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author:("lupi, Florea")
1.  Suppression of Tumor Growth in Mice by Rationally Designed Pseudopeptide Inhibitors of Fibroblast Activation Protein and Prolyl Oligopeptidase1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2015;17(1):43-54.
Tumor microenvironments (TMEs) are composed of cancer cells, fibroblasts, extracellular matrix, microvessels, and endothelial cells. Two prolyl endopeptidases, fibroblast activation protein (FAP) and prolyl oligopeptidase (POP), are commonly overexpressed by epithelial-derived malignancies, with the specificity of FAP expression by cancer stromal fibroblasts suggesting FAP as a possible therapeutic target. Despite overexpression in most cancers and having a role in angiogenesis, inhibition of POP activity has received little attention as an approach to quench tumor growth. We developed two specific and highly effective pseudopeptide inhibitors, M83, which inhibits FAP and POP proteinase activities, and J94, which inhibits only POP. Both suppressed human colon cancer xenograft growth > 90% in mice. By immunohistochemical stains, M83- and J94-treated tumors had fewer microvessels, and apoptotic areas were apparent in both. In response to M83, but not J94, disordered collagen accumulations were observed. Neither M83- nor J94-treated mice manifested changes in behavior, weight, or gastrointestinal function. Tumor growth suppression was more extensive than noted with recently reported efforts by others to inhibit FAP proteinase function or reduce FAP expression. Diminished angiogenesis and the accompanying profound reduction in tumor growth suggest that inhibition of either FAP or POP may offer new therapeutic approaches that directly target TMEs.
PMCID: PMC4309729  PMID: 25622898
FAP, fibroblast activation protein; POP, prolyl oligopeptidase; TME, tumor microenvironment; DPPIV, dipeptidyl peptidase IV; ECM, extracellular matrix; IHC, immunohistochemistry; CAFs, cancer-associated fibroblasts; MMPs, matrix metalloproteinases
2.  The spin trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in RAW 264.7 cells 
Life sciences  2012;90(0):432-439.
Exposure of macrophages to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces oxidative and inflammatory stresses, which cause cell damage. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been attributed to the nitrone spin trap 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO), commonly used in free radical analysis, but these aspects of DMPO have been little explored. In this study, we sought to establish the anti-inflammatory activity of DMPO, presumably by removing free radicals which otherwise help activate inflammatory response and damage cells.
Main methods
RAW 264.7 macrophages were treated with LPS and/or DMPO for different time points, cell damage, production of inflammatory mediators, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, NF-κB p65 activation, phosphorylation of MAPKs and Akt, and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were determined.
Key findings
After cells were treated with LPS and/or DMPO for 24 h, DMPO reduced the LPS-induced inflammatory response as indicated by downregulated iNOS expression and production of inflammatory mediators. Accordingly, DMPO protected cells from LPS-induced cytotoxicity. In order to understand the mechanistic basis of these DMPO effects, the NF-κB p65 activation and the phosphorylation of MAPKs and Akt were examined. We found, by assaying cells treated with LPS and/or DMPO for 15-60 min, that DMPO inhibited the phosphorylation of MAPKs, Akt, and IκBα, and reduced the NF-κB p65 translocation. Furthermore, we demonstrated that DMPO inhibited LPS-induced ROS production.
DMPO showed the anti-inflammatory activity and attenuated LPS-induced cell damage, most likely by reducing ROS production and thus preventing the subsequent inflammatory activation and damage.
PMCID: PMC4078025  PMID: 22285597
5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide; free radical; inflammation; lipopolysaccharide; macrophage, NF-κB
3.  The sepsis model: An emerging hypothesis for the lethality of inhalation anthrax 
Inhalation anthrax is often described as a toxin-mediated disease. However, the toxemia model does not account for the high mortality of inhalation anthrax relative to other forms of the disease or for the pathology present in inhalation anthrax. Patients with inhalation anthrax consistently show extreme bacteremia and, in contrast to animals challenged with toxin, signs of sepsis. Rather than toxemia, we propose that death in inhalation anthrax results from an overwhelming bacteremia that leads to severe sepsis. According to our model, the central role of anthrax toxin is to permit the vegetative bacteria to escape immune detection. Other forms of B. anthracis infection have lower mortality because their overt symptoms early in the course of disease cause patients to seek medical care at a time when the infection and its sequelae can still be reversed by antibiotics. Thus, the sepsis model explains key features of inhalation anthrax and may offer a more complete understanding of disease pathology for researchers as well as those involved in the care of patients.
PMCID: PMC3729634  PMID: 23742651
Sepsis; anthrax; lethal factor; edema factor; disseminated intravascular coagulation; Gram-positive
4.  Podoplanin maintains high endothelial venule integrity by interacting with platelet CLEC-2 
Nature  2013;502(7469):105-109.
