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Articles from this Volume

George C Bobustuc, Joshua S Smith, Sreeram Maddipatla, Sheila Jeudy, Arati Limaye, Beth Isley, Maria-Lourdes M Caparas, Susan M Constantino, Nikita Shah, Cheryl H Baker, Kalkunte S Srivenugopal, Said Baidas, and Santhi D Konduri

Antiestrogen therapy resistance remains a huge stumbling block in the treatment of breast cancer. We have found significant elevation of O6 methylguanine DNA methyl transferase (MGMT) expression in a small sample of consecutive patients who have failed tamoxifen treatment. Here, we show that tamoxifen resistance is accompanied by upregulation of MGMT. Further we show that administration of the MGMT inhibitor, O6-benzylguanine (BG), at nontoxic doses, leads to restoration of a favorable estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) phosphorylation phenotype (high p-ERα Ser167/low p-ERα Ser118), which has been reported to correlate with sensitivity to endocrine therapy and improved survival. The investigators also show BG to be a dual inhibitor of MGMT and ERα. In tamoxifenresistant breast cancer cells, BG alone or in combination with antiestrogen (tamoxifen [TAM]/ICI 182,780 [fulvestrant, Faslodex]) therapy enhances p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) expression, cytochrome C release and poly (ADP- ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage, all indicative of apoptosis. In addition, BG increases the expression of p21cip1/waf1. We also show that BG, alone or in combination therapy, curtails the growth of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. In tamoxifen- resistant MCF7 breast cancer xenografts, BG alone or in combination treatment causes significant delay in tumor growth. Immunohistochemistry confirms that BG increases p21cip1/waf1 and p-ERα Ser167 expression and inhibits MGMT, ERα, p-ERα Ser118 and ki-67 expression. Collectively, our results suggest that MGMT inhibition leads to growth inhibition of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer in vitro and in vivo and resensitizes tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells to antiestrogen therapy. These findings suggest that MGMT inhibition may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for overcoming antiestrogen resistance.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:22 PM CDT
Sangeeta S Chavan, Patricio T Huerta, Sergio Robbiati, SI Valdes-Ferrer, Mahendar Ochani, Meghan Dancho, Maya Frankfurt, Bruce T Volpe, Kevin J Tracey, and Betty Diamond

Severe sepsis, a syndrome that complicates infection and injury, affects 750,000 annually in the United States. The acute mortality rate is approximately 30%, but, strikingly, sepsis survivors have a significant disability burden: up to 25% of survivors are cognitively and physically impaired. To investigate the mechanisms underlying persistent cognitive impairment in sepsis survivors, here we developed a murine model of severe sepsis survivors following cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) to study cognitive impairments. We observed that serum levels of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a critical mediator of acute sepsis pathophysiology, are increased in sepsis survivors. Significantly, these levels remain elevated for at least 4 wks after CLP. Sepsis survivors develop significant, persistent impairments in learning and memory, and anatomic changes in the hippocampus associated with a loss of synaptic plasticity. Administration of neutralizing anti-HMGB1 antibody to survivors, beginning 1 wk after onset of peritonitis, significantly improved memory impairments and brain pathology. Administration of recombinant HMGB1 to naïve mice recapitulated the memory impairments. Together, these findings indicate that elevated HMGB1 levels mediate cognitive decline in sepsis survivors, and suggest that it may be possible to prevent or reverse cognitive impairments in sepsis survivors by administration of anti- HMGB1 antibodies.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:19 PM CDT
Valentina Sala, Simona Gallo, Christian Leo, Stefano Gatti, Bruce D Gelb, and Tiziana Crepaldi

Cardiac hypertrophy is the heart’s response to a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic stimuli, some of which might finally lead up to a maladaptive state. An integral part of the pathogenesis of the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy disease (HCM) is the activation of the rat sarcoma (RAS)/RAF/MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase)/MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) cascade. Therefore, the molecular signaling involving RAS has been the subject of intense research efforts, particularly after the identification of the RASopathies. These constitute a class of developmental disorders caused by germline mutations affecting proteins contributing to the RAS pathway. Among other phenotypic features, a subset of these syndromes is characterized by HCM, prompting researchers and clinicians to delve into the chief signaling constituents of cardiac hypertrophy. In this review, we summarize current advances in the knowledge of the molecular signaling events involved in the pathogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy through work completed on patients and on genetically manipulated animals with HCM and RASopathies. Important insights are drawn from the recognition of parallels between cardiac hypertrophy and cancer. Future research promises to further elucidate the complex molecular interactions responsible for cardiac hypertrophy, possibly pointing the way for the identification of new specific targets for the treatment of HCM.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:12 PM CDT
Gabriela A Kulp, Ronald G Tilton, David N Herndon, and Marc G Jeschke

