Latest issue: March 23, 2017


Recently published

Abstract

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is rapidly spreading across the globe, and millions are infected. Morbidity due to this virus is a serious threat to public health, but at present, there is no vaccine against this debilitating disease. We have recently developed a number of vaccine candidates, and here we have evaluated 3 of them in a nonhuman primate model. A single immunization with an attenuated strain of CHIKV (Δ5nsP3), a homologous prime-boost immunization with a DNA-launched RNA replicon encoding CHIKV envelope proteins (DREP-E), and a DREP-E prime followed by a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara encoding CHIKV capsid and envelope (MVA-CE) boost all induced protection against WT CHIKV infection. The attenuated Δ5nsP3 virus proved to be safe and did not show any clinical signs typically associated with WT CHIKV infections such as fever, skin rash, lymphopenia, or joint swelling. These vaccines are based on an East/Central/South African strain of Indian Ocean lineage, but they also generated neutralizing antibodies against an isolate of the Asian genotype that now is rapidly spreading across the Americas. These results form the basis for clinical development of an efficacious CHIKV vaccine that generates both humoral and cellular immunity with long-term immunological memory.

Authors

Pierre Roques, Karl Ljungberg, Beate M. Kümmerer, Leslie Gosse, Nathalie Dereuddre-Bosquet, Nicolas Tchitchek, David Hallengärd, Juan García-Arriaza, Andreas Meinke, Mariano Esteban, Andres Merits, Roger Le Grand, Peter Liljeström

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Abstract

Mutations in the Nkx2-5 gene are a main cause of congenital heart disease. Several studies have addressed the phenotypic consequences of disrupting the Nkx2-5 gene locus, although animal models to date failed to recapitulate the full spectrum of the human disease. Here, we describe a new Nkx2-5 point mutation murine model, akin to its human counterpart disease–generating mutation. Our model fully reproduces the morphological and physiological clinical presentations of the disease and reveals an understudied aspect of Nkx2-5–driven pathology, a primary right ventricular dysfunction. We further describe the molecular consequences of disrupting the transcriptional network regulated by Nkx2-5 in the heart and show that Nkx2-5–dependent perturbation of the Wnt signaling pathway promotes heart dysfunction through alteration of cardiomyocyte metabolism. Our data provide mechanistic insights on how Nkx2-5 regulates heart function and metabolism, a link in the study of congenital heart disease, and confirms that our models are the first murine genetic models to our knowledge to present all spectra of clinically relevant adult congenital heart disease phenotypes generated by NKX2-5 mutations in patients.

Authors

Milena B. Furtado, Julia C. Wilmanns, Anjana Chandran, Joelle Perera, Olivia Hon, Christine Biben, Taylor J. Willow, Hieu T. Nim, Gurpreet Kaur, Stephanie Simonds, Qizhu Wu, David Willians, Ekaterina Salimova, Nicolas Plachta, James M. Denegre, Stephen A. Murray, Diane Fatkin, Michael Cowley, James T. Pearson, David Kaye, Mirana Ramialison, Richard P. Harvey, Nadia A. Rosenthal, Mauro W. Costa

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. The pathogenesis of Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) is poorly characterized. The establishment of well-equipped diagnostic laboratories close to Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) has made it possible to obtain relevant virological and biological data during the course of EVD and to assess their association with the clinical course and different outcomes of the disease.

METHODS. We were responsible for diagnosing EBOV infection in patients admitted to two ETCs in forested areas of Guinea. The pattern of clinical signs was recorded, and an etiological diagnosis was established by RT-PCR for EBOV infection or a rapid test for malaria and typhoid fever. Biochemical analyses were also performed.

RESULTS. We handled samples from 168 patients between November 29, 2014, and January 31, 2015; 97 patients were found to be infected with EBOV, with Plasmodium falciparum coinfection in 18%. Overall mortality for EVD cases was 58%, rising to 86% if P. falciparum was also present. Viral load was higher in fatal cases of EVD than in survivors, and fatal cases were associated with higher aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP), and IL-6 levels. Furthermore, regardless of outcome, EVD was characterized by higher creatine kinase (CPK), amylase, and creatinine levels than in febrile patients without EVD, with higher blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels in fatal cases of EVD only.

