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
Over one-fifth of North American women of childbearing age are obese, putting these women at risk for a variety of detrimental chronic diseases. In addition, obesity increases the risk for developing major complications during pregnancy. The mechanisms by which obesity contributes to pregnancy complications and loss remain unknown. Increasing evidence indicates that obesity results in major changes to adipose tissue immune cell composition and function; whether or not obesity also affects immune function in the uterus has not been explored. Here we investigated the effect of obesity on uterine natural killer (uNK) cells, which are essential for uterine artery remodeling and placental development. Using a cohort of obese or lean women, we found that obesity led to a significant reduction in uNK cell numbers accompanied with impaired uterine artery remodeling. uNK cells isolated from obese women had altered expression of genes and pathways associated with extracellular matrix remodeling and growth factor signaling. Specifically, uNK cells were hyper-responsive to PDGF, resulting in overexpression of decorin. Functionally, decorin strongly inhibited placental development by limiting trophoblast survival. Together, these findings establish a potentially new link between obesity and poor pregnancy outcomes, and indicate that obesity-driven changes to uterine-resident immune cells critically impair placental development.
Sofie Perdu, Barbara Castellana, Yoona Kim, Kathy Chan, Lauren DeLuca, Alexander G. Beristain
The deubiquitinase-encoding gene
Yingai Jane Jin, Sally Wang, Joshua Cho, M. Angelica Selim, Tim Wright, George Mosialos, Jennifer Y. Zhang
Within the CNS, a dysregulated hemostatic response contributes to both hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. Tissue factor (TF), the primary initiator of the extrinsic coagulation cascade, plays an essential role in hemostasis and also contributes to thrombosis. Using both genetic and pharmacologic approaches, we characterized the contribution of neuroectodermal (NE) cell TF to the pathophysiology of stroke. We used mice with various levels of TF expression and found that astrocyte TF activity reduced to ~5% of WT levels was still sufficient to maintain hemostasis after hemorrhagic stroke but was also low enough to attenuate inflammation, reduce damage to the blood-brain barrier, and improve outcomes following ischemic stroke. Pharmacologic inhibition of TF during the reperfusion phase of ischemic stroke attenuated neuronal damage, improved behavioral deficit, and prevented mortality of mice. Our data demonstrate that NE cell TF limits bleeding complications associated with the transition from ischemic to hemorrhagic stroke and also contributes to the reperfusion injury after ischemic stroke. The high level of TF expression in the CNS is likely the result of selective pressure to limit intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) after traumatic brain injury but, in the modern era, poses the additional risk of increased ischemia-reperfusion injury after ischemic stroke.
Shaobin Wang, Brandi Reeves, Erica M. Sparkenbaugh, Janice Russell, Zbigniew Soltys, Hua Zhang, James E. Faber, Nigel S. Key, Daniel Kirchhofer, D. Neil Granger, Nigel Mackman, Rafal Pawlinski
Significant morbidity in cystic fibrosis (CF) results from chronic lung inflammation, most commonly due to
Kong Chen, Brian T. Campfield, Sally E. Wenzel, Jeremy P. McAleer, James L. Kreindler, Geoffrey Kurland, Radha Gopal, Ting Wang, Wei Chen, Taylor Eddens, Kathleen M. Quinn, Mike M. Myerburg, William T. Horne, Jose M. Lora, Brian K. Albrecht, Joseph M. Pilewski, Jay K. Kolls
Liver fibrosis, a consequence of chronic liver injury and a way station to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, lacks effective treatment. Endocannabinoids acting via cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1R) induce profibrotic gene expression and promote pathologies that predispose to liver fibrosis. CB1R antagonists produce opposite effects, but their therapeutic development was halted due to neuropsychiatric side effects. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) also promotes liver fibrosis and its underlying pathologies, but iNOS inhibitors tested to date showed limited therapeutic efficacy in inflammatory diseases. Here, we introduce a peripherally restricted, orally bioavailable CB1R antagonist, which accumulates in liver to release an iNOS inhibitory leaving group. In mouse models of fibrosis induced by CCl4 or bile duct ligation, the hybrid CB1R/iNOS antagonist surpassed the antifibrotic efficacy of the CB1R antagonist rimonabant or the iNOS inhibitor 1400W, without inducing anxiety-like behaviors or CB1R occupancy in the CNS. The hybrid inhibitor also targeted CB1R-independent, iNOS-mediated profibrotic pathways, including increased PDGF, Nlrp3/Asc3, and integrin αvβ6 signaling, as judged by its ability to inhibit these pathways in cnr1–/– but not in nos2–/– mice. Additionally, it was able to slow fibrosis progression and to attenuate established fibrosis. Thus, dual-target peripheral CB1R/iNOS antagonists have therapeutic potential in liver fibrosis.
