Postictal apnea is thought to be a major cause of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). However, the mechanisms underlying postictal apnea are unknown. To understand causes of postictal apnea, we used a multimodal approach to study brain mechanisms of breathing control in 20 patients (ranging from pediatric to adult) undergoing intracranial electroencephalography for intractable epilepsy. Our results indicate that amygdala seizures can cause postictal apnea. Moreover, we identified a distinct region within the amygdala where electrical stimulation was sufficient to reproduce prolonged breathing loss persisting well beyond the end of stimulation. The persistent apnea was resistant to rising CO2 levels, and air hunger failed to occur, suggesting impaired CO2 chemosensitivity. Using es-fMRI, a potentially novel approach combining electrical stimulation with functional MRI, we found that amygdala stimulation altered blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) activity in the pons/medulla and ventral insula. Together, these findings suggest that seizure activity in a focal subregion of the amygdala is sufficient to suppress breathing and air hunger for prolonged periods of time in the postictal period, likely via brainstem and insula sites involved in chemosensation and interoception. They further provide insights into SUDEP, may help identify those at greatest risk, and may lead to treatments to prevent SUDEP.
Gail I.S. Harmata, Ariane E. Rhone, Christopher K. Kovach, Sukhbinder Kumar, Md Rakibul Mowla, Rup K. Sainju, Yasunori Nagahama, Hiroyuki Oya, Brian K. Gehlbach, Michael A. Ciliberto, Rashmi N. Mueller, Hiroto Kawasaki, Kyle T.S. Pattinson, Kristina Simonyan, Paul W. Davenport, Matthew A. Howard III, Mitchell Steinschneider, Aubrey C. Chan, George B. Richerson, John A. Wemmie, Brian J. Dlouhy
Ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) in heart failure are enhanced by sympathoexcitation. However, radiotracer studies of catecholamine uptake in failing human hearts demonstrate a proclivity for VAs in patients with reduced cardiac sympathetic innervation. We hypothesized that this counterintuitive finding is explained by heterogeneous loss of sympathetic nerves in the failing heart. In a murine model of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), delayed PET imaging of sympathetic nerve density using the catecholamine analog [11C]meta-Hydroxyephedrine demonstrated global hypoinnervation in ventricular myocardium. Although reduced, sympathetic innervation in 2 distinct DCM models invariably exhibited transmural (epicardial to endocardial) gradients, with the endocardium being devoid of sympathetic nerve fibers versus controls. Further, the severity of transmural innervation gradients was correlated with VAs. Transmural innervation gradients were also identified in human left ventricular free wall samples from DCM versus controls. We investigated mechanisms underlying this relationship by in silico studies in 1D, 2D, and 3D models of failing and normal human hearts, finding that arrhythmogenesis increased as heterogeneity in sympathetic innervation worsened. Specifically, both DCM-induced myocyte electrical remodeling and spatially inhomogeneous innervation gradients synergistically worsened arrhythmogenesis. Thus, heterogeneous innervation gradients in DCM promoted arrhythmogenesis. Restoration of homogeneous sympathetic innervation in the failing heart may reduce VAs.
Al-Hassan J. Dajani, Michael B. Liu, Michael A. Olaopa, Lucian Cao, Carla Valenzuela-Ripoll, Timothy J. Davis, Megan D. Poston, Elizabeth H. Smith, Jaime Contreras, Marissa Pennino, Christopher M. Waldmann, Donald B. Hoover, Jason T. Lee, Patrick Y. Jay, Ali Javaheri, Roger Slavik, Zhilin Qu, Olujimi A. Ajijola
To provide complementary information and reveal the molecular characteristics and therapeutic insights of HER2-low breast cancer, we performed this multiomics study of hormone receptor–negative (HR–) and HER2-low breast cancer, also known as HER2-low triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), and identified 3 subgroups: basal-like, receptor tyrosine kinase–relevant (TKR), and mesenchymal stem–like. These 3 subgroups had distinct features and potential therapeutic targets and were validated in external data sets. Interestingly, the TKR subgroup (which exists in both HR+ and HR– breast cancer) had activated HER2 and downstream MAPK signaling. In vitro and in vivo patient-derived xenograft experiments revealed that pretreatment of the TKR subgroup with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (lapatinib or tucatinib) could inhibit HER2 signaling and induce accumulated expression of nonfunctional HER2, resulting in increased sensitivity to the sequential HER2-targeting, Ab–drug conjugate DS-8201. Our findings identify clinically relevant subgroups and provide potential therapeutic strategies for HER2-low TNBC subtypes.