CONCLUSION. These findings suggest that a high viral load at admission is a marker of poor EVD prognosis. In addition, high AST, ALT, CRP, and IL-6 levels are associated with a fatal outcome of EVD. Damage to the liver and other tissues, with massive rhabdomyolysis and, probably, acute pancreatitis, is associated with EVD and correlated with disease severity. Finally, biochemical analyses provide substantial added value at ETCs, making it possible to improve supportive rehydration and symptomatic care for patients.

FUNDING. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agence Française de Développement, and Institut Pasteur.

Authors

Marie-Astrid Vernet, Stéphanie Reynard, Alexandra Fizet, Justine Schaeffer, Delphine Pannetier, Jeremie Guedj, Max Rives, Nadia Georges, Nathalie Garcia-Bonnet, Aboubacar I. Sylla, Péma Grovogui, Jean-Yves Kerherve, Christophe Savio, Sylvie Savio-Coste, Marie-Laure de Séverac, Philippe Zloczewski, Sandrine Linares, Souley Harouna, Bing M’Lebing Abdoul, Frederic Petitjean, Nenefing Samake, Susan Shepherd, Moumouni Kinda, Fara Roger Koundouno, Ludovic Joxe, Mathieu Mateo, Patrick Lecine, Audrey Page, Tang Maleki Tchamdja, Matthieu Schoenhals, Solenne Barbe, Bernard Simon, Tuan Tran-Minh, Christophe Longuet, François L’Hériteau, Sylvain Baize

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Abstract

Women diagnosed with breast cancer within 5 years of childbirth have poorer prognosis than nulliparous or pregnant women. Weaning-induced breast involution is implicated, as the collagen-rich, immunosuppressive microenvironment of the involuting mammary gland is tumor promotional in mice. To investigate the role of mammary fibroblasts, isolated mammary PDGFRα+ cells from nulliparous and postweaning mice were assessed for activation phenotype and protumorigenic function. Fibroblast activation during involution was evident by increased expression of fibrillar collagens, lysyl oxidase, Tgfb1, and Cxcl12 genes. The ability of mammary tumors to grow in an isogenic, orthotopic transplant model was increased when tumor cells were coinjected with involution-derived compared with nulliparous-derived mammary fibroblasts. Mammary tumors in the involution-fibroblast group had increased Ly6C+ monocytes at the tumor border, and decreased CD8+ T cell infiltration and tumor cell death. Ibuprofen treatment suppressed involution-fibroblast activation and tumor promotional capacity, concurrent with decreases in tumor Ly6C+ monocytes, and increases in intratumoral CD8+ T cell infiltration, granzyme levels, and tumor cell death. In total, our data identify a COX/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)–dependent activated mammary fibroblast within the involuting mammary gland that displays protumorigenic, immunosuppressive activity, identifying fibroblasts as potential targets for the prevention and treatment of postpartum breast cancer.

Authors

Qiuchen Guo, Jessica Minnier, Julja Burchard, Kami Chiotti, Paul Spellman, Pepper Schedin

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Abstract

In cystic fibrosis (CF), airway mucus becomes thick and viscous, and its clearance from the airways is impaired. The gel-forming mucins undergo an ordered “unpacking/maturation” process after granular release that requires an optimum postsecretory environment, including hydration and pH. We hypothesized that this unpacking process is compromised in the CF lung due to abnormal transepithelial fluid transport that reduces airway surface hydration and alters ionic composition. Using human tracheobronchial epithelial cells derived from non-CF and CF donors and mucus samples from human subjects and domestic pigs, we investigated the process of postsecretory mucin unfolding/maturation, how these processes are defective in CF airways, and the probable mechanism underlying defective unfolding. First, we found that mucins released into a normal lung environment transform from a compact granular form to a linear form. Second, we demonstrated that this maturation process is defective in the CF airway environment. Finally, we demonstrated that independent of HCO3 and pH levels, airway surface dehydration was the major determinant of this abnormal unfolding process. This defective unfolding/maturation process after granular release suggests that the CF extracellular environment is ion/water depleted and likely contributes to abnormal mucus properties in CF airways prior to infection and inflammation.

