Clostridioides difficile is a major cause of health care–associated diarrhea. Severity ranges from mild to life-threatening, but this variability remains poorly understood. Microbiologic diagnosis of C. difficile infection (CDI) is straightforward but offers little insight into the patient’s prognosis or into pathophysiologic determinants of clinical trajectory. The aim of this study was to discover host-derived, CDI-specific fecal biomarkers involved in disease severity. Subjects without and with CDI diarrhea were recruited. CDI severity was based on Infectious Diseases Society of America/Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America criteria. We developed a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry approach to identify host-derived protein biomarkers from stool and applied it to diagnostic samples for cohort-wise comparison (CDI-negative vs. nonsevere CDI vs. severe CDI). Selected biomarkers were orthogonally confirmed and subsequently verified in a CDI mouse model. We identified a protein signature from stool, consisting of alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2MG), matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), and alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT), that not only discriminates CDI-positive samples from non-CDI ones but also is potentially associated with disease severity. In the mouse model, this signature with the murine homologs of the corresponding proteins was also identified. A2MG, MMP-7, and A1AT serve as biomarkers in patients with CDI and define novel components of the host response that may determine disease severity.
Makan Golizeh, Kaitlin Winter, Lucie Roussel, Marija Landekic, Mélanie Langelier, Vivian G. Loo, Momar Ndao, Donald C. Vinh
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes progressive skeletal myopathy involving atrophy, weakness, and fatigue. Mitochondria have been thought to contribute to skeletal myopathy; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying muscle metabolism changes in CKD are unknown. We employed a comprehensive mitochondrial phenotyping platform to elucidate the mechanisms of skeletal muscle mitochondrial impairment in mice with adenine-induced CKD. CKD mice displayed significant reductions in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), which was strongly correlated with glomerular filtration rate, suggesting a link between kidney function and muscle mitochondrial health. Biochemical assays uncovered that OXPHOS dysfunction was driven by reduced activity of matrix dehydrogenases. Untargeted metabolomics analyses in skeletal muscle revealed a distinct metabolite profile in CKD muscle including accumulation of uremic toxins that strongly associated with the degree of mitochondrial impairment. Additional muscle phenotyping found CKD mice experienced muscle atrophy and increased muscle protein degradation, but only male CKD mice had lower maximal contractile force. CKD mice had morphological changes indicative of destabilization in the neuromuscular junction. This study provides the first comprehensive evaluation of mitochondrial health in murine CKD muscle to our knowledge and uncovers several unknown uremic metabolites that strongly associate with the degree of mitochondrial impairment.
Trace Thome, Ravi A. Kumar, Sarah K. Burke, Ram B. Khattri, Zachary R. Salyers, Rachel C. Kelley, Madeline D. Coleman, Demetra D. Christou, Russell T. Hepple, Salvatore T. Scali, Leonardo F. Ferreira, Terence E. Ryan
Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is required during most cardiac surgeries. CBP drives systemic inflammation and multiorgan dysfunction that is especially severe in neonatal patients. Limited understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying CPB-associated inflammation presents a significant barrier to improve clinical outcomes. To better understand these clinical issues, we performed mRNA sequencing on total circulating leukocytes from neonatal patients undergoing CPB. Our data identify myeloid cells, particularly monocytes, as the major cell type driving transcriptional responses to CPB. Furthermore, IL-8 and TNF-α were inflammatory cytokines robustly upregulated in leukocytes from both patients and piglets exposed to CPB. To delineate the molecular mechanism, we exposed THP-1 human monocytic cells to CPB-like conditions, including artificial surfaces, high shear stress, and cooling/rewarming. Shear stress was found to drive cytokine upregulation via calcium-dependent signaling pathways. We also observed that a subpopulation of THP-1 cells died via TNF-α–mediated necroptosis, which we hypothesize contributes to post-CPB inflammation. Our study identifies a shear stress–modulated molecular mechanism that drives systemic inflammation in pediatric CPB patients. These are also the first data to our knowledge to demonstrate that shear stress causes necroptosis. Finally, we observe that calcium and TNF-α signaling are potentially novel targets to ameliorate post-CPB inflammation.
