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1.  Modulation of cardiometabolic pathways in skin and serum from patients with psoriasis 
Moderate-to-severe psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD); however, the link is poorly understood.
Skin and serum from patients with psoriasis were evaluated to understand if there was evidence of dysregulation in a targeted group of inflammatory and lipid genes related to ASCVD. Microarray analyses of expression of targeted ASCVD genes from skin in 89 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis from the ACCEPT trial were compared with non-diseased skin from healthy controls (n = 25). Serum (n = 149) was tested at baseline for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and apolipoprotein-A1 (Apo-A1) comparing to healthy controls (n=162).
An increase in skin gene expression for MCP-1 (7.98-fold) and MDC (6.66-fold) (p < 0.001 each) was observed in lesional versus healthy skin. Significant decreases in liver X receptor-alpha (LXR-α) (−5.94-fold), a protective lipoprotein metabolism gene, and in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-α) (−7.58-fold), a protective anti-inflammatory and lipid modulating gene, were observed in lesional versus healthy skin (p < 0.001 each). Serum analyses revealed that MCP-1 (502 vs. 141 pg/mL) and MDC (1240 vs. 409 pg/mL) levels were significantly elevated in psoriasis compared with healthy controls (p < 0.001 each). Dysregulated lipid metabolism was also evident in the serum, as Apo-A1, a protein product related to PPAR-α activation, was significantly decreased in patients with psoriasis compared with healthy controls (25.2 vs. 38.9 mg/dL; p < 0.001).
Analyses of targeted genes and their products known to be associated with ASCVD revealed dysregulation of inflammatory (MCP-1 and MDC) and lipid metabolism (LXR-α, PPAR-α) genes in psoriasis. These findings provide evidence of a potential shared pathophysiology linking psoriasis to cardiometabolic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3765699  PMID: 23965158
Inflammation; Atherosclerosis; Lipid metabolism; Psoriasis
2.  Peripheral Blood Proteins Predict Mortality in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
Rationale: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a lethal lung disease of unknown etiology with a variable and unpredictable course.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify and validate plasma proteins that are predictive of outcome in IPF.
Methods: Plasma samples were available for 241 patients with IPF (140 derivation and 101 validation). In the derivation cohort, concentrations of 92 proteins were analyzed using a multiplex bead-based immunoassay and concentrations of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-7, MMP-1, and surfactant protein D were assessed by ELISA. In the validation cohort concentrations of intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, IL-8, and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 were assessed by bead-based multiplex assay, and S100A12 and MMP-7 by ELISA. Associations of biomarkers with mortality, transplant-free survival, and disease progression were tested in the derivation and validation cohorts using nonparametric methods of survival analysis and the Cox proportional hazards model, and an integrated risk prediction score was derived and tested.
Measurements and Main Results: High concentrations of MMP-7, ICAM-1, IL-8, VCAM-1, and S100A12 predicted poor overall survival, poor transplant-free survival, and poor progression-free survival in the derivation cohort. In the independent validation cohort high concentrations of all five were predictive of poor transplant-free survival; MMP-7, ICAM-1, and IL-8 of overall survival; and ICAM-1 of poor progression-free survival. The personal clinical and molecular mortality prediction index derived in the derivation cohort was highly predictive of mortality in the validation cohort.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that plasma proteins should be evaluated as a tool for prognosis determination in prioritization of patients for lung transplantation and stratification in drug studies.
PMCID: PMC3262037  PMID: 22016448
MMP-7; adhesion molecules; biomarkers; personalized medicine; mortality prediction
3.  Meta-Analysis Derived (MAD) Transcriptome of Psoriasis Defines the “Core” Pathogenesis of Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44274.
The cause of psoriasis, a common chronic inflammatory skin disease, is not fully understood. Microarray experiments have been widely used in recent years to identify genes associated with psoriasis pathology, by comparing expression levels of lesional (LS) with adjacent non-lesional (NL) skin. It is commonly observed that the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) differ greatly across experiments, due to variations introduced in the microarray experiment pipeline. Therefore, a statistically based meta-analytic approach, which combines the results of individual studies, is warranted. In this study, a meta-analysis was conducted on 5 microarray data sets, including 193 LS and NL pairs. We termed this the Meta-Analysis Derived (MAD) transcriptome. In “MAD-5” transcriptome, 677 genes were up-regulated and 443 were down-regulated in LS skin compared to NL skin. This represents a much larger set than the intersection of DEGs of these 5 studies, which consisted of 100 DEGs. We also analyzed 3 of the studies conducted on the Affymetrix hgu133plus2 chips and found a greater number of DEGs (1084 up- and 748 down-regulated). Top canonical pathways over-represented in the MAD transcriptome include Atherosclerosis Signaling and Fatty Acid Metabolism, while several “new” genes identified are involved in Cardiovascular Development and Lipid Metabolism. These findings highlight the relationship between psoriasis and systemic manifestations such as the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Then, the Meta Threshold Gradient Descent Regularization (MTGDR) algorithm was used to select potential markers distinguishing LS and NL skin. The resulting set (20 genes) contained many genes that were part of the residual disease genomic profile (RDGP) or “molecular scar” after successful treatment, and also genes subject to differential methylation in LS tissues. To conclude, this MAD transcriptome yielded a reference list of reliable psoriasis DEGs, and represents a robust pool of candidates for further discovery of pathogenesis and treatment evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3434204  PMID: 22957057
4.  Expression and activation of the oxytocin receptor in airway smooth muscle cells: Regulation by TNFα and IL-13 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):104.
