To examine the mechanisms of drug relapse, we first established a model for cocaine IVSA (intravenous self-administration) in mice, and subsequently examined electrophysiological alterations of MSNs (medium-sized spiny neurons) in the NAc (nucleus accumbens) before and after acute application of cocaine in slices. Three groups were included: master mice trained by AL (active lever) pressings followed by IV (intravenous) cocaine delivery, yoked mice that received passive IV cocaine administration initiated by paired master mice, and saline controls. MSNs recorded in the NAc shell in master mice exhibited higher membrane input resistances but lower frequencies and smaller amplitudes of sEPSCs (spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents) compared with neurons recorded from saline control mice, whereas cells in the NAc core had higher sEPSCs frequencies and larger amplitudes. Furthermore, sEPSCs in MSNs of the shell compartment displayed longer decay times, suggesting that both pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms were involved. After acute re-exposure to a low-dose of cocaine in vitro, an AP (action potential)-dependent, persistent increase in sEPSC frequency was observed in both NAc shell and core MSNs from master, but not yoked or saline control mice. Furthermore, re-exposure to cocaine induced membrane hyperpolarization, but concomitantly increased excitability of MSNs from master mice, as evidenced by increased membrane input resistance, decreased depolarizing current to generate APs, and a more negative Thr (threshold) for firing. These data demonstrate functional differences in NAc MSNs after chronic contingent versus non-contingent IV cocaine administration in mice, as well as synaptic adaptations of MSNs before and after acute re-exposure to cocaine. Reversing these functional alterations in NAc could represent a rational target for the treatment of some reward-related behaviors, including drug addiction.
intravenous self-administration; nucleus accumbens; relapse; synaptic transmission; AHP, afterhyperpolarization; AL, active lever; BIC, bicuculline; Coc, cocaine; CsMeth, Cs-Methanesulfonate; FR, fixed ratio; GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid; IAL, inactive lever; IC, current clamp; IVSA, intravenous self-administration; KGluc, K-gluconate internal solution; mEPSCs, miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents; MSNs, medium-sized spiny neurons; NAc, nucleus accumbens; Rin, resistance; rm, repeated measure; RMP, resting membrane potential; sEPSCs, spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents; sIPSCs, spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents; Thr, threshold; TTX, tetrodotoxin; VC, voltage clamp
The Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors (ESFTs) comprises a group of aggressive, malignant bone and soft tissue tumors that predominantly affect children and young adults. These tumors frequently share expression of the EWS-FLI-1 translocation, which is central to tumor survival but not present in healthy cells. In this study, we examined EWS-FLI-1 antigens for their capacity to induce immunity against a range of ESFT types.
Computer prediction analysis of peptide binding, HLA-A2.1 stabilization assays, and induction of Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes (CTL) in immunized HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice were used to assess the immunogenicity of native and modified peptides derived from the fusion region of EWS-FLI-1 type 1. CTL-killing of multiple ESFT family members in vitro, and control of established xenografts in vivo, was assessed. We also examined whether these peptides could induce human CTLs in vitro.
EWS-FLI-1 type 1 peptides were unable to stabilize cell surface HLA-A2.1 and induced weak CTL activity against Ewing Sarcoma cells. In contrast, peptides with modified anchor residues induced potent CTL killing of Ewing Sarcoma cells presenting endogenous (native) peptides. The adoptive transfer of CTL specific for the modified peptide YLNPSVDSV resulted in enhanced survival of mice with established Ewing Sarcoma xenografts. YLNPSVDSV-specific CTL displayed potent killing of multiple ESFT types in vitro: Ewing Sarcoma, pPNET, Askin’s Tumor, and Biphenotypic Sarcoma. Stimulation of human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells with YLNPSVDSV peptide resulted in potent CTL-killing.
These data show that YLNPSVDSV peptide is a promising antigen for ESFT immunotherapy and warrants further clinical development.
Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors; Ewing Sarcoma; pPNET; Askin’s Tumor; Biphenotypic sarcoma; EWS-FLI-1; Immunotherapy; vaccine; cancer; HLA-A2.1; HLA-A*0201
Nine neurodegenerative disorders are caused by the abnormal expansion of polyglutamine (polyQ) regions within distinct proteins. Genetic and biochemical evidence has documented that the molecular chaperone, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), modulates polyQ toxicity and aggregation, yet it remains unclear how Hsp70 might be used as a potential target in polyQ-related diseases. We have utilized a pair of membrane-permeable compounds that tune the activity of Hsp70 by either stimulating or by inhibiting its ATPase functions. Using these two pharmacological agents in both yeast and PC12 cell models of polyQ aggregation and toxicity, we were surprised to find that stimulating Hsp70 solubilized polyQ conformers and simultaneously exacerbated polyQ-mediated toxicity. By contrast, inhibiting Hsp70’s ATPase activity protected against polyQ toxicity and promoted aggregation. These findings clarify Hsp70’s role as a possible drug target in polyQ disorders and suggest that Hsp70 uses ATP hydrolysis to help partition polyQ proteins into structures with varying levels of proteotoxicity. Our results thus support an emerging concept in which certain kinds of polyQ aggregates may be protective, while more soluble polyQ species are toxic.
polyQ; protein misfolding; molecular chaperones; heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70); proteostasis; chemical genetics; chemical probes
Airway mucus presents a first line of defense against inhaled materials. It also, however, is a significant pathological contributor to chronic lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thus, gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms of mucus production and secretion is an important goal for improving respiratory health. Mucins, the chief glycoprotein components of airway mucus, are very large polymeric glycoproteins, and measuring their production and secretion in experimental animals present significant technical challenges. Over the past several years, we have developed assays for accurately quantifying mucin production and secretion using histological and biochemical assays. These methods are described here.
airways; asthma; cystic fibrosis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; goblet cell; lungs; mouse; mucin; mucous; mucus
Etk is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, which provides a strong survival signal in human prostate cancer cells. Src, another tyrosine kinase that cross-activates with Etk, has been shown to play an important role in prostate cancer metastasis. Herein, we discovered a new class of Etk inhibitors. Within those inhibitors, CTA095 was identified as a potent Etk and Src dual inhibitor. CTA095 was found to induce autophagy as well as apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. In addition, CTA095 inhibited HUVEC cell tube formation and “wound healing” of human prostate cancer cells, implying its role in inhibition of angiogenesis and metastasis of human prostate cancer. More interestingly, CTA095 could overcome Src inhibitor resistance in prostate cancer cells. It induces apoptosis in Src inhibitor resistant prostate cancer cells, likely through a mechanism of down regulation of Myc and BCL2. This finding indicates that simultaneously targeting Etk and Src could be a promising approach to overcome drug resistance in prostate cancer.
Previous studies of the impact of renal cell carcinoma histopathology on survival are conflicting and generally limited to institutional analyses. Thus, we determined the role of renal cell carcinoma histopathology on the stage specific survival rate in a large population based cohort.
Materials and Methods
We used the 2000 to 2005 National Cancer Institute SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) database to identify 17,605 patients who underwent surgery for renal cell carcinoma and met study inclusion criteria. Patients were stratified by histological subtype (clear cell, papillary, chromophobe, collecting duct and sarcomatoid differentiation) and pathological stage. We performed Cox proportional hazard modeling and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis to determine overall and cancer specific survival.
Patients with papillary and chromophobe pathology were less likely to present with T3 or greater disease (17.6% and 16.9% ,respectively) while patients with collecting duct and sarcomatoid variants were more likely to present with T3 or greater disease (55.7% and 82.8%, respectively) compared to those with clear cell histology (p <0.001). On multivariate analysis histology was significantly associated with overall and cancer specific survival. Patients with chromophobe pathology had improved survival (HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.40–0.78) while those with collecting duct and sarcomatoid variants had worse survival (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.44–2.97 and 2.26, 95% CI 1.93–2.64, respectively).
Renal cell carcinoma histological subtype predicts overall and cancer specific survival. Patients with collecting duct and sarcomatoid variants of renal cell carcinoma have poor survival, even those who present with low stage disease. These data suggest inherent differences in renal cell carcinoma biology and may ultimately form the basis of future histologically targeted therapies.
