The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) causes an estimated 70,000 US deaths annually. Multiple pharmacologic interventions for ARDS have been tested and failed. An unmet need is a suitable laboratory human model to predictively assess emerging therapeutics on organ function in ARDS. We previously demonstrated that the small molecule BC1215 blocks actions of a proinflammatory E3 ligase–associated protein, FBXO3, to suppress NF-κB signaling in animal models of lung injury. Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) is a clinical technique that maintains lung function for possible transplant after organ donation. We used human lungs unacceptable for transplant to model endotoxemic injury with EVLP for 6 hours. LPS infusion induced inflammatory injury with impaired oxygenation of pulmonary venous circulation. BC1215 treatment after LPS rescued oxygenation and decreased inflammatory cytokines in bronchoalveolar lavage. RNA sequencing transcriptomics from biopsies taken during EVLP revealed robust inflammatory gene induction by LPS with a strong signal for NF-κB–associated transcripts. BC1215 treatment reduced the LPS induction of genes associated with inflammatory and host defense gene responses by Gene Ontology (GOterm) and pathways analysis. BC1215 also significantly antagonized LPS-mediated NF-κB activity. EVLP may provide a unique human platform for preclinical study of chemical entities such as FBXO3 inhibitors on tissue physiology.
Nathaniel M. Weathington, Diana Álvarez, John Sembrat, Josiah Radder, Nayra Cárdenes, Kentaro Noda, Qiaoke Gong, Hesper Wong, Jay Kolls, Jonathan D’Cunha, Rama K. Mallampalli, Bill B. Chen, Mauricio Rojas
Otits media (OM) is the most frequent indication for antimicrobial prescription to US children. Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) remains one of the most common pathogens causing OM. Successful eradication of S. pneumoniae in the middle ear can be achieved by adhering to a 7–10 day regimen of oral antibiotics. However, oral drug administration is challenging for parents. Lack of adherence has been associated with treatment failure or early relapse. To overcome this challenge, we used a noninvasive formulation to achieve high transtympanic antibiotic flux and cured S. pneumoniae OM in chinchillas. The formulation consists of a thermosensitive in situ gelling hydrogel, chemical permeation enhancers, and an antibiotic. The direct transport of drugs into the middle ear produced high concentrations of ciprofloxacin (in the range of hundreds of micrograms per milliliter) within the first 24 hours of administration. Drug concentrations above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for S. pneumoniae were sustained throughout the 7-day treatment. S. pneumoniae OM in a chinchilla model was successfully eradicated, without causing tissue toxicity. Transtympanic delivery minimized systemic drug exposure, as evidenced by undetectable levels in blood, measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.
Rong Yang, Vishakha Sabharwal, Nadya Shlykova, Obiajulu S. Okonkwo, Stephen I. Pelton, Daniel S. Kohane
A major pathogenic feature associated with HIV infection is lymphoid fibrosis, which persists during antiretroviral therapy (ART). Lymphoid tissues play critical roles in the generation of antigen-specific immune response, and fibrosis disrupts the stromal network of lymphoid tissues, resulting in impaired immune cell trafficking and function, as well as immunodeficiency. Developing an animal model for investigating the impact of HIV infection–induced lymphoid tissue fibrosis on immunodeficiency and immune cell impairment is critical for therapeutics development and clinical translation. Said model will enable in vivo mechanistic studies, thus complementing the well-established surrogate model of SIV infection–induced lymphoid tissue fibrosis in macaques. We developed a potentially novel human immune system–humanized mouse model by coengrafting autologous fetal thymus, spleen, and liver organoids under the kidney capsule, along with i.v. injection of autologous fetal liver–derived hematopoietic stem cells, thus termed the BM-liver-thymus-spleen (BLTS) humanized mouse model. BLTS humanized mouse model supports development of human immune cells and human lymphoid organoids (human thymus and spleen organoids). HIV infection in BLTS humanized mice results in progressive fibrosis in human lymphoid tissues, which was associated with immunodeficiency in the lymphoid tissues, and lymphoid tissue fibrosis persists during ART, thus recapitulating clinical outcomes.
