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1.  Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1, a Putative Receptor for the Adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae to the Vascular Endothelium of the Blood-Brain Barrier 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(9):3555-3566.
The Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main causative agent of bacterial meningitis. S. pneumoniae is thought to invade the central nervous system via the bloodstream by crossing the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier. The exact mechanism by which pneumococci cross endothelial cell barriers before meningitis develops is unknown. Here, we investigated the role of PECAM-1/CD31, one of the major endothelial cell adhesion molecules, in S. pneumoniae adhesion to vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier. Mice were intravenously infected with pneumococci and sacrificed at various time points to represent stages preceding meningitis. Immunofluorescent analysis of brain tissue of infected mice showed that pneumococci colocalized with PECAM-1. In human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) incubated with S. pneumoniae, we observed a clear colocalization between PECAM-1 and pneumococci. Blocking of PECAM-1 reduced the adhesion of S. pneumoniae to endothelial cells in vitro, implying that PECAM-1 is involved in pneumococcal adhesion to the cells. Furthermore, using endothelial cell protein lysates, we demonstrated that S. pneumoniae physically binds to PECAM-1. Moreover, both in vitro and in vivo PECAM-1 colocalizes with the S. pneumoniae adhesion receptor pIgR. Lastly, immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that PECAM-1 can physically interact with pIgR. In summary, we show for the first time that blood-borne S. pneumoniae colocalizes with PECAM-1 expressed by brain microvascular endothelium and that, in addition, they colocalize with pIgR. We hypothesize that this interaction plays a role in pneumococcal binding to the blood-brain barrier vasculature prior to invasion into the brain.
PMCID: PMC4187830  PMID: 24914219
2.  Streptococcus pneumoniae Interacts with pIgR Expressed by the Brain Microvascular Endothelium but Does Not Co-Localize with PAF Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97914.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is thought to adhere to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelium prior to causing meningitis. The platelet activating factor receptor (PAFR) has been implicated in this adhesion but there is a paucity of data demonstrating direct binding of the bacteria to PAFR. Additionally, studies that inhibit PAFR strongly suggest that alternative receptors for pneumococci are present on the endothelium. Therefore, we studied the roles of PAFR and pIgR, an established epithelial pneumococcal receptor, in pneumococcal adhesion to brain endothelial cells in vivo. Mice were intravenously infected with pneumococci and sacrificed at various time points before meningitis onset. Co-localization of bacteria with PAFR and pIgR was investigated using immunofluorescent analysis of the brain tissue. In vitro blocking with antibodies and incubation of pneumococci with endothelial cell lysates were used to further probe bacteria-receptor interaction. In vivo as well as in vitro pneumococci did not co-localize with PAFR. On the other hand the majority of S. pneumoniae co-localized with endothelial pIgR and pIgR blocking reduced pneumococcal adhesion to endothelial cells. Pneumococci physically interacted with pIgR in endothelial cell lysates. In conclusion, bacteria did not associate with PAFR, indicating an indirect role of PAFR in pneumococcal adhesion to endothelial cells. In contrast, pIgR on the BBB endothelium may represent a novel pneumococcal adhesion receptor.
PMCID: PMC4026408  PMID: 24841255
3.  Correlation of MicroRNA-16, MicroRNA-21 and MicroRNA-101 Expression with Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression and Angiogenic Factors in Cirrhotic and Noncirrhotic Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95826.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a classical example of inflammation-linked cancer and is characterized by hypervascularity suggesting rich angiogenesis. Cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a potent mediator of inflammation and is considered to upregulate angiogenesis. The aims of the study are (1) to analyze expression of Cox-2 mRNA, Cox-2 protein, miR-16, miR-21 and miR-101 in HCC and adjacent liver parenchyma in cirrhotic and noncirrhotic liver, (2) to investigate the relation between COX-2 expression, miR-21 expression and angiogenic factors in these tissues and (3) to investigate the association between miR-16 and miR-101 and COX-2 expression.
Tissue samples of HCC and adjacent liver parenchyma of 21 noncirrhotic livers and 20 cirrhotic livers were analyzed for COX-2 expression at the mRNA level (qRT-PCR) and at the protein level by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Gene expression of VEGFA, VEGFR1, VEGFR2, Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 were correlated with COX-2 levels. miR-16, miR-21 and miR-101 gene expression levels were quantified in HCC tumor tissue.
