Cardiomyocytes (CMs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) possess a high potential for regenerative medicine. Previous publications suggested that viral transduction of a defined set of transcription factors (TFs) known to play pivotal roles in heart development also increases cardiomyogenesis in vitro upon overexpression in mouse or human ES cells. To circumvent issues associated with viral approaches such as insertional mutagenesis, we have established a transient transfection system for straightforward testing of TF combinations. Applying this method, the transfection efficiency and the temporal pattern of transgene expression were extensively assessed in hPSCs by quantitative real time-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), TF-specific immunofluorescence analysis, and flow cytometry. Testing TF combinations in our approach revealed that BAF60C, GATA4, and MESP1 (BGM) were most effective for cardiac forward programming in human induced pluripotent stem cell lines and human ES cells as well. Removal of BAF60C slightly diminished formation of CM-like cells, whereas depletion of GATA4 or MESP1 abolished cardiomyogenesis. Each of these TFs alone had no inductive effect. In addition, we have noted sensitivity of CM formation to cell density effects, which highlights the necessity for cautious analysis when interpreting TF-directed lineage induction. In summary, this is the first report on TF-induced cardiomyogenesis of hPSCs applying a transient, nonintegrating method of cell transfection.
Hypoxia occurs when oxygen levels within a tissue drop below normal physiological levels. In tumours, hypoxia is associated with poor prognosis, increased likelihood of metastasis and resistance to therapy. Imaging techniques, for example, positron emission tomography, are increasingly used in the monitoring of tumour hypoxia and have the potential to help in the planning of radiotherapy. For this application, improved understanding of the link between image contrast and quantitative underlying oxygen distribution would be very useful. Mathematical models of tissue hypoxia and image formation can help understand this. Hypoxia is caused by an imbalance between vascular supply and tissue demand. While much work has been dedicated to the quantitative description of tumour vascular networks, consideration of tumour oxygen consumption is largely neglected. Oxidative respiration in standard two-dimensional cell culture has been widely studied. However, two-dimensional culture fails to capture the complexities of growing three-dimensional tissue which could impact on the oxygen usage. In this study, we build on previous descriptions of oxygen consumption and diffusion in three-dimensional tumour spheroids and present a method for estimating rates of oxygen consumption from spheroids, validated using stained spheroid sections. Methods for estimating the local partial pressure of oxygen, the diffusion limit and the extents of the necrotic core, hypoxic region and proliferating rim are also derived. These are validated using experimental data from DLD1 spheroids at different stages of growth. A relatively constant experimentally derived diffusion limit of 232 ± 22 μm and an O2 consumption rate of 7.29 ± 1.4 × 10−7 m3 kg−1 s−1 for the spheroids studied was measured, in agreement with laboratory measurements.
hypoxia; oxygen consumption; oxygen diffusion; tumour spheroids; mathematical modelling
The structure of the putative aminoacrylate peracid reductase RutC of the rut operon, a member of the YjgF family, is reported.
RutC is the third enzyme in the Escherichia coli rut pathway of uracil degradation. RutC belongs to the highly conserved YjgF family of proteins. The structure of the RutC protein was determined and refined to 1.95 Å resolution. The crystal belonged to space group P21212 and contained six molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structure was solved by SAD phasing and was refined to an R
work of 19.3% (R
free = 21.7%). The final model revealed that this protein has a Bacillus chorismate mutase-like fold and forms a homotrimer with a hydrophobic cavity in the center of the structure and ligand-binding clefts between two subunits. A likely function for RutC is the reduction of peroxy-aminoacrylate to aminoacrylate as a part of a detoxification process.
YjgF superfamily; rut operon; peroxy-aminoacrylate; aminoacrylate; RutC
AIM: To investigate the effect of quercetin supplementation on the myenteric neurons and glia in the cecum of diabetic rats.
METHODS: Total preparations of the muscular tunic were prepared from the ceca of twenty-four rats divided into the following groups: control (C), control supplemented with quercetin (200 mg/kg quercetin body weight) (CQ), diabetic (D) and diabetic supplemented with quercetin (DQ). Immunohistochemical double staining technique was performed with HuC/D (general population)/nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), HuC-D/S-100 and VIP. Density analysis of the general neuronal population HuC/D-IR, the nNOS-IR (nitrergic subpopulation) and the enteric glial cells (S-100) was performed, and the morphometry and the reduction in varicosity population (VIP-IR) in these populations were analyzed.
