We investigated summation of steady excitatory and inhibitory inputs in spinal motoneurons using an in vivo preparation, the decerebrate cat, in which neuromodulatory input from the brain stem facilitated a strong persistent inward current (PIC) in dendritic regions. This dendritic PIC amplified both excitatory and inhibitory synaptic currents two-to threefold, but within different voltage ranges. Amplification of excitatory synaptic current peaked at voltage-clamp holding potentials near spike threshold (about −55 to −50 mV), whereas amplification of inhibitory current peaked at significantly more depolarized levels (about −45 to −40 mV). Thus the linear sum of excitatory and inhibitory currents tended to vary from net excitatory to net inhibitory as holding potential was depolarized. The actual summed currents, however, diverged from the predicted linear currents. At the peak of excitation, summation averaged about 15% sublinear (actual sum was less positive than the linear sum). In contrast, at the peak of inhibition, summation averaged about 18% supralinear (actual more positive than linear). Moreover, these nonlinear effects were substantially larger in cells where the variation from peak excitation to peak inhibition for linear summation was larger. When descending neuromodulatory input was eliminated by acute spinalization, PIC amplification was not observed and summation tended to be either sublinear or approximately linear, depending on input source. Overall, in cells with strong PICs, nonlinear summation of excitation and inhibition does occur, but this nonlinearity results in a more consistent relationship between membrane potential and the summed excitatory and inhibitory current.
Exposure to ionizing radiation is an established risk factor for breast cancer. Radiation exposure during infancy, childhood, and adolescence confers the highest risk. Although radiation is a proven mammary carcinogen, it remains unclear where it acts in the complex multistage process of breast cancer development. In this study, we investigated the long-term pathophysiologic effects of ionizing radiation at a dose (2 Gy) relevant to fractionated radiotherapy.
Methods and Materials
Adolescent (6–8 weeks old; n = 10) female C57BL/6J mice were exposed to 2 Gy total body γ-radiation, the mammary glands were surgically removed, and serum and urine samples were collected 2 and 12 months after exposure. Molecular pathways involving estrogen receptor-α (ERα) and phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K)-Akt signaling were investigated by immunohistochemistry and Western blot.
Serum estrogen and urinary levels of the oncogenic estrogen metabolite (16αOHE1) were significantly increased in irradiated animals. Immunostaining for the cellular proliferative marker Ki-67 and cyclin-D1 showed increased nuclear accumulation in sections of mammary glands from irradiated vs. control mice. Marked increase in p85α, a regulatory sub-unit of the PI3K was associated with increase in Akt, phospho-Akt, phospho-BAD, phospho-mTOR, and c-Myc in irradiated samples. Persistent increase in nuclear ERα in mammary tissues 2 and 12 months after radiation exposure was also observed.
Taken together, our data not only support epidemiologic observations associating radiation and breast cancer but also, specify molecular events that could be involved in radiation-induced breast cancer.
Radiation; Estradiol; Estrogen; Estrogen receptor α; Estrogen metabolite
Growth factor-induced activation of Akt occursin the majority of human breast cancer cell lines resulting in a variety of cellular outcomes, including suppression of apoptosis and enhanced survival. We demonstrate that epidermal growth factor (EGF)-initiated activation of Akt is mediated by the ubiquitous calcium sensing molecule, calmodulin, in the majority of human breast cancer cell lines. Specifically, in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative, but not ER-positive, breast cancer cells, Akt activation is abolished by treatment with the calmodulin antagonist, W-7. Suppression of calmodulin expression by siRNAs against all three calmodulin genes in c-Myc-overexpressing mouse mammary carcinoma cells results in significant inhibition of EGF-induced Akt activation. Additionally, transient expression of constitutively active Akt (Myr-Akt) can overcome W-7-mediated suppression of Akt activation. These results confirm the involvement of calmodulin in the Akt pathway. The calmodulin independence of EGF-initiated Akt signaling in some cells was not explained by calmodulin expression level. Additionally, it was not explained by ER status or activation, since removal of estrogen and ablation of the ER did not convert the ERpositive, W-7 insensitive, MCF-7 cell line to calmodulin dependent signaling. However, forced overexpression of either epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or ErbB2 did partially restore calmodulin dependent EGF-stimulated Akt activation. This is consistent with observation that W-7 sensitive cells tend to be estrogen independent and express high levels of EGFR family members. In an attempt to address how calmodulin is regulating Akt activity, we looked at localization of fluorescently tagged Akt and calmodulin in MCF-7 and SK-BR-3 cells. We found that both Akt and calmodulin translocate to the membrane after EGFstimulation, and this translocation to the same sub-cellular compartment is inhibited by the calmodulin inhibitor W-7. Thus, calmodulin may be regulating Akt activity by modulating its sub-cellular location and is a novel target in the poor prognosis, ER-negative subset of breast cancers.
