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1.  TNFα-dependent development of lymphoid tissue in the absence of RORγt+ Lymphoid Tissue Inducer cells 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(3):602-614.
Lymphoid tissue often forms within sites of chronic inflammation. Here we report that expression of the proinflammatory cytokine TNFa drives development of lymphoid tissue in the intestine. Formation of this ectopic lymphoid tissue was not dependent on the presence of canonical RORgt+ lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells, because animals expressing increased levels of TNFα but lacking RORgt+ LTi cells (TNF/Rorc(gt)−/− mice) developed lymphoid tissue in inflamed areas. Unexpectedly, such animals developed several lymph nodes that were structurally and functionally similar to those of wild type animals. TNFα production by F4/80+ myeloid cells present within the anlagen was important for activation of stromal cells during the late stages of embryogenesis and for the activation of an organogenic program that allowed development of lymph nodes. Our results show that lymphoid tissue organogenesis can occur in the absence of LTi cells and suggest that interactions between TNFα-expressing myeloid cells and stromal cells have an important role in secondary lymphoid organ formation.
PMCID: PMC4264842  PMID: 24129162
2.  Regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by TPL-2 kinase 
TPL-2 expression is required for efficient polarization of naïve T cells to Th1 effector cells in vitro, and for Th1-mediated immune responses. In the present study, we investigated the potential role of TPL-2 in Th17 cells. TPL-2 was found to be dispensable for Th17 cell differentiation in vitro, and for the initial priming of Th17 cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a Th17 cell-mediated disease model for multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, TPL-2-deficient mice were protected from EAE, which correlated with reduced immune cell infiltration, demyelination and axonal damage in the CNS. Adoptive transfer experiments demonstrated that there was no T cell-intrinsic function for TPL-2 in EAE, and that TPL-2 signaling was not required in radiation-sensitive hematopoietic cells. Rather, TPL-2 signaling in radiation-resistant stromal cells promoted the effector phase of the disease. Importantly, using a newly generated mouse strain expressing a kinase-inactive form of TPL-2, we demonstrated that stimulation of EAE was dependent on TPL-2’s catalytic activity, and not its adaptor function to stabilize the associated ubiquitin-binding protein ABIN-2. Our data therefore raise the possibility that small molecule inhibitors of TPL-2 may be beneficial in multiple sclerosis therapy.
PMCID: PMC3979668  PMID: 24639351
3.  A Splicing Mutation in the Novel Mitochondrial Protein DNAJC11 Causes Motor Neuron Pathology Associated with Cristae Disorganization, and Lymphoid Abnormalities in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104237.
Mitochondrial structure and function is emerging as a major contributor to neuromuscular disease, highlighting the need for the complete elucidation of the underlying molecular and pathophysiological mechanisms. Following a forward genetics approach with N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-mediated random mutagenesis, we identified a novel mouse model of autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease caused by a splice-site hypomorphic mutation in a novel gene of unknown function, DnaJC11. Recent findings have demonstrated that DNAJC11 protein co-immunoprecipitates with proteins of the mitochondrial contact site (MICOS) complex involved in the formation of mitochondrial cristae and cristae junctions. Homozygous mutant mice developed locomotion defects, muscle weakness, spasticity, limb tremor, leucopenia, thymic and splenic hypoplasia, general wasting and early lethality. Neuropathological analysis showed severe vacuolation of the motor neurons in the spinal cord, originating from dilatations of the endoplasmic reticulum and notably from mitochondria that had lost their proper inner membrane organization. The causal role of the identified mutation in DnaJC11 was verified in rescue experiments by overexpressing the human ortholog. The full length 63 kDa isoform of human DNAJC11 was shown to localize in the periphery of the mitochondrial outer membrane whereas putative additional isoforms displayed differential submitochondrial localization. Moreover, we showed that DNAJC11 is assembled in a high molecular weight complex, similarly to mitofilin and that downregulation of mitofilin or SAM50 affected the levels of DNAJC11 in HeLa cells. Our findings provide the first mouse mutant for a putative MICOS protein and establish a link between DNAJC11 and neuromuscular diseases.
