asthma pathogenesis; autophagy; lung function; polymorphism; SNP; ATG5; autophagosome
Citrus byproducts (CBPs) are utilized as a low cost nutritional supplement to the diets of cattle and have been suggested to inhibit the growth of both Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. The objective of this study was to examine the effects in vitro that varying concentrations of CBP in the powdered or pelleted variety have on the survival of Shiga-toxin Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes O26:H11, O103:H8, O111:H8, O145:H28, and O157:H7 in bovine ruminal microorganism media. The O26:H11, O111:H8, O145:H28, and O157:H7 serotypes did not exhibit a change in populations in media supplemented with CBP with either variety. The O103:H8 serotype displayed a general trend for an approximate 1log10 reduction in 5% powdered CBP and 20% pelleted CBP over 6 h. There was a trend for reductions in populations of a variant form of O157:H7 mutated in the stx1 and stx2 genes in higher concentrations of CBP. These results suggest that variations exist in the survival of these serotypes of STEC within mixed ruminal microorganism fluid media when supplemented with CBP. Further research is needed to determine why CBPs affect STEC serotypes differently.
Hindbrain rhombomere 1 (r1) is located caudal to the isthmus, a critical organizer region, and rostral to rhombomere 2 in the developing mouse brain. Dorsal r1 gives rise to the cerebellum, locus coeruleus, and several brainstem nuclei, whereas cells from ventral r1 contribute to the trochlear and trigeminal nuclei as well as serotonergic and GABAergic neurons of the dorsal raphe. Recent studies have identified several molecular events controlling dorsal r1 development. In contrast, very little is known about ventral r1 gene expression and the genetic mechanisms regulating its formation. Neurons with distinct neurotransmitter phenotypes have been identified in ventral r1 including GABAergic, serotonergic, and cholinergic neurons. Here we show that PITX2 marks a distinct population of GABAergic neurons in mouse embryonic ventral r1. This population appears to retain its GABAergic identity even in the absence of PITX2. We provide a comprehensive map of markers that places these PITX2-positive GABAergic neurons in a region of r1 that intersects and is potentially in communication with the dorsal raphe.
hindbrain; development; transcription factor
Norcantharidin (NCTD) has been reported to induce tumor cell apoptosis. However, the underlying mechanism behinds its antitumor effect remains elusive. We have previously shown that TR3 expression is significantly decreased in metastatic melanomas and involved in melanoma cell apoptosis. In this study, we showed that NCTD inhibited melanoma cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in a dose related manner. NCTD induced translocation of TR3 from nucleus to mitochondria where it co-localized with Bcl-2 in melanoma cells. NCTD also increased cytochome c release from mitochondria to the cytoplasm. These changes were accompanied by increased expression of Bax and cleaved caspase-3 along with decreased expression of Bcl2 and NF-κB2. The effects of NCTD were inhibited by knockdown of TR3 expression using TR3 specific shRNA in melanoma cells. Furthermore, NCTD significantly decreased tumor volume and improved survival of Tyr::CreER; BRAFCa/+; Ptenlox/lox transgenic mice. Our data indicates that NCTD inhibits melanoma growth by inducing tumor cell apoptosis via activation of a TR3 dependent pathway. These results suggest that NCTD is a potential therapeutic agent for melanoma.
norcantharidin; apoptosis; TR3; melanoma
Preeclampsia is considered a disease of immunological origin associated with abnormalities in inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and activated lymphocytes secreting AT1-AA. Recent studies have also demonstrated that an imbalance of angiogenic factors, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt-1), and sEndoglin, exists in preeclampsia; however, the mechanisms that initiate their overproduction are unclear.
To determine the role of immune regulation of these factors, circulating and placental sFlt-1 and/or sEndoglin was examined from pregnant rats chronically treated with TNF-α or AT1-AA. On day 19 of gestation blood pressure was analyzed and serum and tissues were collected. Placental villous explants were excised and cultured on matrigel coated inserts for 24 h and sFlt-1 and sEndoglin was measured from media.