Akt; Calmodulin; Estrogen receptor; EGFR; ErbB2
The applications of multiphoton microscopy for deep tissue imaging in basic and clinical research are ever increasing, supplementing confocal imaging of the surface layers of cells in tissue. However, imaging living tissue is made difficult by the light scattering properties of the tissue, and this is extraordinarily apparent in the mouse mammary gland which contains a stroma filled with fat cells surrounding the ductal epithelium. Whole mount mammary glands stained with Carmine Alum are easily archived for later reference and readily viewed using bright field microscopy to observe branching architecture of the ductal network. Here, we report on the advantages of multiphoton imaging of whole mount mammary glands. Chief among them is that optical sectioning of the terminal end bud (TEB) and ductal epithelium allows the appreciation of abnormalities in structure that are very difficult to ascertain using either bright field imaging of the stained gland or the conventional approach of hematoxylin and eosin staining of fixed and paraffin-embedded sections. A second advantage is the detail afforded by second harmonic generation (SHG) in which collagen fiber orientation and abundance can be observed.
GFP-mouse mammary glands were imaged live or after whole mount preparation using a Zeiss LSM510/META/NLO multiphoton microscope with the purpose of obtaining high resolution images with 3D content, and evaluating any structural alterations induced by whole mount preparation. We describe a simple means for using a commercial confocal/ multiphoton microscope equipped with a Ti-Sapphire laser to simultaneously image Carmine Alum fluorescence and collagen fiber networks by SHG with laser excitation set to 860 nm. Identical terminal end buds (TEBs) were compared before and after fixation, staining, and whole mount preparation and structure of collagen networks and TEB morphologies were determined. Flexibility in excitation and emission filters was explored using the META detector for spectral emission scanning. Backward scattered or reflected SHG (SHG-B) was detected using a conventional confocal detector with maximum aperture and forward scattered or transmitted SHG (SHG-F) detected using a non-descanned detector.
We show here that the developing mammary gland is encased in a thin but dense layer of collagen fibers. Sparse collagen layers are also interspersed between stromal layers of fat cells surrounding TEBs. At the margins, TEBs approach the outer collagen layer but do not penetrate it. Abnormal mammary glands from an HAI-1 transgenic FVB mouse model were found to contain TEBs with abnormal pockets of cells forming extra lumens and zones of continuous lateral bud formation interspersed with sparse collagen fibers.