During pregnancy asthma may remain stable, improve or worsen. The factors underlying the deleterious effect of pregnancy on asthma remain unknown. Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal protein that regulates a number of central and peripheral responses such as uterine contractions and milk ejection. Additional evidence suggests that oxytocin regulates inflammatory processes in other tissues given the ubiquitous expression of the oxytocin receptor. The purpose of this study was to define the role of oxytocin in modulating human airway smooth muscle (HASMCs) function in the presence and absence of IL-13 and TNFα, cytokines known to be important in asthma.
Expression of oxytocin receptor in cultured HASMCs was performed by real time PCR and flow cytomery assays. Responses to oxytocin was assessed by fluorimetry to detect calcium signals while isolated tracheal rings and precision cut lung slices (PCLS) were used to measure contractile responses. Finally, ELISA was used to compare oxytocin levels in the bronchoalveloar lavage (BAL) samples from healthy subjects and those with asthma.
PCR analysis demonstrates that OXTR is expressed in HASMCs under basal conditions and that both interleukin (IL)-13 and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) stimulate a time-dependent increase in OXTR expression at 6 and 18 hr. Additionally, oxytocin increases cytosolic calcium levels in fura-2-loaded HASMCs that were enhanced in cells treated for 24 hr with IL-13. Interestingly, TNFα had little effect on oxytocin-induced calcium response despite increasing receptor expression. Using isolated murine tracheal rings and PCLS, oxytocin also promoted force generation and airway narrowing. Further, oxytocin levels are detectable in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid derived from healthy subjects as well as from those with asthma.
Taken together, we show that cytokines modulate the expression of functional oxytocin receptors in HASMCs suggesting a potential role for inflammation-induced changes in oxytocin receptor signaling in the regulation of airway hyper-responsiveness in asthma.
PMCID: PMC2922094  PMID: 20670427
5.  The effect of IL-13 and IL-13R130Q, a naturally occurring IL-13 polymorphism, on the gene expression of human airway smooth muscle cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):9.
Growing evidence shows that interleukin 13 (IL-13) may play an essential role in the development of airway inflammation and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), two defining features of asthma. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown, a number of reports have shown that IL-13 may exert its deleterious effects in asthma by directly acting on airway resident cells, including epithelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells. In this report, we hypothesize that IL-13 may participate in the pathogenesis of asthma by activating a set of "pro-asthmatic" genes in airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells.
Microarray technology was used to study the modulation of gene expression of airway smooth muscle by IL-13 and IL-13R130Q. TaqMan™ Real Time PCR and flow cytometry was used to validate the gene array data.
IL-13 and the IL-13 polymorphism IL-13R130Q (Arg130Gln), recently associated with allergic asthma, seem to modulate the same set of genes, which encode many potentially interesting proteins including vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, IL-13Rα2, Tenascin C and Histamine Receptor H1, that may be relevant for the pathogenesis of asthma.
The data supports the hypothesis that gene modulation by IL-13 in ASM may be essential for the events leading to the development of allergic asthma.
PMCID: PMC548512  PMID: 15661077
6.  Expanding the Psoriasis Disease Profile: Interrogation of the Skin and Serum of Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis 
Psoriasis is a complex disease with an expanding definition of its pathological features. We sought to expand/refine the psoriasis transcriptome using 85 paired lesional and non-lesional samples from a cohort of patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis vulgaris who were not receiving active psoriasis therapy. This new analysis identified 4,175 probe sets (representing 2,725 unique known genes) as being differentially expressed in psoriasis lesions compared with matched biopsies of non-lesional skin when the following criteria were applied: >2-fold change and false discovery rate <0.05. These probe sets represent the largest and most comprehensive set of genes defining psoriasis at the molecular level and within the previously unidentified genes, a link to functional pathways associated with metabolic diseases/diabetes and to cardiovascular risk pathways is identified. In addition, we profiled the serum of moderate-to-severe psoriatics compared with healthy controls to assess the overlap of overexpressed lesional genes with overexpressed systemic proteins. We identified linkage of functional pathways in lesional skin associated with metabolic diseases/diabetes and cardiovascular risk with those pathways overexpressed in the serum, suggesting a potential linkage between altered gene transcription in the skin and comorbidities commonly seen in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
PMCID: PMC3472561  PMID: 22763790

Results 1-6 (6)