PMCID: PMC4128653  PMID: 25111180
4.  Fetal Exposure to Maternal Inflammation Does Not Affect Postnatal Development of Genetically-Driven Ileitis and Colitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98237.
Background: Chronic inflammatory disorders have been increasing in incidence over the past decades following geographical patterns of industrialization. Fetal exposure to maternal inflammation may alter organ functions and the offspring's disease risk. We studied the development of genetically-driven ileitis and colitis in response to maternal inflammation using mouse models.
Methods: Disease susceptible (TnfΔARE/+ and IL10−/−) and disease-free (Tnf+/+ and IL10−/+) offspring were raised in inflamed and non-inflamed dams. Ileal, caecal and colonic pathology was evaluated in the offspring at 8 or 12 weeks of age. Ly6G-positive cells in inflamed sections from the distal ileum and distal colon were analysed by immunofluorescence microscopy. Gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines was measured in whole tissue specimens by quantitative PCR. Microarray analyses were performed on laser microdissected intestinal epithelium. Caecal bacterial communities were assessed by Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons.
Results: Disease severity, the number of infiltrated neutrophils as well as Tnf and Il12p40 mRNA expression were independent of maternal inflammation in the offspring of mouse models for ileitis (TnfΔARE/+) and colitis (IL10−/−). Although TNF-driven maternal inflammation regulated 2,174 (wild type) and 3,345 (TnfΔARE/+) genes in the fetal epithelium, prenatal gene expression patterns were completely overwritten after birth. In addition, co-housing experiments revealed no change in phylogenetic diversity of the offspring's caecal microbiota in response to maternal inflammation. This is independent of the offspring's genotype before and after the onset of tissue pathology.
Conclusions: Disease risk and activity in mouse models of chronic ileitis and colitis was independent of the fetal exposure to maternal inflammation. Likewise, maternal inflammation did not alter the diversity and composition of offspring's caecal microbiota, clearly demonstrating that changes of the gene expression program in the fetal gut epithelium were not relevant for the development of chronic inflammatory disorders in the gut.
PMCID: PMC4029898  PMID: 24849654
5.  Safe TNF-based antitumor therapy following p55TNFR reduction in intestinal epithelium 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(6):2590-2603.
TNF has remarkable antitumor activities; however, therapeutic applications have not been possible because of the systemic and lethal proinflammatory effects induced by TNF. Both the antitumor and inflammatory effects of TNF are mediated by the TNF receptor p55 (p55TNFR) (encoded by the Tnfrsf1a gene). The antitumor effect stems from an induction of cell death in tumor endothelium, but the cell type that initiates the lethal inflammatory cascade has been unclear. Using conditional Tnfrsf1a knockout or reactivation mice, we found that the expression level of p55TNFR in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) is a crucial determinant in TNF-induced lethal inflammation. Remarkably, tumor endothelium and IECs exhibited differential sensitivities to TNF when p55TNFR levels were reduced. Tumor-bearing Tnfrsf1a+/– or IEC-specific p55TNFR-deficient mice showed resistance to TNF-induced lethality, while the tumor endothelium remained fully responsive to TNF-induced apoptosis and tumors regressed. We demonstrate proof of principle for clinical application of this approach using neutralizing anti-human p55TNFR antibodies in human TNFRSF1A knockin mice. Our results uncover an important cellular basis of TNF toxicity and reveal that IEC-specific or systemic reduction of p55TNFR mitigates TNF toxicity without loss of antitumor efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3668821  PMID: 23676465
6.  Autotaxin expression from synovial fibroblasts is essential for the pathogenesis of modeled arthritis 
Synovial fibroblasts from patients and mice with arthritis express autotaxin, and ablation of autotaxin in fibroblasts ameliorates disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a destructive arthropathy characterized by chronic synovial inflammation that imposes a substantial socioeconomic burden. Under the influence of the proinflammatory milieu, synovial fibroblasts (SFs), the main effector cells in disease pathogenesis, become activated and hyperplastic, releasing proinflammatory factors and tissue-remodeling enzymes. This study shows that activated arthritic SFs from human patients and animal models express significant quantities of autotaxin (ATX; ENPP2), a lysophospholipase D that catalyzes the conversion of lysophosphatidylcholine to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). ATX expression from SFs was induced by TNF, and LPA induced SF activation and effector functions in synergy with TNF. Conditional genetic ablation of ATX in mesenchymal cells, including SFs, resulted in disease attenuation in animal models of arthritis, establishing the ATX/LPA axis as a novel player in chronic inflammation and the pathogenesis of arthritis and a promising therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3348105  PMID: 22493518
7.  Tpl2 regulates intestinal myofibroblast HGF release to suppress colitis-associated tumorigenesis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(11):4231-4242.
The tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in colitis-associated cancer (CAC). Intestinal myofibroblasts (IMFs) are cells in the intestinal lamina propria secreting factors that are known to modulate carcinogenesis; however, the physiological role of IMFs and signaling pathways influencing CAC have remained unknown. Tumor progression locus 2 (Tpl2) is a MAPK that regulates inflammatory and oncogenic pathways. In this study we addressed the role of Tpl2 in CAC using complete and tissue-specific ablation of Tpl2 in mutant mice. Tpl2-deficient mice did not exhibit significant differences in inflammatory burdens following azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) administration compared with wild-type mice; however, the mutant mice developed significantly increased numbers and sizes of tumors, associated with enhanced epithelial proliferation and decreased apoptosis. Cell-specific ablation of Tpl2 in IMFs, but not in intestinal epithelial or myeloid cells, conferred a similar susceptibility to adenocarcinoma formation. Tpl2-deficient IMFs upregulated HGF production and became less sensitive to the negative regulation of HGF by TGF-β3. In vivo inhibition of HGF-mediated c-Met activation blocked early, enhanced colon dysplasia in Tpl2-deficient mice, indicating that Tpl2 normally suppresses the HGF/c-Met pathway. These findings establish a mesenchyme-specific role for Tpl2 in the regulation of HGF production and suppression of epithelial tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3484449  PMID: 23064365
8.  Correction: Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):10.1371/annotation/74add513-eb1d-4fa1-ae2e-c3d2e7e735a0.
PMCID: PMC3463619
9.  Membrane-Bound TNF Induces Protective Immune Responses to M. bovis BCG Infection: Regulation of memTNF and TNF Receptors Comparing Two memTNF Molecules 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e31469.
Several activities of the transmembrane form of TNF (memTNF) in immune responses to intracellular bacterial infection have been shown to be different from those exerted by soluble TNF. Evidence is based largely on studies in transgenic mice expressing memTNF, but precise cellular mechanisms are not well defined and the importance of TNF receptor regulation is unknown. In addition, memTNF activities are defined for a particular modification of the extracellular domain of TNF but a direct comparison of different mutant memTNF molecules has not been done in vivo.
To understand the activities of memTNF we compared two commonly used mouse strains lacking soluble TNF but possessing functional and normally regulated membrane-bound TNF knockin (memTNF KI) for their capacity to generate cell-mediated immune responses and resistance to M. bovis BCG infection, and to regulate TNF receptors.
Principal Findings
M. bovis BCG infection resulted in similar bacterial loads in one strain of memTNF KI (memTNFΔ1–9,K11E) and in wild-type mice, in contrast, the other strain of memTNF KI mice (memTNFΔ1–12) showed higher sensitivity to infection with high mortality (75%), greater bacterial load and massive lung pathology. The pattern of cytokines/chemokines, inflammatory cells, pulmonary NF-κB phosphorylation, antigen-dependent IFN-γ response, and splenic iNOS was impaired in M. bovis BCG-infected memTNFΔ1–12 KI mice. Macrophages expressing TNFR2 were reduced but soluble TNFRs were higher in memTNFΔ1–12 KI mice during the infection. In vitro, M. bovis BCG-induced NF-κB activation and cytokines were also decreased in memTNFΔ1–12 KI bone marrow-derived macrophages.
