To investigate the expression of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its receptor fibroblast growth factor inducible 14 (Fn14) in the inflamed synovium of patients with arthritis, as TWEAK blockade has been observed to have a beneficial effect in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Synovial tissue (ST) biopsies were obtained from 6 early, methotrexate-naive patients with RA as well as 13 patients with RA and 16 patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) who were matched for treatment and disease duration. Serial ST samples were obtained from a separate cohort of 13 patients with RA before and after infliximab treatment. TWEAK and Fn14 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis.
TWEAK and Fn14 were clearly expressed in ST of patients with RA and PsA. TWEAK expression was significantly higher in RA (sub)lining samples compared to PsA (p = 0.005 and p = 0.014, respectively), but Fn14 expression was comparable. Double immunofluorescence showed TWEAK and Fn14 expression on fibroblast-like synoviocytes and macrophages, but not T cells. Of interest, persistent TWEAK and Fn14 expression was found after anti-TNF therapy.
TWEAK and Fn14 are abundantly expressed in the inflamed synovium of patients with RA and PsA. This raises the possibility that blocking TWEAK/Fn14 signalling could be of therapeutic benefit in inflammatory arthritis.
The aim of this current study was to investigate the expression of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its receptor fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) in human malignant ovarian tumors, and test TWEAK’s potential role on tumor progression in cell models in-vitro. Using immunohistochemistry (IHC), we found that TWEAK and its receptor Fn14 were expressed in human malignant ovarian tumors, but not in normal ovarian tissues or in borderline/benign epithelial ovarian tumors. High levels of TWEAK expression was detected in the majority of malignant tumors (36 out of 41, 87.80%). Similarly, 35 out of 41 (85.37%) malignant ovarian tumors were Fn14 positive. In these malignant ovarian tumors, however, TWEAK/Fn14 expression was not corrected with patients’ clinical subtype/stages or pathological features. In vitro, we demonstrated that TWEAK only inhibited ovarian cancer HO-8910PM cell proliferation in combination with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), whereas either TWEAK or TNF-α alone didn’t affect HO-8910PM cell growth. TWEAK promoted TNF-α production in cultured THP-1 macrophages. Meanwhile, conditioned media from TWEAK-activated macrophages inhibited cultured HO-8910PM cell proliferation and invasion. Further, TWEAK increased monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) production in cultured HO-8910PM cells to possibly recruit macrophages. Our results suggest that TWEAK/Fn14, by activating macrophages, could be ovarian tumor suppressors. The unique expression of TWEAK/Fn14 in malignant tumors indicates that it might be detected as a malignant ovarian tumor marker.
Tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a member of the TNF superfamily. It has been suggested that it plays a pivotal role in various physiological and pathological conditions due to its proinflammatory properties. Fibroblast growth-inducible 14 (Fn14) has been identified as a TWEAK receptor. A number of studies have suggested that TWEAK-Fn14 interaction results in the promotion of apoptosis, cell growth as well as angiogenesis. Although recent studies have indicated that TWEAK and Fn14 are expressed in a number of tumor lines and tissues, the therapeutic potential of this pathway has yet to be elucidated. This study investigated the potential of TWEAK and Fn14 in esophageal and pancreatic cancer as novel molecular targets for anti-cancer therapy. TWEAK and Fn14 protein expression was evaluated in 43 patients with esophageal cancer and 51 patients with pancreatic cancer by immunohistochemistry. As a result, either TWEAK or Fn14 expression was observed in 58.1% of the cases with esophageal cancer and 74.5% of the cases with pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, TWEAK/Fn14 gene expression was identified in the majority of the human esophageal and pancreatic cancer cell lines. Therapeutic efficacies of blocking TWEAK and Fn14 were evaluated by tumor growth inhibition assay in TWEAK- and Fn14-expressing human esophageal and pancreatic cancer cell lines. Coculture with anti-TWEAK or -Fn14 mAb was found to induce a 22–65% cell growth inhibition of these cells. Finally, the significant therapeutic effect of targeting this pathway under in vivo physiological conditions was confirmed using a murine gastrointestinal cancer model. In conclusion, the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway may be functional and critical in intractable gastrointestinal cancers. Therefore, TWEAK and/or Fn14 may be novel molecular targets for anti-cancer therapy.
