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2015 Anniversary Issue


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Molecular Medicine 2015

Articles from this Volume

Ke Cao, Minhui Chen, Xiang Jie, Yansheng Wang, Qiasheng Li, and Jun Xu

The host tolerance mechanisms to avian influenza virus (H5N1) infection that limit tissue injury remain unknown. Emerging evidence indicates that cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a cAMP-dependent Cl– channel, modulates airway inflammation. Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK) 3, a JAK family member that plays a central role in inflammatory responses, prominently contributes to the dysregulated innate immune response upon H5N1 attachment; therefore, this study aims to elucidate whether JAK3 activation induced by H5N1 hemagglutinin (HA) inhibits cAMP-dependent CFTR channels. We performed short-circuit current, immunohistochemistry and molecular analyses of the airway epithelium in Jak3+/+ and Jak3+/– mice. We demonstrate that H5N1 HA attachment inhibits cAMP-dependent CFTR Cl– channels via JAK3-mediated adenylyl cyclase (AC) suppression, which reduces cAMP production. This inhibition leads to increased nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signaling and inflammatory responses. H5N1 HA is detected by TLR4 expressed on respiratory epithelial cells, facilitating JAK3 activation. This activation induces the interaction between TLR4 and Gαi protein, which blocks ACs. Our findings provide novel insight into the pathogenesis of acute lung injury via the inhibition of cAMP-dependent CFTR channels, indicating that the administration of cAMP-elevating agents and targeting JAK3 may activate host tolerance to infection for the management of influenza virus–induced fatal pneumonia.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 15, 2015 8:51 AM CDT
Yanning Li, Demei Liu, Yanhong Zong, Jinsheng Qi, Bin Li, Kun Liu, and Hui Xiao

On the basis of their characteristics, we presume that developmental stage-specific hepatocytes should have the ability to induce maturation of hepatoma cells. A regulatory circuit formed by hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4α, HNF-1α, HNF-6 and the upstream stimulatory factor (USF-1) play a key role in the maturation of embryonic hepatocytes; however, it is unclear whether the regulatory circuit mediates the embryonic induction of hepatoma cell maturation. In this study, 12.5-d to 15.5-d mouse embryonic hepatocytes or their medium were used to coculture or treat HepG2 cells, and the induced maturation was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In the induced HepG2 cells, the components of the regulatory circuit were detected, their cross-regulation was evaluated and HNF-4α RNA interference was performed. We found that 13.5-d to 14.5-d embryonic hepatocytes could induce HepG2 cell maturation, demonstrated by morphological changes, increased maturation markers and decreased c-Myc and α-fetoprotein (AFP) in vitro. The majority of HepG2 tumors were eliminated by 13.5-d embryonic induction in vivo. All components of the regulatory circuit were upregulated and the binding of HNF-4α, HNF-1α, HNF-6 and USF-1 to their target sites was promoted to rebuild the regulatory circuit in the induced HepG2 cells. Moreover, RNA interference targeting HNF-4α, which is the core of the regulatory circuit, attenuated the induced maturation of HepG2 cells with downregulation of the regulatory circuit. These results revealed that developmental stage-specific hepatocytes could induce the maturation of HepG2 cells by rebuilding the regulatory circuit.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 9, 2015 3:19 PM CDT
Michael C Madigan, Ryan M McEnaney, Ankur J Shukla, Guiying Hong, Eric E Kelley, Margaret M Tarpey, Mark Gladwin, Brian S Zuckerbraun, and Edith Tzeng

Chronic, nonhealing wounds result in patient morbidity and disability. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) are both required for normal wound repair, and derangements of these result in impaired healing. Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) has the unique capacity to produce both ROS and NO. We hypothesize that XOR contributes to normal wound healing. Cutaneous wounds were created in C57Bl6 mice. XOR was inhibited with dietary tungsten or allopurinol. Topical hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 0.15%) or allopurinol (30 μg) was applied to wounds every other day. Wounds were monitored until closure or collected at d 5 to assess XOR expression and activity, cell proliferation and histology. The effects of XOR, nitrite, H2O2 and allopurinol on keratinocyte cell (KC) and endothelial cell (EC) behavior were assessed. We identified XOR expression and activity in the skin and wound edges as well as granulation tissue. Cultured human KCs also expressed XOR. Tungsten significantly inhibited XOR activity and impaired healing with reduced ROS production with reduced angiogenesis and KC proliferation. The expression and activity of other tungsten-sensitive enzymes were minimal in the wound tissues. Oral allopurinol did not reduce XOR activity or alter wound healing but topical allopurinol significantly reduced XOR activity and delayed healing. Topical H2O2 restored wound healing in tungsten-fed mice. In vitro, nitrite and H2O2 both stimulated KC and EC proliferation and EC migration. These studies demonstrate for the first time that XOR is abundant in wounds and participates in normal wound healing through effects on ROS production.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 9, 2015 3:09 PM CDT
Ahmar Ayub, Ninu Poulose, and Raghavan Raju