Authors

Lubna H. Abdullah, Jessica R. Evans, T. Tiffany Wang, Amina A. Ford, Alexander M. Makhov, Kristine Nguyen, Raymond D. Coakley, Jack D. Griffith, C. William Davis, Stephen T. Ballard, Mehmet Kesimer

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Abstract

While strongly implicated in postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), considerable controversy exists regarding norepinephrine transporter (NET) loss of function. POTS is characterized by the clinical symptoms of orthostatic intolerance, lightheadedness, tachycardia, and syncope or near syncope with upright posture. Abnormal sympathetic nervous system activity is typical, of a type which suggests dysfunction of the NET, with evidence that the gene responsible is under tight epigenetic control. Using RNA of isolated chromatin combined with massive parallel sequencing (RICh-seq) we show that let-7i miRNA suppresses NET by methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2). Vorinostat restores epigenetic control and NET expression in leukocytes derived from POTS participants.

Authors

Abdul Waheed Khan, Mark Ziemann, Susan J. Corcoran, Harikrishnan K.N, Jun Okabe, Haloom Rafehi, Scott S. Maxwell, Murray D. Esler, Assam El-Osta

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Abstract

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) frequently harbors genetic alterations that activate the B cell receptor (BCR) and TLR pathways, which converge to activate NF-κB. While selective inhibition of BTK with ibrutinib causes clinical responses in relapsed DLBCL patients, most responses are partial and of a short duration. Here, we demonstrated that MyD88 silencing enhanced ibrutinib efficacy in DLBCL cells harboring MyD88 L265P mutations. Chemical downregulation of MyD88 expression with HDAC inhibitors also synergized with ibrutinib. We demonstrate that HDAC inhibitor regulation of MyD88 expression is mediated by STAT3. In turn, STAT3 silencing caused a decrease in MyD88 mRNA and protein levels, and enhanced the ibrutinib antilymphoma effect in MyD88 mutant DLBCL cells. Induced mutations in the STAT3 binding site in the MyD88 promotor region was associated with a decrease in MyD88 transcriptional activity. We also demonstrate that treatment with the HDAC inhibitor panobinostat decreased phosphorylated STAT3 binding to the MyD88 promotor. Accordingly, combined treatment with panobinostat and ibrutinib resulted in enhanced inhibition of NF-κB activity and caused regression of DLBCL xenografts. Our data provide a mechanistic rationale for combining HDAC inhibitors and ibrutinib for the treatment of DLBCL.

Authors

Patrizia Mondello, Elliott J. Brea, Elisa De Stanchina, Eneda Toska, Aaron Y. Chang, Myles Fennell, Venkatraman Seshan, Ralph Garippa, David A. Scheinberg, José Baselga, Hans-Guido Wendel, Anas Younes

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Abstract

Antibody-secreting cells are generated in regional lymphoid tissues and traffic as plasmablasts (PBs) via lymph and blood to target sites for local immunity. We used multiparameter flow cytometry to define PB trafficking programs (TPs, combinations of adhesion molecules and chemoattractant receptors) and their imprinting in patients in response to localized infection or immune insults. TPs enriched after infection or autoimmune inflammation of mucosae correlate with sites of immune response or symptoms, with different TPs imprinted during small intestinal, colon, throat, and upper respiratory immune challenge. PBs induced after intramuscular or intradermal influenza vaccination, including flu-specific antibody–secreting cells, display TPs characterized by the lack of mucosal homing receptors. PBs of healthy donors display diverse mucosa-associated TPs, consistent with homeostatic immune activity. Identification of TP signatures of PBs may facilitate noninvasive monitoring of organ-specific immune responses.

Authors

Yekyung Seong, Nicole H. Lazarus, Lusijah Sutherland, Aida Habtezion, Tzvia Abramson, Xiao-Song He, Harry B. Greenberg, Eugene C. Butcher

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. EGFR and Src family kinases are upregulated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). EGFR interacts with Src to activate STAT3 signaling, and dual EGFR-Src targeting is synergistic in HNSCC preclinical models. pSrc overexpression predicted resistance to the EGFR inhibitor, erlotinib, in a prior window trial. We conducted a 4-arm window trial to identify biomarkers associated with response to EGFR and/or Src inhibition.

METHODS. Patients with operable stage II–IVa HNSCC were randomized to 7–21 days of neoadjuvant erlotinib, the Src inhibitor dasatinib, the combination of both, or placebo. Paired tumor specimens were collected before and after treatment. Pharmacodynamic expression of EGFR and Src pathway components was evaluated by IHC of tissue microarrays and reverse-phase protein array of tissue lysates. Candidate biomarkers were assessed for correlation with change in tumor size.