Circulating lymphocytes continuously enter lymph nodes (LNs) for immune surveillance through specialised blood vessels named high endothelial venules (HEVs)1–5, a process that increases dramatically during immune responses. How HEVs permit lymphocyte transmigration while maintaining vascular integrity is unknown. Here, we report a role for the transmembrane O-glycoprotein podoplanin (PDPN, also known as gp38 and T1α)6–8 in maintaining HEV barrier function. Mice with postnatal deletion of PDPN lost HEV integrity and exhibited spontaneous bleeding in mucosal LNs, and bleeding in the draining peripheral LN after immunisation. Blocking lymphocyte homing rescued bleeding, indicating that PDPN is required to protect the barrier function of HEVs during lymphocyte trafficking. Further analyses demonstrated that PDPN expressed on fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs)7, which surround HEVs, functions as an activating ligand for platelet C-type lectin-like receptor 2 (CLEC-2)9,10. Mice lacking FRC PDPN or platelet CLEC-2 exhibited significantly reduced levels of VE-cadherin (VE-cad), which is essential for overall vascular integrity11,12, on HEVs. Infusion of wild-type (WT) platelets restored HEV integrity in CLEC-2-deficient mice. Activation of CLEC-2 induced release of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)13,14 from platelets, which promoted expression of VE-cad on HEVs ex vivo. Furthermore, draining peripheral LNs of immunised mice lacking S1P had impaired HEV integrity similar to PDPN- and CLEC-2-deficient mice. These data demonstrate that local S1P release after PDPN-CLEC-2-mediated platelet activation is critical for HEV integrity during immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3791160  PMID: 23995678
5.  New analogs of the clinical complement inhibitor compstatin with subnanomolar affinity and enhanced pharmacokinetic properties 
Immunobiology  2012;218(4):496-505.
Therapeutic modulation of the complement system has become increasingly important in line with the growing recognition of the role of complement in numerous diseases. Compstatin, a peptidic inhibitor that acts at the central level of the complement cascade, is currently in clinical evaluation but routes to improve its efficacy have not yet been fully explored. Here, we report improvements in both the inhibitory potency and pharmacokinetic parameters of compstatin that broaden its clinical applications. Selective modification of the compstatin N-terminus with non-proteinogenic amino acids resulted in the first analogue with subnanomolar binding affinity (KD = 0.5 nM) and other similarly potent derivatives with improved solubility in clinically relevant solvents. Detailed structure-activity relationship studies based on biophysical and computational methods revealed key structural determinants for the observed improvements. Importantly, pharmacokinetic evaluation in non-human primates revealed target-driven elimination kinetics with plasma half-life values exceeding expectations for peptidic drugs (close to 12 hours). This successful optimization strategy is expected to pave the way for systemic administration of compstatin in a range of clinical conditions.
PMCID: PMC3518557  PMID: 22795972
complement; innate immunity; compstatin; inhibitor; peptide therapeutic; pharmacokinetics
6.  ELTD1, A Potential New Biomarker for Gliomas 
Neurosurgery  2013;72(1):77-91.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), high-grade glioma, is characterized by being diffuse, invasive, and highly angiogenic, and has a very poor prognosis. Identification of new biomarkers could help in the further diagnosis of GBM.
To identify ELTD1 ([epidermal growth factor (EGF), latrophilin and seven transmembrane domain-containing 1] on chromosome 1) as a putative glioma-associated marker via a bioinformatic method.
We used advanced data mining and a novel bioinformatics method to predict ELTD1 as a potential novel biomarker that is associated with gliomas. Validation was done with immunohistochemistry (IHC), which was used to detect levels of ELTD1 in human high-grade gliomas, and rat F98 glioma tumors. In vivo levels of ELTD1 in rat F98 gliomas were assessed using molecular MRI (mMRI).
ELTD1 was found to be significantly higher (P=.03) in high-grade gliomas (50 patients) compared to low-grade gliomas (21 patients), and compared well to traditional IHC markers including VEGF, GLUT-1,CAIX, and HIF-1α. ELTD1 gene expression indicates an association with grade, survival across grade, and an increase in the mesenchymal subtype. Significantly high (P<0.001) in vivo levels of ELTD1 were additionally found in F98 tumors, compared to normal brain tissue.
This study strongly suggests that associative analysis was able to accurately identify ELTD1 as a putative glioma-associated biomarker. The detection of ELTD1 was also validated in both rodent and human gliomas, and may serve as an additional biomarker for gliomas in pre-clinical and clinical diagnosis of gliomas.