COX-2 mRNA and protein levels were lower in HCC as compared to adjacent liver parenchyma both in cirrhotic and noncirrhotic liver. COX-2 protein localized mainly in vascular and sinusoidal endothelial cells and in Kupffer cells. At the mRNA level but not at the protein level, COX-2 correlated with mRNA levels of angiogenic factors VEGFR1, Ang-1, and Tie2. miR-21 expression was higher in cirrhotic tissues versus noncirrhotic tissues. MiR-101 expression was lower in cirrhotic versus noncirrhotic adjacent liver parenchyma. None of the miRNAs correlelated with COX-2 expression. miR-21 correlated negatively with Tie-2 receptor in adjacent liver parenchyma.
In human HCC, COX-2 mRNA but not COX-2 protein levels are associated with expression levels of angiogenic factors. MiR-21 levels are not associated with angiogenic molecules. MiR-16 and miR-101 levels do not correlate with COX-2 mRNA and protein levels.
PMCID: PMC3997433  PMID: 24759835
5.  Interactions between Blood-Borne Streptococcus pneumoniae and the Blood-Brain Barrier Preceding Meningitis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68408.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a Gram-positive bacterium and the predominant cause of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is thought to occur as the result of pneumococci crossing the blood-brain barrier to invade the Central Nervous System (CNS); yet little is known about the steps preceding immediate disease development. To study the interactions between pneumococci and the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier prior to meningitis we used an established bacteremia-derived meningitis model in combination with immunofluorescent imaging. Brain tissue of mice infected with S. pneumoniae strain TIGR4, a clinical meningitis isolate, was investigated for the location of the bacteria in relation to the brain vasculature in various compartments. We observed that S. pneumoniae adhered preferentially to the subarachnoid vessels, and subsequently, over time, reached the more internal cerebral areas including the cerebral cortex, septum, and choroid plexus. Interestingly, pneumococci were not detected in the choroid plexus till 8 hours-post infection. In contrast to the lungs, little to no leukocyte recruitment to the brain was observed over time, though Iba-1 and GFAP staining showed that microglia and astrocytes were activated as soon as 1 hour post-infection. Our results imply that i) the local immune system of the brain is activated immediately upon entry of bacteria into the bloodstream and that ii) adhesion to the blood brain barrier is spatiotemporally controlled at different sites throughout the brain. These results provide new information on these two important steps towards the development of pneumococcal meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3713044  PMID: 23874613
6.  Beneficial Effects of an Alternating High- Fat Dietary Regimen on Systemic Insulin Resistance, Hepatic and Renal Inflammation and Renal Function 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45866.
An Alternating high- cholesterol dietary regimen has proven to be beneficial when compared to daily high- cholesterol feeding. In the current study we explored whether the same strategy is applicable to a high- fat dietary regimen.
To investigate whether an alternating high- fat dietary regimen can effectively diminish insulin resistance, hepatic and renal inflammation and renal dysfunction as compared to a continuous high- fat diet.
Four groups of male ApoE*3Leiden mice (n = 15) were exposed to different diet regimens for 20 weeks as follows: Group 1: low- fat diet (10 kcal% fat); Group 2: intermediate- fat diet (25 kcal% fat); Group 3: high- fat diet (45 kcal% fat) and Group 4: alternating- fat diet (10 kcal% fat for 4 days and 45 kcal% fat for 3 days in a week).
Compared to high fat diet feeding, the alternating and intermediate- fat diet groups had reduced body weight gain and did not develop insulin resistance or albuminuria. In addition, in the alternating and intermediate- fat diet groups, parameters of tissue inflammation were markedly reduced compared to high fat diet fed mice.
Both alternating and intermediate- fat feeding were beneficial in terms of reducing body weight gain, insulin resistance, hepatic and renal inflammation and renal dysfunction. Thus beneficial effects of alternating feeding regimens on cardiometabolic risk factors are not only applicable for cholesterol containing diets but can be extended to diets high in fat content.
