Background and Purpose
Angiotensin II produces oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in cerebral arteries, and angiotensin II type I receptors may play a role in longevity and vascular aging. Angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) converts angiotensin II to angiotensin (1–7) and thus may protect against effects of angiotensin II. We hypothesized that ACE2 deficiency increases oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in cerebral arteries, and examined the role of ACE2 in age-related cerebrovascular dysfunction.
Endothelial function, expression of angiotensin system components, NADPH oxidase subunits, and proinflammatory cytokines were examined in cerebral arteries from adult [12 mo old] and old [24 mo old] ACE2 knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. The superoxide scavenger tempol was used to examine the role of oxidative stress on endothelial function.
Vasodilatation to acetylcholine was impaired in adult ACE2 KO [24±6% (mean +/− SE)] compared to WT mice [52±7%, p<0.05]. In old mice, vasodilatation to acetylcholine was impaired in WT mice [29±6%] and severely impaired in ACE2 KO mice [7±5%]. Tempol improved endothelial function in adult and old ACE2 KO and WT mice. Aging increased mRNA for TNFα in WT mice, and significantly increased mRNA levels of Nox2, p47phox, and Rcan1 in both ACE2 KO and WT mice. mRNA levels of angiotensin system components did not change during aging.
ACE2 deficiency impaired endothelial function in cerebral arteries from adult mice and augmented endothelial dysfunction during aging. Oxidative stress plays a critical role in cerebrovascular dysfunction induced by ACE2 deficiency and aging.
Endothelium; angiotensin converting enzyme 2; aging; cerebral arteries; oxidative stress
Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), catalyzing the conversion of Angiotensin II to Angiotensin 1-7. Apelin is a second catalytic substrate for ACE2 and functions as an inotropic and cardioprotective peptide. While an antagonistic relationship between the RAS and apelin has been proposed, such functional interplay remains elusive. Here we found that ACE2 was downregulated in apelin-deficient mice. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) rescued the impaired contractility and hypertrophy of apelin mutant mice, which was accompanied by restored ACE2 levels. Importantly, treatment with angiotensin 1-7 rescued hypertrophy and heart dysfunctions of apelin-knockout mice. Moreover, apelin, via activation of its receptor, APJ, increased ACE2 promoter activity in vitro and upregulated ACE2 expression in failing hearts in vivo. Apelin treatment also increased cardiac contractility and ACE2 levels in AT1R-deficient mice. These data demonstrate that ACE2 couples the RAS to the apelin system, adding a conceptual framework for the apelin-ACE2–angiotensin 1-7 axis as a therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases.
T-cell tolerance in the thymus is a key step in shaping the developing T-cell repertoire. Thymic medullary epithelial cells play multiple roles in this process including negative selection of autoreactive thymocytes, influencing thymic dendritic cell positioning, and the generation of FoxP3+ Regulatory T-cells. Previous studies show that mTEC development involves haemopoietic crosstalk, and numerous Tumour Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily members have been implicated in this process. While CD40 and RANK represent key examples, interplay between these receptors, and the individual cell types providing their ligands at both fetal and adult stages of thymus development, remain unclear. Here, by analysis of the cellular sources of RANKL and CD40L during fetal and adult crosstalk in the mouse, we show that innate immune cells system drive initial fetal mTEC development via expression of RANKL but not CD40L. In contrast, crosstalk involving the adaptive immune system involves both RANKL and CD40L, with analysis of distinct subsets of intrathymic CD4+ T-cells revealing a differential contribution of CD40L by conventional, but not FoxP3+ regulatory, T-cells. We also provide evidence for a stepwise involvement of TNF-Receptors in mTEC development, with CD40 up-regulation induced by initial RANK signalling subsequently controlling proliferation within the mTEC compartment. Collectively, our findings show how multiple haemopoietic cell types regulate mTEC development through differential provision of RANKL/CD40L during ontogeny, revealing molecular differences in fetal and adult haemopoietic crosstalk. They also suggest a stepwise process of mTEC development, in which RANK is a master player in controlling the availability of other TNF-Receptor family members.