kidney; carcinoma; renal cell; SEER program; survival analysis; histology
Metabolomics is increasingly being utilized in cancer biology for biomarker discovery and identification of potential novel therapeutic targets. However, a systematic metabolomics study of multiple biofluids to determine their interrelationships and to describe their utility as tumor proxies is lacking. Using a mouse xenograft model of kidney cancer, characterized by sub-capsular implantation of Caki-1 clear cell human kidney cancer cells, we examined tissue, serum, and urine all obtained simultaneously at baseline (urine) and at, or close to, animal sacrifice (tissue and plasma). Uniform metabolomics analysis of all three “matrices” was accomplished using GC- and LC-MS. Of all the metabolites identified (267 in tissue, 246 in serum, 267 in urine), 89 were detected in all 3 matrices, and the majority were altered in the same direction. Heat maps of individual metabolites showed that alterations in serum were more closely related to tissue than was urine. Two metabolites, cinnamoylglycine and nicotinamide, were concordantly and significantly (when corrected for multiple testing) altered in tissue and serum, and cysteine-glutathione disulfide showed the highest change (232.4-fold in tissue) of any metabolite. Based on these and other considerations, three pathways were chosen for biological validation of the metabolomic data, resulting in potential therapeutic target identification. These data show that serum metabolomics analysis is a more accurate proxy for tissue changes than urine, that tryptophan degradation (yielding anti-inflammatory metabolites) is highly represented in renal cell carcinoma, and support the concept that PPAR-alpha antagonism may be a potential therapeutic approach for this disease.
The costs associated with a contemporary active surveillance strategy compared with immediate treatment for prostate cancer are not well characterized. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the health care costs of an active surveillance paradigm for prostate cancer.
A theoretical cohort of 120,000 men selecting active surveillance for prostate cancer was created. The number of men remaining on active surveillance and those exiting to each of 5 treatments over 5 years were simulated in a Markov model. Estimated total costs after 5 years of active surveillance with subsequent delayed treatment were compared with immediate treatment. Sensitivity analyses were performed to test the effect of various surveillance strategies and attrition rates. Additional analyses to include 10 years of follow-up were performed.
The average simulated cost of treatment for 120,000 men initiating active surveillance with 5 years of follow-up and subsequent delayed treatment resulted in per patient cost savings of $16,042 (95% confidence interval [CI], $16,039-$16,046) relative to initial curative treatment. This represents a $1.9 billion dollar savings to the cohort. The strict costs of active surveillance exceeded those of brachytherapy in the ninth year of follow-up. A yearly biopsy within the active surveillance cohort increased costs by 22%, compared with every other year biopsy. At 10 years of follow-up, active surveillance still resulted in a cost benefit; however, the savings were reduced by 38% to $9944 (95% CI, $9941-$9948) per patient relative to initial treatment.
These data demonstrate that active surveillance represents a considerable cost savings over immediate treatment for prostate cancer in a theoretical cohort after 5 and 10 years of follow-up.
prostate cancer; active surveillance; economics; Markov model; cost
Large, osseous, segmental defects heal poorly. Muscle has a propensity to form bone when exposed to an osteogenic stimulus such as that provided by transfer and expression of cDNA encoding bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). The present study evaluated the ability of genetically modified, autologous muscle to heal large cranial defects in rats. Autologous grafts (8mm × 2mm) were punched from the biceps femoris muscle and transduced intraoperatively with recombinant adenovirus vector containing human BMP-2 or green fluorescent protein cDNA. While the muscle biopsies were incubating with the vector, a central parietal 8mm defect was surgically created in the calvarium of the same animal. The gene-activated muscle graft was then implanted into the cranial defect. After 8 weeks, crania were examined radiographically, histologically, and by micro-computed tomography and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Although none of the defects were completely healed in this time, muscle grafts expressing BMP-2 deposited more than twice as much new bone as controls. Histology confirmed the anatomical integrity of the newly formed bone, which was comparable in thickness and mineral density to the original cranial bone. This study confirms the in vivo osteogenic properties of genetically modified muscle and suggests novel strategies for healing bone.