Parameters influencing live imaging and imaging of fixed unstained and Carmine Alum stained whole mounts were evaluated. Artifacts induced by light scattering of GFP and Carmine Alum signals from epithelial cells were identified in live tissue as primarily due to fat cells and in whole mount tissue as due to dense Carmine Alum staining of epithelium. Carmine Alum autofluorescence was detected at excitation wavelengths from 750 to 950 nm with a peak of emission at 623 nm (~602-656 nm). Images of Carmine Alum fluorescence differed dramatically at emission wavelengths of 565–615 nm versus 650–710 nm. In the latter, a mostly epithelial (nuclear) visualization of Carmine Alum predominates. Autofluorescence with a peak emission of 495 nm was derived from the fixed and processed tissue itself as it was present in the unstained whole mount. Contribution of autofluorescence to the image decreases with increasing laser excitation wavelengths. SHG-B versus SHG-F signals revealed collagen fibers and could be found within single fibers, or in different fibers within the same layer. These differences presumably reflected different states of collagen fiber maturation. Loss of SHG signals from layer to layer could be ascribed to artifacts rendered by light scattering from the dense TEB structures, and unless bandpass emissions were selected, contained unfiltered non-SHG fluorescence and autofluorescent emissions. Flexibility in imaging can be increased using spectral emission imaging to optimize emission bandwidths and to separate SHG-B, GFP, and Carmine Alum signals, although conventional filters were also useful.
Collagen fibril arrangement and TEB structure is well preserved during the whole mount procedure and light scattering is reduced dramatically by extracting fat resulting in improved 3D structure, particularly for SHG signals originating from collagen. In addition to providing a bright signal, Carmine Alum stained whole mount slides can be imaged retrospectively such as performed for the HAI-1 mouse gland revealing new aspects of abnormal TEB morphology. These studies demonstrated the intimate contact, but relatively sparse abundance of collagen fibrils adjacent to normal and abnormal TEBS in the developing mammary gland and the ability to obtain these high resolution details subject to the discussed limitations. Our studies demonstrated that the TEB architecture is essentially unchanged after processing.
Kingella kingae is an emerging bacterial pathogen that is being recognized increasingly as an important etiology of septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and bacteremia, especially in young children. The pathogenesis of K. kingae disease begins with bacterial adherence to respiratory epithelium, which is dependent on type IV pili and is influenced by two PilC-like proteins called PilC1 and PilC2. Production of either PilC1 or PilC2 is necessary for K. kingae piliation and bacterial adherence. In this study, we set out to further investigate the role of PilC1 and PilC2 in type IV pilus-associated phenotypes. We found that PilC1 contains a functional 9-amino-acid calcium-binding (Ca-binding) site with homology to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa PilY1 Ca-binding site and that PilC2 contains a functional 12-amino-acid Ca-binding site with homology to the human calmodulin Ca-binding site. Using targeted mutagenesis to disrupt the Ca-binding sites, we demonstrated that the PilC1 and PilC2 Ca-binding sites are dispensable for piliation. Interestingly, we showed that the PilC1 site is necessary for twitching motility and adherence to Chang epithelial cells, while the PilC2 site has only a minor influence on twitching motility and no influence on adherence. These findings establish key differences in PilC1 and PilC2 function in K. kingae and provide insights into the biology of the PilC-like family of proteins.
Spasticity is a condition that can include increased muscle tone, clonus, spasms, and hyperreflexia. In this study, we report the effect of manually stimulating the dorsal lumbosacral skin on spontaneous locomotor-like activity and on a variety of reflex responses in 5 decerebrate chronic spinal cats treated with clonidine. Cats were spinalized 1 month before the terminal experiment. Stretch reflexes were evoked by stretching the left triceps surae muscles. Crossed reflexes were elicited by electrically stimulating the right tibial or superficial peroneal nerves. Windup of reflex responses was evoked by electrically stimulating the left tibial or superficial peroneal nerves. We found that pinching the skin of the back abolished spontaneous locomotor-like activity. We also found that back pinch abolished the rhythmic activity observed during reflex testing without eliminating the reflex responses. Some of the rhythmic episodes of activity observed during reflex testing were consistent with clonus with an oscillation frequency greater than 3 Hz. Pinching the skin of the back effectively abolished rhythmic activity occurring spontaneously or evoked during reflex testing, irrespective of oscillation frequency. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that locomotion and clonus are produced by common central pattern-generators. Stimulating the skin of the back could prove helpful in managing undesired rhythmic activity in spinal cord-injured humans.