Thymus; Cell Differentiation; Stromal Cells
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is one of the most frequent forms of muscular disorders. It is caused by the absence of dystrophin, a core component of the sarcolemma-associated junctional complex that links the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix. We showed previously that plectin 1f (P1f), one of the major muscle-expressed isoforms of the cytoskeletal linker protein plectin, accumulates at the sarcolemma of DMD patients as well as of mdx mice, a widely studied animal model for DMD.
Based on plectin’s dual role as structural protein and scaffolding platform for signaling molecules, we speculated that the dystrophic phenotype observed after loss of dystrophin was caused, at least to some extent, by excess plectin. Thus, we hypothesized that elimination of plectin expression in mdx skeletal muscle, while probably resulting in an overall more severe phenotype, may lead to a partial phenotype rescue. In particular, we wanted to assess whether excess sarcolemmal plectin contributes to the dysregulation of sugar metabolism in mdx myofibers.
We generated plectin/dystrophin double deficient (dKO) mice by breeding mdx with conditional striated muscle-restricted plectin knockout (cKO) mice. The phenotype of these mice was comparatively analyzed with that of mdx, cKO, and wild-type mice, focusing on structural integrity and dysregulation of glucose metabolism.
We show that the accumulation of plectin at the sarcolemma of mdx muscle fibers hardly compensated for their loss of structural integrity. Instead, it led to an additional metabolic deficit by impairing glucose uptake. While dKO mice suffered from an overall more severe form of muscular dystrophy compared to mdx or plectin-deficient mice, sarcolemmal integrity as well as glucose uptake of their myofibers were restored to normal levels upon ablation of plectin. Furthermore, microtubule (MT) networks in intact dKO myofibers, including subsarcolemmal areas, were found to be more robust than those in mdx mice. Finally, myotubes differentiated from P1f-overexpressing myoblasts showed an impairment of glucose transporter 4 translocation and a destabilization of MT networks.
Based on these results we propose that sarcolemma-associated plectin acts as an antagonist of MT network formation in myofibers, thereby hindering vesicle-mediated (MT-dependent) transport of glucose transporter 4. This novel role of plectin throws a bridge between extra-sarcomeric cytoarchitecture and metabolism of muscle fibers. Our study thus provides new insights into pathomechanisms of plectinopathies and muscular dystrophies in general.
Plectin; Dystrophin; Sarcolemmal integrity; Glucose metabolism; Microtubules
Background: A RANKL-binding peptide WP9QY (W9) is known to inhibit osteoclastogenesis.
Results: W9 showed an anabolic effect on cortical bone in mice. W9 bound RANKL and differentiated osteoblasts with production of autocrine factors like BMP-4.
Conclusion: Signaling through RANKL is involved in part in the W9-induced osteoblast differentiation.
Significance: The RANKL pathway could be a novel mechanism in osteoblast differentiation.
To date, parathyroid hormone is the only clinically available bone anabolic drug. The major difficulty in the development of such drugs is the lack of clarification of the mechanisms regulating osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Here, we report a peptide (W9) known to abrogate osteoclast differentiation in vivo via blocking receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-RANK signaling that we surprisingly found exhibits a bone anabolic effect in vivo. Subcutaneous administration of W9 three times/day for 5 days significantly augmented bone mineral density in mouse cortical bone. Histomorphometric analysis showed a decrease in osteoclastogenesis in the distal femoral metaphysis and a significant increase in bone formation in the femoral diaphysis. Our findings suggest that W9 exerts bone anabolic activity. To clarify the mechanisms involved in this activity, we investigated the effects of W9 on osteoblast differentiation/mineralization in MC3T3-E1 (E1) cells. W9 markedly increased alkaline phosphatase (a marker enzyme of osteoblasts) activity and mineralization as shown by alizarin red staining. Gene expression of several osteogenesis-related factors was increased in W9-treated E1 cells. Addition of W9 activated p38 MAPK and Smad1/5/8 in E1 cells, and W9 showed osteogenesis stimulatory activity synergistically with BMP-2 in vitro and ectopic bone formation. Knockdown of RANKL expression in E1 cells reduced the effect of W9. Furthermore, W9 showed a weak effect on RANKL-deficient osteoblasts in alkaline phosphatase assay. Taken together, our findings suggest that this peptide may be useful for the treatment of bone diseases, and W9 achieves its bone anabolic activity through RANKL on osteoblasts accompanied by production of several autocrine factors.
