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Articles from this Volume

Karla C S Queiroz, Maarten F Bijlsma, René A Tio, Clark J Zeebregts, Marina Dunaeva, Carmen V Ferreira, Gwenny M Fuhler, Ernst J Kuipers, Maria M Alves,1 Farhad Rezaee, C Arnold Spek, and Maikel P Peppelenbosch

The major cause for plaque instability in atherosclerotic disease is neoangiogenic revascularization, but the factors controlling this process remain only partly understood. Hedgehog (HH) is a morphogen with important functions in revascularization, but its function in human healthy vessel biology as well as in atherosclerotic plaques has not been well investigated. Hence, we determined the status of HH pathway activity both in healthy vessels and atherosclerotic plaques. A series of 10 healthy organ donor–derived human vessels, 17 coronary atherosclerotic plaques and 24 atherosclerotic carotid plaques were investigated for HH pathway activity. We show that a healthy vessel is characterized by a high level of HH pathway activity but that atherosclerotic plaques are devoid of HH signaling despite the presence of HH ligand in these pathological structures. Thus, a dichotomy between healthy vessels and atherosclerotic plaques with respect to the activation status of the HH pathway exists, and it is tempting to suggest that downregulation of HH signaling contributes to long-term plaque stability.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 25, 2012 8:21 AM CDT
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 25, 2012 8:21 AM CDT
Xiaoling Li, Juan L Rendon, Suhail Akhtar, and Mashkoor A Choudhry

Recent studies indicate that toll-like receptors (TLRs) are expressed on T cells and that these receptors directly or indirectly activate the adaptive immune system. We have shown previously that acute alcohol/ethanol (EtOH) intoxication combined with burn injury suppresses mesenteric lymph node (MLN) T-cell interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon γ (IFN-γ) production. We examined whether direct stimulation of T cells with TLR2, 4, 5 and 7 agonists modulates CD3-mediated T-cell IL-2/IFN-γ release following EtOH and burn injury. Male mice were gavaged with EtOH (2.9 gm/kg) 4 h prior to receiving an ~12.5% total body surface area sham or full-thickness burn injury. Animals were killed on d 1 after injury and T cells were purified from MLN and spleens. T cells were cultured with plate-bound anti-CD3 in the presence or absence of various TLR ligands. Although TLR2, 4 and 5 agonists potentiate anti-CD3–dependent IFN-γ by T cells, the TLR2 agonist alone induced IFN-γ production independent of CD3 stimulation. Furthermore, T cells were treated with inhibitors of myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88 (MyD88), TIR domain-containing adaptor protein (TIRAP), p38 and/or extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) to determine the mechanism by which TLR2 mediates IL-2/IFN-γ production. IL-2 was not influenced by TLR agonists. MyD88 and TIRAP inhibitory peptides dose-dependently diminished the ability of T cells to release IFN-γ. p38 and ERK inhibitors also abolished TLR2-mediated T-cell IFN-γ. Together, our findings suggest that TLR2 directly modulates T-cell IFN-γ production following EtOH and burn injury, independent of antigen- presenting cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MyD88/TIRAP-dependent p38/ERK activation is critical to TLR2-mediated T-cell IFN-γrelease following EtOH and burn injury

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:53 AM CDT
Wang Ju, Yu Zhihong, Zhou Zhiyou, Huang Qin, Wang Dingding, Sun Li, Zhu Baowei, Wei Xing, He Ying, and Hong An

