Osteoarthritis (OA) of spine (facet joints [FJs]) is one of the major causes of severe low back pain and disability worldwide. The degeneration of facet cartilage is a hallmark of FJ OA. However, endogenous mechanisms that initiate degeneration of facet cartilage are unknown, and there are no disease-modifying therapies to stop FJ OA. In this study, we have identified microRNAs (small noncoding RNAs) as mediators of FJ cartilage degeneration. We first established a cohort of patients with varying degrees of facet cartilage degeneration (control group: normal or mild facet cartilage degeneration; FJ OA group: moderate to severe facet cartilage degeneration) and then screened 2,100 miRNAs and identified 2 miRNAs (miR-181a-5p and miR-4454) that were significantly elevated in FJ OA cartilage compared with control facet cartilage. We further explored their role, function, and signaling mechanisms using computational, in vitro functional, and in vivo studies. We specifically indicate that miR-181a-5p and miR-4454 are involved in promoting inflammatory, catabolic, and cell death activity in FJ chondrocytes. This is the first report to our knowledge that identifies miR-181a-5p and miR-4454 as mediators of cartilage degeneration in FJs and potential therapeutic targets for stopping cartilage degeneration.
Akihiro Nakamura, Y. Raja Rampersaud, Anirudh Sharma, Stephen J. Lewis, Brian Wu, Poulami Datta, Kala Sundararajan, Helal Endisha, Evgeny Rossomacha, Jason S. Rockel, Igor Jurisica, Mohit Kapoor
Senescent cells accumulate in many tissues as animals age and are considered to underlie several aging-associated pathologies. The tumor suppressors p19ARF and p16INK4a, both of which are encoded in the
Michihiro Hashimoto, Azusa Asai, Hiroyuki Kawagishi, Ryuta Mikawa, Yuji Iwashita, Kazuki Kanayama, Kazushi Sugimoto, Tadashi Sato, Mitsuo Maruyama, Masataka Sugimoto
Following the advent of molecular assays that measure T cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) present in recent thymic emigrants, it has been conclusively shown that thymopoiesis persists in most adults, but that functional output decreases with age, influencing the maintenance of a diverse and functional T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Space flight has been shown to result in a variety of phenotypic and functional changes in human T cells and in the reactivation of latent viruses. While space flight has been shown to influence thymic architecture in rodents, thymopoiesis has not previously been assessed in astronauts. Here, we assessed thymopoiesis longitudinally over a 1-year period prior to and after long-term space flight (median duration, 184 days) in 16 astronauts. While preflight assessments of thymopoiesis remained quite stable in individual astronauts, we detected significant suppression of thymopoiesis in all subjects upon return from space flight. We also found significant increases in urine and plasma levels of endogenous glucocorticoids coincident with the suppression of thymopoiesis. The glucocorticoid induction and thymopoiesis suppression were transient, and they normalized shortly after return to Earth. This is the first report to our knowledge to prospectively demonstrate a significant change in thymopoiesis in healthy individuals in association with a defined physiologic emotional and physical stress event. These results suggest that suppression of thymopoiesis has the potential to influence the maintenance of the TCR repertoire during extended space travel. Further studies of thymopoiesis and endogenous glucocorticoids in other stress states, including illness, are warranted.
