Homocysteine is a risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and its thrombotic complications. We have employed an animal model to explore the hypothesis that an increase in reactive oxygen species and a subsequent loss of nitric oxide bioactivity contribute to endothelial dysfunction in mild hyperhomocysteinemia. We examined endothelial function and in vivo oxidant burden in mice heterozygous for a deletion in the cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) gene, by studying isolated, precontracted aortic rings and mesenteric arterioles in situ. CBS–/+ mice demonstrated impaired acetylcholine-induced aortic relaxation and a paradoxical vasoconstriction of mesenteric microvessels in response to superfusion of methacholine and bradykinin. Cyclic GMP accumulation following acetylcholine treatment was also impaired in isolated aortic segments from CBS–/+ mice, but aortic relaxation and mesenteric arteriolar dilation in response to sodium nitroprusside were similar to wild-type. Plasma levels of 8-epi-PGF2α (8-IP) were somewhat increased in CBS–/+ mice, but liver levels of 8-IP and phospholipid hydroperoxides, another marker of oxidative stress, were normal. Aortic tissue from CBS–/+ mice also demonstrated greater superoxide production and greater immunostaining for 3-nitrotyrosine, particularly on the endothelial surface. Importantly, endothelial dysfunction appears early in CBS–/+ mice in the absence of structural arterial abnormalities. Hence, mild hyperhomocysteinemia due to reduced CBS expression impairs endothelium-dependent vasodilation, likely due to impaired nitric oxide bioactivity, and increased oxidative stress apparently contributes to inactivating nitric oxide in chronic, mild hyperhomocysteinemia.
Robert T. Eberhardt, Marc A. Forgione, Andre Cap, Jane A. Leopold, M. Audrey Rudd, Maria Trolliet, Stanley Heydrick, Rachel Stark, Elizabeth S. Klings, Nicanor I. Moldovan, Mohammed Yaghoubi, Pascal J. Goldschmidt-Clermont, Harrison W. Farber, Richard Cohen, Joseph Loscalzo
The serine/threonine protein kinase Akt (protein kinase B) phosphorylates endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and enhances its ability to generate nitric oxide (NO). Because NO is an important regulator of vasomotor tone, we investigated whether Akt can regulate endothelium-dependent vasomotion in vivo using a rabbit femoral artery model of gene transfer. The endothelium of isolated femoral arteries was infected with replication-defective adenoviral constructs expressing β-galactosidase, constitutively-active Akt (myr-Akt), or dominant-negative Akt (dn-Akt). Femoral arteries transduced with myr-Akt showed a significant increase in resting diameter and blood flow, as assessed by angiography and Doppler flow measurements, respectively. L-NAME, an eNOS inhibitor, blocked myr-Akt–mediated vasodilatation. In contrast, endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in response to acetylcholine was attenuated in vessels transduced with dn-Akt, although these vessels showed normal responses to nitroglycerin, an endothelium-independent vasodilator. Similarly, relaxation of murine aorta ex vivo in response to acetylcholine, but not nitroglycerin, was inhibited by transduction of dn-Akt to the endothelium. These data provide evidence that Akt functions as key regulator of vasomotor tone in vivo.
Zhengyu Luo, Yasushi Fujio, Yasuko Kureishi, Radu Daniel Rudic, Geraldine Daumerie, David Fulton, William C. Sessa, Kenneth Walsh
Wound-healing disorders are a therapeutic problem of extensive clinical importance. Leptin-deficient ob/ob mice are characterized by a severely delayed wound healing that has been explained by the mild diabetic phenotype of these animals. Here we demonstrate that systemically and topically supplemented leptin improved re-epithelialization of wounds in ob/ob mice. Leptin completely reversed the atrophied morphology of the migrating epithelial tongue observed at the wound margins of leptin-deficient animals into a well-organized hyperproliferative epithelium. Moreover, topically supplemented leptin accelerated normal wound-healing conditions in wild-type mice. As assessed by immunohistochemistry, proliferating keratinocytes located at the wound margins specifically expressed the leptin-receptor subtype ObRb during repair. Additionally, leptin mediated a mitogenic stimulus to the human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT and human primary keratinocytes in vitro. Therefore, leptin might represent an effective novel therapeutic factor to improve impaired wound-healing conditions.
