Understanding the physical characteristics of the local microenvironment in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis resides is an important goal that may allow the targeting of metabolic processes to shorten drug regimens. Pimonidazole hydrochloride (Hypoxyprobe) is an imaging agent that is bioreductively activated only under hypoxic conditions in mammalian tissue. We employed this probe to evaluate the oxygen tension in tuberculous granulomas in four animal models of disease: mouse, guinea pig, rabbit, and nonhuman primate. Following infusion of pimonidazole into animals with established infections, lung tissues from the guinea pig, rabbit, and nonhuman primate showed discrete areas of pimonidazole adduct formation surrounding necrotic and caseous regions of pulmonary granulomas by immunohistochemical staining. This labeling could be substantially reduced by housing the animal under an atmosphere of 95% O2. Direct measurement of tissue oxygen partial pressure by surgical insertion of a fiber optic oxygen probe into granulomas in the lungs of living infected rabbits demonstrated that even small (3-mm) pulmonary lesions were severely hypoxic (1.6 ± 0.7 mm Hg). Finally, metronidazole, which has potent bactericidal activity in vitro only under low-oxygen culture conditions, was highly effective at reducing total-lung bacterial burdens in infected rabbits. Thus, three independent lines of evidence support the hypothesis that hypoxic microenvironments are an important feature of some lesions in these animal models of tuberculosis.
Bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, which is regulated by hypoxia and proteolytic enzymes, is crucial for stem/progenitor cell function and mobilization involved in postnatal neovascularization. We demonstrated that NADPH oxidase2 (Nox2)-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in post-ischemic mobilization of BM cells and revascularization. However, role of Nox2 in regulating BM microenvironment in response to ischemic injury remains unknown. Here we show that hindlimb ischemia of mice increases ROS production in both the endosteal and central region of BM tissue in situ, which is almost completely abolished in Nox2 knockout (KO) mice. This Nox2-dependent ROS production is mainly derived from Gr-1+ myeloid cells in BM. In vivo injection of hypoxyprobe reveals that endosteum at the BM is hypoxic with high expression of HIF-1α in basal state. Following hindlimb ischemia, hypoxic areas and HIF-1α expression are expanded throughout the BM, which is inhibited in Nox2 KO mice. This ischemia-induced alteration of Nox2-dependent BM microenvironment is associated with an increase in VEGF expression and Akt phosphorylation in BM tissue, thereby promoting Lin− progenitor cell survival and expansion, leading to their mobilization from BM. Furthermore, hindlimb ischemia increases proteolytic enzymes MT1-MMP expression and MMP-9 activity in BM, which is inhibited in Nox2 KO mice. In summary, Nox2-dependent increase in ROS play a critical role in regulating hypoxia expansion and proteolytic activities in BM microenvironment in response to tissue ischemia. This in turn promotes progenitor cell expansion and reparative mobilization from BM, leading to post-ischemic neovascularization and tissue repair.
Hematopoietic stem cell; Mobilization; Reactive oxygen species; Ischemia; Hypoxia
Multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from Wharton's jelly (WJ) of umbilical cord bear higher proliferation rate and self-renewal capacity than adult tissue-derived MSCs and are a primitive stromal cell population. Stem cell niche or physiological microenvironment plays a crucial role in maintenance of stem cell properties and oxygen concentration is an important component of the stem cell niche. Low oxygen tension or hypoxia is prevalent in the microenvironment of embryonic stem cells and many adult stem cells at early stages of development. Again, in vivo, MSCs are known to home specifically to hypoxic events following tissue injuries. Here we examined the effect of hypoxia on proliferation and in vitro differentiation potential of WJ-MSCs. Under hypoxia, WJ-MSCs exhibited improved proliferative potential while maintaining multi-lineage differentiation potential and surface marker expression. Hypoxic WJ-MSCs expressed higher mRNA levels of hypoxia inducible factors, notch receptors and notch downstream gene HES1. Gene expression profile of WJ-MSCs exposed to hypoxia and normoxia was compared and we identified a differential gene expression pattern where several stem cells markers and early mesodermal/endothelial genes such as DESMIN, CD34, ACTC were upregulated under hypoxia, suggesting that in vitro culturing of WJ-MSCs under hypoxic conditions leads to adoption of a mesodermal/endothelial fate. Thus, we demonstrate for the first time the effect of hypoxia on gene expression and growth kinetics of WJ-MSCs. Finally, although WJ-MSCs do not induce teratomas, under stressful and long-term culture conditions, MSCs can occasionally undergo transformation. Though there were no chromosomal abnormalities, certain transformation markers were upregulated in a few of the samples of WJ-MSCs under hypoxia.