central pattern generator; locomotion; spinal cord injury; clonus; spinal reflexes; cutaneous; spasticity
Inhibition usually decreases input-output excitability of neurons. If, however, inhibition is coupled to excitation in a push-pull fashion, where inhibition decreases as excitation increases, neuron excitability can be increased. Although the presence of push-pull organization has been demonstrated in single cells, its functional impact on neural processing depends on its effect on the system level. We studied push-pull in the motor output stage of the feline spinal cord, a system which hallows in dependent control of inhibitory and excitatory components. Push-pull organization was clearly present in ankle extensor motoneurons, producing increased peak to peak modulation of synaptic currents. The effect at the system level was equally strong. Independent control of the inhibitory component showed that the stronger the background of inhibition, the greater the peak force production. This illustrates the paradox at the heart of push-pull organization: increased force output can be achieved by increasing background inhibition to provide greater disinhibition.
Breast tissue is among the most sensitive tissues to the carcinogenic actions of ionizing radiation and epidemiological studies have linked radiation exposure to breast cancer. Currently, molecular understanding of radiation carcinogenesis in mammary gland is hindered due to the scarcity of in vivo long-term follow up data. We undertook this study to delineate radiation-induced persistent alterations in gene expression in mouse mammary glands 2-month after radiation exposure.
Six to eight week old female C57BL/6J mice were exposed to 2 Gy of whole body γ radiation and mammary glands were surgically removed 2-month after radiation. RNA was isolated and microarray hybridization performed for gene expression analysis. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used for biological interpretation of microarray data. Real time quantitative PCR was performed on selected genes to confirm the microarray data.
Compared to untreated controls, the mRNA levels of a total of 737 genes were significantly (p<0.05) perturbed above 2-fold of control. More genes (493 genes; 67%) were upregulated than the number of downregulated genes (244 genes; 33%). Functional analysis of the upregulated genes mapped to cell proliferation and cancer related canonical pathways such as ‘ERK/MAPK signaling’, ‘CDK5 signaling’, and ‘14-3-3-mediated signaling’. We also observed upregulation of breast cancer related canonical pathways such as ‘breast cancer regulation by Stathmin1’, and ‘HER-2 signaling in breast cancer’ in IPA. Interestingly, the downregulated genes mapped to fewer canonical pathways involved in cell proliferation. We also observed that a number of genes with tumor suppressor function (GPRC5A, ELF1, NAB2, Sema4D, ACPP, MAP2, RUNX1) persistently remained downregulated in response to radiation exposure. Results from qRT-PCR on five selected differentially expressed genes confirmed microarray data. The PCR data on PPP4c, ELF1, MAPK12, PLCG1, and E2F6 showed similar trend in up and downregulation as has been observed with the microarray.
Exposure to a clinically relevant radiation dose led to long-term activation of mammary gland genes involved in proliferative and metabolic pathways, which are known to have roles in carcinogenesis. When considered along with downregulation of a number of tumor suppressor genes, our study has implications for breast cancer initiation and progression after therapeutic radiation exposure.
Radiation exposure; Mouse mammary gland; Gene expression; Persistent microarray changes.
