Numerous studies in humans and experimental animals have identified considerable sex differences in respiratory physiology and in the response of the lung to environmental agents. These differences appear to be mediated, at least in part, by sex hormones and their nuclear receptors. Moreover, animal models are increasingly used to study pathogenic mechanisms and test potential therapies for a variety of human lung diseases, many of which appear to be influenced by sex and sex hormones. In this article, data are summarized from studies of lung function and disease in which sex differences have been observed. Specific attention is paid to animal models of acute lung injury, nonallergic and allergic lung inflammation, and lung fibrosis. It is anticipated that continued investigation of the role of sex and sex hormones in animal models will provide valuable insight into the pathogenesis and potential treatments for a variety of acute and chronic human lung diseases.
sex; sex hormones; respiratory mechanics; inflammation; airway
Most studies that have examined exposure to indoor allergens have focused on home environments. However, allergen exposures can be encountered in environments other than the home. For example, many children spend a large part of their time in schools and daycare facilities. Over the past two decades, a large number of studies have been conducted in school and daycare environments. However, the role of indoor exposures in allergy and asthma development or morbidity in these settings is not well characterized. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the importance of indoor allergen exposures in school and daycare settings. We summarize the key findings from recent scientific literature, describe exposure characteristics, discuss the role of these exposures in relation to asthma and allergy symptoms, and provide information on the effectiveness of published interventions.
allergen; indoor; exposure; asthma; allergy; school; daycare
Cyclooxygenase (COX)-derived eicosanoids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. Uncertainty regarding the influence of COX-2 on experimental pulmonary fibrosis prompted us to clarify the fibrotic and functional effects of intratracheal bleomycin administration in mice genetically deficient in COX-2. Further, the effects of airway-specific COX-1 overexpression on fibrotic and functional outcomes in wild-type and COX-2 knockout mice were assessed. Equivalent increases in airway cell influx, lung collagen content, and histopathologic evidence of fibrosis were observed in wild-type and COX-2 knockout mice 21 d after bleomycin treatment, suggesting that COX-2 deficiency did not alter the extent or severity of fibrosis in this model. However, bleomycin-induced alterations in respiratory mechanics were more severe in COX-2 knockout mice than in wild-type mice, as illustrated by a greater decrease in static compliance compared with genotype-matched, saline-treated control mice (26 ± 3% versus 11 ± 4% decreases for COX-2 knockout and wild-type mice, respectively; P < 0.05). The influence of COX-1 overexpression in airway Clara cells was also examined. Whereas the fibrotic effects of bleomycin were not altered in wild-type or COX-2 knockout mice overexpressing COX-1, the exaggerated lung function decrement in bleomycin-treated COX-2 knockout mice was prevented by COX-1 overexpression and coincided with decreased airway cysteinyl leukotriene levels. Collectively, these data suggest an important regulatory role for COX-2 in the maintenance of lung function in the setting of lung fibrosis, but not in the progression of the fibrotic process per se.
cyclooxygenase; fibrosis; respiratory mechanics; prostaglandin; transgenic
The roles of gender and sex hormones in lung function and disease are complex and not completely understood. The present study examined the influence of gender on lung function and respiratory mechanics in naive mice and on acute airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness induced by intratracheal LPS administration. Basal lung function characteristics did not differ between naive males and females, but males demonstrated significantly greater airway responsiveness than females following aerosolized methacholine challenge as evidenced by increased respiratory system resistance and elastance (p < 0.05). Following LPS administration, males developed more severe hypothermia and greater airway hyperresponsiveness than females (p < 0.05). Inflammatory indices including bronchoalveolar lavage fluid total cells, neutrophils, and TNF-α content were greater in males than in females 6 h following LPS administration (p < 0.05), whereas whole-lung TLR-4 protein levels did not differ among treatment groups, suggesting that differential expression of TLR-4 before or after LPS exposure did not underlie the observed inflammatory outcomes. Gonadectomy decreased airway inflammation in males but did not alter inflammation in females, whereas administration of exogenous testosterone to intact females increased their inflammatory responses to levels observed in intact males. LPS-induced airway hyperresponsiveness was also decreased in castrated males and was increased in females administered exogenous testosterone. Collectively, these data indicate that airway responsiveness in naive mice is influenced by gender, and that male mice have exaggerated airway inflammatory and functional responses to LPS compared with females. These gender differences are mediated, at least in part, by effects of androgens.
