Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is essential for enteric nervous system (ENS) development since vitamin A deficiency or mutations in RA signaling profoundly reduce bowel colonization by ENS precursors. These RA effects could occur because of RA activity within the ENS lineage or via RA activity in other cell types. To define cell-autonomous roles for retinoid signaling within the ENS lineage at distinct developmental time points, we activated a potent floxed dominant-negative RA receptor α (RarαDN) in the ENS using diverse CRE recombinase-expressing mouse lines. This strategy enabled us to block RA signaling at pre-migratory, migratory, and post-migratory stages for ENS precursors. We found that cell-autonomous loss of retinoic acid receptor (RAR) signaling dramatically affects ENS development. CRE activation of RarαDN expression at pre-migratory or migratory stages caused severe intestinal aganglionosis, but at later stages, RarαDN induced a broad range of phenotypes including hypoganglionosis, submucosal plexus loss, and abnormal neural differentiation. RNA-sequencing highlighted distinct RA-regulated gene sets at different developmental stages. These studies show complicated context-dependent RA-mediated regulation of ENS development.
Tao Gao, Elizabeth C. Wright-Jin, Rajarshi Sengupta, Jessica B. Anderson, Robert O. Heuckeroth
Anastomotic leakage (AL) accounts for a major part of in-house mortality in patients undergoing colorectal surgery. Local ischemia and abdominal sepsis are common risk factors contributing to AL and are characterized by upregulation of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway. The HIF pathway is critically regulated by HIF-prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs). Here, we investigated the significance of PHDs and the effects of pharmacologic PHD inhibition (PHI) during anastomotic healing. Ischemic or septic colonic anastomoses were created in mice by ligation of mesenteric vessels or lipopolysaccharide-induced abdominal sepsis, respectively. Genetic PHD-deficiency (Phd1-/-, Phd2+/-, and Phd3-/-) or PHI were applied to manipulate PHD activity. Pharmacologic PHI and genetic PHD2-haplodeficiency (Phd2+/-) significantly improved healing of ischemic or septic colonic anastomoses, as indicated by increased bursting pressure and reduced AL rates. Only Phd2+/- (but not PHI or Phd1-/-) protected from sepsis-related mortality. Mechanistically, PHI and Phd2+/- induced immuno-modulatory (M2) polarization of macrophages, resulting in increased collagen content and attenuated inflammation-driven immune cell recruitment. We conclude that PHI improves healing of colonic anastomoses in ischemic or septic conditions by Phd2+/--mediated M2 polarization of macrophages, conferring a favourable microenvironment for anastomotic healing. Patients with critically perfused colorectal anastomosis or abdominal sepsis could benefit from pharmacologic PHI.
Moritz J. Strowitzki, Gwendolyn Kimmer, Julian S. Wehrmann, Alina S. Ritter, Praveen Radhakrishnan, Vanessa M. Opitz, Christopher Tuffs, Marvin Biller, Julia Kugler, Ulrich Keppler, Jonathan M. Harnoss, Johannes Klose, Thomas Schmidt, Alfonso Blanco, Cormac T. Taylor, Martin Schneider
Background and aims: Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, still with low long term survival rates. Despite recent advances in treatment, it is extremely important to screen high-risk individuals in order to establish preventive and early detection measures and, in some cases, molecular driven therapeutic options. Familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) accounts for 4%-10% of pancreatic cancers. Several germline mutations are known to be related with an increased risk and might offer novel screening and therapy options. In this study, our goal was to discover the identity of a familial pancreatic cancer gene in two members of a family with FPC. Methods: Whole exome sequencing and PCR confirmation was performed on the surgical specimen and peripheral blood of an index patient and her sister in a family with high incidence of pancreatic cancer, to identify somatic and germline mutations associated with familial pancreatic cancer. Compartment-specific gene expression data and immunohistochemistry was used to characterize PALLD expression. Results: A germline mutation of the PALLD gene (NM_001166108.1:c.G154A:p.D52N) was detected in the index patient with pancreatic cancer. The identical PALLD mutation was identified in the tumor tissue of her sister. Whole genome sequencing showed similar somatic mutation patterns between the two sisters. Apart from the PALLD mutation, commonly mutated genes that characterize PDAC (KRAS and CDKN2A) were found in both tumor samples. However, the two patients harbored different somatic KRAS mutations (respectively G12D in the index patient and G12V in the index patient’s sister). Analysis for PALLD mutation in the healthy siblings of the two sisters was negative, indicating that the identified PALLD mutation might have a disease specific impact. Of note, compartment-specific gene expression data and IHC suggested a predominant role in cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Conclusion: We identified a germline mutation of the palladin (PALLD) gene in two siblings in Europe, affected by familial pancreatic cancer, with a predominant function in the tumor stroma.
