Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease.
Shunmoogum A. Patten, Dina Aggad, Jose Martinez, Elsa Tremblay, Janet Petrillo, Gary A.B. Armstrong, Alexandre La Fontaine, Claudia Maios, Meijiang Liao, Sorana Ciura, Xiao-Yan Wen, Victor Rafuse, Justin Ichida, Lorne Zinman, Jean-Pierre Julien, Edor Kabashi, Richard Robitaille, Lawrence Korngut, J. Alexander Parker, Pierre Drapeau
W-18 (4-chloro-N-[1-[2-(4-nitrophenyl)ethyl]-2-piperidinylidene]-benzenesulfonamide) and W-15 (4-chloro-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)-2-piperidinylidene]-benzenesulfonamide) represent two emerging drugs of abuse chemically related to the potent opioid agonist fentanyl (N-(1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperidinyl)-N-phenylpropanamide). Here, we describe the comprehensive pharmacological profiles of W-18 and W-15, as examination of their structural features predicted that they might lack opioid activity. We found W-18 and W-15 to be without detectible activity at μ, δ, κ, and nociception opioid receptors in a variety of assays. We also tested W-18 and W-15 for activity as allosteric modulators at opioid receptors and found them devoid of significant positive or negative allosteric modulatory activity. Comprehensive profiling at essentially all the druggable GPCRs in the human genome using the PRESTO-Tango platform revealed no significant activity. Weak activity at the sigma receptors and the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor was found for W-18 (Ki = 271 nM). W-18 showed no activity in either the radiant heat tail-flick or the writhing assays and also did not induce classical opioid behaviors. W-18 is extensively metabolized, but its metabolites also lack opioid activity. Thus, although W-18 and W-15 have been suggested to be potent opioid agonists, our results reveal no significant activity at these or other known targets for psychoactive drugs.
Xi-Ping Huang, Tao Che, Thomas J. Mangano, Valerie Le Rouzic, Ying-Xian Pan, Michael D. Cameron, Michael H. Baumann, Gavril W. Pasternak, Bryan L. Roth
The efficacy of B cell depletion therapies in diseases such as nephrotic syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis suggests a broader role in B cells in human disease than previously recognized. In some of these diseases, such as the minimal change disease subtype of nephrotic syndrome, pathogenic antibodies and immune complexes are not involved. We hypothesized that B cells, activated in the kidney, might produce cytokines capable of directly inducing cell injury and proteinuria. To directly test our hypothesis, we targeted a model antigen to the kidney glomerulus and showed that transfer of antigen-specific B cells could induce glomerular injury and proteinuria. This effect was mediated by IL-4, as transfer of IL-4–deficient B cells did not induce proteinuria. Overexpression of IL-4 in mice was sufficient to induce kidney injury and proteinuria and could be attenuated by JAK kinase inhibitors. Since IL-4 is a specific activator of STAT6, we analyzed kidney biopsies and demonstrated STAT6 activation in up to 1 of 3 of minimal change disease patients, suggesting IL-4 or IL-13 exposure in these patients. These data suggest that the role of B cells in nephrotic syndrome could be mediated by cytokines.
Alfred H.J. Kim, Jun-Jae Chung, Shreeram Akilesh, Ania Koziell, Sanjay Jain, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Mark J. Miller, Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, Jeffrey H. Miner, Andrey S. Shaw
An ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA) is a life-threatening disease whose molecular basis is poorly understood. Mutations in NOTCH1 have been linked to bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which is associated with AscAA. Here, we describe a potentially novel role for Notch1 in AscAA. We found that Notch1 haploinsufficiency exacerbated the aneurysmal aortic root dilation seen in the Marfan syndrome mouse model and that heterozygous deletion of Notch1 in the second heart field (SHF) lineage recapitulated this exacerbated phenotype. Additionally, Notch1+/– mice in a predominantly 129S6 background develop aortic root dilation, indicating that loss of Notch1 is sufficient to cause AscAA. RNA sequencing analysis of the Notch1.129S6+/– aortic root demonstrated gene expression changes consistent with AscAA. These findings are the first to our knowledge to demonstrate an SHF lineage–specific role for Notch1 in AscAA and suggest that genes linked to the development of BAV may also contribute to the associated aortopathy.
