Fibrotic lung disease, most notably idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), is thought to result from aberrant wound-healing responses to repetitive lung injury. Increased vascular permeability is a cardinal response to tissue injury, but whether it is mechanistically linked to lung fibrosis is unknown. We previously described a model in which exaggeration of vascular leak after lung injury shifts the outcome of wound-healing responses from normal repair to pathological fibrosis. Here we report that the fibrosis produced in this model is highly dependent on thrombin activity and its downstream signaling pathways. Direct thrombin inhibition with dabigatran significantly inhibited protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) activation, integrin αvβ6 induction, TGF-β activation, and the development of pulmonary fibrosis in this vascular leak–dependent model. We used a potentially novel imaging method — ultashort echo time (UTE) lung magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the gadolinium-based, fibrin-specific probe EP-2104R — to directly visualize fibrin accumulation in injured mouse lungs, and to correlate the antifibrotic effects of dabigatran with attenuation of fibrin deposition. We found that inhibition of the profibrotic effects of thrombin can be uncoupled from inhibition of hemostasis, as therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin failed to downregulate the PAR1/αvβ6/TGF-β axis or significantly protect against fibrosis. These findings have direct and important clinical implications, given recent findings that warfarin treatment is not beneficial in IPF, and the clinical availability of direct thrombin inhibitors that our data suggest could benefit these patients.
Barry S. Shea, Clemens K. Probst, Patricia L. Brazee, Nicholas J. Rotile, Francesco Blasi, Paul H. Weinreb, Katharine E. Black, David E. Sosnovik, Elizabeth M. Van Cott, Shelia M. Violette, Peter Caravan, Andrew M. Tager
Mechanisms of atherogenesis have been studied extensively in genetically engineered mice with disturbed cholesterol metabolism such as those lacking either the LDL receptor (
Srinivas D. Sithu, Marina V. Malovichko, Krista A. Riggs, Nalinie S. Wickramasinghe, Millicent G. Winner, Abhinav Agarwal, Rihab E. Hamed-Berair, Anuradha Kalani, Daniel W. Riggs, Aruni Bhatnagar, Sanjay Srivastava
Motor dysfunction is a prominent and disabling feature of Huntington’s disease (HD), but the molecular mechanisms that dictate its onset and progression are unknown. The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 2A (NR2A) subunit regulates motor skill development and synaptic plasticity in medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the striatum, cells that are most severely impacted by HD. Here, we document reduced NR2A receptor subunits on the dendritic membranes and at the synapses of MSNs in zQ175 mice that model HD. We identify that SorCS2, a vacuolar protein sorting 10 protein–domain (VPS10P-domain) receptor, interacts with VPS35, a core component of retromer, thereby regulating surface trafficking of NR2A in MSNs. In the zQ175 striatum, SorCS2 is markedly decreased in an age- and allele-dependent manner. Notably, SorCS2 selectively interacts with mutant huntingtin (mtHTT), but not WT huntingtin (wtHTT), and is mislocalized to perinuclear clusters in striatal neurons of human HD patients and zQ175 mice. Genetic deficiency of SorCS2 accelerates the onset and exacerbates the motor coordination deficit of zQ175 mice. Together, our results identify SorCS2 as an interacting protein of mtHTT and demonstrate that impaired SorCS2-mediated NR2A subunit trafficking to dendritic surface of MSNs is, to our knowledge, a novel mechanism contributing to motor coordination deficits of HD.
