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1.  Microspheres targeted with a mesothelin antibody and loaded with doxorubicin reduce tumor volume of human mesotheliomas in xenografts 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:400.
Background
Malignant mesotheliomas (MMs) are chemoresistant tumors related to exposure to asbestos fibers. The long latency period of MM (30-40 yrs) and heterogeneity of tumor presentation make MM difficult to diagnose and treat at early stages. Currently approved second-line treatments following surgical resection of MMs include a combination of cisplatin or carboplatin (delivered systemically) and pemetrexed, a folate inhibitor, with or without subsequent radiation. The systemic toxicities of these treatments emphasize the need for more effective, localized treatment regimens.
Methods
Acid-prepared mesoporous silica (APMS) microparticles were loaded with doxorubicin (DOX) and modified externally with a mesothelin (MB) specific antibody before repeated intraperitoneal (IP) injections into a mouse xenograft model of human peritoneal MM. The health/weight of mice, tumor volume/weight, tumor necrosis and cell proliferation were evaluated in tumor-bearing mice receiving saline, DOX high (0.2 mg/kg), DOX low (0.05 mg/kg), APMS-MB, or APMS-MB-DOX (0.05 mg/kg) in saline.
Results
Targeted therapy (APMS-MB-DOX at 0.05 mg/kg) was more effective than DOX low (0.05 mg/kg) and less toxic than treatment with DOX high (0.2 mg/kg). It also resulted in the reduction of tumor volume without loss of animal health and weight, and significantly decreased tumor cell proliferation. High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) of tumor tissue confirmed that APMS-MB-DOX particles delivered DOX to target tissue.
Conclusions
Data suggest that targeted therapy results in greater chemotherapeutic efficacy with fewer adverse side effects than administration of DOX alone. Targeted microparticles are an attractive option for localized drug delivery.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-400
PMCID: PMC3846908  PMID: 24024776
Targeted therapy; Mesoporous silica; Peritoneum; Chemotherapy; Microparticles
2.  Asbestos and erionite prime and activate the NLRP3 inflammasome that stimulates autocrine cytokine release in human mesothelial cells 
Background
Pleural fibrosis and malignant mesotheliomas (MM) occur after exposures to pathogenic fibers, yet the mechanisms initiating these diseases are unclear.
Results
We document priming and activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in human mesothelial cells by asbestos and erionite that is causally related to release of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Transcription and release of these proteins are inhibited in vitro using Anakinra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist that reduces these cytokines in a human peritoneal MM mouse xenograft model.
Conclusions
These novel data show that asbestos-induced priming and activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome triggers an autocrine feedback loop modulated via the IL-1 receptor in mesothelial cell type targeted in pleural infection, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-10-39
PMCID: PMC3751315  PMID: 23937860
Asbestos; Mesothelioma; Mesothelium; Inflammasomes; NLRP3
3.  An Extracellular Signal–Regulated Kinase 2 Survival Pathway Mediates Resistance of Human Mesothelioma Cells to Asbestos-Induced Injury 
We hypothesized that normal human mesothelial cells acquire resistance to asbestos-induced toxicity via induction of one or more epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–linked survival pathways (phosphoinositol-3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin and extracellular signal–regulated kinase [ERK] 1/2) during simian virus 40 (SV40) transformation and carcinogenesis. Both isolated HKNM-2 mesothelial cells and a telomerase-immortalized mesothelial line (LP9/TERT-1) were more sensitive to crocidolite asbestos toxicity than an SV40 Tag-immortalized mesothelial line (MET5A) and malignant mesothelioma cell lines (HMESO and PPM Mill). Whereas increases in phosphorylation of AKT (pAKT) were observed in MET5A cells in response to asbestos, LP9/TERT-1 cells exhibited dose-related decreases in pAKT levels. Pretreatment with an EGFR phosphorylation or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1/2 inhibitor abrogated asbestos-induced phosphorylated ERK (pERK) 1/2 levels in both LP9/TERT-1 and MET5A cells as well as increases in pAKT levels in MET5A cells. Transient transfection of small interfering RNAs targeting ERK1, ERK2, or AKT revealed that ERK1/2 pathways were involved in cell death by asbestos in both cell lines. Asbestos-resistant HMESO or PPM Mill cells with high endogenous levels of ERKs or AKT did not show dose-responsive increases in pERK1/ERK1, pERK2/ERK2, or pAKT/AKT levels by asbestos. However, small hairpin ERK2 stable cell lines created from both malignant mesothelioma lines were more sensitive to asbestos toxicity than shERK1 and shControl lines, and exhibited unique, tumor-specific changes in endogenous cell death–related gene expression. Our results suggest that EGFR phosphorylation is causally linked to pERK and pAKT activation by asbestos in normal and SV40 Tag–immortalized human mesothelial cells. They also indicate that ERK2 plays a role in modulating asbestos toxicity by regulating genes critical to cell injury and survival that are differentially expressed in human mesotheliomas.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2010-0282OC