Resat Cinar, Malliga R. Iyer, Ziyi Liu, Zongxian Cao, Tony Jourdan, Katalin Erdelyi, Grzegorz Godlewski, Gergő Szanda, Jie Liu, Joshua K. Park, Bani Mukhopadhyay, Avi Z. Rosenberg, Jeih-San Lieow, Robin G. Lorenz, Pal Pacher, Robert B. Innis, George Kunos
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disease that usually begins in early life and involves gene-environment interactions. Although most asthma exhibits allergic inflammation, many allergic individuals do not have asthma. Here, we report how the asthma gene a disintegrin and metalloprotease 33 (
Elizabeth R. Davies, Joanne F.C. Kelly, Peter H. Howarth, David I. Wilson, Stephen T. Holgate, Donna E. Davies, Jeffrey A. Whitsett, Hans Michael Haitchi
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common clinical condition defined as a rapid decline in kidney function. AKI is a global health burden, estimated to cause 2 million deaths annually worldwide. Unlike AKI in the young, which is reversible, AKI in the elderly often leads to end-stage renal disease, and the mechanism that prevents kidney repair in the elderly is unclear. Here we demonstrate that aged but not young mice developed multiple tertiary lymphoid tissues (TLTs) in the kidney after AKI. TLT size was associated with impaired renal function and increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and homeostatic chemokines, indicating a possible contribution of TLTs to sustained inflammation after injury. Notably, resident fibroblasts from a single lineage diversified into p75 neurotrophin receptor+ (p75NTR+) fibroblasts and homeostatic chemokine–producing fibroblasts inside TLTs, and retinoic acid–producing fibroblasts around TLTs. Deletion of CD4+ cells as well as late administration of dexamethasone abolished TLTs and improved renal outcomes. Importantly, aged but not young human kidneys also formed TLTs that had cellular and molecular components similar to those of mouse TLTs. Therefore, the inhibition of TLT formation may offer a novel therapeutic strategy for AKI in the elderly.
Yuki Sato, Akiko Mii, Yoko Hamazaki, Harumi Fujita, Hirosuke Nakata, Kyoko Masuda, Shingo Nishiyama, Shinsuke Shibuya, Hironori Haga, Osamu Ogawa, Akira Shimizu, Shuh Narumiya, Tsuneyasu Kaisho, Makoto Arita, Masashi Yanagisawa, Masayuki Miyasaka, Kumar Sharma, Nagahiro Minato, Hiroshi Kawamoto, Motoko Yanagita
The autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by loss of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Molecular pathways that are disrupted downstream of SMN therefore represent potentially attractive therapeutic targets for SMA. Here, we demonstrate that therapeutic targeting of ubiquitin pathways disrupted as a consequence of SMN depletion, by increasing levels of one key ubiquitination enzyme (ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 1 [UBA1]), represents a viable approach for treating SMA. Loss of UBA1 was a conserved response across mouse and zebrafish models of SMA as well as in patient induced pluripotent stem cell–derive motor neurons. Restoration of UBA1 was sufficient to rescue motor axon pathology and restore motor performance in SMA zebrafish. Adeno-associated virus serotype 9–UBA1 (AAV9-UBA1) gene therapy delivered systemic increases in UBA1 protein levels that were well tolerated over a prolonged period in healthy control mice. Systemic restoration of UBA1 in SMA mice ameliorated weight loss, increased survival and motor performance, and improved neuromuscular and organ pathology. AAV9-UBA1 therapy was also sufficient to reverse the widespread molecular perturbations in ubiquitin homeostasis that occur during SMA. We conclude that UBA1 represents a safe and effective therapeutic target for the treatment of both neuromuscular and systemic aspects of SMA.
Rachael A. Powis, Evangelia Karyka, Penelope Boyd, Julien Côme, Ross A. Jones, Yinan Zheng, Eva Szunyogova, Ewout J.N. Groen, Gillian Hunter, Derek Thomson, Thomas M. Wishart, Catherina G. Becker, Simon H. Parson, Cécile Martinat, Mimoun Azzouz, Thomas H. Gillingwater
Urine concentration is regulated by vasopressin. Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is caused by vasopressin type 2 receptor (V2R) mutations. We studied whether metformin could improve urine concentration in rodent models of congenital NDI by stimulating AMPK. To block the V2R in rats, tolvaptan (10 mg/kg/d) was given by oral gavage with or without metformin (800 mg/kg/d). Control rats received vehicle with or without metformin. Tamoxifen-induced V2R KO mice were given metformin (600 mg/kg) or vehicle twice daily. Urine osmolality in tolvaptan-treated rats (1,303 ± 126 mOsM) was restored to control levels by metformin (2,335 ± 273 mOsM) within 3 days and was sustained for up to 10 days. Metformin increased protein abundance of inner medullary urea transporter UT-A1 by 61% and aquaporin 2 (AQP2) by 44% in tolvaptan-treated rats, and immunohistochemistry showed increased membrane accumulation of AQP2 with acute and chronic AMPK stimulation. Outer medullary Na+-K+-2Cl– cotransporter 2 (NKCC2) abundance increased (117%) with AMPK stimulation in control rats but not in V2R-blocked rats. Metformin increased V2R KO mouse urine osmolality within 3 hours, and the increase persisted for up to 12 hours. Metformin increased AQP2 in the V2R KO mice similar to the tolvaptan-treated rats. These results indicate that AMPK activators, such as metformin, might provide a promising treatment for congenital NDI.
Orhan Efe, Janet D. Klein, Lauren M. LaRocque, Huiwen Ren, Jeff M. Sands
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