RESULTS. From April 2009 to December 2012, 58 patients were randomized and 55 were treated. There was a significant decrease in tumor size in both erlotinib arms (P = 0.0014); however, no effect was seen with dasatinib alone (P = 0.24). High baseline pMAPK expression was associated with response to erlotinib (P = 0.03). High baseline pSTAT3 was associated with resistance to dasatinib (P = 0.099).

CONCLUSIONS. Brief exposure to erlotinib significantly decreased tumor size in operable HNSCC, with no additive effect from dasatinib. Baseline pMAPK expression warrants further study as a response biomarker for anti-EGFR therapy. Basal expression of pSTAT3 may be independent of Src, explain therapeutic resistance, and preclude development of dasatinib in biomarker-unselected cohorts.

TRIAL REGISTRATION. NCT00779389.

FUNDING. National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Pennsylvania Department of Health, V Foundation for Cancer Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Astellas Pharma.

Authors

Julie E. Bauman, Umamaheswar Duvvuri, William E. Gooding, Tanya J. Rath, Neil D. Gross, John Song, Antonio Jimeno, Wendell G. Yarbrough, Faye M. Johnson, Lin Wang, Simion Chiosea, Malabika Sen, Jason Kass, Jonas T. Johnson, Robert L. Ferris, Seungwon Kim, Fred R. Hirsch, Kimberly Ellison, John T. Flaherty, Gordon B. Mills, Jennifer R. Grandis

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Abstract

Focal therapies play an important role in the treatment of cancers where palliation is desired, local control is needed, or surgical resection is not feasible. Pairing immunotherapy with such focal treatments is particularly attractive; however, there is emerging evidence that focal therapy can have a positive or negative impact on the efficacy of immunotherapy. Thermal ablation is an appealing modality to pair with such protocols, as tumors can be rapidly debulked (cell death occurring within minutes to hours), tumor antigens can be released locally, and treatment can be conducted and repeated without the concerns of radiation-based therapies. In a syngeneic model of epithelial cancer, we found that 7 days of immunotherapy (TLR9 agonist and checkpoint blockade), prior to thermal ablation, reduced macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and enhanced IFN-γ–producing CD8+ T cells, the M1 macrophage fraction, and PD-L1 expression on CD45+ cells. Continued treatment with immunotherapy alone or with immunotherapy combined with ablation (primed ablation) then resulted in a complete response in 80% of treated mice at day 90, and primed ablation expanded CD8+ T cells as compared with all control groups. When the tumor burden was increased by implantation of 3 orthotopic tumors, successive primed ablation of 2 discrete lesions resulted in survival of 60% of treated mice as compared with 25% of mice treated with immunotherapy alone. Alternatively, when immunotherapy was begun immediately after thermal ablation, the abscopal effect was diminished and none of the mice within the cohort exhibited a complete response. In summary, we found that immunotherapy begun before ablation can be curative and can enhance efficacy in the presence of a high tumor burden. Two mechanisms have potential to impact the efficacy of immunotherapy when begun immediately after thermal ablation: mechanical changes in the tumor microenvironment and inflammatory-mediated changes in immune phenotype.

Authors

Matthew T. Silvestrini, Elizabeth S. Ingham, Lisa M. Mahakian, Azadeh Kheirolomoom, Yu Liu, Brett Z. Fite, Sarah M. Tam, Samantha T. Tucci, Katherine D. Watson, Andrew W. Wong, Arta M. Monjazeb, Neil E. Hubbard, William J. Murphy, Alexander D. Borowsky, Katherine W. Ferrara

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Abstract

Better identification of severe acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) may improve the outcome of this life-threatening complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. GvHD induces tissue damage and the release of damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules. Here, we analyzed GvHD patients (n = 39) to show that serum heat shock protein glycoprotein 96 (Gp96) could be such a DAMP molecule. We demonstrate that serum Gp96 increases in gastrointestinal GvHD patients and its level correlates with disease severity. An increase in Gp96 serum level was also observed in a mouse model of acute GvHD. This model was used to identify complement C3 as a main partner of Gp96 in the serum. Our biolayer interferometry, yeast two-hybrid and in silico modeling data allowed us to determine that Gp96 binds to a complement C3 fragment encompassing amino acids 749–954, a functional complement C3 hot spot important for binding of different regulators. Accordingly, in vitro experiments with purified proteins demonstrate that Gp96 downregulates several complement C3 functions. Finally, experimental induction of GvHD in complement C3–deficient mice confirms the link between Gp96 and complement C3 in the serum and with the severity of the disease.

