 2012 12:00 AM CST
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