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1.  SAMe Treatment Prevents the Ethanol-Induced Epigenetic Alterations of Genes in the Toll-Like Receptor Pathway 
Prior studies showed that Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway genes were up regulated in the liver of rats fed ethanol, but not in rats fed ethanol plus S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). These results were obtained using a PCR microplate array analysis for TLRs and associated proteins such as proinflammatory cytokines and chemokine mRNA levels. A large number of genes were up regulated by the ethanol diet, but not the ethanol plus SAMe diet. In the present study, using the same experimental rat livers, DNA methylation analysis was done by using an Epitect Methyl DNA Restriction Kit (Qiagen, 335451) (24 genes). The results of all the genes combined shows a highly significant increase in methylation in the ethanol-fed group of rats, but not in the dextrose-fed, SAMe-fed or ethanol plus SAMe-fed groups of rats. There was also an increase in DNA methylation in rats with high blood alcohol levels compared to a rat with a low blood alcohol level. The individual genes that were up regulated as indicated by the increased mRNA measured by qPCR correlated positively with the increased methylation of the DNA of the corresponding gene as follows: Cd14, Hspa1a, Irf1, Irak1, Irak2, Map3k7, Myd88, Pparα, Ripk2, Tollip and Traf6.
PMCID: PMC3562371  PMID: 23047067
TLR (Toll-like receptor); SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine); BAL/blood alcohol levels; 5-methylcytosine
2.  Diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(33):11684-11699.
Alcohol is a hepatotoxin that is commonly consumed worldwide and is associated with a spectrum of liver injury including simple steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a general term used to refer to this spectrum of alcohol-related liver injuries. Excessive or harmful alcohol use is ranked as one of the top five risk factors for death and disability globally and results in 2.5 million deaths and 69.4 million annual disability adjusted life years. All patients who present with clinical features of hepatitis or chronic liver disease or who have elevated serum elevated transaminase levels should be screened for an alcohol use disorder. The diagnosis of ALD can generally be made based on history, clinical and laboratory findings. However, the diagnosis of ALD can be clinically challenging as there is no single diagnostic test that confirms the diagnosis and patients may not be forthcoming about their degree of alcohol consumption. In addition, clinical findings may be absent or minimal in early ALD characterized by hepatic steatosis. Typical laboratory findings in ALD include transaminase levels with aspartate aminotransferase greater than alanine aminotransferase as well as increased mean corpuscular volume, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase, and IgA to IgG ratio. In unclear cases, the diagnosis can be supported by imaging and liver biopsy. The histological features of ALD can ultimately define the diagnosis according to the typical presence and distribution of hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and Mallory-Denk bodies. Because of the potential reversible nature of ALD with sobriety, regular screening of the general population and early diagnosis are essential.
PMCID: PMC4155359  PMID: 25206273
Alcoholic liver disease; Diagnosis; Alcohol screening; Histology; Mallory-Denk bodies; Prognosis
3.  Mallory-Denk body pathogenesis revisited 
World Journal of Hepatology  2010;2(8):295-301.
This editorial reviews the recent evidence showing that Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) form in hepatocytes as the result of a drug-induced shift from the 26s proteasome formation to the immunoproteasome formation. The shift is the result of changes in gene expression induced in promoter activation, which is induced by the IFNγ and TNFα signaling pathway. This activates TLR 2 and 4 receptors. The TLR signaling pathway stimulates both the induction of a cytokine proinflammatory response and an up regulation of growth factors. The MDB- forming hepatocytes proliferate as a result of the increase in growth factor expression by the MDB- forming cells, which selectively proliferate in response to drug toxicity. All of these mechanisms are induced by drug toxicity, and are prevented by feeding the methyl donors SAMe and betaine, supporting the epigenetic response of MDB formation.
