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1.  Controlling charge-density-wave states in nano-thick crystals of 1T-TaS2 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7302.
Two-dimensional crystals, especially graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), are attracting growing interests because they provide an ideal platform for novel and unconventional electronic band structures derived by thinning. The thinning may also affect collective phenomena of electrons in interacting electron systems and can lead to exotic states beyond the simple band picture. Here, we report the systematic control of charge-density-wave (CDW) transitions by changing thickness, cooling rate and gate voltage in nano-thick crystals of 1T-type tantalum disulfide (1T-TaS2). Particularly the clear cooling rate dependence, which has never been observed in bulk crystals, revealed the nearly-commensurate CDW state in nano-thick crystals is a super-cooled state. The present results demonstrate that, in the two-dimensional crystals with nanometer thickness, the first-order phase transitions are susceptible to various perturbations, suggestive of potential functions of electronic phase control.
PMCID: PMC4252899  PMID: 25466764
2.  Protective role of TNF-α, IL-10 and IL-2 in mice infected with the Oshima strain of Tick-borne encephalitis virus 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5344.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) causes acute central nervous system disease. Here, we investigated the roles of the TNF-α, IL-10 and other cytokines in appropriate KO mice following infection with Oshima and Sofjin strains of TBEV. Following infection with the Oshima strain, mortality rates were significantly increased in TNF-α KO and IL-10 KO mice compared with wild type (WT) mice. These results suggested that TNF-α and IL-10 play protective roles against fatal infection due to Oshima strain infection. However, viral loads and proinflammatory cytokine levels in the brain of TNF-α KO andIL-10 KO mice were not significantly different compared with those of WT mice. On the other hand, all WT, TNF-α KO and IL-10 KO mice died following infection with Sofjin strain. Interestingly, Sofjin-infected mice did not exhibit an up-regulated mRNA level of IL-2 in the spleen in all groups of mice, whereas Oshima-infected mice showed significantly increased level of IL-2 compared with mock-infected mice. From these results, we suggest that TNF-α, IL-10 and IL-2 are key factors for disease remission from fatal encephalitis due to infection with Oshima strain of TBEV.
PMCID: PMC4061546  PMID: 24938868
3.  NKG2D+ IFN-γ+ CD8+ T Cells Are Responsible for Palladium Allergy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e86810.
Nickel, cobalt, and chromium are well known to be causal agents of allergic contact dermatitis. Palladium (Pd) can also cause allergic disease and exposure results from wide use of this metal in dental restorations and jewelry. Metal allergy is categorized as a delayed-type hypersensitivity, and metal-responsive T cell clones have been isolated from allergic patients. However, compared to nickel, little is known about the pathology of allergic disease mediated by Pd, and pathogenic T cells are poorly understood. To identify the pathogenic T cells that are responsible for onset of Pd allergy, we enriched metal-responsive lymphocytes by sequential adoptive transfer of involved lymph node cells. Here we show that sequential adoptive transfer gradually increased the incidence and the intensity of Pd allergy, and CD8+ T cells are responsible for the disease as CD8+ T cell-depleted mice and β2-microglobulin-deficient mice did not develop Pd allergy. In addition, we found that draining lymph node cells skewed toward CD8+ T cells in response to Pd challenge in 8th adoptive transferred recipient mice. The CD8+ T cells expressed NKG2D, a costimulatory molecule involved in the production of IFN-γ. NKG2D ligand was also induced in Pd-injected tissues. Furthermore, both NKG2D ligand-transgenic mice, where NKG2D is downmodulated, and IFN-γ-deficient mice showed impaired Pd allergy. Taken together, these results indicate that IFN-γ-producing NKG2D+ CD8+ T cells are responsible for Pd allergy and suggest that NKG2D is a potential therapeutic target for treatment of metal allergy.
PMCID: PMC3922723  PMID: 24533050
4.  Accumulation of Metal-Specific T Cells in Inflamed Skin in a Novel Murine Model of Chromium-Induced Allergic Contact Dermatitis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85983.