Authors

Antoine Seignez, Anne-Laure Joly, Killian Chaumonnot, Adonis Hazoumé, Michel Sanka, Guillaume Marcion, Christophe Boudesco, Arlette Hammann, Renaud Seigneuric, Gaetan Jégo, Patrick Ducoroy, Patrice Delarue, Patrick Senet, Cristina Castilla-Llorente, Eric Solary, Marie-Agnès Durey, Marie-Thérèse Rubio, Olivier Hermine, Evelyne Kohli, Carmen Garrido

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Abstract

Infection is the most common cause of mortality in early life, and immunization is the most promising biomedical intervention to reduce this burden. However, newborns fail to respond optimally to most vaccines. Adjuvantation is a key approach to enhancing vaccine immunogenicity, but responses of human newborn leukocytes to most candidate adjuvants, including most TLR agonists, are functionally distinct. Herein, we demonstrate that 3M-052 is a locally acting lipidated imidazoquinoline TLR7/8 agonist adjuvant in mice, which, when properly formulated, can induce robust Th1 cytokine production by human newborn leukocytes in vitro, both alone and in synergy with the alum-adjuvanted pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13 (PCV13). When admixed with PCV13 and administered i.m. on the first day of life to rhesus macaques, 3M-052 dramatically enhanced generation of Th1 CRM-197–specific neonatal CD4+ cells, activation of newborn and infant Streptococcus pneumoniae polysaccharide–specific (PnPS-specific) B cells as well as serotype-specific antibody titers, and opsonophagocytic killing. Remarkably, a single dose at birth of PCV13 plus 0.1 mg/kg 3M-052 induced PnPS-specific IgG responses that were approximately 10–100 times greater than a single birth dose of PCV13 alone, rapidly exceeding the serologic correlate of protection, as early as 28 days of life. This potent immunization strategy, potentially effective with one birth dose, could represent a new paradigm in early life vaccine development.

Authors

David J. Dowling, Simon D. van Haren, Annette Scheid, Ilana Bergelson, Dhohyung Kim, Christy J. Mancuso, Willemina Foppen, Al Ozonoff, Lynn Fresh, Terese B. Theriot, Andrew A. Lackner, Raina N. Fichorova, Dmitri Smirnov, John P. Vasilakos, Joe M. Beaurline, Mark A. Tomai, Cecily C. Midkiff, Xavier Alvarez, James L. Blanchard, Margaret H. Gilbert, Pyone Pyone Aye, Ofer Levy

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Abstract

Loss-of-function mutations in stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) impair the activation of Ca2+ release–activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels and store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), resulting in a disease syndrome called CRAC channelopathy that is characterized by severe dental enamel defects. The cause of these enamel defects has remained unclear given a lack of animal models. We generated Stim1/2K14cre mice to delete STIM1 and its homolog STIM2 in enamel cells. These mice showed impaired SOCE in enamel cells. Enamel in Stim1/2K14cre mice was hypomineralized with decreased Ca content, mechanically weak, and thinner. The morphology of SOCE-deficient ameloblasts was altered, showing loss of the typical ruffled border, resulting in mislocalized mitochondria. Global gene expression analysis of SOCE-deficient ameloblasts revealed strong dysregulation of several pathways. ER stress genes associated with the unfolded protein response were increased in Stim1/2-deficient cells, whereas the expression of components of the glutathione system were decreased. Consistent with increased oxidative stress, we found increased ROS production, decreased mitochondrial function, and abnormal mitochondrial morphology in ameloblasts of Stim1/2K14cre mice. Collectively, these data show that loss of SOCE in enamel cells has substantial detrimental effects on gene expression, cell function, and the mineralization of dental enamel.