Stefan Frank, Birgit Stallmeyer, Heiko Kämpfer, Nicole Kolb, Josef Pfeilschifter
Emerging data suggest that VEGF receptors are expressed by endothelial cells as well as hematopoietic stem cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that functional VEGF receptors may also be expressed in malignant counterparts of hematopoietic stem cells such as leukemias. We demonstrate that certain leukemias not only produce VEGF but also express functional VEGFR-2 in vivo and in vitro, resulting in the generation of an autocrine loop that may support leukemic cell survival and proliferation. Approximately 50% of freshly isolated leukemias expressed mRNA and protein for VEGFR-2. VEGF165 induced phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 and increased proliferation of leukemic cells, demonstrating these receptors were functional. VEGF165 also induced the expression of MMP-9 by leukemic cells and promoted their migration through reconstituted basement membrane. The neutralizing mAb IMC-1C11, specific to human VEGFR-2, inhibited leukemic cell survival in vitro and blocked VEGF165-mediated proliferation of leukemic cells and VEGF-induced leukemic cell migration. Xenotransplantation of primary leukemias and leukemic cell lines into immunocompromised nonobese diabetic mice resulted in significant elevation of human, but not murine, VEGF in plasma and death of inoculated mice within 3 weeks. Injection of IMC-1C11 inhibited proliferation of xenotransplanted human leukemias and significantly increased the survival of inoculated mice. Interruption of signaling by VEGFRs, particularly VEGFR-2, may provide a novel strategy for inhibiting leukemic cell proliferation.
Sergio Dias, Koichi Hattori, Zhenping Zhu, Beate Heissig, Margaret Choy, William Lane, Yan Wu, Amy Chadburn, Elizabeth Hyjek, Muhammad Gill, Daniel J. Hicklin, Larry Witte, M.A.S. Moore, Shahin Rafii
The peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is a nuclear receptor that regulates fat-cell development and glucose homeostasis and is the molecular target of a class of insulin-sensitizing agents used for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. PPARγ is highly expressed in macrophage foam cells of atherosclerotic lesions and has been demonstrated in cultured macrophages to both positively and negatively regulate genes implicated in the development of atherosclerosis. We report here that the PPARγ-specific agonists rosiglitazone and GW7845 strongly inhibited the development of atherosclerosis in LDL receptor–deficient male mice, despite increased expression of the CD36 scavenger receptor in the arterial wall. The antiatherogenic effect in male mice was correlated with improved insulin sensitivity and decreased tissue expression of TNF-α and gelatinase B, indicating both systemic and local actions of PPARγ. These findings suggest that PPARγ agonists may exert antiatherogenic effects in diabetic patients and provide impetus for efforts to develop PPARγ ligands that separate proatherogenic activities from antidiabetic and antiatherogenic activities.
Andrew C. Li, Kathleen K. Brown, Mercedes J. Silvestre, Timothy M. Willson, Wulf Palinski, Christopher K. Glass
Mutations in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene occur in most colorectal cancers and lead to activation of β-catenin. Whereas several downstream targets of β-catenin have been identified (c-myc, cyclin D1, PPARδ), the precise functional significance of many of these targets has not been examined directly using genetic approaches. Previous studies have shown that the gene encoding the hormone gastrin is activated during colon cancer progression and the less-processed forms of gastrin are important colonic trophic factors. We show here that the gastrin gene is a downstream target of the β-catenin/TCF-4 signaling pathway and that cotransfection of a constitutively active β-catenin expression construct causes a threefold increase in gastrin promoter activity. APCmin–/+ mice overexpressing one of the alternatively processed forms of gastrin, glycine-extended gastrin, show a significant increase in polyp number. Gastrin-deficient APCmin–/+ mice, conversely, showed a marked decrease in polyp number and a significantly decreased polyp proliferation rate. Activation of gastrin by β-catenin may therefore represent an early event in colorectal tumorigenesis and may contribute significantly toward neoplastic progression. The identification of gastrin as a functionally relevant downstream target of the β-catenin signaling pathway provides a new target for therapeutic modalities in the treatment of colorectal cancer.