esophageal cancer; pancreatic cancer; tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis; fibroblast growth-inducible 14; molecular target therapy
TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a new member of the TNF superfamily. It signals through TNFRSF12A, commonly known as Fn14. The TWEAK-Fn14 interaction regulates cellular activities including proliferation, migration, differentiation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, tissue remodeling and inflammation. Although TWEAK has been reported to be associated with autoimmune diseases, cancers, stroke, and kidney-related disorders, the downstream molecular events of TWEAK-Fn14 signaling are yet not available in any signaling pathway repository. In this paper, we manually compiled from the literature, in particular those reported in human systems, the downstream reactions stimulated by TWEAK-Fn14 interactions. Our manual amassment of the TWEAK-Fn14 pathway has resulted in cataloging of 46 proteins involved in various biochemical reactions and TWEAK-Fn14 induced expression of 28 genes. We have enabled the availability of data in various standard exchange formats from NetPath, a repository for signaling pathways. We believe that this composite molecular interaction pathway will enable identification of new signaling components in TWEAK signaling pathway. This in turn may lead to the identification of potential therapeutic targets in TWEAK-associated disorders.
TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) has been implicated as a mediator of chronic inflammatory processes via prolonged activation of the NF-κB pathway in several tissues, including the kidney. Evidence for the importance of TWEAK in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis (LN) has been recently introduced. Thus, TWEAK levels may serve as an indication of LN presence and activity.
Multicenter cohorts of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and controls were recruited for cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of urinary TWEAK (uTWEAK) and/or serum TWEAK (sTWEAK) levels as potential biomarkers of LN. The performance of TWEAK as a biomarker for nephritis was compared with routinely used laboratory tests in lupus patients, including anti-double stranded DNA antibodies and levels of C3 and C4.
uTWEAK levels were significantly higher in LN patients than in non-LN SLE patients and other disease control groups (P = 0.039). Furthermore, uTWEAK was better at distinguishing between LN and non-LN SLE patients than anti-DNA antibodies and complement levels, while high uTWEAK levels predicted LN in SLE patients with an odds ratio of 7.36 (95% confidence interval = 2.25 to 24.07; P = 0.001). uTWEAK levels peaked during LN flares, and were significantly higher during the flare than at 4 and 6 months prior to or following the flare event. A linear mixed-effects model showed a significant association between uTWEAK levels in SLE patients and their disease activity over time (P = 0.008). sTWEAK levels, however, were not found to correlate with the presence of LN or the degree of nephritis activity.
High uTWEAK levels are indicative of LN, as opposed to non-LN SLE and other healthy and disease control populations, and reflect renal disease activity in longitudinal follow-up. Thus, our study further supports a role for TWEAK in the pathogenesis of LN, and provides strong evidence for uTWEAK as a candidate clinical biomarker for LN.
Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), a member of the TNF family, is a multifunctional cytokine that regulates cell growth, migration, and survival principally through a TWEAK receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14). However, its physiological roles in bone are largely unknown. We herein report various effects of TWEAK on mouse osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells. MC3T3-E1 cells expressed Fn14 and produced RANTES (regulated upon activation, healthy T cell expressed and secreted) upon TWEAK stimulation through PI3K-Akt, but not nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), pathway. In addition, TWEAK inhibited bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2-induced expression of osteoblast differentiation markers such as alkaline phosphatase through mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) Erk pathway. Furthermore, TWEAK upregulated RANKL (receptor activation of NF-κB ligand) expression through MAPK Erk pathway in MC3T3-E1 cells. All these effects of TWEAK on MC3T3-E1 cells were abolished by mouse Fn14-Fc chimera. We also found significant TWEAK mRNA or protein expression in osteoblast – and osteoclast-lineage cell lines or the mouse bone tissue, respectively. Finally, we showed that human osteoblasts expressed Fn14 and induced RANTES and RANKL upon TWEAK stimulation. Collectively, TWEAK/Fn14 interaction regulates RANTES production, BMP-2-induced differentiation, and RANKL expression in MC3T3-E1 cells. TWEAK may thus be a novel cytokine that regulates several aspects of osteoblast function.
TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) cytokine superfamily which regulates a number of cellular responses, including inflammation and proliferation. TWEAK is primarily secreted by phagocytic cells and its receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14), is expressed on non-lymphoid cells, including epithelial, endothelial and mesenchymal cells. The TWEAK/Fn14 pathway is highly conserved from an evolutionary standpoint, and has been shown to play a role in tissue regeneration and inflammation in the liver, kidney, lung and skeletal muscle. We hypothesized that TWEAK/Fn14 might have a physiological role in regulating infection-induced inflammation in the lower female genital tract. To test this hypothesis, we examined expression of the receptor Fn14 in relevant cells and tissue. Receptor function was tested by treating cells with recombinant TWEAK, with and without other known pro-inflammatory stimuli. Flow cytometric analysis of vaginal and cervical epithelial cells revealed that Fn14 was highly expressed at the cell surface. We also detected both Fn14 and TWEAK in whole cervical tissue by RT-PCR. Treatment of vaginal and cervical epithelial cells with recombinant TWEAK led to a weak induction of the chemokine IL-8. However, TWEAK potentiated the effects of IL-1ß, the TLR2 ligand Pam3CysSK4, and live Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a synergistic manner. These data reveal a novel pathway for regulation of microbial-induced inflammation in the female reproductive tract and suggest that interference with the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway might be an approach to abrogate excessive infection-induced inflammation caused by sexually transmitted pathogens.
Innate Immunity; Epithelial Cells; Cytokine Receptors
The soluble TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK, TNFSF12) binds to the fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 receptor (FN14, TNFRSF12A) on the cell membrane and induces multiple biological responses, such as proliferation, migration, differentiation, angiogenesis and apoptosis. Previous reports show that TWEAK, which does not contain a death domain in its cytoplasmic tail, induces the apoptosis of tumor cell lines through the induction of TNFα secretion. TWEAK induces apoptosis in human keratinocytes. Our experiments clearly demonstrate that TWEAK does not induce the secretion of TNFα or TRAIL proteins. The use of specific inhibitors and the absence of procaspase-3 cleavage suggest that the apoptosis of keratinocytes follows a caspase- and cathepsin B-independent pathway. Further investigation showed that TWEAK induces a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential of keratinocytes. Confocal microscopy showed that TWEAK induces the cleavage and the translocation of apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) from the mitochondria to the nucleus, thus initiating caspase-independent apoptosis. Moreover, TWEAK induces FOXO3 and GADD45 expression, cdc2 phosphorylation and cdc2 and cyclinB1 degradation, resulting in the arrest of cell growth at the G2/M phase. Finally, we report that TWEAK and FN14 are normally expressed in the basal layer of the physiological epidermis and are greatly enhanced in benign (psoriasis) and malignant (squamous cell carcinoma) skin pathologies that are characterized by an inflammatory component. TWEAK might play an essential role in skin homeostasis and pathology.
The receptor for the cytokine TWEAK (TweakR) is a cell surface member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily with diverse biological roles. TNFRSF family members are appealing therapeutic targets in oncology due to their aberrant expression and function in tumor cells. The goal of the current study was to examine the potential of TweakR as a therapeutic target in breast cancer.
Expression of TweakR in primary breast cancer tissues and metastases was characterized using immunohistochemistry. To determine the functional relevance of TweakR, breast cancer cell lines were treated in vitro and in vivo with enavatuzumab, a humanized mAb against TweakR.
Overexpression of TweakR was observed in infiltrating tumors compared to normal adjacent breast tissues, and strong staining of TweakR was observed in all subtypes of invasive ductal breast cancer. In addition, a positive correlation of TweakR and HER2 expression and co-localization were observed, irrespective of ER status. TweakR expression was also observed in bone metastasis samples from primary breast cancer but rarely in benign tumors. Enavatuzumab inhibited the in vitro growth of TweakR-expressing breast cancer cell lines, and this activity was augmented by cross-linking the mAb. In addition, enavatuzumab significantly inhibited the in vivo growth of multiple breast cancer xenograft models including a model of metastasis.
