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1.  Critical role of c‐jun (NH2) terminal kinase in paracetamol‐ induced acute liver failure 
Gut  2006;56(7):982-990.
Acute hepatic failure secondary to paracetamol poisoning is associated with high mortality. C‐jun (NH2) terminal kinase (JNK) is a member of the mitogen‐activated protein kinase family and is a key intracellular signalling molecule involved in controlling the fate of cells.
To examine the role of JNK in paracetamol‐induced acute liver failure (ALF).
A previously developed mouse model of paracetamol poisoning was used to examine the role of JNK in paracetamol‐induced ALF.
Paracetamol‐induced hepatic JNK activation both in human and murine paracetamol hepatotoxicity and in our murine model preceded the onset of hepatocyte death. JNK inhibition in vivo (using two JNK inhibitors with different mechanisms of action) markedly reduced mortality in murine paracetamol hepatotoxicity, with a significant reduction in hepatic necrosis and apoptosis. In addition, delayed administration of the JNK inhibitor was more effective than N‐acetylcysteine after paracetamol poisoning in mice. JNK inhibition was not protective in acute carbon tetrachloride‐mediated or anti‐Fas antibody‐mediated hepatic injury, suggesting specificity for the role of JNK in paracetamol hepatotoxicity. Furthermore, disruption of the JNK1 or JNK2 genes did not protect against paracetamol‐induced hepatic damage. Pharmacological JNK inhibition had no effect on paracetamol metabolism, but markedly inhibited hepatic tumour necrosis foctor α (TNF α) production after paracetamol poisoning.
These data demonstrated a central role for JNK in the pathogenesis of paracetamol‐induced liver failure, thereby identifying JNK as an important therapeutic target in the treatment of paracetamol hepatotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC1994347  PMID: 17185352
2.  Inhibition of galectin-3 reduces atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice 
Glycobiology  2013;23(6):654-663.
Atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke. Galectin-3 is a carbohydrate-binding lectin implicated in the pathophysiology of CVD and is highly expressed within atherosclerotic lesions in mice and humans. The object of this present study was to use genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition in a well-characterized mouse model of atherosclerosis to determine the role of galectin-3 in plaque development. Apolipoprotein-E/galectin-3 knockout mice were generated and fed a high-cholesterol “western” diet. Galectin-3 deletion had no consistent effect on the serum lipid profile but halved atherosclerotic lesion formation in the thoracic aorta (57% reduction), the aortic arch (50% reduction) and the brachiocephalic arteries. The aortic plaques were smaller, with reduced lipid core and less collagen. In apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice, there was a switch from high inducible nitric oxide expression in early lesions (6 weeks) to arginase-1 expression in later lesions (20 weeks), which was reversed in ApoE−/−/gal-3−/− mice. Administration of modified citrus pectin, an inhibitor of galectin-3, during the latter stage of the disease reduced plaque volume. We conclude that inhibiting galectin-3 causes decreased atherosclerosis. Strategies to inhibit galectin-3 function may reduce plaque progression and potentially represent a novel therapeutic strategy in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease.
PMCID: PMC3641797  PMID: 23426722
atherosclerosis; galectin-3; inflammation; macrophages; plaque
3.  Proteinase Activated Receptor 1 Mediated Fibrosis in a Mouse Model of Liver Injury: A Role for Bone Marrow Derived Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86241.
Liver fibrosis results from the co-ordinated actions of myofibroblasts and macrophages, a proportion of which are of bone marrow origin. The functional effect of such bone marrow-derived cells on liver fibrosis is unclear. We examine whether changing bone marrow genotype can down-regulate the liver's fibrotic response to injury and investigate mechanisms involved. Proteinase activated receptor 1 (PAR1) is up-regulated in fibrotic liver disease in humans, and deficiency of PAR1 is associated with reduced liver fibrosis in rodent models. In this study, recipient mice received bone marrow transplantation from PAR1-deficient or wild-type donors prior to carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis. Bone marrow transplantation alone from PAR1-deficient mice was able to confer significant reductions in hepatic collagen content and activated myofibroblast expansion on wild-type recipients. This effect was associated with a decrease in hepatic scar-associated macrophages and a reduction in macrophage recruitment from the bone marrow. In vitro, PAR1 signalling on bone marrow-derived macrophages directly induced their chemotaxis but did not stimulate proliferation. These data suggest that the bone marrow can modulate the fibrotic response of the liver to recurrent injury. PAR1 signalling can contribute to this response by mechanisms that include the regulation of macrophage recruitment.