RESULTS: Diabetes promoted a significant reduction (25%) in the neuronal density of the HuC/D-IR (general population) and the nNOS-IR (nitrergic subpopulation) compared with the C group. Diabetes also significantly increased the areas of neurons, glial cells and VIP-IR varicosities. Supplementation with quercetin in the DQ group prevented neuronal loss in the general population and increased its area (P < 0.001) and the area of nitrergic subpopulation (P < 0.001), when compared to C group. Quercetin induced a VIP-IR and glial cells areas (P < 0.001) in DQ group when compared to C, CQ and D groups.
CONCLUSION: In diabetes, quercetin exhibited a neuroprotective effect by maintaining the density of the general neuronal population but did not affect the density of the nNOS subpopulation.
Diabetes; Myenteric plexus; Neuroprotection; Neuronal nitric oxide synthase; Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide; Enteric glia
The prevention and treatment of acute chest syndrome (ACS) is a major clinical concern in sickle cell disease (SCD). However, the mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of ACS remains elusive. We tested the hypothesis that the hemolysis byproduct hemin elicits events that induce ACS. Infusion of a low dose of hemin caused acute intravascular hemolysis and autoamplification of extracellular hemin in transgenic sickle mice, but not in sickle-trait littermates. The sickle mice developed multiple symptoms typical of ACS and succumbed rapidly. Pharmacologic inhibition of TLR4 and hemopexin replacement therapy prior to hemin infusion protected sickle mice from developing ACS. Replication of the ACS-like phenotype in nonsickle mice revealed that the mechanism of lung injury due to extracellular hemin is independent of SCD. Using genetic and bone marrow chimeric tools, we confirmed that TLR4 expressed in nonhematopoietic vascular tissues mediated this lethal type of acute lung injury. Respiratory failure was averted after the onset of ACS-like symptoms in sickle mice by treating them with recombinant hemopexin. Our results reveal a mechanism that helps to explain the pathogenesis of ACS, and we provide proof of principle for therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat this condition in mice.
Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs) present a promising tool for regenerative medicine. However, ex vivo expansion is necessary to obtain sufficient cells for clinical therapy. Conventional growth media usually contain the critical component fetal bovine serum. For clinical use, chemically defined media will be required. In this study, the capability of two commercial, chemically defined, serum-free hMSC growth media (MSCGM-CD and PowerStem) for hMSC proliferation was examined and compared to serum-containing medium (MSCGM). Immunophenotyping of hMSCs was performed using flow cytometry, and they were tested for their ability to differentiate into a variety of cell types. Although the morphology of hMSCs cultured in the different media differed, immunophenotyping displayed similar marker patterns (high expression of CD29, CD44, CD73, and CD90 cell surface markers and absence of CD45). Interestingly, the expression of CD105 was significantly lower for hMSCs cultured in MSCGM-CD compared to MSCGM. Both groups maintained mesenchymal multilineage differentiation potential. In conclusion, the serum-free growth medium is suitable for hMSC culture and comparable to its serum-containing counterpart. As the expression of CD105 has been shown to positively influence hMSC cardiac regenerative potential, the impact of CD105 expression onto clinical use after expansion in MSCGM-CD will have to be tested.
A best evidence topic in cardiothoracic surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether performing microwave ablative procedures during concomitant cardiac surgical procedures is effective for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF). In total, 200 papers were found using the reported search, of which 12 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. Major exclusion criteria included studies exclusively using bipolar ablation, ambiguous or unspecified ablation technique, other energy modalities and studies with highly variable or undisclosed follow-up time. One study reported that 66% of patients were in sinus rhythm (SR) with follow-ups ranging from 1 to 14 months and suggested that the risk of AF recurrence was significantly increased with a larger left atrial diameter (OR = 1.21, P = 0.02) and an increased duration of preoperative AF (OR = 2.14, P = 0.03). A separate study found no significant difference in the success rate on the basis of the concomitant procedure (coronary artery bypass grafting or mitral valve surgery, P > 0.5). In the only randomized trial identified, microwave ablation delivered significantly inferior SR restoration rates to radiofrequency (RF) ablation at all time points from discharge to 24 months. There is a large degree of heterogeneity in the studies, with patients’ characteristics, for example type of AF, and patient management postoperatively, for example administration of anti-arrhythmias, being inconsistent. Of the 12 studies, nine assessed SR at a mean of 6–12 months and found postoperative success rates between 62 and 87%. One study looked at the medium range follow-up of 24 months with SR restoration at 71%. Two studies looked at the long-term follow-up (5 and 5.37 years) with SR restoration at 39 and 61%, respectively. We conclude that microwave ablation, as an intervention for the treatment of AF during concomitant surgery, is not currently recommended on the limited available evidence. This is because the success rates in the longer term are less clear and the only randomized study to date has found inferior outcomes compared with RF-based ablation.
