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1.  NADPH Oxidases in Heart Failure: Poachers or Gamekeepers? 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(9):1024-1041.
Significance: Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of heart failure but clinical antioxidant trials have been unsuccessful. This may be because effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) depend upon their source, location, and concentration. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (Nox) proteins generate ROS in a highly regulated fashion and modulate several components of the heart failure phenotype. Recent Advances: Two Nox isoforms, Nox2 and Nox4, are expressed in the heart. Studies using gene-modified mice deficient in Nox2 activity indicate that Nox2 activation contributes to angiotensin II–induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, atrial fibrillation, and the development of interstitial fibrosis but may also positively modulate physiological excitation-contraction coupling. Nox2 contributes to myocyte death under stress situations and plays important roles in postmyocardial infarction remodeling, in part by modulating matrix metalloprotease activity. In contrast to Nox2, Nox4 is constitutively active at a low level and induces protective effects in the heart under chronic stress, for example, by maintaining myocardial capillary density. However, high levels of Nox4 could have detrimental effects. Critical Issues: The effects of Nox proteins during the development of heart failure likely depend upon the isoform, activation level, and cellular distribution, and may include beneficial as well as detrimental effects. More needs to be learnt about the precise regulation of abundance and biochemical activity of these proteins in the heart as well as the downstream signaling pathways that they regulate. Future Directions: The development of specific approaches to target individual Nox isoforms and/or specific cell types may be important for the achievement of therapeutic efficacy in heart failure. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1024–1041.
PMCID: PMC3567780  PMID: 22747566
2.  Redox regulation of cardiomyocyte cell cycling via an ERK1/2 and c-Myc-dependent activation of cyclin D2 transcription 
Adult mammalian cardiomyocytes have a very limited capacity to proliferate, and consequently the loss of cells after cardiac stress promotes heart failure. Recent evidence suggests that administration of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), can regulate redox-dependent signalling pathway(s) to promote cardiomyocyte proliferation in vitro, but the potential relevance of such a pathway in vivo has not been tested. We have generated a transgenic (Tg) mouse model in which the H2O2-generating enzyme, NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4), is overexpressed within the postnatal cardiomyocytes, and observed that the hearts of 1–3 week old Tg mice pups are larger in comparison to wild type (Wt) littermate controls. We demonstrate that the cardiomyocytes of Tg mouse pups have increased cell cycling capacity in vivo as determined by incorporation of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine. Further, microarray analyses of the transcriptome of these Tg mouse hearts suggested that the expression of cyclin D2 is significantly increased. We investigated the molecular mechanisms which underlie this more proliferative phenotype in isolated neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCs) in vitro, and demonstrate that Nox4 overexpression mediates an H2O2-dependent activation of the ERK1/2 signalling pathway, which in turn phosphorylates and activates the transcription factor c-myc. This results in a significant increase in cyclin D2 expression, which we show to be mediated, at least in part, by cis-acting c-myc binding sites within the proximal cyclin D2 promoter. Overexpression of Nox4 in NRCs results in an increase in their proliferative capacity that is ablated by the silencing of cyclin D2. We further demonstrate activation of the ERK1/2 signalling pathway, increased phosphorylation of c-myc and significantly increased expression of cyclin D2 protein in the Nox4 Tg hearts. We suggest that this pathway acts to maintain the proliferative capacity of cardiomyocytes in Nox4 Tg pups in vivo and so delays their exit from the cell cycle after birth.
•Cardiomyocyte cell cycling is under redox control in vivo.•Nox4 is a potential source of ROS regulating this process.•Redox activation of ERK1/2 promotes cyclin D2 transcription via c-myc activation.•Promotion of proliferation via increased cyclin D2 may be useful therapeutically.
PMCID: PMC4312357  PMID: 25450615
BrdU, bromodeoxyuridine; AdNox4, adenoviral Nox4; AdβGal, adenoviral β-galactosidase; PEG, polyethylene glycol; Wt, wild type; Tg, transgenic; NRC, neonatal rat cardiomyocyte; Cardiomyocyte proliferation; ERK1/2; Nox4; Cyclin D2; Redox signalling; c-Myc
3.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Nox-Mediated Reactive Oxygen Species Signaling in the Peripheral Vasculature: Potential Role in Hypertension 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;20(1):121-134.