Hypoxia; Wharton's jelly; Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Transcription; Transformation markers; Cell proliferation.
The behavior of 64Cu-ATSM in hypoxic tumors was examined through a combination of in vivo dynamic PET imaging, and ex vivo autoradiographic and histological evaluation using a xenograft model of H&N squamous cell carcinoma.
Methods and Materials
64Cu-ATSM was administered during dynamic PET imaging, and temporal changes in 64Cu-ATSM distribution within tumors were evaluated for at least 1 h and up to 18 h. Animals were sacrificed at either 1 h (cohort A) or after 18 h (cohort B) post-injection of radiotracer and autoradiography performed. Ex vivo analysis of microenvironment sub-regions was conducted by immunohistochemical staining for markers of hypoxia (Pimonidazole Hydrochloride) and blood flow (Hoechst-33342).
Kinetic analysis revealed rapid uptake of radiotracer by tumors. The net influx (Ki) constant was twelve-fold that of muscle, while the distribution volume (Vd) was five-fold. PET images showed large tumor-to-muscle ratios, which continually increased over the entire 18 h course of imaging. However, no spatial changes in 64Cu-ATSM distribution occurred in PET imaging after 20 minutes post-injection. Microscopic intratumoral distribution of 64Cu-ATSM and Pimonidazole were not correlated at 1 h or after 18 h post-injection, and neither was 64Cu-ATSM and Hoechst-33342.
The oxygen partial pressures at which 64CuATSM and Pimonidazole are reduced and bound in cells are theorized to be distinct and separable. However, this study demonstrated that microscopic distributions of these tracers within tumors are independent. Nonetheless, researchers have shown 64Cu-ATSM uptake to be specific to malignant expression, and this work has also demonstrated clear tumor targeting by the radiotracer.
Hypoxia imaging; Cu-ATSM PET; ATSM
Cell-based approaches are a promising therapeutic strategy for treating injuries to the nervous system, but the optimal means to promote neurite extension and direct cellular behavior are unclear. Previous studies have examined the behavior of neural-like cells in ambient air (21% oxygen tension), yet these conditions are not representative of the physiological oxygen microenvironment of neural tissues. We hypothesized that neuronal differentiation of a model neural cell line (PC12) could be controlled by modulating local oxygen tension. Compared to ambient conditions, PC12 cells cultured in reduced oxygen exhibited significant increases in neurite extension and total neurite length, with 4% oxygen yielding the highest levels of both indicators. We confirmed neurite extension was mediated through oxygen-responsive mechanisms using small molecules that promote or inhibit HIF-1α stabilization. The hypoxic target gene Vegf was implicated as a neurotrophic factor, as neurite formation at 21% oxygen was mimicked with exogenous VEGF, and a VEGF-neutralizing antibody attenuated neurite formation under reduced oxygen conditions. These findings demonstrate that behavior of neural-like cells is driven by the oxygen microenvironment via VEGF function, and suggest promising approaches for future applications in neural repair.
Oxygen tension; Neurite extension; PC12; Hypoxia-inducible factor; Vascular endothelial growth factor
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are adult multipotent cells found in bone marrow, adipose tissue, and other adult tissues. MSC have been shown to improve regeneration of injured tissues in vivo, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Typically, MSC are cultured under ambient, or normoxic, conditions (21% oxygen). However, the physiological niches for MSC in the bone marrow and other sites have much lower oxygen tension. When used as a therapeutic tool to repair tissue injuries, MSC cultured in standard conditions must adapt from 21% oxygen in culture to less than 1% oxygen in the ischemic tissue. We therefore examined the effects of preculturing human bone marrow-derived MSC in hypoxic conditions (1%–3% oxygen) to elucidate the best conditions that enhance their tissue regenerative potential. We demonstrated that MSC cultured in hypoxia activate the Akt signaling pathway while maintaining their viability and cell cycle rates. We also showed that MSC cultured in hypoxia induced expression of cMet, the major receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and enhanced cMet signaling. MSC cultured in hypoxic conditions increased their migration rates. Since migration and HGF responsiveness are thought to be key mediators of MSC recruitment and/or activation in vivo, we next examined the tissue regenerative potential of MSC cultured under hypoxic conditions, using a murine hind limb ischemia model. We showed that local expression of HGF is increased in ischemic muscle in this model. Intra-arterial injection of MSC cultured in either normoxic or hypoxic conditions 24 hours after surgical induction of hind limb ischemia enhanced revascularization compared with saline controls. However, restoration of blood flow was observed significantly earlier in mice that had been injected with hypoxic preconditioned MSC. Collectively, these data suggest that preculturing MSC under hypoxic conditions prior to transplantation improves their tissue regenerative potential.