Chromium (Cr) causes delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions possibly mediated by accumulating T cells into allergic inflamed skin, which are called irritants or allergic contact dermatitis. However, accumulating T cells during development of metal allergy are poorly characterized because a suitable animal model is not available. This study aimed to elucidate the skewing of T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire and cytokine profiles in accumulated T cells in inflamed skin during elucidation of Cr allergy. A novel model of Cr allergy was induced by two sensitizations of Cr plus lipopolysaccharide solution into mouse groin followed by single Cr challenge into the footpad. TCR repertoires and nucleotide sequences of complementary determining region 3 were assessed in accumulated T cells from inflamed skin. Cytokine expression profiles and T-cell phenotypes were determined by qPCR. CD3+CD4+ T cells accumulated in allergic footpads and produced increased T helper 1 (Th1) type cytokines, Fas, and Fas ligand in the footpads after challenge, suggesting CD4+ Th1 cells locally expanded in response to Cr. Accumulated T cells included natural killer (NK) T cells and Cr-specific T cells with VA11-1/VB14-1 usage, suggesting metal-specific T cells driven by invariant NKT cells might contribute to the pathogenesis of Cr allergy.
PMCID: PMC3896422  PMID: 24465826
5.  Characterization of T Cell Receptors of Th1 Cells Infiltrating Inflamed Skin of a Novel Murine Model of Palladium-Induced Metal Allergy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76385.
Metal allergy is categorized as a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction, and is characterized by the recruitment of lymphocytes into sites of allergic inflammation. Because of the unavailability of suitable animal models for metal allergy, the role of T cells in the pathogenesis of metal allergy has not been explored. Thus, we developed a novel mouse model for metal allergy associated with infiltration of T cells by multiple injections of palladium (Pd) plus lipopolysaccharide into the footpad. Using this model, we characterized footpad-infiltrating T cells in terms of phenotypic markers, T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires and cytokine expression. CD3+ CD4+ T cells accumulated in the allergic footpads 7 days after Pd challenge. The expression levels of CD25, interleukin-2, interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor, but not interleukin-4 and interleukin-5, increased in the footpads after challenge, suggesting CD4+ T helper 1 (Th1) cells locally expanded in response to Pd. Infiltrated T cells in the footpads frequently expressed AV18-1 and BV8-2 T cell receptor (TCR) chains compared with T cells in the lymph nodes and exhibited oligoclonality. T-cell clones identified from Pd-allergic mouse footpads shared identical CDR3 sequences containing AV18-1 and BV8-2. These results suggest that TCR AV18-1 and BV8-2 play dominant and critical parts in the antigen specificity of Pd-specific Th1 cells.
PMCID: PMC3789730  PMID: 24098486
6.  TNF-α Acts as an Immunoregulator in the Mouse Brain by Reducing the Incidence of Severe Disease Following Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71643.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) causes acute central nervous system (CNS) disease in humans, in whom the clinical symptoms vary from febrile illness to meningitis and encephalitis. However, the mechanism of severe encephalitis has not been fully elucidated. In this study, using a mouse model, we investigated the pathogenetic mechanisms that correlate with fatal JEV infection. Following extraneural infection with the JaOArS982 strain of JEV, infected mice exhibited clinical signs ranging from mild to fatal outcome. Comparison of the pathogenetic response between severe and mild cases of JaOArS982-infected mice revealed increased levels of TNF-α in the brains of severe cases. However, unexpectedly, the mortality rate of TNF-α KO mice was significantly increased compared with that of WT mice, indicating that TNF-α plays a protective role against fatal infection. Interestingly, there were no significant differences of viral load in the CNS between WT and TNF-α KO mice. However, exaggerated inflammatory responses were observed in the CNS of TNF-α KO mice. Although these observations were also obtained in IL-10 KO mice, the mortality and enhanced inflammatory responses were more pronounced in TNF-α KO mice. Our findings therefore provide the first evidence that TNF-α has an immunoregulatory effect on pro-inflammatory cytokines in the CNS during JEV infection and consequently protects the animals from fatal disease. Thus, we propose that the increased level of TNF-α in severe cases was the result of severe disease, and secondly that immunopathological effects contribute to severe neuronal degeneration resulting in fatal disease. In future, further elucidation of the immunoregulatory mechanism of TNF-α will be an important priority to enable the development of effective treatment strategies for Japanese encephalitis.
