In multiple sclerosis (MS), a demyelinating inflammatory disease of the CNS, and its animal model (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; EAE), circulating immune cells gain access to the CNS across the blood-brain barrier to cause inflammation, myelin destruction, and neuronal damage. Here, we discovered that calnexin, an ER chaperone, is highly abundant in human brain endothelial cells of MS patients. Conversely, mice lacking calnexin exhibited resistance to EAE induction, no evidence of immune cell infiltration into the CNS, and no induction of inflammation markers within the CNS. Furthermore, calnexin deficiency in mice did not alter the development or function of the immune system. Instead, the loss of calnexin led to a defect in brain endothelial cell function that resulted in reduced T cell trafficking across the blood-brain barrier. These findings identify calnexin in brain endothelial cells as a potentially novel target for developing strategies aimed at managing or preventing the pathogenic cascade that drives neuroinflammation and destruction of the myelin sheath in MS.
Joanna Jung, Paul Eggleton, Alison Robinson, Jessica Wang, Nick Gutowski, Janet Holley, Jia Newcombe, Elzbieta Dudek, Amber M. Paul, Douglas Zochodne, Allison Kraus, Christopher Power, Luis B. Agellon, Marek Michalak
Insulin resistance is associated with increased incidence and enhanced progression of cancers. However, little is known about strategies that can effectively ameliorate insulin resistance and consequently halt cancer progression. Herein, we propose that the transcription factor Nrf2 (also known as Nfe2l2) may be such a target, given its central role in disease prevention. To this end, we developed a mouse that overexpresses the Notch intracellular domain in adipocytes (AdNICD), leading to lipodystrophy-induced severe insulin resistance and subsequent development of sarcomas, as a model reflecting that Notch signaling is deregulated in cancers and shows positive associations with insulin resistance and fatty liver disease in humans. Nrf2 pathway activation was achieved by knocking down Keap1, a repressor of Nrf2, in the AdNICD background. Constitutively enhanced Nrf2 signaling in this setting led to prevention of hepatic steatosis, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance by repressing hepatic lipogenic pathways and restoration of the hepatic fatty acid profile to control levels. This protective effect of Nrf2 against diabetes extended to significant reduction and delay in sarcoma incidence and latency. Our study highlights that the Nrf2 pathway, which has been induced by small molecules in clinical trials, is a potential therapeutic target against insulin resistance and subsequent risk of cancer.
Dionysios V. Chartoumpekis, Yoko Yagishita, Marco Fazzari, Dushani L. Palliyaguru, Uma N.M. Rao, Apostolos Zaravinos, Nicholas K.H. Khoo, Francisco J. Schopfer, Kurt R. Weiss, George K. Michalopoulos, Ian Sipula, Robert M. O’Doherty, Thomas W. Kensler, Nobunao Wakabayashi
Premature infants are at high risk for developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), characterized by chronic inflammation and inhibition of lung development, which we have recently identified as being modulated by microRNAs (miRNAs) and alterations in the airway microbiome. Exosomes and exosomal miRNAs may regulate cell differentiation and tissue and organ development. We discovered that tracheal aspirates from infants with severe BPD had increased numbers of, but smaller, exosomes compared with term controls. Similarly, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from hyperoxia-exposed mice (an animal model of BPD) and supernatants from hyperoxia-exposed human bronchial epithelial cells (in vitro model of BPD) had increased exosomes compared with air controls. Next, in a prospective cohort study of tracheal aspirates obtained at birth from extremely preterm infants, utilizing independent discovery and validation cohorts, we identified unbiased exosomal miRNA signatures predictive of severe BPD. The strongest signal of reduced miR-876-3p in BPD-susceptible compared with BPD-resistant infants was confirmed in the animal model and in vitro models of BPD. In addition, based on our recent discovery of increased Proteobacteria in the airway microbiome being associated with BPD, we developed potentially novel in vivo and in vitro models for BPD combining Proteobacterial LPS and hyperoxia exposure. Addition of LPS led to a larger reduction in exosomal miR 876-3p in both hyperoxia and normoxia compared with hyperoxia alone, thus indicating a potential mechanism by which alterations in microbiota can suppress miR 876-3p. Gain of function of miR 876-3p improved the alveolar architecture in the in vivo BPD model, demonstrating a causal link between miR 876-3p and BPD. In summary, we provide evidence for the strong predictive biomarker potential of miR 876-3p in severe BPD. We also provide insights on the pathogenesis of neonatal lung disease, as modulated by hyperoxia and microbial product–induced changes in exosomal miRNA 876-3p, which could be targeted for future therapeutic development.
