Muscle trauma is highly morbid due to intramuscular scarring, or fibrosis, and muscle atrophy. Studies have shown that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) reduce muscle atrophy. However, increased BMP signaling at muscle injury sites causes heterotopic ossification, as seen in patients with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), or patients with surgically placed BMP implants for bone healing. We use a genetic mouse model of hyperactive BMP signaling to show the development of intramuscular fibrosis surrounding areas of ectopic bone following muscle injury. Rapamycin, which we have previously shown to eliminate ectopic ossification in this model, also eliminates fibrosis without reducing osteogenic differentiation, suggesting clinical value for patients with FOP and with BMP implants. Finally, we use reporter mice to show that BMP signaling is positively associated with myofiber cross-sectional area. These findings underscore an approach in which 2 therapeutics (rapamycin and BMP ligand) can offset each other, leading to an improved outcome.
Shailesh Agarwal, David Cholok, Shawn Loder, John Li, Christopher Breuler, Michael T. Chung, Hsiao Hsin Sung, Kavitha Ranganathan, Joe Habbouche, James Drake, Joshua Peterson, Caitlin Priest, Shuli Li, Yuji Mishina, Benjamin Levi
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal interstitial lung disease characterized by airway remodeling, inflammation, alveolar destruction, and fibrosis. We utilized single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to identify epithelial cell types and associated biological processes involved in the pathogenesis of IPF. Transcriptomic analysis of normal human lung epithelial cells defined gene expression patterns associated with highly differentiated alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells, indicated by enrichment of RNAs critical for surfactant homeostasis. In contrast, scRNA-seq of IPF cells identified 3 distinct subsets of epithelial cell types with characteristics of conducting airway basal and goblet cells and an additional atypical transitional cell that contributes to pathological processes in IPF. Individual IPF cells frequently coexpressed alveolar type 1 (AT1), AT2, and conducting airway selective markers, demonstrating “indeterminate” states of differentiation not seen in normal lung development. Pathway analysis predicted aberrant activation of canonical signaling via TGF-β, HIPPO/YAP, P53, WNT, and AKT/PI3K. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy identified the disruption of alveolar structure and loss of the normal proximal-peripheral differentiation of pulmonary epithelial cells. scRNA-seq analyses identified loss of normal epithelial cell identities and unique contributions of epithelial cells to the pathogenesis of IPF. The present study provides a rich data source to further explore lung health and disease.
Yan Xu, Takako Mizuno, Anusha Sridharan, Yina Du, Minzhe Guo, Jie Tang, Kathryn A. Wikenheiser-Brokamp, Anne-Karina T. Perl, Vincent A. Funari, Jason J. Gokey, Barry R. Stripp, Jeffrey A. Whitsett
Obesity is associated with increased classically activated M1 adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) and decreased alternatively activated M2 ATMs, both of which contribute to obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We find that inhibiting DNA methylation pharmacologically using 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine or genetically by DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) deletion promotes alternative activation and suppresses inflammation in macrophages. Consistently, mice with myeloid DNMT1 deficiency exhibit enhanced macrophage alternative activation, suppressed macrophage inflammation, and are protected from obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. The promoter and 5′-untranslated region of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ1 (PPARγ1) are enriched with CpGs and are epigenetically regulated. The saturated fatty acids stearate and palmitate and the inflammatory cytokine TNF-α significantly increase, whereas the TH2 cytokine IL-4 significantly decreases PPARγ1 promoter DNA methylation. Accordingly, inhibiting PPARγ1 promoter DNA methylation pharmacologically using 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine or genetically by DNMT1 deletion promotes macrophage alternative activation. Our data therefore establish DNA hypermethylation at the PPARγ1 promoter induced by obesity-related factors as a critical determinant of ATM proinflammatory activation and inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance in obesity.
