Optical imaging methods have been developed to measure lymphatic function in skin; however, the lymphatic system of many organs is not accessible to this technology. Since lymphatic transport of macromolecules from any organ proceeds to the blood circulation, we aimed to develop a method that can measure lymphatic function by monitoring the fluorescence in a superficial vein of an interstitially injected tracer. We selected a 40-kDa PEGylated near-infrared dye conjugate, as it showed lymphatic system–specific uptake and extended circulation in blood. Lymphatic transport to blood from subcutaneous tissue required a transit time before signal enhancement was seen in blood followed by a steady rise in signal over time. Increased lymphatic transport was apparent in awake mice compared with those under continuous anesthesia. The methods were validated in K14-VEGFR-3-Fc and K14-VEGF-C transgenic mice with loss and gain of lymphatic function, respectively. Reduced lymphatic transport to blood was also found in aged mice. The technique was also able to measure lymphatic transport from the peritoneal cavity, a location not suitable for optical imaging. The method is a promising, simple approach for assessment of lymphatic function and for monitoring of therapeutic regimens in mouse models of disease and may have potential for clinical translation.
Steven T. Proulx, Qiaoli Ma, Diana Andina, Jean-Christophe Leroux, Michael Detmar
Regeneration of hepatic sinusoidal vasculature is essential for non-fibrotic liver regrowth and restoration of its metabolic capacity. However, little is known about how this specialized vascular niche is regenerated. Here we show that activation of endothelial sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1P1) by its natural ligand bound to HDL (HDL-S1P) induces liver regeneration and curtails fibrosis. In mice lacking HDL-S1P, liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy was impeded and associated with aberrant vascular remodeling, thrombosis and peri-sinusoidal fibrosis. Notably, this “maladaptive repair” phenotype was recapitulated in mice that lack S1P1 in the endothelium. Reciprocally, enhanced plasma levels of HDL-S1P or administration of SEW2871, a pharmacological agonist specific for S1P1 enhanced regeneration of metabolically functional vasculature and alleviated fibrosis in mouse chronic injury and cholestasis models. This study shows that natural and pharmacological ligands modulate endothelial S1P1 to stimulate liver regeneration and inhibit fibrosis, suggesting that activation of this pathway may be a novel therapeutic strategy for liver fibrosis.
Bi-Sen Ding, Catherine H. Liu, Yue Sun, Yutian Chen, Steven L. Swendeman, Bongnam Jung, Deebly Chavez, Zhongwei Cao, Christina Christoffersen, Lars Bo Nielsen, Susan R. Schwab, Shahin Rafii, Timothy Hla
Life-sustaining responses to low oxygen, or hypoxia, depend on signal transduction by HIFs, but the underlying mechanisms by which cells sense hypoxia are not completely understood. Based on prior studies suggesting a link between the β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) and hypoxia responses, we hypothesized that the β-AR mediates hypoxia sensing and is necessary for HIF-1α accumulation. Beta blocker treatment of mice suppressed hypoxia induction of renal HIF-1α accumulation, erythropoietin production, and erythropoiesis in vivo. Likewise, beta blocker treatment of primary human endothelial cells in vitro decreased hypoxia-mediated HIF-1α accumulation and binding to target genes and the downstream hypoxia-inducible gene expression. In mechanistic studies, cAMP-activated PKA and/or GPCR kinases (GRK), which both participate in β-AR signal transduction, were investigated. Direct activation of cAMP/PKA pathways did not induce HIF-1α accumulation, and inhibition of PKA did not blunt HIF-1α induction by hypoxia. In contrast, pharmacological inhibition of GRK, or expression of a GRK phosphorylation–deficient β-AR mutant in cells, blocked hypoxia-mediated HIF-1α accumulation. Mass spectrometry–based quantitative analyses revealed a hypoxia-mediated β-AR phosphorylation barcode that was different from the classical agonist phosphorylation barcode. These findings indicate that the β-AR is fundamental to the molecular and physiological responses to hypoxia.