PMCID: PMC3555701  PMID: 23096411
ELTD1; gliomas; glioblastoma multiforme (GBM); immunohistochemistry (IHC); rat F98 glioma model; molecular MRI
7.  Plasmin-dependent proteolysis of Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor in a mouse model of endotoxemia 
Development of a procoagulant state in sepsis, due to aberrant expression of tissue factor (TF) and sharp decrease of its major inhibitor tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), could lead to microthrombotic organ failure. The mechanism for the decline of TFPI activity in the lung could involve plasmin-mediated cleavage of the inhibitor.
To investigate the effect of plasmin generation on lung-associated TFPI activity, in normal conditions and during infusion of endotoxin (LPS) in mice.
Plasmin generation and TFPI activity were assayed in the lungs of mice deficient of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) or plasminogen (Plg), at 2-hrs after LPS or saline injection.
The sharp loss of lung-associated TFPI activity at 2-hrs post LPS paralleled the abrupt increase of plasmin generation. TFPI activity was significantly retained in both t-PA-/- and Plg-/- mice, which are unable to generate plasmin.
The increased plasmin generation during the early stages of sepsis could cleave/inactivate TFPI and thus lead to thrombotic complications.
PMCID: PMC3557666  PMID: 23106863
endotoxin; lung; plasminogen activating system deficient mice; plasmin; tissue factor pathway inhibitor
8.  The NuRD Chromatin-Remodeling Enzyme CHD4 Promotes Embryonic Vascular Integrity by Transcriptionally Regulating Extracellular Matrix Proteolysis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(12):e1004031.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) supports vascular integrity during embryonic development. Proteolytic degradation of ECM components is required for angiogenesis, but excessive ECM proteolysis causes blood vessel fragility and hemorrhage. Little is understood about how ECM proteolysis is transcriptionally regulated during embryonic vascular development. We now show that the NuRD ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complex promotes vascular integrity by preventing excessive ECM proteolysis in vivo. Mice lacking endothelial CHD4—a catalytic subunit of NuRD complexes—died at midgestation from vascular rupture. ECM components surrounding rupture-prone vessels in Chd4 mutants were significantly downregulated prior to embryonic lethality. Using qPCR arrays, we found two critical mediators of ECM stability misregulated in mutant endothelial cells: the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR or Plaur) was upregulated, and thrombospondin-1 (Thbs1) was downregulated. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that CHD4-containing NuRD complexes directly bound the promoters of these genes in endothelial cells. uPAR and THBS1 respectively promote and inhibit activation of the potent ECM protease plasmin, and we detected increased plasmin activity around rupture-prone vessels in Chd4 mutants. We rescued ECM components and vascular rupture in Chd4 mutants by genetically reducing urokinase (uPA or Plau), which cooperates with uPAR to activate plasmin. Our findings provide a novel mechanism by which a chromatin-remodeling enzyme regulates ECM stability to maintain vascular integrity during embryonic development.
Author Summary
Blood vessels are surrounded by an extracellular matrix (ECM), which provides structural support and helps vessels withstand the biomechanical pressure of flowing blood. As blood vessels grow during embryonic development, the ECM is locally degraded to allow new vessels to sprout from existing ones. This localized ECM degradation must be tightly regulated, however, because excessive matrix breakdown leaves vessels susceptible to rupture and lethal hemorrhage. We now present a novel mechanism by which production of proteins that promote or repress ECM degradation is coordinated. We show that a chromatin-remodeling enzyme called CHD4 is critical for maintaining blood vessel integrity during embryonic development. CHD4 achieves this task by limiting production of proteins that degrade ECM and promoting production of proteins that protect ECM around developing blood vessels. A better understanding of how ECM degradation is regulated during development could have an impact on our ability to combat adult pathologies, such as aneurysms, which are associated with excessive ECM degradation and vascular fragility.
PMCID: PMC3861115  PMID: 24348274
9.  In Vivo Imaging of Immuno-Spin Trapped Radicals With Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in a Diabetic Mouse Model 
Diabetes  2012;61(10):2405-2413.