In response to TNF-α-induced hypertension, sFlt-1 increased from 180 ± 5 to 2,907 ± 412 pg/ml. sFlt-1 was also increased from cultured placental explants of TNF-α induced hypertensive pregnant rats (n = 12) (2,544 ± 1,132 pg/ml) vs. explants from normal pregnant (NP) rats (n = 12) (2,189 ± 586 pg/ml) where as sEng was undetectable. Circulating sFlt-1 increased from 245 ± 38 to 3,920 ± 798 pg/ml in response to AT1-AA induced hypertension. sFlt-1 levels were higher (3,400 ± 350 vs. 2,480 ± 900 pg/ml) in placental explants from AT1-AA infused rats (n = 12) than NP rats (n = 7). In addition, sEndoglin increased from 30 ± 2.7 to 44 ± 3.3 pg/ml (P < 0.047) in AT1-AA infused rats but was undetectable in the media of the placental explants.
These data suggest that immune factors may serve as an important stimulus for both sFlt-1 and sEndoglin production in response to placental ischemia.
antiangiogenic factors; blood pressure; hypertension; immune activation; pregnancy
Noneosinophilic asthma has been regarded as a distinct phenotype characterized by a poor response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
To determine whether noneosinophilic, steroid-naive asthmatic subjects show an improvement in asthma control, asthma symptoms and spirometry after four weeks of treatment with ICS, and whether they further benefit from the addition of a long-acting beta-2 agonists to ICS.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study comparing the efficacy of placebo versus inhaled fluticasone propionate 250 μg twice daily for four weeks in mildly uncontrolled, steroid-naive asthmatic subjects with a sputum eosinophil count ≤2%. This was followed by an open-label, four-week treatment period with fluticasone propionate 250 μg/salmeterol 50 μg, twice daily for all subjects.
After four weeks of double-blind treatment, there was a statistically significant and clinically relevant improvement in the mean (± SD) Asthma Control Questionnaire score in the ICS-treated group (n=6) (decrease of 1.0±0.5) compared with the placebo group (n=6) (decrease of 0.09±0.4) (P=0.008). Forced expiratory volume in 1 s declined in the placebo group (−0.2±0.2 L) and did not change in the ICS group (0.04±0.1 L) after four weeks of treatment (P=0.02). The open-label treatment with fluticasone propionate 250 μg/salmeterol 50 μg did not produce additional improvements in those who were previously treated for four weeks with inhaled fluticasone alone.
A clinically important and statistically significant response to ICS was observed in mildly uncontrolled noneosinophilic asthmatic subjects.
Asthma; Asthma Control Questionnaire; Eosinophils; Sputum cell counts
Even with current treatments of acute joint injuries, more than 40% of people who suffer significant ligament or meniscus tears, or articular surface injuries, will develop osteoarthritis. Correspondingly, 12% or more of all patients with lower extremity osteoarthritis have a history of joint injury. Recent research suggests that acute joint damage that occurs at the time of an injury initiates a sequence of events that can lead to progressive articular surface damage. New molecular interventions, combined with evolving surgical methods, aim to minimize or prevent progressive tissue damage triggered by joint injury. Seizing the potential for progress in the treatment of joint injuries to forestall OA will depend on advances in: (1) quantitative methods of assessing the injury severity, including both structural damage and biologic responses, (2) understanding of the pathogenesis of post-traumatic OA, taking into account potential interactions among the different tissues and the role of post-traumatic incongruity and instability, and (3) application of engineering and molecular research to develop new methods of treating injured joints. This paper highlights recent advances in understanding of the structural damage and the acute biological response following joint injury, and it identifies important directions for future research.
