This article reviews the structure function of the vestibular system and its pathology with respect to requirements for the design and construction of a functional vestibular prosthesis. The ultimate goal of a vestibular prosthesis is to restore balance and equilibrium through direct activation of vestibular nerve fibers. An overview of the peripheral and central vestibular systems that highlights their most important functional aspects re: the design of a prosthesis is provided. Namely, the peripheral labyrinth faithfully transduces head motion and gravity in both the time and frequency domains. These signals are described in hopes that they may be prosthetically replicated. The peripheral and central connections of the vestibular nerve are also discussed in detail, as are the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem that receive VIIIth nerve innervation. Lastly, the functional effector pathways of the vestibular system, including the vestibulo-ocular, vestibulo-spinal, vestibulo-colic, vestibulo-autonomic, and vestibular efferent innervation of the labyrinth are reviewed.
balance; ototoxicity; labyrinthectomy; dizziness; Meniere’s disease
Sinusoidal galvanic vestibular stimulation (sGVS) induces oscillations in blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), i.e., vasovagal oscillations, as well as transient decreases in BP and HR, i.e., vasovagal responses, in isoflurane-anesthetized rats. We determined the characteristics of the vasovagal oscillations, assessed their role in the generation of vasovagal responses, and determined whether they could be induced by monaural as well as by binaural sGVS and by oscillation in pitch. Wavelet analyses were used to determine the power distributions of the waveforms. Monaural and binaural sGVS and pitch generated vasovagal oscillations at the frequency and at twice the frequency of stimulation. Vasovagal oscillations and vasovagal responses were maximally induced at low stimulus frequencies (0.025–0.05 Hz). The oscillations were attenuated and the responses were rarely induced at higher stimulus frequencies. Vasovagal oscillations could occur without induction of vasovagal responses, but vasovagal responses were always associated with a vasovagal oscillation. We posit that the vasovagal oscillations originate in a low frequency band that, when appropriately activated by strong sympathetic stimulation, can generate vasovagal oscillations as a precursor for vasovagal responses and syncope. We further suggest that the activity responsible for the vasovagal oscillations arises in low frequency, otolith neurons with orientation vectors close to the vertical axis of the head. These neurons are likely to provide critical input to the vestibulo-sympathetic reflex to increase BP and HR upon changes in head position relative to gravity, and to contribute to the production of vasovagal oscillations and vasovagal responses and syncope when the baroreflex is inactivated.
syncope; wavelet analysis; sinusoidal galvanic vestibular stimulation; rat; isoflurane anesthesia; otolith
The vestibular system senses the movement and position of the head in space and uses this information to stabilize vision, control posture, perceive head orientation and self-motion in three-dimensional space, and modulate autonomic and limbic activity in response to locomotion and changes in posture. Most vestibular signals are not consciously perceived and are usually appreciated through effector pathways classically described as the vestibulo-ocular, vestibulo-spinal, vestibulo-collic and vestibulo-autonomic reflexes. The present study reviews some of the recent data concerning the connectivity and chemical anatomy of vestibular projections to autonomic sites that are important in the sympathetic control of blood pressure.
Vestibular nuclei; vestibulo-sympathetic pathways; vestibulo-sympathetic reflex; vestibulo-autonomic control
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized pathologically by the formation of ubiquitin and α-synuclein (α-syn)-containing inclusions (Lewy bodies), dystrophic dopamine (DA) terminals, and degeneration of midbrain DA neurons. The precise molecular mechanisms underlying these pathological features remain elusive. Accumulating evidence has implicated dysfunctional autophagy, the cell self-digestion and neuroprotective pathway, as one of the pathogenic systems contributing to the development of idiopathic PD. Here we characterize autophagy-deficient mouse models and provide in vivo evidence for the potential role that impaired autophagy plays in pathogenesis associated with PD. Cell-specific deletion of essential autophagy gene Atg7 in midbrain DA neurons causes delayed neurodegeneration, accompanied by late-onset locomotor deficits. In contrast, Atg7-deficient DA neurons in the midbrain exhibit early dendritic and axonal dystrophy, reduced striatal dopamine content, and the formation of somatic and dendritic ubiquitinated inclusions in DA neurons. Furthermore, whole-brain specific loss of Atg7 leads to presynaptic accumulation of α-syn and LRRK2 proteins, which are encoded by two autosomal dominantly inherited PD-related genes. Our results suggest that disrupted autophagy may be associated with enhanced levels of endogenous α-syn and LRRK2 proteins in vivo. Our findings implicate dysfunctional autophagy as one of the failing cellular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic PD.
Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were studied in isoflurane-anesthetized Long-Evans rats during sinusoidal galvanic vestibular stimulation (sGVS) and sinusoidal oscillation in pitch to characterize vestibular influences on autonomic control of BP and HR. sGVS was delivered binaurally via Ag/AgCl needle electrodes inserted over the mastoids at stimulus frequencies 0.008–0.4 Hz. Two processes affecting BP and HR were induced by sGVS: 1) a transient drop in BP (≈15–20 mmHg) and HR (≈3 beat*s−1), followed by a slow recovery over 1–6 min; and 2) inhibitory modulations in BP (≈4.5 mmHg/g) and HR (≈0.15 beats*s−1/g) twice in each stimulus cycle. The BP and HR modulations were approximately in-phase with each other and were best evoked by low stimulus frequencies. A wavelet analysis indicated significant energies in BP and HR at scales related to twice and four times the stimulus frequency bands. BP and HR were also modulated by oscillation in pitch at frequencies 0.025–0.5 Hz. Sensitivities at 0.025 Hz were ≈4.5 mmHg/g (BP) and ≈0.17 beat*s−1/g (HR) for pitches of 20–90°. The tilt-induced BP and HR modulations were out-of-phase, but the frequencies at which responses were elicited by tilt and sGVS were the same. The results show that the sGVS-induced responses, which likely originate in the otolith organs, can exert a powerful inhibitory effect on both BP and HR at low frequencies. These responses have a striking resemblance to human vasovagal responses. Thus, sGVS-activated rats can potentially serve as a useful experimental model of the vasovagal response in humans.
Otolith organs; Vertical semicircular canals; Autonomic; Heart rate; Blood pressure
The vestibular system sends projections to brainstem autonomic nuclei that modulate heart rate and blood pressure in response to changes in head and body position with regard to gravity. Consistent with this, binaural sinusoidally modulated galvanic vestibular stimulation (sGVS) in humans causes vasoconstriction in the legs, while low frequency (0.02–0.04 Hz) sGVS causes a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure in anesthetized rats. We have hypothesized that these responses occur through activation of vestibulo-sympathetic pathways. In the present study, c-Fos protein expression was examined in neurons of the vestibular nuclei and rostral ventrolateral medullary region (RVLM) that were activated by low frequency sGVS. We found c-Fos-labeled neurons in the spinal, medial, and superior vestibular nuclei (SpVN, MVN, and SVN, respectively) and the parasolitary nucleus. The highest density of c-Fos-positive vestibular nuclear neurons was observed in MVN, where immunolabeled cells were present throughout the rostro-caudal extent of the nucleus. c-Fos expression was concentrated in the parvocellular region and largely absent from magnocellular MVN. c-Fos-labeled cells were scattered throughout caudal SpVN, and the immunostained neurons in SVN were restricted to a discrete wedge-shaped area immediately lateral to the IVth ventricle. Immunofluorescence localization of c-Fos and glutamate revealed that approximately one third of the c-Fos-labeled vestibular neurons showed intense glutamate-like immunofluorescence, far in excess of the stain reflecting the metabolic pool of cytoplasmic glutamate. In the RVLM, which receives a direct projection from the vestibular nuclei and sends efferents to preganglionic sympathetic neurons in the spinal cord, we observed an approximately threefold increase in c-Fos labeling in the sGVS-activated rats. We conclude that localization of c-Fos protein following sGVS is a reliable marker for sGVS-activated neurons of the vestibulo-sympathetic pathway.