PMCID: PMC3733918  PMID: 23940775
7.  Upregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor 4 in oral leukoplakia 
In the present study, we investigate the expression profile of the epidermal growth factor receptor family, which comprises EGFR/ErbB1, HER2/ErbB2, HER3/ErbB3 and HER4/ErbB4 in oral leukoplakia (LP). The expression of four epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family genes and their ligands were measured in LP tissues from 14 patients and compared with levels in 10 patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) and normal oral mucosa (NOM) from 14 healthy donors by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Synchronous mRNA coexpression of ErbB1, ErbB2, ErbB3 and ErbB4 was detected in LP lesions. Out of the receptors, only ErbB4 mRNA and protein was more highly expressed in LP compared with NOM tissues. These were strongly expressed by epithelial keratinocytes in LP lesions, as shown by immunohistochemistry. Regarding the ligands, the mRNA of Neuregulin2 and 4 were more highly expressed in OLP compared with NOM tissues. Therefore, enhanced ErbB4 on the keratinocytes and synchronous modulation of EGFR family genes may contribute to the pathogenesis and carcinogenesis of LP.
PMCID: PMC3632759  PMID: 23492901
epidermal growth factor receptor; immunohistochemistry; oral leukoplakia; quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction
8.  Immune-Related Gene Expression Profile in Laboratory Common Marmosets Assessed by an Accurate Quantitative Real-Time PCR Using Selected Reference Genes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56296.
The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is considered a novel experimental animal model of non-human primates. However, due to antibody unavailability, immunological and pathological studies have not been adequately conducted in various disease models of common marmoset. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a powerful tool to examine gene expression levels. Recent reports have shown that selection of internal reference housekeeping genes are required for accurate normalization of gene expression. To develop a reliable qPCR method in common marmoset, we used geNorm applets to evaluate the expression stability of eight candidate reference genes (GAPDH, ACTB, rRNA, B2M, UBC, HPRT, SDHA and TBP) in various tissues from laboratory common marmosets. geNorm analysis showed that GAPDH, ACTB, SDHA and TBP were generally ranked high in stability followed by UBC. In contrast, HPRT, rRNA and B2M exhibited lower expression stability than other genes in most tissues analyzed. Furthermore, by using the improved qPCR with selected reference genes, we analyzed the expression levels of CD antigens (CD3ε, CD4, CD8α and CD20) and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12β, IL-13, IFN-γ and TNF-α) in peripheral blood leukocytes and compared them between common marmosets and humans. The expression levels of CD4 and IL-4 were lower in common marmosets than in humans whereas those of IL-10, IL-12β and IFN-γ were higher in the common marmoset. The ratio of Th1-related gene expression level to that of Th2-related genes was inverted in common marmosets. We confirmed the inverted ratio of CD4 to CD8 in common marmosets by flow cytometric analysis. Therefore, the difference in Th1/Th2 balance between common marmosets and humans may affect host defense and/or disease susceptibility, which should be carefully considered when using common marmoset as an experimental model for biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC3581525  PMID: 23451040
9.  T-cell Responses to Dengue Virus in Humans 
Tropical Medicine and Health  2011;39(4 Suppl):45-51.
Dengue virus (DENV) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Dengue virus infection induces specific CD4+CD8– and CD8+CD4– T cells in humans. In primary infection, T-cell responses to DENV are serotype cross-reactive, but the highest response is to the serotype that caused the infection. The epitopes recognized by DENV-specific T cells are located in most of the structural and non-structural proteins, but NS3 is the protein that is most dominantly recognized. In patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) caused by secondary DENV infection, T cells are highly activated in vivo. These highly activated T cells are DENV-specific and oligoclonal. Multiple kinds of lymphokines are produced by the activated T cells, and it has been hypothesized that these lymphokines are responsible for induction of plasma leakage, one of the most characteristic features of DHF. Thus, T-cells play important roles in the pathogenesis of DHF and in the recovery from DENV infection.