Resveratrol has been shown to potentiate mitochondrial function and extend longevity; however, there is no evidence to support whether resveratrol can improve survival or prolong life following hemorrhagic shock. We sought to determine whether (a) resveratrol can improve survival following hemorrhage and resuscitation and (b) prolong life in the absence of resuscitation. Using a hemorrhagic injury (HI) model in the rat, we describe for the first time that the naturally occurring small molecule, resveratrol, may be an effective adjunct to resuscitation fluid. In a series of three sets of experiments we show that resveratrol administration during resuscitation improves survival following HI (p < 0.05), resveratrol and its synthetic mimic SRT1720 can significantly prolong life in the absence of resuscitation fluid (<30 min versus up to 4 h; p < 0.05), and resveratrol as well as SRT1720 restores left ventricular function following HI. We also found significant changes in the expression level of mitochondria- related transcription factors Ppar-α and Tfam, as well as Pgc-1α in the left ventricular tissues of rats subjected to HI and treated with resveratrol. The results indicate that resveratrol is a strong candidate adjunct to resuscitation following severe hemorrhage.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 9, 2015 2:56 PM CDT
Yung-Ming Chen, Wen-Chih Chiang, Yalin Yang, Chun-Fu Lai, Kwan-Dun Wu, and Shuei-Liong Lin

Anti-Thy1 glomerulonephritis is a rat nephritis model closely simulating human mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. It affects primarily the mesangium, yet displays substantial proteinuria during the course. This study investigated the molecular signals underlying proteinuria in this disease and the modulation of which by the known antiproteinuric agent, pentoxifylline. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into a control group and nephritic groups with or without treatment with IMD-0354 (an IκB kinase inhibitor), SB431542 (an activin receptor–like kinase inhibitor) or pentoxifylline. Kidney sections were prepared for histological examinations. Glomeruli were isolated for mRNA and protein analysis. Urine samples were collected for protein and nephrin quantitation. One day after nephritis induction, proteinuria developed together with ultrastructural changes of the podocyte and downregulation of podocyte mRNA and protein expression. These were associated with upregulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/activins mRNAs and activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65 and Smad2/3. IMD-0354 attenuated proteinuria on d 1, whereas SB431542 decreased proteinuria on d 3 and 5, in association with partial restoration of downregulated podocyte mRNA and protein expression. Pentoxifylline attenuated proteinuria and nephrinuria through the course, plus inhibition of p-NF-κB p65 (d 1) and p-Smad2/3 (d 5) and partial reversal of downregulated podocyte mRNA and protein. Our data show that the pathogenesis of proteinuria in anti-Thy1 glomerulonephritis involves TNF-α and TGF-β/activin pathways, and the evolution of this process can be attenuated by pentoxifylline via downregulation of NF-κB and Smad signals and restoration of the podocyte component of the glomerular filtration barrier.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 9, 2015 2:15 PM CDT
Christiane Gras, Dominica Ratuszny, Catarina Hadamitzky, Haijiao Zhang, Rainer Blasczyk, and Constança Figueiredo

Hyperthrophic scarring of the skin is caused by excessive activity of skin myofibroblasts after wound healing and often leads to functional and/or aesthetic disturbance with significant impairment of patient quality of life. MicroRNA (miRNA) gene therapies have recently been proposed for complex processes such as fibrosis and scarring. In this study, we focused on the role of miR-145 in skin scarring and its influence in myofibroblast function. Our data showed not only a threefold increase of miR-145 levels in skin hypertrophic scar tissue but also in transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1)-induced skin myofibroblasts compared with healthy skin or nontreated fibroblasts (p < 0.001). Consistent with the upregulation of miR-145 induced by TGF-β1 stimulation of fibroblasts, the expression of Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) was decreased by 50% and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) protein expression showed a threefold increase. Both could be reversed by miR-145 inhibition (p < 0.05). Restoration of KLF4 levels equally abrogated TGF- β1–induced α-SMA expression. These data demonstrate that TGF-β1 induces miR-145 expression in fibroblasts, which in turn inhibits KLF4, a known inhibitor of α-SMA, hence upregulating α-SMA expression. Furthermore, treatment of myofibroblasts with a miR-145 inhibitor strongly decreased their α-1 type I collagen expression, TGF-β1 secretion, contractile force generation and migration. These data demonstrate that upregulation of miR-145 plays an important role in the differentiation and function of skin myofibroblasts. Additionally, inhibition of miR-145 significantly reduces skin myofibroblast activity. Taken together, these results suggest that miR-145 is a promising therapeutic target to prevent or reduce hypertrophic scarring of the skin.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jul 9, 2015 2:02 PM CDT
Marco Lucarelli, Sabina Maria Bruno, Silvia Pierandrei, Giampiero Ferraguti, Antonella Stamato, Fabiana Narzi, Annalisa Amato, Giuseppe Cimino, Serenella Bertasi, Serena Quattrucci, and Roberto Strom