Pharmacological inhibition or genetic disruption of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 or COX-2 exacerbates the inflammatory and functional responses of the lung to environmentally relevant stimuli. To further examine the contribution of COX-derived eicosanoids to basal lung function and to allergic lung inflammation, transgenic (Tr) mice were generated in which overexpression of human COX-1 was targeted to airway epithelium. Although no differences in basal respiratory or lung mechanical parameters were observed, COX-1 Tr mice had increased bronchoalveolar lavage fluid PGE2 content compared with wild-type littermates (23.0 ± 3.6 vs 8.4 ± 1.4 pg/ml; p < 0.05) and exhibited decreased airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine. In an OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation model, comparable up-regulation of COX-2 protein was observed in the lungs of allergic wild-type and COX-1 Tr mice. Furthermore, no genotype differences were observed in allergic mice in total cell number, eosinophil content (70 vs 76% of total cells, respectively), and inflammatory cytokine content of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, or in airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine (p > 0.05). To eliminate the presumed confounding effects of COX-2 up-regulation, COX-1 Tr mice were bred into a COX-2 null background. In these mice, the presence of the COX-1 transgene did not alter allergen-induced inflammation but significantly attenuated allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, coincident with reduced airway leuko-triene levels. Collectively, these data indicate that COX-1 overexpression attenuates airway responsiveness under basal conditions but does not influence allergic airway inflammation.
Exposure to the fungus Alternaria alternata is a risk factor for asthma. Few studies have examined Alternaria exposures in indoor environments.
We examined whether exposure to A alternata in US homes was associated with asthma-related outcomes.
The data for this study were collected as part of the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing. This cross-sectional study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 831 housing units inhabited by 2456 individuals in 75 different locations throughout the United States. An interviewer-administered questionnaire obtained information on demographics, household characteristics, and occupants' health status. Exposure to A alternata was assessed by measuring concentrations of A alternata antigens in vacuumed dust samples using a polyclonal anti–A alternata antibody assay. Dust samples were collected from a bed, a sofa, or a chair, and from bedroom, living room, and kitchen floors.
Lifetime prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 11.2%, and 6.9% of the study subjects reported active asthma symptoms in the past 12 months. The prevalence of current symptomatic asthma increased with increasing Alternaria concentrations in US homes; higher levels of A alternata antigens increased the odds of having asthma symptoms in the past year (relative to the lowest tertile, adjusted odds ratio was 1.52, 95% CI, 0.90−2.55 for the 2nd tertile; and 1.84, 95% CI, 1.18−2.85 for the 3rd tertile).
Exposure to A alternata in US homes is associated with active asthma symptoms.
Measures that reduce indoor exposure to A alternata may help control asthma exacerbations.
Alternaria alternata; fungal allergen; antigen; indoor; exposure; asthma; allergy
The hygiene hypothesis contends that fewer opportunities for infection have led to increases in the prevalences of asthma and other allergic diseases.
This study evaluated the association between asthma, wheeze, and hay fever and antibodies to 2 oral bacteria associated with periodontal disease.
Data were obtained from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Serum levels of IgG antibodies to Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis were quantified by enzyme-linked immunoassays in 9385 subjects age 12 years and older. The outcomes were current asthma, wheeze, and hay fever. Odds ratios (ORs) representing a 1–log-unit increase in IgG concentrations were estimated with logistic regression. ORs were adjusted for 8 confounders and weighted to represent the US population.
For each disease outcome, geometric mean antibody concentrations were higher in persons without the disease outcome than with the disease outcome. For a 1–log-unit increase in P gingivalis antibody concentration, adjusted ORs were 0.41 (95% CI, 0.20-0.87) for asthma, 0.43 (0.23-0.78) for wheeze, and 0.45 (0.23-0.93) for hay fever. For A actinomycetemcomitans, those ORs were 0.56 (0.19-1.72), 0.39 (0.17-0.86), and 0.48 (0.23-1.03), respectively.
