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1.  Kinetics of the angiogenic response in lung endothelium following acute inflammatory injury with bleomycin 
Experimental lung research  2014;40(8):415-425.
Angiogenesis is a central component of normal wound healing but it has not been fully characterized in lung repair following acute inflammatory injury. The current literature lacks vital information pertaining to the extent, timing, and location of this process. This information is necessary for examining mechanisms that drive normal lung repair in resolving acute inflammatory injury. The goal of our study was to formally characterize lung angiogenesis over a time course of bleomycin induced lung injury.
Materials and Methods
Female C57BL/6 mice age 8-12 weeks were treated with a single dose of intratracheal bleomycin. Total lung endothelial cells were quantified with flow cytometry 0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days following bleomycin administration, and endothelial cell replication was assessed using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation.
Endothelial cell replication was maximal 14 days after bleomycin administration, while total lung endothelial cells peaked at day 21. Tissue analysis with stereology was performed to measure total lung vascular surface area in bleomycin at day 21 relative to controls and demonstrated a trend toward increased vasculature in the bleomycin group.
Angiogenesis begins shortly after injury in the bleomycin model and leads to an expansion in the lung endothelial cell population that peaks at day 21. This study offers the first longitudinal examination of angiogenesis following acute inflammatory lung injury induced by bleomycin. Information provided in this study will be vital for further investigating mechanisms of angiogenesis in both normal and abnormal lung repair.
PMCID: PMC4165791  PMID: 25153689
2.  Circulating Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells are Decreased in COPD 
COPD  2013;11(3):277-289.
Bone marrow derived progenitor cells participate in the repair of injured vessels. The lungs of individuals with emphysema have reduced alveolar capillary density and increased endothelial apoptosis. We hypothesized that circulating levels of endothelial and hematopoietic progenitor cells would be reduced in this group of patients.
The goal of this study was to measure circulating levels of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) in subjects with COPD and to determine if progenitor levels correlated with disease severity and the presence of emphysema.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 61 patients with COPD and 32 control subjects. Levels of EPCs (CD45dim CD34+ ) and HPCs (CD45+ CD34+ VEGF-R2+) were quantified using multi-parameter flow cytometry. Progenitor cell function was assessed using cell culture assays. All subjects were evaluated with spirometry and CT scanning.
Measurements and Main Results
HPC levels were reduced in subjects with COPD compared to controls, whereas circulating EPC levels were similar between the two groups. HPC levels correlated with severity of obstruction and were lowest in subjects with severe emphysema. These associations remained after correction for factors known to affect progenitor cell levels including age, smoking status, the use of statin medications and the presence of coronary artery disease. The ability of mononuclear cells to form endothelial cell colony forming units (EC-CFU) was also reduced in subjects with COPD.
HPC levels are reduced in subjects with COPD and correlate with emphysema phenotype and severity of obstruction. Reduction of HPCs may disrupt maintenance of the capillary endothelium, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of COPD.
PMCID: PMC4112029  PMID: 24182349
angiogenesis; emphysema; endothelial progenitor cell
3.  Muc5b Is Required for Airway Defense 
Nature  2013;505(7483):412-416.
Respiratory surfaces are exposed to billions of particulates and pathogens daily. A protective mucus barrier traps and eliminates them via mucociliary clearance (MCC)1,2. However, excessive mucus contributes to transient respiratory infections and to the pathogenesis of numerous respiratory diseases1. MUC5AC and MUC5B are evolutionarily conserved genes that encode structurally related mucin glycoproteins, the principal macromolecules in airway mucus1,3. Genetic variants are linked to diverse lung diseases4-6, but specific roles for MUC5AC and MUC5B in MCC, and the lasting effects of their inhibition, are unknown. Here we show that Muc5b (but not Muc5ac) is required for MCC, for controlling infections in the airways and middle ear, and for maintaining immune homeostasis in the lungs. Muc5b deficiency caused materials to accumulate in upper and lower airways. This defect led to chronic infection by multiple bacterial species, including Staphylococcus aureus, and to inflammation that failed to resolve normally7. Apoptotic macrophages accumulated, phagocytosis was impaired, and IL-23 production was reduced inMuc5b−/− mice. By contrast, in Muc5b transgenic (Tg) mice, macrophage functions improved. Existing dogma defines mucous phenotypes in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as driven by increased MUC5AC, with MUC5B levels either unaffected or increased in expectorated sputum1,8. However, in many patients, MUC5B production at airway surfaces decreases by as much as 90%9-11. By distinguishing a specific role for Muc5b in MCC, and by determining its impact on bacterial infections and inflammation in mice, our results provide a refined framework for designing targeted therapies to control mucin secretion and restore MCC.
