Transforming growth factor betas (TGFβs) are pleiotropic cytokines involved in many biological processes. Genetic engineering and tissue explanation studies have revealed specific non-overlapping roles for TGFβ ligands and their signaling molecules in development and in normal function of the cardiovascular system in the adult. In the embryo, TGFβs appear to be involved in epithelial–mesenchymal transformations (EMT) during endocardial cushion formation, and in epicardial epithelial–mesenchymal transformations essential for coronary vasculature, ventricular myocardial development and compaction. In the adult, TGFβs are involved in cardiac hypertrophy, vascular remodeling and regulation of the renal renin–angiotensin system. The evidence for TGFβ activities during cardiovascular development and physiologic function will be given and areas which need further investigation will be discussed.
TGFβ; Heart; Vasculature; Development; Physiology
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignancies, with a prominent desmoplastic reaction as the defining hallmark of the disease. The past several decades have seen dramatic progress in understanding of pancreatic cancer pathogenesis, including the identification of precursor lesions, sequential transformation from normal pancreas to invasive pancreatic cancer and corresponding signature genetic events, and the biological impact of those alterations on malignant behaviors. However, the current therapeutic strategies for epithelial tumor cells, which have exhibited potent antitumor activity in cell culture and animal models, have failed to have significant effects in the clinic. The desmoplastic stroma surrounding pancreatic cancer cells, which accounts for about 90% of a tumor’s mass, clearly is not a passive scaffold for cancer cells but an active contributor to carcinogenesis. Improved understanding of the dynamic interaction between cancer cells and their stroma will be important to designing new, effective therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer. This review focuses on the origination of stromal molecular and cellular components in pancreatic tumors, their biological effects on pancreatic cancer cells, and the orchestration between these two components.
Cytokines; growth factors; transcriptional factors; therapy; immunology
HIV persists in cellular and anatomical reservoirs during Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART). In vitro studies as well as in vivo observations have identified cytokines as important factors regulating the immunological and virological mechanisms involved in HIV persistence. Immunosuppressive cytokines might contribute to the establishment of viral latency by dampening T cell activation and HIV production, thereby creating the necessary immuno-virological condition for the establishment of a pool of latently infected cells. Other cytokines that are involved in the maintenance of memory CD4+ T cells promote the persistence of these cells during HAART. Conversely, proinflammatory cytokines may favor HIV persistence by exacerbating low levels of ongoing viral replication in lymphoid tissues even after prolonged therapy. The ability of several cytokines to interfere with the molecular mechanisms responsible for HIV latency makes them attractive candidates for therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the pool of latently infected cells. In this article, we review the role of cytokines in HIV persistence during HAART and discuss their role as potential eradicating agents.
HIV; Viral reservoirs; Cytokines; Memory CD4+ T cells; HAART; IL-7; IL-2
Chronic HIV infection, which is primarily characterized by the progressive depletion of total CD4+ T cells, also causes persistent inflammation and immune activation. This is followed by profound changes in cellular and tissue microenvironments that often lead to prolonged immune dysfunction. The global nature of this immune dysfunction suggests that factors that are involved in immune cell survival, proliferation, differentiation and maturation are all affected. Of particular interest is the transcriptional factor Foxo3a that regulates a number of genes that are critical in the development and the maintenance of T and B cells, dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages. Alterations in the microenvironment mediated by HIV infection cause significant increase in the transcriptional activity of Foxo3a; this has major impact on T cell and B cell immunity. In fact, recent findings from HIV infected individuals highlight three important points: 1) The alteration of Foxo3a signaling during HIV infection deregulates innate and adaptive immune responses; 2) Foxo3a-mediated effects are reversible and could be restored by interfering with the Foxo3a pathway; and 3) down-regulation of Foxo3a transcriptional activity in elite controllers (ECs) represents a molecular signature, or a correlate of immunity, associated with natural protection and lack of disease progression. In this review, we will discuss how HIV-infection altered microenvironments could result in impaired immune responses via the Foxo3a signaling pathway. Defining precisely the molecular mechanisms of how persistent inflammation and immune activation are able to influence the Foxo3a pathway could ultimately help in the development of novel approaches to improve immune responses in HIV infected subjects.