PMCID: PMC2999296  PMID: 21161012
Toll-like receptor; Proinflammatory; Methyl donors; Epigenetic processes; Drug toxicity; 26s Proteasome; Immunoproteasome
There is clinical evidence that chronic liver diseases in which MDBs (Mallory Denk Bodies) form progress to hepatocellular carcinoma. The present study provides evidence that links MDB formation induced by chronic drug injury, with preneoplasia and later to the formation of tumors, which develop long after drug withdrawal. Evidence indicated that this link was due to an epigenetic cellular memory induced by chronic drug ingestion. Microarray analysis showed that the expressions of many markers of preneoplasia (UBD, Alpha Fetoprotein, KLF6 and Glutathione-S-Transferase mu2) were increased together when the drug DDC was refed. These changes were suppressed by S-adenosylmethionine feeding, indicating that the drug was affecting DNA and histones methylation in an epigenetic manner. The link between MDB formation and neoplasia formation was likely due to the over expression of UBD (also called FAT10), which is up regulated in 90% of human hepatocellular carcinomas. Immunohistochemical staining of drug primed mouse livers showed that FAT10 positive liver cells persisted up to 4 months after drug withdrawal and they were still found in the livers of mice, 14 months after drug withdrawal. The refeeding of DDC increased the percent of FAT10 hepatocytes.
PMCID: PMC2874461  PMID: 18280469
5.  Alcohol, nutrition and liver cancer: Role of Toll-like receptor signaling 
This article reviews the evidence that ties the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to the natural immune pro-inflammatory response to chronic liver disease, with a focus on the role of Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling as the mechanism of liver stem cell/progenitor transformation to HCC. Two exemplary models of this phenomenon are reviewed in detail. One model applies chronic ethanol/lipopolysaccharide feeding to the activated TLR4 signaling pathway. The other applies chronic feeding of a carcinogenic drug, in which TLR2 and 4 signaling pathways are activated. In the drug-induced model, two major methyl donors, S-adenosylmethionine and betaine, prevent the upregulation of the TLR signaling pathways and abrogate the stem cell/progenitor proliferation response when fed with the carcinogenic drug. This observation supports a nutritional approach to liver cancer prevention and treatment. The observation that upregulation of the TLR signaling pathways leads to liver tumor formation gives evidence to the popular concept that the chronic pro-inflammatory response is an important mechanism of liver oncogenesis. It provides a nutritional approach, which could prevent HCC from developing in many chronic liver diseases.
PMCID: PMC2842526  PMID: 20238401
Toll-like receptor; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Methyl donors, Epigenetic processes; Inflammation; Alcohol; Drug toxicity; Lipopolysaccharides
6.  The Heat Shock Protein Inhibitor Quercetin Attenuates Hepatitis C Virus Production 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2009;50(6):10.1002/hep.23232.
The hepatitis C viral (HCV) genome is translated through an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) as a single polyprotein precursor that is subsequently cleaved into individual mature viral proteins. Non-structural protein 5A (NS5A) is one of these proteins that has been implicated in regulation of viral genome replication, translation from the viral IRES and viral packaging. We sought to identify cellular proteins that interact with NS5A and determine whether these interactions may play a role in viral production. Mass spectrometric analysis of coimmunoprecipitated NS5A complexes from cell extracts identified heat shock proteins (HSPs) 40 and 70.Weconfirmed anNS5A/HSPinteraction by confocal microscopy demonstrating colocalization of NS5A with HSP40 and with HSP70. Western analysis of coimmunoprecipitated NS5A complexes further confirmed interaction of HSP40 and HSP70 with NS5A.Atransient transfection, luciferase-based, tissue culture IRES assay demonstrated NS5A augmentation of HCV IRES-mediated translation, and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of HSP70 reduced this augmentation. Treatment with an inhibitor of HSP synthesis, Quercetin, markedly reduced baseline IRES activity and its augmentation by NS5A. HSP70 knockdown also modestly reduced viral protein accumulation, whereas HSP40 and HSP70 knockdown both reduced infectious viral particle production in an HCV cell culture system using the J6/JFH virus fused to the Renilla luciferase reporter. Treatment with Quercetin reduced infectious particle production at nontoxic concentrations. The marked inhibition of virus production by Quercetin may partially be related to reduction of HSP40 and HSP70 and their potential involvement in IRES translation, as well as viral morphogenesis or secretion.
Quercetin may allow for dissection of the viral life cycle and has potential therapeutic use to reduce virus production with low associated toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3846025  PMID: 19839005
7.  Divergent antiviral effects of bioflavonoids on the hepatitis C virus life cycle 
Virology  2012;433(2):346-355.