Consistent with the hygiene hypothesis, higher concentrations of IgG antibodies to P gingivalis were significantly associated with lower prevalences of asthma, wheeze, and hay fever, and higher concentrations of IgG antibodies to A actinomycetemcomitans were significantly associated with a lower prevalence of wheeze.
Colonization of the oral cavity by bacteria and other microbes might play a protective role in the etiology of allergic disease.
Asthma; wheeze; hay fever; hygiene hypothesis; periodontal disease; epidemiology; survey; antibodies; oral pathogens; Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans; Porphyromonas gingivalis
Background and Purpose
Cytochrome P450 epoxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid (EETs) have multiple cardiovascular effects, including reduction of blood pressure, protection against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, and attenuation of endothelial inflammation and apoptosis. The present study was aimed to determine potential neuroprotective roles for EETs in cerebral ischemia.
Transgenic mice with endothelial overexpression of CYP2J2 (Tie2-CYP2J2-Tr) were subjected to global cerebral ischemia induced by bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO) for 10 minutes, Cerebral EET production, infarct size, and apoptosis were examined after 24 hours of reperfusion. The action mechanisms of EETs on cerebral ischemia was also studied in cultures of astrocytes and Neuro-2a cells exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD).
In Tie2-CYP2J2-Tr mice, CYP2J2 expression and 14, 15-EET production in both brain tissue and plasma significantly increased while brain infarct size and apoptosis after ischemia decreased, accompanied increased activation of the PI3K/AKT and ERK1/2 pathways, decreased activation of JNK, and higher ratios of Bcl-2/Bax and Bcl-xl/Bax in ischemic brain compared to wild type mice. In cells, addition of exogenous EETs or CYP2J2 transfection attenuated OGD-induced apoptosis by activation of ERK1/2 and PI3K/AKT pathways, inhibition of JNK, which were reduced by pretreatments with inhibitors of the PI3K (LY294002), the MAPK (PD98059) and EETs (EEZE), respectively.
We conclude that CYP2J2 overexpression exerts marked neuroprotective effects against ischemic injury by a mechanism linked to increased level of circulating EETs and reduction of apoptosis. These data suggests the possibility for clinical therapy of cerebral ischemia by enhancing EET levels.
arachidonic acid; cytochrome P450 epoxygenase; global cerebral ischemia; neuroprotection; stroke
Background: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and is found in many consumer products. Some studies using animal models have suggested that BPA exposures may have adverse health effects. However, research gaps have precluded a full understanding of the effects of BPA in humans and engendered controversies surrounding the chemical’s potential toxicity.
Objectives: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP) have developed an integrated, multipronged, consortium-based approach to optimize BPA-focused research investments to more effectively address data gaps and inform decision making.
Discussion: NIEHS/NTP BPA research investments made over the past 4 years include extramural research grants, establishment of a BPA Grantee Consortium, intramural research activities on BPA’s mechanisms of action, the launch of two clinical studies and an occupational study, development of a round-robin experiment to validate BPA measurements in human serum, and, in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), formation of a consortium to design and execute a chronic toxicity study of BPA in rats. The NIEHS’s new consortium-based approach has led to more integrated, collaborative efforts and should improve our ability to resolve controversies over the potential human health effects of exposures to low levels of endocrine-active agents.