The soluble ectodomain of fibroblast growth factor receptor-IIIc (sFGFR2c) is able to bind to fibroblast growth factor (FGF) ligands and block the activation of the FGF-signaling pathway. In this study, sFGFR2c inhibited lung fibrosis dramatically in vitro and in vivo. The upregulation of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in fibroblasts by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is an important step in the process of lung fibrosis, in which FGF-2, released by TGF-β1, is involved. sFGFR2c inhibited α-SMA induction by TGF- β1 via both the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and Smad3 pathways in primary mouse lung fibroblasts and the proliferation of mouse lung fibroblasts. In a mouse model of bleomycin (BLM)-induced lung fibrosis, mice were treated with sFGFR2c from d 3 or d 10 to 31 after BLM administration. Then we used hematoxylin and eosin staining, Masson staining and immunohistochemical staining to evaluate the inhibitory effects of sFGFR2c on lung fibrosis. The treatment with sFGFR2c resulted in significant attenuation of the lung fibrosis score and collagen deposition. The expression levels of α-SMA, p-FGFRs, p-ERK1/2 and p-Smad3 in the lungs of sFGFR2c-treated mice were markedly lower. sFGFR2c may have potential for the treatment of lung fibrosis as an FGF-2 antagonist.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:51 AM CDT
Daniel O Griffin and Thomas L Rothstein

Immune regulation produced by B cells has been attributed to production and secretion of interleukin (IL)-10, which is a characteristicof mouse B1 cells. In view of the widespread clinical use of B-cell depletion therapiesin autoimmune and malignant diseases, it is important to monitor the function and fate of regulatory B cells. However, there is no consensus regarding the phenotypic identity of human IL-10+ B cells. Here we show that human CD11b+ B1 cells, one of two recently described subpopulations of B1 cells, spontaneously produce IL-10 and suppress T-cell activation. In view of the capacity of these B cells to either stimulate T-cell proliferation or suppress T-cell activation, CD11b+ B1 cells are considered to be capable of orchestrating elements of immune responsiveness and thus are termed “orchestrator B1 cells,” or “B1orc,” whereas CD11b B1 cells that primarily secrete antibody are termed “secretor B1 cells,” or “B1sec.”

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:48 AM CDT
Teresina Laragione and Pércio S Gulko

Fibroblast-like synoviocyte (FLS) invasiveness correlates with articular damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), yet little is known about its regulation. In this study we aimed to determine the role of the nuclear receptor liver X receptor (LXR) in FLS invasion. FLS were isolated from synovial tissues obtained from RA patients and from DA rats with pristane-induced arthritis. Invasion was tested on Matrigel-coated chambers in the presence of the LXR agonist T0901317, or control vehicle. FLS were cultured in the presence or absence of T0901317, and supernatants were used to quantify matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1), MMP-2, MMP-3, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α and C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10). Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) (p65) and Akt activation, actin cytoskeleton, cell morphology and lamellipodia formation were also determined. The LXR agonist T0901317 significantly reduced DA FLS invasion by 99% (P ≤ 0.001), and RA FLS invasion by 96% (P ≤ 0.001), compared with control. T0901317-induced suppression of invasion was associated with reduced production of activated MMP-2, IL-6 and CXCL10 by RA FLS, and with reduction of actin filament reorganization and reduced polarized formation of lamellipodia. T0901317 also prevented both IL-1β–induced and IL-6–induced FLS invasion. NF-κB (p65) and Akt activation were not significantly affected by T0901317. This is the first description of a role for LXR in the regulation of FLS invasion and in processes and pathways implicated both in invasion as well as in inflammatory responses. These findings provide a new rationale for considering LXR agonists as therapeutic agents aimed at reducing both inflammation and FLS-mediated invasion and destruction in RA.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:43 AM CDT
María José Mansilla, Xavier Montalban, and Carmen Espejo