Oxidative stress plays a major role in diabetes. In vivo levels of membrane-bound radicals (MBRs) in a streptozotocin-induced diabetic mouse model were uniquely detected by combining molecular magnetic resonance imaging (mMRI) and immunotrapping techniques. An anti-DMPO (5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide) antibody (Ab) covalently bound to an albumin (BSA)-Gd (gadolinium)-DTPA (diethylene triamine penta acetic acid)-biotin MRI contrast agent (anti-DMPO probe), and mMRI, were used to detect in vivo levels of DMPO-MBR adducts in kidneys, livers, and lungs of diabetic mice, after DMPO administration. Magnetic resonance signal intensities, which increase in the presence of a Gd-based molecular probe, were significantly higher within the livers, kidneys, and lungs of diabetic animals administered the anti-DMPO probe compared with controls. Fluorescence images validated the location of the anti-DMPO probe in excised tissues via conjugation of streptavidin-Cy3, which targeted the probe biotin moiety, and immunohistochemistry was used to validate the presence of DMPO adducts in diabetic mouse livers. This is the first report of noninvasively imaging in vivo levels of MBRs within any disease model. This method can be specifically applied toward diabetes models for in vivo assessment of free radical levels, providing an avenue to more fully understand the role of free radicals in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3447912  PMID: 22698922
10.  Molecular MRI differentiation of VEGF receptor-2 levels in C6 and RG2 glioma models 
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) is an important angiogenic marker over-expressed in gliomas. With the use of molecular magnetic resonance imaging (mMRI) differing levels of VEGFR2 can be characterized in vivo with in rodent gliomas varying in angiogenesis. VEGFR2 levels were assessed by intravenous administration of an anti-VEGFR2 probe (anti-VEGFR2-albumin-Gd (gadolinium)-DTPA (diethylene triamine penta acetic acid)-biotin) into C6 or RG2 glioma-bearing rats, and visualized with mMRI. A non-specific IgG was coupled to the albumin-Gd-DTPA-biotin construct as a contrast agent molecular weight control. VEGFR2 levels are heterogeneous in different regions of C6 gliomas, whereas VEGFR2 was more homogenous or evenly distributed in RG2 gliomas. RG2 gliomas have less VEGFR2 within tumor periphery and peri-necrotic (p<0.05) regions, but more VEGFR2 within tumor interior regions (p<0.01), compared to C6 gliomas. mMRI results were confirmed with fluorescence staining and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) quantification of the anti-VEGFR2 probe in excised glioma and brain tissues, as well as detection of VEGFR2 in C6 and RG2 gliomas and corresponding contalateral brain tissues. Ex vivo VEGFR2 levels were found to be significantly higher in C6 gliomas compared to RG2 tumors (p<0.001), which corresponded with in vivo detection using the VEGFR2 probe. Immunohistochemistry staining for HIF-1α (hypoxia inducible factor 1α), which is associated with angiogenesis, indicated higher levels in RG2 (p<0.01) compared to C6 gliomas. The data suggests that C6 gliomas have angiogenesis which is associated more with large blood vessels in tumor periphery and peri-necrotic regions, and less microvascular angiogenesis within the tumor interior, compared to RG2 gliomas.
PMCID: PMC3715774  PMID: 23901356
Molecular magnetic resonance imaging (mMRI); vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2); C6 and RG2 rat gliomas; in vivo; fluorescence imaging
11.  The sepsis model: an emerging hypothesis for the lethality of inhalation anthrax 
Inhalation anthrax is often described as a toxin-mediated disease. However, the toxaemia model does not account for the high mortality of inhalation anthrax relative to other forms of the disease or for the pathology present in inhalation anthrax. Patients with inhalation anthrax consistently show extreme bacteraemia and, in contrast to animals challenged with toxin, signs of sepsis. Rather than toxaemia, we propose that death in inhalation anthrax results from an overwhelming bacteraemia that leads to severe sepsis. According to our model, the central role of anthrax toxin is to permit the vegetative bacteria to escape immune detection. Other forms of B. anthracis infection have lower mortality because their overt symptoms early in the course of disease cause patients to seek medical care at a time when the infection and its sequelae can still be reversed by antibiotics. Thus, the sepsis model explains key features of inhalation anthrax and may offer a more complete understanding of disease pathology for researchers as well as those involved in the care of patients.
PMCID: PMC3729634  PMID: 23742651
Sepsis; anthrax; lethal factor; oedema factor; disseminated intravascular coagulation; Gram-positive
12.  Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin Reduces Human Alveolar Epithelial Barrier Function 
Infection and Immunity  2012;80(12):4374-4387.
The lung is the site of entry for Bacillus anthracis in inhalation anthrax, the deadliest form of the disease. Bacillus anthracis produces virulence toxins required for disease. Alveolar macrophages were considered the primary target of the Bacillus anthracis virulence factor lethal toxin because lethal toxin inhibits mouse macrophages through cleavage of MEK signaling pathway components, but we have reported that human alveolar macrophages are not a target of lethal toxin. Our current results suggest that, unlike human alveolar macrophages, the cells lining the respiratory units of the lung, alveolar epithelial cells, are a target of lethal toxin in humans. Alveolar epithelial cells expressed lethal toxin receptor protein, bound the protective antigen component of lethal toxin, and were subject to lethal-toxin-induced cleavage of multiple MEKs. These findings suggest that human alveolar epithelial cells are a target of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin. Further, no reduction in alveolar epithelial cell viability was observed, but lethal toxin caused actin rearrangement and impaired desmosome formation, consistent with impaired barrier function as well as reduced surfactant production. Therefore, by compromising epithelial barrier function, lethal toxin may play a role in the pathogenesis of inhalation anthrax by facilitating the dissemination of Bacillus anthracis from the lung in early disease and promoting edema in late stages of the illness.
