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1.  Paneth cell defects in Crohn’s disease patients promote dysbiosis 
JCI Insight  null;1(8):e86907.
BACKGROUND. Paneth cell dysfunction has been implicated in a subset of Crohn’s disease (CD) patients. We previously stratified clinical outcomes of CD patients by using Paneth cell phenotypes, which we defined by the intracellular distribution of antimicrobial proteins. Animal studies suggest that Paneth cells shape the intestinal microbiome. However, it is unclear whether Paneth cell phenotypes alter the microbiome complexity in CD subjects. Therefore, we analyzed the correlation of Paneth cell phenotypes with mucosal microbiome composition and ileal RNA expression in pediatric CD and noninflammatory bowel disease (non-IBD) patients.
METHODS. Pediatric CD (n = 44) and non-IBD (n = 62) patients aged 4 to 18 were recruited prior to routine endoscopic biopsy. Ileal mucosal samples were analyzed for Paneth cell phenotypes, mucosal microbiome composition, and RNA transcriptome.
RESULTS. The prevalence of abnormal Paneth cells was higher in pediatric versus adult CD cohorts. For pediatric CD patients, those with abnormal Paneth cells showed significant changes in their ileal mucosal microbiome, highlighted by reduced protective microbes and enriched proinflammatory microbes. Ileal transcriptome profiles showed reduced transcripts for genes that control oxidative phosphorylation in CD patients with abnormal Paneth cells. These transcriptional changes in turn were correlated with specific microbiome alterations. In non-IBD patients, a subset contained abnormal Paneth cells. However, this subset was not associated with alterations in the microbiome or host transcriptome.
CONCLUSION. Paneth cell abnormalities in human subjects are associated with mucosal dysbiosis in the context of CD, and these changes are associated with alterations in oxidative phosphorylation, potentially in a feedback loop.
FUNDING. The research was funded by Helmsley Charitable Trust (to T.S. Stappenbeck, R.J. Xavier, and D.P.B. McGovern), Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (to N.H. Salzman, T.S. Stappenbeck, R.J. Xavier, and C. Huttenhower), and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant 2014103 (to T.C. Liu).
Dysbiosis in Crohn’s disease patients is associated with Paneth cell abnormalities, with alterations in oxidative phosphorylation as a potential mechanism.
PMCID: PMC5033844  PMID: 27699268
2.  Environmental Enteric Dysfunction Includes a Broad Spectrum of Inflammatory Responses and Epithelial Repair Processes 
Background & Aims
Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), a chronic diffuse inflammation of the small intestine, is associated with stunting in children in the developing world. The pathobiology of EED is poorly understood because of the lack of a method to elucidate the host response. This study tested a novel microarray method to overcome limitation of RNA sequencing to interrogate the host transcriptome in feces in Malawian children with EED.
In 259 children, EED was measured by lactulose permeability (%L). After isolating low copy numbers of host messenger RNA, the transcriptome was reliably and reproducibly profiled, validated by polymerase chain reaction. Messenger RNA copy number then was correlated with %L and differential expression in EED. The transcripts identified were mapped to biological pathways and processes. The children studied had a range of %L values, consistent with a spectrum of EED from none to severe.
We identified 12 transcripts associated with the severity of EED, including chemokines that stimulate T-cell proliferation, Fc fragments of multiple immunoglobulin families, interferon-induced proteins, activators of neutrophils and B cells, and mediators that dampen cellular responses to hormones. EED-associated transcripts mapped to pathways related to cell adhesion, and responses to a broad spectrum of viral, bacterial, and parasitic microbes. Several mucins, regulatory factors, and protein kinases associated with the maintenance of the mucous layer were expressed less in children with EED than in normal children.
EED represents the activation of diverse elements of the immune system and is associated with widespread intestinal barrier disruption. Differentially expressed transcripts, appropriately enumerated, should be explored as potential biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC4769221  PMID: 26973864
Environmental Enteropathy; Fecal Transcriptome; Stunting; Intestinal Inflammation; dHAZ, change in height-for-age z score; EED, environmental enteric dysfunction; FARMS, factor analyses for robust microarray summarization; G-CSF, granulocyte colony–stimulating factor; HAZ, height-for-age z score; IRON, iterative rank order normalization; KEGG, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes; mRNA, messenger RNA; %L, lactulose permeability; qPCR, quantitative polymerase chain reaction; RMA, robust multi-array average
3.  Multi-platform assessment of transcriptional profiling technologies utilizing a precise probe mapping methodology 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):710.