otolith organs; blood pressure; heart rate; orthostatic hypotension; vasovagal syncope; sympathetic nervous system; vestibular nuclei; rostral ventrolateral medulla
While the basic pathways mediating vestibulo-ocular, -spinal, and -collic reflexes have been described in some detail, little is known about vestibular projections to central autonomic sites. Previous studies have primarily focused on projections from the caudal vestibular region to solitary, vagal and parabrachial nuclei, but have noted a sparse innervation of the ventrolateral medulla. Since a direct pathway from the vestibular nuclei to the rostral ventrolateral medulla would provide a morphological substrate for rapid modifications in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration with changes in posture and locomotion, the present study examined anatomical evidence for this pathway using anterograde and retrograde tract tracing and immunofluorescence detection in brainstem sections of the rat medulla. The results provide anatomical evidence for direct pathways from the caudal vestibular nuclear complex to the rostral and caudal ventrolateral medullary regions. The projections are conveyed by fine and highly varicose axons that ramify bilaterally, with greater terminal densities present ipsilateral to the injection site and more rostrally in the ventrolateral medulla. In the rostral ventrolateral medulla, these processes are highly branched and extremely varicose, primarily directed toward the somata and proximal dendrites of non-catecholaminergic neurons, with minor projections to the distal dendrites of catecholaminergic cells. In the caudal ventrolateral medulla, the axons of vestibular nucleus neurons are more modestly branched, with fewer varicosities, and their endings are contiguous with both the perikarya and dendrites of catecholamine-containing neurons. These data suggest that vestibular neurons preferentially target the rostral ventrolateral medulla, and can thereby provide a morphological basis for a short latency vestibulo-sympathetic pathway.
Vestibular nuclei; vestibulo-sympathetic pathways; vestibulo-sympathetic reflex; vestibulo-autonomic control
Binaural computations involving the convergence of excitatory and inhibitory inputs have been proposed to explain directional sharpening and frequency tuning documented in the brainstem of a teleost fish, the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau). To assess the presence of inhibitory neurons in the ascending auditory circuit, we used a monoclonal antibody to GABA to evaluate immunoreactivity at three levels of the circuit: the first order descending octaval nucleus (DON), the secondary octaval population (dorsal division), and the midbrain torus semicircularis. We observed a subset of immunoreactive (IR) cells and puncta distributed throughout the neuropil at all three locations. To assess whether contralateral inhibition is present, fluorescent dextran crystals were inserted into dorsal DON to fill contralateral, commissural inputs retrogradely prior to GABA immunohistochemistry. GABA-IR somata and puncta co-occurred with retrogradely filled, GABA-negative auditory projection cells. GABA-IR projection cells were more common in the dorsolateral DON than in the dorsomedial DON, but GABA-IR puncta were common in both dosolateral and dorsomedial divisions. Our findings demonstrate that GABA is present in the ascending auditory circuit in the brainstem of the toadfish, indicating that GABA-mediated inhibition participates in shaping auditory response characteristics in a teleost fish as in other vertebrates.
auditory processing; descending octaval nucleus; inhibition; directional hearing; secondary octaval nucleus
The vestibular semicircular canals are internal sensors that signal the magnitude, direction, and temporal properties of angular head motion. Fluid mechanics within the 3-canal labyrinth code the direction of movement and integrate angular acceleration stimuli over time. Directional coding is accomplished by decomposition of complex angular accelerations into 3 biomechanical components—one component exciting each of the 3 ampullary organs and associated afferent nerve bundles separately. For low-frequency angular motion stimuli, fluid displacement within each canal is proportional to angular acceleration. At higher frequencies, above the lower corner frequency, real-time integration is accomplished by viscous forces arising from the movement of fluid within the slender lumen of each canal. This results in angular velocity sensitive fluid displacements. Reflecting this, a subset of afferent fibers indeed report angular acceleration to the brain for low frequencies of head movement and report angular velocity for higher frequencies. However, a substantial number of afferent fibers also report angular acceleration, or a signal between acceleration and velocity, even at frequencies where the endolymph displacement is known to follow angular head velocity. These non-velocity-sensitive afferent signals cannot be attributed to canal biomechanics alone. The responses of non-velocity-sensitive cells include a mathematical differentiation (first-order or fractional) imparted by hair-cell and/or afferent complexes. This mathematical differentiation from velocity to acceleration cannot be attributed to hair cell ionic currents, but occurs as a result of the dynamics of synaptic transmission between hair cells and their primary afferent fibers. The evidence for this conclusion is reviewed below.