PMCID: PMC3458102  PMID: 23049881
7.  Tumor Vascular Morphology Undergoes Dramatic Changes during Outgrowth of B16 Melanoma While Proangiogenic Gene Expression Remains Unchanged 
ISRN Oncology  2011;2011:409308.
In established tumors, angiogenic endothelial cells (ECs) coexist next to “quiescent” EC in matured vessels. We hypothesized that angio-gene expression of B16.F10 melanoma would differ depending on the growth stage. Unraveling the spatiotemporal nature thereof is essential for drug regimen design aimed to affect multiple neovascularization stages. We determined the angiogenic phenotype—represented by 52 angio-genes—and vascular morphology of small, intermediate, and large s.c. growing mouse B16.F10 tumors and demonstrated that expression of these genes did not differ between the different growth stages. Yet vascular morphology changed dramatically from small vessels without lumen in small to larger vessels with increased lumen size in intermediate/large tumors. Separate analysis of these vascular morphologies revealed a significant difference in αSMA expression in relation to vessel morphology, while no relation with VEGF, HIF-1α, nor Dll4 expression levels was observed. We conclude that the tumor vasculature remains actively engaged in angiogenesis during B16.F10 melanoma outgrowth and that the major change in tumor vascular morphology does not follow molecular concepts generated in other angiogenesis models.
PMCID: PMC3249352  PMID: 22235379
8.  Angiopoietin-1 Treatment Reduces Inflammation but Does Not Prevent Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15653.
Loss of integrity of the epithelial and endothelial barriers is thought to be a prominent feature of ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). Based on its function in vascular integrity, we hypothesize that the angiopoietin (Ang)-Tie2 system plays a role in the development of VILI. The present study was designed to examine the effects of mechanical ventilation on the Ang-Tie2 system in lung tissue. Moreover, we evaluated whether treatment with Ang-1, a Tie2 receptor agonist, protects against inflammation, vascular leakage and impaired gas exchange induced by mechanical ventilation.
Mice were anesthetized, tracheotomized and mechanically ventilated for 5 hours with either an inspiratory pressure of 10 cmH2O (‘low’ tidal volume ∼7.5 ml/kg; LVT) or 18 cmH2O (‘high’ tidal volume ∼15 ml/kg; HVT). At initiation of HVT-ventilation, recombinant human Ang-1 was intravenously administered (1 or 4 µg per animal). Non-ventilated mice served as controls.
HVT-ventilation influenced the Ang-Tie2 system in lungs of healthy mice since Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie2 mRNA were decreased. Treatment with Ang-1 increased Akt-phosphorylation indicating Tie2 signaling. Ang-1 treatment reduced infiltration of granulocytes and expression of keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 and interleukin (IL)-1β caused by HVT-ventilation. Importantly, Ang-1 treatment did not prevent vascular leakage and impaired gas exchange in HVT-ventilated mice despite inhibition of inflammation, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Ang-2 expression.
Ang-1 treatment downregulates pulmonary inflammation, VEGF and Ang-2 expression but does not protect against vascular leakage and impaired gas exchange induced by HVT-ventilation.
PMCID: PMC3001877  PMID: 21179479
9.  Bench-to-bedside review: Angiopoietin signalling in critical illness – a future target? 
Critical Care  2009;13(2):207.
Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) occurs in response to major insults such as sepsis, severe haemorrhage, trauma, major surgery and pancreatitis. The mortality rate is high despite intensive supportive care. The pathophysiological mechanism underlying MODS are not entirely clear, although several have been proposed. Overwhelming inflammation, immunoparesis, occult oxygen debt and other mechanisms have been investigated, and – despite many unanswered questions – therapies targeting these mechanisms have been developed. Unfortunately, only a few interventions, usually those targeting multiple mechanisms at the same time, have appeared to be beneficial. We clearly need to understand better the mechanisms that underlie MODS. The endothelium certainly plays an active role in MODS. It functions at the intersection of several systems, including inflammation, coagulation, haemodynamics, fluid and electrolyte balance, and cell migration. An important regulator of these systems is the angiopoietin/Tie2 signalling system. In this review we describe this signalling system, giving special attention to what is known about it in critically ill patients and its potential as a target for therapy.
