Bulge stem cells reside in the lowest permanent portion of hair follicles and are responsible for the renewal of these follicles along with the repair of the epidermis during wound healing. These cells are identified by surface expression of CD34 and the α6-integrin. When CD34 and α6 double-positive cells are isolated and implanted into murine skin, they give rise to epidermis and hair follicle structures. The current gold standard for isolation of these stem cells is fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) based on cell surface markers. Here, we describe an alternative method for CD34 bulge stem cell isolation: a microfluidic platform that captures stem cells based on cell surface markers. This method is relatively fast, requiring 30 min of time from direct introduction of murine skin tissue digestate into a two-stage microfluidic device to one-pass elution of CD34+ enriched cells with a purity of 55.8%±5.1%. The recovered cells remain viable and formed colonies with characteristic morphologies. When grown in culture, enriched cells contain a larger α6+ population than un-enriched cells.
GLUT2 is a facilitative glucose transporter, expressed in polarized epithelial cells of the liver, intestine, kidney and pancreas, where it plays a critical role in glucose homeostasis. Together with SGLT1/2, it mediates glucose absorption in metabolic epithelial tissues, where it can be translocated apically upon high glucose exposure. To track the subcellular localization and dynamics of GLUT2, we created an mCherry–hGLUT2 fusion protein and expressed it in multicellular kidney cysts, a major site of glucose reabsorption. Live imaging of GLUT2 enabled us to avoid the artefactual localization of GLUT2 in fixed cells and to confirm the apical GLUT2 model. Live cell imaging showed a rapid 15 ± 3 min PKC-dependent basal-to-apical translocation of GLUT2 in response to glucose stimulation and a fourfold slower basolateral translocation under starvation. These results mark the physiological importance of responding quickly to rising glucose levels. Importantly, we show that phloretin, an apple polyphenol, inhibits GLUT2 translocation in both directions, suggesting that it exerts its effect by PKC inhibition. Subcellular localization studies demonstrated that GLUT2 is endocytosed through a caveolae-dependent mechanism, and that it is at least partly recovered in Rab11A-positive recycling endosome. Our work illuminates GLUT2 dynamics, providing a platform for drug development for diabetes and hyperglycaemia.
dynamic translocation; polarized renal epithelium; glucose homeostasis; live imaging; phloretin
When exposed to the antifungal drug fluconazole, Candida albicans undergoes abnormal growth, forming three-lobed “trimeras.” These aneuploid trimeras turn out genetically variable progeny with varying numbers of chromosomes, increasing the odds of creating a drug-resistant strain.
Candida albicans, the most prevalent human fungal pathogen, is generally diploid. However, 50% of isolates that are resistant to fluconazole (FLC), the most widely used antifungal, are aneuploid and some aneuploidies can confer FLC resistance. To ask if FLC exposure causes or only selects for aneuploidy, we analyzed diploid strains during exposure to FLC using flow cytometry and epifluorescence microscopy. FLC exposure caused a consistent deviation from normal cell cycle regulation: nuclear and spindle cycles initiated prior to bud emergence, leading to “trimeras,” three connected cells composed of a mother, daughter, and granddaughter bud. Initially binucleate, trimeras underwent coordinated nuclear division yielding four daughter nuclei, two of which underwent mitotic collapse to form a tetraploid cell with extra spindle components. In subsequent cell cycles, the abnormal number of spindles resulted in unequal DNA segregation and viable aneuploid progeny. The process of aneuploid formation in C. albicans is highly reminiscent of early stages in human tumorigenesis in that aneuploidy arises through a tetraploid intermediate and subsequent unequal DNA segregation driven by multiple spindles coupled with a subsequent selective advantage conferred by at least some aneuploidies during growth under stress. Finally, trimera formation was detected in response to other azole antifungals, in related Candida species, and in an in vivo model for Candida infection, suggesting that aneuploids arise due to azole treatment of several pathogenic yeasts and that this can occur during the infection process.