Despite pharmacological and immunohistochemical evidence for GABA as a neurotransmitter in the olivocochlear efferent bundle, a clear functional role of GABA in the inner ear has not emerged. To explore the role of metabotropic GABAB receptors, we characterized the cochlear phenotype of mice with targeted deletion of the GABAB1 subunit and determined its tissue localization using a mouse line expressing a GFP-tagged GABAB1 subunit under the endogenous promoter. Immunostaining revealed GABAB1 expression in both type I and type II ganglion cells and in their synaptic terminals under inner and outer hair cells, respectively. No GABAB1 expression was observed in hair cells. Mean cochlear thresholds, measured via both auditory brainstem responses and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), were elevated by ∼10 dB in GABAB1-deficient mice, consistent with outer hair cell dysfunction. Olivocochlear efferent function, assessed via DPOAE suppression during efferent electrical stimulation, was unaffected by GABAB1 deletion. GABAB1-deficient mice showed increased resistance to permanent acoustic injury, with mean threshold shifts ∼25 dB smaller than wild-types after exposure to 8–16-kHz noise at 100 dB for 2 h. In contrast, there was no vulnerability difference to temporary acoustic injury following exposure to the same noise at 94 dB for 15 min. Our results suggest that GABAergic signaling in type II afferent neurons may be required for normal outer hair cell amplifier function at low sound levels and may also modulate outer hair cell responses to high-level sound.
inner ear; feedback; efferent
The metastasis‐associated protein S100A4 promotes the progression of cancer by regulating the remodelling of the extracellular matrix. The expression of S100A4 in vivo is shown and the functional role of S100A4 in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritisis is explored. The expression of S100A4 in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and normal synovial tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) mRNA was measured in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts treated and untreated with S100A4 oligomer by real‐time polymerase chain reaction. Levels of released MMPs were confirmed by ELISA in cell culture supernatants. S100A4 protein was expressed in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial tissues, in contrast with normal synovium. S100A4 up regulated MMP‐3 mRNA in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid, with a peak after 6 h. This resulted in release of MMP‐3 protein. MMP‐1, MMP‐9 and MMP‐13 mRNA were also up regulated in synovial fluid, but with different kinetics. MMP‐14 mRNA showed no change. Thus, S100A4 protein is expressed in synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in contrast with healthy people. It induces the expression and release of MMP‐3 and other MMPs from synovial fluid. The data suggest that S100A4‐producing cells could be involved in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, including pannus formation and joint destruction.
The Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey (WURSS) is an illness-specific health-related quality-of-life questionnaire outcomes instrument.
Research questions were: 1) How well does the WURSS-21 assess the symptoms and functional impairments associated with common cold? 2) How well can this instrument measure change over time (responsiveness)? 3) What is the minimal important difference (MID) that can be detected by the WURSS-21? 4) What are the descriptive statistics for area under the time severity curve (AUC)? 5) What sample sizes would trials require to detect MID or AUC criteria? 6) What does factor analysis tell us about the underlying dimensional structure of the common cold? 7) How reliable are items, domains, and summary scores represented in WURSS? 8) For each of these considerations, how well does the WURSS-21 compare to the WURSS-44, Jackson, and SF-8?
Study Design and Setting
People with Jackson-defined colds were recruited from the community in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Participants were enrolled within 48 hours of first cold symptom and monitored for up to 14 days of illness. Half the sample filled out the WURSS-21 in the morning and the WURSS-44 in the evening, with the other half reversing the daily order. External comparators were the SF-8, a 24-hour recall general health measure yielding separate physical and mental health scores, and the eight-item Jackson cold index, which assesses symptoms, but not functional impairment or quality of life.
