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1.  Alternatively Spliced Tissue Factor Is Not Sufficient for Embryonic Development 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97793.
Tissue factor (TF) triggers blood coagulation and is translated from two mRNA splice isoforms, encoding membrane-anchored full-length TF (flTF) and soluble alternatively-spliced TF (asTF). The complete knockout of TF in mice causes embryonic lethality associated with failure of the yolk sac vasculature. Although asTF plays roles in postnatal angiogenesis, it is unknown whether it activates coagulation sufficiently or makes previously unrecognized contributions to sustaining integrity of embryonic yolk sac vessels. Using gene knock-in into the mouse TF locus, homozygous asTF knock-in (asTFKI) mice, which express murine asTF in the absence of flTF, exhibited embryonic lethality between day 9.5 and 10.5. Day 9.5 homozygous asTFKI embryos expressed asTF protein, but no procoagulant activity was detectable in a plasma clotting assay. Although the α-smooth-muscle-actin positive mesodermal layer as well as blood islands developed similarly in day 8.5 wild-type or homozygous asTFKI embryos, erythrocytes were progressively lost from disintegrating yolk sac vessels of asTFKI embryos by day 10.5. These data show that in the absence of flTF, asTF expressed during embryonic development has no measurable procoagulant activity, does not support embryonic vessel stability by non-coagulant mechanisms, and fails to maintain a functional vasculature and embryonic survival.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097793
PMCID: PMC4039448  PMID: 24879059
2.  Inhibition of Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase Reduces Neutrophil-Mediated Injury in Myocardial Infarction 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(6):630-641.
Abstract
Aims: Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt) is a key enzyme for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) biosynthesis, and recent evidence indicates its role in inflammatory processes. Here, we investigated the potential effects of pharmacological Nampt inhibition with FK866 in a mouse myocardial ischemia/reperfusion model. In vivo and ex vivo mouse myocardial ischemia/reperfusion procedures were performed. Results: Treatment with FK866 reduced myocardial infarct size, neutrophil infiltration, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation within infarcted hearts in vivo in a mouse model of ischemia and reperfusion. The benefit of FK866 was not shown in the Langendorff model (ex vivo model of working heart without circulating leukocytes), suggesting a direct involvement of these cells in cardiac injury. Sera from FK866-treated mice showed reduced circulating levels of the neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL2 and impaired capacity to prime migration of these cells in vitro. The release of CXCL8 (human homolog of murine chemokine CXCL2) by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and Jurkat cells was also reduced by FK866, as well as by sirtuin (SIRT) inhibitors and SIRT6 silencing, implying a pivotal role for this NAD+-dependent deacetylase in the production of this chemokine. Innovation: The pharmacological inhibition of Nampt might represent an effective approach to reduce neutrophilic inflammation- and oxidative stress-mediated tissue damage in early phases of reperfusion after a myocardial infarction. Conclusions: Nampt inhibition appears as a new strategy to dampen CXCL2-induced neutrophil recruitment and thereby reduce neutrophil-mediated tissue injury in mice. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 630–641.
doi:10.1089/ars.2011.4487
PMCID: PMC3549207  PMID: 22452634
3.  The AP-1 Transcription Factor c-Jun Prevents Stress-Imposed Maladaptive Remodeling of the Heart 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73294.
Systemic hypertension increases cardiac workload and subsequently induces signaling networks in heart that underlie myocyte growth (hypertrophic response) through expansion of sarcomeres with the aim to increase contractility. However, conditions of increased workload can induce both adaptive and maladaptive growth of heart muscle. Previous studies implicate two members of the AP-1 transcription factor family, junD and fra-1, in regulation of heart growth during hypertrophic response. In this study, we investigate the function of the AP-1 transcription factors, c-jun and c-fos, in heart growth. Using pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy in mice and targeted deletion of Jun or Fos in cardiomyocytes, we show that c-jun is required for adaptive cardiac hypertrophy, while c-fos is dispensable in this context. c-jun promotes expression of sarcomere proteins and suppresses expression of extracellular matrix proteins. Capacity of cardiac muscle to contract depends on organization of principal thick and thin filaments, myosin and actin, within the sarcomere. In line with decreased expression of sarcomere-associated proteins, Jun-deficient cardiomyocytes present disarrangement of filaments in sarcomeres and actin cytoskeleton disorganization. Moreover, Jun-deficient hearts subjected to pressure overload display pronounced fibrosis and increased myocyte apoptosis finally resulting in dilated cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, c-jun but not c-fos is required to induce a transcriptional program aimed at adapting heart growth upon increased workload.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073294