Cara L. Benjamin, Raymond P. Stowe, Lisa St. John, Clarence F. Sams, Satish K. Mehta, Brian E. Crucian, Duane L. Pierson, Krishna V. Komanduri
High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGS-OvCa) harbors p53 mutations and can originate from the epithelial cell compartment of the fallopian tube fimbriae. From this site, neoplastic cells detach, survive in the peritoneal cavity, and form cellular clusters that intercalate into the mesothelium to form ovarian and peritoneal masses. To examine the contribution of mutant p53 to phenotypic alterations associated with HGS-OvCA, we developed live-cell microscopy assays that recapitulate these early events in cultured fallopian tube nonciliated epithelial (FNE) cells. Expression of stabilizing mutant variants of p53, but not depletion of endogenous wild-type p53, in FNE cells promoted survival and cell-cell aggregation under conditions of cell detachment, leading to the formation of cell clusters with mesothelium-intercalation capacity. Mutant p53R175H-induced phenotypes were dependent on fibronectin production, α5β1 fibronectin receptor engagement, and
Marcin P. Iwanicki, Hsing-Yu Chen, Claudia Iavarone, Ioannis K. Zervantonakis, Taru Muranen, Marián Novak, Tan A. Ince, Ronny Drapkin, Joan S. Brugge
Airway and/or lung remodeling, involving exaggerated extracellular matrix (ECM) protein deposition, is a critical feature common to pulmonary diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Fibulin-1 (Fbln1), an important ECM protein involved in matrix organization, may be involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. We found that Fbln1 was increased in COPD patients and in cigarette smoke–induced (CS-induced) experimental COPD in mice. Genetic or therapeutic inhibition of
Gang Liu, Marion A. Cooley, Andrew G. Jarnicki, Alan C-Y. Hsu, Prema M. Nair, Tatt Jhong Haw, Michael Fricker, Shaan L. Gellatly, Richard Y. Kim, Mark D. Inman, Gavin Tjin, Peter A.B. Wark, Marjorie M. Walker, Jay C. Horvat, Brian G. Oliver, W. Scott Argraves, Darryl A. Knight, Janette K. Burgess, Philip M. Hansbro
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (Pdac) is a malignancy with a poor prognosis due to difficulties in early detection. Although promising biomarkers are increasingly reported, such methods are not yet easy to apply clinically, mainly due to their low reproducibility or technical difficulties. In this study, we developed a convenient and sensitive method for quantifying aberrantly expressed satellite repeat RNAs in sera, which can be used to efficiently detect patients with Pdac. Here, we introduce a Tandem Repeat Amplification by nuclease Protection (TRAP) method combined with droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to detect human satellite II (HSATII) RNAs, which are specifically expressed in human Pdacs at greater levels than normal tissues but are difficult to measure due to their repetitive sequences and irregularities. HSATII RNA core sequence levels in sera were significantly higher in Pdac patients compared with noncancer patients (median copy number: 14.75 and 3.17 per μl in the training set and 17.35 and 2.9 in the validation set, respectively). In addition, patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN), a precancerous lesion of Pdac, could also be efficiently detected. This method can be routinely applied to screen patients with Pdac and high-risk patients, facilitating the development of preventive medicine for this disease.
Takahiro Kishikawa, Motoyuki Otsuka, Takeshi Yoshikawa, Motoko Ohno, Keisuke Yamamoto, Natsuyo Yamamoto, Ai Kotani, Kazuhiko Koike
Mst1 is a central Ser-Thr kinase in the Hippo pathway, which promotes apoptosis and inhibits cell proliferation. We have shown previously that, in cardiomyocytes, oxidative stress activates Mst1 at mitochondria, where Mst1 phosphorylates Bcl-xL at Ser14, inducing dissociation of Bcl-xL from Bax and thereby promoting apoptosis. However, the functional significance of Ser14 phosphorylation of endogenous Bcl-xL in vivo remains elusive. We generated knockin (KI) mice in which Ser14 of Bcl-xL is replaced with Ala. KI mice were born at the expected Mendelian ratio, and adult KI mice exhibited normal cardiac morphology and function at baseline. However, KI mice were protected from myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and exhibited reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Although suppression of endogenous Mst1 also reduced I/R injury, there was no additive protective effect when Mst1 was inhibited in KI mice. The development of dilated cardiomyopathy induced by cardiac-specific overexpression of Mst1 was also ameliorated in KI mice. Lats2 and YAP, two other key components of the Hippo pathway, were not affected in KI mice. These results suggest that Ser14 phosphorylation of Bcl-xL plays an essential role in mediating both cardiomyocyte apoptosis and myocardial injury by acting as a key downstream mediator of Mst1 independently of the canonical Hippo pathway.