PMCID: PMC2689450  PMID: 19435476
10.  Hepatocellular Carcinomas in Cirrhotic and Noncirrhotic Human Livers Share Angiogenic Characteristics 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2010;17(6):1564-1571.
The antiangiogenic drug sorafenib has been shown to be an effective treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with liver cirrhosis. It might also be effective in noncirrhotic HCC provided that the angiogenic properties of both tumor types are comparable. The aim of this study is to compare endothelial cell dynamics, microvessel density (MVD), and vessel maturation as indirect markers of angiogenesis in human HCC in cirrhotic and noncirrhotic livers.
Materials and Methods
In a tertiary care setting, 70 consecutive HCC tumors were analyzed for endothelial cell dynamics. CD34 was applied to identify tumor microvessels, double immunolabeling Ki67/CD34 and activated caspase-3/CD34 to assess endothelial cell proliferation and apoptosis, and α-smooth muscle actin/CD34 for pericyte coverage. These characteristics were compared in cirrhotic (n = 33) and noncirrhotic HCCs (n = 37). Microvessel density was correlated with radiological signs of hypervascularity as obtained with dynamic four-phase CT scans during the arterial and portal phase of contrast enhancement.
Microvessels in cirrhotic and noncirrhotic HCC were mainly mature. In both groups endothelial cell turnover was low and MVD was not different. There was no correlation between MVD and venous invasion, tumor size, and turnover of tumor cells or endothelial cells. MVD was negatively correlated with contrast washout in the portal venous phase of CT scanning. In transplanted patients, MVD was not correlated with survival, whereas in patients after liver resection a high MVD was associated with a better prognosis.
Angiogenic characteristics of HCC in cirrhotic and noncirrhotic livers have a remarkable similarity.
PMCID: PMC2868164  PMID: 20087783
11.  Pericyte Migration 
Diabetes  2008;57(9):2495-2502.
OBJECTIVE— The mechanism underlying pericyte loss during incipient diabetic retinopathy remains controversial. Hyperglycemia induces angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) transcription, which modulates capillary pericyte coverage. In this study, we assessed loss of pericyte subgroups and the contribution of Ang-2 to pericyte migration.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— Numbers of total pericytes and their subgroups were quantified in retinal digest preparations of spontaneous diabetic XLacZ mice. Pericytes were divided into subgroups according to their localization, their position relative to adjacent endothelial cells, and the expression of LacZ. The contribution of Ang-2 to pericyte migration was assessed in Ang-2 overexpressing (mOpsinhAng2) and deficient (Ang2LacZ) mice.
RESULTS— Pericyte numbers were reduced by 16% (P < 0.01) in XLacZ mice after 6 months of diabetes. Reduction of pericytes was restricted to pericytes on straight capillaries (relative reduction 27%, P < 0.05) and was predominantly observed in LacZ-positive pericytes (−20%, P < 0.01). Hyperglycemia increased the numbers of migrating pericytes (69%; P < 0.05), of which the relative increase due to diabetes was exclusively in LacZ-negative pericytes, indicating reduced adherence to the capillaries (176%; P < 0.01). Overexpression of Ang-2 in nondiabetic retinas mimicked diabetic pericyte migration of wild-type animals (78%; P < 0.01). Ang-2 deficient mice completely lacked hyperglycemia-induced increase in pericyte migration compared with wild-type littermates.
CONCLUSIONS— Diabetic pericyte loss is the result of pericyte migration, and this process is modulated by the Ang-Tie system.
PMCID: PMC2518502  PMID: 18559662
12.  Time course of angiopoietin-2 release during experimental human endotoxemia and sepsis 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R64.
Endothelial activation leading to vascular barrier breakdown denotes a devastating event in sepsis. Angiopoietin (Ang)-2, a circulating antagonistic ligand of the endothelial specific Tie2 receptor, is rapidly released from Weibel-Palade and has been identified as a non-redundant gatekeeper of endothelial activation. We aimed to study: the time course of Ang-2 release during human experimental endotoxemia; the association of Ang-2 with soluble adhesion molecules and inflammatory cytokines; and the early time course of Ang-2 release during sepsis in critically ill patients.