Qian Ma, Jianmin Yang, Teresa A. Milner, Jean-Paul G. Vonsattel, Mary Ellen Palko, Lino Tessarollo, Barbara L. Hempstead
Unconjugated bilirubin (UCB), a product of heme oxidation, has known immunosuppressant properties but the molecular mechanisms, other than antioxidant effects, remain largely unexplored. We note that UCB modulates T helper type 17 (Th17) immune responses, in a manner dependent upon heightened expression of CD39 ectonucleotidase. UCB has protective effects in experimental colitis, where it enhances recovery after injury and preferentially boosts IL-10 production by colonic intraepithelial CD4+ cells. In vitro, UCB confers immunoregulatory properties on human control Th17 cells, as reflected by increased levels of FOXP3 and CD39 with heightened cellular suppressor ability. Upregulation of CD39 by Th17 cells is dependent upon ligation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) by UCB. Genetic deletion of CD39, as in
Maria Serena Longhi, Marta Vuerich, Alireza Kalbasi, Jessica E. Kenison, Ada Yeste, Eva Csizmadia, Byron Vaughn, Linda Feldbrugge, Shuji Mitshuhashi, Barbara Wegiel, Leo Otterbein, Alan Moss, Francisco J. Quintana, Simon C. Robson
Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an epithelial blistering disease caused by autoantibodies to the desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 3 (DSG3). Glucocorticoids improve disease within days by increasing DSG3 gene transcription, although the mechanism for this observation remains unknown. Here, we show that DSG3 transcription in keratinocytes is regulated by Stat3. Treatment of primary human keratinocytes (PHKs) with hydrocortisone or rapamycin, but not the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB202190, significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein expression and correspondingly reduces phospho-S727 Stat3. Stat3 inhibition or shRNA-knockdown also significantly increases DSG3 mRNA and protein levels. Hydrocortisone- or rapamycin-treated PHKs demonstrate increased number and length of desmosomes by electron microscopy and are resistant to PV IgG–induced loss of cell adhesion, whereas constitutive activation of Stat3 in PHKs abrogates DSG3 upregulation and inhibits hydrocortisone and rapamycin’s therapeutic effects. Topical hydrocortisone, rapamycin, or Stat3 inhibitor XVIII prevents autoantibody-induced blistering in the PV passive transfer mouse model, correlating with increased epidermal DSG3 expression and decreased phospho-S727 Stat3. Our data indicate that glucocorticoids and rapamycin upregulate DSG3 transcription through inhibition of Stat3. These studies explain how glucocorticoids rapidly improve pemphigus and may also offer novel insights into the physiologic and pathophysiologic regulation of desmosomal cadherin expression in normal epidermis and epithelial carcinomas.
Xuming Mao, Michael Jeffrey T. Cho, Christoph T. Ellebrecht, Eric M. Mukherjee, Aimee S. Payne
During renal branching morphogenesis, ureteric bud tip cells (UBTC) serve as the progenitor epithelium for all cell types of the collecting duct. While the transcriptional circuitry of ureteric bud (UB) branching has been intensively studied, the transcriptional control of UBTC differentiation has been difficult to ascertain. This is partly due to limited knowledge of UBTC-specific transcription factors that mark the progenitor state. Here, we identify the transcription factor p63 (also known as TP63), a master regulator of basal stem cells in stratified epithelia, as a specific marker of mouse and human UBTC. Nuclear p63 marks Ret+ UBTC transiently and is silenced by the end of nephrogenesis. Lineage tracing revealed that a subset of UBTC expressing the ΔNp63 isoform (N-terminus truncated p63) is dedicated to generating cortical intercalated cells. Germline targeting of
Samir S. El-Dahr, Yuwen Li, Jiao Liu, Elleny Gutierrez, Kathleen S. Hering-Smith, Sabina Signoretti, Jean-Christophe Pignon, Satrajit Sinha, Zubaida Saifudeen
Combined pulmonary insufficiency (PI) and stenosis (PS) is a common long-term sequela after repair of many forms of congenital heart disease, causing progressive right ventricular (RV) dilation and failure. Little is known of the mechanisms underlying this combination of preload and afterload stressors. We developed a murine model of PI and PS (PI+PS) to identify clinically relevant pathways and biomarkers of disease progression. Diastolic dysfunction was induced (restrictive RV filling, elevated RV end-diastolic pressures) at 1 month after generation of PI+PS and progressed to systolic dysfunction (decreased RV shortening) by 3 months. RV fibrosis progressed from 1 month (4.4% ± 0.4%) to 3 months (9.2% ± 1%), along with TGF-β signaling and tissue expression of profibrotic miR-21. Although plasma miR-21 was upregulated with diastolic dysfunction, it was downregulated with the onset of systolic dysfunction), correlating with RV fibrosis. Plasma miR-21 in children with PI+PS followed a similar pattern. A model of combined RV volume and pressure overload recapitulates the evolution of RV failure unique to patients with prior RV outflow tract surgery. This progression was characterized by enhanced TGF-β and miR-21 signaling. miR-21 may serve as a plasma biomarker of RV failure, with decreased expression heralding the need for valve replacement.