Bone; Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP); Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Osteoblasts; Peptides; Bidirectional Signaling; Coupling; Osteoclasts; RANK; RANKL
Apoptosis during epithelial lumen formation is mediated by hypoxia-induced expression of the proapoptotic protein Bnip3, which is promoted by AIF-mediated reactive oxygen species production and HIF-2α stabilization.
Apoptosis is an essential step in cavitation during embryonic epithelial morphogenesis, but its mechanisms are largely unknown. In this paper, we used embryonic stem cell–differentiated embryoid bodies (EBs) as a model and found that Bnip3 (Bcl-2/adenovirus E1B 19-kD interacting protein), a BH3-only proapoptotic protein, was highly up-regulated during cavitation in a hypoxia-dependent manner. Short hairpin RNA silencing of Bnip3 inhibited apoptosis of the core cells and delayed cavitation. We show that the Bnip3 up-regulation was mediated mainly by hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)–2. Ablation of HIF-2α or HIF-1β, the common β subunit of HIF-1 and -2, suppressed Bnip3 up-regulation and inhibited apoptosis and cavitation. We further show that apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) cooperated with Bnip3 to promote lumen clearance. Bnip3 silencing in AIF-null EBs nearly blocked apoptosis and cavitation. Moreover, AIF also regulated Bnip3 expression through mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and consequent HIF-2α stabilization. These results uncover a mechanism of cavitation through hypoxia-induced apoptosis of the core cells mediated by HIFs, Bnip3, and AIF.
Aberrant activation of cell cycle molecules has been postulated to play a role in apoptosis (“catastrophic cell cycle”). Here we show that in noncycling developing thymocytes, the cyclin- dependent kinase Cdk2 is activated in response to all specific and nonspecific apoptotic stimuli tested, including peptide-specific thymocyte apoptosis. Cdk2 was found to function upstream of the tumor suppressor p53, transactivation of the death promoter Bax, alterations of mitochondrial permeability, Bcl-2, caspase activation, and caspase-dependent proteolytic cleavage of the retinoblastoma protein. Inhibition of Cdk2 completely protected thymocytes from apoptosis, mitochondrial changes, and caspase activation. These data provide the first evidence that Cdk2 activity is crucial for the induction of thymocyte apoptosis.
cyclin-dependent kinase 2; apoptosis; cell cycle; thymocyte
Cardiac remodeling and subsequent heart failure remain critical issues after myocardial infarction despite improved treatment and reperfusion strategies. Recently, complete cardiac regeneration has been demonstrated in fish and newborn mice following resection of the cardiac apex. However, it remained entirely unclear whether the mammalian heart can also completely regenerate following a complex cardiac ischemic injury. We established a protocol to induce a severe heart attack in one-day-old mice using left anterior descending artery (LAD) ligation. LAD ligation triggered substantial cardiac injury in the left ventricle defined by Caspase 3 activation and massive cell death. Ischemia-induced cardiomyocyte death was also visible on day 4 after LAD ligation. Remarkably, 7 days after the initial ischemic insult, we observed complete cardiac regeneration without any signs of tissue damage or scarring. This tissue regeneration translated into long-term normal heart functions as assessed by echocardiography. In contrast, LAD ligations in 7-day-old mice resulted in extensive scarring comparable to adult mice, indicating that the regenerative capacity for complete cardiac healing after heart attacks can be traced to the first week after birth. RNAseq analyses of hearts on day 1, day 3, and day 10 and comparing LAD-ligated and sham-operated mice surprisingly revealed a transcriptional programme of major changes in genes mediating mitosis and cell division between days 1, 3 and 10 postnatally and a very limited set of genes, including genes regulating cell cycle and extracellular matrix synthesis, being differentially regulated in the regenerating hearts. We present for the first time a mammalian model of complete cardiac regeneration following a severe ischemic cardiac injury. This novel model system provides the unique opportunity to uncover molecular and cellular pathways that can induce cardiac regeneration after ischemic injury, findings that one day could be translated to human heart attack patients.