Membrane-associated serine protease matriptase has been implicated in human diseases, and might be a drug target. In the present study, a novel class of matriptase inhibitors targeting zymogen activation is developed by a combination of the screening of compound library using a cell-based matriptase activation assay and a computer-aided search of commercially available analogs of a selected compound. Four structurally related compounds are identified that can inhibit matriptase activation with IC50 at low μM in both intact-cell and cell-free systems, suggesting that these inhibitors target the matriptase autoactivation machinery rather than the intracellular signaling pathways. These activation inhibitors can also inhibit prostasin activation, a downstream event that occurs in lockstep with matriptase activation. In contrast, the matriptase catalytic inhibitor CVS-3983 at a concentration 300-fold higher than its Ki fails to inhibit activation of either protease. Our results suggest that inhibiting matriptase activation is an efficient way to control matriptase function.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can be assayed using DNA isolated from archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, making retrospective pharmacogenetic studies possible. Here we describe methods that significantly increase the number of SNP determinations possible using FFPE samples. Quantifying the amount of DNA amenable to PCR (amplification-quality DNA, AQ-DNA) allows a significant reduction in the amount of sample required for Taqman-based SNP assays. Optimizing AQ-DNA input increases PCR amplification efficiency and SNP determination accuracy. DNA was extracted from thirty-nine FFPE tumor sections and matched tumor and stromal cores, of the type used to generate tissue microarrays. Sections and tumor cores yielded sufficient AQ-DNA for over 1,000 SNP determinations. Seven SNPs were assessed, following individual assay optimization for minimal AQ-DNA. Genotypes from tumor cores for single SNPs were 92.3-100% concordant with those obtained from sections. Using these methods, the number of SNP genotypes that can be determined from single FFPE samples is greatly increased expanding the genetic association studies possible from limited archival specimens. The use of tumor cores is of particular importance since the harvesting of tumor cores has minimal impact on the utility of the donor blocks for other purposes.
genotyping; paraffin-embedded; tumor samples; genetic polymorphism
PilY1 is a type IV pilus (tfp)-associated protein from the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa that shares functional similarity with related proteins in infectious Neisseria and Kingella species. Previous data have shown that PilY1 acts as a calcium-dependent pilus biogenesis factor necessary for twitching motility with a specific calcium binding site located at amino acids 850–859 in the 1,163 residue protein. In addition to motility, PilY1 is also thought to play an important role in the adhesion of P. aeruginosa tfp to host epithelial cells. Here, we show that PilY1 contains an integrin binding arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motif located at residues 619–621 in the PilY1 from the PAK strain of P. aeruginosa; this motif is conserved in the PilY1s from the other P. aeruginosa strains of known sequence. We demonstrate that purified PilY1 binds integrin in vitro in an RGD-dependent manner. Furthermore, we identify a second calcium binding site (amino acids 600–608) located ten residues upstream of the RGD. Eliminating calcium binding from this site using a D608A mutation abolished integrin binding; in contrast, a calcium binding mimic (D608K) preserved integrin binding. Finally, we show that the previously established PilY1 calcium binding site at 851–859 also impacts the protein's association with integrin. Taken together, these data indicate that PilY1 binds to integrin in an RGD- and calcium-dependent manner in vitro. As such, P. aeruginosa may employ these interactions to mediate host epithelial cell binding in vivo.
Efavirenz-based HIV therapy is associated with breast hypertrophy and gynecomastia. Here, we tested the hypothesis that efavirenz induces gynecomastia through direct binding and modulation of estrogen receptor (ER).
To determine the effect of efavirenz on growth, the estrogen-dependent, ER-positive breast cancer cell lines MCF-7, T47D and ZR-75-1 were treated with efavirenz under estrogen-free conditions in the presence or absence of the anti-estrogen ICI 182,780. Cells treated with 17β-estradiol in the absence or presence of ICI 182,780 served as positive and negative controls, respectively. Cellular growth was assayed using the crystal violet staining method and an in vitro receptor binding assay was used to measure efavirenz’s ER binding affinity.
Efavirenz induced growth in MCF-7 cells with an estimated EC50 of 15.7µM. This growth was reversed by ICI 182,780. Further, efavirenz binds directly to ER (IC50 of ~52µM) at roughly 1000-fold higher concentration than observed with E2.