Hyperglycemia and inflammation are hallmarks of burn injury. In this study, we used a rat model of hyperglycemia and burn injury to investigate the effects of hyperglycemia on inflammatory responses in the liver. Hyperglycemia was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats with streptozotocin (STZ) (35–40 mg/kg), followed by a 60% third degree scald burn injury. Cytokine levels (by multiplex, in cytosolic liver extracts), hormones (by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], in serum), nuclear factor (NF)-κB protein deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) binding (by ELISA, in nuclear liver extracts) and liver functional panel (using VetScan, in serum) were measured at different time points up to 7 d after burn injury. Blood glucose significantly increased after burn injury in both groups with different temporal patterns. Hyperglycemic rats were capable of endogenous insulin secretion, which was enhanced significantly versus controls 12 h after burn injury. DNA binding data of liver nuclear extracts showed a robust and significant activation of the noncanonical NF-κB pathway in the hyperglycemic versus control burn animals, including increased NF-κB–inducing kinase expression (p < 0.05). Liver acute-phase proteins and cytokine expression were increased, whereas secretion of constitutive proteins was decreased after burn injury in hyperglycemic versus control animals (p < 0.05). These results indicate that burn injury to the skin rapidly activated canonical and noncanonical NF-κB pathways in the liver. Robust activation of the NF-κB noncanonical pathway was associated with increased expression of inflammatory markers and acute-phase proteins, and impaired glucose metabolism. Hyperglycemia is detrimental to burn outcome by augmenting inflammation mediated by hepatic noncanonical NF-κB pathway activation.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:10 PM CDT

Eli C Lewis

α1-Antitrypsin (AAT) is a 52-kDa circulating serine protease inhibitor. Production of AAT by the liver maintains 0.9–1.75 mg/mL circulating levels. During acute-phase responses, circulating AAT levels increase more than fourfold. In individuals with one of several inherited mutations in AAT, low circulating levels increase the risk for lung, liver and pancreatic destructive diseases, particularly emphysema. These individuals are treated with lifelong weekly infusions of human plasma–derived AAT. An increasing amount of evidence appears to suggest that AAT possesses not only the ability to inhibit serine proteases, such as elastase and proteinase- 3 (PR-3), but also to exert antiinflammatory and tissue-protective effects independent of protease inhibition. AAT modifies dendritic cell maturation and promotes T regulatory cell differentiation, induces interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist and IL-10 release, protects various cell types from cell death, inhibits caspases-1 and -3 activity and inhibits IL-1 production and activity. Importantly, unlike classic immunosuppressants, AAT allows undeterred isolated T-lymphocyte responses. On the basis of preclinical and clinical studies, AAT therapy for nondeficient individuals may interfere with disease progression in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, acute myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, transplant rejection, graft versus host disease and multiple sclerosis. AAT also appears to be antibacterial and an inhibitor of viral infections, such as influenza and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and is currently evaluated in clinical trials for type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis and graft versus host disease. Thus, AAT therapy appears to have advanced from replacement therapy, to a safe and potential treatment for a broad spectrum of inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:05 PM CDT
Sabrina Gemma, Pietro Veglianese, Valeria Castellaneta, Valentina Boldrin, Carlo Rossetti, Chiara Chiabrando, Gianluigi Forloni, Tiziana Mennini, and Roberto Fanelli

Sustained inflammatory reactions are common pathological events associated with neuron loss in neurodegenerative diseases. Reported evidence suggests that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a key player of neuroinflammation in several neurodegenerative diseases. However, the mechanisms by which TLR4 mediates neurotoxic signals remain poorly understood. We investigated the role of TLR4 in in vitro and in vivo settings of motor neuron degeneration. Using primary cultures from mouse spinal cords, we characterized both the proinflammatory and neurotoxic effects of TLR4 activation with lipopolysaccharide (activation of microglial cells, release of proinflammatory cytokines and motor neuron death) and the protective effects of a cyanobacteria derived TLR4 antagonist (VB3323). With the use of TLR4-deficient cells, a critical role of the microglial component with functionally active TLR4 emerged in this setting. The in vivo experiments were carried out in a mouse model of spontaneous motor neuron degeneration, the wobbler mouse, where we preliminarily confirmed a protective effect of TLR4 antagonism. Compared with vehicle- and riluzole-treated mice, those chronically treated with VB3323 showed a decrease in microglial activation and morphological alterations of spinal cord neurons and a better performance in the paw abnormality and grip-strength tests. Taken together, our data add new understanding of the role of TLR4 in mediating neurotoxicity in the spinal cord and suggest that TLR4 antagonists could be considered in future studies as candidate protective agents for motor neurons in degenerative diseases.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:03 PM CDT
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Aug 29, 2012 2:02 PM CDT
Rui Wang, Jiayuan Huang, Bing Feng, Wei De, and Longbang Chen