Theodore J. Koh, Clemens J. Bulitta, John V. Fleming, Graham J. Dockray, Andrea Varro, Timothy C. Wang
Prostacyclin-stimulating factor (PSF) acts on vascular endothelial cells to stimulate the synthesis of the vasodilatory molecule prostacyclin (PGI2). We have examined the expression, regulation, and hemodynamic bioactivity of PSF both in whole retina and in cultured cells derived from this tissue. PSF was expressed in all retinal cell types examined in vitro, but immunohistochemical analysis revealed PSF mainly associated with retinal vessels. PSF expression was constitutive in retinal pericytes (RPCs) but could be modulated in bovine retinal capillary endothelial cells (RECs) by cell confluency, hypoxia, serum starvation, high glucose concentrations, or inversely by soluble factors present in early vs. late retinopathy, such as TGF-β, VEGF, or bFGF. In addition, RPC-conditioned media dramatically increased REC PGI2 production, a response inhibited by blocking PSF with a specific antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN). In vivo, PGI2 increased retinal blood flow (RBF) in control and diabetic animals. Furthermore, the early drop in RBF during the initial weeks after inducing diabetes in rats, as well as the later increase in RBF, both correlated with levels of retinal PSF. RBF also responded to treatment with RPC-conditioned media, and this effect could be partially blocked using the antisense PSF ODN. We conclude that PSF expressed by ocular cells can induce PGI2, retinal vascular dilation, and increased retinal blood flow, and that alterations in retinal PSF expression may explain the biphasic changes in RBF observed in diabetes.
Yasuaki Hata, Allen Clermont, Teruaki Yamauchi, Eric A. Pierce, Izumi Suzuma, Hiroyuki Kagokawa, Hiroshi Yoshikawa, Gregory S. Robinson, Tatsuro Ishibashi, Toshihiko Hashimoto, Fumio Umeda, Sven E. Bursell, Lloyd Paul Aiello
The aim of this study was to investigate whether dendritic cells (DCs) can induce sensitization to aeroallergen in a mouse model of allergic asthma. Ovalbumin-pulsed (OVA-pulsed) or unpulsed myeloid DCs that were injected into the airways of naive mice migrated into the mediastinal lymph nodes. When challenged 2 weeks later with an aerosol of OVA, activated CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes, eosinophils, and neutrophils were recruited to the lungs of actively immunized mice. These CD4+ lymphocytes produced predominantly IL-4 and IL-5 but also IFN-γ, whereas CD8+ lymphocytes produced predominantly IFN-γ. Histological analysis revealed perivascular and peribronchial eosinophilic infiltrates and goblet cell hyperplasia. Studies in IL-4–/– and CD28–/– mice revealed that production of IL-4 by host cells and provision of costimulation to T cells by DCs were critical for inducing the response. Lung CD4+ T cells strongly expressed the Th2 marker T1/ST2, and signaling through this molecule via a ligand expressed on DCs was essential for the establishment of airway eosinophilia. These data demonstrate that DCs in the airways induce sensitization to inhaled antigen and that molecules expressed on the surface of these cells are critical for the development of Th2-dependent airway eosinophilia.
Bart N. Lambrecht, Marijke De Veerman, Anthony J. Coyle, Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Kris Thielemans, Romain A. Pauwels
Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface protein (Osp) A has been used as a Lyme disease vaccine that blocks transmission: OspA antibodies of immune hosts enter ticks during blood feeding and destroy spirochetes before transmission to the host can occur. B. burgdorferi produce OspA in the gut of unfed Ixodes scapularis ticks, and many spirochetes repress OspA production during the feeding process. This preferential expression suggests that OspA may have an important function in the vector. Here we show that OspA mediates spirochete attachment to the tick gut by binding to an I. scapularis protein. The binding domains reside in the central region and COOH-terminus of OspA. OspA also binds to itself, suggesting that spirochete-spirochete interactions may further facilitate adherence in the gut. OspA-mediated attachment in the tick provides a possible mechanism for how stage-specific protein expression can contribute to pathogenesis during the B. burgdorferi natural cycle.
Utpal Pal, Aravinda M. de Silva, Ruth R. Montgomery, Durland Fish, Juan Anguita, John F. Anderson, Yves Lobet, Erol Fikrig
Endothelial cell progenitors, angioblasts, have been detected in the peripheral blood of adult humans, mice, and rabbits. These cells have been shown to incorporate into the endothelium of newly forming blood vessels in pathological and nonpathological conditions. Here we investigated the possibility that the CD34-expressing leukocytes (CD34+ cells) that appear to be enriched for angioblasts could be used to accelerate the rate of blood-flow restoration in nondiabetic and diabetic mice undergoing neovascularization due to hindlimb ischemia. CD34+ cells did not accelerate the restoration of flow in nondiabetic mice, but dramatically increased it in diabetic mice. Furthermore, CD34+ cells derived from type 1 diabetics produced fewer differentiated endothelial cells in culture than did their type 2 diabetic– or nondiabetic-derived counterparts. In vitro experiments suggest that hyperglycemia per se does not alter the ability of angioblasts to differentiate or of angioblast-derived endothelial cells to proliferate. In contrast, hyperinsulinemia may enhance angioblast differentiation but impair angioblast-derived endothelial cell survival or proliferation. Our findings suggest that CD34+ cells may be a useful tool for therapeutic angiogenesis in diabetics.
