Renal fibrosis is a common pathogenic response to injury in chronic kidney disease (CKD). The receptor-interacting protein kinase-3 (RIPK3), a regulator of necroptosis, has been implicated in disease pathogenesis. In mice subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction–induced (UUO-induced) or adenine diet–induced (AD-induced) renal fibrosis, models of progressive kidney fibrosis, we demonstrate increased kidney expression of RIPK3. Mice genetically deficient in RIPK3 displayed decreased kidney fibrosis and improved kidney function relative to WT mice when challenged with UUO or AD. In contrast, mice genetically deficient in mixed-lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL), a downstream RIPK3 target, were not protected from UUO-induced kidney fibrosis. We demonstrate a pathway by which RIPK3 promotes fibrogenesis through the AKT-dependent activation of ATP citrate lyase (ACL). Genetic or chemical inhibition of RIPK3 suppressed the phosphorylation of AKT and ACL in response to TGF-β1 in fibroblasts. Inhibition of AKT or ACL suppressed TGF-β1–dependent extracellular matrix production and myofibroblast differentiation in fibroblasts. Pharmacological inhibition of ACL suppressed UUO-induced kidney fibrosis. RIPK3 expression was highly regulated in human CKD kidney. In conclusion, we identify a pathway by which RIPK3 promotes kidney fibrosis independently of MLKL-dependent necroptosis as a promising therapeutic target in CKD.
Mitsuru Imamura, Jong-Seok Moon, Kuei-Pin Chung, Kiichi Nakahira, Thangamani Muthukumar, Roman Shingarev, Stefan W. Ryter, Augustine M.K. Choi, Mary E. Choi
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can give rise to both adipocytes and osteoblasts, but the molecular mechanisms underlying MSC fate determination remain poorly understood. IκB kinase β (IKKβ), a central coordinator of inflammation and immune responses through activation of NF-κB, has been implicated as a critical molecular link between obesity and metabolic disorders. Here, we show that IKKβ can reciprocally regulate adipocyte and osteoblast differentiation of murine and human MSCs through an NF-κB–independent mechanism. IKKβ is a β-catenin kinase that phosphorylates the conserved degron motif of β-catenin to prime it for β-TrCP–mediated ubiquitination and degradation, thereby increasing adipogenesis and inhibiting osteogenesis in MSCs. Animal studies demonstrated that deficiency of IKKβ in BM mesenchymal stromal cells increased bone mass and decreased BM adipocyte formation in adult mice. In humans, IKKβ expression in adipose tissue was also positively associated with increased adiposity and elevated β-catenin phosphorylation. These findings suggest IKKβ as a key molecular switch that regulates MSC fate, and they provide potentially novel mechanistic insights into the understanding of the cross-regulation between the evolutionarily conserved IKKβ and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways. The IKKβ-Wnt axis we uncovered may also have important implications for development, homeostasis, and disease pathogenesis.
Yipeng Sui, Zun Liu, Se-Hyung Park, Sean E. Thatcher, Beibei Zhu, Joseph P. Fernandez, Henrik Molina, Philip A. Kern, Changcheng Zhou
The mechanisms underlying the development and natural progression of the airway mucus defect in cystic fibrosis (CF) remain largely unclear. New animal models of CF, coupled with imaging using micro-optical coherence tomography, can lead to insights regarding these questions. The Cftr–/– (KO) rat allows for longitudinal examination of the development and progression of airway mucus abnormalities. The KO rat exhibits decreased periciliary depth, hyperacidic pH, and increased mucus solid content percentage; however, the transport rates and viscoelastic properties of the mucus are unaffected until the KO rat ages. Airway submucosal gland hypertrophy develops in the KO rat by 6 months of age. Only then does it induce increased mucus viscosity, collapse of the periciliary layer, and delayed mucociliary transport; stimulation of gland secretion potentiates this evolution. These findings could be reversed by bicarbonate repletion but not pH correction without counterion donation. These studies demonstrate that abnormal surface epithelium in CF does not cause delayed mucus transport in the absence of functional gland secretions. Furthermore, abnormal bicarbonate transport represents a specific target for restoring mucus clearance, independent of effects on periciliary collapse. Thus, mature airway secretions are required to manifest the CF defect primed by airway dehydration and bicarbonate deficiency.