PMCID: PMC3317604  PMID: 22500136
Dengue virus; T-cell response; T-cell receptor; Dengue fever; Dengue hemorrhagic fever
10.  Abnormal networks of immune response-related molecules in bone marrow cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis as revealed by DNA microarray analysis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by chronic synovitis that progresses to destruction of cartilage and bone. Bone marrow (BM) cells have been shown to contribute to this pathogenesis. In this study, we compared differentially expressed molecules in BM cells from RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients and analyzed abnormal regulatory networks to identify the role of BM cells in RA.
Gene expression profiles (GEPs) in BM-derived mononuclear cells from 9 RA and 10 OA patients were obtained by DNA microarray. Up- and down-regulated genes were identified by comparing the GEPs from the two patient groups. Bioinformatics was performed by Expression Analysis Systemic Explorer (EASE) 2.0 based on gene ontology, followed by network pathway analysis with Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) 7.5.
The BM mononuclear cells showed 764 up-regulated and 1,910 down-regulated genes in RA patients relative to the OA group. EASE revealed that the gene category response to external stimulus, which included the gene category immune response, was overrepresented by the up-regulated genes. So too were the gene categories signal transduction and phosphate metabolism. Down-regulated genes were dominantly classified in three gene categories: cell proliferation, which included mitotic cell cycle, DNA replication and chromosome cycle, and DNA metabolism. Most genes in these categories overlapped with each other. IPA analysis showed that the up-regulated genes in immune response were highly relevant to the antigen presentation pathway and to interferon signaling. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E, HLA-F, and HLA-G, tapasin (TAP) and TAP binding protein, both of which are involved in peptide antigen binding and presentation via MHC class I molecules, are depicted in the immune response molecule networks. Interferon gamma and interleukin 8 were overexpressed and found to play central roles in these networks.
Abnormal regulatory networks in the immune response and cell cycle categories were identified in BM mononuclear cells from RA patients, indicating that the BM is pathologically involved in RA.
PMCID: PMC3218904  PMID: 21679443
11.  Proinflammatory role of amphiregulin, an epidermal growth factor family member whose expression is augmented in rheumatoid arthritis patients 
The epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF receptor (EGFR) families play important roles in the hyperplastic growth of several tissues as well as tumor growth. Since synovial hyperplasia in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) resembles a tumor, involvement of the EGF/EGFR families in RA pathology has been implied. Although several reports have suggested that ErbB2 is the most important member of the EGFR family for the synovitis in RA, it remains unclear which members of the EGF family are involved. To clarify the EGF-like growth factors involved in the pathology of RA, we investigated the expression levels of seven major EGF-like growth factors in RA patients compared with those in osteoarthritis (OA) patients and healthy control subjects.
The expression levels of seven EGF-like growth factors and four EGFR-like receptors were measured in mononuclear cells isolated from bone marrow and venous blood, as well as in synovial tissues, using quantitative RT-PCR. Further evidence of gene expression was obtained by ELISAs. The proinflammatory roles were assessed by the growth-promoting and cytokine-inducing effects of the corresponding recombinant proteins on cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS).
Among the seven EGF-like ligands examined, only amphiregulin (AREG) was expressed at higher levels in all three RA tissues tested compared with the levels in OA tissues. The AREG protein concentration in RA synovial fluid was also higher than that in OA synovial fluid. Furthermore, recombinant human AREG stimulated FLS to proliferate and produce several proinflammatory cytokines, including angiogenic cytokines such as interleukin-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in a dose-dependent manner. The VEGF mRNA levels in RA synovia and VEGF protein concentrations in RA synovial fluid were significantly higher than those in the corresponding OA samples and highly correlated with the levels of AREG.
The present findings suggest that AREG functions to stimulate synovial cells and that elevated levels of AREG may be involved in the pathogenesis of RA.
PMCID: PMC2396620  PMID: 18439312
12.  VLA-4-dependent and -independent pathways in cell contact-induced proinflammatory cytokine production by synovial nurse-like cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(6):R10.