Gene Therapy; Bone Healing; Muscle; BMP-2; Osteogenesis
The altered behavioral effects of morphine, but not most other mu agonists, in mice lacking β-arrestin 2, suggest that this scaffolding protein regulates the signaling cascade of this commonly used analgesic. One of the cascades that could be regulated by β-arrestin 2 is cJun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), which binds with β-arrestin 2 and modulates the analgesic effects of morphine. Using neurons lacking β-arrestin 2 (β-arr2−/−) to examine this interaction, we found that β-arr2−/− neurons show altered intracellular distribution of JNK and cJun, and that morphine, but not fentanyl, increased the nuclear localization of the phosphorylated, therefore activated, form of cJun, a JNK target in dorsal root ganglia neurons. This suggests that deleting β-arrestin 2 affects the JNK cascade. We therefore examined whether some of the behavioral phenotypes of mice lacking β-arrestin 2 could be a result of altered JNK signaling. Indeed, two different JNK inhibitors reversed the enhanced analgesic effect of morphine, a known phenotype of β-arr2−/− mice, to +/+ levels. Both the reduced locomotor effect of morphine and the psychomotor sensitization to repeated morphine administration in β-arr2−/− mice were also returned to +/+ levels by inhibiting JNK. In contrast, the behavioral effects of fentanyl were neither genotype-dependent nor affected by JNK inhibition. Furthermore, a PKC inhibitor had a similar effect as inhibiting JNK in reducing the enhanced analgesic effect of morphine in β-arr2−/− mice to +/+ levels. In summary, removing β-arrestin 2 reveals mu receptor activation of the JNK cascade in a ligand-specific manner explaining several behavioral phenotypes of β-arr2−/− mice.
mu opioid receptor; JNK; β-arrestin 2; morphine; analgesia; locomotion; addiction & substance abuse; analgesia; animal models; beta-arrestin 2; JNK; morphine; mu opioid receptor; opioids; pain/analgesics
Kidney cancer often diagnosed at late stages when treatment options are severely limited. Thus, greater understanding of tumor metabolism leading ultimately to novel approaches to diagnosis are needed. Our laboratory has been utilizing metabolomics to evaluate compounds appearing in kidney cancer patients’ biofluids at concentrations different from control patients. Here, we collected urine samples from kidney cancer patients and analyzed them by chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Once normalized to control for urinary concentration, samples were analyzed by two independent laboratories. After technical validation, we now show differential urinary concentrations of several acylcarnitines as a function of both cancer status and kidney cancer grade, with most acylcarnitines being increased in the urine of cancer patients and in those patients with high cancer grades. This finding was validated in a mouse xenograft model of human kidney cancer. Biological validation shows carbon chain length-dependent effects of the acylcarnitines on cytotoxicity in vitro, and higher chain length acylcarnitines demonstrated inhibitory effects on NF-κB activation, suggesting an immune modulatory effect of these compounds. Thus, acylcarnitines in the kidney cancer urine may reflect alterations in metabolism, cell component synthesis, and/or immune surveillance, and may help explain the profound chemotherapy resistance seen with this cancer. This study shows for the first time the value of a novel class of metabolites which may lead to new therapeutic approaches for cancer and may prove useful in cancer biomarker studies. Furthermore, these findings open up a new area of investigation into the metabolic basis of kidney cancer.
Active rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by originating from few but affecting subsequently the majority of joints. Thus far, the pathways of the progression of the disease are largely unknown. As rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are key players in joint destruction and migrate in vitro, the current study evaluated the potential of RASFs to spread the disease in vivo. To simulate the primary joint of origin, healthy human cartilage was co-implanted subcutaneously into SCID mice together with RASFs. At the contralateral flank, healthy cartilage was implanted without cells. RASFs showed an active movement to the naïve cartilage via the vasculature independent of the site of application of RASFs into the SCID mouse, leading to a strong destruction of the target cartilage. These findings support the hypothesis that the characteristic clinical phenomenon of destructive arthritis spreading between joints is mediated, at least in part, by the transmigration of activated RASFs.
Ezogabine (also known by the international nonproprietary name of retigabine) is an antiepileptic drug codeveloped and comarketed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America and GlaxoSmithKline, which reduces neuronal excitability by enhancing the activity of potassium channels and has the potential to have effects on the urinary system through a pharmacologic action on bladder smooth muscle. In a single post-herpetic neuralgia trial, but not in an extensive epilepsy development program, proteinuria was unexpectedly reported in patients receiving ezogabine. Consequently, investigations were conducted to determine whether the reported proteinuria represented a true or false-positive finding.
Patients receiving ezogabine 900–1200 mg/day in an open-label extension (Study 303) of a Phase III epilepsy trial voluntarily provided urine samples. Fresh samples were analyzed immediately at the study site, and stabilized aliquots were analyzed 1–3 days after collection at two central laboratories. In an open-label study in healthy volunteers receiving ezogabine 600–900 mg/day (Study RTG114137), urine samples were analyzed fresh (<2 hours after collection) and, using two different stabilizers and storage at room temperature, after 24 and 72 hours. Fluid intake was restricted prior to one sample point. Albumin:creatinine ratios were assessed in both studies.