Fungal infections are a particularly challenging problem in medicine due to the small number of effective antifungal drugs available. Fluconazole, the most commonly prescribed antifungal, prevents cells from growing but does not kill them, giving the fungal population a window of opportunity to become drug resistant. Candida albicans is the most prevalent fungal pathogen, and many fluconazole-resistant strains of this microbe have been isolated in the clinic. Fluconazole-resistant isolates often contain an abnormal number of chromosomes (a state called aneuploidy), and the additional copies of drug resistance genes on those chromosomes enable the cells to circumvent the drug. How Candida cells acquire abnormal chromosome numbers is a very important medical question—is aneuploidy merely passively selected for, or is it actively induced by the drug treatment? In this study, we found that fluconazole and other related azole antifungals induce abnormal cell cycle progression in which mother and daughter cells fail to separate after chromosome segregation. Following a further growth cycle, these cells form an unusual cell type that we have termed “trimeras”—three-lobed cells with two nuclei. The aberrant chromosome segregation dynamics in trimeras produce progeny with double the normal number of chromosomes. Unequal chromosome segregation in these progeny leads to an increase in the prevalence of aneuploidy in the population. We postulate that the increase in aneuploidy greatly increases the odds of developing drug resistance.
Long-term culture of hepatocyte spheroids with high ammonia clearance is valuable for therapeutic applications, especially the bioartificial liver. However, the optimal conditions are not well studied. We hypothesized that liver urea cycle enzymes can be induced by high protein diet and maintain on a higher expression level in rat hepatocyte spheroids by serum-free medium (SFM) culture and coculture with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Rats were feed normal protein diet (NPD) or high protein diet (HPD) for 7 days before liver digestion and isolation of hepatocytes. Hepatocyte spheroids were formed and maintained in a rocked suspension culture with or without MSCs in SFM or 10% serum-containing medium (SCM). Spheroid viability, kinetics of spheroid formation, hepatic functions, gene expression, and biochemical activities of rat hepatocyte spheroids were tested over 14 days of culture. We observed that urea cycle enzymes of hepatocyte spheroids can be induced by high protein diet. SFM and MSCs enhanced ammonia clearance and ureagenesis and stabilized integrity of hepatocyte spheroids compared to control conditions over 14 days. Hepatocytes from high protein diet-fed rats formed spheroids and maintained a high level of ammonia detoxification for over 14 days in a novel SFM. Hepatic functionality and spheroid integrity were further stabilized by coculture of hepatocytes with MSCs in the spheroid microenvironment. These findings have direct application to development of the spheroid reservoir bioartificial liver.
Bioartificial liver; Spheroid; Hepatocyte; Medium; Ureagenesis
Fluid dynamics play a fundamental role in the development of diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of blindness in the Western world, affecting over 4 million people in the US alone. The disease is defined by microaneurysms, local expansions of capillaries that disturb the hemodynamic forces experienced by the endothelium leading to dysfunction, leakage and edema. Here we present a method to identify microaneurysms with a high risk of leakage based on a critical ratio of microaneurysm to vessel diameter. We derive this non-dimensional parameter from an analytical solution and generalize it using experimentally validated numerical methods. We show that this non-dimensional parameter defines the shear force experienced by endothelial cells, below which endothelial dysfunction is evident in vivo. Our results demonstrate the involvement of vWF in diabetic retinopathy, and explain a perceived disconnect between microaneurysm size and leakage. This method will allow experts to treat microaneurysms poising a high-risk of leakage, prior to edema, minimizing damage and saving vision.
Metabolic diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes, and dyslipidemia are a rising cause of mortality worldwide. The progression of many metabolic diseases is fundamentally regulated on the transcriptional level by a family of ligand-activated transcription factors, called nuclear receptors, which detect and respond to metabolic changes. Their role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis makes nuclear receptors an important pharmaceutical and dietary target. This review will present the growing evidence that flavonoids, natural secondary plant metabolites, are important regulators of nuclear receptor activity. Structural similarities between flavonoids and cholesterol derivatives combined with the promiscuous nature of most nuclear receptors provide a wealth of possibilities for pharmaceutical and dietary modulation of metabolism. While the challenges of bringing flavonoid-derived therapeutics to the market are significant, we consider this rapidly growing field to be an essential aspect of the functional food initiative and an important mine for pharmaceutical compounds.