Xianfeng Wang, Qiang Cao, Liqing Yu, Huidong Shi, Bingzhong Xue, Hang Shi
Chronic inflammation with mucous metaplasia and airway remodeling are hallmarks of allergic asthma, and these outcomes have been associated with enhanced expression and activation of EGFR signaling. Here, we demonstrate enhanced expression of EGFR ligands such as amphiregulin as well as constitutive EGFR activation in cultured nasal epithelial cells from asthmatic subjects compared with nonasthmatic controls and in lung tissues of mice during house dust mite–induced (HDM-induced) allergic inflammation. EGFR activation was associated with cysteine oxidation within EGFR and the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Src, and both amphiregulin production and oxidative EGFR activation were diminished by pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of the epithelial NADPH oxidase dual oxidase 1 (DUOX1). DUOX1 deficiency also attenuated several EGFR-dependent features of HDM-induced allergic airway inflammation, including neutrophilic inflammation, type 2 cytokine production (IL-33, IL-13), mucous metaplasia, subepithelial fibrosis, and central airway resistance. Moreover, targeted inhibition of airway DUOX1 in mice with previously established HDM-induced allergic inflammation, by intratracheal administration of DUOX1-targeted siRNA or pharmacological NADPH oxidase inhibitors, reversed most of these outcomes. Our findings indicate an important function for DUOX1 in allergic inflammation related to persistent EGFR activation and suggest that DUOX1 targeting may represent an attractive strategy in asthma management.
Aida Habibovic, Milena Hristova, David E. Heppner, Karamatullah Danyal, Jennifer L. Ather, Yvonne M.W. Janssen-Heininger, Charles G. Irvin, Matthew E. Poynter, Lennart K. Lundblad, Anne E. Dixon, Miklos Geiszt, Albert van der Vliet
Diana Golden, Antonina Kolmakova, Sunitha Sura, Anthony T. Vella, Ani Manichaikul, Xin-Qun Wang, Suzette J. Bielinski, Kent D. Taylor, Yii-Der Ida Chen, Stephen S. Rich, Annabelle Rodriguez
The challenge of translating findings from animal models to the clinic is well known. An example of this challenge is the striking effectiveness of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) antagonists in mouse models of inflammation coupled with their equally striking failure in clinical investigations in humans. Here, we provide an explanation for this dichotomy: Mas-related GPCRs (Mrgprs) mediate some aspects of inflammation that had been considered mediated by NK-1R. In support of this explanation, we show that conventional NK-1R antagonists have off-target activity on the mouse receptor MrgprB2 but not on the homologous human receptor MRGPRX2. An unrelated tripeptide NK-1R antagonist has dual activity on MRGPRX2. This tripeptide both suppresses itch in mice and inhibits degranulation from the LAD-2 human mast cell line elicited by basic secretagogue activation of MRGPRX2. Antagonists of Mrgprs may fill the void left by the failure of NK-1R antagonists.
Ehsan Azimi, Vemuri B. Reddy, Kai-Ting C. Shade, Robert M. Anthony, Sebastien Talbot, Paula Juliana Seadi Pereira, Ethan A. Lerner
Development of novel treatments for lymphedema has been limited by the fact that the pathophysiology of this disease is poorly understood. It remains unknown, for example, why limb swelling resulting from surgical injury resolves initially, but recurs in some cases months or years later. Finding answers for these basic questions has been hampered by the lack of adequate animal models. In the current study, we used
Jason C. Gardenier, Geoffrey E. Hespe, Raghu P. Kataru, Ira L. Savetsky, Jeremy S. Torrisi, Gabriela D. García Nores, Joseph J. Dayan, David Chang, Jamie Zampell, Inés Martínez-Corral, Sagrario Ortega, Babak J. Mehrara
Oxidative stress is implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited disease that causes blindness. The biological and cellular mechanisms by which oxidative stress mediates neuronal cell death are largely unknown. In a mouse model of RP (rd10 mice), we show that oxidative DNA damage activates microglia through MutY homolog–mediated (MUYTH-mediated) base excision repair (BER), thereby exacerbating retinal inflammation and degeneration. In the early stage of retinal degeneration, oxidative DNA damage accumulated in the microglia and caused single-strand breaks (SSBs) and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activation. In contrast,