Significance: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced during normal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) metabolism. There is accumulating evidence showing that under stress conditions such as ER stress, ROS production is increased via enzymes of the NADPH oxidase (Nox) family, especially via the Nox2 and Nox4 isoforms, which are involved in the regulation of blood pressure. Hypertension is a major contributor to cardiovascular and renal disease, and it has a complex pathophysiology involving the heart, kidney, brain, vessels, and immune system. ER stress activates the unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathway that has prosurvival and proapoptotic components. Recent Advances: Here, we summarize the evidence regarding the association of Nox enzymes and ER stress, and its potential contribution in the setting of hypertension, including the role of other conditions that can lead to hypertension (e.g., insulin resistance and diabetes). Critical Issues: A better understanding of this association is currently of great interest, as it will provide further insights into the cellular mechanisms that can drive the ER stress-induced adaptive versus maladaptive pathways linked to hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. More needs to be learnt about the precise signaling regulation of Nox(es) and ER stress in the cardiovascular system. Future Directions: The development of specific approaches that target individual Nox isoforms and the UPR signaling pathway may be important for the achievement of therapeutic efficacy in hypertension. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 121–134.
PMCID: PMC3880927  PMID: 23472786
Lancet  2011;378(9792):704-712.
PMCID: PMC3486638  PMID: 21856484
5.  Oxidative stress and redox signalling in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure 
Heart  2006;93(8):903-907.
Substantial evidence suggests the involvement of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of congestive heart failure and its antecedent conditions such as cardiac hypertrophy and adverse remodelling after MI. Oxidative stress describes an imbalance between antioxidant defences and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which at high levels cause cell damage but at lower levels induce subtle changes in intracellular signalling pathways (termed redox signalling). ROS are derived from many sources including mitochondria, xanthine oxidase, uncoupled nitric oxide synthases and NADPH oxidases. The latter enzymes are especially important in redox signalling, being implicated in the pathophysiology of hypertension and atherosclerosis, and activated by diverse pathologically relevant stimuli. We review the contribution of ROS to heart failure pathophysiology and discuss potential therapies that may specifically target detrimental redox signalling. Indeed, drugs such as ACE inhibitors and statins may act in part through such mechanisms. A better understanding of redox signalling mechanisms may enable the development of new targeted therapeutic strategies rather than the non‐specific antioxidant approaches that have to date been disappointing in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC1994416  PMID: 16670100
6.  Effect of Endothelium-Specific Insulin Resistance on Endothelial Function In Vivo 
Diabetes  2008;57(12):3307-3314.
OBJECTIVE—Insulin resistance is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular atherosclerosis. A key step in the development of atherosclerosis is endothelial dysfunction, manifest by a reduction in bioactivity of nitric oxide (NO). Insulin resistance is associated with endothelial dysfunction; however, the mechanistic relationship between these abnormalities and the role of impaired endothelial insulin signaling versus global insulin resistance remains unclear.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—To examine the effects of insulin resistance specific to the endothelium, we generated a transgenic mouse with endothelium-targeted overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant human insulin receptor (ESMIRO). This receptor has a mutation (Ala-Thr1134) in its tyrosine kinase domain that disrupts insulin signaling. Humans with the Thr1134 mutation are insulin resistant. We performed metabolic and vascular characterization of this model.
RESULTS—ESMIRO mice had preserved glucose homeostasis and were normotensive. They had significant endothelial dysfunction as evidenced by blunted aortic vasorelaxant responses to acetylcholine (ACh) and calcium ionophore. Furthermore, the vascular action of insulin was lost in ESMIRO mice, and insulin-induced endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation was blunted. Despite this phenotype, ESMIRO mice demonstrate similar levels of eNOS mRNA and protein expression to wild type. ACh-induced relaxation was normalized by the superoxide dismutase mimetic, Mn(III)tetrakis(1-methyl-4-pyridyl) porphyrin pentachloride. Endothelial cells of ESMIRO mice showed increased superoxide generation and increased mRNA expression of the NADPH oxidase isoforms Nox2 and Nox4.
CONCLUSIONS—Selective endothelial insulin resistance is sufficient to induce a reduction in NO bioavailability and endothelial dysfunction that is secondary to increased generation of reactive oxygen species. This arises independent of a significant metabolic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2584137  PMID: 18835939
7.  Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase and Human Vascular Regulation 
Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine  2009;19(8):256-262.
Vascular blood flow and its distribution among different vascular beds are regulated by changes in microvascular tone. Nitric oxide (NO) plays a key role in the local paracrine regulation of vessel tone both under resting conditions and when blood flow increases in response to agonist stimulation or increased shear stress. The conventional notion that endothelial NO synthase (eNOS)-derived NO is largely responsible for both effects has been challenged by first-in-human studies with a selective inhibitor of neuronal NOS (nNOS), S-methyl-l-thiocitrulline (SMTC). These studies reveal that SMTC causes a reduction in basal blood flow in the normal human forearm and coronary circulations (that is reversed by l-arginine), without affecting the eNOS-mediated vasodilatation elicited by acetylcholine, substance P, or increased shear stress. S-methyl-l-thiocitrulline also inhibits mental stress-induced vasodilatation. These results are consistent with a significant body of experimental studies suggesting that nNOS plays an important role in the local regulation of vessel tone in other species, independent of the effects of nNOS-derived NO in the central nervous system. These emerging data suggest that eNOS and nNOS have distinct roles in the physiologic local regulation of human microvascular tone in vivo and pave the way for further detailed investigation of the relative contribution of nNOS and eNOS in vascular regulation in human disease.