TweakR is highly expressed in all subtypes of invasive ductal breast cancer, and enavatuzumab administration exhibited a dose-dependent inhibition of primary tumor growth and lung metastasis and enhanced the antitumor activity of several chemotherapy agents currently used to treat breast cancer. These data provide the rationale to evaluate enavatuzumab as a potential therapy for the treatment of breast cancer.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00432-012-1332-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
TweakR; Antibody; Breast cancer; Fn14
The adult mammalian pancreas has limited ability to regenerate in order to restore adequate insulin production from multipotent progenitors, the identity and function of which remain poorly understood. Here we test whether the TNF family member TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) promotes β-cell neogenesis from proliferating pancreatic ductal epithelium in adult mice.
C57Bl/6J mice were treated with Fc-TWEAK and pancreas harvested at different time points for analysis by histology and immunohistochemistry. For lineage tracing, 4 week old double transgenic mice CAII-CreERTM: R26R-eYFP were implanted with tamoxifen pellet, injected with Fc-TWEAK or control Ig twice weekly and analyzed at day 18 for TWEAK-induced duct cell progeny by costaining for insulin and YFP. The effect of TWEAK on pancreatic regeneration was determined by pancytokeratin immunostaining of paraffin embedded sections from wildtype and TWEAK receptor (Fn14) deficient mice after Px.
TWEAK stimulates proliferation of ductal epithelial cells through its receptor Fn14, while it has no mitogenic effect on pancreatic α- or β-cells or acinar cells. Importantly, TWEAK induces transient expression of endogenous Ngn3, a master regulator of endocrine cell development, and induces focal ductal structures with characteristics of regeneration foci. In addition, we identify by lineage tracing TWEAK-induced pancreatic β-cells derived from pancreatic duct epithelial cells. Conversely, we show that Fn14 deficiency delays formation of regenerating foci after Px and limits their expansion.
We conclude that TWEAK is a novel factor mediating pancreatic β-cell neogenesis from ductal epithelium in normal adult mice.
The tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a multifunctional cytokine playing a key role in tissue regeneration and remodeling. Dysregulation of TWEAK signaling is involved in various pathological processes like autoimmune diseases and cancer. The unique interaction with its cognate receptor Fn14 makes both ligand and receptor promising targets for novel therapeutics. To gain insights into this important signaling pathway, we determined the structure of soluble human TWEAK in complex with the Fab fragment of an antibody selected for inhibition of receptor binding. In the crystallized complex TWEAK is bound by three Fab fragments of the neutralizing antibody. Homology modeling shows that Fab binding overlaps with the putative Fn14 binding site of TWEAK. Docking of the Fn14 cysteine rich domain (CRD) to that site generates a highly complementary interface with perfectly opposing charged and hydrophobic residues. Taken together the presented structure provides new insights into the biology of TWEAK and the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway, which will help to optimize the therapeutic strategy for treatment of related cancer types and autoimmune diseases.
Inflammatory cytokines play an important role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. We have recently found the cytokine TWEAK (tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis), a member of the TNF superfamily, to be increased in patients with cardiomyopathy and result in the development of heart failure when overexpressed in mice. The molecular mechanisms underlying TWEAK-induced cardiac pathology, however, remain unknown.
Methodology and Critical Finding
Using mouse models of elevated circulating TWEAK levels, established through intravenous injection of adenovirus expressing TWEAK or recombinant TWEAK protein, we find that TWEAK induces a progressive dilated cardiomyopathy with impaired contractile function in mice. Moreover, TWEAK treatment is associated with decreased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PGC1α) and genes required for mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, which precede the onset of cardiac dysfunction. TWEAK-induced downregulation of PGC1α requires expression of its cell surface receptor, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14). We further find that TWEAK downregulates PGC1α gene expression via the TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and NFκB signaling pathways. Maintaining PGC1α levels through adenoviral-mediated gene expression is sufficient to protect against TWEAK-induced cardiomyocyte dysfunction.
Collectively, our data suggest that TWEAK induces cardiac dysfunction via downregulation of PGC1α, through FN14-TRAF2-NFκB-dependent signaling. Selective targeting of the FN14-TRAF2-NFκB-dependent signaling pathway or augmenting PGC1α levels may serve as novel therapeutic strategies for cardiomyopathy and heart failure.
Tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its receptor Fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) are expressed in neurons. Here we demonstrate that TWEAK induces a dose-dependent increase in neuronal death and that this effect is independent of TNF-α and mediated by NF-κB pathway activation. Incubation with TWEAK induces apoptotic cell death in wild-type (Wt) but not in Fn14 deficient (Fn14−/−) neurons. Intracerebral injection of TWEAK induces accumulation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymers (PAR) in Wt but not in Fn14−/− mice. Exposure to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) conditions increases TWEAK and Fn14 mRNA expression in Wt neurons, and decreases cell survival in Wt but not in Fn14−/− or TWEAK deficient (TWEAK−/−) neurons. Experimental middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) increases the expression of TWEAK and Fn14 mRNA and active caspase-3, and the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 with accumulation of PAR in the ischemic area in Wt but not Fn14−/− mice. Together, these results suggest a model where in response to hypoxia/ischemia the interaction between TWEAK and Fn14 in neurons induces PARP-1 activation with accumulation of PAR polymers and cell death via NF-κB pathway activation. This is a novel pathway for hypoxia/ischemia-induced TWEAK-mediated cell death and a potential therapeutic target for ischemic stroke.
Cerebral ischemia; Tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK); Fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14); Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1); Poly(ADP-ribose) polymers (PAR)
The occurrence of skeletal muscle atrophy, a devastating complication of a large number of disease states and inactivity/disuse conditions, provides a never ending quest to identify novel targets for its therapy. Proinflammatory cytokines are considered the mediators of muscle wasting in chronic diseases; however, their role in disuse atrophy has just begun to be elucidated. An inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), has recently been identified as a potent inducer of skeletal muscle wasting. TWEAK activates various proteolytic pathways and stimulates the degradation of myofibril protein both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, TWEAK mediates the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function in response to denervation, a model of disuse atrophy. Adult skeletal muscle express very low to minimal levels of TWEAK receptor, Fn14. Specific catabolic conditions such as denervation, immobilization, or unloading rapidly increase the expression of Fn14 in skeletal muscle which in turn stimulates the TWEAK activation of various catabolic pathways leading to muscle atrophy. In this article, we have discussed the emerging roles and the mechanisms of action of TWEAK-Fn14 system in skeletal muscle with particular reference to different models of muscle atrophy and injury and its potential to be used as a therapeutic target for prevention of muscle loss.
Denervation; disuse; inflammation; MuRF1; NF-kappa B; skeletal muscle; TWEAK.
Cardiovascular risk is increased in the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and also found to be ongoing in renal transplant (Rtx) patients. As a sign of atherosclerosis, increased carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) has been widely accepted as a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in CKD patients. A novel markers, soluble tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were introduced as potential markers in inflammatory disorders including CKD. The role of Rtx in terms of atherogenesis is still unclear. We aimed to investigate the relationship between sTWEAK, NLR and CIMT in Rtx patients without overt CVD and to compare these results with those obtained from healthy subjects.
Cross-sectional analysis in which CIMT measurements, NLR and serum TWEAK levels were assessed in 70 Rtx patients (29 females; mean age, 40.6 ± 12.4 years) and 25 healthy subjects (13 females, mean age; 37.4±8.8 years).
sTWEAK levels were significantly decreased (p=0.01) and hs-CRP, NLR and CIMT levels of Rtx patients were significantly increased compared to healthy subjects (p<0.0001, p=0.001, p<0.0001, respectively). sTWEAK was also found to be decreased when eGFR was decreased (p=0.04 between all groups). CIMT was positively correlated with sTWEAK and NLR in Rtx patients (r=0.81, p<0.0001 and r=0.33, p=0.006, respectively). sTWEAK was also positively correlated with NLR (r=0.37, p=0.002). In the multivariate analysis only sTWEAK was found to be an independent variable of increased CIMT.
sTWEAK might have a role in the pathogenesis of ongoing atherosclerosis in Rtx patients.
sTWEAK; Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio; Carotid intima-media thickness; Renal transplantation
TWEAK, a new member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family, induces cell death in some tumor cell lines, but its physiological functions are largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of TWEAK in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by using newly generated anti–human TWEAK mAbs. Although freshly isolated PBMCs expressed no detectable level of TWEAK on their surfaces, a remarkable TWEAK expression was rapidly observed on monocytes upon stimulation with interferon (IFN)-γ but not with IFN-α or lipopolysaccharide. Cytotoxic activity of IFN-γ–stimulated monocytes against human squamous carcinoma cell line HSC3 was inhibited partially by anti-TWEAK mAb alone and almost completely by combination with anti-TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) mAb. These results revealed a novel pathway of monocyte cytotoxicity against tumor cells that is mediated by TWEAK and potentiated by IFN-γ.