Charitharth Vivek Lal, Nelida Olave, Colm Travers, Gabriel Rezonzew, Kalsang Dolma, Alexandra Simpson, Brian Halloran, Zubair Aghai, Pragnya Das, Nirmal Sharma, Xin Xu, Kristopher Genschmer, Derek Russell, Tomasz Szul, Nengjun Yi, J. Edwin Blalock, Amit Gaggar, Vineet Bhandari, Namasivayam Ambalavanan
Proteoglycan accumulation is a hallmark of medial degeneration in thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD). Here, we defined the aortic proteoglycanome using mass spectrometry, and based on the findings, investigated the large aggregating proteoglycans aggrecan and versican in human ascending TAAD and a mouse model of severe Marfan syndrome. The aortic proteoglycanome comprises 20 proteoglycans including aggrecan and versican. Antibodies against these proteoglycans intensely stained medial degeneration lesions in TAAD, contrasting with modest intralamellar staining in controls. Aggrecan, but not versican, was increased in longitudinal analysis of Fbn1mgR/mgR aortas. TAAD and Fbn1mgR/mgR aortas had increased aggrecan and versican mRNAs, and reduced expression of a key proteoglycanase gene, ADAMTS5, was seen in TAAD. Fbn1mgR/mgR mice with ascending aortic dissection and/or rupture had dramatically increased aggrecan staining compared with mice without these complications. Thus, aggrecan and versican accumulation in ascending TAAD occurs via increased synthesis and/or reduced proteolytic turnover, and correlates with aortic dissection/rupture in Fbn1mgR/mgR mice. Tissue swelling imposed by aggrecan and versican is proposed to be profoundly deleterious to aortic wall mechanics and smooth muscle cell homeostasis, predisposing to type-A dissections. These proteoglycans provide potential biomarkers for refined risk stratification and timing of elective aortic aneurysm repair.
Frank S. Cikach, Christopher D. Koch, Timothy J. Mead, Josephine Galatioto, Belinda B. Willard, Kelly B. Emerton, Matthew J. Eagleton, Eugene H. Blackstone, Francesco Ramirez, Eric E. Roselli, Suneel S. Apte
Current obesity interventions suffer from lack of durable effects and undesirable complications. Fumagillin, an inhibitor of methionine aminopeptidase-2, causes weight loss by reducing food intake, but with effects on weight that are superior to pair-feeding. Here, we show that feeding of rats on a high-fat diet supplemented with fumagillin (HF/FG) suppresses the aggressive feeding observed in pair-fed controls (HF/PF) and alters expression of circadian genes relative to the HF/PF group. Multiple indices of reduced energy expenditure are observed in HF/FG but not HF/PF rats. HF/FG rats also exhibit changes in gut hormones linked to food intake, increased energy harvest by gut microbiota, and caloric spilling in the urine. Studies in gnotobiotic mice reveal that effects of fumagillin on energy expenditure but not feeding behavior may be mediated by the gut microbiota. In sum, fumagillin engages weight loss–inducing behavioral and physiologic circuits distinct from those activated by simple caloric restriction.