PMCID: PMC2984617  PMID: 20447567
8.  Redox State of Pentraxin 3 as a Novel Biomarker for Resolution of Inflammation and Survival in Sepsis* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2014;13(10):2545-2557.
In an endotoxaemic mouse model of sepsis, a tissue-based proteomics approach for biomarker discovery identified long pentraxin 3 (PTX3) as the lead candidate for inflamed myocardium. When the redox-sensitive oligomerization state of PTX3 was further investigated, PTX3 accumulated as an octamer as a result of disulfide-bond formation in heart, kidney, and lung—common organ dysfunctions seen in patients with sepsis. Oligomeric moieties of PTX3 were also detectable in circulation. The oligomerization state of PTX3 was quantified over the first 11 days in critically ill adult patients with sepsis. On admission day, there was no difference in the oligomerization state of PTX3 between survivors and non-survivors. From day 2 onward, the conversion of octameric to monomeric PTX3 was consistently associated with a greater survival after 28 days of follow-up. For example, by day 2 post-admission, octameric PTX3 was barely detectable in survivors, but it still constituted more than half of the total PTX3 in non-survivors (p < 0.001). Monomeric PTX3 was inversely associated with cardiac damage markers NT-proBNP and high-sensitivity troponin I and T. Relative to the conventional measurements of total PTX3 or NT-proBNP, the oligomerization of PTX3 was a superior predictor of disease outcome.
PMCID: PMC4188985  PMID: 24958171
9.  Nox2 NADPH Oxidase Has a Critical Role in Insulin Resistance–Related Endothelial Cell Dysfunction 
Diabetes  2013;62(6):2130-2134.
Insulin resistance is characterized by excessive endothelial cell generation of potentially cytotoxic concentrations of reactive oxygen species. We examined the role of NADPH oxidase (Nox) and specifically Nox2 isoform in superoxide generation in two complementary in vivo models of human insulin resistance (endothelial specific and whole body). Using three complementary methods to measure superoxide, we demonstrated higher levels of superoxide in insulin-resistant endothelial cells, which could be pharmacologically inhibited both acutely and chronically, using the Nox inhibitor gp91ds-tat. Similarly, insulin resistance–induced impairment of endothelial-mediated vasorelaxation could also be reversed using gp91ds-tat. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nox2, which was specifically elevated in insulin-resistant endothelial cells, significantly reduced superoxide levels. Double transgenic mice with endothelial-specific insulin resistance and deletion of Nox2 showed reduced superoxide production and improved vascular function. This study identifies Nox2 as the central molecule in insulin resistance–mediated oxidative stress and vascular dysfunction. It also establishes pharmacological inhibition of Nox2 as a novel therapeutic target in insulin resistance–related vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3661635  PMID: 23349484
10.  Inertial Focusing for Tumor Antigen–Dependent and –Independent Sorting of Rare Circulating Tumor Cells 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(179):179ra47.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed into the bloodstream from primary and metastatic tumor deposits. Their isolation and analysis hold great promise for the early detection of invasive cancer and the management of advanced disease, but technological hurdles have limited their broad clinical utility. We describe an inertial focusing–enhanced microfluidic CTC capture platform, termed “CTC-iChip,” that is capable of sorting rare CTCs from whole blood at 107 cells/s. Most importantly, the iChip is capable of isolating CTCs using strategies that are either dependent or independent of tumor membrane epitopes, and thus applicable to virtually all cancers. We specifically demonstrate the use of the iChip in an expanded set of both epithelial and nonepithelial cancers including lung, prostate, pancreas, breast, and melanoma. The sorting of CTCs as unfixed cells in solution allows for the application of high-quality clinically standardized morphological and immunohistochemical analyses, as well as RNA-based single-cell molecular characterization. The combination of an unbiased, broadly applicable, high-throughput, and automatable rare cell sorting technology with generally accepted molecular assays and cytology standards will enable the integration of CTC-based diagnostics into the clinical management of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3760275  PMID: 23552373
11.  Ionizing radiation regulates cardiac Ca handling via increased ROS and activated CaMKII 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2013;108(6):385.