Our data show that two memTNF molecules exerted very different activities upon M. bovis BCG infection resulting in protection or not to bacterial infection. These results suggest a regulatory mechanism of memTNF and TNF receptors being critical in the outcome of the infection and highlight the role of cell-bound and soluble TNFR2 in memTNF-mediated anti-microbial mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3364241  PMID: 22666310
10.  Correction: Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):10.1371/annotation/ea1a4c80-8dfd-496a-a273-d74c1fd6e069.
PMCID: PMC3319575
11.  Myeloid Takl Acts as a Negative Regulator of the LPS Response and Mediates Resistance to Endotoxemia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31550.
TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAP3K) family, is considered a key intermediate in a multitude of innate immune signaling pathways. Yet, the specific role of TAK1 in the myeloid compartment during inflammatory challenges has not been revealed. To address this question, we generated myeloid-specific kinase-dead TAK1 mutant mice. TAK1 deficiency in macrophages results in impaired NF-κB and JNK activation upon stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Moreover, TAK1-deficient macrophages and neutrophils show an enhanced inflammatory cytokine profile in response to LPS stimulation. Myeloid-specific TAK1 deficiency in mice leads to increased levels of circulating IL-1β, TNF and reduced IL-10 after LPS challenge and sensitizes them to LPS-induced endotoxemia. These results highlight an antiinflammatory role for myeloid TAK1, which is essential for balanced innate immune responses and host survival during endotoxemia.
PMCID: PMC3279403  PMID: 22348103
14.  Electrocardiographic and Electrophysiologic Characteristics of Ventricular Extrasystoles Arising from the Aortomitral Continuity 
Left ventricular outflow tract arrhythmias originating from the aortomitral continuity, the left coronary cusp, the superior basal septum, and the epicardial left ventricular summit display common electrocardiographic and electrophysiological features, probably due to the close proximity of those locations. Catheter ablation of these arrhythmias can be challenging. The case of a 68-year-old male with frequent premature ventricular extrasystoles arising from the aortomitral continuity of the basal left ventricle is described. The electrocardiographic and electrophysiologic characteristics of this arrhythmia are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3103894  PMID: 21637720
15.  Attenuation of TNF-driven murine ileitis by intestinal expression of the viral immunomodulator CrmD 
Mucosal immunology  2010;3(6):633-644.
Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) is a key pathogenic factor in Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. TNFΔARE mice express high levels of TNFα and present Crohn’s-like ileitis and arthritis. Alterations in the chemokine network could underline the TNF-driven ileitis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of TNF and chemokines in ileitis using ectromelia virus CrmD, a protein that binds TNFα and a limited number of chemokines. We generated transgenic mice expressing CrmD in intestinal epithelial cells (vCrmD mice) and crossed them with the TNFΔARE mice to test whether CrmD could affect TNF-driven inflammatory processes. During homeostasis, only the number of B cells in the lamina propria was reduced by CrmD expression. Interestingly, CrmD expression in the intestine markedly attenuated the inflammatory infiltrates in the ileum of TNFΔARE mice, but did not affect development of arthritis. Our results suggest that CrmD affects development of ileitis by locally affecting both TNF and chemokine function in the ileum.