The arrival of RNA-seq as a high-throughput method competitive to the established microarray technologies has necessarily driven a need for comparative evaluation. To date, cross-platform comparisons of these technologies have been relatively few in number of platforms analyzed and were typically gene name annotation oriented. Here, we present a more extensive and yet precise assessment to elucidate differences and similarities in performance of numerous aspects including dynamic range, fidelity of raw signal and fold-change with sample titration, and concordance with qRT-PCR (TaqMan). To ensure that these results were not confounded by incompatible comparisons, we introduce the concept of probe mapping directed “transcript pattern”. A transcript pattern identifies probe(set)s across platforms that target a common set of transcripts for a specific gene. Thus, three levels of data were examined: entire data sets, data derived from a subset of 15,442 RefSeq genes common across platforms, and data derived from the transcript pattern defined subset of 7,034 RefSeq genes.
In general, there were substantial core similarities between all 6 platforms evaluated; but, to varying degrees, the two RNA-seq protocols outperformed three of the four microarray platforms in most categories. Notably, a fourth microarray platform, Agilent with a modified protocol, was comparable, or marginally superior, to the RNA-seq protocols within these same assessments, especially in regards to fold-change evaluation. Furthermore, these 3 platforms (Agilent and two RNA-seq methods) demonstrated over 80 % fold-change concordance with the gold standard qRT-PCR (TaqMan).
This study suggests that microarrays can perform on nearly equal footing with RNA-seq, in certain key features, specifically when the dynamic range is comparable. Furthermore, the concept of a transcript pattern has been introduced that may minimize potential confounding factors of multi-platform comparison and may be useful for similar evaluations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1913-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4575490  PMID: 26385698
Transcript pattern; Fold-change; RNA-seq; Microarray; TaqMan assay
4.  Neuropilin-1 distinguishes natural and inducible regulatory T cells among regulatory T cell subsets in vivo 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2012;209(10):1713-1722.
Neuropilin-1 is identified as a surface marker to distinguish different Foxp3+ T reg cell subsets under homeostatic conditions.
Foxp3+ CD4+ T helper cells called regulatory T (T reg) cells play a key role in controlling reactivity to self-antigens and onset of autoimmunity. T reg cells either arise in thymus and are called natural T reg (nT reg) cells or are generated in the periphery through induction of Foxp3 and are called inducible T reg (iT reg) cells. The relative contributions of iT reg cells and nT reg cells in peripheral tolerance remain unclear as a result of an inability to separate these two subsets of T reg cells. Using a combination of novel TCR transgenic mice with a defined self-antigen specificity and conventional mouse models, we demonstrate that a cell surface molecule, neuropilin-1 (Nrp-1), is expressed at high levels on nT reg cells and can be used to separate nT reg versus iT reg cells in certain physiological settings. In addition, iT reg cells generated through antigen delivery or converted under homeostatic conditions lack Nrp-1 expression. Nrp-1lo iT reg cells show similar suppressive activity to nT reg cells in controlling ongoing autoimmune responses under homeostatic conditions. In contrast, their activity might be compromised in certain lymphopenic settings. Collectively, our data show that Nrp-1 provides an excellent marker to distinguish distinct T reg subsets and will be useful in studying the role of nT reg versus iT reg cells in different disease settings.
PMCID: PMC3457729  PMID: 22966003
5.  Genomic homeostasis is dysregulated in favour of apoptosis in the colonic epithelium of the azoxymethane treated rat 
BMC Physiology  2013;13:2.
The acute response to genotoxic carcinogens in rats is an important model for researching cancer initiation events. In this report we define the normal rat colonic epithelium by describing transcriptional events along the anterior-posterior axis and then investigate the acute effects of azoxymethane (AOM) on gene expression, with a particular emphasis on pathways associated with the maintenance of genomic integrity in the proximal and distal compartments using whole genome expression microarrays.