PMCID: PMC3769267  PMID: 24039904
4.  Peripheral Blood Monocyte Sirt1 Expression Is Reduced in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53106.
Background
Inflammation plays a key role in atherosclerosis. Sirt1 regulates transcription factors involved in inflammatory processes and blunts atherosclerosis in mice. However, its role in humans remains to be defined. This study was therefore designed to investigate the role of Sirt1 in the development of atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
48 male subjects admitted for cardiac catheterization were subdivided into healthy subjects, patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), and with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Monocytes were isolated and Sirt1 mRNA levels were determined. Sirt1 gene expression was higher in healthy subjects as compared to patients with CAD or ACS (P<0.05), respectively. Interestingly, HDL levels correlated positively with Sirt1 expression. Thus, HDL from the three groups was isolated and incubated with THP-1 monocytes to determine the effects of HDL on Sirt1 protein in controlled experimental conditions. HDL from healthy subjects stimulated Sirt1 expression in THP-1 monocytes to a higher degree than HDL from CAD and ACS patients (P<0.05). Paraoxonase-1 (PON-1), a HDL-associated enzyme, showed a reduced activity in HDL isolated from CAD and ACS patients as compared to the controls (P<0.001).
Conclusions
Monocytic Sirt1 expression is reduced in patients with stable CAD and ACS. Experiments on THP-1 monocytes suggest that this effect is HDL-dependent and is mediated by a reduced activity of HDL-associated enzyme PON1.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053106
PMCID: PMC3558418  PMID: 23382833
5.  Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Impair Function of β2-Adrenergic Receptors in Airway Epithelial and Smooth Muscle Cells 
Incomplete combustion produces a pollutant mixture that includes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Previous work by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) and others linked exposure to PAH with symptoms of asthma and other adverse health effects in young children. Inhaled β2-adrenergic agonists are mainstays in the treatment of reactive airway diseases. These exogenous catecholamines engage membrane-bound β2-adrenergic receptors (β2AR) on airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells to cause airway dilation. We hypothesized that exposure to PAH might similarly interfere with the function of β2AR in airway epithelial or smooth muscle cells, reducing the efficacy of a medication important for the treatment of asthma symptoms. A PAH mixture was devised, based on ambient levels measured prenatally among a cohort of pregnant women participating at the CCCEH. Primary airway epithelial and smooth muscle cells were exposed to varying concentrations of the PAH mixture, and expression, function, and signaling of β2AR were assessed. Murine tracheal epithelial cells and human airway smooth muscle cells, after exposure to a PAH mixture, exhibited reduced expression and function of β2AR. These findings support our hypothesis that environmentally relevant PAHs can impede β2AR-mediated airway relaxation, and suggest a new paradigm where air pollutants not only contribute to the pathogenesis of childhood asthma, but also diminish responsiveness to standard therapy.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0499OC
PMCID: PMC3262692  PMID: 21617201
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; β2-adrenergic receptors
6.  Mechanisms underlying adverse effects of HDL on eNOS-activating pathways in patients with coronary artery disease 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(7):2693-2708.
Therapies that raise levels of HDL, which is thought to exert atheroprotective effects via effects on endothelium, are being examined for the treatment or prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, the endothelial effects of HDL are highly heterogeneous, and the impact of HDL of patients with CAD on the activation of endothelial eNOS and eNOS-dependent pathways is unknown. Here we have demonstrated that, in contrast to HDL from healthy subjects, HDL from patients with stable CAD or an acute coronary syndrome (HDLCAD) does not have endothelial antiinflammatory effects and does not stimulate endothelial repair because it fails to induce endothelial NO production. Mechanistically, this was because HDLCAD activated endothelial lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor 1 (LOX-1), triggering endothelial PKCβII activation, which in turn inhibited eNOS-activating pathways and eNOS-dependent NO production. We then identified reduced HDL-associated paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity as one molecular mechanism leading to the generation of HDL with endothelial PKCβII-activating properties, at least in part due to increased formation of malondialdehyde in HDL. Taken together, our data indicate that in patients with CAD, HDL gains endothelial LOX-1– and thereby PKCβII-activating properties due to reduced HDL-associated PON1 activity, and that this leads to inhibition of eNOS-activation and the subsequent loss of the endothelial antiinflammatory and endothelial repair–stimulating effects of HDL.
doi:10.1172/JCI42946
PMCID: PMC3223817  PMID: 21701070

Results 1-6 (6)