Michinari Nakamura, Peiyong Zhai, Dominic P. Del Re, Yasuhiro Maejima, Junichi Sadoshima
The cardioprotective inducible enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) degrades prooxidant heme into equimolar quantities of carbon monoxide, biliverdin, and iron. We hypothesized that HO-1 mediates cardiac protection, at least in part, by regulating mitochondrial quality control. We treated WT and HO-1 transgenic mice with the known mitochondrial toxin, doxorubicin (DOX). Relative to WT mice, mice globally overexpressing human HO-1 were protected from DOX-induced dilated cardiomyopathy, cardiac cytoarchitectural derangement, and infiltration of CD11b+ mononuclear phagocytes. Cardiac-specific overexpression of HO-1 ameliorated DOX-mediated dilation of the sarcoplasmic reticulum as well as mitochondrial disorganization in the form of mitochondrial fragmentation and increased numbers of damaged mitochondria in autophagic vacuoles. HO-1 overexpression promotes mitochondrial biogenesis by upregulating protein expression of NRF1, PGC1α, and TFAM, which was inhibited in WT animals treated with DOX. Concomitantly, HO-1 overexpression inhibited the upregulation of the mitochondrial fission mediator Fis1 and resulted in increased expression of the fusion mediators, Mfn1 and Mfn2. It also prevented dynamic changes in the levels of key mediators of the mitophagy pathway, PINK1 and parkin. Therefore, these findings suggest that HO-1 has a novel role in protecting the heart from oxidative injury by regulating mitochondrial quality control.
Travis D. Hull, Ravindra Boddu, Lingling Guo, Cornelia C. Tisher, Amie M. Traylor, Bindiya Patel, Reny Joseph, Sumanth D. Prabhu, Hagir B. Suliman, Claude A. Piantadosi, Anupam Agarwal, James F. George
Glioblastomas are highly infiltrated by diverse immune cells, including microglia, macrophages, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Understanding the mechanisms by which glioblastoma-associated myeloid cells (GAMs) undergo metamorphosis into tumor-supportive cells, characterizing the heterogeneity of immune cell phenotypes within glioblastoma subtypes, and discovering new targets can help the design of new efficient immunotherapies. In this study, we performed a comprehensive battery of immune phenotyping, whole-genome microarray analysis, and microRNA expression profiling of GAMs with matched blood monocytes, healthy donor monocytes, normal brain microglia, nonpolarized M0 macrophages, and polarized M1, M2a, M2c macrophages. Glioblastoma patients had an elevated number of monocytes relative to healthy donors. Among CD11b+ cells, microglia and MDSCs constituted a higher percentage of GAMs than did macrophages. GAM profiling using flow cytometry studies revealed a continuum between the M1- and M2-like phenotype. Contrary to current dogma, GAMs exhibited distinct immunological functions, with the former aligned close to nonpolarized M0 macrophages.
Konrad Gabrusiewicz, Benjamin Rodriguez, Jun Wei, Yuuri Hashimoto, Luke M. Healy, Sourindra N. Maiti, Ginu Thomas, Shouhao Zhou, Qianghu Wang, Ahmed Elakkad, Brandon D. Liebelt, Nasser K. Yaghi, Ravesanker Ezhilarasan, Neal Huang, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Sujit S. Prabhu, Ganesh Rao, Raymond Sawaya, Lauren A. Langford, Janet M. Bruner, Gregory N. Fuller, Amit Bar-Or, Wei Li, Rivka R. Colen, Michael A. Curran, Krishna P. Bhat, Jack P. Antel, Laurence J. Cooper, Erik P. Sulman, Amy B. Heimberger
Stimulation of β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR), a GPCR, and the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), a pattern recognition receptor (PRR), have been independently implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy caused by various etiologies, including myocardial infarction, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and metabolic stress. Here, we show that the two distinctly different receptors, β1AR and RAGE, are mutually dependent in mediating myocardial injury and the sequelae of cardiomyopathy. Deficiency or inhibition of RAGE blocks β1AR- and RAGE-mediated myocardial cell death and maladaptive remodeling. Ablation or blockade of β1AR fully abolishes RAGE-induced detrimental effects. Mechanistically, RAGE and β1AR form a complex, which in turn activates Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), resulting in loss of cardiomyocytes and myocardial remodeling. These results indicate that RAGE and β1AR not only physically crosstalk at the receptor level, but also functionally converge at the common mediator, CaMKII, highlighting a combined inhibition of RAGE and β1AR as a more effective therapy to treat diverse cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and diabetic cardiovascular complications.
Weizhong Zhu, Sharon Tsang, David M. Browe, Anthony Y.H. Woo, Ying Huang, Chanjuan Xu, Jian-Feng Liu, Fengxiang Lv, Yan Zhang, Rui-ping Xiao
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