Immune-deficient mice; Human stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; Hypoxia; Transplantation; Tissue repair
Currently, our knowledge of how pathogenic fungi grow in mammalian host environments is limited. Using a chemotherapeutic murine model of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) and 1H-NMR metabolomics, we detected ethanol in the lungs of mice infected with Aspergillus fumigatus. This result suggests that A. fumigatus is exposed to oxygen depleted microenvironments during infection. To test this hypothesis, we utilized a chemical hypoxia detection agent, pimonidazole hydrochloride, in three immunologically distinct murine models of IPA (chemotherapeutic, X-CGD, and corticosteroid). In all three IPA murine models, hypoxia was observed during the course of infection. We next tested the hypothesis that production of ethanol in vivo by the fungus is involved in hypoxia adaptation and fungal pathogenesis. Ethanol deficient A. fumigatus strains showed no growth defects in hypoxia and were able to cause wild type levels of mortality in all 3 murine models. However, lung immunohistopathology and flow cytometry analyses revealed an increase in the inflammatory response in mice infected with an alcohol dehydrogenase null mutant strain that corresponded with a reduction in fungal burden. Consequently, in this study we present the first in vivo observations that hypoxic microenvironments occur during a pulmonary invasive fungal infection and observe that a fungal alcohol dehydrogenase influences fungal pathogenesis in the lung. Thus, environmental conditions encountered by invading pathogenic fungi may result in substantial fungal metabolism changes that influence subsequent host immune responses.
Metabolic flexibility is important for human pathogens like Aspergillus fumigatus as it allows adaptation to dynamic infection induced microenvironments. Consequently, identification of fungal metabolic pathways critical for in vivo growth may uncover novel virulence mechanisms and new therapeutic opportunities. To date, the mechanisms used by A. fumigatus to adapt to microenvironments in immunosuppressed mammalian hosts are poorly understood. In this study we discover that A. fumigatus is exposed to oxygen limiting microenvironments during invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). Thus, this result builds on growing evidence that suggests hypoxia is a significant in vivo stress encountered by human fungal pathogens. We tested the hypothesis that genes encoding enzymes involved in ethanol fermentation are important for in vivo fungal responses to hypoxia. We consequently observed a significant increase in the inflammatory response that correlated with reduced fungal growth in the lungs of mice inoculated with an alcohol dehydrogenase null mutant. Altogether, our study suggests that fungal responses to in vivo hypoxic microenvironments can directly affect host immune responses to the invading fungal pathogen. A better understanding of these mechanisms will increase our understanding of IPA and other human diseases caused by fungi and could potentially lead to improved therapeutic options.
Low oxygen tension exerts a significant effect on the replication of several DNA and RNA viruses in cultured cells. In vitro propagation of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has thus far been studied under atmospheric oxygen levels despite the fact that the liver tissue microenvironment is hypoxic. In this study, we investigated the efficiency of HCV production in actively dividing or differentiating human hepatoma cells cultured under low or atmospheric oxygen tensions. By using both HCV replicons and infection-based assays, low oxygen was found to enhance HCV RNA replication whereas virus entry and RNA translation were not affected. Hypoxia signaling pathway-focused DNA microarray and real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses revealed an upregulation of genes related to hypoxic stress, glycolytic metabolism, cell growth, and proliferation when cells were kept under low (3% [vol/vol]) oxygen tension, likely reflecting cell adaptation to anaerobic conditions. Interestingly, hypoxia-mediated enhancement of HCV replication correlated directly with the increase in anaerobic glycolysis and creatine kinase B (CKB) activity that leads to elevated ATP production. Surprisingly, activation of hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIF-α) was not involved in the elevation of HCV replication. Instead, a number of oncogenes known to be associated with glycolysis were upregulated and evidence that these oncogenes contribute to hypoxia-mediated enhancement of HCV replication was obtained. Finally, in liver biopsy specimens of HCV-infected patients, the levels of hypoxia and anaerobic metabolism markers correlated with HCV RNA levels. These results provide new insights into the impact of oxygen tension on the intricate HCV-host cell interaction.