We have previously demonstrated that quercetin, a bioflavonoid, blocks hepatitis C virus (HCV) proliferation by inhibiting NS5A-driven internal ribosomal entry site (IRES)-mediated translation of the viral genome. Here, we investigate the mechanisms of antiviral activity of quercetin and six additional bioflavonoids. We demonstrate that catechin, naringenin, and quercetin possess significant antiviral activity, with no associated cytotoxicity. Infectious virion secretion was not significantly altered by these bioflavonoids. Catechin and naringenin demonstrated stronger inhibition of infectious virion assembly compared to quercetin. Quercetin markedly blocked viral translation whereas catechin and naringenin demonstrated mild activity. Similarly quercetin completely blocked NS5A-augmented IRES-mediated translation in an IRES reporter assay, whereas catechin and naringenin had only a mild effect. Moreover, quercetin differentially inhibited HSP70 induction compared to catechin and naringenin. Thus, the antiviral activity of these bioflavonoids is mediated through different mechanisms. Therefore combination of these bioflavonoids may act synergistically against HCV.
PMCID: PMC3478964  PMID: 22975673
HSP70; NS5A; IRES; HCV; Bioflavonoid
8.  A Cell-Permeable Hairpin Peptide Inhibits Hepatitis C Viral Nonstructural Protein 5A Mediated Translation and Virus Production 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;55(6):1662-1672.
NS5A is a key regulator of hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle including RNA replication, assembly, and translation. We and others have shown NS5A to augment HCV IRES-mediated translation. Further, Quercetin treatment and heat shock protein (HSP) 70 knockdown inhibit NS5A-driven augmentation of IRES-mediated translation and infectious virus production. We have also co-immunoprecipitated HSP70 with NS5A and demonstrated cellular colocalization leading to the hypothesis that the NS5A/HSP70 complex formation is important for IRES-mediated translation. Here, we have identified the NS5A region responsible for complex formation through in vitro deletion analyses. Deletion of NS5A domains II and III failed to reduce HSP70 binding, whereas domain I deletion eliminated complex formation. NS5A domain I alone also bound HSP70. Deletion mapping of domain I identified the C-terminal 34 amino acids (C34) to be the interaction site. Further, addition of C34 to domains II and III restored complex formation. C34 expression significantly reduced intracellular viral protein levels, in contrast to same size control peptides from other NS5A domains. C34 also competitively inhibited NS5A-augmented IRES-mediated translation, while controls did not. Triple-alanine scan mutagenesis identified an exposed beta-sheet hairpin in C34 to be primarily responsible for NS5A-augmented IRES-mediated translation. Moreover, treatment with a 10 amino acid peptide derivative of C34 suppressed NS5A-augmented IRES-mediated translation and significantly inhibited intracellular viral protein synthesis, with no associated cytotoxicity. Conclusion: These results support the hypothesis that the NS5A/HSP70 complex augments viral IRES-mediated translation, identify a sequence-specific hairpin element in NS5A responsible for complex formation, and demonstrate the functional significance of C34 hairpin-mediated NS5A/HSP70 interaction. Identification of this element may allow for further interrogation of NS5A-mediated IRES activity, sequence specific HSP recognition, and rational drug design.
PMCID: PMC3345309  PMID: 22183951
HSP70; NS5A; IRES; HCV; Protein binding
9.  Epigenetic Events in Liver Cancer Resulting From Alcoholic Liver Disease 
Epigenetic mechanisms play an extensive role in the development of liver cancer (i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]) associated with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) as well as in liver disease associated with other conditions. For example, epigenetic mechanisms, such as changes in the methylation and/or acetylation pattern of certain DNA regions or of the histone proteins around which the DNA is wrapped, contribute to the reversion of normal liver cells into progenitor and stem cells that can develop into HCC. Chronic exposure to beverage alcohol (i.e., ethanol) can induce all of these epigenetic changes. Thus, ethanol metabolism results in the formation of compounds that can cause changes in DNA methylation and interfere with other components of the normal processes regulating DNA methylation. Alcohol exposure also can alter histone acetylation/deacetylation and methylation patterns through a variety of mechanisms and signaling pathways. Alcohol also acts indirectly on another molecule called toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) that is a key component in a crucial regulatory pathway in the cells and whose dysregulation is involved in the development of HCC. Finally, alcohol use regulates an epigenetic mechanism involving small molecules called miRNAs that control transcriptional events and the expression of genes important to ALD.