PMCID: PMC3497415  PMID: 23027535
We review our baboon models of E. coli sepsis that mimic, respectively, the shock/disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and organ failure variants of severe sepsis, and analyze the pathophysiologic processes that are unique to each. The multistage, multifactorial characteristics of severe sepsis develop as a result of the initial insult, which -depending on its intensity- activates components of the intravascular compartment leading to overwhelming shock/DIC; or initiates a sequence of events involving both the intra- and extravascular (tissues) compartments that lead to organ failure. In the latter case, the disorder passes through two stages: an initial inflammatory/coagulopathic intravascular first stage triggered by E. coli, followed by an extravascular second stage, involving components unique to each organ and triggered by ischemia/reperfusion (oxidative stress and histone release).
Though a myriad of overlapping cellular and molecular components are involved, it is the context in which these components are brought into play that determine whether shock/DIC or organ failure predominate. For example, inflammatory and thrombotic responses amplified by thrombin in the first case while similar responses are amplified by complement activation products in the second. Rather than blocking specific mediators, we found that attenuation of the thrombin and complement amplification pathways can effectively reverse the shock/DIC and organ failure exhibited by the LD100 and LD50 E. coli models of severe sepsis, respectively. Translation of these concepts to successful intervention in the respective baboon models of E. coli sepsis and the application to their clinical counterparts is described.
PMCID: PMC3263329  PMID: 21972970
sepsis; E. coli; staging; animal model; multiple organ failure; complement
14.  Endothelial epsin deficiency decreases tumor growth by enhancing VEGF signaling 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(12):4424-4438.
Epsins are a family of ubiquitin-binding, endocytic clathrin adaptors. Mice lacking both epsins 1 and 2 (Epn1/2) die at embryonic day 10 and exhibit an abnormal vascular phenotype. To examine the angiogenic role of endothelial epsins, we generated mice with constitutive or inducible deletion of Epn1/2 in vascular endothelium. These mice exhibited no abnormal phenotypes under normal conditions, suggesting that lack of endothelial epsins 1 and 2 did not affect normal blood vessels. In tumors, however, loss of epsins 1 and 2 resulted in disorganized vasculature, significantly increased vascular permeability, and markedly retarded tumor growth. Mechanistically, we show that VEGF promoted binding of epsin to ubiquitinated VEGFR2. Loss of epsins 1 and 2 specifically impaired endocytosis and degradation of VEGFR2, which resulted in excessive VEGF signaling that compromised tumor vascular function by exacerbating nonproductive leaky angiogenesis. This suggests that tumor vasculature requires a balance in VEGF signaling to provide sufficient productive angiogenesis for tumor development and that endothelial epsins 1 and 2 negatively regulate the output of VEGF signaling. Promotion of excessive VEGF signaling within tumors via a block of epsin 1 and 2 function may represent a strategy to prevent normal angiogenesis in cancer patients who are resistant to anti-VEGF therapies.
PMCID: PMC3533553  PMID: 23187125
15.  Innate Immunity and Coagulation 
Infection frequently elicits a coagulation response. Endotoxin triggers the formation of tissue factor initiating coagulation, down regulates anticoagulant mechanisms including the protein C pathway and heparin-like proteoglycans and up regulates plasminogen activator inhibitor. The overall physiological result of this is to promote coagulation through enhancing initiation, suppressing negative regulation and impairing fibrin removal. The response to infection also leads to tissue destruction. Nucleosomes and histones released from the injured cells trigger further inflammation, protection from the pathogen but further tissue injury leading to multi-organ failure. Such a complex response to infection presumably arises due to the role of coagulation in the control and clearance of the infectious agent.