bisphenol A; consortium-based research; endocrine disruptor; low dose; NIEHS
Regions of diminished ventilation are often evident during functional pulmonary imaging studies, including hyperpolarized gas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography, and computed tomography (CT). The objective of this study was to characterize the hypointense regions observed via 3He MRI in a murine model of acute lung injury. LPS at doses ranging from 15–50 μg was intratracheally administered to C57BL/6 mice under anesthesia. Four hours after exposure to either LPS or saline vehicle, mice were imaged via hyperpolarized 3He MRI. All images were evaluated to identify regions of hypointense signals. Lungs were then characterized by conventional histology, or used to obtain tissue samples from regions of normal and hypointense 3He signals and analyzed for cytokine content. The characterization of 3He MRI images identified three distinct types of hypointense patterns: persistent defects, atelectatic defects, and dorsal lucencies. Persistent defects were associated with the administration of LPS. The number of persistent defects depended on the dose of LPS, with a significant increase in mean number of defects in 30–50-μg LPS-dosed mice versus saline-treated control mice. Atelectatic defects predominated in LPS-dosed mice under conditions of low-volume ventilation, and could be reversed with deep inspiration. Dorsal lucencies were present in nearly all mice studied, regardless of the experimental conditions, including control animals that did not receive LPS. A comparison of 3He MRI with histopathology did not identify tissue abnormalities in regions of low 3He signal, with the exception of a single region of atelectasis in one mouse. Furthermore, no statistically significant differences were evident in concentrations of IL-1β, IL-6, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1α, MIP-2, chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 (KC), TNFα, and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 between hypointense and normally ventilated lung regions in LPS-dosed mice. Thus, this study defines the anatomic, functional, and biochemical characteristics of ventilation defects associated with the administration of LPS in a murine model of acute lung injury.
ventilation defect; lipopolysaccharide; lung inflammation; magnetic resonance imaging; cytokines
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2006 was the first population-based study to investigate levels of serum total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the general US population.
We estimated prevalence of allergy-related outcomes and examined relationships between serum IgE levels and these outcomes in a representative sample of the US population.
Data for this cross-sectional analysis were obtained from the NHANES 2005–2006. Study subjects aged 6 years and older (N=8086) had blood taken for measurement of total IgE and 19 specific IgEs against common aeroallergens, including Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus fumigatus, Bermuda grass, birch, oak, ragweed, Russian thistle, rye grass, cat dander, cockroach, dog dander, dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus), mouse and rat urine proteins; and selected foods (egg white, cow’s milk, peanut, and shrimp). Serum samples were analyzed for total and allergen-specific IgEs using the Pharmacia CAP System. Information on allergy-related outcomes and demographics was collected by questionnaire.
In the NHANES 2005–2006, 6.6% reported current hay fever and 23.5% suffered from current allergies. Allergy-related outcomes increased with increasing total IgE (adjusted ORs for a 10-fold increase in total IgE =1.86, 95% CI:1.44–2.41 for hay fever and 1.64, 95% CI: 1.41–1.91 for allergies). Elevated levels of plant-, pet-, and mold-specific IgEs contributed independently to allergy-related symptoms. The greatest increase in odds was observed for hay fever and plant-specific IgEs (adjusted OR=4.75, 95% CI:3.83–5.88).
In the US population, self-reported allergy symptoms are most consistently associated with elevated levels of plant-, pet-, and mold-specific IgEs.
allergen; allergy; allergic sensitization; serum IgE
Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids have been recognized for their protective effects on the cardiovascular system. This study investigated whether two common polymorphisms in genes believed to be influential in regulating circulating levels of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, namely cytochrome P450 2J2 (CYP2J2) G-50T and soluble epoxide hydrolase (EPHX2) G860A, were associated with ischemic stroke risk in a Chinese population.
Methods and results
Screening of 200 patients with ischemic stroke and 350 control participants revealed that CYP2J2−50T allele frequency was not significantly different in ischemic stroke cases versus controls. In contrast, EPHX2 860A allele frequency was 16.8% in ischemic stroke cases versus 21.7% in controls (P = 0.047), and the presence of this variant allele was associated with a significantly lower risk of ischemic stroke after adjustment for sex, age and multiple cardiovascular risk factors (adjusted odds ratio = 0.50, 95% confidence interval 0.29−0.86). Moreover, there was a significant interaction between the EPHX2 G860A polymorphism, smoking and ischemic stroke risk such that nonsmokers carrying the EPHX2 G860A variant allele were at the lowest risk of ischemic stroke (odds ratio = 0.33, 95% confidence interval, 0.17−0.67, P = 0.002), whereas no significant association was observed in smokers.