PMCID: PMC3860418  PMID: 24313165
Alcohol consumption; alcohol abuse; chronic alcohol use; alcoholic liver disease; ethanol metabolism; alcoholic liver disease; liver cancer; hepatocellular carcinoma; epigenetics; epigenetic mechanisms; DNA methylation; histone methylation; stem cells; micro RNAs
Toll-like receptors (TLR) play a role in mediating the proinflammatory response, fibrogenesis and carcinogenesis in chronic liver diseases such as alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis C and hepatocellular carcinoma. This is true in experimental models of these diseases. For this reason, we investigated the TLR proinflammatory response in the chronic intragastric tube feeding rat model of alcohol liver disease. The methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine was also fed to prevent the gene expression changes induced by ethanol. Ethanol feeding tended to increase the up regulation of the gene expression of TLR2 and TLR4. SAMe feeding prevented this. TLR4 and MyD88 protein levels were significantly increased by ethanol and this was prevented by SAMe. This is the first report where ethanol feeding induced TLR2 and SAMe prevented the induction by ethanol. CD34, FOS, interferon responsive factor 1 (IRF-1), Jun, TLR 1,2,3,4,6 and 7 and Traf-6 were found to be up regulated as seen by microarray analysis where rats were sacrified at high blood alcohol levels compared to pair fed controls. Il-6, IL-10 and IFNγ were also up regulated by high blood levels of ethanol. The gene expression of CD14, MyD88 and TNFR1SF1 were not up regulated by ethanol but were down regulated by SAMe. The gene expression of IL-1R1 and IRF1 tended to be up regulated by ethanol and this was prevented by feeding SAMe. The results suggest that SAMe, fed chronically prevents activation of TLR pathways caused by ethanol. In this way the proinflammatory response, fibrogenesis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma formation due to alcohol liver disease could be prevented by SAMe.
PMCID: PMC3092000  PMID: 21276439
Toll-like receptor (TLR); S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe); alcoholic liver disease (ASH)
There is a need for a nontoxic antioxidant agent to be identified which will prevent alcoholic liver disease (ALD) in alcoholic patients. We tested 4 candidate agents: quercetin, EGCG, catechin and betaine, all of which occur naturally in food. HepG2 cells over expressing CYP2E1 were subjected to arachidonic acid, iron and 100 mM ethanol with or without the antioxidant agent. All the agents prevented oxidative stress and MDA/4HNE formation induced by ethanol, except for EGCG. Catechin prevented CYP2E1 induction by ethanol. All the agents tended to down regulate the ethanol-induced increased expression of glutathionine peroxidase 4 (GPX4). All the agents, except catechin, tended to reduce the expression of SOD2 induced by ethanol. Heat shock protein 70 was up regulated by ethanol alone and betaine tended to prevent this. All 4 agents down regulated the expression of Gadd45b in the presence of ethanol, which could explain the mechanism of DNA demethylation associated with the up regulation of the gene expression observed in experimental ALD. In conclusion, the in vitro model of oxidative stress induced by ethanol provided evidence that all 4 agents tested prevented some aspect of liver cell injury caused by ethanol.
PMCID: PMC3113678  PMID: 21352821
Catechin; EGCG; Quercetin; Betaine; Oxidative Stress
An alcohol bolus causes the blood alcohol level (BAL) to peak at 1-2 hours post ingestion. The ethanol elimination rate is regulated by alcohol metabolizing enzymes, primarily alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1), acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), and cytochrome P450 (CYP2E1). Recently, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) was found to reduce acute BALs 3h after an alcohol bolus. The question, then, was: what is the mechanism involved in this reduction of BAL by feeding SAMe? To answer this question, we investigated the changes in ethanol metabolizing enzymes and the epigenetic changes that regulate the expression of these enzymes during acute binge drinking and chronic drinking.
Rats were fed a bolus of ethanol with or without SAMe, and were sacrificed at 3h or 12 h after the bolus.
RT-PCR and Western blot analyses showed that SAMe significantly induced ADH1 levels in the 3h liver samples. However, SAMe did not affect the changes in ADH1 protein levels 12h post bolus. Since SAMe is a methyl donor, it was postulated that the ADH1 gene expression up regulation at 3h was due to a histone modification induced by methylation from methyl transferases. Dimethylated histone 3 lysine 4 (H3K4me2), a modification responsible for gene expression activation, was found to be significantly increased by SAMe at 3h post bolus.
