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1.  Bone Marrow-Derived Progenitor Cells Augment Venous Remodeling in a Mouse Dorsal Skinfold Chamber Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32815.
The delivery of bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) has been widely used to stimulate angiogenesis and arteriogenesis. We identified a progenitor-enriched subpopulation of BMDCs that is able to augment venular remodeling, a generally unexplored area in microvascular research. Two populations of BMDCs, whole bone marrow (WBM) and Lin−/Sca-1+ progenitor cells, were encapsulated in sodium alginate and delivered to a mouse dorsal skinfold chamber model. Upon observation that encapsulated Sca-1+ progenitor cells enhance venular remodeling, the cells and tissue were analyzed on structural and molecular levels. Venule walls were thickened and contained more nuclei after Sca-1+ progenitor cell delivery. In addition, progenitors expressed mRNA transcript levels of chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 2 (CXCL2) and interferon gamma (IFNγ) that are over 5-fold higher compared to WBM. Tissues that received progenitors expressed significantly higher protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and platelet derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) compared to tissues that received an alginate control construct. Nine days following cell delivery, tissue from progenitor recipients contained 39% more CD45+ leukocytes, suggesting that these cells may enhance venular remodeling through the modulation of the local immune environment. Results show that different BMDC populations elicit different microvascular responses. In this model, Sca-1+ progenitor cell-derived CXCL2 and IFNγ may mediate venule enlargement via modulation of the local inflammatory environment.
PMCID: PMC3289672  PMID: 22389724
2.  Inhibition of Canonical Wnt Signaling Increases Microvascular Hemorrhaging and Venular Remodeling in Adult Rats 
The canonical Wnt signaling pathway, heavily studied in development and cancer, has recently been implicated in microvascular growth with the use of developmental and in vitro models. To date, however, no study exists showing the effects of perturbing the canonical Wnt pathway in a complete microvascular network undergoing physiological remodeling in vivo. Our objective was to investigate the effects of canonical Wnt inhibition on the microvascular remodeling of adult rats.
Canonical Wnt inhibitor DKK-1, Wnt inhibitor sFRP-1, BSA or saline was superfused onto the exteriorized mesenteric windows of 300g adult female Sprague-Dawley rats for 20 minutes. Three days following surgery, mesenteric windows were imaged intravitally and harvested for immunofluorescence staining with smooth muscle alpha-actin and BRDU.
We observed prominent differences in the response of the mesenteric microvasculature amongst the various treatment groups. Significant increases in hemorrhage area, vascular density, and draining vessel diameter were observed in windows treated with Wnt inhibitors as compared to control-treated windows. Additionally, confocal imaging analysis showed significant increases in proliferating cells as well as evidence of proliferating smooth muscle cells along venules.
Together, our results suggest that canonical Wnt inhibition plays an important role in microvascular remodeling, specifically venular remodeling.
PMCID: PMC2904644  PMID: 20618692
Wnt; Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1); secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP-1); venular remodeling; hemorrhage
3.  Systems Analysis of Small Signaling Modules Relevant to Eight Human Diseases 
Annals of Biomedical Engineering  2010;39(2):621-635.
Using eight newly generated models relevant to addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, heart disease, malaria, and tuberculosis, we show that systems analysis of small (4–25 species), bounded protein signaling modules rapidly generates new quantitative knowledge from published experimental research. For example, our models show that tumor sclerosis complex (TSC) inhibitors may be more effective than the rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors currently used to treat cancer, that HIV infection could be more effectively blocked by increasing production of the human innate immune response protein APOBEC3G, rather than targeting HIV’s viral infectivity factor (Vif), and how peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) agonists used to treat dyslipidemia would most effectively stimulate PPARα signaling if drug design were to increase agonist nucleoplasmic concentration, as opposed to increasing agonist binding affinity for PPARα. Comparative analysis of system-level properties for all eight modules showed that a significantly higher proportion of concentration parameters fall in the top 15th percentile sensitivity ranking than binding affinity parameters. In infectious disease modules, host networks were significantly more sensitive to virulence factor concentration parameters compared to all other concentration parameters. This work supports the future use of this approach for informing the next generation of experimental roadmaps for known diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10439-010-0208-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3033523  PMID: 21132372
Systems biology; Human disease; Protein signaling; Comparative meta-analysis; Sensitivity analysis
4.  Bone Marrow-Derived Cell-Specific Chemokine (C-C motif) Receptor-2 Expression is Required for Arteriolar Remodeling 
Bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) and inflammatory chemokine receptors regulate arteriogenesis and angiogenesis. Here, we tested whether arteriolar remodeling in response to an inflammatory stimulus is dependent on BMC-specific chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 2 (CCR2) expression and whether this response involves BMC transdifferentiation into smooth muscle.
Methods and Results
Dorsal skinfold window chambers were implanted into C57Bl/6 wild-type (WT) mice, as well as the following bone marrow chimeras (donor-host): WT-WT, CCR2−/−-WT, WT-CCR2−/−, and EGFP+-WT. One day after implantation, tissue MCP-1 levels rose from “undetectable” to 463pg/mg, and the number of EGFP+ cells increased more than 4-fold, indicating marked inflammation. A 66% (28μm) increase in maximum arteriolar diameter was observed over 7 days in WT-WT mice. This arteriolar remodeling response was completely abolished in CCR2−/−-WT mice but largely rescued in WT-CCR2−/− mice. EGFP+ BMCs were numerous throughout the tissue, but we found no evidence that EGFP+ BMCs transdifferentiate into smooth muscle, based on examination of >800 arterioles and venules.
BMC-specific CCR2 expression is required for injury/inflammation-associated arteriolar remodeling, but this response is not characterized by the differentiation of BMCs into smooth muscle.
PMCID: PMC2766019  PMID: 19734197

Results 1-4 (4)