Ionizing radiation (IR) is an integral part of modern multimodal anti-cancer therapies. IR involves the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in targeted tissues. This is associated with subsequent cardiac dysfunction when applied during chest radiotherapy. We hypothesized that IR (i.e., ROS)-dependently impaired cardiac myocytes’ Ca handling might contribute to IR-dependent cardiocellular dysfunction. Isolated ventricular mouse myocytes and the mediastinal area of anaesthetized mice (that included the heart) were exposed to graded doses of irradiation (sham 4 and 20 Gy) and investigated acutely (after ~1 h) as well as chronically (after ~1 week). IR induced a dose-dependent effect on myocytes’ systolic function with acutely increased, but chronically decreased Ca transient amplitudes, which was associated with an acutely unaltered but chronically decreased sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca load. Likewise, in vivo echocardiography of anaesthetized mice revealed acutely enhanced left ventricular contractility (strain analysis) that declined after 1 week. Irradiated myocytes showed persistently increased diastolic SR Ca leakage, which was acutely compensated by an increase in SR Ca reuptake. This was reversed in the chronic setting in the face of slowed relaxation kinetics. As underlying cause, acutely increased ROS levels were identified to activate Ca/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). Accordingly, CaMKII-, but not PKA-dependent phosphorylation sites of the SR Ca release channels (RyR2, at Ser-2814) and phospholamban (at Thr-17) were found to be hyperphosphorylated following IR. Conversely, ROS-scavenging as well as CaMKII-inhibition significantly attenuated CaMKII-activation, disturbed Ca handling, and subsequent cellular dysfunction upon irradiation. Targeted cardiac irradiation induces a biphasic effect on cardiac myocytes Ca handling that is associated with chronic cardiocellular dysfunction. This appears to be mediated by increased oxidative stress and persistently activated CaMKII. Our findings suggest impaired cardiac myocytes Ca handling as a so far unknown mediator of IR-dependent cardiac damage that might be of relevance for radiation-induced cardiac dysfunction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00395-013-0385-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3898380  PMID: 24068185
Irradiation; Excitation–contraction coupling; Calcium; Free radicals; CaMKII
12.  Circulating Breast Tumor Cells Exhibit Dynamic Changes in Epithelial and Mesenchymal Composition 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2013;339(6119):580-584.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of adherent epithelial cells to a migratory mesenchymal state has been implicated in tumor metastasis in preclinical models. To investigate its role in human cancer, we characterized EMT in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from breast cancer patients. Rare primary tumor cells simultaneously expressed mesenchymal and epithelial markers, but mesenchymal cells were highly enriched in CTCs. Serial CTC monitoring in 11 patients suggested an association of mesenchymal CTCs with disease progression. In an index patient, reversible shifts between these cell fates accompanied each cycle of response to therapy and disease progression. Mesenchymal CTCs occurred as both single cells and multicellular clusters, expressing known EMT regulators, including transforming growth factor (TGF)–β pathway components and the FOXC1 transcription factor. These data support a role for EMT in the blood-borne dissemination of human breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3760262  PMID: 23372014
13.  Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy Alters Intracellular Targeting of PDE5 from Nitric Oxide Synthase-3 to Natriuretic Peptide Signaling 
Circulation  2012;126(8):942-951.
In the normal heart, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) hydrolyzes cGMP coupled to nitric oxide (specifically from NOS3) but not natriuretic peptide (NP) stimulated guanylyl cyclase. PDE5 is upregulated in hypertrophied and failing hearts and is thought to contribute to their pathophysiology. Since NO signaling declines whereas NP-derived cGMP rises in such diseases, we hypothesized that PDE5 substrate selectivity is retargeted to blunt NP-derived signaling.
Methods and Results
Mice with cardiac myocyte inducible PDE5 overexpression (P5+) were crossed to those lacking NOS3 (N3−), and each model, the double cross, and controls were subjected to transaortic constriction (TAC). P5+ mice developed worse dysfunction and hypertrophy, and enhanced NP stimulation, whereas N3− mice were protected. However, P5+/N3− mice behaved similarly to P5+ despite the lack of NOS3-coupled cGMP generation, with PKG activity suppressed in both models. PDE5 inhibition did not alter ANP-stimulated cGMP in the resting heart, but augmented it in the TAC heart. This functional retargeting was associated with PDE5 translocation from sarcomeres to a dispersed distribution. P5+ hearts exhibited higher oxidative stress whereas P5+/N3− hearts had low levels (likely due to the absence of NOS3 uncoupling). This highlights the importance of myocyte PKG activity as a protection to pathological remodeling.
