It has recently been reported (Van Dijk et al., 2011) that in-scanner head motion can have a substantial impact on MRI measurements of resting-state functional connectivity. This finding may be of particular relevance for studies of neurodevelopment in youth, confounding analyses to the extent that motion and subject age are related. Furthermore, while Van Dijk et al. demonstrated the effect of motion on seed-based connectivity analyses, it is not known how motion impacts other common measures of connectivity. Here we expand on the findings of Van Dijk et al. by examining the effect of motion on multiple types of resting-state connectivity analyses in a large sample of children and adolescents (n=456). Following replication of the effect of motion on seed-based analyses, we examine the influence of motion on graphical measures of network modularity, dual-regression of independent component analysis, as well as the amplitude and fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuation. In the entire sample, subject age was highly related to motion. Using a subsample where age and motion were unrelated, we demonstrate that motion has marked effects on connectivity in every analysis examined. While subject age was associated with increased within-network connectivity even when motion was accounted for, controlling for motion substantially attenuated the strength of this relationship. The results demonstrate the pervasive influence of motion on multiple types functional connectivity analysis, and underline the importance of accounting for motion in studies of neurodevelopment.
fMRI; connectivity; network; independent component analysis; fALFF; development; adolescent
The ventral striatum (VS) is a critical brain region for reinforcement learning and motivation. Intrinsically motivated subjects performing challenging cognitive tasks engage reinforcement circuitry including VS even in the absence of external feedback or incentives. However, little is known about how such VS responses develop with age, relate to task performance, and are influenced by task difficulty. Here we used fMRI to examine VS activation to correct and incorrect responses during a standard n-back working memory task in a large sample (n= 304) of healthy children, adolescents and young adults aged 8–22. We found that bilateral VS activates more strongly to correct than incorrect responses, and that the VS response scales with the difficulty of the working memory task. Furthermore, VS response was correlated with discrimination performance during the task, and the magnitude of VS response peaked in mid-adolescence. These findings provide evidence for scalable intrinsic reinforcement signals during standard cognitive tasks, and suggest a novel link between motivation and cognition during adolescent development.
Ventral striatum; working memory; adolescence; reward; motivation
Schizophrenia is associated with a series of visual perception impairments, which might impact on the patients’ every day life and be related to clinical symptoms. However, the heterogeneity of the visual disorders make it a challenge to understand both the mechanisms and the consequences of these impairments, i.e., the way patients experience the outer world. Based on earlier psychiatry literature, we argue that issues regarding time might shed a new light on the disorders observed in patients with schizophrenia. We will briefly review the mechanisms involved in the sense of time continuity and clinical evidence that they are impaired in patients with schizophrenia. We will then summarize a recent experimental approach regarding the coding of time-event structure in time, namely the ability to discriminate between simultaneous and asynchronous events. The use of an original method of analysis allowed us to distinguish between explicit and implicit judgments of synchrony. We showed that for SOAs below 20 ms neither patients nor controls fuse events in time. On the contrary subjects distinguish events at an implicit level even when judging them as synchronous. In addition, the implicit responses of patients and controls differ qualitatively. It is as if controls always put more weight on the last occurred event, whereas patients have a difficulty to follow events in time at an implicit level. In patients, there is a clear dissociation between results at short and large asynchronies, that suggest selective mechanisms for the implicit coding of time-event structure. These results might explain the disruption of the sense of time continuity in patients. We argue that this line of research might also help us to better understand the mechanisms of the visual impairments in patients and how they see their environment.
schizophrenia; time; anticipation; synchrony; attention; implicit processing; Simon effect
Evidence suggests that synchronized brain oscillations in the low gamma range (around 33 Hz) are involved in the perceptual integration of harmonic complex tones. This process involves the binding of harmonic components into “harmonic templates” – neural structures responsible for pitch coding in the brain. We investigated the hypothesis that oscillatory harmonic binding promotes a change in pitch perception style from spectral (frequency) to virtual (relational). Using oscillatory priming we asked 24 participants to judge as rapidly as possible, the direction of an ambiguous target with ascending spectral and descending virtual contour. They made significantly more virtual responses when primed at 29, 31, and 33 Hz and when the first target tone was harmonically related to the prime, suggesting that neural synchronization in the low gamma range could facilitate a shift toward virtual pitch processing.
gamma-band; virtual pitch; pitch perception; pitch coding; harmonic templates; oscillatory priming
Visual images may be judged ‘aesthetic’ when their positioning appears imbalanced. An apparent imbalance may signify an as yet incomplete action or event requiring more detailed processing. As such it may refer to phylogenetically ancient stimulus-response mechanisms such as those mediating attentional deployment.
