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Laboratory investigation [journal]
- The C-terminal module IV of connective tissue growth factor is a novel immune modulator of the Th17 response. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 May 6.
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is a matricellular protein susceptible to proteolytic degradation. CCN2 levels have been suggested as a potential risk biomarker in several chronic diseases. In body fluids, CCN2 full-length and its degradation fragments can be found; however, their in vivo effects are far from being elucidated. CCN2 was described as a profibrotic mediator, but this concept is changing to a proinflammatory cytokine. In vitro, CCN2 full-length and its C-terminal module IV (CCN2(IV)) exert proinflammatory properties. Emerging evidence suggest that Th17 cells, and its effector cytokine IL-17A, participate in chronic inflammatory diseases. Our aim was to explore whether CCN2(IV) could regulate the Th17 response. In vitro, stimulation of human naive CD4(+) T lymphocytes with CCN2(IV) resulted in differentiation to Th17 phenotype. The in vivo effects of CCN2(IV) were studied in C57BL/6 mice. Intraperitoneal administration of recombinant CCN2(IV) did not change serum IL-17A levels, but caused an activation of the Th17 response in the kidney, characterized by interstitial infiltration of Th17 (IL17A(+)/CD4(+)) cells and upregulation of proinflammatory mediators. In CCN2(IV)-injected mice, elevated renal levels of Th17-related factors (IL-17A, IL-6, STAT3 and RORγt) were found, whereas Th1/Th2 cytokines or Treg-related factors (TGF-β and Foxp-3) were not modified. Treatment with an anti-IL-17A neutralizing antibody diminished CCN2(IV)-induced renal inflammation. Our findings unveil that the C-terminal module of CCN2 induces the Th17 differentiation of human Th17 cells and causes a renal Th17 inflammatory response. Furthermore, these data bear out that IL-17A targeting is a promising tool for chronic inflammatory diseases, including renal pathologies.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 6 May 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.67.
- An endovascular canine stroke model: middle cerebral artery occlusion with autologous clots followed by ipsilateral internal carotid artery blockade. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 May 6.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and the main reason for long-term disability. An appropriate animal model of stroke is urgently required for understanding the exact pathophysiological mechanism of stroke and testing any new therapeutic regimen. Our work aimed to establish a canine stroke model occluding the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and blocking the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA), and to assess the infarct lesions by magnetic resonance imaging. The stroke model was generated by injecting two autologous clots into each MCA, followed by 2-h ipsilateral ICA blockade (ilICAB) using a catheter in 15 healthy adult beagles. Outcome measurements included 24-h and 7-day postocclusion T2-weighted imaging (T2WI)-based infarct volume calculation. In addition, pial collateral score, canine neurobehavioral score and histopathologic results were documented. Out of 15 dogs, 12 with successful MCA occlusion (MCAO) and ilICAB survived 7 days without complications or casualties and MCA were reperfused at 7 days after occlusion. High signal intensity in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex on T2WI was initially observed in each dog at 6 h after the procedure. The mean percentage hemispherical infarct volume corrected for edema in all dogs on T2WI at 24 h after occlusion was 12.99±1.57%, and the degree of variability was 12.08%. The infarct volumes at 24 h after occlusion correlated with pial collateral scores and canine neurobehavioral scores well. This canine stroke model with combined MCAO and ilICAB reported here were proven to be highly feasible and reproducible.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 6 May 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.65.
- Interleukin-10 deficiency aggravates kidney inflammation and fibrosis in the unilateral ureteral obstruction mouse model. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 29.
Interleukin-10 functions as a general immunosuppressive cytokine, which also negatively regulates inflammatory responses through complex mechanisms. Recent studies suggested that IL-10 may also inhibit fibrosis in various diseased models. However, the role of IL-10 in renal fibrosis has not been demonstrated. Here, we investigated the effects of IL-10 in the development of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis by creating the unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model in IL-10 knockout (-/-) mice. We performed sham or unilateral ureteral obstruction surgery in 8-week-old IL-10-/- male mice and age and sex-matched wild type littermates. Mice were killed at 7 days or 14 days post surgery and renal tissues were obtained for RNA, protein, and immunohistochemical analysis. Our results found IL-10 deficiency resulted in enhanced renal fibrosis demonstrated by more severe tubular injury and collagen deposition and higher expression of pro-fibrotic genes (including α-SMA, MMP-2, fibronectin, FSP-1 and vimentin). Our results also found IL-10-/- UUO mice developed more severe renal inflammation with a significant increase in inflammatory cells infiltration, and upregulation of inflammatory chemokines (MCP-1 and RANTES), and cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and M-CSF). Further study revealed that enhanced renal inflammation and fibrosis was associated with significantly increased activation of both TGF-β/Smad3 and NF-κB signaling pathways. In summary, our study provides the direct evidence that IL-10 is an endogenous cytokine that has a key role in protecting against development of renal inflammation and fibrosis. Enhancement of IL-10 expression could be a potential anti-fibrosis therapy for patients with chronic kidney diseases.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 29 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.64.