Heart regeneration; cell cycle; heart disease
E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b plays a crucial role in T cell activation and tolerance induction. However, the molecular mechanism by which Cbl-b inhibits T cell activation remains unclear. Here we report that Cbl-b does not inhibit PI3-K, but rather suppresses TCR/CD28-induced inactivation of Pten. The elevated Akt activity in Cbl-b−/− T cells is therefore due to heightened Pten inactivation. Suppression of Pten inactivation in T cells by Cbl-b is achieved by impeding the association of Pten with Nedd4, which targets Pten K13 for K63-linked polyubiquitination. Consistent with this finding, introducing Nedd4 deficiency into Cbl-b−/− mice abrogates hyper-T cell responses caused by the loss of Cbl-b. Hence, our data are the first to demonstrate that Cbl-b inhibits T cell activation by suppressing Pten inactivation independently of its ubiquitin ligase activity.
Background and Purpose
Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) gamma is linked to inflammation and oxidative stress. This study was conducted to investigate the role of the PI3Kgamma in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and brain damage induced by focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion.
Wild-type and PI3Kgamma knockout mice were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (60 min) followed by reperfusion. Evans blue leakage, brain edema, infarct volumes and neurological deficits were examined. Oxidative stress, neutrophil infiltration, and matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9) were assessed. Activation of NF-kB and expression of proinflammatory and pro-oxidative genes were studied.
PI3Kgamma deficiency significantly reduced BBB permeability and brain edema formation, which were time-dependently correlated with preventing the degradation of the tight junction protein, claudin-5, and the basal lamina protein, collagen IV, and the phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC) in brain microvessels. PI3Kgamma deficiency suppressed ischemia/reperfusion-induced NF-kB p65 (Ser536) phosphorylation and the expression of the pro-oxidant enzyme NADPH oxidase (Nox1, Nox2, and Nox4) and pro-inflammatory adhesion molecules (E- and P-selectin, ICAM-1) at different time points. These molecular changes were associated with significant inhibition of oxidative stress (superoxide production and malondialdehyde content), neutrophil infiltration, and MMP-9 expression/activity in PI3Kgamma knockout mice. Eventually, PI3Kgamma deficiency significantly reduced infarct volumes and neurological scores at 24 hours after ischemia/reperfusion.
Our results provide the first direct demonstration that PI3Kgamma plays a significant role in ischemia/reperfusion-induced BBB disruption and brain damage. Future studies need to explore PI3Kγ as a potential target for stroke therapy.
blood-brain barrier; PI3 kinase-gamma; ischemic stroke; oxidative stress; metallopeptidases
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an important negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system. Loss of ACE2 enhances the susceptibility to heart disease but the mechanism remains elusive. We hypothesized that ACE2 deficiency activates the NADPH oxidase system in pressure overload-induced heart failure.
Methods and results
Using the aortic constriction model, we subjected wild-type (Ace2+/y), ACE2 knockout (ACE2KO, Ace2−/y), p47phox knockout (p47phoxKO, p47phox−/−), and ACE2/p47phox double KO mice to pressure overload. We examined changes in peptide levels, NADPH oxidase activity, gene expression, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) activity, pathological signalling, and heart function. Loss of ACE2 resulted in enhanced susceptibility to biomechanical stress leading to eccentric remodelling, increased pathological hypertrophy, and worsening of systolic performance. Myocardial angiotensin II (Ang II) levels were increased, whereas Ang 1–7 levels were lowered. Activation of Ang II-stimulated signalling pathways in the ACE2-deficient myocardium was associated with increased expression and phosphorylation of p47phox, NADPH oxidase activity, and superoxide generation, leading to enhanced MMP-mediated degradation of the extracellular matrix. Additional loss of p47phox in the ACE2KO mice normalized the increased NADPH oxidase activity, superoxide production, and systolic dysfunction following pressure overload. Ang 1–7 supplementation suppressed the increased NADPH oxidase and rescued the early dilated cardiomyopathy in pressure-overloaded ACE2KO mice.
