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1.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-28 Deletion Amplifies Inflammatory and Extracellular Matrix Responses to Cardiac Aging 
To determine if matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-28 mediates cardiac aging, wild-type (WT) and MMP-28−/− young (7 ± 1 months, n = 9 each) and old (20 ± 2 months, n = 7 each) female mice were evaluated. MMP-28 expression in the left ventricle (LV) increased 42% in old WT mice compared to young controls (p < 0.05). By Doppler echocardiography, LV function declined at 20 ± 2 months of age for both groups. However, dobutamine stress responses were similar, indicating that cardiac reserve was maintained. Plasma proteomic profiling revealed that macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 α, MIP-1β and MMP-9 plasma levels did not change in WT old mice but were significantly elevated in MMP-28−/− old mice (all p < 0.05), suggestive of a higher inflammatory status when MMP-28 is deleted. RT2-PCR gene array and immunoblotting analyses demonstrated that MIP-1α and MMP-9 gene and protein levels in the LV were also higher in MMP-28−/− old mice (all p < 0.05). Macrophage numbers in the LV increased similarly in WT and MMP-28−/− old mice, compared to respective young controls (both p < 0.05). Collagen content was not different among the WT and MMP-28−/− young and old mice. In conclusion, LV inflammation increases with age, and MMP-28 deletion further elevates inflammation and extracellular matrix responses, without altering macrophage numbers or collagen content.
PMCID: PMC3972008  PMID: 22153350
MMP-28; cardiac aging; extracellular matrix; inflammation; macrophage; collagen; left ventricle; mice
2.  Integrative Computational and Experimental Approaches to Establish a Post-Myocardial Infarction Knowledge Map 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(3):e1003472.
Vast research efforts have been devoted to providing clinical diagnostic markers of myocardial infarction (MI), leading to over one million abstracts associated with “MI” and “Cardiovascular Diseases” in PubMed. Accumulation of the research results imposed a challenge to integrate and interpret these results. To address this problem and better understand how the left ventricle (LV) remodels post-MI at both the molecular and cellular levels, we propose here an integrative framework that couples computational methods and experimental data. We selected an initial set of MI-related proteins from published human studies and constructed an MI-specific protein-protein-interaction network (MIPIN). Structural and functional analysis of the MIPIN showed that the post-MI LV exhibited increased representation of proteins involved in transcriptional activity, inflammatory response, and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. Known plasma or serum expression changes of the MIPIN proteins in patients with MI were acquired by data mining of the PubMed and UniProt knowledgebase, and served as a training set to predict unlabeled MIPIN protein changes post-MI. The predictions were validated with published results in PubMed, suggesting prognosticative capability of the MIPIN. Further, we established the first knowledge map related to the post-MI response, providing a major step towards enhancing our understanding of molecular interactions specific to MI and linking the molecular interaction, cellular responses, and biological processes to quantify LV remodeling.
Author Summary
Heart attack, known medically as myocardial infarction, often occurs as a result of partial shortage of blood supply to a portion of the heart, leading to the death of heart muscle cells. Following myocardial infarction, complications might arise, including arrhythmia, myocardial rupture, left ventricular dysfunction, and heart failure. Although myocardial infarction can be quickly diagnosed using a various number of tests, including blood tests and electrocardiography, there have been no available prognostic tests to predict the long-term outcome in response to myocardial infarction. Here, we present a framework to analyze how the left ventricle responds to myocardial infarction by combining protein interactome and experimental results retrieved from published human studies. The framework organized current understanding of molecular interactions specific to myocardial infarction, cellular responses, and biological processes to quantify left ventricular remodeling process. Specifically, our knowledge map showed that transcriptional activity, inflammatory response, and extracellular matrix remodeling are the main functional themes post myocardial infarction. In addition, text analytics of relevant abstracts revealed differentiated protein expressions in plasma or serum expressions from patients with myocardial infarction. Using this data, we predicted expression levels of other proteins following myocardial infarction.
PMCID: PMC3961365  PMID: 24651374
3.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-28 Deletion Exacerbates Cardiac Dysfunction and Rupture Following Myocardial Infarction in Mice by Inhibiting M2 Macrophage Activation 
Circulation research  2012;112(4):675-688.
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-28 regulates the inflammatory and extracellular matrix (ECM) responses in cardiac aging, but the roles of MMP-28 after myocardial infarction (MI) have not been explored.
