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Articles from this Volume

Yao Li, Yi-Ting Tsai, Chun-Wei Hsu, Deniz Erol, Jin Yang, Wen-Hsuan Wu, Richard J Davis, Dieter Egli, and Stephen H Tsang

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved phase I/II clinical trials for embryonic stem (ES) cell–based retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) transplantation, but this allograft transplantation requires lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. Autografts from patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells offer an alternative solution to this problem. However, more data are required to establish the safety and efficacy of iPS transplantation in animal models before moving iPS therapy into clinical trials. This study examines the efficacy of iPS transplantation in restoring functional vision in Rpe65rd12/Rpe65rd12 mice, a clinically relevant model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Human iPS cells were differentiated into morphologically and functionally RPE-like tissue. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunoblots confirmed RPE fate. The iPS-derived RPE cells were injected into the subretinal space of Rpe65rd12/Rpe65rd12 mice at 2 d postnatally. After transplantation, the long-term surviving iPS-derived RPE graft colocalized with the host native RPE cells and assimilated into the host retina without disruption. None of the mice receiving transplants developed tumors over their lifetimes. Furthermore, electroretinogram, a standard method for measuring efficacy in human trials, demonstrated improved visual function in recipients over the lifetime of this RP mouse model. Our study provides the first direct evidence of functional recovery in a clinically relevant model of retinal degeneration using iPS transplantation and supports the feasibility of autologous iPS cell transplantation for retinal and macular degenerations featuring significant RPE loss.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 20, 2012 12:42 PM CST
Maarten Swartjes, René A G Mooren, Amanda R Waxman, Caroline Arout, Koen van de Wetering,
Jan den Hartigh, Jos H Beijnen, Benjamin Kest, and Albert Dahan

Opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) is a paradoxical increase in pain perception that may manifest during opioid treatment. For morphine, the metabolite morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G) is commonly believed to underlie this phenomenon. Here, in three separate studies, we empirically assess the role of M3G in morphine-induced hyperalgesia. In the first study, CD-1 mice injected with morphine (15 mg/kg subcutaneously) after pretreatment with the opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone (NTX) (15 mg/kg) showed tail withdrawal latency reductions indicative of hyperalgesia (2.5 ± 0.1 s at t = 30 min, P < 0.001 versus baseline). In these mice, the morphine/M3G concentration ratios versus effect showed a negative correlation (rp = –0.65, P < 0.001), indicating that higher morphine relative to M3G concentrations are associated with increased OIH. In the second study, similar hyperalgesic responses were observed in mice lacking the multidrug resistance protein 3 (MRP3) transporter protein (Mrp3 –/– mice) in the liver and their wild-type controls (FVB mice; latency reductions: 3.1 ± 0.2 s at t = 30 min, P < 0.001 versus within-strain baseline). In the final study, the pharmacokinetics of morphine and M3G were measured in Mrp3 –/– and FVB mice. Mrp3 –/– mice displayed a significantly reduced capacity to export M3G into the systemic circulation, with plasma M3G concentrations just 7% of those observed in FVB controls. The data confirm previous literature that morphine causes hyperalgesia in the absence of opioid receptor activation but also indicate that this hyperalgesia may occur without a significant contribution of hepatic M3G. The relevance of these data to humans has yet to be demonstrated.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 20, 2012 12:36 PM CST
Ching-Fong Liao, Shu-Hui Lin, Hung-Chang Chen, Cheng-Jeng Tai, Chun-Chao Chang, Li-Tzu Li, Chung-Min Yeh, Kun-Tu Yeh, Ying-Chun Chen, Tsu-Han Hsu, Shing-Chuan Shen, Woan-Ruoh Lee, Jeng-Fong Chiou, Shue-Fen Luo, and Ming-Chung Jiang