These results correlated with the low BAL found at 3h post bolus, and support the concept that SAMe increased the gene expression to increase the elimination rate of ethanol in binge drinking by increasing H3K4me2.
PMCID: PMC3319153  PMID: 20828554
Previous studies showed that S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) prevented MDB formation and the hypomethylation of histones induced by DDC feeding. These results suggest that formation of MDBs is an epigenetic phenomenon. To further test this theory, drug-primed mice were fed the methyl donor, betaine, together with DDC, which was refed for 7 days. Betaine significantly reduced MDB formation, decreased the liver/body weight ratio and decreased the number of FAT10 positive liver cells when they proliferate in response to DDC refeeding. Betaine also significantly prevented the decreased expression of BHMT, AHCY, MAT1a and GNMT and the increased expression of MTHFR, caused by DDC refeeding. S-Adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) levels were reduced by DDC refeeding and this was prevented by betaine. The results support the concept that betaine donates methyl groups, increasing methionine available in the cell. SAMe metabolism was reduced by the decrease in GNMT expression, which prevented the conversion of SAMe to SAH. As a consequence, betaine prevented MDB formation and FAT10 positive cell proliferation by blocking the epigenetic memory expressed by hepatocytes. The results further support the concept that MDB formation is the result of an epigenetic phenomenon, where a change in methionine metabolism causes global gene expression changes in hepatocytes.
PMCID: PMC3319154  PMID: 19073172
Over expression of FAT10 is characteristic of numerous types of carinoma including liver, gastric and colon carcinomas. In the case of colon carcinoma it is possible to determine at the point in the progression from the benign to the malignant process of colon cancer development by determining which stage in the neoplastic process FAT10 overexpression occurs. This stage was determined by measuring the intensity of fluoresence of immunohistochemically stained normal mucosa, tubular adenomas, hyperplastic polyps, serrated adenomas, villotubular, villous adenomas and invasive adenocarcinoma stages. Using this approach it was found the overexpression of FAT10 began at the serrated adenoma stage and continued to include the villous and villotubular stages and the invasive adenocaricnoma stage. The FAT10 overexpression by invasive adenocarcinoma was accompanied by the expression of the catalytic subunits of the immunoproteasome which is functionally tied to overexpression of FAT10, Toll-like receptor activation and the proinflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC3319157  PMID: 20888811
FAT10; immunoproteasome; Toll-like receptors; interferon; proinflammatory response
Mallory-Denk Bodies (MDBs) form in the liver of alcoholic patients. This occurs because of the accumulation and aggregation of ubiquitinated cytokeratins, which hypothetically is due to the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway’s (UPP) failure to degrade the cytokeratins. The experimental model of MDB formation was used in which MDBs were induced by refeeding DDC to drug-primed mice. The gene expression and protein levels of LMP2, LMP7 and MECL-1, the catalytic subunits in the immunoproteasome, as well as FAT10, were increased in the liver cells forming MDBs but not in the intervening normal hepatocytes. Chymotrypsin-like activity of the UPP was decreased by DDC refeeding, indicating that a switch from the UPP to the immunoproteasome had occurred at the expense of the 26S proteasome. The failure of the UPP to digest cytokeratins would explain MDB aggregate formation. SAMe prevented the decrease in UPP activity, the increase in LMP2, LMP7, and MECL-1 protein levels and MDB formation induced by DDC. DDC refeeding also induced the TNFα and IFNγ receptors. SAMe prevented the increase in the TNFα and IFNγ receptors, supporting the idea that TNFα and IFNγ were responsible for the up regulation of LMP2, LPM7, and FAT10. These results support the conclusion that MDBs form in FAT10 over-expressing hepatocytes where the up regulation of the immunoproteasome occurs at the expense of the 26S proteasome.