The liver is the largest internal organ in mammals, serving a wide spectrum of vital functions. Loss of liver function due to drug toxicity or viral infection is a major cause of death in the United States. The development of Bioartificial Liver (BAL) devices and the demand for pharmaceutical and cosmetic toxicity screening require the development of long-term hepatocyte culture techniques. However, primary hepatocytes rapidly lose their cuboidal morphology and liver-specific functions over a few days in culture. Accumulation of stress fibers, loss of metabolic function, and cell death are known phenomena. In recent years, several techniques were developed that can support high levels of liver-specific gene expression, metabolic and synthetic function for several weeks in culture. These include the collagen double-gel configuration, hepatocyte spheroids, coculture with endothelial cells, and micropatterned cocultures with 3T3-J2 fibroblasts. This chapter covers the current status of hepatocyte culture techniques, including: hepatocyte isolation, media formulation, oxygen supply, heterotypic cell–cell interactions, and basic functional assays.
Liver; Hepatocytes; Metabolism; Oxygen; Coculture; Culture medium; Non-parenchymal cells
Replication and assembly of hepatitis C virus (HCV) depend on the host's secretory and lipid-biosynthetic machinery. Viral replication occurs on endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived modified membranes, while viral assembly is thought to occur on lipid droplets (LDs). A physical association and coordination between the viral replication and assembly complexes are prerequisites for efficient viral production. Nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A), which localizes both to the ER and LDs, is an ideal candidate for this function. Here, the interaction of NS5A with host cell membranes and binding partners was characterized in living cells. The binding of NS5A to LDs is apparently irreversible, both in HCV-infected cells and when ectopically expressed. In HCV-infected cells, NS5A fluorescence was observed around the LDs and in perinuclear structures that were incorporated into a highly immobile platform superimposed over the ER membrane. Moreover, TBC1D20 and its cognate GTPase Rab1 are recruited by NS5A to LDs. The NS5A-TBC1D20 interaction was shown to be essential for the viral life cycle. In cells, expression of the Rab1 dominant negative (Rab1DN) GTPase mutant abolished steady-state LDs. In infected cells, Rab1DN induced the elimination of NS5A from viral replication sites. Our results demonstrate the significance of the localization of NS5A to LDs and support a model whereby its interaction with TBC1D20 and Rab1 affects lipid droplet metabolism to promote the viral life cycle.
Trauma such as burns induces a hypermetabolic response associated with altered central carbon and nitrogen metabolism. The liver plays a key role in these metabolic changes; however, studies to date have evaluated the metabolic state of liver using ex vivo perfusions or isotope labeling techniques targeted to specific pathways. Herein, we developed a unique mass balance approach to characterize the metabolic state of the liver in situ, and used it to quantify the metabolic changes to experimental burn injury in rats. Rats received a sham (control uninjured), 20% or 40% total body surface area (TBSA) scald burn, and were allowed to develop a hypermetabolic response. One day prior to evaluation, all animals were fasted to deplete glycogen stores. Four days post-burn, blood flow rates in major vessels of the liver were measured, and blood samples harvested. We combined measurements of metabolite concentrations and flow rates in the major vessels entering and leaving the liver with a steady-state mass balance model to generate a quantitative picture of the metabolic state of liver. The main findings were: (1) Sham-burned animals exhibited a gluconeogenic pattern, consistent with the fasted state; (2) the 20% TBSA burn inhibited gluconeogenesis and exhibited glycolytic-like features with very few other significant changes; (3) the 40% TBSA burn, by contrast, further enhanced gluconeogenesis and also increased amino acid extraction, urea cycle reactions, and several reactions involved in oxidative phosphorylation. These results suggest that increasing the severity of injury does not lead to a simple dose-dependent metabolic response, but rather leads to qualitatively different responses.
hypermetabolism; metabolic flux analysis; liver; trauma and burns; rat; in vivo
Background & Aims
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects 3% of the world population and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Current standard of care is effective in only 50% of the patients, poorly tolerated, and associated with significant side effects and viral resistance. Recently, our group and others demonstrated that the HCV lifecycle is critically dependent on host lipid metabolism and that its production is metabolically modulated.