Sara N. Koenig, Stephanie LaHaye, James D. Feller, Patrick Rowland, Kan N. Hor, Aaron J. Trask, Paul M.L. Janssen, Freddy Radtke, Brenda Lilly, Vidu Garg
Tregs hold great promise as a cellular therapy for multiple immunologically mediated diseases, given their ability to control immune responses. The success of such strategies depends on the expansion of healthy, suppressive Tregs ex vivo and in vivo following the transfer. In clinical studies, levels of transferred Tregs decline sharply in the blood within a few days of the transfer. Tregs have a high rate of apoptosis. Here, we describe a new mechanism of Treg self-inflicted damage. We show that granzymes A and -B (GrA and GrB), which are highly upregulated in human Tregs upon stimulation, leak out of cytotoxic granules to induce cleavage of cytoplasmic and nuclear substrates, precipitating apoptosis in target cells. GrA and GrB substrates were protected from cleavage by inhibiting granzyme activity in vitro. Additionally, we show — by using cytometry by time of flight (CYTOF) — an increase in GrB-expressing Tregs in the peripheral blood and renal allografts of transplant recipients undergoing rejection. These GrB-expressing Tregs showed an activated phenotype but were significantly more apoptotic than non–GrB expressing Tregs. This potentially novel finding improves our understanding of Treg survival and suggests that manipulating Gr expression or activity might be useful for designing more effective Treg therapies.
Esilida Sula Karreci, Siawosh K. Eskandari, Farokh Dotiwala, Sujit K. Routray, Ahmed T. Kurdi, Jean Pierre Assaker, Pavlo Luckyanchykov, Albana B. Mihali, Omar Maarouf, Thiago J. Borges, Abdullah Alkhudhayri, Kruti R. Patel, Amr Radwan, Irene Ghobrial, Martina McGrath, Anil Chandraker, Leonardo V. Riella, Wassim Elyaman, Reza Abdi, Judy Lieberman, Jamil Azzi
The microbiome affects development and activity of the immune system, and may modulate immune therapies, but there is little direct information about this control in vivo. We studied how the microbiome affects regulation of human immune cells in humanized mice. When humanized mice were treated with a cocktail of 4 antibiotics, there was an increase in the frequency of effector T cells in the gut wall, circulating levels of IFN-γ, and appearance of anti-nuclear antibodies. Teplizumab, a non–FcR-binding anti-CD3ε antibody, no longer delayed xenograft rejection. An increase in CD8+ central memory cells and IL-10, markers of efficacy of teplizumab, were not induced. IL-10 levels were only decreased when the mice were treated with all 4 but not individual antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment affected CD11b+CD11c+ cells, which produced less IL-10 and IL-27, and showed increased expression of CD86 and activation of T cells when cocultured with T cells and teplizumab. Soluble products in the pellets appeared to be responsible for the reduced IL-27 expression in DCs. Similar changes in IL-10 induction were seen when human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were cultured with human stool samples. We conclude that changes in the microbiome may impact the efficacy of immunosuppressive medications by altering immune regulatory pathways.