Congenital heart malformations are the most common of all congenital human birth anomalies. During the past decade, research with zebrafish, chick and mouse models have elucidated many fundamental genetic pathways that govern early cardiac patterning and differentiation. This review highlights the roles of the Bmp signaling pathway in cardiogenesis and how defective Bmp signals can disrupt the intricate steps of cardiac formation and cause congenital heart defects.
cardiac development; Bmp signaling; congenital heart disease
Previous investigations suggest that agonistic autoantibodies to the angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1-AA) may mediate a hypertensive response through dysregulation of the endothelin-1 system. AT1-AA induced hypertension is attenuated by AT1 receptor and/or Endothelin-1 type A receptor antagonists. This study was undertaken to determine if AT1-AA induced hypertension is associated with renal endothelial dysfunction.
We compared the vascular reactivity of renal interlobar arteries from normal pregnant control rats and AT1-AA chronically infused pregnant rats in the presence and absence of endothelin type A (ETA) receptor antagonism. Renal endothelial function was tested using isolated renal interlobar arteries in a pressure myograph that were exposed to acetylcholine or sodium ntiroprusside.
Vasodilatory responses to the endothelial dependent agonist acetylcholine were impaired in AT1-AA rats (74±10%) compared to NP controls (95±5%, p<0.05). In the presence of endothelin type A (ETA) receptor antagonism, no differences were observed between controls or the AT1-AA treated group in regard to endothelial dependent (acetylcholine) relaxation.
AT1-AA induced hypertension during pregnancy is associated with disparate renal endothelial responses to acetylcholine. The difference in renal vascular responses between AT1-AA and NP rats is abolished by ETA receptor blockade.
Hypertension; angiotensin; pregnancy; endothelial dysfunction
We have shown that hypertension in response to chronic placental ischemia is associated with elevated inflammatory cytokines and CD4+ T cells. However, it is unknown if these cells play an important role in mediating hypertension in response to placental ischemia. Therefore, we hypothesize that, reduced uterine perfusion pressure, (RUPP) induced CD4+T cells increase blood pressure during pregnancy. To answer this question, CD4+T cells were isolated from spleens at day 19 of gestation from control normal pregnant and pregnant RUPP rats, cultured, adjusted to 106 cells/100µl saline for intraperitoneal injection into normal pregnant rats at day 13 of gestation. On day 18, in the experimental groups of rats, arterial catheters were inserted, and on day 19 mean arterial pressure (MAP) was analyzed. Inflammatory cytokines and anti-angiogenic factor, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase, sFlt-1, were determined via enzyme linked immunosorbant assay. MAP increased from 104±2 mmHg in normal pregnant to 124±2 mmHg in RUPP rats (P<0.001) and to 118±1mmHg in rats receiving RUPP CD4+T cells (P<0.001). Circulating tumor necrosis factor-alpha and sFlt-1 were elevated in recipients of RUPP CD4+T cells to levels similar to control RUPP rats. In contrast, virgin rats injected with normal pregnant or RUPP CD4+T cells exhibited no blood pressure changes compared to control virgin rats. Importantly, MAP did not change in recipients of normal pregnant CD4+T cells (109 ± 3 mmHg). These data support the hypothesis that reduced uterine perfusion pressure induced CD4+ T cells play an important role in the pathophysiology of hypertension in response to placental ischemia.
Hypertension; inflammation; cytokines; pregnancy; angiogenesis
Genetic regulation of mammalian heart size is poorly understood. Hippo signaling represents an organ-size control pathway in Drosophila, where it also inhibits cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis in imaginal discs. To determine whether Hippo signaling controls mammalian heart size, we inactivated Hippo pathway components in the developing mouse heart. Hippo-deficient embryos had overgrown hearts with elevated cardiomyocyte proliferation. Gene expression profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that Hippo signaling negatively regulates a subset of Wnt target genes. Genetic interaction studies indicated that β-catenin heterozygosity suppressed the Hippo cardiomyocyte overgrowth phenotype. Furthermore, the Hippo effector Yap interacts with β-catenin on Sox2 and Snai2 genes. These data uncover a nuclear interaction between Hippo and Wnt signaling that restricts cardiomyocyte proliferation and controls heart size.