The hypoxia-inducible factor is the key protein responsible for the cellular adaptation to low oxygen tension. This transcription factor becomes activated as a result of a drop in the partial pressure of oxygen, to hypoxic levels below 5% oxygen, and targets a panel of genes involved in maintenance of oxygen homeostasis. Hypoxia is a common characteristic of the microenvironment of solid tumors and, through activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor, is at the center of the growth dynamics of tumor cells. Not only does the microenvironment impact on the hypoxia-inducible factor but this factor impacts on microenvironmental features, such as pH, nutrient availability, metabolism and the extracellular matrix. In this review we discuss the influence the tumor environment has on the hypoxia-inducible factor and outline the role of this factor as a modulator of the microenvironment and as a powerful actor in tumor remodeling. From a fundamental research point of view the hypoxia-inducible factor is at the center of a signaling pathway that must be deciphered to fully understand the dynamics of the tumor microenvironment. From a translational and pharmacological research point of view the hypoxia-inducible factor and its induced downstream gene products may provide information on patient prognosis and offer promising targets that open perspectives for novel “anti-microenvironment” directed therapies.
Angiogenesis; Autophagy; BNIP3; Cancer; Carbonic anhydrase; Factor inhibiting HIF-1; Hypoxia; Hypoxia-inducible factor; Oxygen-sensor; Tumor metabolism; pH regulation
Cells sense oxygen availability using not only the absolute value for cellular oxygen in regard to its energetic and metabolic functions, but also the gradient from the cell surface to the lowest levels in the mitochondria. Signals are used for regulatory purposes locally as well as in the generation of cellular, tissue, and humoral remodeling. Lowered oxygen availability (hypoxia) is theoretically important in the consideration of pharmacology because (1) hypoxia can alter cellular function and thereby the therapeutic effectiveness of the agent, (2) therapeutic agents may potentiate or protect against hypoxia-induced pathology, (3) hypoxic conditions may potentiate or mitigate drug-induced toxicity, (4) hypoxia may alter drug metabolism and thereby therapeutic effectiveness, and (5) therapeutic agents might alter the relative coupling of blood flow and energy metabolism in an organ. The prototypic biochemical effect of hypoxia is related to its known role as a cofactor in a number of enzymatic reactions, e.g., oxidases and oxygenases, which are affected independently from the bioenergetic effect of low oxygen on energetic functions. The cytochrome P-450 family of enzymes is another example. Here, there is a direct effect of oxygen availability on the conformation of the enzyme, thereby altering the metabolism of drug substrates. Indirectly, the NADH/NAD+ ratio is increased with 10% inspired oxygen, leading not only to reduced oxidation of ethanol but also to reduction of azo- and nitro-compounds to amines and disulfides to sulfhydryls. With chronic hypoxia, many of these processes are reversed, suggesting that hypoxia induces the drug-metabolizing systems. Support for this comes from observations that hypoxia can induce the hypoxic inducible factors which in turn alters transcription and function of some but not all cytochrome P-450 isoforms. Hypoxia is identified as a cofactor in cancer expression and metastatic potential. Thus, the effects of hypoxia play an important role in pharmacology, and the signaling pathways that are affected by hypoxia could become new targets for novel therapy or avenues for prevention.
Drug metabolism; Hypoxia; Cytochrome c; Hypoxic response elements; Pharmacology
Hypoxia and the associated hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) may be influential in the progression of diabetic retinopathy. However, little is known of the extent of hypoxia and the levels of HIFs early in the progression of the disease. In the current study, we injected the oxygen-dependent probe pimonidazole (Hypoxyprobe™-1) into diabetic rats, and also performed immunohistochemistry to determine the retinal levels of HIF-1α and HIF-2α. The rats were made diabetic using a single injection of streptozotocin (STZ; 60 mg/kg), with vehicle-injected rats used as non-diabetic controls. The measurements of hypoxia and HIF levels were obtained three weeks following STZ injection, at which time we have previously found significant decreases in retinal blood flow in the same model. In the current experiments, no increases in either HIF-1α or hypoxia were observed in the diabetic rats (compared with controls), and there was even a tendency for hypoxia levels to be decreased (tissue more highly oxygenated). However, we did observe an increase in HIF-2α in the retinas of the diabetic rats. Therefore, we conclude that early diabetes-induced increases in HIF-2α occur independently of hypoxia.