Lie Chen, Cui-Cui Liu, Si-Yuan Zhu, Jing-Yu Ge, Yu-Fei Chen, Ding Ma, Zhi-Ming Shao, Ke-Da Yu
Mitochondria are critical for neurophysiology, and mitochondrial dysfunction constitutes a characteristic pathology in both brain aging and Alzheimer disease (AD). Whether mitochondrial deficiency in brain aging and AD is mechanistically linked, however, remains controversial. We report a correlation between intrasynaptosomal amyloid β 42 (Aβ42) and synaptic mitochondrial bioenergetics inefficiency in both aging and amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a transitional stage between normal aging and AD. Experiments using a mouse model expressing nonmutant humanized Aβ (humanized Aβ-knockin [hAβ-KI] mice) confirmed the association of increased intramitochondrial sequestration of Aβ42 with exacerbated synaptic mitochondrial dysfunction in an aging factor- and AD risk–bearing context. Also, in comparison with global cerebral Aβ, intramitochondrial Aβ was relatively preserved from activated microglial phagocytosis in aged hAβ-KI mice. The most parsimonious interpretation of our results is that aging-related mitochondrial Aβ sequestration renders synaptic mitochondrial dysfunction in the transitional stage between normal aging and AD. Mitochondrial dysfunction in both brain aging and the prodromal stage of AD may follow a continuous transition in response to escalated intraneuronal, especially intramitochondrial Aβ, accumulation. Moreover, our findings further implicate a pivotal role of mitochondria in harboring early amyloidosis during the conversion from normal to pathological aging.
Kun Jia, Jing Tian, Tienju Wang, Lan Guo, Zhenyu Xuan, Russell H. Swerdlow, Heng Du
We previously established that vascular smooth muscle–derived adventitial progenitor cells (AdvSca1-SM) preferentially differentiate into myofibroblasts and contribute to fibrosis in response to acute vascular injury. However, the role of these progenitor cells in chronic atherosclerosis has not been defined. Using an AdvSca1-SM cell lineage tracing model, scRNA-Seq, flow cytometry, and histological approaches, we confirmed that AdvSca1-SM–derived cells localized throughout the vessel wall and atherosclerotic plaques, where they primarily differentiated into fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells (SMC), or remained in a stem-like state. Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) knockout specifically in AdvSca1-SM cells induced transition to a more collagen-enriched fibroblast phenotype compared with WT mice. Additionally, Klf4 deletion drastically modified the phenotypes of non–AdvSca1-SM–derived cells, resulting in more contractile SMC and atheroprotective macrophages. Functionally, overall plaque burden was not altered with Klf4 deletion, but multiple indices of plaque composition complexity, including necrotic core area, macrophage accumulation, and fibrous cap thickness, were reduced. Collectively, these data support that modulation of AdvSca1-SM cells through KLF4 depletion confers increased protection from the development of potentially unstable atherosclerotic plaques.