The JFH1/Huh7.5.1 full lifecycle model of HCV was used to study the antiviral effects of naringenin on viral replication, assembly, and production. Activation of PPARα was elucidated using GAL4-PPARα fusion reporters, PPRE reporters, qRT-PCR, and metabolic studies. Metabolic results were confirmed in primary human hepatocytes.
We demonstrate that the grapefruit flavonoid naringenin dose-dependently inhibits HCV production without affecting intracellular levels of the viral RNA or protein. We show that naringenin blocks the assembly of intracellular infectious viral particles, upstream of viral egress. This antiviral effect is mediated in part by the activation of PPARα, leading to a decrease in VLDL production without causing hepatic lipid accumulation in Huh7.5.1 cells and primary human hepatocytes. Long-term treatment with naringenin leads to a rapid 1.4 log reduction in HCV, similar to 1000 U of interferon. During the washout period, HCV levels returned to normal, consistent with our proposed mechanism of action.
The data demonstrates that naringenin is a non-toxic assembly inhibitor of HCV and that other PPARα agonists play a similar role in blocking viral production. The combination of naringenin with STAT-C agents could potentially bring a rapid reduction in HCV levels during the early treatment phase, an outcome associated with sustained virological response.
HCV; Naringenin; Lipid metabolism; PPARα
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the cellular site for protein folding. ER stress occurs when protein folding capacity is exceeded. This stress induces a cyto-protective signaling cascades termed the unfolded protein response (UPR) aimed at restoring homeostasis. While acute ER stress is lethal, chronic sub-lethal ER stress causes cells to adapt by attenuation of UPR activation. Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a major human pathogen, was shown to cause ER stress, however it is unclear whether HCV induces chronic ER stress, and if so whether adaptation mechanisms are initiated. We wanted to characterize the kinetics of HCV-induced ER stress during infection and assess adaptation mechanisms and their significance.
Methods and Findings
The HuH7.5.1 cellular system and HCV-transgenic (HCV-Tg) mice were used to characterize HCV-induced ER stress/UPR pathway activation and adaptation. HCV induced a wave of acute ER stress peaking 2–5 days post-infection, which rapidly subsided thereafter. UPR pathways were activated including IRE1 and EIF2α phosphorylation, ATF6 cleavage and XBP-1 splicing. Downstream target genes including GADD34, ERdj4, p58ipk, ATF3 and ATF4 were upregulated. CHOP, a UPR regulated protein was activated and translocated to the nucleus. Remarkably, UPR activity did not return to baseline but remained elevated for up to 14 days post infection suggesting that chronic ER stress is induced. At this time, cells adapted to ER stress and were less responsive to further drug-induced ER stress. Similar results were obtained in HCV-Tg mice. Suppression of HCV by Interferon-α 2a treatment, restored UPR responsiveness to ER stress tolerant cells.
Our study shows, for the first time, that HCV induces adaptation to chronic ER stress which was reversed upon viral suppression. These finding represent a novel viral mechanism to manipulate cellular response pathways.
Orthotopic liver transplantation is the only available treatment for severe liver failure, but it is currently limited by organ shortage. One technical challenge that has thus far limited the development of a tissue-engineered liver graft is oxygen and nutrient transport. Here we demonstrate a novel approach to generate transplantable liver grafts using decellularized liver matrix. The decellularization process preserves the structural and functional characteristics of the native microvascular network, allowing efficient recellularization of the liver matrix with adult hepatocytes and subsequent perfusion for in vitro culture. The recellularized graft supports liver-specific function including albumin secretion, urea synthesis and cytochrome P450 expression at comparable levels to normal liver in vitro. The recellularized liver grafts can be transplanted into rats, supporting hepatocyte survival and function with minimal ischemic damage. These results provide a proof of principle for the generation of a transplantable liver graft as a potential treatment for liver disease.