There are large transcriptional changes that occur in epithelial gene expression along the anterior-posterior axis of the normal healthy rat colon. AOM administration superimposes substantial changes on these basal gene expression patterns in both the distal and proximal rat colonic epithelium. In particular, the pathways associated with cell cycle and DNA damage and repair processes appear to be disrupted in favour of apoptosis.
The healthy rats’ colon exhibits extensive gene expression changes between its proximal and distal ends. The most common changes are associated with metabolism, but more subtle expression changes in genes involved in genomic homeostasis are also evident. These latter changes presumably protect and maintain a healthy colonic epithelium against incidental dietary and environmental insults. AOM induces substantial changes in gene expression, resulting in an early switch in the cell cycle process, involving p53 signalling, towards cell cycle arrest leading to the more effective process of apoptosis to counteract this genotoxic insult.
PMCID: PMC3561103  PMID: 23343511
Colorectal cancer; Azoxymethane; Rats; Gene expression
6.  Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Viewpoints on the Current Status and Applications in Nutrition Research and Practice 
Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics hold much promise for providing better nutritional advice to the public generally, genetic subgroups and individuals. Because nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics require a deep understanding of nutrition, genetics and biochemistry and ever new ‘omic’ technologies, it is often difficult, even for educated professionals, to appreciate their relevance to the practice of preventive approaches for optimising health, delaying onset of disease and diminishing its severity. This review discusses (i) the basic concepts, technical terms and technology involved in nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics; (ii) how this emerging knowledge can be applied to optimise health, prevent and treat diseases; (iii) how to read, understand and interpret nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic research results, and (iv) how this knowledge may potentially transform nutrition and dietetic practice, and the implications of such a transformation. This is in effect an up-to-date overview of the various aspects of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics relevant to health practitioners who are seeking a better understanding of this new frontier in nutrition research and its potential application to dietetic practice.
PMCID: PMC3121546  PMID: 21625170
Dietetics; Nutrigenetics; Nutrigenomics; Nutrition Research; Personalised nutrition
7.  Modulation of Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses by Tofacitinib (CP-690,550) 
Inhibitors of the JAK family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases have demonstrated clinical efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders; however, the precise mechanisms by which JAK inhibition improves inflammatory immune responses remain unclear. Here we examined the mode of action of tofacitinib (CP-690,550) on JAK/STAT signaling pathways involved in adaptive and innate immune responses. To determine the extent of inhibition of specific JAK/STAT-dependent pathways, we analyzed cytokine stimulation of mouse and human T cells in vitro. We also investigated the consequences of CP-690,550 treatment on Th cell differentiation of naïve murine CD4+ T cells. CP-690,550 inhibited IL-4-dependent Th2 cell differentiation, and interestingly also interfered with Th17 cell differentiation. Expression of IL-23 receptor and of the Th17 cytokines IL-17A, IL-17F and IL-22 were blocked when naïve Th cells were stimulated with IL-6 and IL-23. In contrast, IL-17A-production was enhanced when Th17 cells were differentiated in the presence of TGF-β. Moreover, CP-690,550 also prevented activation of STAT1, induction of T-bet and subsequent generation of Th1 cells. In a model of established arthritis, CP-690,550 rapidly improved disease by inhibiting production of inflammatory mediators and suppressing STAT1-dependent genes in joint tissue. Furthermore, efficacy in this disease model correlated with inhibition of both JAK1 and JAK3 signaling pathways. CP-690,550 also modulated innate responses to LPS in vivo through a mechanism likely involving inhibition of STAT1 signaling. Thus, CP-690,550 may improve autoimmune diseases and prevent transplant rejection by suppressing the differentiation of pathogenic Th1 and Th17 cells, as well as innate immune cell signaling.
PMCID: PMC3108067  PMID: 21383241
8.  Virus-Plus-Susceptibility Gene Interaction Determines Crohn’s Disease Gene Atg16L1 Phenotypes in Intestine 
Cell  2010;141(7):1135-1145.