To determine the impact of MMP-28 deletion on post-MI remodeling of the left ventricle (LV)
Methods and Results
Adult C57BL/6J wild type (WT, n=76) and MMP null (MMP-28−/−, n=86) mice of both sexes were subjected to permanent coronary artery ligation to create MI. MMP-28 expression decreased post-MI, and its cell source shifted from myocytes to macrophages. MMP-28 deletion increased day 7 mortality as a result of increased cardiac rupture post-MI. MMP-28−/− mice exhibited larger LV volumes, worse LV dysfunction, a worse LV remodeling index, and increased lung edema. Plasma MMP-9 levels were unchanged in the MMP-28−/− mice but increased in WT mice at day 7 post-MI. The mRNA levels of inflammatory and ECM proteins were attenuated in the infarct regions of MMP-28−/− mice, indicating reduced inflammatory and ECM responses. M2 macrophage activation was impaired when MMP-28 was absent. MMP-28 deletion also led to decreased collagen deposition and fewer myofibroblasts. Collagen cross-linking was impaired, due to decreased expression and activation of lysyl oxidase in the infarcts of MMP-28−/− mice. The LV tensile strength at day 3 post-MI, however, was similar between the two genotypes
MMP-28 deletion aggravated MI induced LV dysfunction and rupture, due to defective inflammatory response and scar formation by suppressing M2 macrophage activation.
PMCID: PMC3597388  PMID: 23261783
Myocardial infarction; MMP-28; fibroblast; macrophage phenotype; inflammation
4.  Matrix metalloproteinase-9 deletion attenuates myocardial fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction in ageing mice 
Cardiovascular Research  2012;96(3):444-455.
Age-related diastolic dysfunction has been attributed to an increased passive stiffness, which is regulated by extracellular matrix (ECM). We recently showed that matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, an ECM mediator, increases in the left ventricle (LV) with age. The aim of this study, accordingly, was to determine the role of MMP-9 in cardiac ageing.
Methods and results
We compared LV function in young (6–9 months), middle-aged (12–15 months), old (18–24 months) and senescent (26–34 months) wild-type (WT) and MMP-9 null mice (n ≥ 12/group). All groups had similar fractional shortenings and aortic peak velocities, indicating that systolic function was not altered by ageing or MMP-9 deletion. The mitral ratios of early to late diastolic filling velocities were reduced in old and senescent WT compared with young controls, and this reduction was attenuated in MMP-9 null mice. Concomitantly, the increase in LV collagen content was reduced in MMP-9 null mice (n = 5-6/group). To dissect the mechanisms of these changes, we evaluated the mRNA expression levels of 84 ECM and adhesion molecules by real-time qPCR (n = 6/group). The expression of pro-fibrotic periostin and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) increased with senescence, as did transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-induced protein levels and Smad signalling, and these increases were blunted by MMP-9 deletion. In senescence, MMP-9 deletion also resulted in a compensatory increase in MMP-8.
MMP-9 deletion attenuates the age-related decline in diastolic function, in part by reducing TGF-β signalling-induced periostin and CTGF expression and increasing MMP-8 expression to regulate myocardial collagen turnover and deposition.
PMCID: PMC3500048  PMID: 22918978
Ageing; Collagen; Diastolic function; Matrix metalloproteinase; Extracellular matrix
6.  Mathematical modeling and stability analysis of macrophage activation in left ventricular remodeling post-myocardial infarction 
BMC Genomics  2012;13(Suppl 6):S21.
About 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure and 70% of heart failure cases are caused by myocardial infarction (MI). Following myocardial infarction, increased cytokines induce two major types of macrophages: classically activated macrophages which contribute to extracellular matrix destruction and alternatively activated macrophages which contribute to extracellular matrix construction. Though experimental results have shown the transitions between these two types of macrophages, little is known about the dynamic progression of macrophages activation. Therefore, the objective of this study is to analyze macrophage activation patterns post-MI.
We have collected experimental data from adult C57 mice and built a framework to represent the regulatory relationships among cytokines and macrophages. A set of differential equations were established to characterize the regulatory relationships for macrophage activation in the left ventricle post-MI based on the physical chemistry laws. We further validated the mathematical model by comparing our computational results with experimental results reported in the literature. By applying Lyaponuv stability analysis, the established mathematical model demonstrated global stability in homeostasis situation and bounded response to myocardial infarction.