Sushma Reddy, Dong-Qing Hu, Mingming Zhao, Eddie Blay Jr., Nefthi Sandeep, Sang-Ging Ong, Gwanghyun Jung, Kristina B. Kooiker, Michael Coronado, Giovanni Fajardo, Daniel Bernstein
Initial promising results with immune sera guided early human mAb approaches against Gram-negative sepsis to an LPS neutralization mechanism, but these efforts failed in human clinical trials. Emergence of multidrug resistance has renewed interest in pathogen-specific mAbs. We utilized a pair of antibodies targeting
Taylor S. Cohen, Mark Pelletier, Lily Cheng, Meghan E. Pennini, Jessica Bonnell, Romana Cvitkovic, Chew-shun Chang, Xiaodong Xiao, Elisabetta Cameroni, Davide Corti, Elena Semenova, Paul Warrener, Bret R. Sellman, JoAnn Suzich, Qun Wang, C. Kendall Stover
Lupus nephritis is a leading cause of mortality among systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, and its heterogeneous nature poses a significant challenge to the development of effective diagnostics and treatments. Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) offers a potential solution to dissect the heterogeneity of the disease and enables the study of similar cell types distant from the site of renal injury to identify novel biomarkers. We applied scRNA-seq to human renal and skin biopsy tissues and demonstrated that scRNA-seq can be performed on samples obtained during routine care. Chronicity index, IgG deposition, and quantity of proteinuria correlated with a transcriptomic-based score composed of IFN-inducible genes in renal tubular cells. Furthermore, analysis of cumulative expression profiles of single cell keratinocytes dissociated from nonlesional, non–sun-exposed skin of patients with lupus nephritis also revealed upregulation of IFN-inducible genes compared with keratinocytes isolated from healthy controls. This indicates the possible use of scRNA-seq analysis of skin biopsies as a biomarker of renal disease. These data support the potential utility of scRNA-seq to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis and pave the way for exploiting a readily accessible tissue to reflect injury in the kidney.
Evan Der, Saritha Ranabothu, Hemant Suryawanshi, Kemal M. Akat, Robert Clancy, Pavel Morozov, Manjunath Kustagi, Mareike Czuppa, Peter Izmirly, H. Michael Belmont, Tao Wang, Nicole Jordan, Nicole Bornkamp, Janet Nwaukoni, July Martinez, Beatrice Goilav, Jill P. Buyon, Thomas Tuschl, Chaim Putterman
Despite expression of immunogenic polypeptides, tumors escape immune surveillance by engaging T cell checkpoint regulators and expanding Tregs, among other mechanisms. What orchestrates these controls is unknown. We report that free C3d, a fragment of the third component of complement, inside tumor cells — or associated with irradiated tumor cells and unattached to antigen — recruits, accelerates, and amplifies antitumor T cell responses, allowing immunity to reverse or even to prevent tumor growth. C3d enhances antitumor immunity independently of B cells, NK cells, or antibodies, but it does so by increasing tumor infiltrating CD8+ lymphocytes, by depleting Tregs, and by suppressing expression of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) by T cells. These properties of C3d appear specific for the tumor and dependent on complement receptor 2, and they incur no obvious systemic toxicity. The heretofore unrecognized properties of free C3d suggest that protein might determine the effectiveness of immune surveillance and that increasing availability of the protein might prove advantageous in the treatment or prevention of cancer and premalignant conditions.
Jeffrey L. Platt, Inês Silva, Samuel J. Balin, Adam R. Lefferts, Evan Farkash, Ted M. Ross, Michael C. Carroll, Marilia Cascalho
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