Our data suggest that efavirenz-induced gynecomastia may be due, at least in part, to drug-induced ER activation in breast tissues.
efavirenz; HAART; gynecomastia; estrogens; estrogen receptor
Matriptase, a membrane-associated serine protease, plays an essential role in epidermal barrier function through activation of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored serine protease prostasin. The matriptase-prostasin proteolytic cascade is tightly regulated by hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor (HAI)-1 such that matriptase autoactivation and prostasin activation occur simultaneously and are followed immediately by the inhibition of both enzymes by HAI-1. However, the mechanisms whereby matriptase acts on extracellular substrates remain elusive. Here we report that some active matriptase can escape HAI-1 inhibition by being rapidly shed from the cell surface. In the pericellular environment, shed active matriptase is able to activate hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), accelerate plasminogen activation, and shed syndecan 1. The amount of active matriptase shed is inversely correlated with the amount of antithrombin (AT) bound to the surface of the keratinocytes. Binding of AT to the surface of keratinocytes is dependent on a functional heparin binding site, Lys-125, and that the N-glycosylation site Asn-135 be unglycosylated. This suggests that β-AT, and not α-AT, is responsible for regulation of pericellular matriptase activity in keratinocytes. Keratinocytes appear to rely on AT to regulate the level of pericellular active matriptase much more than breast and prostate epithelial cells in which AT regulation of matriptase activity occurs at much lower levels than keratinocytes. These results suggest that keratinocytes employ two distinct serine protease inhibitors to control the activation and processing of two different sets of matriptase substrates leading to different biological events: 1) HAI-1 for prostasin activation/inhibition, and 2) AT for the pericellular proteolysis involved in HGF activation, accelerating plasminogen activation, and shedding of syndecans.
The aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are used to treat estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast tumors in post-menopausal women, and function by blocking the conversion of adrenal androgens to estrogens by the enzyme CYP19 aromatase. Breast cancer patients receiving AI therapy have circulating estrogen levels below the level of detection; however, androgen concentrations remain unchanged. We were interested in studying the effects of androgens on breast cancer cell proliferation under profound estrogen-deprived conditions. Using in vitro models of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cell growth we show that the androgens testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone induce the growth of MCF-7, T47D and BT-474 cells in the absence of estrogen. Furthermore, we demonstrate that under profound estrogen-deprived conditions these breast cancer cells up-regulate steroidogenic enzymes that can metabolize androgens to estrogens. Lastly, we found that the downstream metabolite of 5α-dihydrotestosterone, 5α-androstane-3β,17β-diol (3βAdiol), is estrogenic in breast cancer cells, and induces growth and ER-signaling via activation of ERα. In conclusion, our results show that breast cancer cells deprived of estrogen up-regulate steroidogenic enzymes and metabolize androgens to estrogen-like steroids. The generation of estrogen-like steroids represents a potential mechanism of resistance to aromatase inhibitors.
breast cancer; 3βAdiol; estrogen receptor
The normal function of Syk in epithelium of the developing or adult breast is not known, however, Syk suppresses tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis in breast cancer cells. Here, we demonstrate that in the mouse mammary gland, loss of one Syk allele profoundly increases proliferation and ductal branching and invasion of epithelial cells through the mammary fat pad during puberty. Mammary carcinomas develop by one year. Syk also suppresses proliferation and invasion in vitro. siRNA or shRNA knockdown of Syk in MCF10A breast epithelial cells dramatically increased proliferation, anchorage independent growth, cellular motility, and invasion, with formation of functional, extracellular matrix-degrading invadopodia. Morphological and gene microarray analysis following Syk knockdown revealed a loss of luminal and differentiated epithelial features with epithelial to mesenchymal transition and a gain in invadopodial cell surface markers CD44, CD49F, and MMP14. These results support the role of Syk in limiting proliferation and invasion of epithelial cells during normal morphogenesis, and emphasize the critical role of Syk as a tumor suppressor for breast cancer. The question of breast cancer risk following systemic anti-Syk therapy is raised since only partial loss of Syk was sufficient to induce mammary carcinomas.