TWEAK; TRAIL; IFN-γ; monocyte; cytotoxicity
Proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and its receptor Fn14 are the major regulators of skeletal muscle mass in many catabolic conditions. However, their role in muscle metabolism remains largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the role of TWEAK on exercise capacity and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content and oxidative metabolism.
We employed wild-type and TWEAK-knockout (KO) mice and primary myotube cultures and performed biochemical, bioenergetics, and morphometric assays to evaluate the effects of TWEAK on exercise tolerance and muscle mitochondrial function and angiogenesis.
TWEAK-KO mice showed improved exercise tolerance compared to wild-type mice. Electron microscopy analysis showed that the abundance of subsarcolemmal and intermyofibrillar mitochondria is significantly increased in skeletal muscle of TWEAK-KO mice compared to wild-type mice. Furthermore, age-related loss in skeletal muscle oxidative capacity was rescued in TWEAK-KO mice. Expression of a key transcriptional regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) and several other molecules involved in oxidative metabolism were significantly higher in skeletal muscle of TWEAK-KO mice. Moreover, treatment of primary myotubes with soluble TWEAK inhibited the expression of PGC-1α and mitochondrial genes and decreased mitochondrial respiratory capacity. Deletion of TWEAK also improved angiogenesis and transcript levels of vascular endothelial growth factor in skeletal muscle of mice.
These results demonstrate that TWEAK decreases mitochondrial content and oxidative phosphorylation and inhibits angiogenesis in skeletal muscle. Neutralization of TWEAK is a potential approach for improving exercise capacity and oxidative metabolism in skeletal muscle.
Skeletal muscle; Exercise tolerance; TWEAK; Fn14; PGC-1α; PPARδ
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), a member of the TNF superfamily, is a multifunctional cytokine known to regulate cellular functions in contexts of injury and disease through its receptor FGF-inducible molecule 14 (Fn14). While many of the processes and downstream signals regulated by the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway have been implicated in the development of cardiac dysfunction, the role of TWEAK in the cardiovascular system is completely unknown.
Methods and Results
Herein, we demonstrate that mouse and human cardiomyocytes express the TWEAK receptor Fn14. Furthermore, we determine that elevated circulating levels of TWEAK, induced via transgenic or adenoviral mediated gene expression in mice, results in a dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with subsequent severe cardiac dysfunction. This phenotype was mediated exclusively by the Fn14 receptor, independent of TNF-α, and was associated with cardiomyocyte elongation and cardiac fibrosis, but not cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Moreover, we find that circulating TWEAK levels were differentially upregulated in patients with idiopathic DCM as compared to other forms of heart disease and normal control subjects.
Our data suggest that TWEAK/Fn14 may be important in regulating myocardial structural remodeling and function, and may play a role in the pathogenesis of DCM.
TWEAK; Fn14; Cardiomyocytes; Hypertrophy; Heart Failure
The TNF-related cytokine TWEAK promotes skeletal muscle atrophy that is associated with classical disuse syndromes.
Skeletal muscle atrophy occurs in a variety of clinical settings, including cachexia, disuse, and denervation. Inflammatory cytokines have been shown to be mediators of cancer cachexia; however, the role of cytokines in denervation- and immobilization-induced skeletal muscle loss remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that a single cytokine, TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), mediates skeletal muscle atrophy that occurs under denervation conditions. Transgenic expression of TWEAK induces atrophy, fibrosis, fiber-type switching, and the degradation of muscle proteins. Importantly, genetic ablation of TWEAK decreases the loss of muscle proteins and spared fiber cross-sectional area, muscle mass, and strength after denervation. Expression of the TWEAK receptor Fn14 (fibroblast growth factor–inducible receptor 14) and not the cytokine is significantly increased in muscle upon denervation, demonstrating an unexpected inside-out signaling pathway; the receptor up-regulation allows for TWEAK activation of nuclear factor κB, causing an increase in the expression of the E3 ubiquitin ligase MuRF1. This study reveals a novel mediator of skeletal muscle atrophy and indicates that the TWEAK–Fn14 system is an important target for preventing skeletal muscle wasting.