These data provide the first evidence for functional retargeting of PDE5 from one compartment to another, revealing a role for NP-derived cGMP hydrolysis by this esterase in diseased heart myocardium. Retargeting likely impacts the pathophysiologic consequence and also therapeutic impact of PDE5 modulation in heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3428375  PMID: 22829024
cyclic nucleotides; hypertrophy; oxidative stress; phosphodiesterases receptors
14.  A Biopolymer System for Cell Recovery from Microfluidic Cell Capture Devices 
Analytical Chemistry  2012;84(8):3682-3688.
Microfluidic systems for affinity-based cell isolation have emerged as a promising approach for the isolation of specific cells from complex matrices (i.e., circulating tumor cells in whole blood). However, these technologies remain limited by the lack of reliable methods for the innocuous recovery of surface captured cells. Here, we present a biofunctional sacrificial hydrogel coating for microfluidic chips that enables the highly efficient release of isolated cells (99% ± 1%) following gel dissolution. This covalently crosslinked alginate biopolymer system is stable in a wide variety of physiologic solutions (including EDTA treated whole blood) and may be rapidly degraded via backbone cleavage with alginate lyase. The capture and release of EpCAM expressing cancer cells using this approach was found to have no significant effect on cell viability or proliferative potential and recovered cells were demonstrated to be compatible with downstream immunostaining and FISH analysis.
PMCID: PMC3328665  PMID: 22414137
15.  Increasing Circulating IGFBP1 Levels Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Promotes Nitric Oxide Production, Lowers Blood Pressure, and Protects Against Atherosclerosis 
Diabetes  2012;61(4):915-924.
Low concentrations of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) binding protein-1 (IGFBP1) are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We investigated whether increasing IGFBP1 levels can prevent the development of these disorders. Metabolic and vascular phenotype were examined in response to human IGFBP1 overexpression in mice with diet-induced obesity, mice heterozygous for deletion of insulin receptors (IR+/−), and ApoE−/− mice. Direct effects of human (h)IGFBP1 on nitric oxide (NO) generation and cellular signaling were studied in isolated vessels and in human endothelial cells. IGFBP1 circulating levels were markedly suppressed in dietary-induced obese mice. Overexpression of hIGFBP1 in obese mice reduced blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased insulin-stimulated NO generation. In nonobese IR+/− mice, overexpression of hIGFBP1 reduced blood pressure and improved insulin-stimulated NO generation. hIGFBP1 induced vasodilatation independently of IGF and increased endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity in arterial segments ex vivo, while in endothelial cells, hIGFBP1 increased eNOS Ser1177 phosphorylation via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling. Finally, in ApoE−/− mice, overexpression of hIGFBP1 reduced atherosclerosis. These favorable effects of hIGFBP1 on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, NO production, and atherosclerosis suggest that increasing IGFBP1 concentration may be a novel approach to prevent cardiovascular disease in the setting of insulin resistance and diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3314358  PMID: 22357965
16.  Nox2 Is Required for Macrophage Chemotaxis towards CSF-1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e54869.
Macrophage migration and infiltration is an important first step in many pathophysiological processes, in particular inflammatory diseases. Redox modulation of the migratory signalling processes has been reported in endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. However the redox modulation of the migratory process in macrophages and in particular that from the NADPH oxidase-2 (Nox2) dependent ROS has not been established. To investigate the potential role of Nox2 in the migratory response of macrophages, bone marrow derived macrophages were obtained from WT and NOX2 knockout mice (Nox2KO) and subjected to CSF-1 stimulation. We report here that loss of Nox2 expression in BMM resulted in a significant reduction in the CSF-1 induced spreading response suggesting that Nox2 can modulate cytoskeletal events. Moreover, Nox2KO BMMs were deficient in cellular displacement in the presence of CSF-1. More significantly, when challenged with a gradient of CSF-1, Nox2KO BMMs showed a complete loss of chemotaxis accompanied by a reduction in cell migration speed and directional migration persistence. These results point to a specific role for Nox2KO downstream of CSF-1 during the BMM migratory response. Indeed, we have further found that Nox2KO BMMs display a significant reduction in the levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation following stimulation with CSF-1.Thus Nox2 is important in BMM cellular motion to CSF-1 stimulation and necessary for their directed migration towards a CSF-1 gradient, highlighting Nox2 dependent signalling as a potential anti-inflammatory target.
