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1.  CD8 Cells of Patients with Diffuse Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Display Functional Exhaustion: The Latter Is Reversed, In Vitro, by TLR2 Agonists 
Leishmania mexicana (Lm) causes localized (LCL) and diffuse (DCL) cutaneous leishmaniasis. DCL patients have a poor cellular immune response leading to chronicity. It has been proposed that CD8 T lymphocytes (CD8) play a crucial role in infection clearance, although the role of CD8 cytotoxicity in disease control has not been elucidated. Lesions of DCL patients have been shown to harbor low numbers of CD8, as compared to patients with LCL, and leishmanicidal treatment restores CD8 numbers. The marked response of CD8 towards Leishmania parasites led us to analyze possible functional differences between CD8 from patients with LCL and DCL. We compared IFNγ production, antigen-specific proliferation, and cytotoxicity of CD8 purified from PBMC against autologous macrophages (MO) infected with Leishmania mexicana (MOi). Additionally, we analyzed tissue biopsies from both groups of patients for evidence of cytotoxicity associated with apoptotic cells in the lesions. We found that CD8 cell of DCL patients exhibited low cytotoxicity, low antigen-specific proliferation and low IFNγ production when stimulated with MOi, as compared to LCL patients. Additionally, DCL patients had significantly less TUNEL+ cells in their lesions. These characteristics are similar to cellular “exhaustion” described in chronic infections. We intended to restore the functional capacity of CD8 cells of DCL patients by preincubating them with TLR2 agonists: Lm lipophosphoglycan (LPG) or Pam3Cys. Cytotoxicity against MOi, antigen-specific proliferation and IFNγ production were restored with both stimuli, whereas PD-1 (a molecule associated with cellular exhaustion) expression, was reduced. Our work suggests that CD8 response is associated with control of Lm infection in LCL patients and that chronic infection in DCL patients leads to a state of CD8 functional exhaustion, which could facilitate disease spread. This is the first report that shows the presence of functionally exhausted CD8 T lymphocytes in DCL patients and, additionally, that pre-stimulation with TLR2 ligands can restore the effector mechanisms of CD8 T lymphocytes from DCL patients against Leishmania mexicana-infected macrophages.
Author Summary
Leishmania mexicana causes localized and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. Whereas the former is a benign form the disease, diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis is a chronic disfiguring disease, for which no cure is available, and the immune cells of these patients respond poorly to the parasite. It has been proposed that the elimination of Leishmania-infected cells by CD8 T cells is crucial for disease control. We compared the functional characteristics of CD8 T cells from patients with localized and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. We found that CD8 T cells from patients with diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis were functionally exhausted, as compared to patients with the benign form of the disease. We were able to restore functional capacity of these cells by culturing them with molecules that stimulate TLR2. This is the first report showing that stimulation of the TLR2 can restore effector mechanisms in functionally exhausted CD8 cells from patients with diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis. This finding will help design novel treatment schemes for patients infected with the parasite Leishmania mexicana who have the progressive, incurable form of diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis.
PMCID: PMC2970528  PMID: 21072232
2.  Glycosylated VCAM-1 isoforms revealed in 2D western blots of HUVECs treated with tumoral soluble factors of breast cancer cells 
Several common aspects of endothelial phenotype, such as the expression of cell adhesion molecules, are shared between metastasis and inflammation. Here, we analyzed VCAM-1 variants as biological markers of these two types of endothelial cell activation. With the combination of 2-DE and western blot techniques and the aid of tunicamycin, we analyzed N-glycosylation variants of VCAM-1 in primary human endothelial cells stimulated with either TNF or tumoral soluble factors (TSF's) derived from the human breast cancer cell line ZR75.30.
Treatments induced a pro-adhesive endothelial phenotype. 2D western blots analysis of cells subjected to both treatments revealed the expression of the two known VCAM-1 isoforms and of previously unknown isoforms. In particular TSFZR75.30 induced an isoform with a relative molecular mass (Mr) and isoelectric point (pI) of 75-77 kDa and 5.0, respectively.
The unknown isoforms of VCAM-1 that were found to be overexpressed after treatment with TSF's compared with TNF, could serve as biomarkers to discriminate between inflammation and metastasis. 2D western blots revealed three new VCAM-1 isoforms expressed in primary human endothelial cells in response to TSF stimulation. Each of these isoforms varies in Mr and pI and could be the result of differential glycosylation states.
PMCID: PMC2787495  PMID: 19930605
3.  Dexamethasone protection from TNF-alpha-induced cell death in MCF-7 cells requires NF-kappaB and is independent from AKT 
BMC Cell Biology  2006;7:9.
The biochemical bases for hormone dependence in breast cancer have been recognized as an important element in tumor resistance, proliferation and metastasis. On this respect, dexamethasone (Dex) dependent protection against TNF-alpha-mediated cell death in the MCF-7 cell line has been demonstrated to be a useful model for the study of this type of cancer. Recently, cytoplasmic signaling induced by steroid receptors has been described, such as the activation of the PI3K/Akt and NF-kappaB pathways. We evaluated their possible participation in the Dex-dependent protection against TNF-alpha-mediated cell death.
Cellular cultures of the MCF-7 cell line were exposed to either, TNF-alpha or TNF-alpha and Dex, and cell viability was evaluated. Next, negative dominants of PI3K and IkappaB-alpha, designed to block the PI3K/Akt and NF-kappaB pathways, respectively, were transfected and selection and evaluation of several clones overexpressing the mutants were examined. Also, correlation with inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) expression was examined. Independent inhibition of these two pathways allowed us to test their participation in Dex-dependent protection against TNF-alpha-cytotoxicity in MCF-7 cells. Expression of the PI3K dominant negative mutant did not alter the protection conferred by Dex against TNF-alpha mediated cell death. Contrariwise, clones expressing the IkappaB-alpha dominant negative mutant lost the Dex-conferred protection against TNF-alpha. In these clones degradation of c-IAP was accelerated, while that of XIAP was remained unaffected.
NF-kappaB, but not PI3K/Akt activation, is required for the Dex protective effect against TNF-alpha-mediated cell death, and correlates with lack of degradation of the anti-apoptotic protein c-IAP1.
PMCID: PMC1395311  PMID: 16504042

Results 1-3 (3)