Lan N. Tu, Lance Hsieh, Masaki Kajimoto, Kevin Charette, Nataliya Kibiryeva, Adriana Forero, Sarah Hampson, Jennifer A. Marshall, James O’Brien, Marta Scatena, Michael A. Portman, Ram Savan, Chris Benner, Alberto Aliseda, Muhammad Nuri, Douglas Bittel, Peter Pastuzsko, Vishal Nigam
Immune and inflammatory responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) contribute to disease severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the utility of specific immune-based biomarkers to predict clinical outcome remains elusive. Here, we analyzed levels of 66 soluble biomarkers in 175 Italian patients with COVID-19 ranging from mild/moderate to critical severity and assessed type I IFN–, type II IFN–, and NF-κB–dependent whole-blood transcriptional signatures. A broad inflammatory signature was observed, implicating activation of various immune and nonhematopoietic cell subsets. Discordance between IFN-α2a protein and IFNA2 transcript levels in blood suggests that type I IFNs during COVID-19 may be primarily produced by tissue-resident cells. Multivariable analysis of patients’ first samples revealed 12 biomarkers (CCL2, IL-15, soluble ST2 [sST2], NGAL, sTNFRSF1A, ferritin, IL-6, S100A9, MMP-9, IL-2, sVEGFR1, IL-10) that when increased were independently associated with mortality. Multivariate analyses of longitudinal biomarker trajectories identified 8 of the aforementioned biomarkers (IL-15, IL-2, NGAL, CCL2, MMP-9, sTNFRSF1A, sST2, IL-10) and 2 additional biomarkers (lactoferrin, CXCL9) that were substantially associated with mortality when increased, while IL-1α was associated with mortality when decreased. Among these, sST2, sTNFRSF1A, IL-10, and IL-15 were consistently higher throughout the hospitalization in patients who died versus those who recovered, suggesting that these biomarkers may provide an early warning of eventual disease outcome.
Michael S. Abers, Ottavia M. Delmonte, Emily E. Ricotta, Jonathan Fintzi, Danielle L. Fink, Adriana A. Almeida de Jesus, Kol A. Zarember, Sara Alehashemi, Vasileios Oikonomou, Jigar V. Desai, Scott W. Canna, Bita Shakoory, Kerry Dobbs, Luisa Imberti, Alessandra Sottini, Eugenia Quiros-Roldan, Francesco Castelli, Camillo Rossi, Duilio Brugnoni, Andrea Biondi, Laura Rachele Bettini, Mariella D’Angio’, Paolo Bonfanti, Riccardo Castagnoli, Daniela Montagna, Amelia Licari, Gian Luigi Marseglia, Emily F. Gliniewicz, Elana Shaw, Dana E. Kahle, Andre T. Rastegar, Michael Stack, Katherine Myint-Hpu, Susan L. Levinson, Mark J. DiNubile, Daniel W. Chertow, Peter D. Burbelo, Jeffrey I. Cohen, Katherine R. Calvo, John S. Tsang, NIAID COVID-19 Consortium, Helen C. Su, John I. Gallin, Douglas B. Kuhns, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, Michail S. Lionakis, Luigi D. Notarangelo
Existing animal models of cystic fibrosis (CF) have provided key insights into CF pathogenesis but have been limited by short lifespans, absence of key phenotypes, and/or high maintenance costs. Here, we report the CRISPR/Cas9-mediated generation of CF rabbits, a model with a relatively long lifespan and affordable maintenance and care costs. CF rabbits supplemented solely with oral osmotic laxative had a median survival of approximately 40 days and died of gastrointestinal disease, but therapeutic regimens directed toward restoring gastrointestinal transit extended median survival to approximately 80 days. Surrogate markers of exocrine pancreas disorders were found in CF rabbits with declining health. CFTR expression patterns in WT rabbit airways mimicked humans, with widespread distribution in nasal respiratory and olfactory epithelia, as well as proximal and distal lower airways. CF rabbits exhibited human CF–like abnormalities in the bioelectric properties of the nasal and tracheal epithelia. No spontaneous respiratory disease was detected in young CF rabbits. However, abnormal phenotypes were observed in surviving 1-year-old CF rabbits as compared with WT littermates, and these were especially evident in the nasal respiratory and olfactory epithelium. The CF rabbit model may serve as a useful tool for understanding gut and lung CF pathogenesis and for the practical development of CF therapeutics.
