T cells play a significant role in the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus; however, there is relatively little information on the nature and specificity of autoreactive T cells. Identifying such cells has been technically difficult because they are likely to be rare and low affinity. Here, we report a method for identifying autoreactive T cell clones that recognize proteins contained in autoantibody immune complexes, providing direct evidence that functional autoreactive helper T cells exist in the periphery of normal mice. These T cells significantly enhanced autoreactive B cell proliferation and altered B cell differentiation in vivo. Most importantly, these autoreactive T cells were able to rescue many aspects of the TLR-deficient AM14 (anti-IgG2a rheumatoid factor) B cell response, suggesting that TLR requirements can be bypassed. This result has implications for the efficacy of TLR-targeted therapy in the treatment of ongoing disease.
Josephine R. Giles, Adriana Turqueti Neves, Ann Marshak-Rothstein, Mark J. Shlomchik
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that is clinically silent until the majority of β cells are destroyed. There is an unmet need for reliable and cost-effective biomarkers to predict and diagnose diabetes at an early stage. A number of stable microRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported in serum and plasma and are now being investigated as biomarkers of different diseases. We measured the levels of 745 miRNAs in sera of children with recent-onset T1D and age-matched controls using locked nucleic acid–enhanced (LNA-enhanced) quantitative PCR profiling. Thirty-five miRNAs were significantly different between the groups, and 27 miRNAs were elevated in T1D. Good discriminating power was obtained for 6 miRNAs (miR-454-3p, miR-222-3p, miR-144-5p, miR-345-5p, miR-24-3p, and miR-140-5p), which were not elevated at later stages of diabetes. In silico pathway analysis, based on inferred miRNA target genes, associated glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis as well as PI3K/Akt, MAPK, and Wnt signaling pathways with early stages of T1D. Among the 27 upregulated miRNAs in T1D, 2 miRNAs significantly correlated with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), as did 5 of 8 downregulated miRNAs. A total of 134 miRNAs significantly correlated with HbA1c when stratifying hyperglycemia-induced miRNAs from T1D-specific miRNAs. In conclusion, we have identified a serum miRNA pattern of recent-onset T1D and signaling pathways that may be involved in its pathogenesis.
Suheda Erener, Ashish Marwaha, Rusung Tan, Constadina Panagiotopoulos, Timothy J. Kieffer
Decreased noradrenergic excitation of hypoglossal motoneurons during sleep causing hypotonia of pharyngeal dilator muscles is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a widespread disease for which treatment options are limited. Previous OSA drug candidates targeting various excitatory/inhibitory receptors on hypoglossal motoneurons have proved unviable in reactivating these neurons, particularly during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. To identify a viable drug target, we show that the repurposed α2-adrenergic antagonist yohimbine potently reversed the depressant effect of REM sleep on baseline hypoglossal motoneuron activity (a first-line motor defense against OSA) in rats. Remarkably, yohimbine also restored the obstructive apnea–induced long-term facilitation of hypoglossal motoneuron activity (hLTF), a much-neglected form of noradrenergic-dependent neuroplasticity that could provide a second-line motor defense against OSA but was also depressed during REM sleep. Corroborating immunohistologic, optogenetic, and pharmacologic evidence confirmed that yohimbine’s beneficial effects on baseline hypoglossal motoneuron activity and hLTF were mediated mainly through activation of pontine A7 and A5 noradrenergic neurons. Our results suggest a 2-tier (impaired first- and second-line motor defense) mechanism of noradrenergic-dependent pathogenesis of OSA and a promising pharmacotherapy for rescuing both these intrinsic defenses against OSA through disinhibition of A7 and A5 neurons by α2-adrenergic blockade.