PMCID: PMC3562318  PMID: 23383302
17.  Effects of perhexiline-induced fuel switch on the cardiac proteome and metabolome 
Perhexiline is a potent anti-anginal drug used for treatment of refractory angina and other forms of heart disease. It provides an oxygen sparing effect in the myocardium by creating a switch from fatty acid to glucose metabolism through partial inhibition of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 and 2. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the cardioprotective effects elicited by perhexiline are not fully understood. The present study employed a combined proteomics, metabolomics and computational approach to characterise changes in murine hearts upon treatment with perhexiline. According to results based on difference in-gel electrophoresis, the most profound change in the cardiac proteome related to the activation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Metabolomic analysis by high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed lower levels of total creatine and taurine in hearts of perhexiline-treated mice. Creatine and taurine levels were also significantly correlated in a cross-correlation analysis of all metabolites. Computational modelling suggested that far from inducing a simple shift from fatty acid to glucose oxidation, perhexiline may cause complex rebalancing of carbon and nucleotide phosphate fluxes, fuelled by increased lactate and amino acid uptake, to increase metabolic flexibility and to maintain cardiac output. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Focus on Cardiac Metabolism".
Graphical abstract
► Mice were fed perhexiline to achieve steady state concentrations. ► Hearts were analysed using a combined proteomic and metabolomic approach. ► Computer modelling was used to cross-validate the findings. ► Perhexiline has more wide-ranging and complex metabolic effects than previously thought.
PMCID: PMC3573230  PMID: 23277191
CPT, carnitine palmitoyltransferase; DIGE, difference in-gel electrophoresis; FCS, foetal calf serum; FDR, false discovery rate; GO, Gene ontology; 1H NMR, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; LC-MS/MS, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry; TCA, tricarboxylic acid; Metabolomics; Proteomics; Cardioprotection; Metabolism; Heart failure
18.  Design and rationale of the MR-INFORM study: stress perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging to guide the management of patients with stable coronary artery disease 
In patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), decisions regarding revascularisation are primarily driven by the severity and extent of coronary luminal stenoses as determined by invasive coronary angiography. More recently, revascularisation decisions based on invasive fractional flow reserve (FFR) have shown improved event free survival. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) perfusion imaging has been shown to be non-inferior to nuclear perfusion imaging in a multi-centre setting and superior in a single centre trial. In addition, it is similar to invasively determined FFR and therefore has the potential to become the non-invasive test of choice to determine need for revascularisation.
Trial design
The MR-INFORM study is a prospective, multi-centre, randomised controlled non-inferiority, outcome trial. The objective is to compare the efficacy of two investigative strategies for the management of patients with suspected CAD. Patients presenting with stable angina are randomised into two groups: 1) The FFR-INFORMED group has subsequent management decisions guided by coronary angiography and fractional flow reserve measurements. 2) The MR-INFORMED group has decisions guided by stress perfusion CMR. The primary end-point will be the occurrence of major adverse cardiac events (death, myocardial infarction and repeat revascularisation) at one year. Clinical identifier NCT01236807.
MR INFORM will assess whether an initial strategy of CMR perfusion is non-inferior to invasive angiography supplemented by FFR measurements to guide the management of patients with stable coronary artery disease. Non-inferiority of CMR perfusion imaging to the current invasive reference standard (FFR) would establish CMR perfusion imaging as an attractive non-invasive alternative to current diagnostic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3533866  PMID: 22992411
Perfusion; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Myocardial ischaemia; Fractional flow reserve; Stable angina
19.  Functional Genomics Assistant (FUGA): a toolbox for the analysis of complex biological networks 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:462.
Cellular constituents such as proteins, DNA, and RNA form a complex web of interactions that regulate biochemical homeostasis and determine the dynamic cellular response to external stimuli. It follows that detailed understanding of these patterns is critical for the assessment of fundamental processes in cell biology and pathology. Representation and analysis of cellular constituents through network principles is a promising and popular analytical avenue towards a deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms in a system-wide context.
We present Functional Genomics Assistant (FUGA) - an extensible and portable MATLAB toolbox for the inference of biological relationships, graph topology analysis, random network simulation, network clustering, and functional enrichment statistics. In contrast to conventional differential expression analysis of individual genes, FUGA offers a framework for the study of system-wide properties of biological networks and highlights putative molecular targets using concepts of systems biology.