Collectively, these data indicate a protective influence of the G860A polymorphism of EPHX2 on ischemic stroke in Chinese nonsmokers.
Pharmacogenetics and Genomics
CYP2J2; cytochrome P450; EPHX2; genetics; ischemic stroke; polymorphism
Allergic conditions and biochemical measures are both used to characterize atopy. To assess questionnaires’ ability to predict biochemical measures of atopy, the authors used data on 5 allergic conditions (allergy, hay fever, eczema, rhinitis, and itchy rash) and serum-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels from the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Atopy was defined as 1 or more positive specific IgEs (≥0.35 kU/L). Questionnaire responses were assessed for sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for atopy. In this population-based US sample, 44% of participants were specific IgE-positive and 53% reported at least 1 allergic condition. Discordance between atopy and allergic conditions was considerable; 37% of persons with atopy reported no allergic condition, and 48% of persons who reported an allergic condition were not atopic. Thus, no combination of self-reported allergic conditions achieved both high sensitivity and high specificity for IgE. The positive predictive value of reported allergic conditions for atopy ranged from 50% for eczema to 72% for hay fever, while the negative predictive value ranged from 57% for eczema to 65% for any condition. Given the high proportion of asymptomatic participants who were specific IgE-positive and persons who reported allergic conditions but were specific IgE-negative, it is unlikely that questionnaires will ever capture the same participants as those found to be atopic by biochemical measures.
hypersensitivity; immunoglobulin E; questionnaires; sensitivity and specificity
Cytochrome P450-derived epoxyeicosatrienoic acids are potent vasodilators in preclinical models and are hydrolyzed by soluble epoxide hydrolase (EPHX2). Associations between the EPHX2 Lys55Arg and Arg287Gln polymorphisms and cardiovascular disease risk have been reported; however, their impact on vascular function in humans has not been investigated. In 265 volunteers (198 white, 67 black American), forearm blood flow was measured by strain-gauge venous occlusion plethysmography at baseline and in response to bradykinin, methacholine and sodium nitroprusside. Forearm vascular resistance was calculated as mean arterial pressure/forearm blood flow. In white Americans, Lys55Arg genotype was associated with vasodilator response to bradykinin, such that forearm blood flow was significantly lower (P=0.043) and forearm vascular resistance was significantly higher (P=0.013) in Arg55 variant allele carriers compared to wild-type individuals. Significant associations were also observed with methacholine and sodium nitroprusside. In contrast, no relationship was observed in black Americans. In black Americans, Arg287Gln genotype was associated with vasodilator response to bradykinin. Although the difference in forearm blood flow did not reach statistical significance (P=0.058), forearm vascular resistance was significantly lower (P=0.037) in Gln287 variant allele carriers compared to wild-type individuals. Significant associations were also observed with methacholine and sodium nitroprusside. In white Americans, Gln287 variant allele carriers did not exhibit significantly higher forearm blood flow (P=0.128) or lower forearm vascular resistance (P=0.080). Genetic variation in EPHX2 is associated with forearm vasodilator responses in a bradykinin receptor- and endothelium-independent manner, suggesting an important role for soluble epoxide hydrolase in the regulation of vascular function in humans.