To determine the effect of an endothelin type A receptor antagonist (ETA) on uterine artery resistive index (UARI) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) in a placental ischemia rat model of pre-eclampsia produced by Reductions in Uterine Perfusion Pressure (RUPP).
UARI was assessed by Doppler velocimetry in the RUPP and normal pregnant controls (NP) on gestation days (GD) 12, 15 and 18. UARI was also determined on GD 18 in NP and RUPP pregnant dams after pretreatment with ETA. MAP was recorded on GD 19.
The RUPP group had a higher MAP and UARI on GD 15 and 18 than the NP group. Pretreatment with ETA attenuated both the MAP and GD 18 UARI in the RUPP group without affecting these parameters in the NP group.
The improvement in UARI could be one potential mechanism for the reduction in MAP in response to ETA in pregnant dams with ischemic placentas.
Doppler velocimetry; Uterine artery resistive index; Endothelin type A receptor antagonist; hypertension; preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is associated with innate inflammatory response resulting in elevated TNF alpha, agonistic autoantibodies to the angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1-AA) and activation of endothelin-1 (ET-1). This study was designed to determine the role of B cell depletion, resulting AT1-AA suppression to mediate hypertension via activation of ET-1 in placental ischemic RUPP rat model of preeclampsia. To achieve this goal we examined the effect of RUPP on MAP and ET-1 in the presence and absence of chronically infused Rutiximab (R) (250mg/kg), a B lymphocyte suppressive agent used clinically to treat autoimmune diseases. Blood pressure (MAP) was 103 +/− 1 mmHg in NP;103 +/− 3 mmHg in NP+R vs 133 +/−2 mmHg in RUPP rats and 118 +/−2 mmHg in RUPP+R (p<0.001vs RUPP controls). B lymphocytes decreased from 6.0 +/−0.5% in RUPP to 3.7 +/−0.8 % gated cells in RUPP+R. Importantly, AT1-AA decreased from 18+/−1 in RUPP to 10+/−1bpm in RUPP+R. ET-1 decreased 1.5 fold in kidneys and 4 fold in placenta (P<0.01) of RUPP+R vs RUPP. Media ET-1 excretion from endothelial cells exposed to serum from NP, RUPP, NP+R or RUPP+R rats was determined. ET-1 from endothelial cells treated with NP serum was 53+13pg/mg and increased to 75+10pg/mg with RUPP serum. In contrast ET-1 secretion decreased in response to B cell depleted RUPP serum to 50+/−8pg/mg, and was unchanged in response to NP+R sera (46+/−12 pg/mg). These data demonstrate the important role that B lymphocyte activation and AT1-AAs play in the pathophysiology of hypertension in response to placental ischemia.
Hypertension; inflammation; renin-angiotensin system; pregnancy; endothelin
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common cause of infection in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In addition, biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance of Pseudomonas are major problems that can complicate antibiotic therapy. We evaluated the efficacy of using bacteriophages to kill the pathogen in both biofilms and in the murine lung. We isolated and characterized two phages from a local wastewater treatment plant, a myovirus (ϕNH-4) and a podovirus (ϕMR299-2). Both phages were active against clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa. Together, the two phages killed all 9 clinical isolate strains tested, including both mucoid and nonmucoid strains. An equal mixture of the two phages was effective in killing P. aeruginosa NH57388A (mucoid) and P. aeruginosa MR299 (nonmucoid) strains when growing as a biofilm on a cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial CFBE41o- cell line. Phage titers increased almost 100-fold over a 24-h period, confirming replication of the phage. Furthermore, the phage mix was also effective in killing the pathogen in murine lungs containing 1 × 107 to 2 × 107
P. aeruginosa. Pseudomonas was effectively cleared (reduced by a magnitude of at least 3 to 4 log units) from murine lungs in 6 h. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of these two phages in killing clinical Pseudomonas isolates in the murine lung or as a biofilm on a pulmonary cell line and supports the growing interest in using phage therapy for the control and treatment of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas lung infections in CF patients.