PMCID: PMC4001806  PMID: 24317696
4.  The pulmonary endothelial glycocalyx regulates neutrophil adhesion and lung injury during experimental sepsis 
Nature medicine  2012;18(8):10.1038/nm.2843.
Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, commonly progresses to acute lung injury (ALI), an inflammatory lung disease with high morbidity. We postulated that sepsis-associated ALI is initiated by degradation of the pulmonary endothelial glycocalyx, leading to neutrophil adherence and inflammation. Using intravital microscopy, we found that endotoxemia in mice rapidly induced pulmonary microvascular glycocalyx degradation via tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-dependent mechanisms. Glycocalyx degradation involved the specific loss of heparan sulfate and coincided with activation of endothelial heparanase, a TNF-α–responsive, heparan sulfate–specific glucuronidase. Glycocalyx degradation increased the availability of endothelial surface adhesion molecules to circulating microspheres and contributed to neutrophil adhesion. Heparanase inhibition prevented endotoxemia-associated glycocalyx loss and neutrophil adhesion and, accordingly, attenuated sepsis-induced ALI and mortality in mice. These findings are potentially relevant to human disease, as sepsis-associated respiratory failure in humans was associated with higher plasma heparan sulfate degradation activity; moreover, heparanase content was higher in human lung biopsies showing diffuse alveolar damage than in normal human lung tissue.
PMCID: PMC3723751  PMID: 22820644
5.  Fas Determines Differential Fates of Resident and Recruited Macrophages during Resolution of Acute Lung Injury 
Rationale: During acute lung injury (ALI) the macrophage pool expands markedly as inflammatory monocytes migrate from the circulation to the airspaces. As inflammation resolves, macrophage numbers return to preinjury levels and normal tissue structure and function are restored.
Objectives: To determine the fate of resident and recruited macrophages during the resolution of ALI in mice and to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for macrophage removal.
Methods: ALI was induced in mice using influenza A (H1N1; PR8) infection and LPS instillation. Dye labeling techniques, bone marrow transplantation, and surface immunophenotyping were used to distinguish resident and recruited macrophages during inflammation and to study the role of Fas in determining macrophage fate during resolving ALI.
Measurements and Main Results: During acute and resolving lung injury from influenza A and LPS, a high proportion of the original resident alveolar macrophages persisted. In contrast, recruited macrophages exhibited robust accumulation in early inflammation, followed by a progressive decline in their number. This decline was mediated by apoptosis with local phagocytic clearance. Recruited macrophages expressed high levels of the death receptor Fas and were rapidly depleted from the airspaces by Fas-activating antibodies. In contrast, macrophage depletion was inhibited in mice treated with Fas-blocking antibodies and in chimeras with Fas-deficient bone marrow. Caspase-8 inhibition prevented macrophage apoptosis and delayed the resolution of ALI.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that Fas-induced apoptosis of recruited macrophages is essential for complete resolution of ALI.
PMCID: PMC3175550  PMID: 21471090
inflammation; apoptosis; monocyte
6.  Tetracyclines That Promote SMN2 Exon 7 Splicing as Therapeutics for Spinal Muscular Atrophy 
There is at present no cure or effective therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurodegenerative disease that is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA usually results from loss of the SMN1 (survival of motor neuron 1) gene, which leads to selective motor neuron degeneration. SMN2 is nearly identical to SMN1 but has a nucleotide replacement that causes exon 7 skipping, resulting in a truncated, unstable version of the SMA protein. SMN2 is present in all SMA patients, and correcting SMN2 splicing is a promising approach for SMA therapy. We identified a tetracycline-like compound, PTK-SMA1, which stimulates exon 7 splicing and increases SMN protein levels in vitro and in vivo in mice. Unlike previously identified molecules that stimulate SMN production via SMN2 promoter activation or undefined mechanisms, PTK-SMA1 is a unique therapeutic candidate in that it acts by directly stimulating splicing of exon 7. Synthetic small-molecule compounds such as PTK-SMA1 offer an alternative to antisense oligonucleotide therapies that are being developed as therapeutics for a number of disease-associated splicing defects.
PMCID: PMC2818805  PMID: 20161659

Results 1-6 (6)