hypoxia-inducible factor; HIF-1α; HIF-2α; streptozotocin; diabetes; retina; hypoxia
In infected tissues oxygen tensions are low. As innate immune cells have to operate under these conditions, we analyzed the ability of macrophages (Mϕ) to kill Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus in a hypoxic microenvironment. Oxygen restriction did not promote intracellular bacterial growth but did impair the bactericidal activity of the host cells against both pathogens. This correlated with a decreased production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) and reactive nitrogen intermediates. Experiments with phagocyte NADPH oxidase (PHOX) and inducible NO synthase (NOS2) double-deficient Mϕ revealed that in E. coli- or S. aureus-infected cells the reduced antibacterial activity during hypoxia was either entirely or partially independent of the diminished PHOX and NOS2 activity. Hypoxia impaired the mitochondrial activity of infected Mϕ. Inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain activity during normoxia (using rotenone or antimycin A) completely or partially mimicked the defective antibacterial activity observed in hypoxic E. coli- or S. aureus-infected wild-type Mϕ, respectively. Accordingly, inhibition of the respiratory chain of S. aureus-infected, normoxic PHOX−/− NOS2−/− Mϕ further raised the bacterial burden of the cells, which reached the level measured in hypoxic PHOX−/− NOS2−/− Mϕ cultures. Our data demonstrate that the reduced killing of S. aureus or E. coli during hypoxia is not simply due to a lack of PHOX and NOS2 activity but partially or completely results from an impaired mitochondrial antibacterial effector function. Since pharmacological inhibition of the respiratory chain raised the generation of ROI but nevertheless phenocopied the effect of hypoxia, ROI can be excluded as the mechanism underlying the antimicrobial activity of mitochondria.
Proline is a readily released stress substrate that can be metabolized by proline oxidase (POX) to generate either reactive oxygen species to induce apoptosis or autophagy or ATP during times of nutrient stress. However, the contribution of proline metabolism to tumorigenesis in hypoxic microenvironments has not been explored. In this study, we investigated the different functions of POX under hypoxia and glucose depletion. We found that hypoxia induced POX expression in cancer cells in vitro and that POX upregulation co-localized with hypoxic tissues in vivo. In addition, the combination of hypoxia and low-glucose showed additive effects on POX expression. Similar to conditions of low glucose, hypoxia-mediated POX induction was dependent on AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation, but was independent of HIF-1α and HIF-2α. Under low-glucose and combined low-glucose and hypoxic conditions, proline catabolized by POX was used preferentially for ATP production, whereas under hypoxia, POX mediated autophagic signaling for survival by generating ROS. Although the specific mechanism was different for hypoxia and glucose deprivation, POX consistently contributed to tumor cell survival under these conditions. Together, our findings offer new insights into the metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells present within a hostile microenvironment and suggest that proline metabolism is a potential target for cancer therapeutics.
The oxygenation status of tumors derived from wild-type C6 glioma cells and clone D27 cells overexpressing dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) was assessed in vivo using a variety of direct and indirect assays of hypoxia. Clone D27 tumors exhibit a more aggressive and better-vascularized phenotype compared to wild-type C6 gliomas. Immunohistochemical analyses using the 2-nitroimidazole hypoxia marker pimonidazole, fiber optic OxyLite measurements of tumor pO2, and localized 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements of tumor bioenergetic status and pH clearly demonstrated that the D27 tumors were more hypoxic compared to C6 wild type. In the tumor extracts, only glucose concentrations were significantly lower in the D27 tumors. Elevated Glut-1 expression, a reliable functional marker for hypoxia-inducible factor-1-mediated metabolic adaptation, was observed in the D27 tumors. Together, the data show that overexpression of DDAH results in C6 gliomas that are more hypoxic compared to wild-type tumors, and point strongly to an inverse relationship of tumor oxygenation and angiogenesis in vivo—a concept now being supported by the enhanced understanding of oxygen sensing at the molecular level.