It is unclear why disease occurs in only a small proportion of persons carrying common risk alleles of disease susceptibility genes. Here we demonstrate that an interaction between a specific virus infection and a mutation in the Crohn’s disease susceptibility gene Atg16L1 induces intestinal pathologies in mice. This virus-plus-susceptibility gene interaction generated abnormalities in granule packaging and unique patterns of gene expression in Paneth cells. Further, the response to injury induced by the toxic substance dextran sodium sulfate was fundamentally altered to include pathologies resembling aspects of Crohn’s disease. These pathologies triggered by virus-plus-susceptibility gene interaction were dependent on TNFα and IFNγ and were prevented by treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. Thus, we provide a specific example of how a virus-plus-susceptibility gene interaction can, in combination with additional environmental factors and commensal bacteria, determine the phenotype of hosts carrying common risk alleles for inflammatory disease.
PMCID: PMC2908380  PMID: 20602997
9.  Effects of casoxin 4 on morphine inhibition of small animal intestinal contractility and gut transit in the mouse 
Background and aims:
Chronic opioid analgesia has the debilitating side-effect of constipation in human patients. The major aims of this study were to: 1) characterize the opioid-specific antagonism of morphine-induced inhibition of electrically driven contraction of the small intestine of mice, rats, and guinea pigs; and 2) test if the oral delivery of small milk-derived opioid antagonist peptides could block morphine-induced inhibition of intestinal transit in mice.
Mouse, rat, and guinea pig intact ileal sections were electrically stimulated to contract and inhibited with morphine in vitro. Morphine inhibition was then blocked by opioid subtype antagonists in the mouse and guinea pig. Using a polymeric dye, Poly R-478, the opioid antagonists casoxin 4 and lactoferroxin A were tested orally for blocking activity of morphine inhibition of gut transit in vivo by single or double gavage techniques.
The guinea pig tissue was more sensitive to morphine inhibition compared with the mouse or the rat (IC50 [half maximal inhibitory concentration] values as nmol/L ± SEM were 34 ± 3, 230 ± 13, and 310 ± 14 respectively) (P < 0.01). The inhibitory influence of opioid agonists (IC50) in electrically driven ileal mouse preparations were DADLE ([D-Ala2, D-Leu5]-enkephalin) ≥ met-enkephalin ≥ dynorphin A ≥ DAMGO ([D-Ala2, N-Me-Phe4, Glyol5]-enkephalin) > morphine > morphiceptin as nmol/L 13.9, 17.3, 19.5, 23.3, 230, and 403 respectively. The mouse demonstrated predominantly κ- and δ-opioid receptor activity with a smaller μ-opioid receptor component. Both mouse and guinea pig tissue were sensitive to casoxin 4 antagonism of morphine inhibition of contraction. In contrast to naloxone, relatively high oral doses of the μ-opioid receptor antagonists, casoxin 4 and lactoferroxin A, applied before and after morphine injection were unable to antagonize morphine inhibition of gut transit.
Casoxin 4 reverses morphine-induced inhibition of contraction in mice and guinea pigs in vitro but fails to influence morphine inhibition of mouse small intestinal transit by the oral route.
PMCID: PMC3108675  PMID: 21694869
lactoferroxin A; μ-opioid receptor antagonist; opioid agonists
10.  Measuring the combinatorial expression of solute transporters and metalloproteinases transcripts in colorectal cancer 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:164.
It was hypothesised that colorectal cancer (CRC) could be diagnosed in biopsies by measuring the combined expression of a small set of well known genes. Genes were chosen based on their role in either the breakdown of the extracellular matrix or with changes in cellular metabolism both of which are associated with CRC progression
Gene expression data derived from quantitative real-time PCR for the solute transporter carriers (SLCs) and the invasion-mediating matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were examined using a Linear Descriminant Analysis (LDA). The combination of MMP-7 and SLC5A8 was found to be the most predictive of CRC.
A combinatorial analysis technique is an effective method for both furthering our understanding on the molecular basis of some aspects of CRC, as well as for leveraging well defined cancer-related gene sets to identify cancer. In this instance, the combination of MMP-7 and SLC5A8 were optimal for identifying CRC.
PMCID: PMC2736974  PMID: 19689820
11.  Radiology and Medical Care Costs 
Western Journal of Medicine  1982;137(4):338-339.
PMCID: PMC1274130  PMID: 18749223

Results 1-11 (11)