Foxo3a; HIV; microenvironment; EC; apoptosis; memory
From early in the HIV epidemic it was appreciated that many inflammatory markers such as neopterin and TNF-α were elevated in patients with AIDS. With the advent of modern technology able to measure a broad array of cytokines, we now know that from the earliest points of infection HIV induces a cytokine storm. This review will focus on how cytokines are disturbed in HIV infection and will explore potential therapeutic uses of cytokines. These factors can be used directly as therapy during HIV infection, either to suppress viral replication or prevent deleterious immune effects of infection, such as CD4+ T cell depletion. Cytokines also show great promise as adjuvants in the development of HIV vaccines, which would be critical for the eventual control of the epidemic.
HIV; cytokine; chemokine; immune activation; vaccine
Interleukin (IL)-21 is one of a group of cytokines including IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9 and IL-15 whose receptor complexes share the common γ chain (γc). Secretion of IL-21 is restricted mainly to T follicular helper (TFH) CD4 T cell subset with contributions from Th17, Natural Killer (NK) T cells, but the effects of IL-21 are pleiotropic, owing to the broad cellular distribution of the IL-21 receptor. The role of IL-21 in sustaining and regulating T cell, B cell and NK cell responses during chronic viral infections has recently come into focus. This chapter reviews current knowledge about the biology of IL-21 in the context of HIV infection.
IL-21 and T cells; IL-21 and B cells; HIV and IL-21; immunomodulation by IL-21; IL-21 and immunity
Numerous studies have characterized the cytokine modulation observed in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals, from initial infection through chronic disease. Progressive and non-progressive HIV infection models show the cytokine milieu differs in terms of production and responsiveness in these two groups, suggesting an understanding of the role cytokines play during infection is necessary for directing the immune response toward viral control. This review will cover cytokine induction and dysfunction during HIV pathogenesis, with a focus on the interplay between cytokines and transcription factors, T cell activation, and exhaustion. We highlight cytokines that have either vaccine adjuvant or therapeutic potential and discuss the need to identify key factors required for prevention of progression, clearance of infection, or protection from acquisition.
HIV; T cells; Transcription factors; Cytokines; Vaccines
HIV immune activation plays an important role in the immunopathogenesis of the disease. The mechanisms driving this immune activation are partially defined and likely are the result of multiple factors. The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has improved the life expectancy of HIV infected individuals, however there is evidence that in the setting of “undetectable” HIV-RNA plasma levels, there is some level of persistent immune activation in these patients. A better understanding of the immune activation pathways should be of value in developing complementary therapies to restore the immune systems’ of patients with HIV infection. This review discuss the cytokine mediated pathways of immune activation of the CD4 and CD8 T cell pools during HIV infection.
CD4 and CD8 T cell immune activation; T cell homeostasis; IL-7; Type-I IFN
The BMP signaling pathway controls a number of cell processes during development and in adult tissues. At the cellular level, ligands of the BMP family act by binding a hetero-tetrameric signaling complex, composed of two type I and two type II receptors. BMP ligands make use of a limited number of receptors, which in turn activate a common signal transduction cascade at the intracellular level. A complex regulatory network is required in order to activate the signaling cascade at proper times and locations, and to generate specific downstream effects in the appropriate cellular context.
One such regulatory mechanism is the repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) family of BMP co-receptors. This article reviews the current knowledge regarding the structure, regulation, and function of RGMs, focusing on known and potential roles of RGMs in physiology and pathophysiology.
BMP; receptors; RGM; DRAGON; HJV
A vast number of cellular processes and signaling pathways are regulated by various receptors, ranging from transmembrane to nuclear receptors. These receptor-mediated processes are modulated by a diverse set of regulatory proteins. TNFα-induced protein 3-interacting protein 1 is such a protein that inhibits both transduction by transmembrane receptors, such as TNFα-receptor, EGF-R, and TLR, and nuclear receptors’ PPAR and RAR activity. These receptors play key roles in regulating inflammation and inflammatory diseases. A growing number of references have implicated TNIP1 through GWAS and expression studies in chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, although TNIP1’s exact role has yet been determined. In this review, we aim to integrate the current knowledge of TNIP1’s functions with the diseases in which it has been associated to potentially elucidate the role this regulator has in promoting or alleviating these inflammatory diseases.