FUGA offers a simple and customizable framework for network analysis in a variety of systems biology applications. It is freely available for individual or academic use at
PMCID: PMC3214203  PMID: 22035155
20.  Protein Disulfide Isomerase and Host-Pathogen Interaction 
TheScientificWorldJournal  2011;11:1749-1761.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by immunological cells is known to cause damage to pathogens. Increasing evidence accumulated in the last decade has shown, however, that ROS (and redox signals) functionally regulate different cellular pathways in the host-pathogen interaction. These especially affect (i) pathogen entry through protein redox switches and redox modification (i.e., intra- and interdisulfide and cysteine oxidation) and (ii) phagocytic ROS production via Nox family NADPH oxidase enzyme and the control of phagolysosome function with key implications for antigen processing. The protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) family of redox chaperones is closely involved in both processes and is also implicated in protein unfolding and trafficking across the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and towards the cytosol, a thiol-based redox locus for antigen processing. Here, we summarise examples of the cellular association of host PDI with different pathogens and explore the possible roles of pathogen PDIs in infection. A better understanding of these complex regulatory steps will provide insightful information on the redox role and coevolutional biological process, and assist the development of more specific therapeutic strategies in pathogen-mediated infections.
PMCID: PMC3201685  PMID: 22125433
Host; pathogen; redox; endoplasmic reticulum; parasites; PDI; Nox
21.  Nox4 regulates Nrf2 and glutathione redox in cardiomyocytes in vivo 
Free Radical Biology & Medicine  2011;51(1-7):205-215.
NADPH oxidase-4 (Nox4) is an important modulator of redox signaling that is inducible at the level of transcriptional expression in multiple cell types. By contrast to other Nox enzymes, Nox4 is continuously active without requiring stimulation. We reported recently that expression of Nox4 is induced in the adult heart as an adaptive stress response to pathophysiological insult. To elucidate the potential downstream target(s) regulated by Nox4, we performed a microarray screen to assess the transcriptomes of transgenic (tg) mouse hearts in which Nox4 was overexpressed. The screen revealed a significant increase in the expression of many antioxidant and detoxifying genes regulated by Nrf2 in tg compared to wild-type (wt) mouse hearts, and this finding was subsequently confirmed by Q-PCR. Expression of glutathione biosynthetic and recycling enzymes was increased in tg hearts and associated with higher levels of both GSH and the ratio of reduced:oxidised GSH, compared to wt hearts. The increases in expression of the antioxidant genes and the changes in glutathione redox effected by Nox4 were ablated in an Nrf2-null genetic background. These data therefore demonstrate that Nox4 can activate the Nrf2-regulated pathway, and suggest a potential role for Nox4 in the regulation of GSH redox in cardiomyocytes.
PMCID: PMC3112490  PMID: 21554947
NADPH, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate; Nrf2, NF-E2-related factor 2; Q-PCR, quantitative polymerase chain reaction; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; EB, embryoid body; αMHC, α myosin heavy chain; βMHC, β myosin heavy chain; MLC2v, myosin regulatory light chain 2; RT, reverse transcriptase; DTT, dithiothreitol; PAGE, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; ECL, enhanced chemiluminescence; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; PVDF, polyvinylidene difluoride; SEM, standard error of the mean; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay; Nox4; Nrf2; Cardiomyocytes; Glutathione; Reactive oxygen species
22.  NADPH oxidases in cardiovascular disease: insights from in vivo models and clinical studies 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2011;106(5):735-747.
NADPH oxidase family enzymes (or NOXs) are the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are implicated in the pathophysiology of many cardiovascular diseases. These enzymes appear to be especially important in the modulation of redox-sensitive signalling pathways that underlie key cellular functions such as growth, differentiation, migration and proliferation. Seven distinct members of the family have been identified of which four (namely NOX1, 2, 4 and 5) may have cardiovascular functions. In this article, we review our current understanding of the roles of NOX enzymes in several common cardiovascular disease states, with a focus on data from genetic studies and clinical data where available.
PMCID: PMC3149671  PMID: 21598086
NADPH oxidase; Cardiovascular; Redox signaling; Cardiac hypertrophy; Hypertension; Atherosclerosis
Cancer research  2010;70(22):9287-9297.