Hypoxia; angiogenesis; DDAH; ADMA; nitric oxide
Tumour oxygenation and vasculature are determinants for radiation treatment outcome and prognosis in patients with squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. In this study we visualized and quantified these factors which may provide a predictive tool for new treatments. Twenty-one patients with stage III–IV squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck were intravenously injected with pimonidazole, a bioreductive hypoxic marker. Tumour biopsies were taken 2 h later. Frozen tissue sections were stained for vessels and hypoxia by fluorescent immunohistochemistry. Twenty-two sections of biopsies of different head and neck sites were scanned and analysed with a computerized image analysis system. The hypoxic fractions varied from 0.02 to 0.29 and were independent from T- and N-classification, localization and differentiation grade. No significant correlation between hypoxic fraction and vascular density was observed. As a first attempt to categorize tumours based on their hypoxic profile, three different hypoxia patterns are described. The first category comprised tumours with large hypoxic, but viable, areas at distances even greater than 200 μm from the vessels. The second category showed a typical band-like distribution of hypoxia at an intermediate distance (50–200 μm) from the vessels with necrosis at greater distances. The third category demonstrated hypoxia already within 50 μm from the vessels, suggestive for acute hypoxia. This method of multiparameter analysis proved to be clinically feasible. The information on architectural patterns and the differences that exist between tumours can improve our understanding of the tumour micro-environment and may in the future be of assistance with the selection of (oxygenation modifying) treatment strategies. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
pimonidazole; hypoxia; vascular density; head and neck carcinomas
Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASC) are of great interest as a cellular therapeutic agent for regenerative and immunomodulatory purposes. The function of ASC adapts to environmental conditions, such as oxygen tension. Oxygen levels within tissues are typically much lower than under standard culture conditions and ASC used for therapy therefore encounter a change from normoxic to hypoxic conditions. The effect of hypoxia on the regenerative potential of ASC has been investigated in a number of studies. The effect of hypoxia on the immunomodulatory function of ASC, however, remains to be determined. In the present study the effect of hypoxic (1% oxygen) culture conditions on human ASC was examined. ASC showed no signs of toxicity under low oxygen levels and no major immunophenotypical changes were observed, apart from a down regulation of the marker CD105. Oxygen tension had no effect on the proliferation of ASC and colony forming unit efficiency remained the same under 1 and 20% oxygen. Under both oxygen levels ASC were capable of strong upregulation of the immunomodulatory molecules indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and programed death ligand-1 upon stimulation with IFN-γ and TNF-α, and, in addition, IDO activity as measured by the accumulation of l-kynurenine was not affected under hypoxia. The ability of ASC to inhibit anti-CD3/CD28 stimulated CD4+ and CD8+ T cell proliferation was not hampered by hypoxia. The results of the present study demonstrate that the immunosuppressive capacity of ASC is maintained under hypoxic conditions. These findings are important for the therapeutic use of ASC and may be applied for the in vitro generation of ASC with improved functionality for therapeutic use.
mesenchymal stem cells; cell therapy; hypoxia; immune modulation; oxygen level
Dendritic cells (DCs) are often exposed to various oxygen tensions under physiological and pathological conditions. However, the effects of various oxygen tensions on DC functions remain unclear. In this study, we showed that hypoxia-differentiated DCs expressed lower levels of MHC-II molecule, co-stimulatory molecules (CD80, CD86) and proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α), but higher levels of immunoregulatory cytokine transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) than normoxia-differentiated DCs. Unexpectedly, re-exposure of hypoxia-differentiated DCs to saturated oxygen (reoxygenation) completely restored their mature phenotype and function. Specifically, the reoxygenated DCs induced naïve CD4+ T cells to differentiate into Th1 and Th17 effector cells, but deceased the generation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). The data indicate that hypoxic microenvironment suppresses the maturation and function of murine DCs. Reoxygenation of hypoxia-differentiated DCs however results in complete recovery of their mature phenotype and function, and has strong ability to drive immune response toward a proinflammatory direction, suggesting reoxygenated DCs may contribute to inflammation of ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Dendritic cells; Inflammation; Foxp3+ Tregs; IL-6; TGF-β; Hypoxia
A growing number of physiologically relevant genes are regulated in response to changes in intracellular oxygen tension. It is likely that cells from a wide variety of tissues share a common mechanism of oxygen sensing and signal transduction leading to the activation of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). Besides hypoxia, transition metals (Co2+, Ni2+ and Mn2+) and iron chelation also promote activation of HIF-1. Induction of HIF-1 by hypoxia is blocked by the heme ligands carbon monoxide and nitric oxide. There is growing, albeit indirect, evidence that the oxygen sensor is a flavoheme protein and that the signal transduction pathway involves changes in the level of intracellular reactive oxygen intermediates. The activation of HIF-1 by hypoxia depends upon signaling-dependent rescue of its α-subunit from oxygen-dependent degradation in the proteasome, allowing it to form a heterodimer with HIF-1β (ARNT), which then translocates to the nucleus and impacts on the transcription of genes whose cis-acting elements contain cognate hypoxia response elements.
Gene regulation; oxygen sensing; Hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor 1; cellular sensor; signal transduction; Oxygen; sensing; genes
Stem cells have the ability for prolonged self-renewal and differentiation into mature cells of various lineages, which makes them important cell sources for tissue engineering applications. Their remarkable ability to replenish and differentiate in vivo is regulated by both intrinsic and extrinsic cellular mechanisms. The anatomical location where the stem cells reside, known as the “stem cell niche or microenvironment,” provides signals conducive to the maintenance of definitive stem cell properties. Physiological condition including oxygen tension is an important component of the stem cell microenvironment and has been shown to play a role in regulating both embryonic and adult stem cells. This review focuses on oxygen as a signaling molecule and the way it regulates the stem cells' development into mesenchymal tissues in vitro. The physiological relevance of low oxygen tension as an environmental parameter that uniquely benefits stem cells' expansion and maintenance is described along with recent findings on the regulatory effects of oxygen on embryonic stem cells and adult mesenchymal stem cells. The relevance to tissue engineering is discussed in the context of the need to specifically regulate the oxygen content in the cellular microenvironment in order to optimize in vitro tissue development.