Hoi I. Cheong, Kewal Asosingh, Olivia R. Stephens, Kimberly A. Queisser, Weiling Xu, Belinda Willard, Bo Hu, Josephine Kam Tai Dermawan, George R. Stark, Sathyamangla V. Naga Prasad, Serpil C. Erzurum
Angiogenesis and co-optive vascular remodeling are prerequisites of solid tumor growth. Vascular heterogeneity, notably perivascular composition, may play a critical role in determining the rate of cancer progression. The contribution of vascular pericyte heterogeneity to cancer progression and therapy response is unknown. Here, we show that angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) orchestrates pericyte heterogeneity in breast cancer with an effect on metastatic disease and response to chemotherapy. Using multispectral imaging of human breast tumor specimens, we report that perivascular composition, as defined by the ratio of PDGFRβ– and desmin+ pericytes, provides information about the response to epirubicin but not paclitaxel. Using 17 distinct patient-derived breast cancer xenografts, we demonstrate a cancer cell–derived influence on stromal Ang2 production and a cancer cell–defined control over tumor vasculature and perivascular heterogeneity. The aggressive features of tumors and their distinct response to therapies may thus emerge by the cancer cell–defined engagement of distinct and heterogeneous angiogenic programs.
Jiha Kim, Pedro Correa de Sampaio, Donna Marie Lundy, Qian Peng, Kurt W. Evans, Hikaru Sugimoto, Mihai Gagea, Yvonne Kienast, Nayra Soares do Amaral, Rafael Malagoli Rocha, Hans Petter Eikesdal, Per Eystein Lønning, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Valerie S. LeBleu
Larry N. Agbor, Stella-Rita C. Ibeawuchi, Chunyan Hu, Jing Wu, Deborah R. Davis, Henry L. Keen, Frederick W. Quelle, Curt D. Sigmund
Emerging evidence indicates that upregulation of the ER stress–induced pro-osteogenic transcription factor ATF4 plays an important role in vascular calcification, a common complication in patients with aging, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). In this study, we demonstrated the pathophysiological role of ATF4 in vascular calcification using global
Masashi Masuda, Shinobu Miyazaki-Anzai, Audrey L. Keenan, Yuji Shiozaki, Kayo Okamura, Wallace S. Chick, Kristina Williams, Xiaoyun Zhao, Shaikh Mizanoor Rahman, Yin Tintut, Christopher M. Adams, Makoto Miyazaki
Inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphosphate receptor–mediated (IP3R-mediated) calcium (Ca2+) release has been proposed to play an important role in regulating vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) contraction for decades. However, whether and how IP3R regulates blood pressure in vivo remains unclear. To address these questions, we have generated a smooth muscle–specific IP3R triple-knockout (smTKO) mouse model using a tamoxifen-inducible system. In this study, the role of IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release in adult VSMCs on aortic vascular contractility and blood pressure was assessed following tamoxifen induction. We demonstrated that deletion of IP3Rs significantly reduced aortic contractile responses to vasoconstrictors, including phenylephrine, U46619, serotonin, and endothelin 1. Deletion of IP3Rs also dramatically reduced the phosphorylation of MLC20 and MYPT1 induced by U46619. Furthermore, although the basal blood pressure of smTKO mice remained similar to that of wild-type controls, the increase in systolic blood pressure upon chronic infusion of angiotensin II was significantly attenuated in smTKO mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate an important role for IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release in VSMCs in regulating vascular contractility and hypertension.