Soluble epoxide hydrolase; EPHX2; polymorphism; bradykinin; endothelium-derived factors
Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) expressed substantial levels of CYP2J2, a major CYP450 involved in epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) formation. MSCs synthesized significant levels of EETs (65.8 ± 5.8 pg/mg protein) and dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids (DHETs) (15.83 ± 1.62 pg/mg protein), suggesting the presence of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). The addition of an sEH inhibitor to MSC culture decreased adipogenesis. EETs decreased MSC-derived adipocytes in a concentration-dependent manner, 8,9- and 14,15-EET having the maximum reductive effect on adipogenesis. We examined the effect of 12-(3-hexylureido)dodec-8(Z)-enoic acid, an EET agonist, on MSC-derived adipocytes and demonstrated an increased number of healthy small adipocytes, attenuated fatty acid synthase (FAS) levels (P < 0.01), and reduced PPARγ, C/EBPα, FAS, and lipid accumulation (P < 0.05). These effects were accompanied by increased levels of heme oxygenase (HO)-1 and adiponectin (P < 0.05), and increased glucose uptake (P < 0.05). Inhibition of HO activity or AKT by tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP) and LY2940002, respectively, reversed EET-induced inhibition of adipogenesis, suggesting that activation of the HO-1-adiponectin axis underlies EET effect in MSCs. These findings indicate that EETs decrease MSC-derived adipocyte stem cell differentiation by upregulation of HO-1-adiponectin-AKT signaling and play essential roles in the regulation of adipocyte differentiation by inhibiting PPARγ, C/EBPα, and FAS and in stem cell development. These novel observations highlight the seminal role of arachidonic acid metabolism in MSCs and suggest that an EET agonist may have potential therapeutic use in the treatment of dyslipidemia, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening disease that leads to progressive pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure, and death. Endothelial dysfunction and inflammation were implicated in the pathogenesis of PAH. Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), products of the cytochrome P450 epoxygenase metabolism of arachidonic acid, are potent vasodilators that possess anti-inflammatory and other protective properties in endothelial cells. We investigated whether gene delivery with the human cytochrome P450 epoxygenase 2J2 (CYP2J2) ameliorates monocrotaline (MCT)-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats. Significant pulmonary hypertension developed 3 weeks after the administration of MCT, but gene therapy with CYP2J2 significantly attenuated the development of pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular remodeling, without causing changes in systemic arterial pressure or heart rate. These effects were associated with increased pulmonary endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expression and its activity, inhibition of inflammation in the lungs, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/type II bone morphogenetic protein receptor (BMPRII)-drosophila mothers against decapentaplegic proteins (Smads) signaling. Collectively, these data suggest that gene therapy with CYP2J2 may have potential as a novel therapeutic approach to this progressive and oftentimes lethal disorder.
arachidonic acids; cytochrome P450 epoxygenase; gene therapy; monocrotaline
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases metabolize arachidonic acid into epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which play important and diverse roles in the cardiovascular system. The anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, pro-angiogenic, and anti-hypertensive properties of EETs in the cardiovascular system suggest a beneficial role for EETs in diabetic nephropathy. This study investigated the effects of endothelial specific overexpression of the CYP2J2 epoxygenase on diabetic nephropathy in streptozotocin induced diabetic mice. Endothelial CYP2J2 overexpression attenuated renal damage as measured by urinary microalbumin and glomerulosclerosis. These effects were associated with inhibition of TGF-β/Smad signaling in the kidney. Indeed, overexpression of CYP2J2 prevented TGF-β1 induced renal tubular epithelial-mesenchymal transition in vitro. These findings highlight the bene cial roles of the CYP epoxygenase-EET system in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.
Arachidonic acids; cytochrome P450 epoxygenase; streptozotocin; diabetic nephropathy; tubular epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation
Background: Dissecting complex disease has become more feasible because of the availability of large-scale DNA resources and advances in high-throughput genomic technology. Although these tools help scientists identify potential susceptibility loci, subjects with relevant genotypes are needed for clinical phenotyping and toxicity studies.
Objective: We have developed a resource of subjects and their DNA to use for translational research of environmental disease.
Methods: More than 15,000 individuals of diverse sex, age, race, and ethnicity were recruited from North Carolina. DNA was isolated from their blood and coded with personal identification numbers linked to their identities. This linked resource of subjects and their DNA—the Environmental Polymorphism Registry (EPR)—allows scientists to screen for individuals with genotypes of interest and invite them to participate in follow-up studies.
Discussion: The EPR is a phenotype-by-genotype resource designed to facilitate translational studies of environmental disease. Based on their genotypes, subjects are invited to participate at all levels of research, from basic laboratory ex vivo cell phenotyping experiments that require viable tissue to in vivo observational studies and clinical trials. Here we report on progress of the EPR since 2008. We also describe a major effort at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to investigate susceptibility loci in 87 environmental response genes and gene × environment interactions using EPR resources.