Susan E. Birket, Joy M. Davis, Courtney M. Fernandez, Katherine L. Tuggle, Ashley M. Oden, Kengyeh K. Chu, Guillermo J. Tearney, Michelle V. Fanucchi, Eric J. Sorscher, Steven M. Rowe
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal disease of unknown etiology characterized by a compositionally and mechanically altered extracellular matrix. Poor understanding of the origin of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expressing myofibroblasts has hindered curative therapies. Though proposed as a source of myofibroblasts in mammalian tissues, identification of microvascular pericytes (PC) as contributors to α-SMA–expressing populations in human IPF and the mechanisms driving this accumulation remain unexplored. Here, we demonstrate enhanced detection of α-SMA+ cells coexpressing the PC marker neural/glial antigen 2 in the human IPF lung. Isolated human PC cultured on decellularized IPF lung matrices adopt expression of α-SMA, demonstrating that these cells undergo phenotypic transition in response to direct contact with the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the fibrotic human lung. Using potentially novel human lung–conjugated hydrogels with tunable mechanical properties, we decoupled PC responses to matrix composition and stiffness to show that α-SMA+ PC accumulate in a mechanosensitive manner independent of matrix composition. PC activated with TGF-β1 remodel the normal lung matrix, increasing tissue stiffness to facilitate the emergence of α-SMA+ PC via MKL-1/MTRFA mechanotranduction. Nintedanib, a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor approved for IPF treatment, restores the elastic modulus of fibrotic lung matrices to reverse the α-SMA+ phenotype. This work furthers our understanding of the role that microvascular PC play in the evolution of IPF, describes the creation of an ex vivo platform that advances the study of fibrosis, and presents a potentially novel mode of action for a commonly used antifibrotic therapy that has great relevance for human disease.
Parid Sava, Anand Ramanathan, Amelia Dobronyi, Xueyan Peng, Huanxing Sun, Adrian Ledesma-Mendoza, Erica L. Herzog, Anjelica L. Gonzalez
Primary and secondary hypertension are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Elevated secretion of aldosterone resulting from primary aldosteronism (PA) is a key driver of secondary hypertension. Here, we report an unexpected role for the ubiquitin ligase Siah1 in adrenal gland development and PA. Siah1a–/– mice exhibit altered adrenal gland morphology, as reflected by a diminished X-zone, enlarged medulla, and dysregulated zonation of the glomerulosa as well as increased aldosterone levels and aldosterone target gene expression and reduced plasma potassium levels. Genes involved in catecholamine biosynthesis and cAMP signaling are upregulated in the adrenal glands of Siah1a–/– mice, while genes related to retinoic acid signaling and cholesterol biosynthesis are downregulated. Loss of Siah1 leads to increased expression of the Siah1 substrate PIAS1, an E3 SUMO protein ligase implicated in the suppression of LXR, a key regulator of cholesterol levels in the adrenal gland. In addition, SIAH1 sequence variants were identified in patients with PA; such variants impaired SIAH1 ubiquitin ligase activity, resulting in elevated PIAS1 expression. These data identify a role for the Siah1-PIAS1 axis in adrenal gland organization and function and point to possible therapeutic targets for hyperaldosteronism.