PMCID: PMC3262687  PMID: 21454801
mesothelioma; asbestos; toxicity; epidermal growth factor receptor; protein kinase B/AKT
4.  Increased Efficacy of Doxorubicin Delivered in Multifunctional Microparticles for Mesothelioma Therapy 
New and effective treatment strategies are desperately needed for malignant mesothelioma (MM), an aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis. We have shown previously that acid-prepared mesoporous microspheres (APMS) are nontoxic after intrapleural or intraperitoneal (IP) administration to rodents. The purpose here was to evaluate the utility of APMS in delivering chemotherapeutic drugs to human MM cells in vitro and in two mouse xenograft models of MM. Uptake and release of doxorubicin (DOX) alone or loaded in APMS (APMS-DOX) were evaluated in MM cells. MM cell death and gene expression linked to DNA damage/repair were also measured in vitro. In two SCID mouse xenograft models, mice received saline, APMS, DOX, or APMS-DOX injected directly into subcutaneous (SC) MM tumors or injected IP after development of human MMs peritoneally. Other mice received DOX intravenously (IV) via tail vein injections. In comparison to DOX alone, APMS-DOX enhanced intracellular uptake of DOX, MM death, and expression of GADD34 and TP73. In the SC MM model, 3X weekly SC injections of APMS-DOX or DOX alone significantly inhibited tumor volumes, and systemic DOX administration was lethal. In mice developing IP MMs, significant (p<0.05) inhibition of mesenteric tumor numbers, weight, and volume was achieved using IP administration of APMS-DOX at one-third the DOX concentration required after IP injections of DOX alone. These results suggest APMS are efficacious for the localized delivery of lower effective DOX concentrations in MM, and represent a novel means of treating intracavitary tumors.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25666
PMCID: PMC3017728  PMID: 20830711
Microparticles; Mesoporous silica; Mesothelioma; Doxorubicin; Intracavitary tumors
5.  ERK2 is Essential for the Growth of Human Epithelioid Malignant Mesotheliomas 
Members of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) family may have distinct roles in the development of cell injury and repair, differentiation and carcinogenesis. Here we show, using a synthetic small molecule MEK1/2 inhibitor (U0126) and RNA silencing of ERK1 and 2, comparatively, that ERK2 is critical to transformation and homeostasis of human epithelioid malignant mesotheliomas (MMs), asbestos-induced tumors with a poor prognosis. Whereas MM cell (HMESO) lines stably transfected with shERK1 or shERK2 both exhibited significant decreases in cell proliferation in vitro, injection of shERK2 cells, and not shERK1 cells, into immunocompromised SCID mice showed significant attenuated tumor growth in comparison to shControl cells. Inhibition of migration, invasion, and colony formation occurred in shERK2 MM cells in vitro, suggesting multiple roles of ERK2 in neoplasia. Microarray and qRT-PCR analyses revealed gene expression that was significantly increased (CASP1, TRAF1, FAS) or decreased (SEMA3E, RPS6KA2, EGF, BCL2L1) in shERK2-transfected MM cells in contrast to shControl-transfected MM cells. Most striking decreases were observed in mRNA levels of Semaphorin 3 (SEMA3E), a candidate tumor suppressor gene linked to inhibition of angiogenesis. These studies demonstrate a key role of ERK2 in novel gene expression critical to the development of epithelioid MMs. After injection of sarcomatoid human MM (PPMMill) cells into SCID mice, both shERK1 and shERK2 lines showed significant decreased tumor growth, suggesting heterogeneous effects of ERKs in individual MMs.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25763
PMCID: PMC3071888  PMID: 21710492
Asbestos; mesothelioma; extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK1/2); Mitogen activated protein kinases; gene expression
6.  Gd-Labeled Microparticles in MRI: In Vivo Imaging of Microparticles after Intraperitoneal Injection 
doi:10.1002/smll.201001447
PMCID: PMC3045770  PMID: 21069757
Mesoporous materials; Silica; Magnetic resonance imaging; Particle excretion; Biomedical applications
7.  Blocking of ERK1 and ERK2 sensitizes human mesothelioma cells to doxorubicin 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:314.