Gina C. Schatteman, Heather D. Hanlon, Chunhua Jiao, Sherry G. Dodds, Barbara A. Christy
Thrombin stimulates the expression of multiple genes in endothelial cells (ECs), but the trans-acting factors responsible for this induction remain undefined. We have previously described a thrombin-inducible nuclear factor (TINF), which binds to an element in the PDGF B promoter and is responsible for the thrombin inducibility of this gene. Inactive cytoplasmic TINF is rapidly activated and translocated to nuclei of ECs upon stimulation with thrombin. We have now purified TINF from thrombin-treated ECs. Amino acid sequencing revealed it to be a member of the Y-box protein family, and the sole Y-box protein–encoding cDNA we detected in human or bovine ECs corresponded to DNA-binding protein B (dbpB). DbpB translocated to the nucleus after thrombin stimulation of ECs as shown by FACS analysis of nuclei from ECs expressing GFP-dbpB fusion proteins. During thrombin activation, dbpB was found to be cleaved, yielding a 30-kDa NH2-terminal fragment that recognized the thrombin-response element sequence, but not the Y-box consensus sequence. Preincubation of ECs with protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors completely blocked dbpB activation by thrombin and blocked induction of endogenous PDGF B–chain mRNA and promoter activation by thrombin. Y-box proteins are known to act constitutively to regulate the expression of several genes. Activation of this class of transcription factors in response to thrombin or any other agonist represents a novel signaling pathway.
Olga I. Stenina, Earl J. Poptic, Paul E. DiCorleto
Epidemiological evidence suggests that the prognosis of heart failure in women is better than in men. In our murine model of dilated cardiomyopathy arising from cardiac-specific overexpression of TNF-α, the 6-month survival rate was significantly better in females than in males. Young female transgenic mice exhibited left ventricular wall thickening without dilatation, whereas age-matched male transgenic hearts were markedly dilated. Basal and isoproterenol-stimulated fractional shortening was preserved in female transgenic mice, but not in male transgenic mice. Myocardial expression of proinflammatory cytokines and the extent of myocardial infiltrates were similar in male and female transgenic mice. Myocardial expression of TNF-receptor mRNAs (type I and type II) was significantly higher in male mice in both transgenic and wild-type littermates, whereas sex-specific differences were not observed in either peripheral white blood cells or liver tissue. After TNF-α challenge, myocardial but not liver production of ceramide was significantly higher in male than in female mice. Thus, differential expression of myocardial TNF receptors may contribute to sex differences in the severity of congestive heart failure and mortality consequent to cardiac-specific overexpression of TNF-α.
Toshiaki Kadokami, Charles F. McTiernan, Toru Kubota, Carole S. Frye, Arthur M. Feldman
Inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo synthesis of guanine nucleotides, which are also synthesized from guanine by a salvage reaction catalyzed by the X chromosome–linked enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT). Since inhibitors of IMPDH are in clinical use as immunosuppressive agents, we have examined the consequences of knocking out the IMPDH type II enzyme by gene targeting in a mouse model. Loss of both alleles of the gene encoding this enzyme results in very early embryonic lethality despite the presence of IMPDH type I and HPRT activities. Lymphocytes from IMPDH II+/– heterozygous mice are normal with respect to subpopulation distribution and respond normally to a variety of mitogenic stimuli. However, mice with an IMPDH II+/–, HPRT–/o genotype demonstrate significantly decreased lymphocyte responsiveness to stimulation with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies and show a 30% mean reduction in GTP levels in lymphocytes activated by these antibodies. Furthermore, the cytolytic activity of their T cells against allogeneic target cells is significantly impaired. These results demonstrate that a moderate decrease in the ability of murine lymphocytes to synthesize guanine nucleotides during stimulation results in significant impairment in T-cell activation and function.
Jing Jin Gu, Sander Stegmann, Karen Gathy, Robert Murray, Josee Laliberte, Lanier Ayscue, Beverly S. Mitchell
Wolfgang M. Kuebler, Kaushik Parthasarathi, Ping M. Wang, Jahar Bhattacharya