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1.  Chronic Endotoxin Exposure Produces Airflow Obstruction and Lung Dendritic Cell Expansion 
Little is known about the mechanisms of persistent airflow obstruction that result from chronic occupational endotoxin exposure. We sought to analyze the inflammatory response underlying persistent airflow obstruction as a result of chronic occupational endotoxin exposure. We developed a murine model of daily inhaled endotoxin for periods of 5 days to 8 weeks. We analyzed physiologic lung dysfunction, lung histology, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and total lung homogenate inflammatory cell and cytokine profiles, and pulmonary gene expression profiles. We observed an increase in airway hyperresponsiveness as a result of chronic endotoxin exposure. After 8 weeks, the mice exhibited an increase in bronchoalveolar lavage and lung neutrophils that correlated with an increase in proinflammatory cytokines. Detailed analyses of inflammatory cell subsets revealed an expansion of dendritic cells (DCs), and in particular, proinflammatory DCs, with a reduced percentage of macrophages. Gene expression profiling revealed the up-regulation of a panel of genes that was consistent with DC recruitment, and lung histology revealed an accumulation of DCs in inflammatory aggregates around the airways in 8-week–exposed animals. Repeated, low-dose LPS inhalation, which mirrors occupational exposure, resulted in airway hyperresponsiveness, associated with a failure to resolve the proinflammatory response, an inverted macrophage to DC ratio, and a significant rise in the inflammatory DC population. These findings point to a novel underlying mechanism of airflow obstruction as a result of occupational LPS exposure, and suggest molecular and cellular targets for therapeutic development.
PMCID: PMC3423463  PMID: 22517795
airway resistance; inhalation; neutrophils; macrophages; dendritic cells; endotoxin
2.  Cyclooxygenase-2 Deficiency Leads to Intestinal Barrier Dysfunction and Increased Mortality During Polymicrobial Sepsis 1 
Sepsis remains the leading cause of death in critically ill patients despite modern advances in critical care. Intestinal barrier dysfunction may lead to secondary bacterial translocation and the development of the multiple organ dysfunction syndrome during sepsis. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is highly upregulated in the intestine during sepsis and we hypothesized that it may be critical in the maintenance of intestinal epithelial barrier function during peritonitis-induced polymicrobial sepsis. COX-2−/− and COX-2+/+ BALB/c mice underwent cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) or sham surgery. Mice chimeric for COX-2 were derived by bone marrow transplantation and underwent CLP. C2BBe1 cells, an intestinal epithelial cell line, were treated with the COX-2 inhibitor NS-398, PGD2, or vehicle and stimulated with cytokines. COX-2−/− mice developed exaggerated bacteremia and increased mortality compared with COX-2+/+ mice following CLP. Mice chimeric for COX-2 exhibited the recipient phenotype suggesting that epithelial COX-2 expression in the ileum attenuates bacteremia following CLP. Absence of COX-2 significantly increased epithelial permeability of the ileum and reduced expression of the tight junction proteins zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1), occludin, and claudin-1 in the ileum following CLP. Furthermore, PGD2 attenuated cytokine-induced hyperpermeability and ZO-1 downregulation in NS-398-treated C2BBe1 cells. Our findings reveal that absence of COX-2 is associated with enhanced intestinal epithelial permeability and leads to exaggerated bacterial translocation and increased mortality during peritonitis-induced sepsis. Taken together, our results suggest that epithelial expression of COX-2 in the ileum is a critical modulator of tight junction protein expression and intestinal barrier function during sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3208135  PMID: 21967897
3.  Characterization of macroautophagic flux in vivo using a leupeptin-based assay 
Autophagy  2011;7(6):629-642.
Macroautophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process that is crucial for organ homeostasis in mammals. However, methods to directly measure macroautophagic activity (or flux) in vivo are limited. In this study we developed a quantitative macroautophagic flux assay based on measuring LC3b protein turnover in vivo after administering the protease inhibitor leupeptin. Using this assay we then characterized basal macroautophagic flux in different mouse organs. We found that the rate of LC3b accumulation after leupeptin treatment was greatest in the liver and lowest in spleen. Interestingly we found that LC3a, an ATG8/LC3b homologue and the LC3b-interacting protein p62 were degraded with similar kinetics to LC3b. However, the LC3b-related proteins GABARAP and GATE-16 were not rapidly turned over in mouse liver, implying that different LC3b homologues may contribute to macroautophagy via distinct mechanisms. Nutrient starvation augmented macroautophagic flux as measured by our assay, while refeeding the animals after a period of starvation significantly suppressed flux. We also confirmed that beclin 1 heterozygous mice had reduced basal macroautophagic flux compared to wild-type littermates. These results illustrate the usefulness of our leupeptin-based assay for studying the dynamics of macroautophagy in mice.
PMCID: PMC3127049  PMID: 21460622
macroautophagy; autophagy; flux; mice; in vivo; LC3; GABARAP; GATE-16; leupeptin; cycloheximide
4.  Autophagy proteins regulate innate immune response by inhibiting NALP3 inflammasome-mediated mitochondrial DNA release 
Nature immunology  2010;12(3):222-230.
Autophagy, a cellular process for organelle and protein turnover, regulates innate immune responses. We demonstrate that depletion of autophagic proteins microtubule associated protein-1 light chain 3B (LC3B) and Beclin 1 enhances caspase-1 activation and secretion of interleukin-1β and interleukin-18. Autophagic protein depletion promoted accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and cytosolic translocation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and ATP in macrophages. Release of mtDNA into the cytosol depended on the NALP3 inflammasome and mitochondrial ROS. Cytosolic mtDNA contributed to IL-1β and IL-18 secretion in response to LPS and ATP. LC3B-deficient mice produced more caspase-1-dependent cytokines in two sepsis models and were susceptible to LPS-induced mortality. Our study suggests that autophagic proteins regulate NALP3-dependent inflammation by preserving mitochondrial integrity.
PMCID: PMC3079381  PMID: 21151103
5.  Anti-HMGB1 Neutralizing Antibody Ameliorates Gut Barrier Dysfunction and Improves Survival after Hemorrhagic Shock 
Molecular Medicine  2006;12(4-6):105-114.
Intestinal barrier dysfunction occurs following hemorrhagic shock and resuscitation (HS/R). High-mobility group B1 (HMGB1) has been shown to increase the permeability of Caco-2 human enterocyte-like epithelial monolayers in vitro. In this study, we found that serum concentrations of HMGB1 were higher in blood samples obtained from 25 trauma victims with hemorrhagic shock than in 9 normal volunteers. We also studied whether treatment with anti-HMGB1 antibody can ameliorate HS/R-induced gut barrier dysfunction in mice. Animals were shocked by withdrawal of blood to maintain mean arterial pressure at 25 to 30 mmHg for 2 h. After resuscitation with shed blood plus Ringer’s lactate solution, the mice were treated with either anti-HMGB1 antibody or nonimmune rabbit IgG. Serum HMGB1 concentrations were significantly higher in trauma victims than control mice. Treatment with anti-HMGB1 antibody improved survival at 24 h and ameliorated the development of ileal mucosal hyperpermeability to FITC-labeled dextran. At 24 h after HS/R, treatment with anti-HMGB1 antibody decreased bacterial translocation to mesenteric lymph nodes and was associated with lower circulating concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10. These data support the notion that HMGB1 is a mediator of HS/R-induced gut barrier dysfunction and suggest that anti-HMGB1 antibodies warrant further evaluation as a therapeutic to ameliorate the morbidity of HS/R in trauma patients.
PMCID: PMC1578769  PMID: 16953558

Results 1-5 (5)