Elke Gülden, Nalini K. Vudattu, Songyan Deng, Paula Preston-Hurlburt, Mark Mamula, James C. Reed, Sindhu Mohandas, Betsy C. Herold, Richard Torres, Silvio M. Vieira, Bentley Lim, Jose D. Herazo-Maya, Martin Kriegel, Andrew L. Goodman, Chris Cotsapas, Kevan C. Herold
The secretion of insulin and glucagon from the pancreas and the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) from the gastrointestinal tract is essential for glucose homeostasis. Several novel treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes (T2D) mimic GLP-1 actions or inhibit incretin degradation (DPP4 inhibitors), but none is thus far aimed at increasing the secretion of endogenous incretins. In order to identify new potential therapeutic targets for treatment of T2D, we performed a meta-analysis of a GWAS and an exome-wide association study of circulating insulin, glucagon, GIP, and GLP-1 concentrations measured during an oral glucose tolerance test in up to 7,828 individuals. We identified 6 genome-wide significant functional loci associated with plasma incretin concentrations in or near the SLC5A1 (encoding SGLT1), GIPR, ABO, GLP2R, F13A1, and HOXD1 genes and studied the effect of these variants on mRNA expression in pancreatic islet and on metabolic phenotypes. Immunohistochemistry showed expression of GIPR, ABO, and HOXD1 in human enteroendocrine cells and expression of ABO in pancreatic islets, supporting a role in hormone secretion. This study thus provides candidate genes and insight into mechanisms by which secretion and breakdown of GIP and GLP-1 are regulated.
Peter Almgren, Andreas Lindqvist, Ulrika Krus, Liisa Hakaste, Emilia Ottosson-Laakso, Olof Asplund, Emily Sonestedt, Rashmi B. Prasad, Esa Laurila, Marju Orho-Melander, Olle Melander, Tiinamaija Tuomi, Jens Juul Holst, Peter M. Nilsson, Nils Wierup, Leif Groop, Emma Ahlqvist
Infantile hemangioma (IH) is a vascular tumor that begins with rapid vascular proliferation shortly after birth, followed by vascular involution in early childhood. We have found that NOTCH3, a critical regulator of mural cell differentiation and maturation, is expressed in hemangioma stem cells (HemSCs), suggesting that NOTCH3 may function in HemSC-to–mural cell differentiation and pathological vessel stabilization. Here, we demonstrate that NOTCH3 is expressed in NG2+PDGFRβ+ perivascular HemSCs and CD31+GLUT1+ hemangioma endothelial cells (HemECs) in proliferating IHs and becomes mostly restricted to the αSMA+NG2loPDGFRβlo mural cells in involuting IHs. NOTCH3 knockdown in HemSCs inhibited in vitro mural cell differentiation and perturbed αSMA expression. In a mouse model of IH, NOTCH3 knockdown or systemic expression of the NOTCH3 inhibitor, NOTCH3 Decoy, significantly decreased IH blood flow, vessel caliber, and αSMA+ perivascular cell coverage. Thus, NOTCH3 is necessary for HemSC-to–mural cell differentiation, and adequate perivascular cell coverage of IH vessels is required for IH vessel stability.
Andrew K. Edwards, Kyle Glithero, Peter Grzesik, Alison A. Kitajewski, Naikhoba C.O. Munabi, Krista Hardy, Qian Kun Tan, Michael Schonning, Thaned Kangsamaksin, Jan K. Kitajewski, Carrie J. Shawber, June K. Wu
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
The complex signaling networks of the tumor microenvironment that facilitate tumor growth and progression toward metastatic disease are becoming a focus of potential therapeutic options. The chemokine IL-8 is overexpressed in multiple cancer types, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), where it promotes the acquisition of mesenchymal features, stemness, resistance to therapies, and the recruitment of immune-suppressive cells to the tumor site. The present study explores the utility of a clinical-stage monoclonal antibody that neutralizes IL-8 (HuMax-IL8) as a potential therapeutic option for TNBC. HuMax-IL8 was shown to revert mesenchymalization in claudin-low TNBC models both in vitro and in vivo as well as to significantly decrease the recruitment of polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs) at the tumor site, an effect substantiated when used in combination with docetaxel. In addition, HuMax-IL8 enhanced the susceptibility of claudin-low breast cancer cells to immune-mediated lysis with NK and antigen-specific T cells in vitro. These results demonstrate the multifaceted way in which neutralizing this single chemokine reverts mesenchymalization, decreases recruitment of MDSCs at the tumor site, assists in immune-mediated killing, and forms the rationale for using HuMax-IL8 in combination with chemotherapy or immune-based therapies for the treatment of TNBC.
Charli Dominguez, Kristen K. McCampbell, Justin M. David, Claudia Palena
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