PMCID: PMC3151110  PMID: 21781254
Histones; innate immunity; natural anticoagulants; nucleosomes; protein C; thrombosis
16.  Molecular MRI Assessment of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 in Rat C6 Gliomas 
Angiogenesis is essential to tumor progression and a precise evaluation of angiogenesis is important for tumor early diagnosis and treatment. The quantitative and dynamic in vivo assessment of tumor angiogenesis can be achieved by molecular magnetic resonance imaging (mMRI). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and VEGF receptors (VEGFRs) are the main regulatory system in angiogenesis and have been used as hot targets for radionuclide-based molecular imaging. However, little research has been accomplished in targeting VEGF/VEGFRs by mMRI. In our study, we aimed to assess the expression of VEGFR2 in C6 gliomas by using a specific molecular probe with mMRI. The differential uptake of the probe conjugated to anti-VEGFR2 monoclonal antibody, shown by varied increases in T1 signal intensity during a two-hour period, demonstrated the heterogeneous expression of VEGFR2 in different tumor regions. Microscopic fluorescence imaging, obtained for the biotin group in the probe with streptavidin-Cy3, along with staining for cellular VEGFR2 levels, laminin and CD45, confirmed the differential distribution of the probe which targeted VEGFR2 on endothelial cells. The angiogenesis process was also assessed using MR angiography (MRA), which quantified tumor blood volume and provided a macroscopic view and a dynamic change of the correlation between tumor vasculature and VEGFR2 expression. Together these results suggest mMRI can be very useful in assessing and characterizing the expression of specific angiogenic markers in vivo and help evaluate angiogenesis associated with tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC2951496  PMID: 20497492
VEGFR2; molecular MRI (mMRI); biotin-Gd-DTPA-albumin-anti-VEGFR2 probe; angiogenesis; C6 rat glioma
17.  Differential regulation of human and murine P-selectin expression and function in vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(13):2975-2987.
Basal and inducible expression of human P-selectin in transgenic mice differs from that of murine P-selectin, resulting in distinct functions.
Leukocytes roll on P-selectin after its mobilization from secretory granules to the surfaces of platelets and endothelial cells. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-1β, and lipopolysaccharide increase synthesis of P-selectin in murine but not in human endothelial cells. To explore the physiological significance of this difference in gene regulation, we made transgenic mice bearing the human Selp gene and crossed them with mice lacking murine P-selectin (Selp−/−). The transgenic mice constitutively expressed human P-selectin in platelets, endothelial cells, and macrophages. P-selectin mediated comparable neutrophil migration into the inflamed peritoneum of transgenic and wild-type (WT) mice. Leukocytes rolled similarly on human or murine P-selectin on activated murine platelets and in venules of the cremaster muscle subjected to trauma. However, TNF increased murine P-selectin in venules, slowing rolling and increasing adhesion, whereas it decreased human P-selectin, accelerating rolling and decreasing adhesion. Both P- and E-selectin mediated basal rolling in the skin of WT mice, but E-selectin dominated rolling in transgenic mice. During contact hypersensitivity, murine P-selectin messenger (m) RNA was up-regulated and P-selectin was essential for leukocyte recruitment. However, human P-selectin mRNA was down-regulated and P-selectin contributed much less to leukocyte recruitment. These findings reveal functionally significant differences in basal and inducible expression of human and murine P-selectin in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3005233  PMID: 21149548
18.  Role of PDI in regulating tissue factor:FVIIa activity 
Thrombosis research  2010;125S1:S38-S41.
Cell exposed tissue factor (TF) is generally in a low procoagulant (“cryptic”) state, and requires an activation step (decryption) to exhibit its full procoagulant potential. Recent data suggest that TF decryption may be regulated by the redox environment through the oxidoreductase activity of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). In this article we review PDI contribution to different models of TF decryption, namely the disulfide switch model and the phosphatidylserine dynamics, and hypothesize on PDI contribution to TF self-association and association with lipid domains. Experimental evidence debate the disulfide switch model of TF decryption and its regulation by PDI. More recently we showed that PDI oxidoreductase activity regulates the phosphatidylserine equilibrium at the plasma membrane. Interestingly, PDI reductase activity could maintain TF in the reduced monomeric form, while also maintaining low exposure of PS, both states correlated with low procoagulant function. In contrast, PDI inhibition or oxidants may promote the adverse effects with a net increase in coagulation. The relative contribution of disulfide isomerization and PS exposure needs to be further analyzed to understand the redox control of TF procoagulant function. For the moment however TF regulation remains cryptic.
PMCID: PMC2839035  PMID: 20163832
tissue factor; decryption; protein disulfide isomerase; phosphatidylserine
19.  Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging Approaches Used to Aid in the Understanding of the Tissue Regeneration Marker Met In Vivo: Implications for Tissue Engineering 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(2):365-371.
