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1.  VEGF induces sensory and motor peripheral plasticity, alters bladder function, and promotes visceral sensitivity 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:15.
This work tests the hypothesis that bladder instillation with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) modulates sensory and motor nerve plasticity, and, consequently, bladder function and visceral sensitivity.
In addition to C57BL/6J, ChAT-cre mice were used for visualization of bladder cholinergic nerves. The direct effect of VEGF on the density of sensory nerves expressing the transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1 (TRPV1) and cholinergic nerves (ChAT) was studied one week after one or two intravesical instillations of the growth factor.
To study the effects of VEGF on bladder function, mice were intravesically instilled with VEGF and urodynamic evaluation was assessed. VEGF-induced alteration in bladder dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons was performed on retrogradly labeled urinary bladder afferents by patch-clamp recording of voltage gated Na+ currents. Determination of VEGF-induced changes in sensitivity to abdominal mechanostimulation was performed by application of von Frey filaments.
In addition to an overwhelming increase in TRPV1 immunoreactivity, VEGF instillation resulted in an increase in ChAT-directed expression of a fluorescent protein in several layers of the urinary bladder. Intravesical VEGF caused a profound change in the function of the urinary bladder: acute VEGF (1 week post VEGF treatment) reduced micturition pressure and longer treatment (2 weeks post-VEGF instillation) caused a substantial reduction in inter-micturition interval. In addition, intravesical VEGF resulted in an up-regulation of voltage gated Na+ channels (VGSC) in bladder DRG neurons and enhanced abdominal sensitivity to mechanical stimulation.
For the first time, evidence is presented indicating that VEGF instillation into the mouse bladder promotes a significant increase in peripheral nerve density together with alterations in bladder function and visceral sensitivity. The VEGF pathway is being proposed as a key modulator of neural plasticity in the pelvis and enhanced VEGF content may be associated with visceral hyperalgesia, abdominal discomfort, and/or pelvic pain.
PMCID: PMC3543727  PMID: 23249422
2.  Localization of lipoprotein lipase and GPIHBP1 in mouse pancreas: effects of diet and leptin deficiency 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:14.
Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) hydrolyzes triglycerides in plasma lipoproteins and enables uptake of lipolysis products for energy production or storage in tissues. Our aim was to study the localization of LPL and its endothelial anchoring protein glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high density lipoprotein-binding protein 1 (GPIHBP1) in mouse pancreas, and effects of diet and leptin deficiency on their expression patterns. For this, immunofluorescence microscopy was used on pancreatic tissue from C57BL/6 mouse embryos (E18), adult mice on normal or high-fat diet, and adult ob/ob-mice treated or not with leptin. The distribution of LPL and GPIHBP1 was compared to insulin, glucagon and CD31. Heparin injections were used to discriminate between intracellular and extracellular LPL.
In the exocrine pancreas LPL was found in capillaries, and was mostly co-localized with GPIHBP1. LPL was releasable by heparin, indicating localization on cell surfaces. Within the islets, most of the LPL was associated with beta cells and could not be released by heparin, indicating that the enzyme remained mostly within cells. Staining for LPL was found also in the glucagon-producing alpha cells, both in embryos (E18) and in adult mice. Only small amounts of LPL were found together with GPIHBP1 within the capillaries of islets. Neither a high fat diet nor fasting/re-feeding markedly altered the distribution pattern of LPL or GPIHBP1 in mouse pancreas. Islets from ob/ob mice appeared completely deficient of LPL in the beta cells, while LPL-staining was normal in alpha cells and in the exocrine pancreas. Leptin treatment of ob/ob mice for 12 days reversed this pattern, so that most of the islets expressed LPL in beta cells.
We conclude that both LPL and GPIHBP1 are present in mouse pancreas, and that LPL expression in beta cells is dependent on leptin.
PMCID: PMC3537605  PMID: 23186339
Lipoprotein lipase; Diabetes mellitus; Islet cells; Exocrine pancreas; Endothelium; Ob/ob mice; High fat diet; Heparin; qPCR; Immunofluorescence
3.  Linking nutritional regulation of Angptl4, Gpihbp1, and Lmf1 to lipoprotein lipase activity in rodent adipose tissue 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:13.
Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) hydrolyzes triglycerides in lipoproteins and makes fatty acids available for tissue metabolism. The activity of the enzyme is modulated in a tissue specific manner by interaction with other proteins. We have studied how feeding/fasting and some related perturbations affect the expression, in rat adipose tissue, of three such proteins, LMF1, an ER protein necessary for folding of LPL into its active dimeric form, the endogenous LPL inhibitor ANGPTL4, and GPIHBP1, that transfers LPL across the endothelium.