In all, 230 participants were monitored for 2,457 person-days. Participants were aged 14 to 83 years (mean 34.1, SD 13.6), majority female (66.5%), mostly white (86.0%), and represented substantive education and income diversity. WURSS-21 items demonstrated similar performance when embedded within the WURSS-44 or in the stand-alone WURSS-21. Minimal important difference (MID) and Guyatt's responsiveness index were 10.3, 0.71 for the WURSS-21 and 18.5, 0.75 for the WURSS-44. Factorial analysis suggested an eight dimension structure for the WURSS-44 and a three dimension structure for the WURSS-21, with composite reliability coefficients ranging from 0.87 to 0.97, and Cronbach's alpha ranging from 0.76 to 0.96. Both WURSS versions correlated significantly with the Jackson scale (W-21 R = 0.85; W-44 R = 0.88), with the SF-8 physical health (W-21 R = -0.79; W-44 R = -0.80) and SF-8 mental health (W-21 R = -0.55; W-44 R = -0.60).
The WURSS-44 and WURSS-21 perform well as illness-specific quality-of-life evaluative outcome instruments. Construct validity is supported by the data presented here. While the WURSS-44 covers more symptoms, the WURSS-21 exhibits similar performance in terms of reliability, responsiveness, importance-to-patients, and convergence with other measures.
Histone acetylation/deacetylation has a critical role in the regulation of transcription by altering the chromatin structure.
To analyse the effect of trichostatin A (TSA), a streptomyces metabolite which specifically inhibits mammalian histone deacetylases, on TRAIL‐induced apoptosis of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF).
Apoptotic cells were detected after co‐treatment of RASF with TRAIL (200 ng/ml) and TSA (0.5, 1, and 2 μmol/l) by flow cytometry using propidium iodide/annexin‐V‐FITC staining. Cell proliferation was assessed using the MTS proliferation test. Induction of the cell cycle inhibitor p21Waf/Cip1 by TSA was analysed by western blot. Expression of the TRAIL receptor‐2 (DR5) on the cell surface of RASF was analysed by flow cytometry. Levels of soluble TRAIL were measured in synovial fluid of patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA) by ELISA.
Co‐treatment of the cells with TSA and TRAIL induced cell death in a synergistic and dose dependent manner, whereas TRAIL and TSA alone had no effect or only a modest effect. RASF express DR5 (TRAIL receptor 2), but treatment of the cells with TSA for 24 hours did not change the expression level of DR5, as it is shown for cancer cells. TSA induced cell cycle arrest in RASF through up regulation of p21Waf1/Cip1. Levels of soluble TRAIL were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial fluids.
Because TSA sensitises RASF for TRAIL‐induced apoptosis, it is concluded that TSA discloses sensitive sites in the cascade of TRAIL signalling and may represent a new principle for the treatment of RA.
trichostatin A; TRAIL; apoptosis; synovial fibroblasts; rheumatoid arthritis
The central complex of acridid grasshoppers integrates sensory information pertinent to reproduction-related acoustic communication. Activation of nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic GMP-signaling by injection of NO donors into the central complex of restrained Chorthippus biguttulus females suppresses muscarine-stimulated sound production. In contrast, sound production is released by aminoguanidine (AG)-mediated inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the central body, suggesting a basal release of NO that suppresses singing in this situation. Using anti-citrulline immunocytochemistry to detect recent NO production, subtypes of columnar neurons with somata located in the pars intercerebralis and tangential neurons with somata in the ventro-median protocerebrum were distinctly labeled. Their arborizations in the central body upper division overlap with expression patterns for NOS and with the site of injection where NO donors suppress sound production. Systemic application of AG increases the responsiveness of unrestrained females to male calling songs. Identical treatment with the NOS inhibitor that increased male song-stimulated sound production in females induced a marked reduction of citrulline accumulation in central complex columnar and tangential neurons. We conclude that behavioral situations that are unfavorable for sound production (like being restrained) activate NOS-expressing central body neurons to release NO and elevate the behavioral threshold for sound production in female grasshoppers.
Nitric oxide; Central complex; Behavior; Sound production; Grasshopper
Background: Galectin-3 is expressed in the synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), particularly at sites of joint destruction.
Objective: To explore the possibilities that galectin-3 is induced either by proinflammatory cytokines or by adhesion to cartilage components.