In Study 303, there was notable variation in clarity, color, and proteinuria between fresh and stored urine samples, and between samples analyzed at different laboratories. In RTG114137, reporting rates of proteinuria were elevated following storage using one stabilizer, and the frequency of color change from fresh to stored samples differed between the stabilizers and between 24 and 72 hours with one stabilizer. Following fluid restriction, proteinuria rates were elevated with both stabilizers. Poor tolerability of ezogabine 750–900 mg/day resulted in limited titration beyond 750 mg/day and early termination of RTG114137.
Hydration status, interval between urine collection and analysis, and the type of stabilizer used are all factors that may lead to false-positive proteinuria findings in patients receiving ezogabine and should be borne in mind if abnormalities are reported.
antiepileptic drugs; ezogabine; retigabine; urinary safety; urinalysis
Opioid receptors regulate a diverse array of physiological functions. Mu opioid receptor agonists are well-known analgesics for treating acute pain. In contrast, animal models suggest that chronic pain is more effectively relieved by delta opioid receptor agonists. A number of studies have shown that chronic pain results in increased function of delta opioid receptors. This is proposed to result from enhanced trafficking of the delta opioid receptor to the cell membrane induced by persistent tissue injury. However, recent studies have questioned this mechanism, which has resulted in some uncertainty as to whether delta opioid receptors are indeed upregulated in chronic pain states. To clarify this question, we have examined the effect of chronic inflammatory pain over time using both an ex vivo measure of delta function: receptor-Ca2+ channel coupling, and an in vivo measure; the relief of chronic pain by a delta opioid receptor agonist. In addition, as beta-arrestin 2 can regulate delta opioid receptor trafficking and signaling, we have further examined whether deleting this scaffolding and signal transduction molecule alters delta opioid receptor function.
We used the Complete Freund’s Adjuvant model of inflammatory pain, and examined the effectiveness of the delta agonist, SNC80, to both inhibit Ca2+ channels in primary afferent neurons and to attenuate mechanical allodynia. In naïve beta-arrestin 2 wildtype and knockout mice, SNC80 neither significantly inhibited voltage-dependent Ca2+ currents nor produced antinociception. However, following inflammatory pain, both measures showed a significant and long-lasting enhancement of delta opioid receptor function that persisted for up to 14 days post-injury regardless of genotype. Furthermore, although this pain model did not alter Ca2+ current density, the contribution of N-type Ca2+ channels to the total current appeared to be regulated by the presence of beta-arrestin 2.
Our results indicate that there is an upregulation of delta opioid receptor function following chronic pain. This gain of function is reflected in the increased efficacy of a delta agonist in both behavioral and electrophysiological measures. Overall, this work confirms that delta opioid receptors can be enhanced following tissue injury associated with chronic pain.
Primary afferent; SNC80; Delta opioid receptor; Chronic pain; Dorsal root ganglia; Ca2+ channel
To date there are only very few data available on the ligamentogenic differentiation capacity of mesenchymal stromal/progenitor cells (MSC) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) fibroblasts.
We describe the in vitro potential of MSC and ACL cells to undergo ligamentogenic differentiation upon transduction with adenoviral vectors encoding the human cDNA for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 12 and BMP13, also known as growth and differentiation factors (GDF) 6 and 7, respectively.
Transgene expression for at least 14 days was confirmed by Western blot analyzes. After 21 days of cell culture within collagen type I hydrogels, histochemical (hematoxylin/eosin (H&E), Azan and van Gieson), immunohistochemical and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyzes of the genetically modified constructs of both cell types revealed elongated, viable fibroblast-like cells embedded in a ligament-like matrix rich in collagens, vimentin, fibronectin, decorin, elastin, scleraxis, tenascin, and tenomodulin.