Lucia Liotta, Sebastian Lange, H. Carlo Maurer, Kenneth P. Olive, Rickmer Braren, Nicole Pfarr, Alexander Muckenhuber, Moritz Jesinghaus, Wilko Weichert, Katja Steiger, Sebastian Burger, Helmut Friess, Roland M. Schmid, Hana Alguel, Philipp Jost, Juliane Ramser, Christine Fischer, Anne S. Quante, Maximilian Reichert, Michael Quante
Acute high fat diet (HFD) exposure induces a brief period of hyperphagia before caloric balance is restored. Previous studies have demonstrated this period of regulation is associated with activation of synaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) on dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) neurons, which increases vagal control of gastric functions. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that activation of DMV NMDARs occurs subsequent to activation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARex). Sprague-Dawley rats were fed control or HFD for 3-5 days prior to experimentation. Whole cell patch clamp recordings from gastric-projecting DMV neurons, in vivo recordings of gastric motility, tone, compliance, and emptying, as well as food intake studies were used to assess the effects of NMDAR antagonism on caloric regulation. Following acute HFD exposure, inhibition of NMDARex prevented the NMDARs-mediated increase in glutamatergic transmission to DMV neurons, as well as the increase in gastric tone and motility, while chronic NMDARex inhibition attenuated the regulation of caloric intake. Following acute HFD exposure, the regulation of food intake involves NMDARs-mediated currents, which occur in response to NMDARex activation. Understanding these events may provide a mechanistic basis for hyperphagia and identify potential novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity.
Courtney Clyburn, R. Alberto Travagli, Amy C. Arnold, Kirsteen N. Browning
Most colorectal cancers (CRCs) are moderately-differentiated or well-differentiated, a status that is preserved even in metastatic tumors. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying CRC differentiation remain to be elucidated. Herein, we unravel a novel post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism via a previously unappreciated LIN28B-CDX2 signaling axis that plays a critical role in mediating CRC differentiation. Owing to a large number of mRNA targets, the mRNA-binding protein LIN28B has diverse functions in development, metabolism, tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis. Our RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation (RIP) assay revealed LIN28B directly binds CDX2 mRNA, which is a pivotal homeobox transcription factor in normal intestinal epithelial cell identity and differentiation. Furthermore, LIN28B overexpression results in enhanced CDX2 expression to promote both differentiation in subcutaneous xenograft tumors generated from CRC cells and metastatic tumor colonization through mesenchymal-epithelial transition in CRC liver metastasis mouse models. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequence for CDX2 identified Alpha-Methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) as a novel transcriptional target of CDX2 in the context of LIN28B overexpression. We also found AMACR enhances intestinal alkaline phosphatase (ALPi) activity, which is known as a key component of intestinal differentiation, through the upregulation of butyric acid. Overall, we demonstrate that LIN28B promotes CRC differentiation through CDX2-AMACR axis.
Kensuke Suzuki, Yasunori Masuike, Rei Mizuno, Uma M Sachdeva, Priya Chatterji, Sarah F. Andres, Wenping Sun, Andres J Klein-Szanto, Sepideh Besharati, Helen E Remotti, Michael P Verzi, Anil K. Rustgi
Functional dyspepsia (FD) is associated with both chronic gastrointestinal distress and anxiety and depression. Here, we hypothesized that aberrant gastric signals, transmitted by the vagus nerve, may alter key brain regions modulating affective and pain behavior. Using a previously validated rat model of FD characterized by gastric hypersensitivity, depression- and anxiety-like behavior, we found that vagal activity in response to gastric distention was increased in FD rats. The FD phenotype was associated with gastric mast cell hyperplasia and increased expression of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the central amygdala. Subdiaphragmatic vagotomy reversed these changes and restored affective behavior to that of controls. Vagotomy partially attenuated pain responses to gastric distention, which may be mediated by central reflexes in the periaqueductal gray, as determined by local injection of lidocaine. Ketotifen, a mast cell stabilizer, reduced vagal hypersensitivity, normalized affective behavior and attenuated gastric hyperalgesia. In conclusion, vagal activity, partially driven by gastric mast cells, induces long-lasting changes in CRF signaling in the amygdala that may be responsible for enhanced pain and anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. Together, these results support a “bottom-up” pathway involving the gut-brain axis in the pathogenesis of both gastric pain and psychiatric co-morbidity in FD.
Zachary A. Cordner, Qian Li, Liansheng Liu, Kellie L. Tamashiro, Aditi Bhargava, Timothy H. Moran, Pankaj J. Pasricha
Hindered by a limited understanding of the mechanisms responsible for diabetic gastroenteropathy (DGE), management is symptomatic. We investigated the duodenal mucosal expression of protein-coding genes and microRNAs (miRNA) in DGE and related them to clinical features. The diabetic phenotype, gastric emptying, mRNA, and miRNA expression and ultrastructure of duodenal mucosal biopsies were compared in 39 DGE patients and 21 controls. Among 3175 differentially expressed genes (FDR < 0.05), several mitochondrial DNA–encoded (mtDNA-encoded) genes (12 of 13 protein coding genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation [OXPHOS], both rRNAs and 9 of 22 transfer RNAs) were downregulated; conversely, nuclear DNA–encoded (nDNA-encoded) mitochondrial genes (OXPHOS) were upregulated in DGE. The promoters of differentially expressed genes were enriched in motifs for transcription factors (e.g., NRF1), which regulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Seventeen of 30 differentially expressed miRNAs targeted differentially expressed mitochondrial genes. Mitochondrial density was reduced and correlated with expression of 9 mtDNA OXPHOS genes. Uncovered by principal component (PC) analysis of 70 OXPHOS genes, PC1 was associated with neuropathy (P = 0.01) and delayed gastric emptying (P < 0.05). In DGE, mtDNA- and nDNA-encoded mitochondrial genes are reduced and increased — associated with reduced mitochondrial density, neuropathy, and delayed gastric emptying — and correlated with cognate miRNAs. These findings suggest that mitochondrial disturbances may contribute to delayed gastric emptying in DGE.