Background
Malignant mesotheliomas (MM) have a poor prognosis, largely because of their chemoresistance to anti-cancer drugs such as doxorubicin (Dox). Here we show using human MM lines that Dox activates extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1 and 2), causally linked to increased expression of ABC transporter genes, decreased accumulation of Dox, and enhanced MM growth. Using the MEK1/2 inhibitor, U0126 and stably transfected shERK1 and shERK2 MM cell lines, we show that inhibition of both ERK1 and 2 sensitizes MM cells to Dox.
Results
U0126 significantly modulated endogenous expression of several important drug resistance (BCL2, ABCB1, ABCC3), prosurvival (BCL2), DNA repair (BRCA1, BRCA2), hormone receptor (AR, ESR2, PPARγ) and drug metabolism (CYP3A4) genes newly identified in MM cells. In comparison to shControl lines, MM cell lines stably transfected with shERK1 or shERK2 exhibited significant increases in intracellular accumulation of Dox and decreases in cell viability. Affymetrix microarray analysis on stable shERK1 and shERK2 MM lines showed more than 2-fold inhibition (p ≤ 0.05) of expression of ATP binding cassette genes (ABCG1, ABCA5, ABCA2, MDR/TAP, ABCA1, ABCA8, ABCC2) in comparison to shControl lines. Moreover, injection of human MM lines into SCID mice showed that stable shERK1 or shERK2 lines had significantly slower tumor growth rates in comparison to shControl lines after Dox treatment.
Conclusions
These studies suggest that blocking ERK1 and 2, which play critical roles in multi-drug resistance and survival, may be beneficial in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of MMs and other tumors.
doi:10.1186/1476-4598-9-314
PMCID: PMC3016286  PMID: 21159167
8.  Inflammation precedes the development of human malignant mesotheliomas in a SCID mouse xenograft model 
Asbestos fibers cause chronic inflammation that may be critical to the development of malignant mesothelioma (MM). Two human MM cell lines (Hmeso, PPM Mill) were used in a SCID mouse xenograft model to assess time-dependent patterns of inflammation and tumor formation. After intraperitoneal (IP) injection of MM cells, mice were euthanized at 7, 14, and 30 days, and peritoneal lavage fluid (PLF) was examined for immune cell profiles and human and mouse cytokines. Increases in human MM-derived IL-6, IL-8, bFGF, and VEGF were observed in mice at 7 days postinjection of either MM line, and a striking neutrophilia was observed at all time points. Free-floating tumor spheroids developed in mice at 14 days, and both spheroids and adherent MM tumor masses occurred in all mice at 30 days. Results suggest that inflammation and cytokine production precede and may be critical to the development of MMs.
doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05554.x
PMCID: PMC2936775  PMID: 20716277
cytokines; chemokines; asbestos; inflammation; mesothelioma
9.  Mechanisms of oxidative stress and alterations in gene expression by Libby six-mix in human mesothelial cells 
Background
Exposures to an amphibole fiber in Libby, Montana cause increases in malignant mesothelioma (MM), a tumor of the pleural and peritoneal cavities with a poor prognosis. Affymetrix microarray/GeneSifter analysis was used to determine alterations in gene expression of a human mesothelial cell line (LP9/TERT-1) by a non-toxic concentration (15×106 μm2/cm2) of unprocessed Libby six-mix and negative (glass beads) and positive (crocidolite asbestos) controls. Because manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD; SOD2) was the only gene upregulated significantly (p < 0.05) at both 8 and 24 h, we measured SOD protein and activity, oxidative stress and glutathione (GSH) levels to better understand oxidative events after exposure to non-toxic (15×106 μm2/cm2) and toxic concentrations (75×106 μm2/cm2) of Libby six-mix.
Results
Exposure to 15×106 μm2/cm2 Libby six-mix elicited significant (p < 0.05) upregulation of one gene (SOD2; 4-fold) at 8 h and 111 gene changes at 24 h, including a 5-fold increase in SOD2. Increased levels of SOD2 mRNA at 24 h were also confirmed in HKNM-2 normal human pleural mesothelial cells by qRT-PCR. SOD2 protein levels were increased at toxic concentrations (75×106 μm2/cm2) of Libby six-mix at 24 h. In addition, levels of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/ZnSOD; SOD1) protein were increased at 24 h in all mineral groups. A dose-related increase in SOD2 activity was observed, although total SOD activity remained unchanged. Dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) fluorescence staining and flow cytometry revealed a dose- and time-dependent increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by LP9/TERT-1 cells exposed to Libby six-mix. Both Libby six-mix and crocidolite asbestos at 75×106 μm2/cm2 caused transient decreases (p < 0.05) in GSH for up to 24 h and increases in gene expression of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) in LP9/TERT-1 and HKNM-2 cells.