In the absence of ACE2, biomechanical stress triggers activation of the myocardial NAPDH oxidase system with a critical role of the p47phox subunit. Increased production of superoxide, activation of MMP, and pathological signalling leads to severe adverse myocardial remodelling and dysfunction in ACE2KO mice.
Renin–angiotensin system; Angiotensin 1–7; Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; NADPH oxidase; Signalling
Colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) receptor (CSF-1R, or macrophage CSF receptor [M-CSFR]) is the primary regulator of the proliferation, survival, and differentiation of mononuclear phagocytes (MNPs), but the critical CSF-1 signals for these functions are unclear. The scaffold protein Gab2 is a major tyrosyl phosphoprotein in the CSF-1R signaling network. Here we demonstrate that Gab2 deficiency results in profoundly defective expansion of CSF-1R-dependent MNP progenitors in the bone marrow, through decreased proliferation and survival. Reconstitution and phospho-flow studies show that downstream of CSF-1R, Gab2 uses phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) to regulate MNP progenitor expansion. Unexpectedly, Gab2 ablation enhances Jun N-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1) phosphorylation in differentiated MNPs but reduces their proliferation; inhibition of JNK signaling or reduction of JNK1 levels restores proliferation. MNP recruitment to inflammatory sites and the corresponding bone marrow response is strongly impaired in Gab2-deficient mice. Our data provide genetic and biochemical evidence that CSF-1R, through Gab2, utilizes different effectors at different stages of MNP development to promote their expansion.
The mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells does not require osteoclasts, which may even have an inhibitory effect.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are maintained in a specific bone marrow (BM) niche in cavities formed by osteoclasts. Osteoclast-deficient mice are osteopetrotic and exhibit closed BM cavities. Osteoclast activity is inversely correlated with hematopoietic activity; however, how osteoclasts and the BM cavity potentially regulate hematopoiesis is not well understood. To investigate this question, we evaluated hematopoietic activity in three osteopetrotic mouse models: op/op, c-Fos-deficient, and RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand)-deficient mice. We show that, although osteoclasts and, by consequence, BM cavities are absent in these animals, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) mobilization after granulocyte colony-stimulating factor injection was comparable or even higher in all three lines compared with wild-type mice. In contrast, osteoprotegerin-deficient mice, which have increased numbers of osteoclasts, showed reduced HSPC mobilization. BM-deficient patients and mice reportedly maintain hematopoiesis in extramedullary spaces, such as spleen; however, splenectomized op/op mice did not show reduced HSPC mobilization. Interestingly, we detected an HSC population in osteopetrotic bone of op/op mice, and pharmacological ablation of osteoclasts in wild-type mice did not inhibit, and even increased, HSPC mobilization. These results suggest that osteoclasts are dispensable for HSC mobilization and may function as negative regulators in the hematopoietic system.
The thymic medulla provides a specialized microenvironment for the negative selection of T cells, with the presence of autoimmune regulator (Aire)-expressing medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) during the embryonic-neonatal period being both necessary and sufficient to establish long-lasting tolerance. Here we showed that emergence of the first cohorts of Aire+ mTECs at this key developmental stage, prior to αβ T cell repertoire selection, was jointly directed by Rankl+ lymphoid tissue inducer cells and invariant Vγ5+ dendritic epidermal T cell (DETC) progenitors that are the first thymocytes to express the products of gene rearrangement. In turn, generation of Aire+ mTECs then fostered Skint-1-dependent, but Aire-independent, DETC progenitor maturation and the emergence of an invariant DETC repertoire. Hence, our data attributed a functional importance to the temporal development of Vγ5+ γδ T cells during thymus medulla formation for αβ T cell tolerance induction and demonstrated a Rank-mediated reciprocal link between DETC and Aire+ mTEC maturation.