We have established and validated a mathematical model for macrophage activation post-MI. The stability analysis provided a possible strategy to intervene the balance of classically and alternatively activated macrophages in this study. The results will lay a strong foundation to understand the mechanisms of left ventricular remodelling post-MI.
PMCID: PMC3481436  PMID: 23134700
7.  Multi-analyte Profiling Reveals MMP-9 and MCP-1 as Plasma Biomarkers of Cardiac Aging 
We have previously shown that cardiac sarcopenia occurs with age in C57/BL6J mice. However, underlying mechanisms and plasma biomarkers of cardiac aging have not been identified. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to identify and evaluate plasma biomarkers that reflect cardiac aging phenotypes.
Methods and Results
Plasma from adult (7.5±0.5 months old, n=27) and senescent (31.7±0.5 months old, n=25) C57/BL6J mice was collected and levels of 69 markers were measured by multi-analyte profiling. Of these, 26 analytes were significantly increased and 3 were significantly decreased in the senescent group compared to the adult group. The majority of analytes that increased in the senescent group were inflammatory markers associated with macrophage functions, including matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL-2). Immunoblotting (n=12/ group) showed higher MMP-9 and MCP-1 levels in the left ventricle (LV) of senescent mice (p<0.05), and their expression levels in the LV correlated with plasma levels (rho=0.50 for MMP-9 and rho=0.62 for MCP1, p<0.05). Further, increased plasma MCP-1 and MMP-9 levels correlated with the increase in end diastolic dimensions that occurs with senescence. Immunohistochemistry (n=3/ group) for Mac-3, a macrophage marker, showed increased macrophage densities in the senescent LV; and dual labeling immunohistochemistry of Mac-3 and MMP-9 revealed robust co-localization of MMP-9 to the macrophages in the senescent LV sections, indicating that the macrophage is a major contributor of MMP-9 in the senescent LV.
Our results suggest that MCP-1 and MMP-9 are potential plasma markers for cardiac aging and that augmented MCP-1 and MMP-9 levels and macrophage content in the LV could provide an underlying inflammatory mechanism of cardiac aging.
PMCID: PMC3158732  PMID: 21685172
aging; biomarker; macrophage; metalloproteinase; myocardium
8.  Bayesian parameter estimation for nonlinear modelling of biological pathways 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5(Suppl 3):S9.
The availability of temporal measurements on biological experiments has significantly promoted research areas in systems biology. To gain insight into the interaction and regulation of biological systems, mathematical frameworks such as ordinary differential equations have been widely applied to model biological pathways and interpret the temporal data. Hill equations are the preferred formats to represent the reaction rate in differential equation frameworks, due to their simple structures and their capabilities for easy fitting to saturated experimental measurements. However, Hill equations are highly nonlinearly parameterized functions, and parameters in these functions cannot be measured easily. Additionally, because of its high nonlinearity, adaptive parameter estimation algorithms developed for linear parameterized differential equations cannot be applied. Therefore, parameter estimation in nonlinearly parameterized differential equation models for biological pathways is both challenging and rewarding. In this study, we propose a Bayesian parameter estimation algorithm to estimate parameters in nonlinear mathematical models for biological pathways using time series data.
We used the Runge-Kutta method to transform differential equations to difference equations assuming a known structure of the differential equations. This transformation allowed us to generate predictions dependent on previous states and to apply a Bayesian approach, namely, the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We applied this approach to the biological pathways involved in the left ventricle (LV) response to myocardial infarction (MI) and verified our algorithm by estimating two parameters in a Hill equation embedded in the nonlinear model. We further evaluated our estimation performance with different parameter settings and signal to noise ratios. Our results demonstrated the effectiveness of the algorithm for both linearly and nonlinearly parameterized dynamic systems.
Our proposed Bayesian algorithm successfully estimated parameters in nonlinear mathematical models for biological pathways. This method can be further extended to high order systems and thus provides a useful tool to analyze biological dynamics and extract information using temporal data.
PMCID: PMC3287577  PMID: 22784628
10.  Combining experimental and mathematical modeling to reveal mechanisms of macrophage-dependent left ventricular remodeling 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:60.
Progressive remodeling of the left ventricle (LV) following myocardial infarction (MI) can lead to congestive heart failure, but the underlying initiation factors remain poorly defined. The objective of this study, accordingly, was to determine the key factors and elucidate the regulatory mechanisms of LV remodeling using integrated computational and experimental approaches.