Conclusions
Libby six-mix causes multiple gene expression changes in LP9/TERT-1 human mesothelial cells, as well as increases in SOD2, increased production of oxidants, and transient decreases in intracellular GSH. These events are not observed at equal surface area concentrations of nontoxic glass beads. Results support a mechanistic basis for the importance of SOD2 in proliferation and apoptosis of mesothelial cells and its potential use as a biomarker of early responses to mesotheliomagenic minerals.
doi:10.1186/1743-8977-7-26
PMCID: PMC2945990  PMID: 20831825
10.  Assessing nanotoxicity in cells in vitro 
Nanomaterials are commonly defined as particles or fibers of less than 1 micron in diameter. For these reasons, they may be respirable in humans and have the potential, based upon their geometry, composition, size and transport or durability in the body, to cause adverse effects on human health, especially if they are inhaled at high concentrations. Rodent inhalation models to predict the toxicity and pathogenicity of nanomaterials are prohibitive in terms of time and expense. For these reasons, a panel of in vitro assays is described below. These include cell culture assays for cytotoxicity (altered metabolism, decreased growth, lytic or apoptotic cell death), proliferation, genotoxicity, and altered gene expression. The choice of cell type for these assays may be dictated by the procedure or endpoint selected. Most of these assays have been standardized in our laboratory using pathogenic minerals (asbestos, silica) and nonpathogenic particles (fine titanium dioxide or glass beads) as negative controls. The results of these in vitro assays should predict whether testing of selected nanomaterials should be pursued in animal inhalation models that simulate physiologic exposure to inhaled nanomaterials. Conversely, intrathoracic or intrapleural injection of nanomaterials into rodents can be misleading as they bypass normal clearance mechanisms, and nonpathogenic fibers and particles can test positively in these assays.
doi:10.1002/wnan.54
PMCID: PMC2854858  PMID: 20063369
Nanoparticles; Nanofibers; Nanotubes; Nanospheres; Asbestos
11.  Utilization of gene profiling and proteomics to determine mineral pathogenicity in a human mesothelial cell line (LP9/TERT-1) 
Background
Identifying and understanding the early molecular events that underscore mineral pathogenicity using in vitro screening tests is imperative, especially given the large number of synthetic and natural fibers and particles being introduced into the environment. The purpose of the work described here was to examine the ability of gene profiling (Affymetrix microarrays) to predict the pathogenicity of various materials in a human mesothelial cell line (LP9/TERT-1) exposed to equal surface area concentrations (15×106 or 75×106 μm2/cm2) of crocidolite asbestos, nonfibrous talc, fine titanium dioxide (TiO2), or glass beads for 8 or 24 h. Since crocidolite asbestos caused the greatest number of alterations in gene expression, multiplex analysis (Bio-Plex) of proteins released from LP9/TERT-1 cells exposed to crocidolite asbestos was also assessed to reveal if this approach might also be explored in future assays comparing various mineral types. To verify that LP9/TERT-1 cells were more sensitive than other cell types to asbestos, human ovarian epithelial cells (IOSE) were also utilized in microarray studies. Upon assessing changes in gene expression via microarrays, principal component analysis (PCA) of these data was used to identify patterns of differential gene expression.
Results
PCA of microarray data confirmed that LP9/TERT-1 cells were more responsive than IOSE cells to crocidolite asbestos or nonfibrous talc, and that crocidolite asbestos elicited greater responses in both cell types when compared to nonfibrous talc, TiO2, or glass beads. Bio-Plex analysis demonstrated that asbestos caused an increase in interleukin-13 (IL-13), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These responses were generally dose-dependent (bFGF and G-CSF only) and TNF-α-independent (except for G-CSF).
Conclusions
Microarray and Bio-Plex analyses are valuable in determining early molecular responses to fibers/particles and may directly contribute to understanding the etiology of diseases caused by them. The number and magnitude of changes in gene expression or “profiles” of secreted proteins may serve as valuable metrics for determining the potential pathogenicity of various mineral types. Hence, alterations in gene expression and cytokine/chemokine changes induced by crocidolite asbestos in LP9/TERT-1 cells may be indicative of its increased potential to cause mesothelioma in comparison to the other nonfibrous materials examined.
doi:10.1080/15287390903486568
PMCID: PMC2838458  PMID: 20155583

Results 1-11 (11)