► Invariant Vγ5+ thymocytes regulate formation of Aire+ medullary thymic epithelium ► Generation of an invariant Vγ5+ T cell population requires thymus medulla development ► Skint-1-mediated Vγ5+ thymocyte development is Aire independent ► Dependency on Tnfrsf11a links γδ T cell and medullary epithelium development
Microglia, the resident microphages of the CNS, are rapidly activated after ischemic stroke. Inhibition of microglial activation may protect the brain by attenuating blood-brain barrier damage and neuronal apoptosis after ischemic stroke. However, the mechanisms by which microglia is activated following cerebral ischemia is not well defined. In present study we investigated the expression of PI3Kgamma in normal and ischemic brains and found that PI3Kgamma mRNA and protein are constitutively expressed in normal brain microvessels, but significantly upregulated in postischemic brain primarily in activated microglia following cerebral ischemia. In vitro, the expression of PI3Kgamma mRNA and protein was verified in mouse brain endothelial and microglial cell lines. Importantly, absence of PI3Kgamma blocked the early microglia activation (at 4h) and subsequent expansion (at 24-72 h) in PI3Kγ knockout mice. The results suggest that PI3Kγ is an ischemia-responsive gene in brain microglia and contributes to ischemia-induced microglial activation and expansion.
phosphoinositide 3-kinase-gamma; ischemia; microglia; endothelial cells; stroke
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in humans and will on average affect up to one in eight women in their lifetime in the United States and Europe1. The Women’s Health Initiative and the Million Women Study have shown that hormone replacement therapy is associated with an increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer2,3. In particular, synthetic progesterone derivatives (progestins) such as medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), used in millions of women for hormone replacement therapy and contraceptives, markedly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Here we show that the in vivo administration of MPA triggers massive induction of the key osteoclast differentiation factor RANKL (receptor activator of NF-κB ligand) in mammary-gland epithelial cells. Genetic inactivation of the RANKL receptor RANK in mammary-gland epithelial cells prevents MPA-induced epithelial proliferation, impairs expansion of the CD49fhi stem-cell-enriched population, and sensitizes these cells to DNA-damage-induced cell death. Deletion of RANK from the mammary epithelium results in a markedly decreased incidence and delayed onset of MPA-driven mammary cancer. These data show that the RANKL/RANK system controls the incidence and onset of progestin-driven breast cancer.
Diabetic nephropathy is one of the most common causes of end-stage renal failure. Inhibition of ACE2 function accelerates diabetic kidney injury, whereas renal ACE2 is downregulated in diabetic nephropathy. We examined the ability of human recombinant ACE2 (hrACE2) to slow the progression of diabetic kidney injury.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Male 12-week-old diabetic Akita mice (Ins2WT/C96Y) and control C57BL/6J mice (Ins2WT/WT) were injected daily with placebo or with rhACE2 (2 mg/kg, i.p.) for 4 weeks. Albumin excretion, gene expression, histomorphometry, NADPH oxidase activity, and peptide levels were examined. The effect of hrACE2 on high glucose and angiotensin II (ANG II)–induced changes was also examined in cultured mesangial cells.
Treatment with hrACE2 increased plasma ACE2 activity, normalized blood pressure, and reduced the urinary albumin excretion in Akita Ins2WT/C96Y mice in association with a decreased glomerular mesangial matrix expansion and normalization of increased α-smooth muscle actin and collagen III expression. Human recombinant ACE2 increased ANG 1–7 levels, lowered ANG II levels, and reduced NADPH oxidase activity. mRNA levels for p47phox and NOX2 and protein levels for protein kinase Cα (PKCα) and PKCβ1 were also normalized by treatment with hrACE2. In vitro, hrACE2 attenuated both high glucose and ANG II–induced oxidative stress and NADPH oxidase activity.
