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Molecular Medicine 2015

Articles from this Volume

Yanping Liu, Bin Li, Ximing Wang, Guishuang Li, Rui Shang, Jianmin Yang, Jiali Wang, Meng Zhang, Yuguo Chen, Yun Zhang, Cheng Zhang, Panpan Hao

We recently confirmed that angiotensin II (Ang II) type 1 receptor (AT1R) was overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma tissue using a murine hepatoma model. Angiotensin(Ang)-(1–7) has been found beneficial in ameliorating lung cancer and prostate cancer. Which receptor of Ang-(1–7) is activated to mediate its effects is much speculated. This study was designed to investigate the effects of Ang-(1–7) on hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as the probable mechanisms. H22 hepatoma-bearing mice were randomly divided into five groups for treatment: mock group, low-dose Ang-(1–7), high-dose Ang-(1–7), high-dose Ang-(1–7) A779 and high-dose Ang-(1–7) PD123319. Ang-(1–7) treatment inhibited tumor growth time- and dose-dependently by arresting tumor proliferation and promoting tumor apoptosis as well as inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. The effects of Ang-(1–7) on tumor proliferation and apoptosis were reversed by coadministration with A779 or PD123319, whereas the effects on tumor angiogenesis were completely reversed by A779 but not by PD123319. Moreover, Ang-(1–7) downregulated AT1R mRNA, upregulated mRNA levels of Ang II type 2 receptor (AT2R) and Mas receptor (MasR) and p38-MAPK phosphorylation and suppressed H22 cell–endothelial cell communication. Thus, Ang-(1–7) administration suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma via complex interactions of AT1R, AT2R and MasR and may provide a novel and promising approach for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Nov 17, 2015 2:37 PM CST
Kou-Gi Shyu, Wen-Ping Cheng, and Bao-Wei Wang

MicroRNA (miR)-145 is the most abundant miR in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). However, the effect of hyperglycemia on the regulation of miR-145 is unknown. We hypothesized that the hyperglycemic condition activates a proinflammatory response that mediates the expression of miR-145 in VSMCs. We investigated whether miR-145 serves as a critical regulator to regulate the downstream proliferation factors (including Kruppel-like factor 4 [Klf4] and myocardin) in VSMCs under hyperglycemic conditions. Human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMCs) were cultured under high glucose conditions. Sustained high glucose at 25 mmol/L significantly decreased the expression of miR-145 in HCASMCs. High glucose significantly increased angiotensin II (Ang II) secretion from HCASMCs and Ang II suppressed miR-145 expression in HCASMCs. Ang II repression of miR145 expression resulted in increased Klf4 and decreased myocardin expression under conditions of high glucose. Overexpression of miR-145 significantly decreased Klf4 and increased myocardin expression and inhibited HCASMC proliferation and migration induced by a high glucose state. Balloon injury of the carotid artery in diabetic rats was performed to investigate miR-145, Klf and myocardin expression. The expression of miR-145 was maximally increased at 7 d after carotid injury and gradually declined thereafter. Overexpression of miR-145 and treatment with valsartan reversed Klf4 and myocardin protein expression induced by balloon injury and improved vascular injury. In conclusion, our study reveals that Ang II downregulates miR-145 to regulate Klf4 and myocardin expression in HCASMCs under high glucose conditions. Ang II plays a critical role in the regulation of miR-145 under hyperglycemic conditions.

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Supplemental Data
Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 29, 2015 12:36 PM CDT
Yingjuan Lu, Nikki Parker, Paul J Kleindl, Vicky A Cross, Kristin Wollak, Elaine Westrick, Torian W Stinnette, Mark A Gehrke, Kevin Wang, Hari Krishna R Santhapuram, Fei You, Spencer J Hahn, Jeremy F Vaughn, Patrick J Klein, Iontcho R Vlahov, Philip S Low, and Christopher P Leamon

Folate receptor (FR)-β has been identified as a promising target for antimacrophage and antiinflammatory therapies. In the present study, we investigated EC0565, a folic acid–derivative of everolimus, as a FR-specific inhibitor of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Because of its amphiphilic nature, EC0565 was first evaluated for water solubility, critical micelle formation, stability in culture and FR-binding specificity. Using FR-expressing macrophages, the effect of EC0565 on mTOR signaling and cellular proliferation was studied. The pharmacokinetics, metabolism and bioavailability of EC0565 were studied in normal rats. The in vivo activity of EC0565 was assessed in rats with adjuvant arthritis, a “macrophage-rich” model with close resemblance to rheumatoid arthritis. EC0565 forms micellar aggregates in physiological buffers and demonstrates good water solubility as well as strong multivalent FR-binding capacity. EC0565 inhibited mTOR signaling in rat macrophages at nanomolar concentrations and induced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest in serum-starved RAW264.7 cells. Subcutaneously administered EC0565 in rats displayed good bioavailability and a relatively long half-life (~12 h). When given at 250 nmol/kg, EC0565 selectively inhibited proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression in thioglycollate-stimulated rat peritoneal cells. With limited dosing regimens, the antiarthritic activity of EC0565 was found superior to that of etanercept, everolimus and a nontargeted everolimus analog. The in vivo activity of EC0565 was also comparable to that of a folate-targeted aminopterin. Folate-targeted mTOR inhibition may be an effective way of suppressing activated macrophages in sites of inflammation, especially in nutrient-deprived conditions, such as in the arthritic joints. Further investigation and improvement upon the physical and biochemical properties of EC0565 are warranted.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 29, 2015 11:32 AM CDT
Jia Xu, Kelly Benabou, Xiangdong Cui, Marissa Madia, Edith Tzeng, Timothy Billiar, Simon Watkins, and Ulka Sachdev