Resistance to docetaxel (DTX) usually occurs in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. To better elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to DTX-based chemotherapy, we established a DTX-resistant lung adenocarcinoma cell line (SPC-A1/DTX). By gene array analysis, the expression of ING4 was found to be significantly downregulated in SPC-A1/DTX cells. Additionally, the decreased expression of the ING4 gene was induced upon DTX treatment of SPC-A1 cells. Overexpression of ING4 reverses DTX or paclitaxel resistance of DTX-resistant lung adenocarcinoma cells (SPC-A1/DTX or A549/Taxol) by inducing apoptosis enhancement and G2/M arrest, and small interfering RNA–mediated ING4 knockdown renders DTX-sensitive lung adenocarcinoma cells more resistant to DTX or paclitaxel. Also, overexpression of ING4 could enhance the in vivo sensitivity of SPCA1/DTX cells to DTX. The phenotypical changes of SPC-A1/DTX cells induced by overexpression of ING4 might be associated with the decreased ratio of Bcl-2/Bax, which resulted in the activation of caspase-3. The level of ING4 expression in tumors of nonresponding patients was significantly lower than that in those of responders, suggesting that the expression of ING4 was positively correlated with tumor response to DTX. Our results provide the first evidence that ING4 might be essential for DTX resistance in lung adenocarcinoma. Thus, ING4 will be a potential molecular target for overcoming resistance to DTX-based chemotherapies in lung adenocarcinoma.

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Supplementary Material

Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 18, 2012 1:58 PM CDT
Fang Wang, Yan-jun Mi, Xing-Gui Chen, Xing-ping Wu, Zhenguo Liu, Shu-peng Chen, Yong-ju Liang, Chao Cheng, Kenneth Kin, Wah To, and Li-wu Fu

Stemlike cells have been isolated by their ability to efflux Hoechst 33342 dye and are called the side population (SP). We evaluated the effect of axitinib on targeting cancer stemlike cells and enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutical agents. The investigators found that axitinib enhanced the cytotoxicity of topotecan and mitoxantrone in SP cells sorted from human lung cancer A549 cells and increased cell apoptosis induced by chemotherapeutical agents. Moreover, axitinib particularly inhibited the function of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette subfamily G member 2 (ABCG2) and reversed ABCG2-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR) in vitro. However, no significant reversal effect was observed in ABCB1-, ABCC1- or lung resistance–related protein (LRP)-mediated MDR. Furthermore, in both sensitive and MDR cancer cells axitinib neither altered the expression of ABCG2 at the mRNA or protein levels nor blocked the phosphorylation of AKT and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2. In nude mice bearing ABCG2-overexpressing S1-M1-80 xenografts, axitinib significantly enhanced the antitumor activity of topotecan without causing additional toxicity. Taken together, these data suggest that axitinib particularly targets cancer stemlike cells and reverses ABCG2-mediated drug resistance by inhibiting the transporter activity of ABCG2.

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 18, 2012 1:57 PM CDT
Li-Chieh Ching, Chien-Yu Chen, Kuo-Hui Su, Hsin-Han Hou, Song-Kun Shyue, Yu Ru Kou, and Tzong-Shyuan Lee

We investigated whether AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a multifunctional regulator of energy homeostasis, is involved in transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1)-mediated activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in endothelial cells (ECs) and mice. In ECs, treatment with evodiamine, the activator of TRPV1, increased the phosphorylation of AMPK, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and eNOS, as revealed by Western blot analysis. Inhibition of AMPK activation by compound C or dominant-negative AMPK mutant abrogated the evodiamine-induced increase in phosphorylation of AMPK and eNOS and NO bioavailability, as well as tube formation in ECs. Immunoprecipitation and two-hybrid analysis demonstrated that AMPK mediated the evodiamine-induced increase in the formation of a TRPV1–eNOS complex. Additionally, TRPV1 activation by evodiamine increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and eNOS in aortas of wild-type mice but did not activate eNOS in aortas of TRPV1-deficient mice. In mice, inhibition of AMPK activation by compound C markedly decreased evodiamine-evoked angiogenesis in matrigel plugs and in a hind-limb ischemia model. Moreover, evodiamine-induced phosphorylation of AMPK and eNOS in aortas of apolipoprotein E–deficient (ApoE–/–) mice was abrogated in TRPV1-deficient ApoE–/– mice. In conclusion, TRPV1 activation may trigger AMPK-dependent signaling, which leads to enhanced activation of AMPK and eNOS and retarded development of atherosclerosis. 

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Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 16, 2012 11:19 AM CDT
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