The levels of Met, a tyrosine kinase receptor for the hepatocyte growth factor or scatter factor, are elevated during tissue regeneration, and can be used to assess tissue regeneration associated with engineered tissue grafts. This study involved the development and assessment of a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) molecular probe for the in vivo detection of Met in an experimental rodent (rat) model of disease (C6 glioma). The implication of using these probes in tissue engineering is discussed. The molecular targeting agent we used in our study incorporated a magnetite-based dextran-coated nanoparticle backbone covalently bound to an anti-Met antibody. We used molecular MRI with an anti-Met probe to detect in vivo Met levels as a molecular marker for gliomas. Tumor regions were compared to normal tissue, and found to significantly (p < 0.05) decrease MR signal intensity and T2 relaxation in tumors. Nonimmune nonspecific normal rat IgG coupled to the dextran-coated nanoparticles was used as a control. Met levels in tumor tissues were confirmed in Western blots. Based on our results, in vivo evaluation of tissue regeneration using molecular MRI is possible in tissue engineering applications.
PMCID: PMC2813147  PMID: 19905873
20.  Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging Approaches Used to Aid in the Understanding of Angiogenesis In Vivo: Implications for Tissue Engineering 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2009;16(2):357-364.
In tissue engineering it is often necessary to assess angiogenesis associated with engineered tissue grafts. The levels of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGF-R2) is elevated during angiogenesis. The goal of this study was to develop and assess a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) molecular probe for the in vivo detection of VEGF-R2 in an experimental rodent model of disease. The possible use of the probe in tissue engineering applications is discussed. The molecular targeting agent we used in our study incorporated a magnetite-based dextran-coated nanoparticle backbone covalently bound to an anti-VEGF-R2 antibody. We used molecular MRI with an anti-VEGF-R2 probe to detect in vivo VEGF-R2 levels as a molecular marker for gliomas (primary brain tumors). Tumor regions were compared with normal tissue. Nonimmune nonspecific normal rat immunoglobulin G coupled to the dextran-coated nanoparticles was used as a control. Prussian blue staining for iron-based nanoprobes was used to confirm the specificity of the probe for VEGF-R2 in glioma tissue. VEGF-R2 levels in tumor tissues were also confirmed in western blots and via immunohistochemistry. Based on our results, in vivo evaluation of tissue angiogenesis using molecular MRI is possible in tissue engineering applications.
PMCID: PMC2813148  PMID: 19663584
21.  Extracellular histones are major mediators of death in sepsis 
Nature medicine  2009;15(11):1318-1321.
Hyper–inflammatory responses can lead to a variety of diseases including sepsis1. We now report that extracellular histones released in response to inflammatory challenge contribute to endothelial dysfunction, organ failure and death during sepsis. They can be targeted pharmacologically by antibody to histone or by activated protein C (APC). Antibody to histone reduced the mortality of mice in lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) or cecal ligation and puncture models of sepsis. Extracellular histones are cytotoxic toward endothelium in vitro and are lethal in mice. In vivo, histone administration resulted in neutrophil margination, vacuolated endothelium, intra–alveolar hemorrhage and macro and microvascular thrombosis. Histone was detected in the circulation of baboons challenged with E. coli and the increase in histone levels accompanied the onset of renal dysfunction. APC cleaves histones and reduces their cytotoxicity. Co–infusion of APC with E. coli in baboons or histones in mice prevented lethality. Blockade of protein C activation exacerbated sublethal LPS challenge into lethality which was reversed by antibody to histone. We conclude that extracellular histones are potential molecular targets for therapeutics for sepsis and other inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC2783754  PMID: 19855397
22.  Endothelial cell O-glycan deficiency causes blood/lymphatic misconnections and consequent fatty liver disease in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(11):3725-3737.
Mucin-type O-glycans (O-glycans) are highly expressed in vascular ECs. However, it is not known whether they are important for vascular development. To investigate the roles of EC O-glycans, we generated mice lacking T-synthase, a glycosyltransferase encoded by the gene C1galt1 that is critical for the biosynthesis of core 1–derived O-glycans, in ECs and hematopoietic cells (termed here EHC T-syn–/– mice). EHC T-syn–/– mice exhibited embryonic and neonatal lethality associated with disorganized and blood-filled lymphatic vessels. Bone marrow transplantation and EC C1galt1 transgene rescue demonstrated that lymphangiogenesis specifically requires EC O-glycans, and intestinal lymphatic microvessels in EHC T-syn–/– mice expressed a mosaic of blood and lymphatic EC markers. The level of O-glycoprotein podoplanin was significantly reduced in EHC T-syn–/– lymphatics, and podoplanin-deficient mice developed blood-filled lymphatics resembling EHC T-syn–/– defects. In addition, postnatal inactivation of C1galt1 caused blood/lymphatic vessel misconnections that were similar to the vascular defects in the EHC T-syn–/– mice. One consequence of eliminating T-synthase in ECs and hematopoietic cells was that the EHC T-syn–/– pups developed fatty liver disease, because of direct chylomicron deposition via misconnected portal vein and intestinal lymphatic systems. Our studies therefore demonstrate that EC O-glycans control the separation of blood and lymphatic vessels during embryonic and postnatal development, in part by regulating podoplanin expression.