embryonic stem cells; adult stem cells; mesenchymal stem cells; oxygen tension; hypoxia; 3D
T cells can inhibit tumor growth, but their function in the tumor microenvironment is often suppressed. Many solid tumors exhibit abundant macrophage infiltration and low oxygen tension, yet how hypoxic conditions may affect innate immune cells and their impact on tumor progression is poorly understood. Targeted deletion of the hypoxia responsive transcription factor HIF-1α in macrophages in a progressive murine model of breast cancer resulted in reduced tumor growth, although VEGF-A and vascularization was unchanged. Tumor associated macrophages can suppress tumor infiltrating T cells by several mechanisms, and we found that hypoxia powerfully augmented macrophage-mediated T cell suppression in vitro in a manner dependent on macrophage expression of HIF-1α. Our findings link the innate immune hypoxic response to tumor progression through induction of T cell suppression in the tumor microenvironment.
Otitis media with effusion (OME) is the commonest cause of hearing loss in children, yet the underlying genetic pathways and mechanisms involved are incompletely understood. Ventilation of the middle ear with tympanostomy tubes is the commonest surgical procedure in children and the best treatment for chronic OME, but the mechanism by which they work remains uncertain. As hypoxia is a common feature of inflamed microenvironments, moderation of hypoxia may be a significant contributory mechanism. We have investigated the occurrence of hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) mediated responses in Junbo and Jeff mouse mutant models, which develop spontaneous chronic otitis media. We found that Jeff and Junbo mice labeled in vivo with pimonidazole showed cellular hypoxia in inflammatory cells in the bulla lumen, and in Junbo the middle ear mucosa was also hypoxic. The bulla fluid inflammatory cell numbers were greater and the upregulation of inflammatory gene networks were more pronounced in Junbo than Jeff. Hif-1α gene expression was elevated in bulla fluid inflammatory cells, and there was upregulation of its target genes including Vegfa in Junbo and Jeff. We therefore investigated the effects in Junbo of small-molecule inhibitors of VEGFR signaling (PTK787, SU-11248, and BAY 43-9006) and destabilizing HIF by inhibiting its chaperone HSP90 with 17-DMAG. We found that both classes of inhibitor significantly reduced hearing loss and the occurrence of bulla fluid and that VEGFR inhibitors moderated angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in the inflamed middle ear mucosa. The effectiveness of HSP90 and VEGFR signaling inhibitors in suppressing OM in the Junbo model implicates HIF–mediated VEGF as playing a pivotal role in OM pathogenesis. Our analysis of the Junbo and Jeff mutants highlights the role of hypoxia and HIF–mediated pathways, and we conclude that targeting molecules in HIF–VEGF signaling pathways has therapeutic potential in the treatment of chronic OM.
Otitis media with effusion (OME) is the commonest cause of hearing loss in children, and treatment using grommets remains the commonest surgical procedure in children. Chronic forms of OM are known from human population studies to have a significant genetic component, but little is known of the underlying genes or pathways involved. We have analyzed two chronic OM mouse models, the Junbo and Jeff mutants, and have found that both demonstrate hypoxia and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) mediated responses. There is upregulation of inflammatory pathways in the mutant middle ears and in Junbo elevation of cytokines that modulate Hif-1α. Hif-1α levels are raised in the middle ear as well as downstream targets of HIF such as Vegfa. We explored the effects of small-molecule inhibitors of HSP90 and VEGF receptor signaling in the Junbo mutant and found significant reductions in hearing loss, the occurrence of bulla fluid, and moderation of vascular changes in the inflamed middle ear mucosa with the VEGF receptor inhibitors. The study of the Junbo and Jeff mutants demonstrates the role of hypoxia and HIF mediated pathways in OM pathogenesis, and it indicates that targeting the HIF–VEGF pathway may represent a novel approach to therapeutic intervention in chronic OM.