Marzia Scortegagna, Annabel Berthon, Nikolaos Settas, Andreas Giannakou, Guillermina Garcia, Jian-Liang Li, Brian James, Robert C. Liddington, José G. Vilches-Moure, Constantine A. Stratakis, Ze’ev A. Ronai
Expansion of novel therapeutics to all patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) requires personalized CFTR modulator therapy. We have developed nasospheroids, a primary cell culture–based model derived from individual CF patients and healthy subjects by a minimally invasive nasal biopsy. Confocal microscopy was utilized to measure CFTR activity by analyzing changes in cross-sectional area over time that resulted from CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement. Both the rate of change over time and AUC were calculated. Non-CF nasospheroids with active CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement showed a reduction in cross-sectional area, whereas no changes were observed in CF spheroids. Non-CF spheroids treated with CFTR inhibitor lost responsiveness for CFTR activation. However, nasospheroids from F508del CF homozygotes that were treated with lumacaftor and ivacaftor showed a significant reduction in cross-sectional area, indicating pharmacologic rescue of CFTR function. This model employs a simple measurement of size corresponding to changes in CFTR activity and is applicable for detection of small changes in CFTR activity from individual patients in vitro. Advancements of this technique will provide a robust model for individualized prediction of CFTR modulator efficacy.
Jennifer S. Guimbellot, Justin M. Leach, Imron G. Chaudhry, Nancy L. Quinney, Susan E. Boyles, Michael Chua, Inmaculada Aban, Ilona Jaspers, Martina Gentzsch
Environmental exposures pose a significant threat to human health. However, it is often difficult to study toxicological mechanisms in human subjects due to ethical concerns. Plant-derived aristolochic acids are among the most potent nephrotoxins and carcinogens discovered to date, yet the mechanism of bioactivation in humans remains poorly understood. Microphysiological systems (organs-on-chips) provide an approach to examining the complex, species-specific toxicological effects of pharmaceutical and environmental chemicals using human cells. We microfluidically linked a kidney-on-a-chip with a liver-on-a-chip to determine the mechanisms of bioactivation and transport of aristolochic acid I (AA-I), an established nephrotoxin and human carcinogen. We demonstrate that human hepatocyte-specific metabolism of AA-I substantially increases its cytotoxicity toward human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells, including formation of aristolactam adducts and release of kidney injury biomarkers. Hepatic biotransformation of AA-I to a nephrotoxic metabolite involves nitroreduction, followed by sulfate conjugation. Here, we identify, in a human tissue-based system, that the sulfate conjugate of the hepatic NQO1-generated aristolactam product of AA-I (AL-I-NOSO3) is the nephrotoxic form of AA-I. This conjugate can be transported out of liver via MRP membrane transporters and then actively transported into kidney tissue via one or more organic anionic membrane transporters. This integrated microphysiological system provides an ex vivo approach for investigating organ-organ interactions, whereby the metabolism of a drug or other xenobiotic by one tissue may influence its toxicity toward another, and represents an experimental approach for studying chemical toxicity related to environmental and other toxic exposures.
Shih-Yu Chang, Elijah J. Weber, Viktoriya S. Sidorenko, Alenka Chapron, Catherine K. Yeung, Chunying Gao, Qingcheng Mao, Danny Shen, Joanne Wang, Thomas A. Rosenquist, Kathleen G. Dickman, Thomas Neumann, Arthur P. Grollman, Edward J. Kelly, Jonathan Himmelfarb, David L. Eaton
Maternal obesity is a global health problem that increases offspring obesity risk. The metabolic pathways underlying early developmental programming in human infants at risk for obesity remain poorly understood, largely due to barriers in fetal/infant tissue sampling. Utilizing umbilical cord–derived mesenchymal stem cells (uMSC) from offspring of normal weight and obese mothers, we tested whether energy metabolism and gene expression differ in differentiating uMSC myocytes and adipocytes, in relation to maternal obesity exposures and/or neonatal adiposity. Biomarkers of incomplete β-oxidation were uniquely positively correlated with infant adiposity and maternal lipid levels in uMSC myocytes from offspring of obese mothers only. Metabolic and biosynthetic processes were enriched in differential gene expression analysis related to maternal obesity. In uMSC adipocytes, maternal obesity and lipids were associated with downregulation in multiple insulin-dependent energy-sensing pathways including PI3K and AMPK. Maternal lipids correlated with uMSC adipocyte upregulation of the mitochondrial respiratory chain but downregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Overall, our data revealed cell-specific alterations in metabolism and gene expression that correlated with maternal obesity and adiposity of their offspring, suggesting tissue-specific metabolic and regulatory changes in these newborn cells. We provide important insight into potential developmental programming mechanisms of increased obesity risk in offspring of obese mothers.