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily member TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic cytokine implicated in physiological tissue regeneration and wound repair. TWEAK binds to a 102-amino acid type I transmembrane cell surface receptor named fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14). TWEAK:Fn14 engagement activates several intracellular signaling cascades, including the NF-κB pathway, and sustained Fn14 signaling has been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. Although several groups are developing TWEAK- or Fn14-targeted agents for therapeutic use, much more basic science research is required before we fully understand the TWEAK/Fn14 signaling axis. For example, we and others have proposed that TWEAK-independent Fn14 signaling may occur in cells when Fn14 levels are highly elevated, but this idea has never been tested directly. In this report, we first demonstrate TWEAK-independent Fn14 signaling by showing that an Fn14 deletion mutant that is unable to bind TWEAK can activate the NF-κB pathway in transfected cells. We then show that ectopically-expressed, cell surface-localized Fn14 can self-associate into Fn14 dimers, and we show that Fn14 self-association is mediated by an 18-aa region within the Fn14 cytoplasmic domain. Endogenously-expressed Fn14 as well as ectopically-overexpressed Fn14 could also be detected in dimeric form when cell lysates were subjected to SDS-PAGE under non-reducing conditions. Additional experiments revealed that Fn14 dimerization occurs during cell lysis via formation of an intermolecular disulfide bond at cysteine residue 122. These findings provide insight into the Fn14 signaling mechanism and may aid current studies to develop therapeutic agents targeting this small cell surface receptor.
The TNF ligand family member TWEAK exists as membrane and soluble forms and is involved in the regulation of various human inflammatory pathologies, through binding to its main receptor, Fn14. We have shown that the soluble form of TWEAK has a pro-neuroinflammatory effect in an animal model of multiple sclerosis and we further demonstrated that blocking TWEAK activity during the recruitment phase of immune cells across the blood brain barrier (BBB) was protective in this model. It is now well established that endothelial cells in the periphery and astrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS) are targets of TWEAK. Moreover, it has been shown by others that, when injected into mice brains, TWEAK disrupts the architecture of the BBB and induces expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in the brain. Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved in such conditions are complex and remain to be explored, especially because there is a lack of data concerning the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway in microvascular cerebral endothelial cells.
In this study, we used human cerebral microvascular endothelial cell (HCMEC) cultures as an in vitro model of the BBB to study the effects of soluble TWEAK on the properties and the integrity of the BBB model.
We showed that soluble TWEAK induces an inflammatory profile on HCMECs, especially by promoting secretion of cytokines, by modulating production and activation of MMP-9, and by expression of cell adhesion molecules. We also demonstrated that these effects of TWEAK are associated with increased permeability of the HCMEC monolayer in the in vitro BBB model.
Taken together, the data suggest a role for soluble TWEAK in BBB inflammation and in the promotion of BBB interactions with immune cells. These results support the contention that the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway could contribute at least to the endothelial steps of neuroinflammation.
CCL-2; hCMEC/D3; HMEC; IL-8; MMP-9; Neuroinflammation; TNFSF12; ZO-1
To test the usefulness of serum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) and soluble scavenger receptor CD163 (sCD163) as markers of subtle inflammation in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) without clinical cardiovascular (CV) disease and to evaluate their relationship with arterial stiffness (AS).
Sixty-eight patients with T1DM and 68 age and sex-matched, healthy subjects were evaluated. Anthropometrical variables and CV risk factors were recorded. Serum concentrations of sTWEAK and sCD163 were measured. AS was assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV). All statistical analyses were stratified by gender.