Treatment with hrACE2 attenuates diabetic kidney injury in the Akita mouse in association with a reduction in blood pressure and a decrease in NADPH oxidase activity. In vitro studies show that the protective effect of hrACE2 is due to reduction in ANG II and an increase in ANG 1–7 signaling.
Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) cleaves angiotensin II (Ang II) to form Ang-(1-7). Here we examined whether soluble human recombinant ACE2 (rACE2) can efficiently lower Ang II and increase Ang-(1-7), and whether rACE2 can prevent hypertension caused by Ang II infusion as a result of systemic versus local mechanisms of ACE2 activity amplification.
rACE2 was infused via osmotic minipumps for three days in conscious mice or acutely in anesthetized mice. rACE2 caused a dose-dependent increase in serum ACE2 activity but had no effect on kidney or cardiac ACE2 activity. Following Ang II infusion (40pmol/min), rACE2 (1mg/kg/d) resulted in normalization of systolic blood pressure and plasma Ang II. In acute studies, rACE2 (1mg/kg) prevented the rapid hypertensive effect of Ang II (0.2mg/kg), and this was associated with both a decrease in Ang II and an increase in Ang-(1-7) in plasma. Moreover, during infusion of Ang II, the effect of rACE2 on blood pressure was unaffected by a specific Ang-(1-7) receptor blocker, A779 (0.2 mg/kg), and infusing supra-physiologic levels of Ang-(1-7) (0.2 mg/kg) had no effect on blood pressure.
We conclude that during Ang II infusion rACE2 effectively degrades Ang II and in the process normalizes blood pressure. The mechanism of rACE2 action results from an increase in systemic, not tissue, ACE2 activity and the lowering of plasma Ang II rather than the attendant increase in Ang-(1-7). Increasing ACE2 activity may provide a new therapeutic target in states of Ang II over-activity by enhancing its degradation, an approach that differs from the current focus on blocking Ang II formation and action.
ACE2; Soluble; Recombinant; Angiotensin II; Angiotensin-(1-7)
Innate immunity represents the first line of defense in animals. We report a genome-wide in vivo Drosophila RNA interference screen to uncover genes involved in susceptibility or resistance to intestinal infection with the bacterium Serratia marcescens. We employed first whole-organism gene suppression followed by tissue-specific silencing in gut epithelium or hemocytes to identify several hundred genes involved in intestinal anti-bacterial immunity. Among the pathways identified, we showed that the JAK-STAT signaling pathway controls host defense in the gut by regulating stem cell proliferation and thus epithelial cell homeostasis. Thus, we revealed multiple genes involved in anti-bacterial defense and the regulation of innate immunity.
Meiosis is a critical stage of gametogenesis in which alignment and synapsis of chromosomal pairs occur, allowing for the recombination of maternal and paternal genomes. Here we show that FK506 binding protein (Fkbp6) localizes to meiotic chromosome cores and regions of homologous chromosome synapsis. Targeted inactivation of Fkbp6 in mice results in aspermic males and the absence of normal pachytene spermatocytes. Moreover, we identified the deletion of Fkbp6 exon 8 as the causative mutation in spontaneously male sterile as/as mutant rats. Loss of Fkbp6 results in abnormal pairing and misalignments between homologous chromosomes, nonhomologous partner switches, and autosynapsis of X chromosome cores in meiotic spermatocytes. Fertility and meiosis are normal in Fkbp6 mutant females. Thus, Fkbp6 is a component of the synaptonemal complex essential for sex-specific fertility and for the fidelity of homologous chromosome pairing in meiosis.