Jie Xu, Alessandra Livraghi-Butrico, Xia Hou, Carthic Rajagopalan, Jifeng Zhang, Jun Song, Hong Jiang, Hong-Guang Wei, Hui Wang, Mohamad Bouhamdan, Jinxue Ruan, Dongshan Yang, Yining Qiu, Youming Xie, Ronald Barrett, Sharon McClellan, Hongmei Mou, Qingtian Wu, Xuequn Chen, Troy D. Rogers, Kristen J. Wilkinson, Rodney C. Gilmore, Charles R. Esther Jr., Khalequz Zaman, Xiubin Liang, Michael Sobolic, Linda Hazlett, Kezhong Zhang, Raymond A. Frizzell, Martina Gentzsch, Wanda K. O’Neal, Barbara R. Grubb, Y. Eugene Chen, Richard C. Boucher, Fei Sun
Activation of farnesoid X receptor (FXR) by obeticholic acid (OCA) reduces hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), a life-threatening cholestatic liver failure. Inhibition of bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) also has antiinflammatory, antifibrotic effects in mice. We determined the role of BRD4 in FXR function in bile acid (BA) regulation and examined whether the known beneficial effects of OCA are enhanced by inhibiting BRD4 in cholestatic mice. Liver-specific downregulation of BRD4 disrupted BA homeostasis in mice, and FXR-mediated regulation of BA-related genes, including small heterodimer partner and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, was BRD4 dependent. In cholestatic mice, JQ1 or OCA treatment ameliorated hepatotoxicity, inflammation, and fibrosis, but surprisingly, was antagonistic in combination. Mechanistically, OCA increased binding of FXR, and the corepressor silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor (SMRT) decreased NF-κB binding at inflammatory genes and repressed the genes in a BRD4-dependent manner. In patients with PBC, hepatic expression of FXR and BRD4 was significantly reduced. In conclusion, BRD4 is a potentially novel cofactor of FXR for maintaining BA homeostasis and hepatoprotection. Although BRD4 promotes hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in cholestasis, paradoxically, BRD4 is required for the antiinflammatory, antifibrotic actions of OCA-activated FXR. Cotreatment with OCA and JQ1, individually beneficial, may be antagonistic in treatment of liver disease patients with inflammation and fibrosis complications.
Hyunkyung Jung, Jinjing Chen, Xiangming Hu, Hao Sun, Shwu-Yuan Wu, Cheng-Ming Chiang, Byron Kemper, Lin-Feng Chen, Jongsook Kim Kemper
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a fatal human cancer in part because GBM stem cells are resistant to therapy and recurrence is inevitable. Previously, we demonstrated Zika virus (ZIKV) targets GBM stem cells and prevents death of mice with gliomas. Here, we evaluated the immunological basis of ZIKV-mediated protection against GBM. Introduction of ZIKV into the brain tumor increased recruitment of CD8+ T and myeloid cells to the tumor microenvironment. CD8+ T cells were required for ZIKV-dependent tumor clearance because survival benefits were lost with CD8+ T cell depletion. Moreover, while anti–PD-1 antibody monotherapy moderately improved tumor survival, when coadministered with ZIKV, survival increased. ZIKV-mediated tumor clearance also resulted in durable protection against syngeneic tumor rechallenge, which also depended on CD8+ T cells. To address safety concerns, we generated an immune-sensitized ZIKV strain, which was effective alone or in combination with immunotherapy. Thus, oncolytic ZIKV treatment can be leveraged by immunotherapies, which may prompt combination treatment paradigms for adult patients with GBM.