PMCID: PMC3315394  PMID: 20223233
26S proteasome; Immunoproteasome; TNF alpha; Interferon gamma; inflammatory response; Mallory-Denk Body
Microarrays were done on the livers of mice fed DDC for 10 weeks, withdrawn 1 month (DDC primed livers) and refed 6 days,and compared with mice fed the control diet. The expression of a large number of genes changed when DDC was fed or refed. A Venn diagram analysis identified 649 genes where gene expression was changed in the same direction. The epigenetic memory of the DDC primed liver involved an increase in the expression of ubiquitin D, alpha fetoprotein, connective tissue growth factor, integrin beta 2, DNA methyl transferase 3a and DNA damage –inducible 45 gamma. DNA methyl transferase 3b was down regulated as was Cbp/p300. When DDC was refed, DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase were up regulated as shown by microarray analysis. Histone3 lysine9 acetylation was increased by DDC and DDC refeeding and DNA methyltransferases were not changed as shown by Western blot analysis. The data suggests the concept that the epigenetic memory that explains why DDC primed hepatocytes form MBs in 7 days of DDC refeeding is primarily the result of epigenetic modifications of gene expression through changes in histone acetylation and methylation, as well as DNA methylation.
PMCID: PMC3315395  PMID: 17531972
epigenetics; Mallory bodies; phenotypic change; genetic memory
In the present study, the beneficial effects of proteasome inhibitor treatment in reducing ethanol-induced steatosis were investigated. A microarray analysis was performed on the liver of rats injected with PS-341 (Bortezomib, Velcade®), and the results showed that proteasome inhibitor treatment significantly reduced the mRNA expression of SREBP-1c, and the downstream lipogenic enzymes, such as fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), which catalyzes the carboxylation of acetyl-CoA to malonyl-CoA, the rate-limiting step in fatty acid synthesis. ELOVL6, which is responsible for fatty acids long chain elongation, was also significantly down regulated by proteasome inhibitor treatment. Moreover, PS-341 administration significantly reduced the expression of acyl-glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (AGPAT), and diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), enzyme involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis. Finally, PS-341 was found to down regulate the enzymes 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoenzymeA synthase (HMG-CoA synthase) that is responsible for cholesterol synthesis. Proteasome inhibitor was also found to play a role in intestinal lipid adsorption because apolipoproteins A (apoA-I, apoAII, apoA-IV and ApoCIII) were down regulated by proteasome inhibitor treatment, especially ApoA-II that is known to be a marker of alcohol consumption. Proteasome inhibitor treatment also decreased apobec-1 complementation factor (ACF) leading to lower level of editing and production of ApoB protein. Moreover apolipoprotein C-III, a major component of chylomicrons was significantly down regulated. However, lipoprotein lipase (Lpl) and High density lipoprotein binding protein (Hdlbp) mRNA levels were increased by proteasome inhibitor treatment. These results suggested that proteasome inhibitor treatment could be used to reduce the alcohol-enhanced lipogenesis and alcohol-induced liver steatosis. A morphologic analysis, performed on the liver of rats fed ethanol for one month and treated with PS-341, showed that proteasome inhibitor treatment significantly decreased ethanol-induced liver steatosis. SREBP-1c, FAS and ACC were increased by ethanol feeding alone, but were significantly decreased when proteasome inhibitor was administered to rats fed ethanol. Our results also show that both mRNA and protein levels of these lipogenic enzymes, up regulated by ethanol, were then down regulated when proteasome inhibitor was administered to rats fed ethanol. It was also confirmed that alcohol feeding caused an increase in AGPAT and DGAT, which was prevented by proteasome inhibitor treatment of the animal fed ethanol. Chronic alcohol feeding did not affect the gene expression of HMG-CoA synthase. However, PS341 administration significantly reduced the HMG-CoA synthase mRNA levels, confirming the results obtained with the microarray analysis. C/EBP transcription factors alpha (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha) has been shown to positively regulate SREBP-1c mRNA expression, thus regulating lipogenesis. Proteasome inhibition caused a decrease in C/EBP alpha mRNA expression, indicating that C/EBP down regulation may be the mechanism by which proteasome inhibitor treatment reduced lipogenesis. In conclusion, our results indicate that proteasome activity is not only involved in down regulating fatty acid synthesis and triacylglycerol synthesis, but also cholesterol synthesis and intestinal lipid adsorption. Proteasome inhibitor, administrated at a non-toxic low dose, played a beneficial role in reducing lipogenesis caused by chronic ethanol feeding and these beneficial effects are obtained because of the specificity and reversibility of the proteasome inhibitor used.