PMID: 12764197 CAMSID: cams405
Cardiac atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) locally counteracts cardiac hypertrophy via the guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) receptor and cGMP production, but the downstream signalling pathways are unknown. Here, we examined the influence of ANP on β-adrenergic versus Angiotensin II (Ang II)-dependent (Gs vs. Gαq mediated) modulation of Ca2+i-handling in cardiomyocytes and of hypertrophy in intact hearts. L-type Ca2+ currents and Ca2+i transients in adult isolated murine ventricular myocytes were studied by voltage-clamp recordings and fluorescence microscopy. ANP suppressed Ang II-stimulated Ca2+ currents and transients, but had no effect on isoproterenol stimulation. Ang II suppression by ANP was abolished in cardiomyocytes of mice deficient in GC-A, in cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase I (PKG I) or in the regulator of G protein signalling (RGS) 2, a target of PKG I. Cardiac hypertrophy in response to exogenous Ang II was significantly exacerbated in mice with conditional, cardiomyocyte-restricted GC-A deletion (CM GC-A KO). This was concomitant to increased activation of the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent prohypertrophic signal transducer CaMKII. In contrast, β-adrenoreceptor-induced hypertrophy was not enhanced in CM GC-A KO mice. Lastly, while the stimulatory effects of Ang II on Ca2+-handling were absent in myocytes of mice deficient in TRPC3/TRPC6, the effects of isoproterenol were unchanged. Our data demonstrate a direct myocardial role for ANP/GC-A/cGMP to antagonize the Ca2+i-dependent hypertrophic growth response to Ang II, but not to β-adrenergic stimulation. The selectivity of this interaction is determined by PKG I and RGS2-dependent modulation of Ang II/AT1 signalling. Furthermore, they strengthen published observations in neonatal cardiomyocytes showing that TRPC3/TRPC6 channels are essential for Ang II, but not for β-adrenergic Ca2+i-stimulation in adult myocytes.
ANP; Angiotensin II; cGMP-dependent protein kinase; RGS2; Cardiac hypertrophy
PI3Kγ functions in the immune compartment to promote inflammation in response to G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) agonists and PI3Kγ also acts within the heart itself both as a negative regulator of cardiac contractility and as a pro-survival factor. Thus, PI3Kγ has the potential to both promote and limit M I/R injury.
Complete PI3Kγ−/− mutant mice, catalytically inactive PI3KγKD/KD (KD) knock-in mice, and control wild type (WT) mice were subjected to in vivo myocardial ischemia and reperfusion (M I/R) injury. Additionally, bone-marrow chimeric mice were constructed to elucidate the contribution of the inflammatory response to cardiac damage. PI3Kγ−/− mice exhibited a significantly increased infarction size following reperfusion. Mechanistically, PI3Kγ is required for activation of the Reperfusion Injury Salvage Kinase (RISK) pathway (AKT/ERK1/2) and regulates phospholamban phosphorylation in the acute injury response. Using bone marrow chimeras, the cardioprotective role of PI3Kγ was mapped to non-haematopoietic cells. Importantly, this massive increase in M I/R injury in PI3Kγ−/− mice was rescued in PI3Kγ kinase-dead (PI3KγKD/KD) knock-in mice. However, PI3KγKD/KD mice exhibited a cardiac injury similar to wild type animals, suggesting that specific blockade of PI3Kγ catalytic activity has no beneficial effects.
Our data show that PI3Kγ is cardioprotective during M I/R injury independent of its catalytic kinase activity and that loss of PI3Kγ function in the hematopoietic compartment does not affect disease outcome. Thus, clinical development of specific PI3Kγ blockers should proceed with caution.
Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells that resorb bone. Although osteoclasts originate from the monocyte/macrophage lineage, osteoclast precursors are not well characterized in vivo. The relationship between proliferation and differentiation of osteoclast precursors is examined in this study using murine macrophage cultures treated with macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) ligand (RANKL). Cell cycle–arrested quiescent osteoclast precursors (QuOPs) were identified as the committed osteoclast precursors in vitro. In vivo experiments show that QuOPs survive for several weeks and differentiate into osteoclasts in response to M-CSF and RANKL. Administration of 5-fluorouracil to mice induces myelosuppression, but QuOPs survive and differentiate into osteoclasts in response to an active vitamin D3 analogue given to those mice. Mononuclear cells expressing c-Fms and RANK but not Ki67 are detected along bone surfaces in the vicinity of osteoblasts in RANKL-deficient mice. These results suggest that QuOPs preexist at the site of osteoclastogenesis and that osteoblasts are important for maintenance of QuOPs.