We studied preferences for structural balance or imbalance in week-old domestic chicks (Gallus gallus), using a conditioning procedure to reinforce pecking at either “aligned” (balanced) or “misaligned” (imbalanced) training stimuli. A testing phase with novel balanced and imbalanced stimuli established whether chicks would retain their conditioned behavior or revert to chance responding. Whereas those trained on aligned stimuli were equally likely to choose aligned or misaligned stimuli, chicks trained on misaligned stimuli maintained the trained preference.
Our results are consistent with the idea that the coding of structural imbalance is primary and even overrides classical conditioning. Generalized to the humans, these results suggest aesthetic judgments based upon structural imbalance may be based on evolutionarily ancient mechanisms, which are shared by different vertebrate species.
Lesion and electrophysiological studies in animals provide evidence of opposing functions for subcortical nuclei such as the amygdala and ventral striatum, but the implications of these findings for emotion identification in humans remain poorly described. Here we report a high-resolution fMRI study in a sample of 39 healthy subjects who performed a well-characterized emotion identification task. As expected, the amygdala responded to THREAT (angry or fearful) faces more than NON-THREAT (sad or happy) faces. A functional connectivity analysis of the time series from an anatomically defined amygdala seed revealed a strong anti-correlation between the amygdala and the ventral striatum /ventral pallidum, consistent with an opposing role for these regions in during emotion identification. A second functional connectivity analysis (psychophysiological interaction) investigating relative connectivity on THREAT vs. NON-THREAT trials demonstrated that the amygdala had increased connectivity with the orbitofrontal cortex during THREAT trials, whereas the ventral striatum demonstrated increased connectivity with the posterior hippocampus on NON-THREAT trials. These results indicate that activity in the amygdala and ventral striatum may be inversely related, and that both regions may provide opposing affective bias signals during emotion identification.
emotion; amygdala; ventral striatum; fMRI; faces; connectivity
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are zinc endopeptidases that block release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in neuromuscular synapses through cleavage of soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins, which promote fusion of synaptic vesicles to the plasma membrane. We designed and tested a BoNT-derived targeted secretion inhibitor (TSI) targeting pituitary somatotroph cells to suppress growth hormone (GH) secretion and treat acromegaly. This recombinant protein, called SXN101742, contains a modified GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) domain and the endopeptidase domain of botulinum toxin serotype D (GHRH-LHN/D, where HN/D indicates endopeptidase and translocation domain type D). In vitro, SXN101742 targeted the GHRH receptor and depleted a SNARE protein involved in GH exocytosis, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2). In vivo, administering SXN101742 to growing rats produced a dose-dependent inhibition of GH synthesis, storage, and secretion. Consequently, hepatic IGF1 production and resultant circulating IGF1 levels were reduced. Accordingly, body weight, body length, organ weight, and bone mass acquisition were all decreased, reflecting the biological impact of SXN101742 on the GH/IGF1 axis. An inactivating 2–amino acid substitution within the zinc coordination site of the endopeptidase domain completely abolished SXN101742 inhibitory actions on GH and IGF1. Thus, genetically reengineered BoNTs can be targeted to nonneural cells to selectively inhibit hormone secretion, representing a new approach to treating hormonal excess.
Despite strong support for predictive validity of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) substantial variance in both intention and behavior is unaccounted for by the model’s predictors. The present study tested the extent to which habit strength augments the predictive validity of the TPB in relation to a currently under-researched behavior that has important health implications, namely children’s active school travel.
Participants (N = 126 children aged 8–9 years; 59 % males) were sampled from five elementary schools in the west of Scotland and completed questionnaire measures of all TPB constructs in relation to walking to school and both walking and car/bus use habit. Over the subsequent week, commuting steps on school journeys were measured objectively using an accelerometer. Hierarchical multiple regressions were used to test the predictive utility of the TPB and habit strength in relation to both intention and subsequent behavior.
The TPB accounted for 41 % and 10 % of the variance in intention and objectively measured behavior, respectively. Together, walking habit and car/bus habit significantly increased the proportion of explained variance in both intention and behavior by 6 %. Perceived behavioral control and both walking and car/bus habit independently predicted intention. Intention and car/bus habit independently predicted behavior.