TNIP1; ABIN-1; TNFα receptor; nuclear receptor; inflammation
Pancreatic cancer progression is attributed to genetic and epigenetic alterations and a chaotic tumor microenvironment. Those diverse “upstream signal” factors appear to converge on specific sets of central nuclear regulators, namely, transcription factors. Specificity Protein 1 (Sp1) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) are central transcription factors that regulate a number of pathways important to tumorigenesis, including tumor cell-cycle progression, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, and evasion of the immune system. Recently, researchers demonstrated many types of crosstalk of Sp1 and Stat3 in tumor signal transduction and that these factors function cooperatively to activate targeted genes and promote tumorigenesis in pancreatic cancer. Therefore, targeting both Sp1 and Stat3 is a potential preventive and therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer.
Therapy; angiogenesis; metastasis
The ability of mature organisms to stabilize phenotypes has enormous selective advantage across all phyla, but the mechanisms have been largely unexplored. Individuals with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare genetic disorder of progressive heterotopic ossification, undergo a pathological metamorphosis in which one normal tissue is transformed into another through a highly regulated process of tissue destruction and phenotype reassignment. This disabling metamorphosis is mediated by the FOP metamorphogene, which encodes a mutant bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type I receptor that exhibits mild constitutive activity during development and severe episodic dysregulation postnatally. The discovery of the FOP metamorphogene reveals a highly conserved target for drug development and identifies a fundamental defect in the BMP signaling pathway that when triggered by injury and inflammation transforms one tissue into another.
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva; heterotopic ossification; bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor; BMP signaling; metamorphosis; metamorphogene; ACVR1; activin-like kinase 2 (ALK2)
C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10) also known as interferon γ-induced protein 10 kDa (IP-10) or small-inducible cytokine B10 is a cytokine belonging to the CXC chemokine family. CXCL10 binds CXCR3 receptor to induce chemotaxis, apoptosis, cell growth and angiostasis. Alterations in CXCL10 expression levels have been associated with inflammatory diseases including infectious diseases, immune dysfunction and tumor development. CXCL10 is also recognized as a biomarker that predicts severity of various diseases. A review of the emerging role of CXCL10 in pathogenesis of infectious diseases revealed diverse roles of CXCL10 in disease initiation and progression. The potential utilization of CXCL10 as a therapeutic target for infectious diseases is discussed.
Chemokine; CXCL10; CXCR3; infectious diseases
Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), the genetic material for many RNA viruses, induces robust host immune responses via pattern recognition receptors, which include Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3), retinoic acid-inducible gene-I-like receptors (RLRs) and the multi-protein NLRP3 inflammasome complex. The engagement of dsRNA receptors or inflammasome activation by viral dsRNA initiates complex intracellular signaling cascades that play essential roles in inflammation and innate immune responses, as well as the resultant development of adaptive immunity. This review focuses on signaling pathways mediated by TLR3, RLRs and the NLRP3 inflammasome, as well as the potential use of agonists and antagonists that target these pathways to treat disease.
double-stranded viral RNA; TLR3; RIG-I; NLRP3 inflammasome; signal transduction
Interferon (IFN)-γ is a cytokine known for its immunomodulatory and anti-proliferative action. In the liver, IFN-γ can induce hepatocyte apoptosis or inhibit hepatocyte cell cycle progression. This article reviews recent mechanistic reports that describe how IFN-γ may direct the fate of hepatocytes either towards apoptosis or a cell cycle arrest. This review also describes a probable role for IFN-γ in modulating hepatocyte fate during liver regeneration, transplantation, hepatitis, fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and highlights promising areas of research that may lead to the development of IFN-γ as a therapy to enhance recovery from liver disease.