Hypoxia in vivo is associated with constriction of the distal vasculature in the lung. Uniquely situated at the interface between blood and the vessel wall proper, the vascular endothelium may release vasoactive mediators in the setting of hypoxia. Endothelin-1 is a potent vasoconstrictor released by endothelial cells that could function as a paracrine regulator of vascular tone. We found that physiologic low oxygen tension (PO2 = 30 Torr) increased endothelin secretion from cultured human endothelial cells four to eightfold above the secretion rate at ambient oxygen tension. This increase in secretion was accompanied by a corresponding increase in the transcriptional rate of the preproendothelin gene resulting in increased steady-state mRNA levels of preproendothelin. In contrast, the transcription of a number of other growth-factor-encoding genes, including transforming growth factor-beta, was unaffected by hypoxia. Endothelin transcript production increased within 1 h of hypoxia and persisted for at least 48 h. In addition, the stimulatory effects of low oxygen tension on endothelin mRNA levels were reversible upon reexposure to 21% oxygen environments. These findings suggest a role for endothelin in the control of regional blood flow in the vasculature in response to changes in oxygen tension.
Cells exposed to hypoxia undergo substantial changes in gene expression generally associated with metabolic adaptation and increasing oxygen delivery. In contrast, responses distinct from those elicited by hypoxia are induced in anoxic fibroblasts; this includes activation of a set of VL30 elements. The responses seen in anoxically cultured fibroblasts are expressed physiologically in vivo during the anaerobic phase of wound healing. A fundamental question is whether transcriptional regulatory pathways utilized during anoxia are distinct from those already characterized for hypoxic cells. We report here the isolation of a 14-bp sequence within a VL30 retrotransposon promoter which mediates its anoxia responsiveness. Analyses of the protein complexes binding to this sequence demonstrated the presence of two distinct inducible DNA binding activities. The first is present in both hypoxic and anoxic fibroblasts and is indistinguishable from hypoxia-inducible factor 1. The second activity, which is present only in anoxic fibroblasts, is a previously uncharacterized heterodimeric DNA binding activity that appears to arise via posttranslational modification of an existing complex found in aerobic cells. These results indicate that the strong VL30 transcriptional induction seen with anoxia occurs through a mechanism specific to anoxia.
The blood perfusion of pancreatic islets is highly variable and tightly regulated by the blood glucose concentration. Thus, oxygen levels are considered crucial for islet metabolism and function. Although islet oxygenation has been extensively studied in vitro, little is known about it in vivo. The current study aimed to investigate the oxygenation of the endocrine pancreas in vivo.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The reductive metabolism of 2-nitroimidazoles, such as pimonidazole, has previously been extensively used in studies of oxygen metabolism both in vitro and in vivo. At tissue oxygen levels <10 mmHg, pimonidazole accumulates intracellularly and may thereafter be detected by means of immunohistochemistry. Islet oxygenation was investigated in normal, 60% partially pancreatectomized, as well as whole-pancreas–transplanted rats. Moreover, leucine-dependent protein biosynthesis was performed using autoradiography to correlate islet oxygenation with metabolic activity.
In vivo, 20–25% of all islets in normal rats showed low oxygenation (pO2 <10 mmHg). Changes in the islet mass, by means of whole-pancreas transplantation, doubled the fraction of low-oxygenated islets in the endogenous pancreas of transplanted animals, whereas this fraction almost completely disappeared after a 60% partial pancreatectomy. Moreover, oxygenation was related to metabolism, since well-oxygenated islets in vivo had 50% higher leucine-dependent protein biosynthesis, which includes (pro)insulin biosynthesis.
The current study suggests a novel subpopulation of dormant low-oxygenated islets, which seems to constitute a functional reserve of endocrine cells. This study establishes a novel perspective on the use of the endocrine pancreas in glucose homeostasis.
Solid tumors with disorganized, insufficient blood supply contain hypoxic cells that are resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Drug resistance, an obstacle to curative treatment of solid tumors, can occur via suppression of apoptosis, a process controlled by pro- and antiapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 protein family. Oxygen deprivation of human colon cancer cells in vitro provoked decreased mRNA and protein levels of proapoptotic Bid and Bad. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) was dispensable for the down-regulation of Bad but required for that of Bid, consistent with the binding of HIF-1α to a hypoxia-responsive element (positions −8484 to −8475) in the bid promoter. Oxygen deprivation resulted in proteosome-independent decreased expression of Bax in vitro, consistent with a reduction in global translation efficiency. The physiological relevance of Bid and Bax down-regulation was confirmed in tumors in vivo. Oxygen deprivation resulted in decreased drug-induced apoptosis and clonogenic resistance to agents with different mechanisms of action. The contribution of Bid and/or Bax down-regulation to drug responsiveness was demonstrated by the relative resistance of normoxic cells that had no or reduced expression of Bid and/or Bax and by the finding that forced expression of Bid in hypoxic cells resulted in increased sensitivity to the topoisomerase II inhibitor etoposide.