It appears that both MSC and ACL fibroblasts are capable of ligamentogenic differentiation with these factors. This information may aid in the development of biologic approaches to repair and restore ACL after injury.
adenovirus; anterior cruciate ligament; BMP12; BMP13; collagen hydrogel; fibroblasts; gene transfer; mesenchymal stromal cells
Rapidly growing tumor cells require a nutrient-rich environment in order to thrive, therefore, restricting access to certain key amino acids, such as arginine, often results in the death of malignant cells, which frequently display defective cell cycle check-point control. Healthy cells, by contrast, become quiescent and remain viable under arginine restriction, displaying full recovery upon return to arginine-rich conditions. The use of arginase therapy to restrict available arginine for selectively targeting malignant cells is currently under investigation in human clinical trials. However, the suitability of this approach for veterinary uses is unexplored. As a prelude to in vivo studies in canine malignancies, we examined the in vitro effects of arginine-deprivation on canine lymphoid and osteosarcoma cell lines. Two lymphoid and 2 osteosarcoma cell lines were unable to recover following 6 days of arginine deprivation, but all remaining cell lines displayed full recovery upon return to arginine-rich culture conditions. These remaining cell lines all proved susceptible to cell death following the addition of arginase to the cultures. The lymphoid lines were particularly sensitive to arginase, becoming unrecoverable after just 3 days of treatment. Two of the osteosarcoma lines were also susceptible over this time-frame; however the other 3 lines required 6–8 days of arginase treatment to prevent recovery. In contrast, adult progenitor cells from the bone marrow of a healthy dog were able to recover fully following 9 days of culture in arginase. Over 3 days in culture, arginase was more effective than asparaginase in inducing the death of lymphoid lines. These results strongly suggest that short-term arginase treatment warrants further investigation as a therapy for lymphoid malignancies and osteosarcomas in dogs.
MUC5AC is the most abundant gel-forming mucin in the ocular system. However, the specific function is unknown. In the present study, a Muc5ac knockout (KO) mouse model was subject to various physiological measurements as compared to its wide-type (WT) control. Interestingly, when KO mice were compared to WT mice, the mean tear break up time (TBUT) values were significantly lower and corneal fluorescein staining scores were significantly higher. But the tear volume was not changed. Despite the lack of Muc5ac expression in the conjunctiva of KO mice, Muc5b expression was significantly increased in these mice. Corneal opacification, varying in location and severity, was found in a few KO mice but not in WT mice. The present results suggest a significant difference in the quality, but not the quantity, of tear fluid in the KO mice compared to WT mice. Dry eye disease is multifactorial and therefore further evaluation of the varying components of the tear film, lacrimal unit and corneal structure of these KO mice may help elucidate the role of mucins in dry eye disease. Because Muc5ac knockout mice have clinical features of dry eye, this mouse model will be extremely useful for further studies regarding the pathophysiology of the ocular surface in dry eye in humans.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine have been the subject of increasingly intensive research for over 20 years, and there is concern in some quarters over the lack of clinically useful products despite the large sums of money invested. This review provides one perspective on orthopedic applications from a biologist working in academia. It is suggested that the delay in clinical application is not atypical of new, biologically based technologies. Some barriers to progress are acknowledged and discussed, but it is also noted that preclinical studies have identified several promising types of cells, scaffolds, and morphogenetic signals, which, although not optimal, are worth advancing toward human trials to establish a bridgehead in the clinic. Although this transitional technology will be replaced by more sophisticated, subsequent systems, it will perform valuable pioneering functions and facilitate the clinical development of the field. Some strategies for achieving this are suggested.
Asthma is etiologically and clinically heterogeneous, making the genomic basis of asthma difficult to identify. We exploited the strain-dependence of a murine model of allergic airway disease to identify different genomic responses in the lung. BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J mice were sensitized with the immunodominant allergen from the Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus species of house dust mite (Der p 1), without exogenous adjuvant, and the mice then underwent a single challenge with Der p 1. Allergic inflammation, serum antibody titers, mucous metaplasia, and airway hyperresponsiveness were evaluated 72 hours after airway challenge. Whole-lung gene expression analyses were conducted to identify genomic responses to allergen challenge. Der p 1–challenged BALB/cJ mice produced all the key features of allergic airway disease. In comparison, C57BL/6J mice produced exaggerated Th2-biased responses and inflammation, but exhibited an unexpected decrease in airway hyperresponsiveness compared with control mice. Lung gene expression analysis revealed genes that were shared by both strains and a set of down-regulated genes unique to C57BL/6J mice, including several G-protein–coupled receptors involved in airway smooth muscle contraction, most notably the M2 muscarinic receptor, which we show is expressed in airway smooth muscle and was decreased at the protein level after challenge with Der p 1. Murine strain–dependent genomic responses in the lung offer insights into the different biological pathways that develop after allergen challenge. This study of two different murine strains demonstrates that inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness can be decoupled, and suggests that the down-modulation of expression of G-protein–coupled receptors involved in regulating airway smooth muscle contraction may contribute to this dissociation.
asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; inflammation; house dust mite; Der p 1
Gene transfer technologies enable the controlled, targeted and sustained expression of gene products at precise anatomical locations, such as the joint. In this way, they offer the potential for more-effective, less-expensive treatments of joint diseases with fewer extra-articular adverse effects. A large body of preclinical data confirms the utility of intra-articular gene therapy in animal models of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. However, relatively few clinical trials have been conducted, only one of which has completed phase II. This article summarizes the status in 2010 of the clinical development of gene therapy for arthritis, identifies certain constraints to progress and suggests possible solutions.
Airway mucin secretion and MC (mast cell) degranulation must be tightly controlled for homoeostasis of the lungs and immune system respectively. We found the exocytic protein Munc18b to be highly expressed in mouse airway epithelial cells and MCs, and localized to the apical pole of airway secretory cells. To address its functions, we created a mouse with a severely hypomorphic Munc18b allele such that protein expression in heterozygotes was reduced by ~50%. Homozygous mutant mice were not viable, but heterozygotes showed a ~50% reduction in stimulated release of mucin from epithelial cells and granule contents from MCs. The defect in MCs affected only regulated secretion and not constitutive or transporter-mediated secretion. The severity of passive cutaneous anaphylaxis was also reduced by ~50%, showing that reduction of Munc18b expression results in an attenuation of physiological responses dependent on MC degranulation. The Munc18b promoter is controlled by INR (initiator), Sp1 (specificity protein 1), Ets, CRE (cAMP-response element), GRE (glucocorticoid-response element), GATA and E-box elements in airway epithelial cells; however, protein levels did not change during mucous metaplasia induced by allergic inflammation. Taken together, the results of the present study identify Munc18b as an essential gene that is a limiting component of the exocytic machinery of epithelial cells and MCs.
exocytosis; mast cell; mucin; mucus; Munc18; secretion; AB-PAS, Alcian Blue/periodic acid/Schiff reagent; bHLH, basic helix–loop–helix; CCSP, Clara cell secretory protein; Clca3, chloride channel, calcium-activated, family member 3; CRE, cAMP-response element; DNP, 2,4-dinitrophenol; FBS, fetal bovine serum; FcϵRIα, high-affinity IgE receptor, α subunit; FRT, flippase recognition target; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GRE, glucocorticoid-response element; HA, haemagglutinin; HSA, human serum albumin; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; IL-3, interleukin-3; INR, initiator; ISH, in situ hybridization; MC, mast cell; mBMMC, mouse bone-marrow-derived MC; mClca3, mouse Clca3; MFI, mean fluorescent intensity; mtCC, mouse transformed Clara cell; NK, natural killer; OCT, optimal cutting temperature compound; PAFS, periodic acid/fluorescent Schiff reagent; PBST, PBS containing 0.05% Tween 20; PGD2, prostaglandin D2; PGK, phosphoglucokinase; SCF, stem cell factor; SM, Sec1/Munc18; SNAP, soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein; SNARE, SNAP receptor; Stxbp2, syntaxin-binding protein 2; TK, thymidine kinase; TNFα, tumour necrosis factor α; WT, wild-type; YFP, yellow fluorescent protein
The immunological and homing properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide a potentially attractive treatment for arthritis. The objective of this study was to determine effects of genetic disparity on the immunosuppressive potential of MSCs in vitro and in vivo within collagen induced arthritis (CIA).
The ability of DBA/1, FVB and BALB/c MSC preparations to impact the cytokine release profile of CD3/CD28 stimulated DBA/1 T cells was assessed in vitro. The effect of systemically delivered MSCs on the progression of CIA and cytokine production was assessed in vivo.
All MSC preparations suppressed the release of TNFα and augmented the secretion of IL-4 and IL-10 by stimulated DBA/1 T-cells. However, assessment of the ratio of IFNγ to IL-4 production indicated that the more genetically distant BALB/c MSCs had significantly less immunosuppressive capacity. Systemic delivery of BALB/c MSC resulted in an exacerbation of CIA disease score in vivo and a higher erosive disease burden. This was not seen after treatment with syngeneic or partially mismatched MSCs. An increase in serum levels of IL-1β was observed up to 20 days post treatment with allogeneic MSCs. An initial elevation of IL-17 in these treatment groups persisted in those treated with fully mismatched BALB/c MSCs. Over the course of the study, there was a significant suppression of serum IL-17 levels in groups treated with syngeneic MSCs.