IFN-γ; hepatocyte; liver; proliferation; apoptosis
Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P)-metabolizing enzymes regulate the level of bioactive sphingolipids that have curative potential. Recently, S1P-metabolizing enzymes such as sphingosine kinase 1 and S1P lyase were shown to regulate influenza virus replication and the virus-induced cytopathogenicity. The mechanism appeared to employ a JAK/STAT type I interferon signaling pathway that induces anti-viral status. Further, sphingosine analogs altered cytokine responses upon influenza virus infection. This article focuses on recent discoveries about the sphingolipid system that influences on host protection from viral virulence and the involvement of cytokine signaling in its underlying mechanisms. Deciphering the steps of this pathway could help us envision how the modulation of sphingolipid metabolism can be applied as a therapeutic approach to overcome infectious diseases.
sphingosine kinase; S1P lyase; influenza virus; type I IFN; TNF
The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17A) has been associated with induction of tissue inflammation. Obese individuals exhibit many symptoms of chronic low-grade inflammation, suggesting that IL-17A may impact adipose tissue. However, the role of IL-17A in obesity is largely unexplored. Emerging studies indicate that obesity selectively promotes expansion of the Th17 T-cell lineage, exacerbating disease in murine models of autoimmunity such as EAE and colitis. Human studies support this concept, as new clinical studies suggest that IL-17A is expressed at elevated levels in obese individuals. Conversely, however, an anti-adipogenic role for IL-17A is becoming evident, and therefore the interconnections between IL-17A and fat metabolism may be quite complex. Here, we consolidate the potential implications of IL-17 in relation to obesity and describe the emerging data regarding the role of IL-17A in adipose tissue.
The T helper type 17 (Th17) lineage of CD4+ T-cells produce several effector molecules including IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-21, and IL-22. In addition to CD4+, αβ T-cells, these cytokines can be produced by natural killer and γδ T-cells. These effector cytokines can be produced rapidly upon infection at mucosal sites and evidence to date strongly implicates that this arm of the immune system plays a critical role in mucosal immunity to many extracellular pathogens. Moreover these cytokines can also coordinate adaptive immunity to some intracellular pathogens. In this review, we will highlight recent progress in our understanding of these cytokines, and mechanisms of their effector function in the mucosa.
Th17; Infection; mucosa
Interleukin (IL)-17 (also known as IL-17A) is produced by activated T cells. It is a marker cytokine of the TH17 lineage. IL-17 production is induced in infections, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory events. IL-17 is involved in host defense, but also inflammatory tissue destruction. Vascular disease, mostly in the chronic form of atherosclerosis, is a leading cause of death. While normal vessels harbor only few leukocytes, large numbers of both innate and adaptive immune cells accumulate during vascular inflammation, both in chronic forms such as atherosclerosis and in acute vasculitis. IL-17 has a role in chronic vascular inflammation of atherosclerosis and possibly hypertensive vascular changes. In acute inflammation, IL-17 is elevated and may be causally involved in the autoimmune vasculitides including vasculitis in systemic lupus erythematodes. Blood vessels are important targets in alloimmune graft rejection and a number of studies provide data on a role of IL-17 in this context. This brief review summarizes the currently available evidence for and putative mechanisms of action of IL-17 in mouse models of and human vascular disease.
Interleukin 17; T cells; atherosclerosis; vasculitis; vasculopathy
Recently, the IL-17 family member cytokines have become prominent subjects of investigation. IL-17 (IL-17A) is the best-described member of this family where its production has been mainly attributed to a specialized T helper subset of the adaptive immune response termed Th17. However, recent research on this and other Th17 cytokines has revealed new sources and functions of IL-17 family members in the innate immune response. This review will highlight recent advances in the field of IL-17 family member cytokines and will predominately focus on the innate regulation and function of IL-17, IL-17F, and IL-25.
IL-17; IL-17F; IL-25; innate immunity
Tuberculosis is primarily a disease of the lung. Constant expression of cellular immunity in this organ is required to control Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth, but this can also result in chronic inflammation and pathologic consequences. During primary tuberculosis both IFN-γ and IL-17-producing cells are induced; both are potent inflammatory cytokines capable of inducing expression of chemokines that promote cell recruitment and granuloma organization throughout infection. During the chronic phase, a balance between Th1 and Th17 responses needs to be achieved to control bacterial growth and limit immunopathology, as a shift of the response towards excessive IL-17 production may sustain extensive neutrophil recruitment and tissue damage. Thus, regulation of Th1 and Th17 responses during tuberculosis is essential to promote anti-mycobacterial immunity and prevent extensive immunopathological consequences.