The TPB significantly predicts children’s active school travel. However, habit strength augments the predictive validity of the model. The results indicate that school travel is controlled by both intentional and habitual processes. In practice, interventions could usefully decrease the habitual use of motorized transport for travel to school and increase children’s intention to walk (via increases in perceived behavioral control and walking habit, and decreases in car/bus habit). Further research is needed to identify effective strategies for changing these antecedents of children’s active school travel.
Theory of planned behavior; Habit; Active school travel; Walking; Children
Microbial drinking-water quality testing plays an essential role in measures to protect public health. However, such testing remains a significant challenge where resources are limited. With a wide variety of tests available, researchers and practitioners have expressed difficulties in selecting the most appropriate test(s) for a particular budget, application and setting. To assist the selection process we identified the characteristics associated with low and medium resource settings and we specified the basic information that is needed for different forms of water quality monitoring. We then searched for available faecal indicator bacteria tests and collated this information. In total 44 tests have been identified, 18 of which yield a presence/absence result and 26 of which provide enumeration of bacterial concentration. The suitability of each test is assessed for use in the three settings. The cost per test was found to vary from $0.60 to $5.00 for a presence/absence test and from $0.50 to $7.50 for a quantitative format, though it is likely to be only a small component of the overall costs of testing. This article presents the first comprehensive catalogue of the characteristics of available and emerging low-cost tests for faecal indicator bacteria. It will be of value to organizations responsible for monitoring national water quality, water service providers, researchers and policy makers in selecting water quality tests appropriate for a given setting and application.
drinking-water quality; safe water; microbial water testing; faecal indicator bacteria; Escherichia coli; coliform test; H2S test
Cognitive functions that rely on accurate sequencing of events, such as action planning and execution, verbal and nonverbal communication, and social interaction rely on well-tuned coding of temporal event-structure. Visual temporal event-structure coding was tested in 17 high-functioning adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and mental- and chronological-age matched typically-developing (TD) individuals using a perceptual simultaneity paradigm. Visual simultaneity thresholds were lower in individuals with ASD compared to TD individuals, suggesting that autism may be characterised by increased parsing of temporal event-structure, with a decreased capability for integration over time. Lower perceptual simultaneity thresholds in ASD were also related to increased developmental communication difficulties. These results are linked to detail-focussed and local processing bias.
Since the origin of psychological science a number of studies have reported visual pattern formation in the absence of either physiological stimulation or direct visual-spatial references. Subjective patterns range from simple phosphenes to complex patterns but are highly specific and reported reliably across studies.
Using independent-component analysis (ICA) we report a reduction in amplitude variance consistent with subjective-pattern formation in ventral posterior areas of the electroencephalogram (EEG). The EEG exhibits significantly increased power at delta/theta and gamma-frequencies (point and circle patterns) or a series of high-frequency harmonics of a delta oscillation (spiral patterns).
Subjective-pattern formation may be described in a way entirely consistent with identical pattern formation in fluids or granular flows. In this manner, we propose subjective-pattern structure to be represented within a spatio-temporal lattice of harmonic oscillations which bind topographically organized visual-neuronal assemblies by virtue of low frequency modulation.
Schizophrenia patients display impaired performance and brain activity during facial affect recognition. These impairments may reflect stimulus-driven perceptual decrements and evaluative processing abnormalities. We differentiated these two processes by contrasting responses to identical stimuli presented under different contexts. Seventeen healthy controls and 16 schizophrenia patients performed an fMRI facial affect detection task. Subjects identified an affective target presented amongst foils of differing emotions. We hypothesized that targeting affiliative emotions (happiness, sadness) would create a task demand context distinct from that generated when targeting threat emotions (anger, fear). We compared affiliative foil stimuli within a congruent affiliative context with identical stimuli presented in an incongruent threat context. Threat foils were analysed in the same manner. Controls activated right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)/ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) more to affiliative foils in threat contexts than to identical stimuli within affiliative contexts. Patients displayed reduced OFC/VLPFC activation to all foils, and no activation modulation by context. This lack of context modulation coincided with a 2-fold decrement in foil detection efficiency. Task demands produce contextual effects during facial affective processing in regions activated during affect evaluation. In schizophrenia, reduced modulation of OFC/VLPFC by context coupled with reduced behavioural efficiency suggests impaired ventral prefrontal control mechanisms that optimize affective appraisal.
schizophrenia; social cognition; face; emotion; amygdala; ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC); orbitofrontal cortex (OFC); fMRI
Several prognostic markers have been identified for patients admitted with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Most of the markers are based on clinical risk scores. Unlike hypercapnic respiratory failure, acidosis is not an adverse predictor in these patients. Hemodynamic variables that assess pathophysiological mechanisms may be more helpful to guide appropriate management.