Gang Song, Chi-Sang Poon
Excessive ROS promote allergic asthma, a condition characterized by airway inflammation, eosinophilic inflammation, and increased airway hyperreactivity (AHR). The mechanisms by which airway ROS are increased and the relationship between increased airway ROS and disease phenotypes are incompletely defined. Mitochondria are an important source of cellular ROS production, and our group discovered that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is present in mitochondria and activated by oxidation. Furthermore, mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant therapy reduced the severity of allergic asthma in a mouse model. Based on these findings, we developed a mouse model of CaMKII inhibition targeted to mitochondria in airway epithelium. We challenged these mice with OVA or
Sara C. Sebag, Olha M. Koval, John D. Paschke, Christopher J. Winters, Omar A. Jaffer, Ryszard Dworski, Fayyaz S. Sutterwala, Mark E. Anderson, Isabella M. Grumbach
Tregs can adopt a catabolic metabolic program with increased capacity for fatty acid oxidation–fueled oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). It is unclear why this form of metabolism is favored in Tregs and, more specifically, whether this program represents an adaptation to the environment and developmental cues or is “hardwired” by Foxp3. Here we show, using metabolic analysis and an unbiased mass spectroscopy–based proteomics approach, that Foxp3 is both necessary and sufficient to program Treg-increased respiratory capacity and Tregs’ increased ability to utilize fatty acids to fuel oxidative phosphorylation. Foxp3 drives upregulation of components of all the electron transport complexes, increasing their activity and ATP generation by oxidative phosphorylation. Increased fatty acid β-oxidation also results in selective protection of Foxp3+ cells from fatty acid–induced cell death. This observation may provide novel targets for modulating Treg function or selection therapeutically.
Duncan Howie, Stephen Paul Cobbold, Elizabeth Adams, Annemieke Ten Bokum, Andra Stefania Necula, Wei Zhang, Honglei Huang, David J. Roberts, Benjamin Thomas, Svenja S. Hester, David J. Vaux, Alexander G. Betz, Herman Waldmann
Pathogen-specific polyfunctional T cell responses have been associated with favorable clinical outcomes, but it is not known whether molecular differences exist between polyfunctional and monofunctional cytokine-producing T cells. Here, we report that polyfunctional CD4+ T cells induced during
Julie G. Burel, Simon H. Apte, Penny L. Groves, James S. McCarthy, Denise L. Doolan
The fibrotic reaction, which can account for over 70%–80% of the tumor mass, is a characteristic feature of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tumors. It is associated with activation and proliferation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs), which are key regulators of collagen I production and fibrosis in vivo. In this report, we show that members of the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) family of proteins are expressed in primary PSCs isolated from human PDAC tumors, with BRD4 positively regulating, and BRD2 and BRD3 negatively regulating, collagen I expression in primary cancer-associated PSCs. We show that the inhibitory effect of pan-BET inhibitors on collagen I expression in primary cancer-associated PSCs is through blocking of BRD4 function. Importantly, we show that FOSL1 is repressed by BRD4 in primary cancer-associated PSCs and negatively regulates collagen I expression. While BET inhibitors do not affect viability or induce PSC apoptosis or senescence, BET inhibitors induce primary cancer-associated PSCs to become quiescent. Finally, we show that BET inhibitors attenuate stellate cell activation, fibrosis, and collagen I production in the EL-KrasG12D transgenic mouse model of pancreatic tumorigenesis. Our results demonstrate that BET inhibitors regulate fibrosis by modulating the activation and function of cancer-associated PSCs.