Silymarin, an extract from milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and its purified flavonolignans have been recently shown to inhibit HCV infection, both in vitro and in vivo. In the current study, we further characterized silymarin's antiviral actions. Silymarin had antiviral effects against HCVcc infection that included inhibition of virus entry, RNA and protein expression, and infectious virus production. Silymarin did not block HCVcc binding to cells, but inhibited the entry of several viral pseudoparticles (pp), and fusion of HCVpp with liposomes. Silymarin but not silibinin inhibited JFH-1 genotype 2a NS5B-dependent RNA polymerase activity at concentrations 5–10 times higher than required for anti-HCVcc effects. Furthermore, silymarin had inefficient activity on the genotype 1b BK and four 1b RDRPs derived from HCV-infected patients. Moreover, silymarin did not inhibit HCV replication in 5 independent genotype 1a, 1b, and 2a replicon cell lines that did not produce infectious virus. Silymarin inhibited microsomal triglyceride transfer protein activity, apolipoprotein B secretion, and infectious virion production into culture supernatants. Silymarin also blocked cell-to-cell spread of virus. While inhibition of in-vitro NS5B polymerase activity is demonstrable, the mechanisms of silymarin's antiviral action appear to include blocking of virus entry and transmission, possibly by targeting the host cell.
milk thistle; JFH-1; HCVcc; virology; liver disease
The abundant flavonoid aglycone, naringenin, which is responsible for the bitter taste in grapefruits, has been shown to possess hypolipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects both in vitro and in vivo. Recently, our group demonstrated that naringenin inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) production, while others demonstrated its potential in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. However, naringenin suffers from low oral bioavailability critically limiting its clinical potential. In this study, we demonstrate that the solubility of naringenin is enhanced by complexation with β-cyclodextrin, an FDA approved excipient. Hydroxypropoyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD), specifically, increased the solubility of naringenin by over 400-fold, and its transport across a Caco-2 model of the gut epithelium by 11-fold. Complexation of naringenin with HPβCD increased its plasma concentrations when fed to rats, with AUC values increasing by 7.4-fold and Cmax increasing 14.6-fold. Moreover, when the complex was administered just prior to a meal it decreased VLDL levels by 42% and increased the rate of glucose clearance by 64% compared to naringenin alone. These effects correlated with increased expression of the PPAR co-activator, PGC1α in both liver and skeletal muscle. Histology and blood chemistry analysis indicated this route of administration was not associated with damage to the intestine, kidney, or liver. These results suggest that the complexation of naringenin with HPβCD is a viable option for the oral delivery of naringenin as a therapeutic entity with applications in the treatment of dyslipidemia, diabetes, and HCV infection.
Disruption of lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis is an important factor in the development of prevalent metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Therefore, small molecules that could reduce insulin dependence and regulate dyslipidemia could have a dramatic effect on public health. The grapefruit flavonoid naringenin has been shown to normalize lipids in diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, as well as inhibit the production of HCV. Here, we demonstrate that naringenin regulates the activity of nuclear receptors PPARα, PPARγ, and LXRα. We show it activates the ligand-binding domain of both PPARα and PPARγ, while inhibiting LXRα in GAL4-fusion reporters. Using TR-FRET, we show that naringenin is a partial agonist of LXRα, inhibiting its association with Trap220 co-activator in the presence of TO901317. In addition, naringenin induces the expression of PPARα co-activator, PGC1α. The flavonoid activates PPAR response element (PPRE) while suppressing LXRα response element (LXRE) in human hepatocytes, translating into the induction of PPAR-regulated fatty acid oxidation genes such as CYP4A11, ACOX, UCP1 and ApoAI, and inhibition of LXRα-regulated lipogenesis genes, such as FAS, ABCA1, ABCG1, and HMGR. This effect results in the induction of a fasted-like state in primary rat hepatocytes in which fatty acid oxidation increases, while cholesterol and bile acid production decreases. Our findings explain the myriad effects of naringenin and support its continued clinical development. Of note, this is the first description of a non-toxic, naturally occurring LXRα inhibitor.
Liver transplantation is currently the only established treatment for end-stage liver disease, but it is limited by a severe shortage of viable donor livers. Donors after cardiac death (DCD) are an untapped source that could significantly increase the pool of available livers. Preservation of these DCD livers by conventional static cold storage (SCS) is associated with an unacceptable risk of primary non-function and delayed graft failure. Normothermic extracorporeal liver perfusion (NELP) has been suggested as an improvement over SCS.