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an important role in regulating muscle regeneration and angiogenesis in response to ischemia. TLR2 knockout mice exhibit pronounced skeletal muscle necrosis and abnormal vessel architecture after femoral artery ligation, suggesting that TLR2 signaling is protective during ischemia. TLR4, an important receptor in inflammatory signaling, has been shown to regulate TLR2 expression in other systems. We hypothesize that a similar  relationship between TLR4 and TLR2 may exist in hindlimb ischemia in which TLR4 upregulates TLR2, a mediator of angiogenesis and perfusion recovery. We examined the expression of TLR2
in unstimulated and in TLR-agonist treated endothelial cells (ECs). TLR2 expression (low in control ECs) was upregulated by lipopolysaccharide, the danger signal high mobility group box-1, and hypoxia in a TLR4-dependent manner. Endothelial tube formation on Matrigel as well as EC permeability was assessed as in vitro measures of angiogenesis. Time-lapse imaging demonstrated that ECs lacking TLR4 formed more tubes, whereas TLR2 knockdown ECs exhibited attenuated tube formation. TLR2 also mediated EC permeability, an initial step during angiogenesis, in response to high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) that is released by cells during hypoxic injury. In vivo, ischemia-induced upregulation of TLR2 required intact TLR4 signaling that mediated systemic inflammation, as measured by local and systemic IL-6 levels. Similar to our in vitro findings, vascular density and limb perfusion were both enhanced in the absence of TLR4 signaling, but not if TLR2 was deleted. These findings indicate that TLR2, in the absence of TLR4, improves angiogenesis and perfusion recovery in response to ischemia.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 3:16 PM CDT
Elisabeth Odin, Arvid Sondén, Bengt Gustavsson, Göran Carlsson, and Yvonne Wettergren

Colorectal cancer is commonly treated with 5-fluorouracil and 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (leucovorin). Metabolic action of leucovorin requires several enzymatic steps that are dependent on expression of corresponding coding genes. To identify folate pathway genes with possible impact on leucovorin metabolism, a retrospective study was performed on 193 patients with stage III colorectal cancer. Relative expression of 22 genes putatively involved in leucovorin transport, polyglutamation and metabolism was determined in tumor and mucosa samples using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. After surgery, patients received adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based bolus chemotherapy with leucovorin during six months, and were followed for 3 to 5 years. Cox regression analysis showed that high tumoral expression of the genes SLC46A1/PCFT (proton-coupled folate transporter) and SLC19A1/RFC-1 (reduced folate carrier 1) correlated significantly (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively) with a decreased risk of recurrent disease, measured as disease-free survival (DFS). These two genes are involved in the transport of folates into the cells and each functions optimally at a different pH. We conclude that SLC46A1/PCFT and SLC19A1/RFC-1 are associated with DFS of patients with colorectal cancer and hypothesize that poor response to 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin therapy in some patients may be linked to low expression of these genes. Such patients might need a more intensified therapeutic approach than those with high gene expression. Future prospective studies will determine if the expression of any of these genes can be used to predict response to leucovorin.

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Supplemental Data
Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 2:49 PM CDT
Jochen Walter

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by progressive decline in cognitive functions associated with depositions of aggregated proteins in the form of extracellular plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Extracellular plaques contain characteristic fibrils of amyloid β peptides (Aβ); tangles consist of paired helical filaments of the microtubuli-associated protein tau. Although AD manifests predominantly at ages above 65 years, rare cases show a much earlier onset of disease symptoms with very similar neuropathological characteristics. In 1995, two homologous genes were identified, in which mutations are associated with dominantly inherited familial forms of early onset AD. The genes therefore were dubbed presenilins (PS) and encode polytopic transmembrane proteins. At this time the role of these proteins in the pathogenesis of AD and their biological function in general were completely unknown. However, individuals carrying PS mutations showed alterations in the composition of different length variants of Aβ peptides in blood and cerebrospinal fluid, which indicated the potential involvement of presenilins in the metabolism of Aβ. After 20 years of intense research, the roles of presenilins in Aβ generation as well as important functions in biological processes have been identified. Presenilins represent the catalytic components of protease complexes that directly cleave the amyloid precursor protein (APP) but also many other proteins with important physiological functions. Here, the progress in presenilin research from basic characterization of their cellular functions to the targeting in clinical trials for AD therapy, and potential
future directions, will be discussed.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 11:19 AM CDT
Sho-ichi Yamagishi, Nobutaka Nakamura, Mika Suematsu, Kuniyoshi Kaseda, and Takanori Matsui