Krishan Kumar, Brian T. DeCant, Paul J. Grippo, Rosa F. Hwang, David J. Bentrem, Kazumi Ebine, Hidayatullah G. Munshi
Chronic urethral obstruction and the ensuing bladder wall remodeling can lead to diminished bladder smooth muscle (BSM) contractility and debilitating lower urinary tract symptoms. No effective pharmacotherapy exists to restore BSM contractile function. Neuropilin 2 (Nrp2) is a transmembrane protein that is highly expressed in BSM. Nrp2 deletion in mice leads to increased BSM contraction. We determined whether genetic ablation of Nrp2 could restore BSM contractility following obstruction. Partial bladder outlet obstruction (pBOO) was created by urethral occlusion in mice with either constitutive and ubiquitous, or inducible smooth muscle–specific deletion of Nrp2, and Nrp2-intact littermates. Mice without obstruction served as additional controls. Contractility was measured by isometric tension testing. Nrp2 deletion prior to pBOO increased force generation in BSM 4 weeks following surgery. Deletion of Nrp2 in mice already subjected to pBOO for 4 weeks showed increased contractility of tissues tested 6 weeks after surgery compared with nondeleted controls. Assessment of tissues from patients with urodynamically defined bladder outlet obstruction revealed reduced NRP2 levels in obstructed bladders with compensated compared with decompensated function, relative to asymptomatic controls. We conclude that downregulation of Nrp2 promotes BSM force generation. Neuropilin 2 may represent a novel target to restore contractility following obstruction.
Evalynn Vasquez, Vivian Cristofaro, Stefan Lukianov, Fiona C. Burkhard, Ali Hashemi Gheinani, Katia Monastyrskaya, Diane R. Bielenberg, Maryrose P. Sullivan, Rosalyn M. Adam
In the central nervous system, endothelial cells (ECs) and pericytes (PCs) of blood vessel walls cooperatively form a physical and chemical barrier to maintain neural homeostasis. However, in diabetic retinopathy (DR), the loss of PCs from vessel walls is assumed to cause breakdown of the blood-retina barrier (BRB) and subsequent vision-threatening vascular dysfunctions. Nonetheless, the lack of adequate DR animal models has precluded disease understanding and drug discovery. Here, by using an anti-PDGFRβ antibody, we show that transient inhibition of the PC recruitment to developing retinal vessels sustained EC-PC dissociations and BRB breakdown in adult mouse retinas, reproducing characteristic features of DR such as hyperpermeability, hypoperfusion, and neoangiogenesis. Notably, PC depletion directly induced inflammatory responses in ECs and perivascular infiltration of macrophages, whereby macrophage-derived VEGF and placental growth factor (PlGF) activated VEGFR1 in macrophages and VEGFR2 in ECs. Moreover, angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2) upregulation and Tie1 downregulation activated FOXO1 in PC-free ECs locally at the leaky aneurysms. This cycle of vessel damage was shut down by simultaneously blocking VEGF, PlGF, and Angpt2, thus restoring the BRB integrity. Together, our model provides new opportunities for identifying the sequential events triggered by PC deficiency, not only in DR, but also in various neurological disorders.
Shuntaro Ogura, Kaori Kurata, Yuki Hattori, Hiroshi Takase, Toshina Ishiguro-Oonuma, Yoonha Hwang, Soyeon Ahn, Inwon Park, Wataru Ikeda, Sentaro Kusuhara, Yoko Fukushima, Hiromi Nara, Hideto Sakai, Takashi Fujiwara, Jun Matsushita, Masatsugu Ema, Masanori Hirashima, Takashi Minami, Masabumi Shibuya, Nobuyuki Takakura, Pilhan Kim, Takaki Miyata, Yuichiro Ogura, Akiyoshi Uemura
Heterotrimeric G proteins play critical roles in transducing extracellular signals generated by 7-transmembrane domain receptors. Somatic gain-of-function mutations in G protein α subunits are associated with a variety of diseases. Recently, we identified gain-of-function mutations in Gα11 in patients with autosomal-dominant hypocalcemia type 2 (ADH2), an inherited disorder of hypocalcemia, low parathyroid hormone (PTH), and hyperphosphatemia. We have generated knockin mice harboring the point mutation
Kelly L. Roszko, Ruiye Bi, Caroline M. Gorvin, Hans Bräuner-Osborne, Xiao-Feng Xiong, Asuka Inoue, Rajesh V. Thakker, Kristian Strømgaard, Thomas Gardella, Michael Mannstadt
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