In 22 healthy volunteers during a 24-hour period after a single intravenous injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 4 ng/kg) the following measurement were taken by immuno luminometric assay (ILMA), ELISA, and bead-based multiplex technology: circulating Ang-1, Ang-2, soluble Tie2 receptor, the inflammatory molecules TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8 and C-reactive protein, and the soluble endothelial adhesion molecules inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), E-selectin, and P-selectin. A single oral dose of placebo or the p38 mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibitor drug, RWJ-67657, was administered 30 minutes before the endotoxin infusion. In addition, the course of circulating Ang-2 was analyzed in 21 septic patients at intensive care unit (ICU) admission and after 24 and 72 hours, respectively.
During endotoxemia, circulating Ang-2 levels were significantly elevated, reaching peak levels 4.5 hours after LPS infusion. Ang-2 exhibited a kinetic profile similar to early pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8. Ang-2 levels peaked prior to soluble endothelial-specific adhesion molecules. Finally, Ang-2 correlated with TNF-alpha levels (r = 0.61, P = 0.003), soluble E-selectin levels (r = 0.64, P < 0.002), and the heart rate/mean arterial pressure index (r = 0.75, P < 0.0001). In septic patients, Ang-2 increased in non-survivors only, and was significantly higher compared with survivors at baseline, 24 hours, and 72 hours.
LPS is a triggering factor for Ang-2 release in men. Circulating Ang-2 appears in the systemic circulation during experimental human endotoxemia in a distinctive temporal sequence and correlates with TNF-alpha and E-selectin levels. In addition, not only higher baseline Ang-2 concentrations, but also a persistent increase in Ang-2 during the early course identifies septic patients with unfavorable outcome.
PMCID: PMC2717419  PMID: 19416526
13.  COX-2 Inhibition Combined with Radiation Reduces Orthotopic Glioma Outgrowth by Targeting the Tumor Vasculature1 
Translational Oncology  2009;2(1):1-7.
Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors have been shown to enhance tumor's response to radiation in several animal models. The strong association of COX-2 and angiogenesis suggests that the tumor vasculature may be involved in this process. The current study investigated whether treatment with the COX-2 inhibitor E-6087 could influence response to local radiation in orthotopically growing murine gliomas and aimed to analyze the involvement of the tumor vasculature. GL261 glioma cells were injected into the cerebrum of C57bl/6 mice. From day 7 after tumor cell injection, mice were treated with COX-2 inhibitor at 50 mg/kg i.p. every third day. Radiation consisted of three fractions of 2 Gy given daily from day 9 to day 11. Mice were killed at day 21. The COX-2 inhibitor significantly enhanced the response to radiation, reducing mean volume to 32% of tumors treated with radiation only. The combination treatment neither increased apoptosis of tumor cells or stromal cells nor affected tumor microvascular density. In vitro, E-6087 and its active metabolite did not affect clonogenic survival of GL261 cells or human umbilical vein endothelial cell after radiation. In vivo, however, there was a nonsignificant increase in Angiopoietin (Ang)-1 and Tie-2 mRNA levels and a decrease of Ang-2 mRNA levels after combination treatment. These changes coincided with a significant increase in α-smooth muscle actin-positive pericyte coverage of tumor vessels. In conclusion, the antitumor effect of radiation on murine intracranial glioma growth is augmented by combining with COX-2 inhibition. Our findings suggest an involvement of the tumor vasculature in the observed effects.
PMCID: PMC2647697  PMID: 19252746
14.  RGD-avidin–biotin pretargeting to αvβ3 integrin enhances the proapoptotic activity of TNFα related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) 
Apoptosis  2007;13(2):225-235.