Conclusion: The EPR is a unique and novel resource and is ideal for genotype-driven translational research of environmental disease. We expect that it will serve as a model for future resources. Such tools help scientists attain their ultimate goals: to identify at-risk populations and develop strategies for preventing and treating human disease.
DNA biorepository; environmental response gene; environmental risk assessment; genotypes; phenotype-by-genotype; polymorphisms; toxicity studies; translational research
Arachidonic acid is metabolized through three major metabolic pathways, the cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and CYP450 enzyme systems. Unlike cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenases, the role of CYP450 epoxygenases in monocyte/macrophage-mediated responses is not known.
When transfected in vitro, CYP2J2 is an efficient activator of anti-inflammatory pathways through the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α. Human monocytes and macrophages contain PPARα and here we show they express the epoxygenases CYP2J2 and CYP2C8. Inhibition of constitutive monocyte epoxygenases using the epoxygenase inhibitor SKF525A induces cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression and activity, and the release of TNFα, and can be reversed by either add back of the endogenous epoxygenase products and PPARα ligand 11,12- epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) or the addition of the selective synthetic PPARα ligand GW7647. In alternatively activated (IL-4-treated) monocytes, in contrast to classically activated cells, epoxygenase inhibition decreased TNFα release. Epoxygenases can be pro-inflammatory via superoxide anion production. The suppression of TNFα by SKF525A in the presence of IL-4 was associated with a reduction in superoxide anion generation and reproduced by the superoxide dismutase MnCl2. Similar to these acute activation studies, in monocyte derived macrophages, epoxygenase inhibition elevates M1 macrophage TNFα mRNA and further decreases M2 macrophage TNFα.
In conclusion, epoxygenase activity represents an important endogenous pathway which limits monocyte activation. Moreover endogenous epoxygenases are immuno-modulators regulating monocyte/macrophage activation depending on the underlying activation state.
High salt (HS) intake can change the arterial tone in mice, and the nitric oxide (NO) acts as a mediator to some of the receptors mediated vascular response. The main aim of this study was to explore the mechanism behind adenosine-induced vascular response in HS-fed eNOS+/+ and eNOS−/− mice The modulation of vascular response by HS was examined using aortas from mice (eNOS+/+ and eNOS−/−) fed 4% (HS) or 0.45% (NS) NaCl-diet through acetylcholine (ACh), NECA (adenosine-analog), CGS 21680 (A2A AR-agonist), MS-PPOH (CYP epoxygenase-blocker; 10−5 M), AUDA (sEH-blocker; 10−5 M), and DDMS (CYP4A-blocker; 10−5 M). ACh-response was greater in HS-eNOS+/+ (+59.3 ± 6.3%) versus NS-eNOS+/+ (+33.3 ± 8.0%; P < 0.05). However, there was no response in both HS-eNOS−/− and NS-eNOS−/−. NECA-response was greater in HS-eNOS−/− (+37.4 ± 3.2%) versus NS-eNOS−/− (+7.4.0 ± 3.8%; P < 0.05). CGS 21680-response was also greater in HS-eNOS−/− (+45.4 ± 5.2%) versus NS-eNOS−/−(+5.1 ± 5.0%; P < 0.05). In HS-eNOS−/−, the CGS 21680-response was reduced by MS-PPOH (+7.3 ± 3.2%; P < 0.05). In NS-eNOS−/−, the CGS 21680-response was increased by AUDA (+38.2 ± 3.3%; P < 0.05) and DDMS (+30.1 ± 4.1%; P < 0.05). Compared to NS, HS increased CYP2J2 in eNOS+/+ (35%; P < 0.05) and eNOS−/− (61%; P < 0.05), but decreased sEH in eNOS+/+ (74%; P < 0.05) and eNOS−/− (40%; P < 0.05). Similarly, CYP4A decreased in HS-eNOS+/+ (35%; P < 0.05) and HS-eNOS−/− (34%; P < 0.05). These data suggest that NS causes reduced-vasodilation in both eNOS+/+ and eNOS−/− via sEH and CYP4A. However, HS triggers possible A2AAR-induced relaxation through CYP epoxygenase in both eNOS+/+ and eNOS−/−.