Atrial fibrillation; Microwave ablation; Mitral; Surgery
Bone marrow derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) show promising potential in regeneration of defective tissue. Recently, gene silencing strategies using microRNAs (miR) emerged with the aim to expand the therapeutic potential of hMSCs. However, researchers are still searching for effective miR delivery methods for clinical applications. Therefore, we aimed to develop a technique to efficiently deliver miR into hMSCs with the help of a magnetic non-viral vector based on cationic polymer polyethylenimine (PEI) bound to iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNP). We tested different magnetic complex compositions and determined uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity by flow cytometry. Additionally, we monitored the release, processing and functionality of delivered miR-335 with confocal laser scanning microscopy, real-time PCR and live cell imaging, respectively. On this basis, we established parameters for construction of magnetic non-viral vectors with optimized uptake efficiency (~75%) and moderate cytotoxicity in hMSCs. Furthermore, we observed a better transfection performance of magnetic complexes compared to PEI complexes 72 h after transfection. We conclude that MNP-mediated transfection provides a long term effect beneficial for successful genetic modification of stem cells. Hence, our findings may become of great importance for future in vivo applications.
magnetic nanoparticles; microRNA; polyethylenimine; mesenchymal stem cells; non-viral carrier
Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones exert fundamental roles in regulating gene expression. During development, groups of PTMs are constrained by unknown mechanisms into combinatorial patterns, which facilitate transitions from uncommitted embryonic cells into differentiated somatic cell lineages. Repressive histone modifications such as H3K9me3 or H3K27me3 have been investigated in detail, but the role of H4K20me3 in development is currently unknown. Here we show that Xenopus laevis Suv4-20h1 and h2 histone methyltransferases (HMTases) are essential for induction and differentiation of the neuroectoderm. Morpholino-mediated knockdown of the two HMTases leads to a selective and specific downregulation of genes controlling neural induction, thereby effectively blocking differentiation of the neuroectoderm. Global transcriptome analysis supports the notion that these effects arise from the transcriptional deregulation of specific genes rather than widespread, pleiotropic effects. Interestingly, morphant embryos fail to repress the Oct4-related Xenopus gene Oct-25. We validate Oct-25 as a direct target of xSu4-20h enzyme mediated gene repression, showing by chromatin immunoprecipitaton that it is decorated with the H4K20me3 mark downstream of the promoter in normal, but not in double-morphant, embryos. Since knockdown of Oct-25 protein significantly rescues the neural differentiation defect in xSuv4-20h double-morphant embryos, we conclude that the epistatic relationship between Suv4-20h enzymes and Oct-25 controls the transit from pluripotent to differentiation-competent neural cells. Consistent with these results in Xenopus, murine Suv4-20h1/h2 double-knockout embryonic stem (DKO ES) cells exhibit increased Oct4 protein levels before and during EB formation, and reveal a compromised and biased capacity for in vitro differentiation, when compared to normal ES cells. Together, these results suggest a regulatory mechanism, conserved between amphibians and mammals, in which H4K20me3-dependent restriction of specific POU-V genes directs cell fate decisions, when embryonic cells exit the pluripotent state.
The quest of modern developmental biology is a detailed molecular description of the process that leads from the fertilized egg to the complex and highly differentiated adult organism. This process is controlled largely on the level of gene expression. While early embryonic cells are pluripotent and capable of transcribing most of their genome, older cells have become committed to the germ layer and differentiation programs during gastrulation. They express then a subset of genes compatible with their future physiological function. Young, pluripotent cells and post-gastrula, committed cells express different networks of transcription factors and contain chromatin of different structure and composition. How these two regulatory layers are interconnected during development is incompletely understood. We describe a novel and unexpected link between the pluripotency-associated POU-V gene Oct-25 and xSuv4-20h histone methyltransferases. XSuv4-20h enzymes are required to repress the Oct-25 gene, a homolog of mammalian Oct4, in the neuroectoderm of frog embryos as a prerequisite for neural differentiation. Consistently, murine Suv4-20h double-null ES cells show increased Oct4 protein levels before and during in vitro differentiation and display compromised differentiation in comparison to wild-type ES cells. Thus, Suv4-20h enzymes control specific POU-V genes and are involved in germ-layer specific differentiation.