Recombinant TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is considered a powerful and selective inducer of tumor cell death. We hypothesize that TRAIL’s potential as anticancer agent can be enhanced further by promoting its accumulation in tumor tissue. For this purpose, we developed TRAIL complexes that bind to angiogenic endothelial cells. We employed an avidin–biotin pretargeting approach, in which biotinylated TRAIL interacted with RGD-equipped avidin. The assembled complexes killed tumor cells (Jurkat T cells) via apoptosis induction. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the association of the RGD-avidin-TRAIL complex onto endothelial cells enhanced the tumor cell killing activity. Endothelial cells were not killed by TRAIL nor its derived complexes. Our approach can facilitate the enrichment of TRAIL onto angiogenic blood vessels, which may enhance intratumoral accumulation. Furthermore, it offers a versatile technology for the complexation of targeting ligands with therapeutic recombinant proteins and by this a novel way to enhance their specificity and activity.
PMCID: PMC2217618  PMID: 18071905
Apoptosis; Angiogenesis; Drug targeting; Therapeutic proteins
15.  Angiogenic transcriptome of human microvascular endothelial cells: Effect of hypoxia, modulation by atorvastatin 
Vascular pharmacology  2006;44(4):206-214.
Hypoxia changes expression of angiogenic genes. Statins were also reported to affect blood vessel formation. However, data on the effects of statins on endothelial cells in hypoxia are limited. Here, effect of hypoxia and atorvastatin was assessed in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). Hypoxia (1% O2) up-regulated vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) but, unexpectedly, it decreased interleukin-8 (IL-8) and placenta growth factor (PlGF) expression. Atorvastatin (0.1–1 μM) attenuated PlGF in HMEC-1 in normoxia while it decreased VEGF-A and IL-8 production both in normoxia and hypoxia. Notably, the expression of VEGF-D, macrophage scavenger receptor-1 (MSR1), transforming growth factor β receptor III (TGFβR3) and inhibitor of DNA binding 3 (ID3) was augmented by atorvastatin in cells cultured in normoxia, while in hypoxia the statin attenuated their expression. These data showed that hypoxia influenced in the opposite way the expression of major endothelial genes, augmenting VEGF-A and decreasing IL-8 and PlGF. The influence of atorvastatin on angiogenic gene expression is complex, and final pro- or anti-angiogenic outcome of statin therapy remains to be established for numerous angiogenesis-related diseases.
PMCID: PMC1626524  PMID: 16481221
Statins; VEGF-A; IL-8; HIF-1; PlGF
16.  Atorvastatin prevents hypoxia-induced inhibition of endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression but does not affect heme oxygenase-1 in human microvascular endothelial cells 
Atherosclerosis  2006;187(1):26-30.
Beneficial cardiovascular effects of statins, the inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, are particularly assigned to the modulation of inflammation. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) are listed among the crucial protective, anti-inflammatory genes in the vasculature. Here we show that atorvastatin at pharmacologically relevant concentration (0.1 μM) enhanced the expression of eNOS in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). Moreover, atorvastatin prevented hypoxia-induced decrease in eNOS expression. However, in the same cells atorvastatin was ineffective in modulation of HO-1 protein level. Therefore, we suggest that the protective effect of statins at their pharmacological concentrations is not mediated by enhancement of HO-1 activity, but may involve eNOS.
PMCID: PMC1482780  PMID: 16620829
Angiogenesis; Atherosclerosis; Statins; Hypercholesterolemia
17.  Functional inhibition of NF-κB signal transduction in αvβ3 integrin expressing endothelial cells by using RGD-PEG-modified adenovirus with a mutant IκB gene 
In order to selectively block nuclear factor κB (NF-κB)-dependent signal transduction in angiogenic endothelial cells, we constructed an αvβ3 integrin specific adenovirus encoding dominant negative IκB (dnIκB) as a therapeutic gene. By virtue of RGD modification of the PEGylated virus, the specificity of the cell entry pathway of adenovirus shifted from coxsacki-adenovirus receptor dependent to αvβ3 integrin dependent entry. The therapeutic outcome of delivery of the transgene into endothelial cells was determined by analysis of cellular responsiveness to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Using real time reverse transcription PCR, mRNA levels of the cell adhesion molecules E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, the cytokines/growth factors IL-6, IL-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, and the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie-2 were assessed. Furthermore, levels of ICAM-1 protein were determined by flow cytometric analysis. RGD-targeted adenovirus delivered the dnIκB via αvβ3 to become functionally expressed, leading to complete abolishment of TNF-α-induced up-regulation of E-selectin, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, IL-6, IL-8, VEGF-A and Tie-2. The approach of targeted delivery of dnIκB into endothelial cells presented here can be employed for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease where activation of NF-κB activity should be locally restored to basal levels in the endothelium.