T1DM patients showed lower serum concentrations of sTWEAK (Men: 1636.5 (1146.3–3754.8) pg/mL vs. 765.9 (650.4–1097.1) pg/mL; p<0.001. Women: 1401.0 (788.0–2422.2) pg/mL vs. 830.1 (562.6–1175.9) pg/mL; p = 0.011) compared with their respective controls. Additionally, T1DM men had higher serum concentrations of sCD163 (285.0 (247.7–357.1) ng/mL vs. 224.8 (193.3–296.5) ng/mL; p = 0.012) compared with their respective controls. sTWEAK correlated negatively with aPWV in men (r = −0.443; p<0.001). However, this association disappeared after adjusting for potential confounders. In men, the best multiple linear regression model showed that the independent predictors of sTWEAK were T1DM and WHR (R2 = 0.640; p<0.001). In women, T1DM and SBP were the independent predictors for sTWEAK (R2 = 0.231; p = 0.001).
sTWEAK is decreased in T1DM patients compared with age and sex-matched healthy subjects after adjusting for classic CV risk factors, although sTWEAK levels may be partially influenced by some of them. Additionally, T1DM men have higher serum concentrations of sCD163. These results point out an association between the inflammatory system and CV risk in T1DM.
Our previous work indicated that TWEAK is associated with various types of cutaneous vasculitis (CV). Herein, we investigate the effects of TWEAK on vascular injury and adhesion molecule expression in CV mice. We showed that TWEAK priming in mice induced a local CV. Furthermore, TWEAK priming also increased the extravasation of FITC-BSA, myeloperoxidase activity and the expression of E-selectin and ICAM-1. Conversely, TWEAK blockade ameliorated the LPS-induced vascular damage, leukocyte infiltrates and adhesion molecules expression in LPS-induced CV. In addition, TWEAK treatment of HDMECs up-regulated E-selectin and ICAM-1 expression at both mRNA and protein levels. TWEAK also enhanced the adhesion of PMNs to HDMECs. Finally, western blot data revealed that TWEAK can induce phosphorylation of p38, JNK and ERK in HDMECs. These data suggest that TWEAK acted as an inducer of E-selectin and ICAM-1 expression in CV mice and HDMECs, may contribute to the development of CV.
Human tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (hTWEAK) and two anti-hTWEAK mAbs were tested for their ability to elicit or block inflammatory responses in cultured human dermal fibroblasts and synoviocytes. Incubation with hTWEAK increased the production of prostaglandin E2, matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), IL-6, and the chemokines IL-8, RANTES (regulated on activation, normal T expressed and secreted) and interferon-γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10) in culture supernatant of fibroblasts and synoviocytes. In combination with TNF or IL-1β, hTWEAK further stimulated the secretion of prostaglandin E2, MMP-1, IL-6 and IL-8 up to fourfold, and IP-10 and RANTES up to 70-fold compared to TNF or IL-1β alone. An anti-hTWEAK mAb, BCB10, blocked the effects of hTWEAK, whereas hTWEAK crosslinked by the anti-hTWEAK mAb, BEB3, further stimulated the inflammatory response of fibroblasts and synoviocytes. The anti-hTWEAK mAbs were ineffective in blocking or increasing the responses of TNF or IL-1β and blocking anti-TNF mAb was ineffective in preventing the responses to TWEAK. These results were also confirmed at the RNA level for MMP-1, macrophage chemoattractant protein-1, RANTES, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, IP-10 and IL-8. TWEAK in synergism with IL-1 and TNF may be an additional cytokine that plays a role in destructive chronic arthritic diseases.
chemokines; cytokines; metalloproteinases; rheumatoid arthritis; TNF
Tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a multifunctional cytokine that has pro-apoptotic, pro-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory effects. In liver, TWEAK leads to proliferation of progenitor oval cells, but not of mature hepatocytes. This study evaluated the hypothesis that TWEAK overexpression in salivary glands would lead to the proliferation of a salivary progenitor cell.
A recombinant, serotype 5 adenoviral vector encoding human TWEAK, AdhTWEAK, was constructed, initially tested in vitro, and then administered to male Balb/c mice via cannulation of Wharton's duct. TWEAK expression in vivo was monitored as protein secreted into saliva and serum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Salivary cell proliferation was monitored by proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining and apoptosis was monitored using TUNEL staining.
AdhTWEAK administration led to a dose-dependent, transient TWEAK protein expression, detected primarily in saliva. Salivary epithelial cell proliferation was generalized, peaking on ∼days 2 and 3. TWEAK expression had no detectable effect on apoptosis of salivary epithelial cells.
Transient overexpression of TWEAK in murine salivary glands leads to a general proliferation of epithelial cells vs a selective stimulation of a salivary progenitor cell.
TWEAK; gene transfer; adenoviral vector; cell division; progenitor cell