A nonenzymatic reaction between reducing sugars and amino groups of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids contributes to the aging of macromolecules and subsequently alters their structural integrity and function. This process has been known to progress at an accelerated rate under hyperglycemic and/or oxidative stress conditions. Over a course of days to weeks, early glycation products undergo further reactions such as rearrangements and dehydration to become irreversibly cross-linked, fluorescent and senescent macroprotein derivatives termed advanced glycation end products (AGEs). There is a growing body of evidence indicating that interaction of AGEs with their receptor (RAGE) elicits oxidative stress generation and as a result evokes proliferative, inflammatory, thrombotic and fibrotic reactions in a variety of cells. This evidence supports AGEs’ involvement in diabetes- and aging-associated disorders such as diabetic vascular complications, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Therefore, inhibition of AGE formation could be a novel molecular target for organ protection in diabetes. This report summarizes the pathophysiological role of AGEs in vascular complications in diabetes and discusses the potential clinical utility of measurement of serum levels of AGEs for evaluating organ damage in diabetes.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 11:12 AM CDT
Jennifer E Hardingham, Phulwinder Grover, Marnie Winter, Peter J Hewett, Timothy J Price, and Benjamin Thierry

Circulating tumor cells (CTC) may be defined as tumor- or metastasis-derived cells that are present in the bloodstream. The CTC pool in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients may include not only epithelial tumor cells, but also tumor cells undergoing epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tumor stem cells. A significant number of patients diagnosed with early stage CRC subsequently relapse with recurrent or metastatic disease despite undergoing “curative” resection of their primary tumor. This suggests that an occult metastatic disease process was already underway, with viable tumor cells being shed from the primary tumor site, at least some of which have proliferative and metastatic potential and the ability to survive in the bloodstream. Such tumor cells are considered to be responsible for disease relapse in these patients. Their detection in peripheral blood at the time of diagnosis or after resection of the primary tumor may identify those early-stage patients who are at risk of developing recurrent or metastatic disease and who would benefit from adjuvant therapy. CTC may also be a useful adjunct to radiological assessment of tumor response to therapy. Over the last 20 years many approaches have been developed for the isolation and characterization of CTC. However, none of these methods can be considered the gold standard for detection of the entire pool of CTC. Recently our group has developed novel unbiased inertial microfluidics to enrich for CTC, followed by identification of CTC by imaging flow cytometry. Here, we provide a review of progress on CTC detection and clinical significance over the last 20 years.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 11:05 AM CDT
Jason A Chesney and Robert A Mitchell

Twenty-five years ago marked the publication of the first report describing a functional contribution by the cytokine, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), to tumor-associated angiogenesis and growth. Since first appearing, this report has been cited 304 times (as of this writing), underscoring not only the importance of this landmark study but also the importance of MIF in tumor neovascularization. Perhaps more importantly, this first link between MIF and stromal cell–dependent tumor angiogenesis presaged the subsequent identification of MIF in mediating protumorigenic contributions to several solid tumor stromal cell types, including monocytes, macrophages, T lymphocytes, NK cells, fibroblasts, endothelial progenitors and mesenchymal stem cells. This retrospective review will broadly evaluate both past and present literature stemming from this initial publication, with an emphasis on cellular sources, cellular effectors, signal transduction mechanisms and the clinical importance of MIF-dependent tumor vascularization.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 10:57 AM CDT
Marie Le Borgne, Giuseppina Caligiuri, and Antonino Nicoletti

Extensive research has been carried out to decipher the function of the adaptive immune response in atherosclerosis, with the expectation that it will pave the road for the design of immunomodulatory therapies that will prevent or reverse the progression of the disease. All this work has led to the concept that some T- and B-cell subsets are proatherogenic, whereas others are atheroprotective. In addition to the immune response occurring in the spleen and lymph nodes, it has been shown that lymphoid neogenesis takes place in the adventitia of atherosclerotic vessels, leading to the formation of tertiary lymphoid organs where an adaptive immune response can be mounted. Whereas the mechanisms orchestrating the formation of these organs are becoming better understood, their impact on atherosclerosis progression remains unclear. Several potential therapeutic strategies against atherosclerosis, such as protective vaccination against atherosclerosis antigens or inhibiting the activation of proatherogenic B cells, have been proposed based on our improving knowledge of the role of the immune system in atherosclerosis. These strategies have shown success in preclinical studies, giving hope that they will lead to clinical applications.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Oct 27, 2015 10:36 AM CDT
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