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a monogenic disease caused by mutations of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. The genotype–phenotype relationship in this disease is still unclear, and diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic challenges persist. We enrolled 610 patients with different forms of CF and studied them from a clinical, biochemical, microbiological and genetic point of view. Overall, there were 125 different mutated alleles (11 with novel mutations and 10 with complex mutations) and 225 genotypes. A strong correlation between mutational patterns at the genotypic level and phenotypic macrocategories emerged. This specificity appears to largely depend on rare and individual mutations, as well as on the varying prevalence of common alleles in different clinical macrocategories. However, 19 genotypes appeared to underlie different clinical forms of the disease. The dissection of the pathway from the CFTR mutated genotype to the clinical phenotype allowed to identify at least two components of the variability usually found in the genotype–phenotype relationship. One component seems to depend on the genetic variation of CFTR, the other component on the cumulative effect of variations in other genes and cellular pathways independent from CFTR. The experimental dissection of the overall biological CFTR pathway appears to be a powerful approach for a better comprehension of the genotype–phenotype relationship. However, a change from an allele-oriented to a genotypicoriented view of CFTR genetics is mandatory, as well as a better assessment of sources of variability within the CFTR pathway.

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Supplemental Data
Posted by Leah Caracappa on Jul 1, 2015 2:14 PM CDT
Prameladevi Chinnasamy, Sarah E Lutz, Dario F Riascos-Bernal, Venkatesh Jeganathan, Isabel Casimiro, Celia F Brosnan, and Nicholas ES Sibinga

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of human multiple sclerosis (MS), is mediated by myelinspecific autoreactive T cells that cause inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system (CNS), with significant contributions from activated microglia and macrophages. The molecular bases for expansion and activation of these cells, plus trafficking to the CNS for peripheral cells, are not fully understood. Allograft inflammatory factor-1 (Aif-1) (also known as ionized Ca2+ binding adapter-1 [Iba-1]) is induced in leukocytes in MS and EAE; here we provide the first assessment of Aif-1 function in this setting. After myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35–55) immunization, Aif-1–deficient mice were less likely than controls to develop EAE and had less CNS leukocyte infiltration and demyelination; their spinal cords contained fewer CD4 T cells and microglia and more CD8 T cells. These mice also showed significantly less splenic CD4 T-cell expansion and activation, plus decreased
proinflammatory cytokine expression. These findings identify Aif-1 as a potent molecule that promotes expansion and activation of CD4 T cells, plus elaboration of a proinflammatory cytokine milieu, in MOG35–55-induced EAE and as a potential therapeutic target in MS.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jun 25, 2015 12:50 PM CDT
Mostafa A Borahay, Ayman Al-Hendy, Gokhan S Kilic, and Darren Boehning

Uterine leiomyomas are the most common tumors of the female genital tract, affecting 50% to 70% of females by the age of 50. Despite their prevalence and enormous medical and economic impact, no effective medical treatment is currently available. This is, in part, due to the poor understanding of their underlying pathobiology. Although they are thought to start as a clonal proliferation of a single myometrial smooth muscle cell, these early cytogenetic alterations are considered insufficient for tumor development and additional complex signaling pathway alterations are crucial. These include steroids, growth factors, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)/Smad; wingless-type (Wnt)/β-catenin, retinoic acid, vitamin D, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ). An important finding is that several of these pathways converge in a summative way. For example, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt pathways seem to act as signal integrators, incorporating input from several signaling pathways, including growth factors, estrogen and vitamin D. This underlines the multifactorial origin and complex nature of these tumors. In this review, we aim to dissect these pathways and discuss their interconnections, aberrations and role in leiomyoma pathobiology. We also aim to identify potential targets for development of novel therapeutics.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jun 25, 2015 12:37 PM CDT
Monique Michels, Lucinéia Gainski Danieslki, Andriele Vieira, Drielly Florentino, Dhébora Dall’Igna, Letícia Galant, Beatriz Sonai, Francieli Vuolo, Franciele Mina, Bruna Pescador, Diogo Dominguini,Tatiana Barichello, João Quevedo, Felipe Dal-Pizzol, and Fabrícia Petronilho

Sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) is associated with an increased rate of morbidity and mortality. It is not understood what the exact mechanism is for the brain dysfunction that occurs in septic patients, but brain inflammation and oxidative stress are a possible theory. Such events can occur through the alteration of molecules that perpetuate the inflammatory response. Thus, it is possible to postulate that CD40 may be involved in this process. The aim of this work is to evaluate the role of CD40–CD40L pathway activation in brain dysfunction associated with sepsis in an animal model. Microglia activation induces the upregulation of CD40–CD40L, both in vitro and in vivo. The inhibition of microglia activation decreases levels of CD40–CD40L in the brain and decreases brain inflammation, oxidative damage and blood brain barrier dysfunction. Despite this, anti-CD40 treatment does not improve mortality in this model. However, it is able to improve long-term cognitive impairment in sepsis survivors. In conclusion, there is a major involvement of the CD40–CD40L signaling pathway in long-term brain dysfunction in an animal model of sepsis.

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Posted by Sheila Platt on Jun 24, 2015 12:29 PM CDT
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