Sharmila Nair, Luciano Mazzoccoli, Arijita Jash, Jennifer Govero, Sachendra S. Bais, Tong Hu, Camila R. Fontes-Garfias, Chao Shan, Hideho Okada, Sujan Shresta, Jeremy N. Rich, Pei-Yong Shi, Michael S. Diamond, Milan G. Chheda
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, irreversible fibrotic disease of the distal lung alveoli that culminates in respiratory failure and reduced lifespan. Unlike normal lung repair in response to injury, IPF is associated with the accumulation and persistence of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, as well as continued production of collagen and other extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Prior in vitro studies have led to the hypothesis that the development of resistance to Fas-induced apoptosis by lung fibroblasts and myofibroblasts contributes to their accumulation in the distal lung tissues of IPF patients. Here, we test this hypothesis in vivo in the resolving model of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice. Using genetic loss-of-function approaches to inhibit Fas signaling in fibroblasts, potentially novel flow cytometry strategies to quantify lung fibroblast subsets, and transcriptional profiling of lung fibroblasts by bulk and single cell RNA sequencing, we show that Fas is necessary for lung fibroblast apoptosis during homeostatic resolution of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. Furthermore, we show that loss of Fas signaling leads to the persistence and continued profibrotic functions of lung fibroblasts. Our studies provide insights into the mechanisms that contribute to fibroblast survival, persistence, and continued ECM deposition in the context of IPF and how failure to undergo Fas-induced apoptosis impairs fibrosis resolution.
Elizabeth F. Redente, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Satria Sajuthi, Bart P. Black, Ben L. Edelman, Max A. Seibold, David W.H. Riches
Kir5.1 is an inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channel subunit abundantly expressed in the kidney and brain. We previously established the physiologic consequences of a Kcnj16 (gene encoding Kir5.1) knockout in the Dahl salt-sensitive rat (SSKcnj16–/–), which caused electrolyte/pH dysregulation and high-salt diet–induced mortality. Since Kir channel gene mutations may alter neuronal excitability and are linked to human seizure disorders, we hypothesized that SSKcnj16–/– rats would exhibit neurological phenotypes, including increased susceptibility to seizures. SSKcnj16–/– rats exhibited increased light sensitivity (fMRI) and reproducible sound-induced tonic-clonic audiogenic seizures confirmed by electroencephalography. Repeated seizure induction altered behavior, exacerbated hypokalemia, and led to approximately 38% mortality in male SSKcnj16–/– rats. Dietary potassium supplementation did not prevent audiogenic seizures but mitigated hypokalemia and prevented mortality induced by repeated seizures. These results reveal a distinct, nonredundant role for Kir5.1 channels in the brain, introduce a rat model of audiogenic seizures, and suggest that yet-to-be identified mutations in Kcnj16 may cause or contribute to seizure disorders.
Anna D. Manis, Oleg Palygin, Elena Isaeva, Vladislav Levchenko, Peter S. LaViolette, Tengis S. Pavlov, Matthew R. Hodges, Alexander Staruschenko
Subjects with obesity frequently have elevated serum vasopressin levels, noted by measuring the stable analog, copeptin. Vasopressin acts primarily to reabsorb water via urinary concentration. However, fat is also a source of metabolic water, raising the possibility that vasopressin might have a role in fat accumulation. Fructose has also been reported to stimulate vasopressin. Here, we tested the hypothesis that fructose-induced metabolic syndrome is mediated by vasopressin. Orally administered fructose, glucose, or high-fructose corn syrup increased vasopressin (copeptin) concentrations and was mediated by fructokinase, an enzyme specific for fructose metabolism. Suppressing vasopressin with hydration both prevented and ameliorated fructose-induced metabolic syndrome. The vasopressin effects were mediated by the vasopressin 1b receptor (V1bR), as V1bR-KO mice were completely protected, whereas V1a-KO mice paradoxically showed worse metabolic syndrome. The mechanism is likely mediated in part by de novo expression of V1bR in the liver that amplifies fructokinase expression in response to fructose. Thus, our studies document a role for vasopressin in water conservation via the accumulation of fat as a source of metabolic water. Clinically, they also suggest that increased water intake may be a beneficial way to both prevent or treat metabolic syndrome.
Ana Andres-Hernando, Thomas J. Jensen, Masanari Kuwabara, David J. Orlicky, Christina Cicerchi, Nanxing Li, Carlos A. Roncal-Jimenez, Gabriela E. Garcia, Takuji Ishimoto, Paul S. Maclean, Petter Bjornstad, Laura Gabriela Sanchez-Lozada, Mehmet Kanbay, Takahiko Nakagawa, Richard J. Johnson, Miguel A. Lanaspa
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