Jasmine Samal, Samantha Kelly, Ali Na-Shatal, Abdallah Elhakiem, Antu Das, Ming Ding, Anwesha Sanyal, Phalguni Gupta, Kevin Melody, Brad Roland, Watfa Ahmed, Aala Zakir, Moses Bility
Since the proper activation of T cells requires the physical interaction with target cells through the formation of immunological synapses (IS), an alteration at this level could be a reason why tumors escape the immune response. As part of their life cycle, it is thought that T cells alternate between a static phase, the IS, and a dynamic phase, the immunological kinapse (IK), depending on high or low antigen sensing. Our investigation performed in tissue samples of human glioma shows that T cells are able to establish synapsing interactions not only with glioma tumorigenic cells, but also with stromal myeloid cells. Particularly, the IS displaying a T cell receptor–rich (TCR-rich) central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC) is preferentially established with stromal cells, as opposed to malignant cells. Conversely, T cells in the malignant areas showed distinct morphometric parameters compared with nonneoplastic tissue — the former characterized by an elongated shape, well-suited to kinaptic dynamics. Importantly, high-resolution 3-dimensional analyses demonstrated the existence of bona-fide IK preferentially arranged in malignant areas of the tumor. This imbalance of IS/IK states between these 2 microenvironments reveals the low antigenic sensing of T cells when patrolling tumorigenic cells and reflects the immunoevasive environment of the tumor.
Laura R. Díaz, Elena Saavedra-López, Leire Romarate, Izaskun Mitxitorena, Paola V. Casanova, George P. Cribaro, José M. Gallego, Ana Pérez-Vallés, Jerónimo Forteza-Vila, Clara Alfaro-Cervello, José M. García-Verdugo, Carlos Barcia Sr., Carlos Barcia Jr.
Pneumonia represents the leading infectious cause of death in the United States. Foxp3+ regulatory T cells promote recovery from severe pneumonia in mice, but T cell responses in patients with pneumonia remain incompletely characterized because of the limited ability to serially sample the distal airspaces and perform multidimensional molecular assessments on the small numbers of recovered cells. As T cell function is governed by their transcriptional and epigenetic landscape, we developed a method to safely perform high-resolution transcriptional and DNA methylation profiling of T cell subsets from the alveoli of critically ill patients. Our method involves nonbronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage combined with multiparameter fluorescence-activated cell sorting, unsupervised low-input RNA-sequencing, and a modified reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing protocol. Here, we demonstrate the safety and feasibility of our method and use it to validate functional genomic elements that were predicted by mouse models. Because of its potential for widespread application, our techniques allow unprecedented insights into the biology of human pneumonia.
James M. Walter, Kathryn A. Helmin, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Richard G. Wunderink, Benjamin D. Singer
Noninvasive imaging of visual system components in vivo is critical for understanding the causal mechanisms of retinal diseases and for developing therapies for their treatment. However, ultraviolet light needed to excite endogenous fluorophores that participate in metabolic processes of the retina is highly attenuated by the anterior segment of the human eye. In contrast, 2-photon excitation fluorescence imaging with pulsed infrared light overcomes this obstacle. Reducing retinal exposure to laser radiation remains a major barrier in advancing this technology to studies in humans. To increase fluorescence intensity and reduce the requisite laser power, we modulated ultrashort laser pulses with high-order dispersion compensation and applied sensorless adaptive optics and custom image recovery software and observed an over 300% increase in fluorescence of endogenous retinal fluorophores when laser pulses were shortened from 75 fs to 20 fs. No functional or structural changes to the retina were detected after exposure to 2-photon excitation imaging light with 20-fs pulses. Moreover, wide bandwidth associated with short pulses enables excitation of multiple fluorophores with different absorption spectra and thus can provide information about their relative changes and intracellular distribution. These data constitute a substantial advancement for safe 2-photon fluorescence imaging of the human eye.
Grazyna Palczewska, Patrycjusz Stremplewski, Susie Suh, Nathan Alexander, David Salom, Zhiqian Dong, Daniel Ruminski, Elliot H. Choi, Avery E. Sears, Timothy S. Kern, Maciej Wojtkowski, Krzysztof Palczewski
Recent advances in the management of cystic fibrosis (CF) target underlying defects in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, but efficacy analyses remain limited to specific genotype–based subgroups. Patient-derived model systems may therefore aid in expanding access to these drugs. Brushed human nasal epithelial cells (HNEs) are an attractive tissue source, but it remains unclear how faithfully they recapitulate human bronchial epithelial cell (HBE) CFTR activity. We examined this gap using paired, brushed HNE/HBE samples from pediatric CF subjects with a wide variety of CFTR mutations cultured at the air-liquid interface. Growth and structural characteristics for the two cell types were similar, including differentiation into mature respiratory epithelia. In electrophysiologic analysis, no correlation was identified between nasal and bronchial cultures in baseline resistance or epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) activity. Conversely, robust correlation was demonstrated between nasal and bronchial cultures in both stimulated and inhibited CFTR activity. There was close correlation in modulator-induced change in CFTR activity, and CFTR activity in both cell types correlated with in vivo sweat chloride measurements. These data confirm that brushed HNE cell cultures recapitulate the functional CFTR characteristics of HBEs with fidelity and are therefore an appropriate noninvasive HBE surrogate for individualized CFTR analysis.