- MicroRNA-206 is involved in hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension through targeting of the HIF-1α/Fhl-1 pathway. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 29.
Hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH), which is characterized by vasoconstriction and subsequent structural remodeling of blood vessels, is an important event in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients and in people living at high altitudes. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and its regulator four-and-a-half LIM (Lin-11, Isl-1 and Mec-3) domain 1 (Fhl-1) have important roles in hypoxia-induced PH. MicroRNA-206 (miR-206) is critical for myogenesis and related diseases; however, the role of miR-206 in hypoxia-induced PH is unknown. miR-206 expression was evaluated in a hypoxic rat model and in cultured hypoxic pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). HIF-1α and Fhl-1 expression were evaluated using RT-qPCR, western blotting, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. The function of miR-206 was assessed by transfecting miR-206 mimics and inhibitors. Dual-luciferase reporter gene assays and western blotting were performed to validate the target genes of miR-206. siRNA targeted against Fhl-1 was used to investigate the effect of Fhl-1 on miR-206. Flow cytometry was used to detect the cell cycle phase distribution in each group of PASMCs. Significant downregulation of miR-206 in hypoxic lung tissue and PASMCs was identified, whereas HIF-1α and Fhl-1 were upregulated in these samples. The expression of miR-206 in the serum was different from that in the lung tissue. Transfection of pre-miR miR-206 in hypoxic conditions led to increased expression of HIF-1α and Fhl-1 rather than abolishing hypoxia-induced HIF-1α and Fhl-1, as was expected, and promoted the entry of cells into the S phase and enhanced PASMC proliferation. Fhl-1-targeted siRNA in PASMC prevented cell proliferation and led to an increased proportion of cells in the G1 phase without altering miR-206 expression. Bioinformatic analysis and dual-luciferase reporter gene assays revealed direct evidence for miR-206 targeting of HIF-1α. In conclusion, hypoxia-induced downregulation of miR-206 promotes PH by targeting the HIF-1α/Fhl-1 pathway in PASMCs. miR-206 could be a triggering factor of early stage of hypoxia-induced PH.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 29 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.63.
- TLR4 as receptor for HMGB1-mediated acute lung injury after liver ischemia/reperfusion injury. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 29.
Acute lung injury (ALI) frequently occurs after liver transplantation and major liver surgery. Proinflammatory mediators released by damaged liver after liver ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury might contribute to this form of ALI, but the underlying mechanisms have not been well characterized. High-mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1), a recently identified proinflammatory cytokine, was found to be significantly higher in the serum after liver I/R injury. This study investigated whether HMGB1 was involved as a stimulating factor, and whether its downstream Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK), and activator protein-1 (AP-1) signaling pathways act as mediators in the development of liver I/R injury-induced ALI. Extensive ALI and lung inflammation was induced in a rat model of liver I/R injury. Serum HMGB1 was significantly higher after liver I/R injury, and more importantly, expression of HMGB1 mRNA and protein in the lung tissue was also significantly increased. We further found that liver I/R injury enhanced the expression of TLR4 mRNA and protein, and the activity of p38MAPK and AP-1 in the lung tissue. Inhibition of TLR4 expression in the lung tissue by infection with pGCSIL-GFP-lentivirus-expressing small hairpin RNAs targeting the TLR4 gene (TLR4-shRNA lentivirus) significantly attenuated ALI, lung inflammation, and activity of p38MAPK and AP-1 in the lung tissue. These findings indicate that HMGB1 might contribute to the underlying mechanism for liver I/R injury-induced ALI and that its downstream TLR4, p38MAPK, and AP-1 signaling pathways are potentially important mediators in the development of ALI.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 29 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.66.
- Immune complexes activate human endothelium involving the cell-signaling HMGB1-RAGE axis in the pathogenesis of lupus vasculitis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 29.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the formation of immune complexes (ICs), which contain a complex mixture of autoantigens nucleic acids, nucleic acids-associated proteins and corresponding autoantibodies. In SLE, ICs are deposited in multiple organs. Vasculopathy and vasculitis in SLE are typical complications and are associated with deposition of ICs on endothelium, endothelial activation and inflammatory cell infiltration. However, the effects of ICs on endothelial cells and the mechanisms involved remain unclear. In this study, we have demonstrated for the first time that ICs upregulated cell surface expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), increased the secretion of the chemokines interleukin 8 (IL-8), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), the proinflammatoy cytokines interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and promoted the activation of the transcription factor NF-κB p65 in human endothelial cells (P<0.05). ICs also increased transendothelial migration of monocytes (P<0.05). One of the mechanisms underlying these activating effects of ICs on human endothelial cells involves cell signaling by high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1)-RAGE axis, as these effects can be partially blocked by HMGB1 A-box, soluble RAGE (sRAGE), SB203580, PD98059, Bay 117082 (P<0.05) and co-treatment with these agents (P<0.05). In conclusion, ICs elicit proinflammatory responses in human endothelial cells and alter their function involving cellular signaling via the HMGB1-RAGE axis in the pathogenesis of SLE vasculitis.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 29 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.61.