The aim of this study is to demonstrate T1ρ MRI’s capability for measuring intervertebral disc osmotic pressure. Self-coregistered sodium and T1ρ-weighted MR images were acquired on ex vivo bovine intervertebral discs (N = 12) on a 3 T clinical MRI scanner. The sodium MR images were used to calculate effective nucleus pulposus fixed-charge-density (mean = 138.2±27.6 mM) and subsequently osmotic pressure (mean = 0.53±0.18 atm), while the T1ρ-weighted images were used to compute T1ρ relaxation maps. A significant linear correlation (R=0.56, p<0.01) between nucleus pulposus fixed-charge-density and T1ρ relaxation time constant was observed. More importantly, a significant power correlation (R=0.72, p<0.01) between nucleus pulposus osmotic pressure as predicted by sodium MRI and T1ρ relaxation time constant was also observed. The current clinical method for assessing disc pressure is discography, which is an invasive procedure that has been shown to have negative effects on disc biomechanical and biochemical properties. In contrast, T1ρ MRI is non-invasive and can be easily implemented in a clinical setting due to its superior signal-to-noise ratio compared to sodium MRI. Therefore, T1ρ MRI may serve as a non-invasive clinical tool for the longitudinal evaluation of disc osmotic pressure.
Sodium; T1ρ; osmotic pressure; intervertebral disc; nucleus pulposus
This study demonstrated the diagnostic potential of sodium MRI for non-invasive quantification of PG in the intervertebral discs.
To determine the existence of a linear correlation between intervertebral disc [Na] measured from sodium MRI and [PG] measurement from DMMB assay.
Summary of Background Data
Previous studies have shown the possibility of quantifying [Na] in vivo using sodium MRI, however none has shown a direct linear correlation between [Na] measured from sodium MRI and [PG].
3D sodium MRI images of bovine discs were acquired and converted into [Na] maps. Samples were systematically removed from the discs for DMMB assay. The removal locations were photographically recorded and applied to the [Na] maps to extract the [Na] measurements for comparison. In vivo sodium MRI scans were also carried out on a pair of symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects.
The linear regression fit of [Na] versus [PG] data yielded a significant linear correlation coefficient of 0.71. The in vivo sodium MRI image of the symptomatic subject showed significant [Na] decrease when compared to that of the asymptomatic subject.
Sodium MRI's specificity for PG in the intervertebral discs makes it a promising diagnostic tool for the earlier phase of disc degeneration.
Intervertebral disc; proteoglycan; sodium MRI
Ventral striatum (VS) is a critical brain region for reinforcement learning and motivation, and VS hypofunction is implicated in psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. Providing rewards or performance feedback has been shown to activate VS. Intrinsically motivated subjects performing challenging cognitive tasks are likely to engage reinforcement circuitry even in the absence of external feedback or incentives. However, such intrinsic reinforcement responses have received little attention, have not been examined in relation to behavioral performance, and have not been evaluated for impairment in neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Here we used fMRI to examine a challenging “old” vs. “new” visual recognition task in healthy subjects and patients with schizophrenia. Targets were unique fractal stimuli previously presented as salient distractors in a visual oddball task, producing incidental memory encoding. Based on the prediction error theory of reinforcement learning, we hypothesized that correct target recognition would activate VS in controls, and that this activation would be greater in subjects with lower expectation of responding correctly as indexed by a more conservative response bias. We also predicted these effects would be reduced in patients with schizophrenia. Consistent with these predictions, controls activated VS and other reinforcement processing regions during correct recognition, with greater VS activation in those with a more conservative response bias. Patients did not show either effect, with significant group differences suggesting hyporesponsivity in patients to internally generated feedback. These findings highlight the importance of accounting for intrinsic motivation and reward when studying cognitive tasks, and add to growing evidence of reward circuit dysfunction in schizophrenia that may impact cognition and function.
memory; reward; intrinsic motivation; ventral striatum; schizophrenia
To refine the CT prediction of emphysema by comparing histology and CT for specific regions of lung. To incorporate both regional lung density measured by CT and cluster analysis of low attenuation areas for comparison with histological measurement of surface area per unit lung volume.