Low-nicotine and nicotine-free cigarettes are commercially available under the brand-name Quest®. Some consumers may believe that these are safer cigarettes, and they may smoke more cigarettes or inhale more smoke to compensate for low nicotine yields. Thus, we have studied the toxicological effects of these two cigarettes and compared them with the Kentucky reference cigarette 2R4F. Also, the availability of nicotine-free cigarettes allows for the assessing the role of nicotine in cigarette smoke. In addition to nicotine, some tobacco-specific nitrosamines, aldehydes, and volatile organic compounds were also reduced in the Quest® cigarettes compared to the 2R4F. However, aromatic amines were higher in the nicotine-free compared with low nicotine cigarettes. The Ames test revealed that cigarette smoke condensates from the nicotinefree (CSC-F), low nicotine (CSC-L) and 2R4F (CSC-R) cigarettes had a similar mutagenic potency. Exposure to any CSC caused a similar dose-dependent LDH leakage from normal human bronchial epithelial cells. However, CSC-F had more inhibitory effects on the cell growth than CSC-L and CSC-R. Adding nicotine to the CSC-F attenuated this inhibition. Both Quest® CSCs decreased gap junction intercellular communication and caused cell cycle arrest. CSC exposure increased cytoplasmic nucleosomes, sub-G1/G0 population and apoptotic comet tails. Proapoptotic protein Bax increased independent of p53 induction after exposure to CSC-F. In conclusion, these studies are not consistent with a perception that low-nicotine or nicotine-free cigarettes may have less toxicity in human cells. Nicotine, as it exists in CSC, attenuates cytotoxicity possibly in part through inhibition of apoptotic pathways.
cigarette smoke; nicotine; mutagenicity; cytotoxicity; apoptosis
Genetically engineered mouse models of mammary gland cancer enable the in vivo study of molecular mechanisms and signaling during development and cancer pathophysiology. However, traditional whole mount and histological imaging modalities are only applicable to non-viable tissue.
We evaluated three techniques that can be quickly applied to living tissue for imaging normal and cancerous mammary gland: reflectance confocal microscopy, green fluorescent protein imaging, and ultrasound imaging.
In the current study, reflectance confocal imaging offered the highest resolution and was used to optically section mammary ductal structures in the whole mammary gland. Glands remained viable in mammary gland whole organ culture when 1% acetic acid was used as a contrast agent. Our application of using green fluorescent protein expressing transgenic mice in our study allowed for whole mammary gland ductal structures imaging and enabled straightforward serial imaging of mammary gland ducts in whole organ culture to visualize the growth and differentiation process. Ultrasound imaging showed the lowest resolution. However, ultrasound was able to detect mammary preneoplastic lesions 0.2 mm in size and was used to follow cancer growth with serial imaging in living mice.
In conclusion, each technique enabled serial imaging of living mammary tissue and visualization of growth and development, quickly and with minimal tissue preparation. The use of the higher resolution reflectance confocal and green fluorescent protein imaging techniques and lower resolution ultrasound were complementary.
Estrogen signaling plays an essential role in breast cancer progression, and estrogen receptor (ER) status has long been a marker of hormone responsiveness. However, ER status alone has been an incomplete predictor of endocrine therapy, as some ER+ tumors, nevertheless, have poor prognosis. Here we sought to use expression profiling of ER+ breast cancer cells to screen for a robust estrogen-regulated gene signature that may serve as a better indicator of cancer outcome. We identified 532 estrogen-induced genes and further developed a 73-gene signature that best separated a training set of 286 primary breast carcinomas into prognostic subtypes by stepwise cross-validation. Notably, this signature predicts clinical outcome in over 10 patient cohorts as well as their respective ER+ subcohorts. Further, this signature separates patients who have received endocrine therapy into two prognostic subgroups, suggesting its specificity as a measure of estrogen signaling, and thus hormone sensitivity. The 73-gene signature also provides additional predictive value for patient survival, independent of other clinical parameters, and outperforms other previously reported molecular outcome signatures. Taken together, these data demonstrate the power of using cell culture systems to screen for robust gene signatures of clinical relevance.