Allison M. Dubner, Sizhao Lu, Austin J. Jolly, Keith A. Strand, Marie F. Mutryn, Tyler Hinthorn, Tysen Noble, Raphael A. Nemenoff, Karen S. Moulton, Mark W. Majesky, Mary C.M. Weiser-Evans
Neuroblastomas have shed light on the differentiation disorder that is associated with spontaneous regression or differentiation in the same tumor at the same time. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) actively participate in a broad spectrum of biological processes. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying lncRNA regulation of differentiation in neuroblastomas remain largely unknown. Here, we sequenced clinical samples of ganglioneuroma, ganglioneuroblastoma, and neuroblastoma. We compared transcription profiles of neuroblastoma cells, ganglion cells, and intermediate state cells; verified the profiles in a retinoic acid–induced cell differentiation model and clinical samples; and screened out the lncRNA ADAMTS9 antisense RNA 2 (ADAMTS9-AS2), which contributed to neuroblastoma differentiation. ADAMTS9-AS2 upregulation in neuroblastoma cell lines inhibited proliferation and metastatic potential. Additional mechanistic studies illustrated that the interactions between ADAMTS9-AS2 and LIN28B inhibited the association between LIN28B and primary let-7 (pri-let-7) miRNA, then released pri-let-7 into cytoplasm to form mature let-7, resulting in the inhibition of oncogene MYCN activity that subsequently affected cancer stemness and differentiation. Furthermore, we showed that the observed differential expression of ADAMTS9-AS2 in neuroblastoma cells was due to N6-methyladenosine methylation. Finally, ADAMTS9-AS2 upregulation inhibited proliferation and cancer stem-like capabilities in vivo. Taken together, these results show that ADAMTS9-AS2 loss leads to malignant neuroblastoma by increasing metastasis and causing dysfunctional differentiation.
Yun Liu, Jun Zhang, Fang Cao, Xiaobao Dong, Jie Li, Yanna Cao, Zhanglin Li, Yan Guo, Jie Yan, Yuanyuan Liu, Qiang Zhao
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have garnered considerable interest for the treatment of adult and pediatric malignant brain tumors. However, owing to their broad-spectrum nature and inability to effectively penetrate the blood-brain barrier, HDAC inhibitors have failed to provide substantial clinical benefit to patients with glioblastoma (GBM) to date. Moreover, global inhibition of HDACs results in widespread toxicity, highlighting the need for selective isoform targeting. Although no isoform-specific HDAC inhibitors are currently available, the second-generation hydroxamic acid–based HDAC inhibitor quisinostat possesses subnanomolar specificity for class I HDAC isoforms, particularly HDAC1 and HDAC2. It has been shown that HDAC1 is the essential HDAC in GBM. This study analyzed the neuropharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and radiation-sensitizing properties of quisinostat in preclinical models of GBM. It was found that quisinostat is a well-tolerated and brain-penetrant molecule that extended survival when administered in combination with radiation in vivo. The pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic-efficacy relationship was established by correlating free drug concentrations and evidence of target modulation in the brain with survival benefit. Together, these data provide a strong rationale for clinical development of quisinostat as a radiosensitizer for the treatment of GBM.
Costanza Lo Cascio, Tigran Margaryan, Ernesto Luna-Melendez, James B. McNamara, Connor I. White, William Knight, Saisrinidhi Ganta, Zorana Opachich, Claudia Cantoni, Wonsuk Yoo, Nader Sanai, Artak Tovmasyan, Shwetal Mehta
NF-κB is a transcription factor that is activated with aging. It plays a key role in the development of osteoporosis by promoting osteoclast differentiation and inhibiting osteoblast differentiation. In this study, we developed a small anti–NF-κB peptide called 6A-8R from a nuclear acidic protein (also known as macromolecular translocation inhibitor II, Zn2+-binding protein, or parathymosin) that inhibits transcriptional activity of NF-κB without altering its nuclear translocation and binding to DNA. Intraperitoneal injection of 6A-8R attenuated ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis in mice by inhibiting osteoclast differentiation, promoting osteoblast differentiation, and inhibiting sclerostin production by osteocytes in vivo with no apparent side effects. Conversely, in vitro, 6A-8R inhibited osteoclast differentiation by inhibiting NF-κB transcriptional activity, promoted osteoblast differentiation by promoting Smad1 phosphorylation, and inhibited sclerostin expression in osteocytes by inhibiting myocyte enhancer factors 2C and 2D. These findings suggest that 6A-8R has the potential to be an antiosteoporotic therapeutic agent with uncoupling properties.