Authors

Miriam Eckstein, Martin Vaeth, Cinzia Fornai, Manikandan Vinu, Timothy G. Bromage, Meerim K. Nurbaeva, Jessica L. Sorge, Paulo G. Coelho, Youssef Idaghdour, Stefan Feske, Rodrigo S. Lacruz

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Abstract

The testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) hypothesis, which proposes that common reproductive disorders of newborn and adult human males may have a common fetal origin, is largely untested. We tested this hypothesis using a rat model involving gestational exposure to dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which suppresses testosterone production by the fetal testis. We evaluated if induction of TDS via testosterone suppression is restricted to the “masculinization programming window” (MPW), as indicated by reduction in anogenital distance (AGD). We show that DBP suppresses fetal testosterone equally during and after the MPW, but only DBP exposure in the MPW causes reduced AGD, focal testicular dysgenesis, and TDS disorders (cryptorchidism, hypospadias, reduced adult testis size, and compensated adult Leydig cell failure). Focal testicular dysgenesis, reduced size of adult male reproductive organs, and TDS disorders and their severity were all strongly associated with reduced AGD. We related our findings to human TDS cases by demonstrating similar focal dysgenetic changes in testes of men with preinvasive germ cell neoplasia (GCNIS) and in testes of DBP-MPW animals. If our results are translatable to humans, they suggest that identification of potential causes of human TDS disorders should focus on exposures during a human MPW equivalent, especially if negatively associated with offspring AGD.

Authors

Sander van den Driesche, Karen R. Kilcoyne, Ida Wagner, Diane Rebourcet, Ashley Boyle, Rod Mitchell, Chris McKinnell, Sheila Macpherson, Roland Donat, Chitranjan J. Shukla, Anne Jorgensen, Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts, Niels E. Skakkebaek, Richard M. Sharpe

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Abstract

Impaired PPARγ activity in endothelial cells causes oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction which causes a predisposition to hypertension, but the identity of key PPARγ target genes that protect the endothelium remain unclear. Retinol-binding protein 7 (RBP7) is a PPARγ target gene that is essentially endothelium specific. Whereas RBP7-deficient mice exhibit normal endothelial function at baseline, they exhibit severe endothelial dysfunction in response to cardiovascular stressors, including high-fat diet and subpressor angiotensin II. Endothelial dysfunction was not due to differences in weight gain, impaired glucose homeostasis, or hepatosteatosis, but occurred through an oxidative stress–dependent mechanism which can be rescued by scavengers of superoxide. RNA sequencing revealed that RBP7 was required to mediate induction of a subset of PPARγ target genes by rosiglitazone in the endothelium including adiponectin. Adiponectin was selectively induced in the endothelium of control mice by high-fat diet and rosiglitazone, whereas RBP7 deficiency abolished this induction. Adiponectin inhibition caused endothelial dysfunction in control vessels, whereas adiponectin treatment of RBP7-deficient vessels improved endothelium-dependent relaxation and reduced oxidative stress. We conclude that RBP7 is required to mediate the protective effects of PPARγ in the endothelium through adiponectin, and RBP7 is an endothelium-specific PPARγ target and regulator of PPARγ activity.

Authors

Chunyan Hu, Henry L. Keen, Ko-Ting Lu, Xuebo Liu, Jing Wu, Deborah R. Davis, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Silke Vogel, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund

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Abstract

Molecular mechanisms underlying learning and memory remain imprecisely understood, and restorative interventions are lacking. We report that intranasal administration of siRNAs can be used to identify targets important in cognitive processes and to improve genetically impaired learning and memory. In mice modeling the intellectual deficiency of Fragile X syndrome, intranasally administered siRNA targeting glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β), histone deacetylase-1 (HDAC1), HDAC2, or HDAC3 diminished cognitive impairments. In WT mice, intranasally administered brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) siRNA or HDAC4 siRNA impaired learning and memory, which was partially due to reduced insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF2) levels because the BDNF siRNA– or HDAC4 siRNA–induced cognitive impairments were ameliorated by intranasal IGF2 administration. In Fmr1–/– mice, hippocampal IGF2 was deficient, and learning and memory impairments were ameliorated by IGF2 intranasal administration. Therefore intranasal siRNA administration is an effective means to identify mechanisms regulating cognition and to modulate therapeutic targets.

