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1.  Neurotropin Suppresses Inflammatory Cytokine Expression and Cell Death through Suppression of NF-κB and JNK in Hepatocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114071.
Inflammatory response and cell death in hepatocytes are hallmarks of chronic liver disease, and, therefore, can be effective therapeutic targets. Neurotropin® (NTP) is a drug widely used in Japan and China to treat chronic pain. Although NTP has been demonstrated to suppress chronic pain through the descending pain inhibitory system, the action mechanism of NTP remains elusive. We hypothesize that NTP functions to suppress inflammatory pathways, thereby attenuating disease progression. In the present study, we investigated whether NTP suppresses inflammatory signaling and cell death pathways induced by interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) in hepatocytes. NTP suppressed nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation induced by IL-1β and TNFα assessed by using hepatocytes isolated from NF-κB-green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter mice and an NF-κB-luciferase reporter system. The expression of NF-κB target genes, Il6, Nos2, Cxcl1, ccl5 and Cxcl2 induced by IL-1β and TNFα was suppressed after NTP treatment. We also found that NTP suppressed the JNK phosphorylation induced by IL-1β and TNFα. Because JNK activation contributes to hepatocyte death, we determined that NTP treatment suppressed hepatocyte death induced by IL-1β and TNFα in combination with actinomycin D. Taken together, our data demonstrate that NTP attenuates IL-1β and TNFα-mediated inflammatory cytokine expression and cell death in hepatocytes through the suppression of NF-κB and JNK. The results from the present study suggest that NTP may become a preventive or therapeutic strategy for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in which NF-κB and JNK are thought to take part.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114071
PMCID: PMC4254918  PMID: 25470242
2.  Developmental Considerations of Sperm Protein 17 Gene Expression in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synoviocytes 
Developmental Immunology  2002;9(2):97-102.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by proliferative synovial tissue. We used mRNA differential display and library subtraction to compare mRNA expression in RA and osteoarthritis (OA) synoviocytes. We initially compared the mRNA expression patterns in 1 female RA and 1 OA synovia and found a differentially expressed 350 bp transcript in the RA synoviocytes which was, by sequence analysis, 100% homologous to sperm protein 17 (Sp17). Moreover, the Sp17 transcript was found differentially expressed in a RA synovial library that was subtracted with an OA synovial library. Using specific primers for full length Sp17, a 1.1 kb transcript was amplified from the synoviocytes of 7 additional female RA patients, sequenced and found to 100% homologous to Sp17. Thus, we found the unexpected expression of Sp17, a thought to be gamete-specific protein, in the synoviocytes of 8/8 female RA patients in contrast to control OA synoviocytes. Interestingly, Sp17's structural relationship with cell-binding and recognition proteins, suggests that Sp17 may function in cell-cell recognition and signaling in the RA synoviocyte. Further, Sp17 could have a significant regulatory role in RA synoviocyte gene transcription and/or signal transduction. Thus, Sp17 could have an important role in RA synoviocyte proliferation or defective apoptosis. Finally, the presence of Sp17 in synoviocytes has interesting developmental considerations.
doi:10.1080/1044667021000095186
PMCID: PMC2276097  PMID: 12739786
3.  Elevated C-met in Thymic Dendritic Cells of New Zealand Black Mice 
Developmental Immunology  2002;9(1):27-34.
New Zealand Black (NZB) mice are a well-known animal model of human autoimmune disease. Although the mechanism for development of autoimmunity is unclear, NZB mice are well known for severe thymic microarchitecture abnormalities. It is thought that thymic dendritic cells (DC) may play a role in thymic education and contribute to the autoimmune process. To address this issue and, in particular, that qualitative and/or quantitative differences exist in thymic DC, we took advantage of a novel restriction analysis system that allow definition of differences in the expression of tyrosine kinases using highly enriched populations of thymic DC from NZB compared to BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. The method chosen, restriction analysis of gene expression, allowed the determination of protein tyrosine kinase transcription profiles. We report herein that NZB mice have a significant upregulation of C-met compared to the control strains. The abnormality of the C-met transcription was confined to thymic DC. We believe that its abnormal expression reflects the resistance of thymic cells to apoptosis, which will ultimately lead to defects and/or abnormal signaling by the interaction of thymic DC and thymocytes. Further studies involving such interactions are under way.
doi:10.1080/1044667021000003943
PMCID: PMC2276091  PMID: 12353660
4.  Increased Frequency of Pre–Pro B Cells in the Bone Marrow of New Zealand Black (NZB) Mice: Implications for aDevelopmental Block in B Cell Differentiation 
Developmental Immunology  2002;9(1):35-45.
Reductions in populations of both Pre-B cell (Hardy fractions D) and Pro-B cells (Hardy fractions B–C) have been described in association with murine lupus. Recent studies of B cell populations, based on evaluation of B cell differentiation markers, now allow the enumeration and enrichment of other stage specific precursor cells. In this study we report detailed analysis of the ontogeny of B cell lineage subsets in New Zealand black (NZB) and control strains of mice. Our data suggest that B cell development in NZB mice is partially arrested at the fraction A Pre–Pro B cell stage. This arrest at the Pre-Pro B cell stage is secondary to prolonged lifespan and greater resistance to spontaneous apoptosis. In addition, expression of the gene encoding the critical B cell development transcription factor BSAP is reduced in the Pre–Pro B cell stage in NZB mice. This impairment may influence subsequent B cell development to later stages, and thereby accounts for the down-regulation of the B cell receptor component Igα (mb-1). Furthermore, levels of expression of the Rug2, λ5 and Igβ (B29) genes are also reduced in Pre–Pro B cells of NZB mice. The decreased frequency of precursor B cells in the Pre–Pro B cell population occurs at the most primitive stage of B cell differentiation.
doi:10.1080/1044667021000003961
PMCID: PMC2276087  PMID: 12353661

Results 1-4 (4)