John J. Brewington, Erin T. Filbrandt, F.J. LaRosa III, Jessica D. Moncivaiz, Alicia J. Ostmann, Lauren M. Strecker, John P. Clancy
Mice are extremely important as the premier model organism in human biomedical and mammalian genetic research. The genomes of several tens of mouse inbred strains have been sequenced. They have been compared to the genome of C57BL/6J, considered by convention as the reference genome. Based on a comparison of this reference genome with 36 other sequenced mouse strains, we generated an overview of all protein-coding genes that are deviant in this reference genome, compared with consensus protein-coding mouse gene sequences. We provide PROVEAN scores, reflecting the likelihood that these C57BL/6J proteins have lost function. We thus identified numerous abnormal proteins, and biological pathways, specifically present in C57BL/6J, suggesting the important caveats of this reference mouse strain, and linking candidate genes to some of the best-known phenotypes of this strain.
Steven Timmermans, Claude Libert
Hemodynamic shear force has been implicated as modulating Notch signaling–mediated cardiac trabeculation. Whether the spatiotemporal variations in wall shear stress (WSS) coordinate the initiation of trabeculation to influence ventricular contractile function remains unknown. Using light-sheet fluorescent microscopy, we reconstructed the 4D moving domain and applied computational fluid dynamics to quantify 4D WSS along the trabecular ridges and in the groves. In WT zebrafish, pulsatile shear stress developed along the trabecular ridges, with prominent endocardial Notch activity at 3 days after fertilization (dpf), and oscillatory shear stress developed in the trabecular grooves, with epicardial Notch activity at 4 dpf. Genetic manipulations were performed to reduce hematopoiesis and inhibit atrial contraction to lower WSS in synchrony with attenuation of oscillatory shear index (OSI) during ventricular development. γ-Secretase inhibitor of Notch intracellular domain (NICD) abrogated endocardial and epicardial Notch activity. Rescue with NICD mRNA restored Notch activity sequentially from the endocardium to trabecular grooves, which was corroborated by observed Notch-mediated cardiomyocyte proliferations on WT zebrafish trabeculae. We also demonstrated in vitro that a high OSI value correlated with upregulated endothelial Notch-related mRNA expression. In silico computation of energy dissipation further supports the role of trabeculation to preserve ventricular structure and contractile function. Thus, spatiotemporal variations in WSS coordinate trabecular organization for ventricular contractile function.
Juhyun Lee, Vijay Vedula, Kyung In Baek, Junjie Chen, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Yichen Ding, Chih-Chiang Chang, Hanul Kang, Adam Small, Peng Fei, Cheng-ming Chuong, Rongsong Li, Linda Demer, René R. Sevag Packard, Alison L. Marsden, Tzung K. Hsiai
Nonneuronal cell types in the CNS are increasingly implicated as critical players in brain health and disease. While gene expression profiling of bulk brain tissue is routinely used to examine alterations in the brain under various conditions, it does not capture changes that occur within single cell types or allow interrogation of crosstalk among cell types. To this end, we have developed a concurrent brain cell type acquisition (CoBrA) methodology, enabling the isolation and profiling of microglia, astrocytes, endothelia, and oligodendrocytes from a single adult mouse forebrain. By identifying and validating anti-ACSA-2 and anti-CD49a antibodies as cell surface markers for astrocytes and vascular endothelial cells, respectively, and using established antibodies to isolate microglia and oligodendrocytes, we document that these 4 major cell types are isolated with high purity and RNA quality. We validated our procedure by performing acute peripheral LPS challenge, while highlighting the underappreciated changes occurring in astrocytes and vascular endothelia in addition to microglia. Furthermore, we assessed cell type–specific gene expression changes in response to amyloid pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Our CoBrA methodology can be readily implemented to interrogate multiple CNS cell types in any mouse model at any age.
Dan B. Swartzlander, Nicholas E. Propson, Ethan R. Roy, Takashi Saito, Takaomi Saido, Baiping Wang, Hui Zheng
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