Introduction. Dendritic cells (DCs) and oxLDL play an important role in the atherosclerotic process with DCs accumulating in the plaques during plaque progression. Our aim was to investigate the role of oxLDL in the modulation of the DC homing-receptor CCR7 and endothelial-ligand CCL21. Methods and Results. The expression of the DC homing-receptor CCR7 and its endothelial-ligand CCL21 was examined on atherosclerotic carotic plaques of 47 patients via qRT-PCR and immunofluorescence. In vitro, we studied the expression of CCR7 on DCs and CCL21 on human microvascular endothelial cells (HMECs) in response to oxLDL. CCL21- and CCR7-mRNA levels were significantly downregulated in atherosclerotic plaques versus non-atherosclerotic controls [90% for CCL21 and 81% for CCR7 (P < 0.01)]. In vitro, oxLDL reduced CCR7 mRNA levels on DCs by 30% and protein levels by 46%. Furthermore, mRNA expression of CCL21 was significantly reduced by 50% (P < 0.05) and protein expression by 24% in HMECs by oxLDL (P < 0.05). Conclusions. The accumulation of DCs in atherosclerotic plaques appears to be related to a downregulation of chemokines and their ligands, which are known to regulate DC migration. oxLDL induces an in vitro downregulation of CCR7 and CCL21, which may play a role in the reduction of DC migration from the plaques.
Vertebrate embryos are derived from a transitory pool of pluripotent cells. By the process of embryonic induction, these precursor cells are assigned to specific fates and differentiation programs. Histone post-translational modifications are thought to play a key role in the establishment and maintenance of stable gene expression patterns underlying these processes. While on gene level histone modifications are known to change during differentiation, very little is known about the quantitative fluctuations in bulk histone modifications during development. To investigate this issue we analysed histones isolated from four different developmental stages of Xenopus laevis by mass spectrometry. In toto, we quantified 59 modification states on core histones H3 and H4 from blastula to tadpole stages. During this developmental period, we observed in general an increase in the unmodified states, and a shift from histone modifications associated with transcriptional activity to transcriptionally repressive histone marks. We also compared these naturally occurring patterns with the histone modifications of murine ES cells, detecting large differences in the methylation patterns of histone H3 lysines 27 and 36 between pluripotent ES cells and pluripotent cells from Xenopus blastulae. By combining all detected modification transitions we could cluster their patterns according to their embryonic origin, defining specific histone modification profiles (HMPs) for each developmental stage. To our knowledge, this data set represents the first compendium of covalent histone modifications and their quantitative flux during normogenesis in a vertebrate model organism. The HMPs indicate a stepwise maturation of the embryonic epigenome, which may be causal to the progressing restriction of cellular potency during development.
Little is known about the signaling that occurs in an antigen presenting cell (APC) during contact with a T cell. Here we report the concentration of the signaling lipid, PI(4,5)P2, at the APC side of the immunological synapse. In both human and mouse cells, a PI(4,5)P2-specific fluorescent reporter, PH-GFP, detected an antigen-dependent enrichment of PI(4,5)P2 at the synapse between antigen-specific T cells and APC. When PIP(4,5)P2 was sequestered by a high concentration of PH-GFP reporter, cells were less susceptible to CTL-mediated lysis than control cells. These findings suggest a new regulatory target for modulating immune function that may be exploited for immune escape by pathogens and tumors.
Cytotoxicity; T cells Cytotoxic; MHC; Antigen Presentation
It is well established that the ingestion of the omega-3 (N3) fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) positively benefit a variety of health indices. Despite these benefits the actual intake of fish derived N3 is relatively small in the United States. The primary aim of our study was to examine a technology capable of delivering omega-3 fatty acids in common foods via microencapsulation (MicroN3) in young, healthy, active participants who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease. Accordingly, we randomized 20 participants (25.4 ± 6.2 y; 73.4 ± 5.1 kg) to receive the double blind delivery of a placebo-matched breakfast meal (~2093 kJ) containing MicroN3 (450–550 mg EPA/DHA) during a 2-week pilot trial. Overall, we observed no differences in overall dietary macronutrient intake other than the N3 delivery during our treatment regimen. Post-test ANOVA analysis showed a significant elevation in mean (SE) plasma DHA (91.18 ± 9.3 vs. 125.58 ± 11.3 umol/L; P < 0.05) and a reduction in triacylglycerols (89.89 ± 12.8 vs. 80.78 ± 10.4 mg/dL; P < 0.05) accompanying the MicroN3 treatment that was significantly different from placebo (P < 0.05). In post study interviews, participants reported that the ingested food was well-tolerated, contained no fish taste, odor or gastrointestinal distress accompanying treatment. The use of MicroN3 foods provides a novel delivery system for the delivery of essential fatty acids. Our study demonstrates that MicroN3 foods promote the absorption of essential N3, demonstrate bioactivity within 2 weeks of ingestion and are well tolerated in young, active participants who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.