By examining the extracellular matrix (ECM) gene expression and plasma analyte levels in C57/BL6J mice LV post-MI and ECM gene responses to transforming growth factor (TGF-β1) in cultured cardiac fibroblasts, we found that key factors in LV remodeling included macrophages, fibroblasts, transforming growth factor-β1, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and specific collagen subtypes. We established a mathematical model to study LV remodeling post-MI by quantifying the dynamic balance between ECM construction and destruction. The mathematical model incorporated the key factors and demonstrated that TGF-β1 stimuli and MMP-9 interventions with different strengths and intervention times lead to different LV remodeling outcomes. The predictions of the mathematical model fell within the range of experimental measurements for these interventions, providing validation for the model.
In conclusion, our results demonstrated that the balance between ECM synthesis and degradation, controlled by interactions of specific key factors, determines the LV remodeling outcomes. Our mathematical model, based on the balance between ECM construction and destruction, provides a useful tool for studying the regulatory mechanisms and for predicting LV remodeling outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3113236  PMID: 21545710
11.  Novel Ciprofloxacin-Resistant, Nalidixic Acid-Susceptible Mutant of Staphylococcus aureus 
A ciprofloxacin-resistant, nalidixic acid-susceptible mutant of Staphylococcus aureus (F145) contained no mutations within gyrA, gyrB, grlA, and grlB or within norA or its promoter region. MICs and accumulation studies suggest the role of a novel multidrug efflux pump.
PMCID: PMC127307  PMID: 12069989
12.  Transgenic Overexpression of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in Macrophages Attenuates the Inflammatory Response and Improves Left Ventricular Function Post-Myocardial Infarction 
Following myocardial infarction (MI), activated macrophages infiltrate into the necrotic myocardium as part of a robust pro-inflammatory response and secrete matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). Macrophage activation, in turn, modulates the fibrotic response, in part by stimulating fibroblast extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis. We hypothesized that overexpression of human MMP-9 in mouse macrophages would amplify the inflammatory and fibrotic responses to exacerbate left ventricular dysfunction. Unexpectedly, at day 5 post-MI, ejection fraction was improved in transgenic (TG) mice (25±2%) compared to the wild type (WT) mice (18±2%; p<0.05). By gene expression profiling, 23 of 84 inflammatory genes were decreased in the left ventricle infarct (LVI) region from the TG compared to WT mice (all p<0.05). Concomitantly, TG macrophages isolated from the LVI, as well as TG peritoneal macrophages stimulated with LPS, showed decreased inflammatory marker expression compared to WT macrophages. In agreement with attenuated inflammation, only 7 of 84 cell adhesion and ECM genes were increased in the TG LVI compared to WT LVI, while 43 genes were decreased (all p<0.05). These results reveal a novel role for macrophage-derived MMP-9 in blunting the inflammatory response and limiting ECM synthesis to improve left ventricular function post-MI.
PMCID: PMC3472138  PMID: 22884843
myocardial infarction; matrix metalloproteinase-9; extracellular matrix; inflammation; cardiac remodeling; mice; macrophage
13.  Mathematical modeling of left ventricular dimensional changes in mice during aging 
BMC Systems Biology  2012;6(Suppl 3):S10.
Cardiac aging is characterized by diastolic dysfunction of the left ventricle (LV), which is due in part to increased LV wall stiffness. In the diastolic phase, myocytes are relaxed and extracellular matrix (ECM) is a critical determinant to the changes of LV wall stiffness. To evaluate the effects of ECM composition on cardiac aging, we developed a mathematical model to predict LV dimension and wall stiffness changes in aging mice by integrating mechanical laws and our experimental results. We measured LV dimension, wall thickness, LV mass, and collagen content for wild type (WT) C57/BL6J mice of ages ranging from 7.3 months to those of 34.0 months. The model was established using the thick wall theory and stretch-induced tissue growth to an isotropic and homogeneous elastic composite with mixed constituents. The initial conditions of the simulation were set based on the data from the young mice. Matlab simulations of this mathematical model demonstrated that the model captured the major features of LV remodeling with age and closely approximated experimental results. Specifically, the temporal progression of the LV interior and exterior dimensions demonstrated the same trend and order-of-magnitude change as our experimental results. In conclusion, we present here a validated mathematical model of cardiac aging that applies the thick-wall theory and stretch-induced tissue growth to LV remodeling with age.
PMCID: PMC3524011  PMID: 23281647

Results 1-13 (13)