Given the rise in antibiotic resistance, nonantibiotic therapies are required for the treatment of infection. This is particularly true for the treatment of Pseudomonas infection in patients with cystic fibrosis. We have identified two bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) that can kill Pseudomonas growing on human lung cells and in an animal model of lung infection. The use of bacteriophages is particularly appropriate because the killing agent can replicate on the target cell, generating fresh copies of the bacteriophage. Thus, in the presence of a target, the killing agent multiplies. By using two bacteriophages we can reduce the risk of resistant colonies developing at the site of infection. Bacteriophage therapy is an exciting field, and this study represents an important demonstration of efficacy in validated infection models.
Injuries to articular cartilage result in the development of lesions that form on the surface of the cartilage. Such lesions are associated with articular cartilage degeneration and osteoarthritis. The typical injury response often causes collateral damage, primarily an effect of inflammation, which results in the spread of lesions beyond the region where the initial injury occurs.
Results and discussion
We present a minimal mathematical model based on known mechanisms to investigate the spread and abatement of such lesions. The first case corresponds to the parameter values listed in Table 1, while the second case has parameter values as in Table 2. In particular we represent the "balancing act" between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines that is hypothesized to be a principal mechanism in the expansion properties of cartilage damage during the typical injury response. We present preliminary results of in vitro studies that confirm the anti-inflammatory activities of the cytokine erythropoietin (EPO). We assume that the diffusion of cytokines determine the spatial behavior of injury response and lesion expansion so that a reaction diffusion system involving chemical species and chondrocyte cell state population densities is a natural way to represent cartilage injury response. We present computational results using the mathematical model showing that our representation is successful in capturing much of the interesting spatial behavior of injury associated lesion development and abatement in articular cartilage. Further, we discuss the use of this model to study the possibility of using EPO as a therapy for reducing the amount of inflammation induced collateral damage to cartilage during the typical injury response.
Model Parameter Values for Results in Figure 5
Model Parameter Values for Results in Figure 6
The mathematical model presented herein suggests that not only are anti-inflammatory cy-tokines, such as EPO necessary to prevent chondrocytes signaled by pro-inflammatory cytokines from entering apoptosis, they may also influence how chondrocytes respond to signaling by pro-inflammatory cytokines.
This paper has been reviewed by Yang Kuang, James Faeder and Anna Marciniak-Czochra.
The cardiac outflow tract (OFT) is a developmentally complex structure derived from multiple lineages and is often defective in human congenital anomalies. While emerging evidence shows that the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) is essential for OFT development, the downstream pathways mediating FGF-signaling in cardiac progenitors remain poorly understood. Here, we report that FRS2α, an adaptor protein that links FGF receptor kinases to multiple signaling pathways, mediates critical aspects of FGF-dependent OFT development. Ablation of Frs2α in mesodermal OFT progenitor cells that originate in the second heart field (SHF) affects their expansion into the OFT myocardium, resulting in OFT misalignment and hypoplasia. Moreover, Frs2α mutants had defective endothelial-mesenchymal-transition and neural crest cell recruitment into the OFT cushions, resulting in OFT septation defects. The results provide new insight into the signaling molecules downstream of FGF receptor tyrosine kinases in cardiac progenitors.
receptor tyrosine kinase; cell signaling; heart development; second heart field; mouse model
The parameters RN (Newtonian resistance), G (tissue damping), and H (tissue elastance) of the constant phase model of respiratory mechanics provide information concerning the site of altered mechanical properties of the lung. The aims of this study were to compare the site of allergic airway narrowing implied from respiratory mechanics to a direct assessment by morphometry and to evaluate the effects of exogenous surfactant administration on the site and magnitude of airway narrowing.