Doxorubicin is a highly effective cancer treatment whose use is severely limited by dose-dependent cardiotoxicity. It is well established that doxorubicin increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. In this study, we investigated contributions to doxorubicin cardiotoxicity from Nox2 NADPH oxidase, an important ROS source in cardiac cells, which is known to modulate several key processes underlying the myocardial response to injury. Nox2-deficient mice (Nox2−/−) and wild-type (WT) controls were injected with doxorubicin (12 mg/kg) or vehicle and studied 8 weeks later. Echocardiography indicated that doxorubicin-induced contractile dysfunction was attenuated in Nox2−/− versus WT mice (fractional shortening: 29.5±1.4 vs 25.7±1.0 %; P<0.05). Similarly, in vivo pressure-volume analysis revealed that systolic and diastolic function was preserved in doxorubicin-treated Nox2−/− versus WT mice (ejection fraction: 52.6±2.5 vs 28.5±2.3 %, LVdPdtmin: −8379±416 vs −5198±527 mmHg s−1, EDPVR: 0.051±0.009 vs 0.114±0.012; P<0.001). Furthermore, in response to doxorubicin, Nox2−/− mice exhibited less myocardial atrophy, cardiomyocyte apoptosis and interstitial fibrosis, together with reduced increases in profibrotic gene expression (procollagen IIIαI, TGF-β3, connective tissue growth factor) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity, versus WT controls. These alterations were associated with beneficial changes in NADPH oxidase activity, oxidative/nitrosative stress and inflammatory cell infiltration. We found that adverse effects of doxorubicin were attenuated by acute or chronic treatment with the AT1 receptor antagonist, losartan, which is commonly used to reduce blood pressure. Our findings suggest that ROS specifically-derived from Nox2 NADPH oxidase make a substantial contribution to several key processes underlying development of cardiac contractile dysfunction and remodeling associated with doxorubicin chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2984551  PMID: 20884632
NADPH oxidase; reactive oxygen species; doxorubicin; cardiac remodeling; contractile function
24.  Role of endothelial Nox2 NADPH oxidase in angiotensin II-induced hypertension and vasomotor dysfunction 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2011;106(4):527-538.
NADPH oxidase (Nox)-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) are known to be involved in angiotensin II-induced hypertension and endothelial dysfunction. Several Nox isoforms are expressed in the vessel wall, among which Nox2 is especially abundant in the endothelium. Endothelial Nox2 levels rise during hypertension but little is known about the cell-specific role of endothelial Nox2 in vivo. To address this question, we generated transgenic mice with endothelial-specific overexpression of Nox2 (Tg) and studied the effects on endothelial function and blood pressure. Tg had an about twofold increase in endothelial Nox2 levels which was accompanied by an increase in p22phox levels but no change in levels of other Nox isoforms or endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Basal NADPH oxidase activity, endothelial function and blood pressure were unaltered in Tg compared to wild-type littermates. Angiotensin II caused a greater increase in ROS production in Tg compared to wild-type aorta and attenuated acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation. Both low and high dose chronic angiotensin II infusion increased telemetric ambulatory blood pressure more in Tg compared to wild-type, but with different patterns of BP change and aortic remodeling depending upon the dose of angiotensin II dose. These results indicate that an increase in endothelial Nox2 levels contributes to angiotensin II-induced endothelial dysfunction, vascular remodeling and hypertension.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00395-011-0179-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3105229  PMID: 21528437
Endothelium; Vascular tone; NADPH oxidase; Hypertension; Reactive oxygen species
25.  Redox signaling in cardiac myocytes 
Free Radical Biology & Medicine  2011;50(7):777-793.
The heart has complex mechanisms that facilitate the maintenance of an oxygen supply–demand balance necessary for its contractile function in response to physiological fluctuations in workload as well as in response to chronic stresses such as hypoxia, ischemia, and overload. Redox-sensitive signaling pathways are centrally involved in many of these homeostatic and stress-response mechanisms. Here, we review the main redox-regulated pathways that are involved in cardiac myocyte excitation–contraction coupling, differentiation, hypertrophy, and stress responses. We discuss specific sources of endogenously generated reactive oxygen species (e.g., mitochondria and NADPH oxidases of the Nox family), the particular pathways and processes that they affect, the role of modulators such as thioredoxin, and the specific molecular mechanisms that are involved—where this knowledge is available. A better understanding of this complex regulatory system may allow the development of more specific therapeutic strategies for heart diseases.
PMCID: PMC3049876  PMID: 21236334
AIF, apoptosis-inducing factor; ARC, apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain; CamKII, calmodulin kinase II; CTGF, connective tissue growth factor; EB, embryoid body; ECC, excitation–contraction coupling; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; ES, embryonic stem; ETC, electron transport chain; G6PDH, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; GPCR, G-protein-coupled receptor; HDAC, histone deacetylase; Hif, hypoxia-inducible factor; MAO-A, monoamine oxidase-A; MI, myocardial infarction; MMP, matrix metalloproteinase; MPTP, mitochondrial permeability transition pore; mtDNA, mitochondrial DNA; NCX, Na/Ca exchanger; NOS, nitric oxide synthase; PHD, prolyl hydroxylase dioxygenase; PKA, protein kinase A; PKC, protein kinase C; PKG, protein kinase G; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RyR, ryanodine receptor; SERCA, sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase; SR, sarcoplasmic reticulum; Trx1, thioredoxin1; TNFα, tumor necrosis factor-α; VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor; Cardiac myocyte; Reactive oxygen species; Redox signaling; Hypertrophy; Heart failure; NADPH oxidase; Mitochondria; Free radicals

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