PMCID: PMC2979317  PMID: 20664576
Intestine; TNF; leukocyte; CrmD; poxvirus; Crohn’s disease
16.  Mouse Resource Browser—a database of mouse databases 
The laboratory mouse has become the organism of choice for discovering gene function and unravelling pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases through the application of various functional genomic approaches. The resulting deluge of data has led to the deployment of numerous online resources and the concomitant need for formalized experimental descriptions, data standardization, database interoperability and integration, a need that has yet to be met. We present here the Mouse Resource Browser (MRB), a database of mouse databases that indexes 217 publicly available mouse resources under 22 categories and uses a standardised database description framework (the CASIMIR DDF) to provide information on their controlled vocabularies (ontologies and minimum information standards), and technical information on programmatic access and data availability. Focusing on interoperability and integration, MRB offers automatic generation of downloadable and re-distributable SOAP application-programming interfaces for resources that provide direct database access. MRB aims to provide useful information to both bench scientists, who can easily navigate and find all mouse related resources in one place, and bioinformaticians, who will be provided with interoperable resources containing data which can be mined and integrated.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC2911845  PMID: 20627861
17.  Cutting Edge: A Critical Role of B and T Lymphocyte Attenuator in Peripheral T Cell Tolerance Induction1 
T cell activation and tolerance are delicately regulated by costimulatory molecules. Although B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) has been shown as a negative regulator for T cell activation, its role in peripheral T cell tolerance induction in vivo has not been addressed. In this study, we generated a novel strain of BTLA-deficient mice and used three different models to characterize the function of BTLA in controlling T cell tolerance. In an oral tolerance model, BTLA-deficient mice were found resistant to the induction of T cell tolerance to an oral Ag. Moreover, compared with wild-type OT-II cells, BTLA−/− OT-II cells were less susceptible to tolerance induction by a high-dose OVA peptide administered i.v. Finally, BTLA−/− OT-I cells caused auto-immune diabetes in RIP-mOVA recipient mice. Our results thus demonstrate an important role for BTLA in the induction of peripheral tolerance of both CD4+and CD8+ T cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2767106  PMID: 19342624
18.  Protective role of membrane tumour necrosis factor in the host’s resistance to mycobacterial infection 
Immunology  2008;125(4):522-534.
Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) plays a critical role in the recruitment and activation of mononuclear cells in mycobacterial infection. The role of membrane TNF, in host resistance against Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), was tested in knock-in mice in which the endogenous TNF was replaced by a non-cleavable and regulated allele (Δ1–12, TNFtm/tm). While 100% of mice with complete TNF deficiency (TNF−/−) succumbed to infection, 50% of TNFtm/tm mice were able to control M. bovis BCG infection and survived the experimental period. Membrane expressed TNF allowed a substantial recruitment of activated T cells and macrophages with granuloma formation and expression of bactericidal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Using virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection we confirm that membrane TNF conferred partial protection. Infection in TNFtm/tm double transgenic mice with TNF-R1 or TNF-R2 suggest protection is mediated through TNF-R2 signalling. Therefore, the data suggest that membrane-expressed TNF plays a critical role in host defence to mycobacterial infection and may partially substitute for soluble TNF.
PMCID: PMC2612548  PMID: 18544042
BCG; granuloma; H37Rv; membrane Δ1-12 TNF; Mycobacterium; T-cell recruitment; TNF-deficiency
19.  Myeloid heme oxygenase–1 regulates innate immunity and autoimmunity by modulating IFN-β production 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(5):1167-1179.
Heme oxygenase–1 (HO-1) is a key cytoprotective, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory molecule. The pathophysiological functions of HO-1 have been associated with its enzymatic activities in heme catabolism. We have examined the immune functions of HO-1 by its conditional ablation in myeloid cells (HO-1M-KO mice). We demonstrate that myeloid HO-1 is required for the activation of interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) 3 after Toll-like receptor 3 or 4 stimulation, or viral infection. HO-1–deficient macrophages show reduced expression of IFN-β and of primary IRF3 target genes encoding RANTES, IP-10 and MCP-1. In the presence of polyI:C, myeloid HO-1 knockout mice infected with Listeria monocytogenes, a model dependent on IFN-β production, showed enhanced bacterial clearance and survival, whereas control mice succumbed to infection. Moreover, after induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, mice with myeloid-specific HO-1 deficiency developed a higher incidence and an exacerbated, nonremitting clinical disease correlating with persistent activation of antigen-presenting cells, enhanced infiltration of Th17 cells, and a nonregressing myelin-specific T cell reactivity. Notably, these defects were rectified by exogenous administration of IFN-β, confirming that HO-1 functions directly upstream of this critical immune pathway. These results uncover a novel direct function for myeloid HO-1 in the regulation of IFN-β production, establishing HO-1 as a critical early mediator of the innate immune response.