We induced airway narrowing by ovalbumin sensitization and challenge and we tested the effects of a natural surfactant lacking surfactant proteins A and D (Infasurf®) on airway responses. Sensitized, mechanically ventilated Brown Norway rats underwent an aerosol challenge with 5% ovalbumin or vehicle. Other animals received nebulized surfactant prior to challenge. Three or 20 minutes after ovalbumin challenge, airway luminal areas were assessed on snap-frozen lungs by morphometry.
At 3 minutes, RN and G detected large airway narrowing whereas at 20 minutes G and H detected small airway narrowing. Surfactant inhibited RN at the peak of the early allergic response and ovalbumin-induced increase in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cysteinyl leukotrienes and amphiregulin but not IgE-induced mast cell activation in vitro.
Allergen challenge triggers the rapid onset of large airway narrowing, detected by RN and G, and subsequent peripheral airway narrowing detected by G and H. Surfactant inhibits airway narrowing and reduces mast cell-derived mediators.
Induction of early pituitary progenitors is achieved through combined activities of signals from adjacent embryonic tissues. Previous studies have identified a requirement for oral ectoderm derived Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) in specification and/or proliferation of early pituitary progenitors, however how different Gli genes mediate Shh signaling to control pituitary progenitor development has not yet been determined. Here we show that Gli2, which encodes a major Gli activator, is required for proliferation of specific groups of pituitary progenitors but not for initial dorsoventral patterning. We further show that the action of Gli2 occurs prior to the closure of Rathke’ pouch. Lastly, we show that Shh/Gli2 signaling controls the diencephalic expression of Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4) and Fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8), two genes that are known to play critical roles in patterning and growth of Rathke’s pouch. Our results therefore suggest both cell-autonomous and non-cell autonomous requirements for Gli2 in regulation of pituitary progenitor specification, proliferation and differentiation.
Gli1; Gli2; Gli3; Shh; mouse; pituitary; patterning; proliferation
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. We investigated the hypothesis that Bone Morphogenetic Protein (Bmp)-signaling regulates miRNAs in cardiac progenitor cells. Bmp2 and Bmp4 regulate OFT myocardial differentiation via regulation of the miRNA 17-92 cluster. In Bmp mutant embryos, myocardial differentiation was delayed and multiple miRNAs encoded by miRNA 17-92 were reduced. We uncovered functional miRNA17-92 seed sequences within the 3′ UTR of cardiac progenitor genes such as Isl1 and Tbx1. In both Bmp and miRNA 17-92 mutant embryos, Isl1and Tbx1 expression failed to be correctly downregulated. Transfection experiments indicated that miRNA 17 and miRNA 20a directly repressed Isl1and Tbx1. Genetic interaction studies uncovered a synergistic interaction between miRNA 17-92 cluster and Bmp4 providing direct in vivo evidence for the Bmp-miRNA 17-92 regulatory pathway. Our findings indicate that Bmp-signaling directly regulates a miRNA-mediated effector mechanism that downregulates cardiac progenitor genes and enhances myocardial differentiation.
Bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp); cardiovascular; microRNA
Asthma is the leading serious pediatric chronic illness in the United States, affecting 7.1 million children. The prevalence of asthma in children under 4 years of age has increased dramatically in the last 2 decades. Existing evidence suggests that this increase in prevalence derives from early environmental exposures acting on a pre-existing asthma-susceptible genotype. We studied the origins of asthma susceptibility in developing lung in rat strains that model the distinct phenotypes of airway hyperresponsiveness (Fisher rats) and atopy (brown Norway [BN] rats). Postnatal BN rat lungs showed increased epithelial proliferation and tracheal goblet cell hyperplasia. Fisher pups showed increased lung resistance at age 2 weeks, with elevated neutrophils throughout the postnatal period. Diverse transcriptomic signatures characterized the distinct respiratory phenotypes of developing lung in both rat models. Linear regression across age and strain identified developmental variation in expression of 1,376 genes, and confirmed both strain and temporal regulation of lung gene expression. Biological processes that were heavily represented included growth and development (including the T Box 1 transcription factor [Tbx5], the epidermal growth factor receptor [Egfr], the transforming growth factor beta-1-induced transcript 1 [Tgfbr1i1]), extracellular matrix and cell adhesion (including collagen and integrin genes), and immune function (including lymphocyte antigen 6 (Ly6) subunits, IL-17b, Toll-interacting protein, and Ficolin B). Genes validated by quantitative RT-PCR and protein analysis included collagen III alpha 1 Col3a1, Ly6b, glucocorticoid receptor and Importin-13 (specific to the BN rat lung), and Serpina1 and Ficolin B (specific to the Fisher lung). Innate differences in patterns of gene expression in developing lung that contribute to individual variation in respiratory phenotype are likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma.