Evidence is accumulating for a role of vitamin D in maintaining normal glucose homeostasis. However, studies that prospectively examined circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-[OH] D) in relation to diabetes risk are limited. Our objective is to determine the association between maternal plasma 25-[OH] D concentrations in early pregnancy and the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
A nested case-control study was conducted among a prospective cohort of 953 pregnant women. Among them, 57 incident GDM cases were ascertained and 114 women who were not diagnosed with GDM were selected as controls. Controls were frequency matched to cases for the estimated season of conception of the index pregnancy.
Among women who developed GDM, maternal plasma 25-[OH] D concentrations at an average of 16 weeks of gestation were significantly lower than controls (24.2 vs. 30.1 ng/ml, P<0.001). This difference remained significant (3.62 ng/ml lower on average in GDM cases than controls (P value = 0.018)) after the adjustment for maternal age, race, family history of diabetes, and pre-pregnancy BMI. Approximately 33% of GDM cases, compared with 14% of controls (P<0.001), had maternal plasma 25-[OH] D concentrations consistent with a pre-specified diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/ml). After adjustment for the aforementioned covariates including BMI, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 2.66-fold (OR (95% CI): 2.66 (1.01–7.02)) increased GDM risk. Moreover, each 5 ng/ml decrease in 25-[OH] D concentrations was related to a 1.29-fold increase in GDM risk (OR (95% CI): 1.29 (1.05–1.60)). Additional adjustment for season and physical activity did not change findings substantially.
Findings from the present study suggest that maternal vitamin D deficiency in early pregnancy is significantly associated with an elevated risk for GDM.
Genetic variation among individual humans occurs on many different scales, ranging from gross alterations in the human karyotype to single nucleotide changes. Here we explore variation on an intermediate scale—particularly insertions, deletions and inversions affecting from a few thousand to a few million base pairs. We employed a clone-based method to interrogate this intermediate structural variation in eight individuals of diverse geographic ancestry. Our analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the normal pattern of structural variation present in these genomes, refining the location of 1,695 structural variants. We find that 50% were seen in more than one individual and that nearly half lay outside regions of the genome previously described as structurally variant. We discover 525 new insertion sequences that are not present in the human reference genome and show that many of these are variable in copy number between individuals. Complete sequencing of 261 structural variants reveals considerable locus complexity and provides insights into the different mutational processes that have shaped the human genome. These data provide the first high-resolution sequence map of human structural variation—a standard for genotyping platforms and a prelude to future individual genome sequencing projects.
Persons living with HIV (PLWH) who are aware of their HIV status are more likely than serostatus-unaware PLWH to take precautions to prevent HIV transmission to their partners. The estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the proportion of PLWH who were aware of their serostatus increased between 2001 and 2004. The epidemiologic consequences of this increase in serostatus awareness are unknown.
We developed a basic model of the US HIV epidemic from 2001 to 2004. Using this model, we calculated the number of incident infections that would have occurred in 2002 to 2004 had the proportion of PLWH who were aware of their serostatus remained at its 2001 level rather than increasing between 2001 and 2004. We then compared this incidence estimate with the CDC's estimated total of 120,000 incident infections in 2002 to 2004 to determine the number of infections prevented by the increase in serostatus awareness.
The increase from 2001 to 2004 in the proportion of PLWH who were aware of their serostatus can be credited with preventing nearly 6000 incident HIV infections in the 3-year period from 2002 to 2004. Sensitivity analyses indicated a plausible range of 4000 to 8700 prevented infections.
This analysis demonstrates the important epidemiologic benefits of increasing the proportion of PLWH who are aware of their HIV status.
HIV; incident infections; mathematic model; serostatus awareness