Estrogen-regulated gene expression profiles of in vivo breast tumor cell lines and in vitro xenografts and breast tumors are remarkably similar.
Estrogen plays a central role in breast cancer pathogenesis. Although many studies have characterized the estrogen regulation of genes using in vitro cell culture models by global mRNA expression profiling, it is not clear whether these genes are similarly regulated in vivo or how they might be coordinately expressed in primary human tumors.
We generated DNA microarray-based gene expression profiles from three estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive breast cancer cell lines stimulated by 17β-estradiol (E2) in vitro over a time course, as well as from MCF-7 cells grown as xenografts in ovariectomized athymic nude mice with E2 supplementation and after its withdrawal. When the patterns of genes regulated by E2 in vitro were compared to those obtained from xenografts, we found a remarkable overlap (over 40%) of genes regulated by E2 in both contexts. These patterns were compared to those obtained from published clinical data sets. We show that, as a group, E2-regulated genes from our preclinical models were co-expressed with ERα in a panel of ERα+ breast tumor mRNA profiles, when corrections were made for patient age, as well as with progesterone receptor. Furthermore, the E2-regulated genes were significantly enriched for transcriptional targets of the myc oncogene and were found to be coordinately expressed with Myc in human tumors.
Our results provide significant validation of a widely used in vitro model of estrogen signaling as being pathologically relevant to breast cancers in vivo.
Estrogen affects multiple aspects of human physiology, including the normal growth and development of female reproductive tissues, bone integrity, cardiovascular and central nervous system functions, and plays a central role in normal mammary development and breast pathogenesis. It modulates diverse cell signaling pathways, some of which appear to be independent of the known estrogen receptors (ERs). Although many of estrogen's actions can be explained by the nuclear ERs (ER-α and ER-β) functioning as ligand-activated RNA transcription factors, there are numerous rapid biochemical and physiological responses that cannot be explained by the classical genomic effects of estrogen signaling. It has long been postulated that the rapid effects of estrogen are due to a membrane-bound ER, and two recent reports suggest that it is in fact a G-protein-coupled receptor named 'GPR30'.
We evaluated strategies to increase behaviors associated with courteous provision of service by 3 staff members of a human service agency. Training included written instructions, practice, and performance feedback. A lottery procedure was introduced to maintain courteous service after training. The results of a multiple baseline design across the 3 participants showed marked increases in courteous behaviors following training. These effects were maintained at 3-, 5-, and 8-month follow-ups. Consumers' satisfaction with service also increased. These findings suggest that simple training and reinforcement procedures can enhance courtesy afforded those who receive service from public and nonprofit organizations.
courteous behavior; organizational behavior management; lottery; behavioral community psychology; social validity
Recent studies suggest that thousands of genes may contribute to breast cancer pathophysiologies when deregulated by genomic or epigenomic events. Here, we describe a model “system” to appraise the functional contributions of these genes to breast cancer subsets. In general, the recurrent genomic and transcriptional characteristics of 51 breast cancer cell lines mirror those of 145 primary breast tumors, although some significant differences are documented. The cell lines that comprise the system also exhibit the substantial genomic, transcriptional, and biological heterogeneity found in primary tumors. We show, using Trastuzumab (Herceptin) monotherapy as an example, that the system can be used to identify molecular features that predict or indicate response to targeted therapies or other physiological perturbations.
The description of the in vitro breast cancer cell line system described here allows assessment of similarities and differences between the cell lines and primary human breast tumors. In general, the system seems well suited to assess the functional contributions of genome copy number abnormalities to breast cancer pathophysiologies, since most of the recurrent genomic deregulation of transcription present in primary tumors is retained in the cell lines. The genomically and biologically heterogeneous cell line system also may be used to identify molecular features that predict or indicate response (or lack thereof) to pathway-targeted therapeutic agents. These features may be assessed as candidate response predictors/indicators to guide early-phase clinical trials.