Nurse-like stromal cell lines from the synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA-SNC) produce, on coculture with lymphocytes, large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines. In the present paper, we analyze the molecular events necessary for the induction of cytokine release from RA-SNC cells, and particularly the roles played by cell adhesion and the transmigration (also known as pseudoemperipolesis) of lymphocytes. For this purpose, the effects of various mAbs on the binding and transmigration of a human B-cell line, MC/car, were examined using a cloned RA-SNC line, RA-SNC77. To analyze the role of lymphocyte binding and transmigration on upregulated cytokine production by the RA-SNC77 cells, we used C3 exoenzyme-treated MC/car cells, which could bind to RA-SNC77 cells but could not transmigrate. Treatment with anti-CD29 or anti-CD49d mAb significantly reduced binding and transmigration of the MC/car cells. In contrast, the neutralizing anti-CD106/vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 mAb did not show any inhibitory effect. Likewise, none of the neutralizing mAbs against CD11a, CD18, CD44, CD49e, or CD54 showed significant effects. Binding of C3-treated or untreated MC/car cells to RA-SNC77 cells induced comparable levels of IL-6 and IL-8 production. In addition, the enhanced cytokine production by RA-SNC77 cells required direct lymphocyte contact via a very late antigen-4 (VLA-4)-independent adhesion pathway. These results indicate that, although both the VLA-4-dependent/vascular cell adhesion molecule 1-independent and the VLA4-independent adhesion pathways are involved in MC/car binding and subsequent transmigration, only the VLA4-independent adhesion pathway is necessary and sufficient for the enhanced proinflammatory cytokine production by RA-SNC77 cells. The transmigration process, which is dependent on Rho-GTPase, is not a prerequisite for this phenomenon.
PMCID: PMC153839  PMID: 12453313
cell adhesion; cytokine production; nurse cells; rheumatoid arthritis; transmigration
13.  Differentiation of monocytes into multinucleated giant bone-resorbing cells: two-step differentiation induced by nurse-like cells and cytokines 
Arthritis Research  2001;3(5):306-310.
Bone resorption in the joints is the characteristic finding in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoclast-like cells are present in the synovial tissues and invade the bone of patients with RA. The characteristics of these cells are not completely known. In the work reported here, we generated these cells from peripheral-blood monocytes from healthy individuals. The monocytes were co-cultured with nurse-like cells from synovial tissues of patients with RA (RA-NLCs). Within 5 weeks of culture, the monocytes were activated and differentiated into mononuclear cells positive for CD14 and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP). These mononuclear cells then differentiated into multinucleated giant bone-resorbing cells after stimulation with IL-3, IL-5, IL-7, and/or granulocyte-macrophage-colony-stimulating factor. TRAP-positive cells with similar characteristics were found in synovial fluid from patients with RA. These results indicate that multinucleated giant bone-resorbing cells are generated from monocytes in two steps: first, RA-NLCs induce monocytes to differentiate into TRAP-positive mononuclear cells, which are then induced by cytokines to differentiate into multinucleated giant bone-resorbing cells.
PMCID: PMC64843  PMID: 11549372
monocytes; nurse cells; osteoclasts; rheumatoid arthritis; stromal cells
14.  Establishment and Characterization of Japanese Encephalitis Virus-Specific, Human CD4+ T-Cell Clones: Flavivirus Cross-Reactivity, Protein Recognition, and Cytotoxic Activity 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(10):8032-8036.
We analyzed the CD4+ T-lymphocyte responses of two donors who had received Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) vaccine 6 or 12 months earlier. Bulk culture proliferation assays showed that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) responded to JEV antigens (Ag) but also responded at lower levels to West Nile virus (WNV) and dengue virus type 1, 2, and 4 (D1V, D2V, and D4V, respectively) Ag. Five JEV-specific CD4+ human T-cell clones and one subclone were established from PBMC of these two donors. Two clones responded to WNV Ag as well as to JEV Ag, whereas the others responded only to JEV Ag. Three of five CD4+ T-cell clones had JEV-specific cytotoxic activity and recognized E protein. The HLA restriction of the JEV-specific T-cell clones was examined. Three clones were HLA-DR4 restricted, one was HLA-DQ3 restricted, and the HLA restriction of one clone was not determined. T-cell receptor analysis showed that these clones expressed different T-cell receptors, suggesting that they originated from different T lymphocytes. These results indicate that JEV vaccine induces JEV-specific and flavivirus-cross-reactive CD4+ T lymphocytes and that these T lymphocytes recognize E protein. The functions and HLA restriction patterns of these T lymphocytes are, however, heterogeneous.
PMCID: PMC110139  PMID: 9733842

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