Shunji Nakatake, Yusuke Murakami, Yasuhiro Ikeda, Noriko Morioka, Takashi Tachibana, Kohta Fujiwara, Noriko Yoshida, Shoji Notomi, Toshio Hisatomi, Shigeo Yoshida, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Koh-Hei Sonoda
Transgenic expression of key myelosupportive human cytokines in immune-deficient mice corrects for the lack of cross-species activities of stem cell factor (SCF), IL-3, and GM-CSF. When engrafted with human umbilical cord blood (UCB), these triple-transgenic mice produce BM and spleen grafts with much higher myeloid composition, relative to nontransgenic controls. Shortly after engraftment with UCB, these mice develop a severe, fatal macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) characterized by a progressive drop in rbc numbers, increased reticulocyte counts, decreased rbc half-life, progressive cytopenias, and evidence of chronic inflammation, including elevated human IL-6. The BM becomes strikingly hypocellular, and spleens are significantly enlarged with evidence of extramedullary hematopoiesis and activated macrophages engaged in hemophagocytosis. This manifestation of MAS does not respond to lymphocyte-suppressive therapies such as steroids, i.v. immunoglobulin, or antibody-mediated ablation of human B and T cells, demonstrating a lymphocyte-independent mechanism of action. In contrast, elimination of human myeloid cells using gemtuzumab ozogamicin (anti-CD33) completely reversed the disease. Additionally, the IL-6R antibody tocilizumab delayed progression and prolonged lifespan. This new model of MAS provides an opportunity for investigation of the mechanisms driving this disease and for the testing of directed therapies in a humanized mouse.
Mark Wunderlich, Courtney Stockman, Mahima Devarajan, Navin Ravishankar, Christina Sexton, Ashish R. Kumar, Benjamin Mizukawa, James C. Mulloy
BACKGROUND. Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by hair loss mediated by CD8+ T cells. There are no reliably effective therapies for AA. Based on recent developments in the understanding of the pathomechanism of AA, JAK inhibitors appear to be a therapeutic option; however, their efficacy for the treatment of AA has not been systematically examined.
METHODS. This was a 2-center, open-label, single-arm trial using the pan-JAK inhibitor, tofacitinib citrate, for AA with >50% scalp hair loss, alopecia totalis (AT), and alopecia universalis (AU). Tofacitinib (5 mg) was given twice daily for 3 months. Endpoints included regrowth of scalp hair, as assessed by the severity of alopecia tool (SALT), duration of hair growth after completion of therapy, and disease transcriptome.
RESULTS. Of 66 subjects treated, 32% experienced 50% or greater improvement in SALT score. AA and ophiasis subtypes were more responsive than AT and AU subtypes. Shorter duration of disease and histological peribulbar inflammation on pretreatment scalp biopsies were associated with improvement in SALT score. Drug cessation resulted in disease relapse in 8.5 weeks. Adverse events were limited to grade I and II infections. An AA responsiveness to JAK/STAT inhibitors score was developed to segregate responders and nonresponders, and the previously developed AA disease activity index score tracked response to treatment.
CONCLUSIONS. At the dose and duration studied, tofacitinib is a safe and effective treatment for severe AA, though it does not result in a durable response. Transcriptome changes reveal unexpected molecular complexity within the disease.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02197455 and NCT02312882.
FUNDING. This work was supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases National Institutes of Health grant R01 AR47223 and U01 AR67173, the National Psoriasis Foundation, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Fernström Foundation, the Locks of Love Foundation, the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, and the Ranjini and Ajay Poddar Resource Fund for Dermatologic Diseases Research.
Milène Kennedy Crispin, Justin M. Ko, Brittany G. Craiglow, Shufeng Li, Gautam Shankar, Jennifer R. Urban, James C. Chen, Jane E. Cerise, Ali Jabbari, Mårten C.G. Winge, M. Peter Marinkovich, Angela M. Christiano, Anthony E. Oro, Brett A. King
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