PMCID: PMC4197193  PMID: 22445925
Fatty acid; Triacylglycerol and Cholesterol Synthesis; Proteasome inhibitor
Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) are found in chronic liver diseases. Previous studies showed that Diethyl-1, 4-dihydro-2,4,6,-trimethyl-3,5-pyridinedicarboxylate (DDC) induced formation of MDBs and the up regulation of UbD expression in mouse liver. UbD is a protein over expressed in hepatocellular carcinomas. It is a potential preneoplastic marker in the mouse. It is hypothesized that inflammatory cytokines play a critical role in UbD up regulation and MDB formation. TNFa and IFNg treatment of HCC cell line Hepa 1–6, induced the expression of UbD and the expression of genes coding for the immunoproteasome (LMP2, LMP7, and MECL-1 subunits). TNFa and IFNg induced the activity of the UbD promoter, using a luciferase assay. The co-treatment with TNFa and IFNg induced the activity of the UbD promoter through an Interferon Sequence Responsive Element (ISRE). In addition, long term treatment with TNFa and IFNg induced the formation of MDB-like aggresomes in Hepa 1–6 cells, which emphasizes the role of inflammation in the formation of MDBs leading to the formation of liver tumors, in the mouse. Identifying the mechanism that regulates gene expression of UbD supports the hypothesis that down regulation of UbD and the proinflammatory gene expression would prevent MDBs and HCC formation. Previous studies indicate that S-adenosylmethionine or betaine prevented IFNg induced UbD and MDB formation.
PMCID: PMC2900536  PMID: 20433827
MDB: Mallory-Denk Bodies; IFNg: Interferon gamma; TNFa: Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha; ISRE: Interferon stimulated response element; UbD: Di-Ubiquitin (Fat10); Ub: Ubiquitin
22.  SAMe Prevents the Up Regulation of Toll-Like Receptor Signaling in Mallory-Denk Body Forming Hepatocytes 
Mallory-Denk body (MDB) formation is a component of alcoholic and non alcoholic hepatitis. In the present study, the role of the toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway was investigated in the mechanism of MDB formation in the DDC-fed mouse model. Microarray analysis data mining, performed on the livers of drug primed mice refed DDC, showed that TLR2/4 gene expression was significantly up regulated by DDC refeeding. SAMe supplementation prevented this up regulation and prevented the formation of MDBs. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed these results. TLR2/4 activates the adapter protein MyD88. The levels of MyD88 were increased by DDC refeeding. The increase of MyD88 was also prevented by SAMe supplementation. Results showed that MyD88-independent TLR3/4-TRIF-IRF3 pathway was not up regulated in the liver of DDC refed mice. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) is the down stream protein recruited by the MyD88/IRAK protein complex, and is involved in the regulation of innate immune responses. Results showed a significant increase in the levels of TRAF-6. TRAF-6 activation leads to activation of NFkB and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. The TRAF-6 increase was ameliorated by SAMe supplementation. These results suggest that DDC induces MDB formation through the TLR2/4 and MyD88-dependent signaling pathway. In conclusion, SAMe blocked the over-expression of TLR2/4, and their downstream signaling components MyD88 and TRAF-6. SAMe prevented the DDC-induced up regulation of the TLR signaling pathways, probably by preventing the up regulation of INF-γ receptors by DDC feeding. INFγ stimulates the up regulation of TLR2. The ability of SAMe feeding to prevent TLR signaling up regulation has not been previously described.
PMCID: PMC2901103  PMID: 20206621
TLRs; 26s proteasome; immunoproteasome; interferon γ; proinflammatory cytokines
23.  Staining for p53 and Ki-67 increases the sensitivity of EUS-FNA to detect pancreatic malignancy 
AIM: To investigate whether tumor marker staining can improve the sensitivity of endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) to diagnose pancreatic malignancy.
METHODS: Patients who underwent EUS-FNA were retrospectively identified. Each EUS-FNA specimen was evaluated by routine cytology and stained for tumor markers p53, Ki-67, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA19-9. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV), and positive and negative likelihood ratios (PLR and NLR) were calculated in order to evaluate the performance of each test to detect malignancy.