Jie An, Liping Wang, Michael L. Patnode, Vanessa K. Ridaura, Jonathan M. Haldeman, Robert D. Stevens, Olga Ilkayeva, James R. Bain, Michael J. Muehlbauer, Erin L. Glynn, Steven Thomas, Deborah Muoio, Scott A. Summers, James E. Vath, Thomas E. Hughes, Jeffrey I. Gordon, Christopher B. Newgard
Autoimmune-mediated destruction of pancreatic islet β cells results in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Serum islet autoantibodies usually develop in genetically susceptible individuals in early childhood before T1D onset, with multiple islet autoantibodies predicting diabetes development. However, most at-risk children remain islet-antibody negative, and no test currently identifies those likely to seroconvert. We sought a genomic signature predicting seroconversion risk by integrating longitudinal peripheral blood gene expression profiles collected in high-risk children included in the BABYDIET and DIPP cohorts, of whom 50 seroconverted. Subjects were followed for 10 years to determine time of seroconversion. Any cohort effect and the time of seroconversion were corrected to uncover genes differentially expressed (DE) in seroconverting children. Gene expression signatures associated with seroconversion were evident during the first year of life, with 67 DE genes identified in seroconverting children relative to those remaining antibody negative. These genes contribute to T cell–, DC-, and B cell–related immune responses. Near-birth expression of ADCY9, PTCH1, MEX3B, IL15RA, ZNF714, TENM1, and PLEKHA5, along with HLA risk score predicted seroconversion (AUC 0.85). The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway linked DE genes and T1D susceptibility genes. Therefore, a gene expression signature in infancy predicts risk of seroconversion. Ubiquitination may play a mechanistic role in diabetes progression.
Ahmed M. Mehdi, Emma E. Hamilton-Williams, Alexandre Cristino, Anette Ziegler, Ezio Bonifacio, Kim-Anh Le Cao, Mark Harris, Ranjeny Thomas
Although accumulation of lymphocytes in the white adipose tissue (WAT) in obesity is linked to insulin resistance, it remains unclear whether lymphocytes also participate in the regulation of energy homeostasis in the WAT. Here, we demonstrate enhanced energy dissipation in Rag1–/– mice, increased catecholaminergic input to subcutaneous WAT, and significant beige adipogenesis. Adoptive transfer experiments demonstrated that CD8+ T cell deficiency accounts for the enhanced beige adipogenesis in Rag1–/– mice. Consistently, we identified that CD8–/– mice also presented with enhanced beige adipogenesis. The inhibitory effect of CD8+ T cells on beige adipogenesis was reversed by blockade of IFN-γ. All together, our findings identify an effect of CD8+ T cells in regulating energy dissipation in lean WAT, mediated by IFN-γ modulation of the abundance of resident immune cells and of local catecholaminergic activity. Our results provide a plausible explanation for the clinical signs of metabolic dysfunction in diseases characterized by altered CD8+ T cell abundance and suggest targeting of CD8+ T cells as a promising therapeutic approach for obesity and other diseases with altered energy homeostasis.
Maria Moysidou, Sevasti Karaliota, Elisavet Kodela, Maria Salagianni, Yassemi Koutmani, Antonia Katsouda, Konstantia Kodella, Panagiotis Tsakanikas, Styliani Ourailidou, Evangelos Andreakos, Nikolaos Kostomitsopoulos, Dimitris Skokos, Antonios Chatzigeorgiou, Kyoung-Jin Chung, Stefan Bornstein, Mark W. Sleeman, Triantafyllos Chavakis, Katia P. Karalis
Adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) is a promising new modality for malignancies. Here, we report that adoptive T cell efficacy in tumor-bearing mice is significantly affected by differences in the native composition of the gut microbiome or treatment with antibiotics, or by heterologous fecal transfer. Depletion of bacteria with vancomycin decreased the rate of tumor growth in mice from The Jackson Laboratory receiving ACT, whereas treatment with neomycin and metronidazole had no effect, indicating the role of specific bacteria in host response. Vancomycin treatment induced an increase in systemic CD8α+ DCs, which sustained systemic adoptively transferred antitumor T cells in an IL-12–dependent manner. In subjects undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, we found that oral vancomycin also increased IL-12 levels. Collectively, our findings demonstrate an important role played by the gut microbiota in the antitumor effectiveness of ACT and suggest potentially new avenues to improve response to ACT by altering the gut microbiota.