Heat shock proteins (HSP) have long been considered intracellular chaperones that possess housekeeping and cytoprotective functions. Consequently, HSP overexpression was proposed as a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the accumulation or aggregation of abnormal proteins. Recently, the discovery that cells release HSP with the capacity to trigger proinflammatory as well as immunoregulatory responses has focused attention on investigating the role of HSP in chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, the most relevant HSP is the inducible Hsp70, which exhibits both cytoprotectant and immunoregulatory functions. Several studies have presented contradictory evidence concerning the involvement of Hsp70 in MS or experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the MS animal model. In this review, we dissect the functions of Hsp70 and discuss the controversial data concerning the role of Hsp70 in MS and EAE.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:40 AM CDT
Anne Kästner, Sabrina Grube, Ahmed El-Kordi, Beata Stepniak, Heidi Friedrichs, Derya Sargin, Judith Schwitulla, Martin Begemann, Ina Giegling, Kamilla W Miskowiak, Swetlana Sperling, Kathrin Hannke, Anna Ramin, Ralf Heinrich, Olaf Gefeller, Klaus-Armin Nave, Dan Rujescu, and Hannelore Ehrenreich

Erythropoietin (EPO) improves cognitive performance in clinical studies and rodent experiments. We hypothesized that an intrinsic role of EPO for cognition exists, with particular relevance in situations of cognitive decline, which is reflected by associations of EPO and EPO receptor (EPOR) genotypes with cognitive functions. To prove this hypothesis, schizophrenic patients (N > 1000) were genotyped for 5′ upstream–located gene variants, EPO SNP rs1617640 (T/G) and EPOR STR(GA)n. Associations of these variants were obtained for cognitive processing speed, fine motor skills and short-term memory readouts, with one particular combination of genotypes superior to all others (p < 0.0001). In an independent healthy control sample (N > 800), these associations were confirmed. A matching preclinical study with mice demonstrated cognitive processing speed and memory enhanced upon transgenic expression of constitutively active EPOR in pyramidal neurons of cortex and hippocampus. We thus predicted that the human genotypes associated with better cognition would reflect gain-of-function effects. Indeed, reporter gene assays and quantitative transcriptional analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed genotype-dependent EPO/EPOR expression differences. Together, these findings reveal a role of endogenous EPO/EPOR for cognition, at least in schizophrenic patients.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:39 AM CDT
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Sep 5, 2012 10:37 AM CDT
Eleni A Karavia, Dionysios J Papachristou, Kassiani Liopeta, Irene-Eva Triantaphyllidou, Odyssefs Dimitrakopoulos, and Kyriakos E Kypreos

Apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) is the main protein of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). We investigated the involvement of apoA-I in diet-induced accumulation of triglycerides in hepatocytes and its potential role in the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). ApoA-I–deficient (apoA-I–/–) mice showed increased diet-induced hepatic triglyceride deposition and disturbed hepatic histology while they exhibited reduced glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Quantification of FASN (fatty acid synthase 1), DGAT-1 (diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1), and PPARγ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ) mRNA expression suggested that the increased hepatic triglyceride content of the apoA-I–/– mice was not due to de novo synthesis of triglycerides. Similarly, metabolic profiling did not reveal differences in the energy expenditure between the two mouse groups. However, apoA-I–/– mice exhibited enhanced intestinal absorption of dietary triglycerides (3.6 ± 0.5 mg/dL/min for apoA-I–/– versus 2.0 ± 0.7 mg/dL/min for C57BL/6 mice, P < 0.05), accelerated clearance of postprandial triglycerides and a reduced rate of hepatic very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglyceride secretion (9.8 ± 1.1 mg/dL/min for apoA-I–/– versus 12.5 ± 1.3 mg/dL/min for C57BL/6 mice, P < 0.05). In agreement with these findings, adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of apoA-IMilano in apoA-I–/– mice fed a Western-type diet for 12 wks resulted in a significant reduction in hepatic triglyceride content and an improvement of hepatic histology and architecture. Our data extend the current knowledge on the functions of apoA-I, indicating that in addition to its wellestablished properties in atheroprotection, it is also an important modulator of processes associated with diet-induced hepatic lipid deposition and NAFLD development in mice. Our findings raise the interesting possibility that expression of therapeutic forms of apoA-I by gene therapy approaches may have a beneficial effect on NAFLD.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:24 PM CDT
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