RESULTS: Sixty-one specimens had complete sets of stains, yielding 49 and 12 specimens from pancreatic adenocarcinomas and benign pancreatic lesions due to pancreatitis, respectively. Cytology alone had sensitivity and specificity of 41% and 100% to detect malignancy, respectively. In 46% of the specimens, routine cytology alone was deemed indeterminate. The addition of either p53 or Ki-67 increased the sensitivity to 51% and 53%, respectively, with perfect specificity, PPV and PLR (100%, 100% and infinite). Both stains in combination increased the sensitivity to 57%. While additional staining with CEA and CA19-9 further increased the sensitivity to 86%, the specificity, PPV and PLR were significantly reduced (at minimum 42%, 84% and 1, respectively). Markers in all combinations performed poorly as a negative test (NPV 26% to 47%, and NLR 0.27 and 0.70).
CONCLUSION: Immunohistochemical staining for p53 and Ki-67 can improve the sensitivity of EUS-FNA to diagnose pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3004042  PMID: 21173913
Endoscopic ultrasound; Fine needle aspiration; Pancreatic cancer; p53; Ki-67; Immunohistochemistry
24.  Intestinal tumor suppression in ApcMin/+ mice by prostaglandin D2 receptor PTGDR 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(4):1041-1051.
Our earlier work showed that knockout of hematopoietic prostaglandin D synthase (HPGDS, an enzyme that produces prostaglandin D2) caused more adenomas in ApcMin/+ mice. Conversely, highly expressed transgenic HPGDS allowed fewer tumors. Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) binds to the prostaglandin D2 receptor known as PTGDR (or DP1). PGD2 metabolites bind to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARG). We hypothesized that Ptgdr or Pparg knockouts may raise numbers of tumors, if these receptors take part in tumor suppression by PGD2. To assess, we produced ApcMin/+ mice with and without Ptgdr knockouts (147 mice). In separate experiments, we produced ApcMin/+ mice expressing transgenic lipocalin-type prostaglandin D synthase (PTGDS), with and without heterozygous Pparg knockouts (104 mice). Homozygous Ptgdr knockouts raised total numbers of tumors by 30–40% at 6 and 14 weeks. Colon tumors were not affected. Heterozygous Pparg knockouts alone did not affect tumor numbers in ApcMin/+ mice. As mentioned above, our Pparg knockout assessment also included mice with highly expressed PTGDS transgenes. ApcMin/+ mice with transgenic PTGDS had fewer large adenomas (63% of control) and lower levels of v-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC) mRNA in the colon. Heterozygous Pparg knockouts appeared to blunt the tumor-suppressing effect of transgenic PTGDS. However, tumor suppression by PGD2 was more clearly mediated by receptor PTGDR in our experiments. The suppression mechanism did not appear to involve changes in microvessel density or slower proliferation of tumor cells. The data support a role for PGD2 signals acting through PTGDR in suppression of intestinal tumors.
PMCID: PMC4303173  PMID: 24729479
Adenomatous polyposis coli; gastrointestinal neoplasms; PPAR gamma; prostaglandin D2 receptor; prostaglandin D2 synthases
25.  Epigenetic Mechanisms Regulate Mallory Denk Body Formation in the Livers of Drug-primed Mice 
The mechanism of Mallory Denk body formation is still not fully understood, but growing evidence implicates epigenetic mechanisms in MDB formation. In a previous study the epigenetic memory of MDB formation remained intact for at least four months after withdrawal from the DDC diet. In the present study, mice were fed a diet containing DDC or a diet containing DDC and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) to investigate the epigenetic memory of MDB formation. DDC feeding caused an increase in histone 3 acetylation, a decrease in histone 3 trimethylation, and an increase in histone ubiquitination. The addition of SAMe to the DDC diet prevented the DDC induced decrease of H3K4 and H3K9 trimethylation and the increase in histone ubiquitinylation. Changes in histone modifying enzymes, (HATs and HDACs) were also found in the liver nuclear extracts of the DDC/SAMe fed mice. Data mining of microarray analysis confirmed that gene expression changed with DDC refeeding, particularly the SAMe-metabolizing enzymes, Mat2a, AMD, AHCY and Mthfr. SAMe supplementation prevented the decrease of AHCY and GNMT, and prevented the increase in Mthfr, which provide a mechanism to explain how DDC inhibits methylation of histones. The results indicate that SAMe prevented the epigenetic cellular memory involved in the MDB formation
PMCID: PMC2874464  PMID: 18281034

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