Peter R. Baker II, Zachary Patinkin, Allison L.B. Shapiro, Becky A. De La Houssaye, Michael Woontner, Kristen E. Boyle, Lauren Vanderlinden, Dana Dabelea, Jacob E. Friedman
Blood pressure is regulated by extrinsic factors including noradrenaline, the sympathetic neurotransmitter that controls cardiovascular functions through adrenergic receptors. However, the fine-tuning system of noradrenaline signaling is relatively unknown. We here show that l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), a precursor of catecholamines, sensitizes the vascular adrenergic receptor alpha1 (ADRA1) through activation of L-DOPA receptor GPR143. In WT mice, intravenous infusion of the ADRA1 agonist phenylephrine induced a transient elevation of blood pressure. This response was attenuated in Gpr143 gene–deficient (Gpr143–/y) mice. Specific knockout of Gpr143 in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) also showed a similar phenotype, indicating that L-DOPA directly modulates ADRA1 signaling in the VSMCs. L-DOPA at nanomolar concentrations alone produced no effect on the VSMCs, but it enhanced phenylephrine-induced vasoconstriction and intracellular Ca2+ responses. Phenylephrine also augmented the phosphorylation of extracellular signal–regulated kinases in cultured VSMCs from WT but not Gpr143–/y mice. In WT mice, blood pressure increased during the transition from light-rest to dark-active phases. This elevation was not observed in Gpr143–/y mice. Taken together, our findings provide evidence for L-DOPA/GPR143 signaling that exerts precursor control of sympathetic neurotransmission through sensitizing vascular ADRA1.
Daiki Masukawa, Motokazu Koga, Anna Sezaki, Yuka Nakao, Yuji Kamikubo, Tatsuo Hashimoto, Yuki Okuyama-Oki, Aderemi Caleb Aladeokin, Fumio Nakamura, Utako Yokoyama, Hiromichi Wakui, Hiroshi Ichinose, Takashi Sakurai, Satoshi Umemura, Koichi Tamura, Yoshihiro Ishikawa, Yoshio Goshima
Cardiac hypertrophy, as a response to hemodynamic stress, is associated with cardiac dysfunction and death, but whether hypertrophy itself represents a pathological process remains unclear. Hypertrophy is driven by changes in myocardial gene expression that require the MEF2 family of DNA-binding transcription factors, as well as the nuclear lysine acetyltransferase p300. Here we used genetic and small-molecule probes to determine the effects of preventing MEF2 acetylation on cardiac adaptation to stress. Both nonacetylatable MEF2 mutants and 8MI, a molecule designed to interfere with MEF2-coregulator binding, prevented hypertrophy in cultured cardiac myocytes. 8MI prevented cardiac hypertrophy in 3 distinct stress models, and reversed established hypertrophy in vivo, associated with normalization of myocardial structure and function. The effects of 8MI were reversible, and did not prevent training effects of swimming. Mechanistically, 8MI blocked stress-induced MEF2 acetylation, nuclear export of class II histone deacetylases HDAC4 and -5, and p300 induction, without impeding HDAC4 phosphorylation. Correspondingly, 8MI transformed the transcriptional response to pressure overload, normalizing almost all 232 genes dysregulated by hemodynamic stress. We conclude that MEF2 acetylation is required for development and maintenance of pathological cardiac hypertrophy, and that blocking MEF2 acetylation can permit recovery from hypertrophy without impairing physiologic adaptation.
Jianqin Wei, Shaurya Joshi, Svetlana Speransky, Christopher Crowley, Nimanthi Jayathilaka, Xiao Lei, Yongqing Wu, David Gai, Sumit Jain, Michael Hoosien, Yan Gao, Lin Chen, Nanette H. Bishopric
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