tuberculosis; lung; cytokines; inflammation; immunopathology
Over the last decade, our understanding of helper/effector T cell differentiation has changed dramatically. The discovery of interleukin (IL-)17–producing T cells (Th17) and other subsets has changed our view of T cell-mediated immunity. Characterization of the signaling pathways involved in the Th17 commitment has provided exciting new insights into the differentiation of CD4+ T cells. Importantly, the emerging data on conversion among polarized T helper cells have raised the question how we should view such concepts as T cell lineage commitment, terminal differentiation and plasticity. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of the signaling pathways, molecular interactions, and transcriptional and epigenetic events that contribute to Th17 differentiation and acquisition of effector functions.
Th17; T cell differentiation; cytokines; signal transduction; transcription factor; epigenetics
Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) bear strong sequence and structural similarity to fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). However, the biochemical and functional properties of FHFs are largely, if not totally, unrelated to those of FGFs. Whereas FGFs function through binding to the extracellular domains of FGF receptors (FGFRs), FHFs bind to intracellular domains of voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) and to a neuronal MAP kinase scaffold protein, islet-brain-2 (IB2). These findings demonstrate the remarkable functional adaptability during evolution of the FGF gene family. FHF gene mutations in mice result in a range of neurological abnormalities, and at least one of these anomalies, cerebellar ataxia, is linked to FHF mutations in humans. This article reviews the sequences and structure of FHFs, along with our still limited understanding of FHF function.
IL-26 is classified as a member of the IL-10 cytokine family because it has limited sequence homology to IL-10 and the IL-10-related cytokines. The human IL-26 gene, IL26, is located on chromosome 12q15 between the genes for two other important class-2 cytokines, IFNG (IFN-γ) and IL22 (IL-22). IL-26 is often co-expressed with IL-22 by activated T cells, especially Th17 cells. It signals through a heterodimeric receptor complex composed of the IL-20R1 and IL-10R2 chains. IL-26 receptors are primarily expressed on non-hematopoietic cell types, particularly epithelial cells. Signaling through IL-26 receptor complexes results in the activation of STAT1 and STAT3 with subsequent induction of IL-26-responsive genes. The biological functions of IL-26 have only begun to be defined.
IL-26; Th17 cells; IL-20R1; STAT3; inflammation
Interleukin-10 (IL-10) family of cytokines includes a number of its viral homologs, and eight cellular cytokines (IL-19, IL-20, IL-22, IL-24, IL-26, IL-28A, IL-28B, and IL29. The latter three proteins are also known as IFN-λ2, IFN-λ3, and IFN-λ1 and are recognized as type III (or λ) interferons. Most of the cellular homologs of IL-10 are monomeric in solution, whereas IL-10 and its viral homologs are intercalated dimers consisting of two helical bundle domains topologically similar to the monomeric members of the family. A classical four-helix bundle, a signature element of all helical cytokines, is always found as part of the domain of each member of the IL-10 family. The only crystal structures of the cytokine receptors that have been determined to date are for their extracellular domains (ECDs). Each ECD consists of two β-sandwich domains connected in the middle by a linkage. Signal transduction occurs when a cytokine binds to its two appropriate receptor chains. IL-10 and its viral homologs use the same IL-10 receptor system, whereas the cellular homologs of IL-10 use their own receptors, which in some cases may overlap and be used in different pairwise combinations. The known structures of binary complexes allowed marking of the receptor binding site, which always includes helix A, loop AB and helix F (IL-10 notations) on the side of a ligand, and loops of the N-terminal and C-terminal domains directed toward the ligand, and the interdomain linkage of the ECD. An analysis of the published structures of both the binary and ternary complexes of all helical cytokines allowed generation of a model of the signaling complex of IL-10. The receptor binding site I of the high affinity receptor IL-10R1 is exactly the same as in the crystal structure of the binary IL-10/sIL-10R1 complex, whereas the receptor binding site II is located on the surface of the first and the third helices of the four-helix bundle. The receptor/receptor interface, or site III, is formed between the C-terminal domains of IL-10R1 and IL-10R2.
Class II cytokines; interleukin-10; ligand/receptor interactions; helix bundle; signal transduction