Livers recovered from male Lewis rats were subjected to 1hr of warm ischemia and preserved with 5hrs of SCS or NELP, and transplanted into syngeneic recipients. As additional controls, non-ischemic livers preserved with 6hrs of SCS or NELP and unpreserved ischemic livers were transplanted.
Following NELP, ischemically damaged livers could be orthotopically transplanted into syngeneic recipients with 92% survival (N=13) after 4 weeks, which was comparable to control animals which received healthy livers preserved by SCS (N=9) or NELP (N=11) for 6hrs. On the other hand, animals from ischemia/SCS control group all died within 12hrs post-operatively (N=6). Similarly, animals that received ischemic livers without preservation all died within 24hrs after transplantation (N=6).
These results suggest that NELP has the potential to reclaim warm ischemic livers that would not be transplantable otherwise. The rat model in this study is a useful platform to further optimize NELP as a method of recovery and preservation of DCD livers.
transplantation; reperfusion injury; machine perfusion; preservation; preconditioning
Targeting angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels, is an important modality for cancer therapy. TNP-470, a fumagillin analog, is among the most potent and broad-spectrum angiogenesis inhibitors. However, a major clinical limitation is its poor oral availability and short half-life, necessitating frequent, continuous parenteral administration. We have addressed these issues and report an oral formulation of TNP-470, named Lodamin. TNP-470 was conjugated to monomethoxy-polyethylene glycol–polylactic acid to form nanopolymeric micelles. This conjugate can be absorbed by the intestine and selectively accumulates in tumors. Lodamin significantly inhibits tumor growth, without causing neurological impairment in tumor-bearing mice. Using the oral route of administration, it first reaches the liver, making it especially efficient in preventing the development of liver metastasis in mice. We show that Lodamin is an oral nontoxic antiangiogenic drug that can be chronically administered for cancer therapy or metastasis prevention.
Embryonic stem cell-derived endoderm is critical for the development of cellular therapies for the treatment of disease such as diabetes, liver cirrhosis, or pulmonary emphysema. Here, we describe a novel approach to induce endoderm from mouse embryonic stem cells (mES) using fibronectin-coated collagen gels. This technique results in a homogenous endoderm-like cell population, demonstrating endoderm-specific gene and protein expression, which remains committed following in vivo transplantation. In this system, activin, normally an endoderm inducer caused an 80% decrease in the Foxa2 positive endoderm fraction, while follistatin increased the Foxa2 positive endoderm fraction to 78%. Our work suggests that activin delays the induction of endoderm through it transient precursors, the epiblast and mesendoderm. Long term differentiation, displays a two-fold reduction in hepatic gene expression and three-fold reduction in hepatic protein expression of activin-treated cells compared to follistatin-treated cells. Moreover, subcutaneous transplantation of activin-treated cells in a syngeneic mouse generated a heterogeneous teratoma-like mass, suggesting these were a more primitive population. In contrast, follistatin-treated cells resulted in an encapsulated epithelial-like mass, suggesting these cells remained committed to the endoderm lineage. In conclusion, we demonstrate a novel technique to induce the direct differentiation of endoderm from mES cells without cell sorting. In addition, our work suggests a new role for activin in induction of the precursors to endoderm, and a new endoderm-enrichment technique using follistatin.
Activin; Endoderm; Collagen Gel; Embryonic Stem Cells (Mouse); Follistatin; Epiblast
This study explored the effects of propofol on c-Fos and Egr-1 in neuroblastoma (N2A) cells. We demonstrate that propofol induced the expression of c-Fos and Egr-1 within 30 and 60 min of exposure time. At 16.8 µM concentration, propofol induced a 6 and 2.5-fold expression of c-Fos and Egr-1, respectively. However, at concentrations above 100 µM, propofol failed to induce expression of c-Fos or Egr-1. Propofol-induced c-Fos and Egr-1 transcription was unaffected by bicuculline, a γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptor antagonist, but was abolished by PD98059, a mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor. Our study shows that clinically relevant concentrations of propofol induce c-Fos and Egr-1 expression through an extracellular signal-regulated kinase mediated and γ-aminobutyric acid-A independent pathway.
γ-aminobutyric acid; extracellular signal-regulated kinase; immediate early genes; propofol