Kenji Takami, Kazuki Okamoto, Yuki Etani, Makoto Hirao, Akira Miyama, Gensuke Okamura, Atsushi Goshima, Taihei Miura, Takuya Kurihara, Yuji Fukuda, Takashi Kanamoto, Ken Nakata, Seiji Okada, Kosuke Ebina
Plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA), a marker of disease severity in sepsis, is a recognized driver of thromboinflammation and a potential therapeutic target. In sepsis, plasma cfDNA is mostly derived from neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) degradation. Proposed NET-directed therapeutic strategies include preventing NET formation or accelerating NET degradation. However, NET digestion liberates pathogens and releases cfDNA that promote thrombosis and endothelial cell injury. We propose an alternative strategy of cfDNA and NET stabilization with chemokine platelet factor 4 (PF4, CXCL4). We previously showed that human PF4 (hPF4) enhances NET-mediated microbial entrapment. We now show that hPF4 interferes with thrombogenicity of cfDNA and NETs by preventing their cleavage to short-fragment and single-stranded cfDNA that more effectively activates the contact pathway of coagulation. In vitro, hPF4 also inhibits cfDNA-induced endothelial tissue factor surface expression and von Willebrand factor release. In vivo, hPF4 expression reduced plasma thrombin-antithrombin (TAT) levels in animals infused with exogenous cfDNA. Following lipopolysaccharide challenge, Cxcl4–/– mice had significant elevation in plasma TAT, cfDNA, and cystatin C levels, effects prevented by hPF4 infusion. These results show that hPF4 interacts with cfDNA and NETs to limit thrombosis and endothelial injury, an observation of potential clinical benefit in the treatment of sepsis.
Anh T.P. Ngo, Abigail Skidmore, Jenna Oberg, Irene Yarovoi, Amrita Sarkar, Nate Levine, Veronica Bochenek, Guohua Zhao, Lubica Rauova, M. Anna Kowalska, Kaitlyn Eckart, Nilam S. Mangalmurti, Ann Rux, Douglas B. Cines, Mortimer Poncz, Kandace Gollomp
Mucopolysaccharidosis VI (MPS VI) is a rare lysosomal disease arising from impaired function of the enzyme arylsulfatase B (ARSB). This impairment causes aberrant accumulation of dermatan sulfate, a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) abundant in cartilage. While clinical severity varies along with age at first symptom manifestation, MPS VI usually presents early and strongly affects the skeleton. Current enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) does not provide effective treatment for the skeletal manifestations of MPS VI. This lack of efficacy may be due to an inability of ERT to reach affected cells or to the irreversibility of the disease. To address the question of reversibility of skeletal phenotypes, we generated a conditional by inversion (COIN) mouse model of MPS VI, ArsbCOIN/COIN, wherein Arsb is initially null and can be restored to WT using Cre. We restored Arsb at different times during postnatal development, using a tamoxifen-dependent global Cre driver. By restoring Arsb at P7, P21, and P56–P70, we determined that skeletal phenotypes can be fully rescued if Arsb restoration occurs at P7, while only achieving partial rescue at P21 and no significant rescue at P56–P70. This work has highlighted the importance of early intervention in patients with MPS VI to maximize therapeutic impact.
Elizabeth Hwang-Wong, Gabrielle Amar, Nanditha Das, Xiaoli Zhang, Nina Aaron, Kirsten Gale, Nyanza Rothman, Massimo Fante, Andrew Baik, Ajay Bhargava, Arun Fricker, Michelle McAlister, Jeremy Rabinowitz, John Lees-Shepard, Kalyan Nannuru, Aris N. Economides, Katherine D. Cygnar
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