Tumor-derived microvesicles are rich in metastasis-related proteases and play a role in the interactions between tumor cells and tumor microenvironment in tumor metastasis. Because shed microvesicles may remain in the extracellular environment around tumor cells, the microvesicle membrane protein may be the potential target for cancer therapy. Here we report that chromosome segregation 1–like (CSE1L) protein is a microvesicle membrane protein and is a potential target for cancer therapy. v-H-Ras expression induced extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent CSE1L phosphorylation and microvesicle biogenesis in various cancer cells. CSE1L overexpression also triggered microvesicle generation, and CSE1L knockdown diminished v-H-Ras–induced microvesicle generation, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 secretion and metastasis of B16F10 melanoma cells. CSE1L was preferentially accumulated in microvesicles and was located in the microvesicle membrane. Furthermore, anti-CSE1L antibody–conjugated quantum dots could target tumors in animal models. Our findings highlight a novel role of Ras-ERK signaling in tumor progression and suggest that CSE1L may be involved in the “early” and “late” metastasis of tumor cells in tumorigenesis. Furthermore, the novel microvesicle membrane protein, CSE1L, may have clinical utility in cancer diagnosis and targeted cancer therapy.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 16, 2012 11:26 AM CST
Stavroula Ntoufa, Anna Vardi, Nikos Papakonstantinou, Achilles Anagnostopoulos,Vassiliki Aleporou-Marinou, Chrysoula Belessi, Paolo Ghia, Federico Caligaris-Cappio, Marta Muzio, and KostasStamatopoulos

Subgroups of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have distinct expression profiles of Toll-like receptor (TLR) pathway–associated genes. To test the hypothesis that signaling through innate immunity receptors may influence the behavior of the malignant clone, we investigated the functional response triggered by the stimulation of TLRs and NOD2 in 67 CLL cases assigned to different subgroups on the basis of immunoglobulin heavy variable (IGHV ) gene usage, IGHV gene mutational status or B-cell receptor (BcR) stereotypy. Differences in the induction of costimulatory molecules and/or apoptosis were observed in mutated versus unmutated CLL. Different responses were also identified in subsets with stereotyped BcRs, underscoring the idea that “subset-biased” innate immunity responses may occur independently of mutational status. Additionally, differential modulation of kinase activities was induced by TLR stimulation of different CLL subgroups, revealing a TLR7-tolerant state for cases belonging to stereotyped subset #4. The distinct patterns of TLR/NOD2 functional activity in cells from CLL subgroups defined by the molecular features of the clonotypic BcRs might prove relevant for elucidating the immune mechanisms underlying CLL natural history and for defining subgroups of patients who might benefit from treatment with specific TLR ligands.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 16, 2012 11:24 AM CST
Roberta Venè, Roberto Benelli, Simona Minghelli, Simonetta Astigiano, Francesca Tosetti, and Nicoletta Ferrari

Despite recent advances in understanding the biological basis of prostate cancer, management of the disease, especially in the phase resistant to androgen ablation, remains a significant challenge. The long latency and high incidence of prostate carcinogenesis provides the opportunity to intervene with chemoprevention to prevent or eradicate prostate malignancies. In this study, we have used human hormone-resistant prostate cancer cells, DU145 and PC3, as an in vitro model to assess the efficacy of xanthohumol (XN) against cell growth, motility and invasion. We observed that treatment of prostate cancer cells with low micromolar doses of XN inhibits proliferation and modulates focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and AKT phosphorylation leading to reduced cell migration and invasion. Oxidative stress by increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was associated with these effects. Transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) transgenic mice were used as an in vivo model of prostate adenocarcinoma. Oral gavage of XN, three times per week, beginning at 4 wks of age, induced a decrease in the average weight of the urogenital (UG) tract, delayed advanced tumor progression and inhibited the growth of poorly differentiated prostate carcinoma. The ability of XN to inhibit prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo suggests that XN may be a novel agent for the management of prostate cancer.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 16, 2012 11:21 AM CST
Christos Savvidis and Michael Koutsilieris

Circadian rhythms show universally a 24-h oscillation pattern in metabolic, physiological and behavioral functions of almost all species. This pattern is due to a fundamental adaptation to the rotation of Earth around its own axis. Molecular mechanisms of generation of circadian rhythms organize a biochemical network in suprachiasmatic nucleus and peripheral tissues, building cell autonomous clock pacemakers. Rhythmicity is observed in transcriptional expression of a wide range of clock-controlled genes that regulate a variety of normal cell functions, such as cell division and proliferation. Desynchrony of this rhythmicity seems to be implicated in several pathologic conditions, including tumorigenesis and progression of cancer. In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized “shiftwork that involves circadian disruption [as] probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A in the IARC classification system of carcinogenic potency of an agentagent) (Painting, Firefighting, and Shiftwork; IARC; 2007). This review discusses the potential relation between disruptions of normal circadian rhythms with genetic driving machinery of cancer. Elucidation of the role of clockwork disruption, such as exposure to light at night and sleep disruption, in cancer biology could be important in developing new targeted anticancer therapies, optimizing individualized chronotherapy and modifying lighting environment in workplaces or homes.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 3, 2012 2:35 PM CDT
Carlo Rinaldi, Laura C Bott, Ke-lian Chen, George G Harmison, Masahisa Katsuno, Gen Sobue, Maria Pennuto, and Kenneth H Fischbeck

Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy is an X-linked motor neuron disease caused by polyglutamine expansion in the androgen receptor. Patients develop slowly progressive proximal muscle weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations. Affected individuals often show gynecomastia, testicular atrophy and reduced fertility as a result of mild androgen insensitivity. No effective diseasemodifying therapy is currently available for this disease. Our recent studies have demonstrated that insulinlike growth factor (IGF)-1 reduces the mutant androgen receptor toxicity through activation of Akt in vitro, and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy transgenic mice that also overexpress a noncirculating muscle isoform of IGF-1 have a less severe phenotype. Here we sought to establish the efficacy of daily intraperitoneal injections of mecasermin rinfabate, recombinant human IGF-1 and IGF-1 binding protein 3, in a transgenic mouse model expressing the mutant androgen receptor with an expanded 97 glutamine tract. The study was done in a controlled, randomized, blinded fashion, and, to reflect the clinical settings, the injections were started after the onset of disease manifestations. The treatment resulted in increased Akt phosphorylation and reduced mutant androgen receptor aggregation in muscle. In comparison to vehicle-treated controls, IGF-1–treated transgenic mice showed improved motor performance, attenuated weight loss and increased survival. Our results suggest that peripheral tissue can be targeted to improve the spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy phenotype and indicate that IGF-1 warrants further investigation in clinical trials as a potential treatment for this disease.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 3, 2012 2:34 PM CDT
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Nov 3, 2012 2:33 PM CDT
Teresa Lambe

Influenza represents a substantial global healthcare burden, with annual epidemics resulting in 3–5 million cases of severe illness with a significant associated mortality. In addition, the risk of a virulent and lethal influenza pandemic has generated widespread and warranted concern. Currently licensed influenza vaccines are limited in their ability to induce efficacious and long-lasting herd immunity. In addition, and as evidenced by the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, there can be a significant delay between the emergence of a pandemic influenza and an effective, antibody-inducing vaccine. There is, therefore, a continued need for new, efficacious vaccines conferring cross-clade protection—obviating the need for biannual reformulation of seasonal influenza vaccines. Development of such a vaccine would yield enormous health benefits to society and also greatly reduce the associated global healthcare burden. There are a number of alternative influenza vaccine technologies being assessed both preclinically and clinically. In this review we discuss viral vectored vaccines, either recombinant live-attenuated or replication deficient viruses, which are current lead candidates for inducing efficacious and long-lasting immunity toward influenza viruses. These alternate influenza vaccines offer real promise to deliver viable alternatives to currently deployed vaccines and more importantly may confer long-lasting and universal protection against influenza viral infection.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Oct 26, 2012 2:31 PM CDT
Sangeeta S Chavan, LaQueta K Hudson, Jian Hua Li, Mahendar Ochani, Yael Harris, Nirav B Patel,
David Katz, Joshua A Scheinerman, Valentin A Pavlov, and Kevin J Tracey

Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. The pathophysiology of obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation. Adipose tissue in obesity is significantly infiltrated by macrophages that secrete cytokines. The mechanisms of interaction between macrophages and adipocytes, leading to macrophage activation and increased cytokine release, remain to be elucidated. We reasoned that an adipocyte-derived factor might stimulate activation of macrophages. We have identified pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) as a mediator of inflammation that is secreted by adipocytes and mediates macrophage activation. Recombinant PEDF activates macrophages to release tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1). The PEDF receptor adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is required for PEDF-mediated macrophage activation. Selective inhibition of ATGL on macrophages attenuates PEDF-induced TNF production, and PEDF enhances the phosphorylation of p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinases. PEDF administration to rats results in increased serum TNF levels, and insulin resistance. Together, these findings suggest that PEDF secreted by adipocytes contributes to the onset and maintenance of chronic inflammation in obesity, and may be a therapeutic target in ameliorating insulin resistance.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Oct 26, 2012 2:29 PM CDT
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