Methods: Cell culture plates were coated with fibronectin, collagens I–VI, or cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), and the suspended cells were then added. The medium was changed after 1 hour at 37°C. Adherent cells were further incubated for 18 hours in the presence or absence of tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) or interleukin 1ß. Cells were pretreated with murine IgG1, anti-CD29, -CD51, -CD61 (integrins), or -CD3 monoclonal antibodies and transferred to culture plates coated with COMP. Adherent cells were counted by light microscopy. The expression of intracellular galectin-3, or cell surface CD29, CD51, and CD61 was determined by flow cytometry before and after adhesion.
Results: Four times more RA synovial fibroblasts (SF) than osteoarthritis SF adhered to COMP. RA SF presented more cell surface integrins, and monoclonal antibodies against CD51 inhibited the adhesion to COMP by 80%. TNFα reduced the expression of CD61 and the adhesion to COMP, but did not reverse the adhesion once it had taken place. The adhesion of RA SF to COMP was found to increase the intracellular level of galectin-3. In contrast, intracellular galectin-3 decreased after exposure to TNFα.
Conclusion: The increase of galectin-3 occurs after adhesion to COMP, and the αVß3 receptor (CD51/CD61) has a pivotal role in this process.
Imidazoleacetic acid-ribotide (IAA-RP) is a putative neurotransmitter/modulator recently discovered in mammalian brain. The present study examines the distribution of IAA-RP in the rat CNS using a highly specific antiserum raised in rabbit against IAA-RP with immunostaining of aldehyde-fixed rat CNS. IAA-RP-immunoreactive neurons were present throughout the neuraxis; neuroglia were not labeled. In each region, only a subset of the neuronal pool was immunostained. In the forebrain, ribotide-immunolabeled neurons were common in neocortex, in hippocampal formation, and in subcortical structures including basal ganglia, thalamus and hypothalamus. Labeling was prominent limbic areas including olfactory bulb, basal forebrain, pyriform cortex and amygdala. In the mid- and hindbrain, immunolabled neurons were concentrated in specific nuclei and, in some areas, in specific subregions of those nuclei. Structures of the motor system, including cranial nerve motor nuclei, precerebellar nuclei, the substantia nigra, and the red nucleus were clearly labeled. Staining was intense in cells and/or puncta in the rostral and caudal ventrolateral medullary reticular formation, nucleus tractus solitarius and the caudal vestibular nuclear complex. Within neurons, the ribotide was found predominantly in somata and dendrites; some myelinated axons and occasional synaptic terminals were also immunostained.
These data indicate that IAA-RP contributes to the neurochemical phenotype of many neuronal populations further support our suggestion that, in autonomic structures, the IAA-RP may serve as a chemical mediator in complex circuits involved in blood pressure regulation and, more generally, sympathetic drive.
imidazole-4-acetic acid-riboside; imidazol(in)e receptors; adrenergic receptors; rostroventral lateral medulla
Objective: To investigate the expression of maspin in RA synovial tissue and compare it with the expression in osteoarthritis (OA) and normal synovial tissue (NS).
Methods: Using specific primers for maspin, a 237 bp fragment was amplified from cDNA obtained from cultured RA, OA, and normal synovial fibroblasts (SF) by RT-PCR. Additionally, mRNA expression levels were determined quantitatively by real time PCR. mRNA expression of maspin was investigated on snap frozen and paraffin embedded synovial tissue sections by in situ hybridisation. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify the cell type expressing maspin. SDS-PAGE and western blotting were performed to evaluate the protein expression in cultured SF. To confirm protein synthesis in situ, immunohistochemistry with specific anti-maspin antibodies was performed in synovial tissue sections of patients with RA.
Results: RT-PCR showed expression of maspin in all cDNA samples from cultured SF. Maspin mRNA was found to be decreased in RA SF twofold and 70-fold compared with OA SF and NS SF, respectively. Maspin mRNA was expressed in RA, OA, and normal synovial tissue. Importantly, maspin transcripts were also found at sites of invasion into cartilage and bone. At the protein level, maspin could be detected in RA and, less prominently, OA SF. In RA synovial tissue, maspin protein was detected in only a few synovial lining cells.