asthma susceptibility; lung development; developmental gene expression
A key step in heart development is the coordinated development of the atrioventricular canal (AVC), the constriction between the atria and ventricles that electrically and physically separates the chambers, and the development of the atrioventricular valves that ensure unidirectional blood flow. Using knock-out and inducible overexpression mouse models, we provide evidence that the developmentally important T-box factors Tbx2 and Tbx3, in a functionally redundant manner, maintain the AVC myocardium phenotype during the process of chamber differentiation. Expression profiling and ChIP-sequencing analysis of Tbx3 revealed that it directly interacts with and represses chamber myocardial genes, and induces the atrioventricular pacemaker-like phenotype by activating relevant genes. Moreover, mutant mice lacking 3 or 4 functional alleles of Tbx2 and Tbx3 failed to form atrioventricular cushions, precursors of the valves and septa. Tbx2 and Tbx3 trigger development of the cushions through a regulatory feed-forward loop with Bmp2, thus providing a mechanism for the co-localization and coordination of these important processes in heart development.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-011-0884-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Endocardial cushion; Mesenchyme; Atrioventricular; T-box factors; Tbx3; BMP; Differentiation; Interaction; Repression
Heart valves develop from precursor structures called cardiac cushions, an endothelial-lined cardiac jelly that resides in the inner side of the heart tube. The cushions are then invaded by cells from different sources, undergo a series of complicated and poorly understood remodeling processes, and give rise to valves. Disruption of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling axis impairs morphogenesis of the outflow tract (OFT). Yet, whether FGF signaling regulates OFT valve formation is unknown.
To study how OFT valve formation is regulated and how aberrant cell signaling causes valve defects.
Methods and results
By employing mouse genetic manipulation, cell lineage tracing, ex vivo heart culture, and molecular biology approaches, we demonstrated that FGF signaling in the OFT myocardium upregulated Bmp4 expression, which then enhanced smooth muscle differentiation of neural crest cells (NCCs) in the cushion. FGF signaling also promoted OFT myocardial cell invasion to the cushion. Disrupting FGF signaling interrupted cushion remodeling with reduced NCCs differentiation into smooth muscle and less cardiomyocyte invasion, and resulted in malformed OFT valves.
The results demonstrate a novel mechanism by which the FGF-BMP signaling axis regulates formation of OFT valve primordia by controlling smooth muscle differentiation of cushion NCCs.
FGF; BMP; heart development; NCC differentiation; cardiac valve defect
To determine the activation of MAP kinases in and around cartilage subjected to mechanical damage and to determine the effects of their inhibitors on impaction induced chondrocyte death and cartilage degeneration.
The phosphorylation of MAP kinases was examined with confocal microscopy and immunoblotting. The effects of MAP kinase inhibitors on impaction-induced chondrocyte death and proteoglycan loss were determined with fluorescent microscopy and DMMB assay. The expression of catabolic genes at mRNA levels was examined with quantitative real time PCR.