PMCID: PMC3903514  PMID: 24475094
4.  Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor-β1–driven Lung Fibrosis by Galectin-3 
Rationale: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic dysregulated response to alveolar epithelial injury with differentiation of epithelial cells and fibroblasts into matrix-secreting myofibroblasts resulting in lung scaring. The prognosis is poor and there are no effective therapies or reliable biomarkers. Galectin-3 is a β-galactoside binding lectin that is highly expressed in fibrotic tissue of diverse etiologies.
Objectives: To examine the role of galectin-3 in pulmonary fibrosis.
Methods: We used genetic deletion and pharmacologic inhibition in well-characterized murine models of lung fibrosis. Further mechanistic studies were performed in vitro and on samples from patients with IPF.
Measurements and Main Results: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis was dramatically reduced in mice deficient in galectin-3, manifest by reduced TGF-β1–induced EMT and myofibroblast activation and collagen production. Galectin-3 reduced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of β-catenin but had no effect on Smad2/3 phosphorylation. A novel inhibitor of galectin-3, TD139, blocked TGF-β–induced β-catenin activation in vitro and in vivo and attenuated the late-stage progression of lung fibrosis after bleomycin. There was increased expression of galectin-3 in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and serum from patients with stable IPF compared with nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis and controls, which rose sharply during an acute exacerbation suggesting that galectin-3 may be a marker of active fibrosis in IPF and that strategies that block galectin-3 may be effective in treating acute fibrotic exacerbations of IPF.
Conclusions: This study identifies galectin-3 as an important regulator of lung fibrosis and provides a proof of principle for galectin-3 inhibition as a potential novel therapeutic strategy for IPF.
PMCID: PMC3410728  PMID: 22095546
fibrosis; epithelial cells; fibroblasts
5.  Cross-Linking CD98 Promotes Integrin-like Signaling and Anchorage-independent Growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(8):2841-2852.
CD98, an early marker of T-cell activation, is an important regulator of integrin-mediated adhesion events. Previous studies suggest that CD98 is coupled to both cellular activation and transformation and is involved in the pathogenesis of viral infection, inflammatory disease, and cancer. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying CD98 activity may have far-reaching practical applications in the development of novel therapeutic strategies in these disease states. Using small cell lung cancer cell lines, which are nonadherent, nonpolarized, and highly express CD98, we show that, in vitro, under physiological conditions, CD98 is constitutively associated with β1 integrins regardless of activation status. Cross-linking CD98 with the monoclonal antibody 4F2 stimulated phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase, PI(3,4,5)P3, and protein kinase B in the absence of integrin ligation or extracellular matrix engagement. Furthermore, cross-linking CD98 promoted anchorage-independent growth. Using fibroblasts derived from β1 integrin null stem cells (GD25), wild-type GD25β1, or GD25 cells expressing a mutation preventing β1 integrin-dependent FAK phosphorylation, we demonstrate that a functional β1 integrin is required for CD98 signaling. We propose that by cross-linking CD98, it acts as a “molecular facilitator” in the plasma membrane, clustering β1 integrins to form high-density complexes. This results in integrin activation, integrin-like signaling, and anchorage-independent growth. Activation of PI 3-kinase may, in part, explain cellular transformation seen on overexpressing CD98. These results may provide a paradigm for events involved in such diverse processes as inflammation and viral-induced cell fusion.
PMCID: PMC117946  PMID: 12181350

Results 1-5 (5)