PMCID: PMC2715044  PMID: 19398754
20.  Models for financial sustainability of biological databases and resources 
Following the technological advances that have enabled genome-wide analysis in most model organisms over the last decade, there has been unprecedented growth in genomic and post-genomic science with concomitant generation of an exponentially increasing volume of data and material resources. As a result, numerous repositories have been created to store and archive data, organisms and material, which are of substantial value to the whole community. Sustained access, facilitating re-use of these resources, is essential, not only for validation, but for re-analysis, testing of new hypotheses and developing new technologies/platforms. A common challenge for most data resources and biological repositories today is finding financial support for maintenance and development to best serve the scientific community. In this study we examine the problems that currently confront the data and resource infrastructure underlying the biomedical sciences. We discuss the financial sustainability issues and potential business models that could be adopted by biological resources and consider long term preservation issues within the context of mouse functional genomics efforts in Europe.
PMCID: PMC2790311  PMID: 20157490
21.  Suppressive effect of secretory phospholipase A2 inhibitory peptide on interleukin-1β-induced matrix metalloproteinase production in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts, and its antiarthritic activity in hTNFtg mice 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(5):R138.
Secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors are potent modulators of inflammation with therapeutic potential, but have limited efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The objective of this study was to understand the inhibitory mechanism of phospholipase inhibitor from python (PIP)-18 peptide in cultured synovial fibroblasts (SF), and to evaluate its therapeutic potential in a human tumor necrosis factor (hTNF)-driven transgenic mouse (Tg197) model of arthritis.
Gene and protein expression of sPLA2-IIA, MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-9, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, and TIMP-2 were analyzed by real time PCR and ELISA respectively, in interleukin (IL)-1β stimulated rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) synovial fibroblasts cells treated with or without inhibitors of sPLA2 (PIP-18, LY315920) or MMPs (MMP Inhibitor II). Phosphorylation status of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) proteins was examined by cell-based ELISA. The effect of PIP-18 was compared with that of celecoxib, methotrexate, infliximab and antiflamin-2 in Tg197 mice after ip administration (thrice weekly for 5 weeks) at two doses (10, 30 mg/kg), and histologic analysis of ankle joints. Serum sPLA2 and cytokines (tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, IL-6) were measured by Escherichia coli (E coli) assay and ELISA, respectively.
PIP-18 inhibited sPLA2-IIA production and enzymatic activity, and suppressed production of MMPs in IL-1β-induced RA and OA SF cells. Treatment with PIP-18 blocked IL-1β-induced p38 MAPK phosphorylation and resulted in attenuation of sPLA2-IIA and MMP mRNA transcription in RA SF cells. The disease modifying effect of PIP-18 was evidenced by significant abrogation of synovitis, cartilage degradation and bone erosion in hTNF Tg197 mice.
Our results demonstrate the benefit that can be gained from using sPLA2 inhibitory peptide for RA treatment, and validate PIP-18 as a potential therapeutic in a clinically relevant animal model of human arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2787297  PMID: 19765281
22.  The tumor-promoting actions of TNF-α involve TNFR1 and IL-17 in ovarian cancer in mice and humans 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(10):3011-3023.
Cytokines orchestrate the tumor-promoting interplay between malignant cells and the immune system. In many experimental and human cancers, the cytokine TNF-α is an important component of this interplay, but its effects are pleiotropic and therefore remain to be completely defined. Using a mouse model of ovarian cancer in which either TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) signaling was manipulated in different leukocyte populations or TNF-α was neutralized by antibody treatment, we found that this inflammatory cytokine maintained TNFR1-dependent IL-17 production by CD4+ cells and that this led to myeloid cell recruitment into the tumor microenvironment and enhanced tumor growth. Consistent with this, in patients with advanced cancer, treatment with the TNF-α–specific antibody infliximab substantially reduced plasma IL-17 levels. Furthermore, expression of IL-1R and IL-23R was downregulated in CD4+CD25– cells isolated from ascites of ovarian cancer patients treated with infliximab. We have also shown that genes ascribed to the Th17 pathway map closely with the TNF-α signaling pathway in ovarian cancer biopsy samples, showing particularly high levels of expression of genes encoding IL-23, components of the NF-κB system, TGF-β1, and proteins involved in neutrophil activation. We conclude that chronic production of TNF-α in the tumor microenvironment increases myeloid cell recruitment in an IL-17–dependent manner that contributes to the tumor-promoting action of this proinflammatory cytokine.