Mireia Uribe-Herranz, Kyle Bittinger, Stavros Rafail, Sonia Guedan, Stefano Pierini, Ceylan Tanes, Alex Ganetsky, Mark A. Morgan, Saar Gill, Janos L. Tanyi, Frederic D. Bushman, Carl H. June, Andrea Facciabene
Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene mutations induce neural tissue hemangioblastomas, as well as highly vascularized clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCCs). Pathological vessel remodeling arises from misregulation of HIFs and VEGF, among other genes. Variation in disease penetrance has long been recognized in relation to genotype. We show Vhl mutations also disrupt Notch signaling, causing mutation-specific vascular abnormalities, e.g., type 1 (null) vs. type 2B (murine G518A representing human R167Q). In conditional mutation retina vasculature, Vhl-null mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/fl) had little effect on initial vessel branching, but it severely reduced arterial and venous branching at later stages. Interestingly, this mutation accelerated arterial maturation, as observed in retina vessel morphology and aberrant α-smooth muscle actin localization, particularly in vascular pericytes. RNA sequencing analysis identified gene expression changes within several key pathways, including Notch and smooth muscle cell contractility. Notch inhibition failed to reverse later-stage branching defects but rescued the accelerated arterialization. Retinal vessels harboring the type 2B Vhl mutation (i.e., UBCCreER/+Vhlfl/2B) displayed stage-specific changes in vessel branching and an advanced progression toward an arterial phenotype. Disrupting Notch signaling in type 2B mutants increased both artery and vein branching and restored arterial maturation toward nonmutant levels. By revealing differential effects of the null and type 2B Vhl mutations on vessel branching and maturation, these data may provide insight into the variability of VHL-associated vascular changes — particularly the heterogeneity and aggressiveness in ccRCC vessel growth — and also suggest Notch pathway targets for treating VHL syndrome.
Alexandra Arreola, Laura Beth Payne, Morgan H. Julian, Aguirre A. de Cubas, Anthony B. Daniels, Sarah Taylor, Huaning Zhao, Jordan Darden, Victoria L. Bautch, W. Kimryn Rathmell, John C. Chappell
Myocardial infarctions (MIs) cause the loss of myocytes due to lack of sufficient oxygenation and latent revascularization. Although the administration of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors reduces the size of infarctions and improves cardiac physiology in small-animal models of MI injury, the cellular targets of the HDACs, which the drugs inhibit, are largely unspecified. Here, we show that WNT-inducible secreted protein-1 (Wisp-1), a matricellular protein that promotes angiogenesis in cancers as well as cell survival in isolated cardiac myocytes and neurons, is a target of HDACs. Further, Wisp-1 transcription is regulated by HDACs and can be modified by the HDAC inhibitor, suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA/vorinostat), after MI injury. We observe that, at 7 days after MI, Wisp-1 is elevated 3-fold greater in the border zone of infarction in mice that experience an MI injury and are injected daily with SAHA, relative to MI alone. Additionally, human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) produce WISP-1 and are responsive to autocrine WISP-1–mediated signaling, which functionally promotes their proangiogenic behavior. Altering endogenous expression of WISP-1 in HCAECs directly impacts their network density in vitro. Therapeutic interventions after a heart attack define the extent of infarct injury, cell survival, and overall prognosis. Our studies shown here identify a potentially novel cardiac angiokine, Wisp-1, that may contribute to beneficial post-MI treatment modalities.
Lillianne H. Wright, Daniel J. Herr, Symone S. Brown, Harinath Kasiganesan, Donald R. Menick
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