- Inside lab invest. [Journal Article]
- Lab Invest 2013 May; 93(5):500-1.
- Elevated TRAF2/6 expression in Parkinson's disease is caused by the loss of Parkin E3 ligase activity. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 22.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second leading neurodegenerative disease, and is known to be induced by environmental factors or genetic mutations. Among the verified genetic mutations of PD, Parkin, isolated from the PARK2 locus, shows an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern and is known to be an E3 ligase. However, the physiological target of Parkin and the molecular mechanism of Parkin-deficiency-induced PD have not been clearly demonstrated until now. It has recently been proposed that inflammation, suggesting as a causal factor for PD, is enhanced by Parkin deficiency. Thus, we examined the relationship between inflammation-related factors and Parkin. Here, we provide the evidence that Parkin suppresses inflammation and cytokine-induced cell death by promoting the proteasomal degradation of TRAF2/6 (TNF-α receptor-associated factor 2/6). Overexpression of Parkin can reduce the half-lives of TRAF2 and TRAF6, whereas si-Parkin can extend them. However, mutant Parkins did not alter the expression of TRAF2/6. Thus, loss of Parkin enhances sensitivity to TNF-α- or IL-1β-induced JNK activation and NF-κB activation. Indeed, si-Parkin-induced apoptosis is suppressed by the knockdown of TRAF6 or TRAF2. We also observed elevated expression levels of TRAF6 and a reduction of IκB in an 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-induced PD mouse model. Moreover, elevated expression levels or aggregation of TRAF6 were detected in approximately half of the human PD tissues (7/15 cases) and 2 cases, respectively. In addition, TRAF6 and Parkin expression levels show a reverse relationship in human PD tissues. Our results strongly suggest that the reduction of Parkin or overexpression of TRAF2/6 by chronic inflammation would be the reason for occurrence of PD.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 22 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.60.
- The Justy mutant mouse strain produces a spontaneous murine model of salivary gland cancer with myoepithelial and basal cell differentiation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 22.
We previously identified a novel mutant mouse strain on the C3HeB/FeJ background named Justy. This strain bears a recessive mutation in the Gon4l gene that greatly reduces expression of the encoded protein, a nuclear factor implicated in transcriptional regulation. Here, we report that Justy mutant mice aged 6 months or older spontaneously developed carcinomas with myoepithelial and basaloid differentiation in salivary glands with an incidence of ∼25%. Tumors developed proximate to submandibular glands and to a lesser extent in the sublingual and parotid glands. Histologically, tumors often had central cavitary lesions filled with necrotic debris that were lined by tumor cells, and had spindle and epithelioid cell differentiation with lesser basaloid to clear cell features. Tumor tissue often had variable evidence of a high mitotic rate, pleomorphism, and invasion into adjacent salivary glands. Neoplastic cells had diffuse immunoreactivity for pancytokeratin (AE1/AE3) and p63. Although CK5/6 immunostaining was seen in the much of the tumor cells, it was often lacking in pleomorphic areas. Tumor cells lacked immunoreactivity for alpha-smooth muscle actin, S100, c-Kit, and glial fibrillary acid protein. In addition, tumors had immunoreactivity for phosphorylated and total epidermal growth factor receptor, suggesting that EGFR signaling may participate in growth regulation of these tumors. These findings indicate that the salivary gland carcinomas occur spontaneously in Justy mice, and that these tumors may offer a valuable model for study of EGFR regulation. In combination, our data suggest that Justy mice warrant further investigation for use as a mouse model for human salivary gland neoplasia.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 22 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.62.
- Transforming growth factor-α activates pancreatic stellate cells and may be involved in matrix metalloproteinase-1 upregulation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Lab Invest 2013 Apr 22.
The role that transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α) has in chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer has not been fully elucidated. We evaluated the effects of TGF-α on the human pancreatic stellate cell (PSC) line RLT-PSC and primary human PSCs, and the expression levels of TGF-α and metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) in human chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer tissues. TGF-α stimulated the proliferation and migration of PSCs. Although the mRNA expression levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and α1(I) collagen were unchanged, the mRNA expression levels of MMP-1 increased concomitant with increases in MMP-1 protein levels and collagenase activity. TGF-α-stimulated migration of RLT-PSC cells was partially blocked by tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 protein and MMP-1 small interfering RNA. MMP-1 was also observed to stimulate the migration of PSCs. TGF-α-induced MMP-1 expression was completely blocked by gefitinib in PSCs. The Ras-ERK and PI3/Akt pathways appear to be involved in the activation of MMP-1 in PSCs. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that MMP-1 expression was significantly increased in the pancreatic interstitial tissues in case of chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer compared with those in case of normal pancreas. In conclusion, TGF-α increased proliferation and migration of PSCs. TGF-α-induced migration of cells may be partly due to upregulation of MMP-1. TGF-α and MMP-1 upregulation may contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.Laboratory Investigation (2013) 0, 000-000. advance online publication, 22 April 2013; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2013.59.