The histological surface area per unit lung volume was estimated for 140 samples taken from resected lung specimens of fourteen subjects. The region of the lung sampled for histology was located on the pre-operative CT scan; the regional CT median lung density and emphysematous lesion size were calculated using the X-ray attenuation values and a low attenuation cluster analysis. Linear mixed models were used to examine the relationships between histological surface area per unit lung volume and CT measures.
The median CT lung density, low attenuation cluster analysis, and the combination of both were important predictors of surface area per unit lung volume measured by histology (p < 0.0001). Akaike's information criterion showed the model incorporating both parameters provided the most accurate prediction of emphysema.
Combining CT measures of lung density and emphysematous lesion size provides a more accurate estimate of lung surface area per unit lung volume than either measure alone.
Clinical observations suggest that the experience of time phenomenology is disturbed in schizophrenia, possibly originating disorders in dynamic cognitive functions such as language or motor planning. We examined the subjective evaluation of temporal structure using an experimental approach involving judgments of simultaneity of simple, visually presented stimuli. We included a priming procedure, ie, a subthreshold presentation of simultaneous or asynchronous stimuli. This allowed us to evaluate the effects of subthreshold synchrony and to check for bias effects, ie, changes in the criteria used by the subjects to rate the stimuli. Primes were adapted to the responses of the subjects. Bias effects were thus expected to yield a change in the efficiency of the prime and to induce a change in the amplitude of the priming effect. Nineteen outpatients with schizophrenia and their individually matched controls participated in the study. In all tests, patients required longer delays between stimuli to detect that they were asynchronous. In other words, they judged stimuli to be synchronous even when their onset was separated by delays of 100 milliseconds and even more in some cases. These results contrasted with preserved effects of subthreshold synchrony. Our findings argue against the hypothesis that the patients’ responses were influenced by biases. We conclude that the subjective evaluation of simultaneity/asynchrony is impaired in schizophrenia, thus leading to impairment in the phenomenology of event-structure coding. The method used in the present study provides a novel approach to the assessment of those disturbances related to time in patients with schizophrenia.
time processing; visual perception; psychophysics; consciousness; synchrony
The origin of image artifacts in an off-resonance spin-locking experiment is shown to be imperfections in the excitation flip angle. A pulse sequence for off-resonance spin locking is implemented that compensates for imperfections in the excitation flip angle through an off-resonance rotary echo. The off-resonance rotary echo alternates the frequency offset and phase of the RF transmitter during two spin-locking pulses of equal duration. The underlying theory is detailed, and MR images demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique in agarose gel phantoms and in in vivo human brain at 3T.
off-resonance T1ρ; spin locking; T1ρ-weighted imaging; rotary echo; T1ρ relaxation
The application of T1 in the rotating frame (T1ρ) to functional MRI in humans was studied at 3 T. Increases in neural activity increased parenchymal T1ρ. Modeling suggested that cerebral blood volume mediated this increase. A pulse sequence named spin-locked echo planar imaging (SLEPI) that produces both T1ρ and T2* contrast was developed and used in a visual functional MRI (fMRI)experiment. Spin-locked contrast significantly augments the T2* blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) contrast in this sequence. The total functional contrast generated by the SLEPI sequence (1.31%) was 54% larger than the contrast (0.85%) obtained from a conventional gradient-echo EPI sequence using echo times of 30 ms. Analysis of image SNR revealed that the spin-locked preparation period of the sequence produced negligible signal loss from static dephasing effects. The SLEPI sequence appears to be an attractive alternative to conventional BOLD fMRI, particularly when long echo times are undesirable, such as when studying prefrontal cortex or ventral regions, where static susceptibility gradients often degrade T2*-weighted images.
3 T; spin locking; cerebral blood volume; BOLD contrast; modeling
A spin-locked balanced steady-state free-precession (slSSFP) pulse sequence is described that combines a balanced gradient-echo acquisition with an off-resonance spin-lock pulse for fast MRI. The transient and steady-state magnetization trajectory was solved numerically using the Bloch equations and was shown to be similar to balanced steady-state free-precession (bSSFP) for a range of T2/T1 and flip angles, although the slSSFP steady-state could be maintained with considerably lower radio frequency (RF) power. In both simulations and brain scans performed at 7T, slSSFP was shown to exhibit similar contrast and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) efficiency to bSSFP, but with significantly lower power.
spin-locked; SSFP; slSSFP; trueFISP; T1rho
To develop a novel pulse sequence called spin-locked echo planar imaging (EPI), or (SLEPI), to perform rapid T1ρ-weighted MRI.