Conclusion: Maspin is expressed intensively in RA SF at the mRNA level, but only slightly at the protein level, possibly owing to down regulation of maspin; this may contribute to the hyperplasia of synovial tissue in RA.
Objective: To determine whether there is evidence of increased DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes in muscle tissue of patients with fibromyalgia (FM) compared with healthy controls.
Methods: Muscle tissues from 10 community residents with FM and 10 age and sex matched healthy controls were examined "blindly" for the presence of DNA fragmentation by two different methods: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) staining (TUNEL) and the FragEL-Klenow DNA fragmentation detection kit. Ultrastructural analysis of tissue was performed by electron microscopy.
Results: DNA fragmentation was detected by both methods in 55.4 (SEM 2.5)% of the nuclei in muscle tissue of patients with FM compared with 16.1 (4.1)% (p<0.001) of the nuclei in healthy controls. Contrary to expectation, no typical features of apoptosis could be detected by electron microscopy. The myofibres and actin filaments were disorganised and lipofuscin bodies were seen; glycogen and lipid accumulation were also found. The number of mitochondria was significantly lower in patients with FM than in controls and seemed to be morphologically altered.
Conclusion: The ultrastructural changes described suggest that patients with FM are characterised by abnormalities in muscle tissue that include increased DNA fragmentation and changes in the number and size of mitochondria. These cellular changes are not signs of apoptosis. Persistent focal contractions in muscle may contribute to ultrastructural tissue abnormalities as well as to the induction and/or chronicity of nociceptive transmission from muscle to the central nervous system.
Objective: To analyse the functional response of p53 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) in vitro and in vivo and to investigate whether activation of p53 modulates the destructive process of RASF.
Methods: RASF and controls grown on chamber slides were either directly examined with DO7 anti-p53 antibodies by immunofluorescence or irradiated with 10 Gy x rays and analysed time dependently for the expression of p53. The percentage of positive cells was evaluated by a quantitative scoring system. RASF and normal (N) SF cultured in vitro were co-implanted with human cartilage in SCID mice for 60 days. Consecutively, the invasion score was evaluated, and the number of p53 positive cells was determined at the sites of invasion by immunohistochemistry. In addition, synovial tissues from RA, osteoarthritis, and normal synovia were stained with DO7 antibodies.
Results: In vitro the rate of expression of p53 in RASF was low (<5%), but transiently inducible by ionising irradiation (50%). In vitro low p53 expressing RASF disclosed, when invading articular cartilage, a nuclear p53 signal in 20% of the cells, indicating the induction of p53 in a distinct population of RASF during the invasive process.
Conclusions: These data suggest an inductive p53 response at sites of cartilage invasion during the destructive process driven by activated RASF.
Objective: To study the pattern and cell type-specificity of collagenase 3, membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), and gelatinase A mRNA expression in the synovial membrane in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: The mRNA expression of collagenase 3, MT1-MMP, and gelatinase A was characterised by northern blot analysis, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridisation. In situ hybridisation was performed in combination with the immunohistochemical detection of cell type-specific antigens.
Results: Synovial membrane specimens from 19 of 21 patients with RA expressing collagenase 3 mRNA were positive for MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA. In control samples from patients without destructive inflammatory joint diseases collagenase 3 mRNA was not expressed and only in two of seven cases was a coexpression of MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA detected. Fibroblast-like cells of the synovial membrane were found to be the predominant source of collagenase 3, MT1-MMP, and gelatinase A mRNA expression in lining and sublining layers as well as at the synovial membrane-cartilage interface. Additionally, the expression of MT1-MMP mRNA was detected in endothelial cells. Collagenase 3 mRNA expression was found in about 5% of CD68 positive macrophages.
Conclusions: Collagenase 3 mRNA is expressed simultaneously with MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA in fibroblast-like cells of the synovial membrane in RA. These results suggest (a) a broad extracellular proteolytic potential of fibroblast-like cells and (b) an important role of cell surface associated procollagenase 3 activation by MT1-MMP and gelatinase A for cartilage degradation by invading fibroblast-like cells.