Authors

Marta Pardo, Yuyan Cheng, Dmitry Velmeshev, Marco Magistri, Hagit Eldar-Finkelman, Ana Martinez, Mohammad A. Faghihi, Richard S. Jope, Eleonore Beurel

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Abstract

Insulin can inhibit hepatic glucose production (HGP) by acting directly on the liver as well as indirectly through effects on adipose tissue, pancreas, and brain. While insulin’s indirect effects are indisputable, their physiologic role in the suppression of HGP seen in response to increased insulin secretion is not clear. Likewise, the mechanisms by which insulin suppresses lipolysis and pancreatic α cell secretion under physiologic circumstances are also debated. In this study, insulin was infused into the hepatic portal vein to mimic increased insulin secretion, and insulin’s indirect liver effects were blocked either individually or collectively. During physiologic hyperinsulinemia, plasma free fatty acid (FFA) and glucagon levels were clamped at basal values and brain insulin action was blocked, but insulin’s direct effects on the liver were left intact. Insulin was equally effective at suppressing HGP when its indirect effects were absent as when they were present. In addition, the inhibition of lipolysis, as well as glucagon and insulin secretion, did not require CNS insulin action or decreased plasma FFA. This indicates that the rapid suppression of HGP is attributable to insulin’s direct effect on the liver and that its indirect effects are redundant in the context of a physiologic increase in insulin secretion.

Authors

Dale S. Edgerton, Guillaume Kraft, Marta Smith, Ben Farmer, Phillip E. Williams, Katie C. Coate, Richard L. Printz, Richard M. O’Brien, Alan D. Cherrington

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Abstract

BACKGROUND. Morphological patterns of Paneth cells are a prognostic biomarker in Western Crohn’s disease (CD) patients, and are associated with autophagy-associated ATG16L1 and NOD2 variants. We hypothesized that genetic determinants of Paneth cell phenotype in other ethnic CD cohorts are distinct but also involved in autophagy.

METHODS. We performed a hypothesis-driven analysis of 56 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CD susceptibility or known to affect Paneth cell function in 110 Japanese CD patients who underwent ileal resection. We subsequently performed a genome-wide association analysis. Paneth cell phenotype was determined by defensin-5 immunofluorescence. Selected genotype–Paneth cell defect correlations were compared to a Western CD cohort (n = 164).

RESULTS. The average percentage of abnormal Paneth cells in Japanese CD was similar to Western CD (P = 0.87), and abnormal Paneth cell phenotype was also associated with early recurrence (P = 0.013). In contrast to Western CD, ATG16L1 T300A was not associated with Paneth cell defect in Japanese CD (P = 0.20). Among the 56 selected SNPs, only LRRK2 M2397T showed significant association with Paneth cell defect (P = 3.62 × 10–4), whereas in the Western CD cohort it was not (P = 0.76). Pathway analysis of LRRK2 and other candidate genes with P less than 5 × 10–4 showed connections with known CD susceptibility genes and links to autophagy and TNF-α networks.

CONCLUSIONS. We found dichotomous effects of ATG16L1 and LRRK2 on Paneth cell defect between Japanese and Western CD. Genes affecting Paneth cell phenotype in Japanese CD were also associated with autophagy. Paneth cell phenotype also predicted prognosis in Japanese CD.

FUNDING. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Doris Duke Foundation (grant 2014103), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (KAKENHI grants JP15H04805 and JP15K15284), Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation grant 274415, NIH (grants 1R56DK095820, K01DK109081, and UL1 TR000448).

Authors

Ta-Chiang Liu, Takeo Naito, Zhenqiu Liu, Kelli L. VanDussen, Talin Haritunians, Dalin Li, Katsuya Endo, Yosuke Kawai, Masao Nagasaki, Yoshitaka Kinouchi, Dermot P.B. McGovern, Tooru Shimosegawa, Yoichi Kakuta, Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck

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Abstract

Gram-negative pneumonia is a dangerous illness, and bacterial dissemination to the bloodstream during the infection is strongly associated with death. Antibiotic resistance among the causative pathogens has resulted in diminishing treatment options against this infection. Hepcidin is the master regulator of extracellular iron availability in vertebrates, but its role in the context of host defense is undefined. We hypothesized that hepcidin-mediated depletion of extracellular iron during Gram-negative pneumonia protects the host by limiting dissemination of bacteria to the bloodstream. During experimental pneumonia, hepcidin was induced in the liver in an IL-6–dependent manner and mediated a rapid decline in plasma iron. In contrast, hepcidin-deficient mice developed a paradoxical increase in plasma iron during infection associated with profound susceptibility to bacteremia. Incubation of bacteria with iron-supplemented plasma enhanced bacterial growth in vitro, and systemic administration of iron to WT mice similarly promoted increased susceptibility to bloodstream infection. Finally, treatment with a hepcidin analogue restored hypoferremia in hepcidin-deficient hosts, mediated bacterial control, and improved outcomes. These data show hepcidin induction during pneumonia to be essential to preventing bacterial dissemination by limiting extracellular iron availability. Hepcidin agonists may represent an effective therapy for Gram-negative infections in patients with impaired hepcidin production or signaling.

Authors

Kathryn R. Michels, Zhimin Zhang, Alexandra M. Bettina, R. Elaine Cagnina, Debora Stefanova, Marie D. Burdick, Sophie Vaulont, Elizabeta Nemeth, Tomas Ganz, Borna Mehrad

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Abstract

Parathyroid carcinoma (PC) is an extremely rare malignancy lacking effective therapeutic intervention. We generated and analyzed whole-exome sequencing data from 17 patients to identify somatic and germline genetic alterations. A panel of selected genes was sequenced in a 7-tumor expansion cohort. We show that 47% (8 of 17) of the tumors harbor somatic mutations in the CDC73 tumor suppressor, with germline inactivating variants in 4 of the 8 patients. The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway was altered in 21% of the 24 cases, revealing a major oncogenic pathway in PC. We observed CCND1 amplification in 29% of the 17 patients, and a previously unreported recurrent mutation in putative kinase ADCK1. We identified the first sporadic PCs with somatic mutations in the Wnt canonical pathway, complementing previously described epigenetic mechanisms mediating Wnt activation. This is the largest genomic sequencing study of PC, and represents major progress toward a full molecular characterization of this rare malignancy to inform improved and individualized treatments.

Authors

Chetanya Pandya, Andrew V. Uzilov, Justin Bellizzi, Chun Yee Lau, Aye S. Moe, Maya Strahl, Wissam Hamou, Leah C. Newman, Marc Y. Fink, Yevgeniy Antipin, Willie Yu, Mark Stevenson, Branca M. Cavaco, Bin T. Teh, Rajesh V. Thakker, Hans Morreau, Eric E. Schadt, Robert Sebra, Shuyu D. Li, Andrew Arnold, Rong Chen

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Abstract

Lymphatics play a critical role in maintaining gastrointestinal homeostasis and in the absorption of dietary lipids, yet their roles in intestinal inflammation remain elusive. Given the increasing prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease, we investigated whether lymphatic vessels contribute to, or may be causative of, disease progression. We generated a mouse model with temporal and spatial deletion of the key lymphangiogenic receptor for the adrenomedullin peptide, calcitonin receptor–like receptor (Calcrl), and found that the loss of lymphatic Calcrl was sufficient to induce intestinal lymphangiectasia, characterized by dilated lacteals and protein-losing enteropathy. Upon indomethacin challenge, Calcrlfl/fl/Prox1-CreERT2 mice demonstrated persistent inflammation and failure to recover and thrive. The epithelium and crypts of Calcrlfl/fl/Prox1-CreERT2 mice exhibited exacerbated hallmarks of disease progression, and the lacteals demonstrated an inability to absorb lipids. Furthermore, we identified Calcrl/adrenomedullin signaling as an essential upstream regulator of the Notch pathway, previously shown to be critical for intestinal lacteal maintenance and junctional integrity. In conclusion, lymphatic insufficiency and lymphangiectasia caused by loss of lymphatic Calcrl exacerbates intestinal recovery following mucosal injury and underscores the importance of lymphatic function in promoting recovery from intestinal inflammation.

Authors

Reema B. Davis, Daniel O. Kechele, Elizabeth S. Blakeney, John B. Pawlak, Kathleen M. Caron

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The American Society for Clinical Investigation and Journal of Clinical Investigation are pleased to launch JCI Insight, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to biomedical research, ranging from preclinical to clinical studies. Headed by Editor in Chief Howard Rockman, JCI Insight provides the research community with a broad forum to publish well-executed, high-quality, and insightful research articles across biomedical specialties.