Materials and Methods
SLEPI images were used to calculate T1ρ maps in two healthy volunteers imaged on a 1.5-T Sonata Siemens MRI scanner. The head and extremity coils were used for imaging the brain and blood in the popliteal artery, respectively.
SLEPI-measured T1ρ was 83 msec and 103 msec in white (WM) and gray matter (GM), respectively, 584 msec in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and was similar to values obtained with the less time-efficient sequence based on a turbo spin-echo readout. T1ρ was 183 msec in arterial blood at a spin-lock (SL) amplitude of 500 Hz.
We demonstrate the feasibility of the SLEPI pulse sequence to perform rapid T1ρ MRI. The sequence produced images of higher quality than a gradient-echo EPI sequence for the same contrast evolution times. We also discuss applications and limitations of the pulse sequence.
T1rho; spin-lock imaging; EPI; echo planar imaging; SLEPI
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often used by electrophysiologists to target specific brain regions for placement of microelectrodes. However, the effectiveness of this technique has been limited by few methods to quantify in three dimensions the relative locations of brain structures, recording chambers and microelectrode trajectories. Here we present such a method. After surgical implantation, recording chambers are fitted with a plastic cylinder that is filled with a high-contrast agent to aid in the segmentation of the cylinder from brain matter in an MRI volume. The resulting images of the filled cylinder correspond to a virtual cylinder that is projected along its long axis – parallel to the trajectories of microelectrodes advanced through the recording chamber – through the three-dimensional image of the brain. This technique, which does not require a stereotaxic coordinate system, can be used to quantify the coverage of an implanted recording chamber relative to anatomical landmarks at any depth or orientation. We have used this technique in conjunction with Caret (Van Essen et al., 2001) and AFNI (Cox, 1996) brain mapping software to successfully localize several regions of macaque cortex, including the middle temporal area, the lateral intraparietal area and the frontal eye field, and one subcortical structure, the locus coeruleus, for electrophysiological recordings.
magnetic resonance imaging; primate; microelectrode
Rationale: Oxidative stress is a key contributor in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pathogenesis caused by cigarette smoking. NRF2, a redox-sensitive transcription factor, dissociates from its inhibitor, KEAP1, to induce antioxidant expression that inhibits oxidative stress.
Objectives: To determine the link between severity of COPD, oxidative stress, and NRF2-dependent antioxidant levels in the peripheral lung tissue of patients with COPD.
Methods: We assessed the expression of NRF2, NRF2-dependent antioxidants, regulators of NRF2 activity, and oxidative damage in non-COPD (smokers and former smokers) and smoker COPD lungs (mild and advanced). Cigarette smoke–exposed human lung epithelial cells (Beas2B) and mice were used to understand the mechanisms.
Measurements and Main Results: When compared with non-COPD lungs, the COPD patient lungs showed (1) marked decline in NRF2-dependent antioxidants and glutathione levels, (2) increased oxidative stress markers, (3) significant decrease in NRF2 protein with no change in NRF2 mRNA levels, and (4) similar KEAP1 but significantly decreased DJ-1 levels (a protein that stabilizes NRF2 protein by impairing KEAP1-dependent proteasomal degradation of NRF2). Exposure of Bea2B cells to cigarette smoke caused oxidative modification and enhanced proteasomal degradation of DJ-1 protein. Disruption of DJ-1 in mouse lungs, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and Beas2B cells lowered NRF2 protein stability and impaired antioxidant induction in response to cigarette smoke. Interestingly, targeting KEAP1 by siRNA or the small-molecule activator sulforaphane restored induction of NRF2-dependent antioxidants in DJ-1–disrupted cells in response to cigarette smoke.
Conclusions: NRF2-dependent antioxidants and DJ-1 expression was negatively associated with severity of COPD. Therapy directed toward enhancing NRF2-regulated antioxidants may be a novel strategy for attenuating the effects of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of COPD.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; NRF2; DJ-1; oxidative stress; antioxidants