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1.  The hop constituent xanthohumol exhibits hepatoprotective effects and inhibits the activation of hepatic stellate cells at different levels 
Xanthohumol is the principal prenylated flavonoid of the female inflorescences of the hop plant. In recent years, various beneficial xanthohumol effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hypoglycemic activities, and anticancer effects have been revealed. This review summarizes present studies indicating that xanthohumol also inhibits several critical pathophysiological steps during the development and course of chronic liver disease, including the activation and pro-fibrogenic genotype of hepatic stellate cells. Also the various mechanism of action and molecular targets of the beneficial xanthohumol effects will be described. Furthermore, the potential use of xanthohumol or a xanthohumol-enriched hop extract as therapeutic agent to combat the progression of chronic liver disease will be discussed. It is notable that in addition to its hepatoprotective effects, xanthohumol also holds promise as a therapeutic agent for treating obesity, dysregulation of glucose metabolism and other components of the metabolic syndrome including hepatic steatosis. Thus, therapeutic xanthohumol application appears as a promising strategy, particularly in obese patients, to inhibit the development as well as the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00140
PMCID: PMC4422013  PMID: 25999863
xanthohumol; hops; fibrosis; hepatic stellate cells; liver disease
2.  Bile Duct Ligation in Mice: Induction of Inflammatory Liver Injury and Fibrosis by Obstructive Cholestasis 
In most vertebrates, the liver produces bile that is necessary to emulsify absorbed fats and enable the digestion of lipids in the small intestine as well as to excrete bilirubin and other metabolic products. In the liver, the experimental obstruction of the extrahepatic biliary system initiates a complex cascade of pathological events that leads to cholestasis and inflammation resulting in a strong fibrotic reaction originating from the periportal fields. Therefore, surgical ligation of the common bile duct has become the most commonly used model to induce obstructive cholestatic injury in rodents and to study the molecular and cellular events that underlie these pathophysiological mechanisms induced by inappropriate bile flow. In recent years, different surgical techniques have been described that either allow reconnection or reanastomosis after bile duct ligation (BDL), e.g., partial BDL, or other microsurgical methods for specific research questions. However, the most frequently used model is the complete obstruction of the common bile duct that induces a strong fibrotic response after 21 to 28 days. The mortality rate can be high due to infectious complications or technical inaccuracies. Here we provide a detailed surgical procedure for the BDL model in mice that induce a highly reproducible fibrotic response in accordance to the 3R rule for animal welfare postulated by Russel and Burch in 1959.
doi:10.3791/52438
PMCID: PMC4354634  PMID: 25741630
Medicine; Issue 96; bile duct ligation; cholestasis; bile obstruction; hepatic fibrosis; inflammation; extracellular matrix; jaundice; mouse
3.  Simultaneous monitoring of cerebral metal accumulation in an experimental model of Wilson’s disease by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry 
BMC Neuroscience  2014;15:98.
Background
Neuropsychiatric affection involving extrapyramidal symptoms is a frequent component of Wilson’s disease (WD). WD is caused by a genetic defect of the copper (Cu) efflux pump ATPase7B. Mouse strains with natural or engineered transgenic defects of the Atp7b gene have served as model of WD. These show a gradual accumulation and concentration of Cu in liver, kidneys, and brain. However, still little is known about the regional distribution of Cu inside the brain, its influence on other metals and subsequent pathophysiological mechanisms. We have applied laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and performed comparative metal bio-imaging in brain sections of wild type and Atp7b null mice in the age range of 11–24 months. Messenger RNA and protein expression of a panel of inflammatory markers were assessed using RT-PCR and Western blots of brain homogenates.
Results
We could confirm Cu accumulation in brain parenchyma by a factor of two in WD (5.5 μg g−1 in the cortex) vs. controls (2.7 μg g−1) that was already fully established at 11 months. In the periventricular regions (PVR) known as structures of prominent Cu content, Cu was reduced in turn by a factor of 3. This corroborates the view of the PVR as efflux compartments with active transport of Cu into the cerebrospinal fluid. Furthermore, the gradient of Cu increasing downstream the PVR was relieved. Otherwise the architecture of Cu distribution was essentially maintained. Zinc (Zn) was increased by up to 40% especially in regions of high Cu but not in typical Zn accumulator regions, a side effect due to the fact that Zn is to some degree a substrate of Cu-ATPases. The concentrations of iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) were constant throughout all regions assessed. Inflammatory markers TNF-α, TIMP-1 and the capillary proliferation marker α-SMA were increased by a factor of 2–3 in WD.