PMCID: PMC1526577  PMID: 16803639
18.  Liposome-Encapsulated Prednisolone Phosphate Inhibits Growth of Established Tumors in Mice1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2005;7(2):118-127.
Glucocorticoids can inhibit solid tumor growth possibly due to an inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. The antitumor effects of the free drugs have only been observed using treatment schedules based on high and frequent dosing for prolonged periods of time. As long-circulating liposomes accumulate at sites of malignancy, we investigated the tumor-inhibiting potential of liposome-encapsulated prednisolone phosphate. Liposomal prednisolone phosphate could inhibit tumor growth dose-dependently, with 80% to 90% tumor growth inhibition of subcutaneous B16.F10 melanoma and C26 colon carcinoma murine tumor models at 20 mg/kg by single or weekly doses. Prednisolone phosphate in the free form was completely ineffective at this low-frequency treatment schedule, even when administered at a dose of 50 mg/kg. In vitro studies did not show an inhibitory effect of prednisolone (phosphate) on tumor cell, nor on endothelial cell proliferation. Histologic evaluation revealed that liposomal prednisolone phosphate-treated tumors contained a center with areas of picnotic/necrotic cells, which were not apparent in untreated tumors or tumors treated with the free drug. In conclusion, the present study shows potent antitumor effects of liposomal formulations of glucocorticoids in a low dose and low-frequency schedule, offering promise for liposomal glucocorticoids as novel antitumor agents.
PMCID: PMC1501128  PMID: 15802017
Corticosteroids; liposomes; tumor therapy; drug targeting; angiogenesis
19.  Cancer siRNA therapy by tumor selective delivery with ligand-targeted sterically stabilized nanoparticle 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(19):e149.
Potent sequence selective gene inhibition by siRNA ‘targeted’ therapeutics promises the ultimate level of specificity, but siRNA therapeutics is hindered by poor intracellular uptake, limited blood stability and non-specific immune stimulation. To address these problems, ligand-targeted, sterically stabilized nanoparticles have been adapted for siRNA. Self-assembling nanoparticles with siRNA were constructed with polyethyleneimine (PEI) that is PEGylated with an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptide ligand attached at the distal end of the polyethylene glycol (PEG), as a means to target tumor neovasculature expressing integrins and used to deliver siRNA inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGF R2) expression and thereby tumor angiogenesis. Cell delivery and activity of PEGylated PEI was found to be siRNA sequence specific and depend on the presence of peptide ligand and could be competed by free peptide. Intravenous administration into tumor-bearing mice gave selective tumor uptake, siRNA sequence-specific inhibition of protein expression within the tumor and inhibition of both tumor angiogenesis and growth rate. The results suggest achievement of two levels of targeting: tumor tissue selective delivery via the nanoparticle ligand and gene pathway selectivity via the siRNA oligonucleotide. This opens the door for better targeted therapeutics with both tissue and gene selectivity, also to improve targeted therapies with less than ideal therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC528817  PMID: 15520458
20.  Generating Hypotheses by Discovering Implicit Associations in the Literature: A Case Report of a Search for New Potential Therapeutic Uses for Thalidomide 
The availability of scientific bibliographies through online databases provides a rich source of information for scientists to support their research. However, the risk of this pervasive availability is that an individual researcher may fail to find relevant information that is outside the direct scope of interest. Following Swanson’s ABC model of disjoint but complementary structures in the biomedical literature, we have developed a discovery support tool to systematically analyze the scientific literature in order to generate novel and plausible hypotheses. In this case report, we employ the system to find potentially new target diseases for the drug thalidomide. We find solid bibliographic evidence suggesting that thalidomide might be useful for treating acute pancreatitis, chronic hepatitis C, Helicobacter pylori-induced gastritis, and myasthenia gravis. However, experimental and clinical evaluation is needed to validate these hypotheses and to assess the trade-off between therapeutic benefits and toxicities.
PMCID: PMC342048  PMID: 12626374

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