PMCID: PMC2567837  PMID: 18924607
23.  Plasminogen activation: a mediator of vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques 
Apoptosis of vascular cells is considered to be a major determinant of atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability and potential rupture. Plasmin can be generated in atherosclerotic plaques and recent in vitro data suggest that plasminogen activation may trigger vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) apoptosis.
To determine whether plasminogen activation may induce aortic VSMC apoptosis ex vivo and in vivo.
Methods and results
Mice with single or combined deficiencies of ApoE and PAI-1 were used. Ex vivo incubation of plasminogen (1.3 μM) with isolated aortic tunica media from PAI-1-deficient mice induced plasminogen activation and VSMC apoptosis, which was inhibited by α2-antiplasmin. In vivo, levels of plasmin, active caspase 3 and VSMC apoptotic index were significantly higher in atherosclerotic aortas from mice with combined ApoE−/− and PAI-1−/− deficiencies than in those from littermates with single ApoE deficiency. A parallel decrease in VSMC density was also observed.
These data strongly suggest that, in vivo, plasminogen activation may contribute to VSMC apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques.
PMCID: PMC2244648  PMID: 16460449
Animals; Antiplasmin; pharmacology; Aorta; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; Apolipoproteins E; genetics; Apoptosis; Atherosclerosis; metabolism; pathology; Disease Models; Animal; Mice; Mice; Inbred C57BL; Mice; Knockout; Muscle; Smooth; Vascular; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; Plasmin; metabolism; Plasminogen; metabolism; Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1; genetics; Tunica Media; drug effects; metabolism; pathology; apoptosis; atherosclerosis; genetically altered mice; plasminogen; vascular smooth muscle cell
24.  Junctional adhesion molecule-C regulates vascular endothelial permeability by modulating VE-cadherin–mediated cell–cell contacts 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(12):2703-2714.
We recently reported that junctional adhesion molecule (JAM)-C plays a role in leukocyte transendothelial migration. Here, the role of JAM-C in vascular permeability was investigated in vitro and in vivo. As opposed to macrovascular endothelial cells that constitutively expressed JAM-C in cell–cell contacts, in quiescent microvascular endothelial cells, JAM-C localized mainly intracellularly, and was recruited to junctions upon short-term stimulation with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or histamine. Strikingly, disruption of JAM-C function decreased basal permeability and prevented the VEGF- and histamine-induced increases in human dermal microvascular endothelial cell permeability in vitro and skin permeability in mice. Permeability increases are essential in angiogenesis, and JAM-C blockade reduced hyperpermeability and neovascularization in hypoxia-induced retinal angiogenesis in mice. The underlying mechanisms of the JAM-C–mediated increase in endothelial permeability were studied. JAM-C was essential for the regulation of endothelial actomyosin, as revealed by decreased F-actin, reduced myosin light chain phosphorylation, and actin stress fiber formation due to JAM-C knockdown. Moreover, the loss of JAM-C expression resulted in stabilization of VE-cadherin–mediated interendothelial adhesion in a manner dependent on the small GTPase Rap1. Together, through modulation of endothelial contractility and VE-cadherin–mediated adhesion, JAM-C helps to regulate vascular permeability and pathologic angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2118160  PMID: 17116731
25.  Temporal dynamics of gene expression in the lung in a baboon model of E. coli sepsis 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:58.
Bacterial invasion during sepsis induces disregulated systemic responses that could lead to fatal lung failure. The purpose of this study was to relate the temporal dynamics of gene expression to the pathophysiological changes in the lung during the first and second stages of E. coli sepsis in baboons.
Using human oligonucleotide microarrays, we have explored the temporal changes of gene expression in the lung of baboons challenged with sublethal doses of E. coli. Temporal expression pattern and biological significance of the differentially expressed genes were explored using clustering and pathway analysis software. Expression of selected genes was validated by real-time PCR. Cytokine levels in tissue and plasma were assayed by multiplex ELISA. Changes in lung ultrastructure were visualized by electron microscopy. We found that genes involved in primary inflammation, innate immune response, and apoptosis peaked at 2 hrs. Inflammatory and immune response genes that function in the stimulation of monocytes, natural killer and T-cells, and in the modulation of cell adhesion peaked at 8 hrs, while genes involved in wound healing and functional recovery were upregulated at 24 hrs.
The analysis of gene expression modulation in response to sepsis provides the baseline information that is crucial for the understanding of the pathophysiology of systemic inflammation and may facilitate the development of future approaches for sepsis therapy.
PMCID: PMC1819384  PMID: 17324256

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