Susrutha Puthanmadhom Narayanan, Daniel O’Brien, Mayank Sharma, Karl Miller, Peter Adams, João F. Passos, Alfonso Eirin, Tamas Ordog, Adil E. Bharucha
Severe acute pancreatitis (AP) is a life-threatening disease with up to 30% mortality. Therefore, prevention of AP aggravation and promotion of pancreatic regeneration are critical during the course and treatment of AP. Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is an established aggravating factor for AP that hinders pancreatic regeneration; however, its exact mechanism remains unclear. Using miRNA sequencing and further verification, we found that miRNA-153 (miR-153) was upregulated in the pancreas of HTG animal models and in the plasma of patients with HTG-AP. Increased miR-153 aggravated HTG-AP and delayed pancreatic repair via targeting TRAF3. Furthermore, miR-153 was transcriptionally suppressed by sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1c (SREBP1c), which was suppressed by lipoprotein lipase malfunction-induced HTG. Overexpressing SREBP1c suppressed miR-153 expression, alleviated the severity of AP, and facilitated tissue regeneration in vivo. Finally, therapeutic administration of insulin also protected against HTG-AP via upregulating SREBP1c. Collectively, our results not only provide evidence that HTG leads to the development of more severe AP and hinders pancreatic regeneration via inducing persistent dysregulation of SREBP1c/miR-153 signaling, but also demonstrate that SREBP1c activators, including insulin, might be used to treat HTG-AP in patients.
Juanjuan Dai, Mingjie Jiang, Yangyang Hu, Jingbo Xiao, Bin Hu, Jiyao Xu, Xiao Han, Shuangjun Shen, Bin Li, Zengkai Wu, Yan He, Yingchun Ren, Li Wen, Xingpeng Wang, Guoyong Hu
Diarrhea is a major cause of global mortality, and outbreaks of secretory diarrhea such as cholera remain an important problem in the developing world. Current treatment of secretory diarrhea primarily involves supportive measures such as fluid replacement. The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) regulates multiple biological activities in response to changes in extracellular Ca+2. The FDA-approved drug cinacalcet is an allosteric activator of CaSR used for treatment of hyperparathyroidism. Here, we found by short-circuit current measurements in human colonic T84 cells that CaSR activation by cinacalcet reduced forskolin-induced Cl- secretion by greater than 80%. Cinacalcet also reduced Cl- secretion induced by cholera toxin, heat-stable E. coli enterotoxin, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). The cinacalcet effect primarily involved indirect inhibition of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)-mediated Cl- secretion following activation of CaSR, and downstream phospholipase C and phosphodiesterases. In mice, cinacalcet reduced fluid accumulation by more than 60% in intestinal closed-loop models of cholera and Traveler’s diarrhea. The cinacalcet effect involved both inhibition of CFTR-mediated secretion and stimulation of sodium-hydrogen exchanger 3 (NHE3)-mediated absorption. These findings support the therapeutic utility of the safe and commonly used drug cinacalcet in CFTR-dependent secretory diarrheas including cholera, Traveler’s diarrhea and VIPoma.
Apurva A. Oak, Parth D. Chhetri, Amber Rivera, Alan S. Verkman, Onur Cil
Cantύ Syndrome (CS), caused by gain-of-function (GOF) mutations in pore-forming (Kir6.1, KCNJ8) and accessory (SUR2, ABCC9) ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel subunit genes, is frequently accompanied by gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility, and we describe one CS patient who required an implanted intestinal irrigation system for successful stooling. We used gene-modified mice to assess the underlying KATP channel subunits in gut smooth muscle, and to model the consequences of altered KATP channels in CS gut. We show that Kir6.1/SUR2 subunits underlie smooth muscle KATP channels throughout the small intestine and colon. Knock-in mice, carrying human KCNJ8 and ABCC9 CS mutations in the endogenous loci, exhibit reduced intrinsic contractility throughout the intestine, resulting in death when weaned onto solid food in the most severely affected animals. Death is avoided by weaning onto a liquid gel diet, implicating intestinal insufficiency and bowel impaction as the underlying cause, and GI transit is normalized by treatment with the KATP inhibitor glibenclamide. We thus define the molecular basis of intestinal KATP channel activity, the mechanism by which overactivity results in GI insufficiency, and a viable approach to therapy.
Nathaniel W. York, Helen Parker, Zili Xie, David Tyus, Maham A. Waheed, Zihan Yan, Dorothy K. Grange, Maria S. Remedi, Sarah K. England, Hongzhen Hu, Colin G. Nichols
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