These data demonstrate a significant difference in the immunosuppressive properties of syngeneic and allogeneic MSCs in vitro and in vivo, which needs to be appreciated when developing MSC based therapies for inflammatory arthritis.
The mutations that have been implicated in pulmonary fibrosis account for only a small proportion of the population risk.
Using a genomewide linkage scan, we detected linkage between idiopathic interstitial pneumonia and a 3.4-Mb region of chromosome 11p15 in 82 families. We then evaluated genetic variation in this region in gel-forming mucin genes expressed in the lung among 83 subjects with familial interstitial pneumonia, 492 subjects with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and 322 controls. MUC5B expression was assessed in lung tissue.
Linkage and fine mapping were used to identify a region of interest on the p-terminus of chromosome 11 that included gel-forming mucin genes. The minor-allele of the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs35705950, located 3 kb upstream of the MUC5B transcription start site, was present at a frequency of 34% among subjects with familial interstitial pneumonia, 38% among subjects with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and 9% among controls (allelic association with familial interstitial pneumonia, P = 1.2×10−15; allelic association with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, P = 2.5×10−37). The odds ratios for disease among subjects who were heterozygous and those who were homozygous for the minor allele of this SNP were 6.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9 to 12.0) and 20.8 (95% CI, 3.8 to 113.7), respectively, for familial interstitial pneumonia and 9.0 (95% CI, 6.2 to 13.1) and 21.8 (95% CI, 5.1 to 93.5), respectively, for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. MUC5B expression in the lung was 14.1 times as high in subjects who had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis as in those who did not (P<0.001). The variant allele of rs35705950 was associated with up-regulation in MUC5B expression in the lung in unaffected subjects (expression was 37.4 times as high as in unaffected subjects homozygous for the wild-type allele, P<0.001). MUC5B protein was expressed in lesions of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
A common polymorphism in the promoter of MUC5B is associated with familial interstitial pneumonia and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Our findings suggest that dys-regulated MUC5B expression in the lung may be involved in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.)
Gene transfer technologies offer the prospect of enhancing bone regeneration by delivering osteogenic gene products locally to osseous defects. In most cases the gene product will be a protein, which will be synthesized endogenously within and around the lesion in a sustained fashion. It will have undergone authentic post-translational processing and lack the alterations that occur when recombinant proteins are synthesized in bioreactors and stored. Several different ex vivo and in vivo gene delivery strategies have been developed for this purpose, using viral and non-viral vectors. Proof of principle has been established in small animal models using a variety of different transgenes, including those encoding morphogens, growth factors, angiogenic factors, and transcription factors. A small number of studies demonstrate efficacy in large animal models. Developing these promising findings into clinical trials will be a long process, constrained by economic, regulatory and practical considerations. Nevertheless, the overall climate for gene therapy is improving, permitting optimism that applications in bone regeneration will eventually become available.
vector; adenovirus; adeno-associated virus; animal model; osteoprogenitor cell; osteoblast; gene activated matrix; allograft revitalization; clinical trial
Mucus is a protective gel that lines respiratory tract surfaces. To identify potential roles for secreted gel–forming mucins in lung development, we isolated murine lungs on embryonic days (E) 12.5–18.5, and postnatal days (PN) days 5, 14, and 28. We measured the mucin gene expression by quantitative RT-PCR, and localization by histochemical and immunohistochemical labeling. Alcian blue/periodic acid–Schiff–positive cells are present from E15.5 through PN28. Muc5b transcripts were abundant at all time points from E14.5 to PN28. By contrast, transcript levels of Muc5ac and Muc2 were approximately 300 and 85,000 times lower, respectively. These data are supported by immunohistochemical studies demonstrating the production and localization of Muc5ac and Muc5b protein. This study indicates that mucin production is prominent in developing murine lungs and that Muc5b is an early, abundant, and persistent marker of bronchial airway secretory cells, thereby implicating it as an intrinsic component of homeostatic mucosal defense in the lungs.
mouse; lung; mucin; Muc5ac; Muc5b