PMCID: PMC2752076  PMID: 19741298
23.  The European dimension for the mouse genome mutagenesis program 
Nature genetics  2004;36(9):925-927.
The European Mouse Mutagenesis Consortium is the European initiative contributing to the international effort on functional annotation of the mouse genome. Its objectives are to establish and integrate mutagenesis platforms, gene expression resources, phenotyping units, storage and distribution centers and bioinformatics resources. The combined efforts will accelerate our understanding of gene function and of human health and disease.
PMCID: PMC2716028  PMID: 15340424
24.  Mesenchymal cell targeting by TNF as a common pathogenic principle in chronic inflammatory joint and intestinal diseases 
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is key to the pathogenesis of various arthritic diseases and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Anti-TNF therapies have proved successful in the clinical treatment of these diseases, but a mechanistic understanding of TNF function is still lacking. We have investigated early cellular mechanisms of TNF function in these diseases using an established TNF transgenic model, which develops a spondyloarthritis-like disease characterized by peripheral joint arthritis, sacroiliitis, enthesitis, and Crohn's-like IBD. Bone marrow grafting experiments demonstrated that development of arthritis requires TNF receptor I (TNFRI) expression in the radiation-resistant compartment, which is also known to be a sufficient target of TNF in the development of Crohn's-like IBD in the same model. Early activation of synovial fibroblasts and intestinal myofibroblasts could also be demonstrated by perturbed expression of matrix metalloproteases and their inhibitors. Notably, selective Cre/loxP-mediated TNFRI expression in mesenchymal cells resulted in a fully arthritic–spondyloarthritic and intestinal phenotype, indicating that mesenchymal cells are primary and sufficient targets of TNF in these pathologies. Our results offer a novel mechanistic perspective for TNF function in gut and joint pathologies and indicate early common cellular pathways that may also explain the often observed synovial–gut axis in human disease.
PMCID: PMC2271010  PMID: 18250193
25.  Induction of arthritis by high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 is independent of tumour necrosis factor signalling 
TNFα and high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) are two potent proinflammatory cytokines implicated as important mediators of arthritis. Increased levels of these cytokines are found in the joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients, and the cytokines trigger arthritis when applied into the joints of naïve mice. HMGB1 is actively released from immune cells in response to TNFα; once released, HMGB1 in turn induces production of several proinflammatory cytokines – including IL-6 and TNFα – by macrophages. Whether HMGB1-induced arthritis is mediated via the TNFα pathway, however, is unknown. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether the arthritis-inducing effect of HMGB1 is dependent on TNFα expression in vivo and to assess whether TNFα deficiency affects a proinflammatory cytokine response to HMGB1 in vitro.
TNFα knockout mice and backcrossed control animals on a C57Bl6 background were injected intraarticularly with 5 μg HMGB1. Joints were dissected 3 days after intraarticular injection and were evaluated histologically by scoring the frequency and severity of arthritis. For in vitro studies, mouse spleen cultures from TNFα knockout mice and from control mice were incubated with different doses of HMGB1, and cell culture supernatants were collected at different time points for analysis of IL-6.
Intraarticular injection of HMGB1 into healthy mouse joints resulted in an overall frequency of 32% to 39% arthritic animals. No significant differences were found with respect to the severity and incidence of synovitis between mice deficient for TNFα (seven out of 18 mice with arthritis) in comparison with control TNFα+/+ animals (six out of 19). No significant differences were detected between spleen cells from TNFα+/+ mice versus TNFα-/- mice regarding IL-6 production upon stimulation with highly purified HMGB1 after 24 hours and 48 hours. Upon stimulation with a suboptimal dose of recombinant HMGB1, however, the splenocytes from TNFα+/+ animals released significantly more IL-6 than cells from the knockout mice (602 ± 112 pg/ml and 304 ± 50 pg/ml, respectively; P < 0.05).
Our data show that HMGB1-triggered joint inflammation is not mediated via the TNF pathway. Combined with our previous study, we suggest that HMGB1-triggered arthritis is probably mediated through IL-1 activation.
PMCID: PMC2483464  PMID: 18582368

Results 1-25 (48)