Early p38 activation was detected at 20 min and 1 hr post-impaction. At 24 hr, enhanced phosphorylation of p38 and ERK1/2 was visualized in chondrocytes from in and around impact sites. The phosphorylation of p38 was increased by 3.0-fold in impact sites and 3.3-fold in adjacent cartilage. The phosphorylation of ERK-1 was increased by 5.8-fold in impact zone and 5.4-fold in adjacent cartilage; the phosphorylation of ERK-2 increased by 4.0-fold in impacted zone and 3.6-fold in adjacent cartilage. Furthermore, the blocking of p38 pathway did not inhibit impaction-induced ERK activation. The inhibition of p38 or ERK pathway significantly reduced injury-related chondrocyte death and proteoglycan losses. Quantative Real-time PCR analysis revealed that blunt impaction significantly up-regulated MMP-13, TNF-α, and ADAMTS-5 expression.
These findings implicate p38 and ERK MAPKs in the post injury spread of cartilage degeneration and suggest that the risk of PTOA following joint trauma could be decreased by blocking their activities, which might be involved in up-regulating expressions of MMP-13, ADAMTS-5, and TNF-α.
Impact; Cartilage damage; MAP kinases; Inhibitors; Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis
The success of combination antiretroviral therapies for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has resulted in prolonged life expectancy (over 40 years from diagnosis) and an improved quality of life for people living with HIV. The risk of vertical HIV transmission during pregnancy has been reduced to less than 1%. As a result of these breakthroughs and as many of these individuals are of reproductive age, fertility issues are becoming increasingly important for this population. One population in which conception planning and reduction of horizontal HIV transmission warrants further research is HIV-discordant couples where the male partner is HIV-positive and the female partner is HIV-negative. Sperm washing is a technique carried out in a fertility clinic that separates HIV from the seminal fluid. Although sperm washing followed by intrauterine insemination significantly reduces the risk of horizontal HIV transmission, there has been limited access to the procedure in North America. Furthermore, little is known about the conception decision-making experiences of HIV-discordant couples who might benefit from sperm washing. Chart reviews and semi-structured interviews were completed with 12 HIV-discordant couples in Ontario, Canada. Couples were recruited through HIV clinics and one fertility clinic that offered sperm washing. Participants identified a number of factors that affected their decision-making around pregnancy planning. Access to sperm washing and other fertility services was an issue (cost, travel and few clinics). Participants identified a lack of information on the procedure (availability, safety). Sources of support (social networks, healthcare providers) were unevenly distributed, especially among those who did not disclose their HIV status to friends and family. Finally, the stigmatisation of HIV continues to have a negative affect on HIV-discordant couples and their intentions to conceive. Access to sperm washing and fertility service is significantly limited for this population and is accompanied with a number of challenges.
Suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCSs) are negative regulators of both innate and adaptive immunity via inhibition of signaling by cytokines such as type I and type II IFNs. We have developed a small peptide antagonist of SOCS-1 that corresponds to the activation loop of JAK2. SOCS-1 inhibits both type I and type II IFN activities by binding to the kinase activation loop via the kinase inhibitory region of the SOCS. The antagonist, pJAK2(1001–1013), inhibited the replication of vaccinia virus and encephalomyocarditis virus in cell culture, suggesting that it possesses broad antiviral activity. In addition, pJAK2(1001–1013) protected mice against lethal vaccinia and encephalomyocarditis virus infection. pJAK2(1001–1013) increased the intracellular level of the constitutive IFN-β, which may play a role in the antagonist antiviral effect at the cellular level. Ab neutralization suggests that constitutive IFN-β may act intracellularly, consistent with recent findings on IFN-γ intracellular signaling. pJAK2(1001–1013) also synergizes with IFNs as per IFN-γ mimetic to exert a multiplicative antiviral effect at the level of transcription, the cell, and protection of mice against lethal viral infection. pJAK2(1001–1013) binds to the kinase inhibitory region of both SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 and blocks their inhibitory effects on the IFN-γ activation site promoter. In addition to a direct antiviral effect and synergism with IFN, the SOCS antagonist also exhibits adjuvant effects on humoral and cellular immunity as well as an enhancement of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid activation of TLR3. The SOCS antagonist thus presents a novel and effective approach to enhancement of host defense against viruses.