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1.  Improved Flow Cytometric Assessment Reveals Distinct Microvesicle (Cell-Derived Microparticle) Signatures in Joint Diseases 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49726.
Introduction
Microvesicles (MVs), earlier referred to as microparticles, represent a major type of extracellular vesicles currently considered as novel biomarkers in various clinical settings such as autoimmune disorders. However, the analysis of MVs in body fluids has not been fully standardized yet, and there are numerous pitfalls that hinder the correct assessment of these structures.
Methods
In this study, we analyzed synovial fluid (SF) samples of patients with osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). To assess factors that may confound MV detection in joint diseases, we used electron microscopy (EM), Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) and mass spectrometry (MS). For flow cytometry, a method commonly used for phenotyping and enumeration of MVs, we combined recent advances in the field, and used a novel approach of differential detergent lysis for the exclusion of MV-mimicking non-vesicular signals.
Results
EM and NTA showed that substantial amounts of particles other than MVs were present in SF samples. Beyond known MV-associated proteins, MS analysis also revealed abundant plasma- and immune complex-related proteins in MV preparations. Applying improved flow cytometric analysis, we demonstrate for the first time that CD3+ and CD8+ T-cell derived SF MVs are highly elevated in patients with RA compared to OA patients (p = 0.027 and p = 0.009, respectively, after Bonferroni corrections). In JIA, we identified reduced numbers of B cell-derived MVs (p = 0.009, after Bonferroni correction).
Conclusions
Our results suggest that improved flow cytometric assessment of MVs facilitates the detection of previously unrecognized disease-associated vesicular signatures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049726
PMCID: PMC3502255  PMID: 23185418
2.  Antibody Phage Display Assisted Identification of Junction Plakoglobin as a Potential Biomarker for Atherosclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47985.
To date, no plaque-derived blood biomarker is available to allow diagnosis, prognosis or monitoring of atherosclerotic vascular diseases. In this study, specimens of thrombendarterectomy material from carotid and iliac arteries were incubated in protein-free medium to obtain plaque and control secretomes for subsequent subtractive phage display. The selection of nine plaque secretome-specific antibodies and the analysis of their immunopurified antigens by mass spectrometry led to the identification of 22 proteins. One of them, junction plakoglobin (JUP-81) and its smaller isoforms (referred to as JUP-63, JUP-55 and JUP-30 by molecular weight) were confirmed by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting with independent antibodies to be present in atherosclerotic plaques and their secretomes, coronary thrombi of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and macrophages differentiated from peripheral blood monocytes as well as macrophage-like cells differentiated from THP1 cells. Plasma of patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) (n = 15) and ACS (n = 11) contained JUP-81 at more than 2- and 14-fold higher median concentrations, respectively, than plasma of CAD-free individuals (n = 13). In conclusion, this proof of principle study identified and verified JUP isoforms as potential plasma biomarkers for atherosclerosis. Clinical validation studies are needed to determine its diagnostic efficacy and clinical utility as a biomarker for diagnosis, prognosis or monitoring of atherosclerotic vascular diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047985
PMCID: PMC3480477  PMID: 23110151
3.  ATP Induced Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression and Release from Osteoarthritis Synovial Fibroblasts Is Mediated by Purinergic Receptor P2X4 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36693.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neuromodulator involved in nociceptive hypersensitivity in the central nervous system, is also expressed in synoviocytes of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. We investigated the role of P2 purinoreceptors in the induction of BDNF expression in synovial fibroblasts (SF) of OA and RA patients. Cultured SF from patients with symptomatic knee OA and RA were stimulated with purinoreceptor agonists ATP, ADP, or UTP. The expression of BDNF mRNA was measured by quantitative TaqMan PCR. BDNF release into cell culture supernatants was monitored by ELISA. P2X4 expression in synovial tissue was detected by immunohistochemistry. Endogenous P2X4 expression was decreased by siRNA transfection before ATP stimulation. Kinase pathways were blocked before ATP stimulation. BDNF mRNA expression levels in OASF were increased 2 h and 5 h after ATP stimulation. Mean BDNF levels in cell culture supernatants of unstimulated OASF and RASF were 19 (±9) and 67 (±49) pg/ml, respectively. BDNF levels in SF supernatants were only elevated 5 h after ATP stimulation. BDNF mRNA expression in OASF was induced both by P2X receptor agonists ATP and ADP, but not by UTP, an agonist of P2Y purinergic receptors. The ATP-induced BDNF mRNA expression in OASF was decreased by siRNA-mediated reduction of endogenous P2X4 levels compared to scrambled controls. Inhibition of p38, but not p44/42 signalling reduced the ATP-mediated BDNF mRNA induction. Here we show a functional role of the purinergic receptor P2X4 and p38 kinase in the ATP-induced expression and release of the neurotrophin BDNF in SF.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036693
PMCID: PMC3360754  PMID: 22715356

Results 1-3 (3)