Conclusions
This study confirmed stable cerebral Cu accumulation in parenchyma and discovered reduced Cu in cerebrospinal fluid in Atp7b null mice underlining the diagnostic value of micro-local analytical techniques.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2202-15-98) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2202-15-98
PMCID: PMC4156608  PMID: 25142911
Wilson’s disease; Bio-imaging; LA-ICP-MS; Copper; ATPase7B
4.  Targeted disruption of the mouse Csrp2 gene encoding the cysteine- and glycine-rich LIM domain protein CRP2 result in subtle alteration of cardiac ultrastructure 
Background
The cysteine and glycine rich protein 2 (CRP2) encoded by the Csrp2 gene is a LIM domain protein expressed in the vascular system, particularly in smooth muscle cells. It exhibits a bimodal subcellular distribution, accumulating at actin-based filaments in the cytosol and in the nucleus. In order to analyze the function of CRP2 in vivo, we disrupted the Csrp2 gene in mice and analysed the resulting phenotype.
Results
A ~17.3 kbp fragment of the murine Csrp2 gene containing exon 3 through 6 was isolated. Using this construct we confirmed the recently determined chromosomal localization (Chromosome 10, best fit location between markers D10Mit203 proximal and D10Mit150 central). A gene disruption cassette was cloned into exon 4 and a mouse strain lacking functional Csrp2 was generated. Mice lacking CRP2 are viable and fertile and have no obvious deficits in reproduction and survival. However, detailed histological and electron microscopic studies reveal that CRP2-deficient mice have subtle alterations in their cardiac ultrastructure. In these mice, the cardiomyocytes display a slight increase in their thickness, indicating moderate hypertrophy at the cellular level. Although the expression of several intercalated disc-associated proteins such as β-catenin, N-RAP and connexin-43 were not affected in these mice, the distribution of respective proteins was changed within heart tissue.
Conclusion
We conclude that the lack of CRP2 is associated with alterations in cardiomyocyte thickness and hypertrophy.
doi:10.1186/1471-213X-8-80
PMCID: PMC2529283  PMID: 18713466
5.  Comparative evaluation of gene delivery devices in primary cultures of rat hepatic stellate cells and rat myofibroblasts 
BMC Cell Biology  2000;1:4.
Background
The hepatic stellate cell is the primary cell type responsible for the excessive formation and deposition of connective tissue elements during the development of hepatic fibrosis in chronically injured liver. Culturing quiescent hepatic stellate cells on plastic causes spontaneous activation leading to a myofibroblastic phenotype similar to that seen in vivo. This provides a simple model system for studying activation and transdifferentiation of these cells. The introduction of exogenous DNA into these cells is discussed controversially mainly due to the lack of systematic analysis. Therefore, we examined comparatively five nonviral, lipid-mediated gene transfer methods and adenoviral based infection, as potential tools for efficient delivery of DNA to rat hepatic stellate cells and their transdifferentiated counterpart, i.e. myofibroblasts. Transfection conditions were determined using enhanced green fluorescent protein as a reporter expressed under the transcriptional control of the human cytomegalovirus immediate early gene 1 promoter/enhancer.
Results
With the use of chemically enhanced transfection methods, the highest relative efficiency was obtained with FuGENE™6 gene mediated DNA transfer. Quantitative evaluation of representative transfection experiments by flow cytometry revealed that approximately 6% of the rat hepatic stellate cells were transfected. None of the transfection methods tested was able to mediate gene delivery to rat myofibroblasts. To analyze if rat hepatic stellate cells and myofibroblasts are susceptible to adenoviral infection, we have inserted the transgenic expression cassette into a recombinant adenoviral type 5 genome as replacement for the E1 region. Viral particles of this replication-deficient Ad5-based reporter are able to infect 100% of rat hepatic stellate cells and myofibroblasts, respectively.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that FuGENE™6-based methods may be optimized sufficiently to offer a feasible approach for gene transfer into rat hepatic stellate cells. The data further demonstrate that adenoviral mediated transfer is a promising approach for gene delivery to these hepatic cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2121-1-4
PMCID: PMC29065  PMID: 11178102

Results 1-5 (5)