Salt; eNOS; CYP2J2; sEH; Relaxation; Adenosine
Accumulating evidence suggests that cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases metabolize arachidonic acid into epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which play crucial and diverse roles in cardiovascular homeostasis. The anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, and pro-proliferative effects of EETs suggest a possible beneficial role for EETs on insulin resistance and diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
This study investigated the effects of CYP2J3 epoxygenase gene therapy on insulin resistance and blood pressure in diabetic db/db mice and in a model of fructose-induced hypertension and insulin resistance in rats.
CYP2J3 gene delivery in vivo increased EET generation, reduced blood pressure, and reversed insulin resistance as determined by plasma glucose levels, homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index, and glucose tolerance test. Furthermore, CYP2J3 treatment prevented fructose-induced decreases in insulin receptor signaling and phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinases (AMPKs) in liver, muscle, heart, kidney, and aorta. Thus, overexpression of CYP2J3 protected against diabetes and insulin resistance in peripheral tissues through activation of insulin receptor and AMPK pathways.
These results highlight the beneficial roles of the CYP epoxygenase-EET system in diabetes and insulin resistance.
Accumulating evidence suggests that bacteria associated with periodontal disease may exert systemic immunomodulatory effects. Although the improvement in oral hygiene practices in recent decades correlates with the increased incidence of asthma in developed nations, it is not known whether diseases of the respiratory system might be influenced by the presence of oral pathogens. The present study sought to determine whether subcutaneous infection with the anaerobic oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis exerts a regulatory effect on allergic airway inflammation. BALB/c mice sensitized and subsequently challenged with ovalbumin exhibited airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine aerosol and increased airway inflammatory cell influx and Th2 cytokine (interleukin-4 [IL-4], IL-5, and IL-13) content relative to those in nonallergic controls. Airway inflammatory cell and cytokine contents were significantly reduced by establishment of a subcutaneous infection with P. gingivalis prior to allergen sensitization, whereas serum levels of ovalbumin-specific IgE and airway responsiveness were not altered. Conversely, subcutaneous infection initiated after allergen sensitization did not alter inflammatory end points but did reduce airway responsiveness in spite of increased serum IgE levels. These data provide the first direct evidence of a regulatory effect of an oral pathogen on allergic airway inflammation and responsiveness. Furthermore, a temporal importance of the establishment of infection relative to allergen sensitization is demonstrated for allergic outcomes.
Human MSCs expressed substantial levels of CYP2J2, a major CYP450 involved in EET formation. MSCs synthesized significant levels of EETs (65.8 ± 5.8 pg/mg protein) and DHETs (15.83 ± 1.62 pg/mg protein), suggesting the presence of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). The addition of a sEH inhibitor to MSCs culture decreased adipogenesis. EETs decreased MSC-derived adipocytes in a concentration dependent manner; 8,9- and 14,15-EET having the maximum reductive effect on adipogenesis. We examined the effect of 12-(3-hexylureido)dodec-8(Z)-enoic acid, an EET agonist, on MSC-derived adipocytes and demonstrated an increased number of healthy small adipocytes, attenuated fatty acid synthase (FAS) levels (p<0.01) and reduced PPARγ, C/EBPα, FAS and lipid accumulation (p<0.05). These effects were accompanied by increased levels of HO-1 and adiponectin (p<0.05), and increased glucose uptake (p<0.05). Inhibition of HO activity or AKT by tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP) and LY2940002, respectively, reversed EET-induced inhibition of adipogenesis, suggesting that activation of the HO-1-adiponectin axis underlies EET effect in MSCs. These findings indicate that EETs decrease MSCs-derived adipocyte stem cell differentiation by the upregulation of HO-1-adiponectin-AKT signaling and play essential roles in the regulation of adipocyte differentiation by inhibiting the PPARγ, C/EBPα, and FAS and in stem cell development. These novel observations highlight the seminal role of arachidonic acid metabolism in MSCs and suggest that an EET-agonist may have potential therapeutic use in the treatment of dyslipidemia, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
MSC; EET-Agonist; HO-1; pAKT; adipocyte