Qingsong Lin, Guiling Zhao, Xi Fang, Xiaohong Peng, Huayuan Tang, Hong Wang, Ran Jing, Jie Liu, W. Jonathan Lederer, Ju Chen, Kunfu Ouyang
Secondary lymphedema is a common postcancer treatment complication, but the underlying pathological processes are poorly understood and no curative treatment exists. To investigate lymphedema pathomechanisms, a top-down approach was applied, using genomic data and validating the role of a single target. RNA sequencing of lymphedematous mouse skin indicated upregulation of many T cell–related networks, and indeed depletion of CD4+ cells attenuated lymphedema. The significant upregulation of Foxp3, a transcription factor specifically expressed by regulatory T cells (Tregs), along with other Treg-related genes, implied a potential role of Tregs in lymphedema. Indeed, increased infiltration of Tregs was identified in mouse lymphedematous skin and in human lymphedema specimens. To investigate the role of Tregs during disease progression, loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies were performed. Depletion of Tregs in transgenic mice with Tregs expressing the primate diphtheria toxin receptor and green fluorescent protein (
Epameinondas Gousopoulos, Steven T. Proulx, Samia B. Bachmann, Jeannette Scholl, Dimitris Dionyssiou, Efterpi Demiri, Cornelia Halin, Lothar C. Dieterich, Michael Detmar
Hypertension is nearly universal yet poorly controlled in the elderly despite proven benefits of intensive treatment. Mice lacking mineralocorticoid receptors in smooth muscle cells (SMC-MR-KO) are protected from rising blood pressure (BP) with aging, despite normal renal function. Vasoconstriction is attenuated in aged SMC-MR-KO mice, thus they were used to explore vascular mechanisms that may contribute to hypertension with aging. MicroRNA (miR) profiling identified miR-155 as the most down-regulated miR with vascular aging in MR-intact but not SMC-MR-KO mice. The aging-associated decrease in miR-155 in mesenteric resistance vessels was associated with increased mRNA abundance of MR and of predicted miR-155 targets Cav1.2 (L-type calcium channel (LTCC) subunit) and angiotensin type-1 receptor (AgtR1). SMC-MR-KO mice lacked these aging-associated vascular gene expression changes. In HEK293 cells, MR repressed miR-155 promoter activity. In cultured SMCs, miR-155 decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA. Compared to MR-intact littermates, aged SMC-MR-KO mice had decreased systolic BP, myogenic tone, SMC LTCC current, mesenteric vessel calcium influx, LTCC-induced vasoconstriction and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Restoration of miR-155 specifically in SMCs of aged MR-intact mice decreased Cav1.2 and AgtR1 mRNA and attenuated LTCC-mediated and angiotensin II-induced vasoconstriction and oxidative stress. Finally, in a trial of MR blockade in elderly humans, changes in serum miR-155 predicted the BP treatment response. Thus, SMC-MR regulation of miR-155, Cav1.2 and AgtR1 impacts vasoconstriction with aging. This novel mechanism identifies potential new treatment strategies and biomarkers to improve and individualize antihypertensive therapy in the elderly.
Jennifer J. DuPont, Amy McCurley, Ana P. Davel, Joseph McCarthy, Shawn B. Bender, Kwangseok Hong, Yan Yang, Jeung-Ki Yoo, Mark Aronovitz, Wendy E. Baur, Demetra D. Christou, Michael A. Hill, Iris Z. Jaffe
Cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPCs) expressing the ISL1-LIM–homeodomain transcription factor contribute developmentally to cardiomyocytes in all 4 chambers of the heart. Here, we show that ISL1-CPCs can be applied to myocardial regeneration following injury. We used a rapid 3D methylcellulose approach to form murine and human ISL1-CPC spheroids that engrafted after myocardial infarction in murine hearts, where they differentiated into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, integrating into the myocardium and forming new blood vessels. ISL1-CPC spheroid–treated mice exhibited reduced infarct area and increased blood vessel formation compared with control animals. Moreover, left ventricular (LV) contractile function was significantly better in mice transplanted with ISL1-CPCs 4 weeks after injury than that in control animals. These results provide proof-of-concept of a cardiac repair strategy employing ISL1-CPCs that, based on our previous lineage-tracing studies, are committed to forming heart tissue, in combination with a robust methylcellulose spheroid–based delivery approach.
Oscar Bartulos, Zhen Wu Zhuang, Yan Huang, Nicole Mikush, Carol Suh, Alda Bregasi, Lin Wang, William Chang, Diane S. Krause, Lawrence H. Young, Jordan S. Pober, Yibing Qyang
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