The system underwent moderate circadian oscillations, for LPL in phase with food intake, for ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1 in the opposite direction. Studies with cycloheximide showed that whereas LPL protein turns over rapidly, ANGPTL4 protein turns over more slowly. Studies with the transcription blocker Actinomycin D showed that transcripts for ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1, but not LMF1 or LPL, turn over rapidly. When food was withdrawn the expression of ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1 increased rapidly, and LPL activity decreased. On re-feeding and after injection of insulin the expression of ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1 decreased rapidly, and LPL activity increased. In ANGPTL4−/− mice adipose tissue LPL activity did not show these responses. In old, obese rats that showed signs of insulin resistance, the responses of ANGPTL4 and GPIHBP1 mRNA and of LPL activity were severely blunted (at 26 weeks of age) or almost abolished (at 52 weeks of age).
This study demonstrates directly that ANGPTL4 is necessary for rapid modulation of LPL activity in adipose tissue. ANGPTL4 message levels responded very rapidly to changes in the nutritional state. LPL activity always changed in the opposite direction. This did not happen in Angptl4−/− mice. GPIHBP1 message levels also changed rapidly and in the same direction as ANGPTL4, i.e. increased on fasting when LPL activity decreased. This was unexpected because GPIHBP1 is known to stabilize LPL. The plasticity of the LPL system is severely blunted or completely lost in insulin resistant rats.
PMCID: PMC3562520  PMID: 23176178
Gene expression; Insulin; Gene inactivation; Cycloheximide; Actinomycin D; Transcription; Translation; Posttranslational
4.  The ΔF508-CFTR mutation inhibits wild-type CFTR processing and function when co-expressed in human airway epithelia and in mouse nasal mucosa 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:12.
Rescue or correction of CFTR function in native epithelia is the ultimate goal of CF therapeutics development. Wild-type (WT) CFTR introduction and replacement is also of particular interest. Such therapies may be complicated by possible CFTR self-assembly into an oligomer or multimer.
Surprisingly, functional CFTR assays in native airway epithelia showed that the most common CFTR mutant, ΔF508-CFTR (ΔF-CFTR), inhibits WT-CFTR when both forms are co-expressed. To examine more mechanistically, both forms of CFTR were transfected transiently in varying amounts into IB3-1 CF human airway epithelial cells and HEK-293 human embryonic kidney cells null for endogenous CFTR protein expression. Increasing amounts of ΔF-CFTR inhibited WT-CFTR protein processing and function in CF human airway epithelial cells but not in heterologous HEK-293 cells. Stably expressed ΔF-CFTR in clones of the non-CF human airway epithelial cell line, CALU-3, also showed reduction in cAMP-stimulated anion secretion and in WT-CFTR processing. An ultimate test of this dominant negative-like effect of ΔF-CFTR on WT-CFTR was the parallel study of two different CF mouse models: the ΔF-CFTR mouse and the bitransgenic CFTR mouse corrected in the gut but null in the lung and airways. WT/ΔF heterozygotes had an intermediate phenotype with regard to CFTR agonist responses in in vivo nasal potential difference (NPD) recordings and in Ussing chamber recordings of short-circuit current (ISC) in vitro on primary tracheal epithelial cells isolated from the same mice. In contrast, CFTR bitransgenic +/− heterozygotes had no difference in their responses versus +/+ wild-type mice.
Taken altogether, these data suggest that ΔF-CFTR and WT-CFTR co-assemble into an oligomeric macromolecular complex in native epithelia and share protein processing machinery and regulation at the level of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). As a consequence, ΔF-CFTR slows WT-CFTR protein processing and limits its expression and function in the apical membrane of native airway epithelia. Implications of these data for the relative health of CF heterozygous carriers, for CFTR protein processing in native airway epithelia, and for the relative efficacy of different CF therapeutic approaches is significant and is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3507716  PMID: 22999299
Cystic fibrosis (CF); CFTR; Biogenesis; CF heterozygote; Oligomer; Chloride ion channels
5.  High molecular mass proteomics analyses of left ventricle from rats subjected to differential swimming training 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:11.
Regular exercises are commonly described as an important factor in health improvement, being directly related to contractile force development in cardiac cells.
In order to evaluate the links between swimming exercise intensity and cardiac adaptation by using high molecular mass proteomics, isogenic Wistar rats were divided into four groups: one control (CG) and three training groups (TG’s), with low, moderate and high intensity of exercises.
In order to evaluate the links between swimming exercise intensity and cardiac adaptation by using high molecular mass proteomics, isogenic Wistar rats were divided into four groups: one control (CG) and three training groups (TG’s), with low, moderate and high intensity of exercises.
Findings here reported demonstrated clear morphologic alterations, significant cellular injury and increased energy supplies at high exercise intensities. α-MyHC, as well proteins associated with mitochondrial oxidative metabolism were shown to be improved. α-MyHC expression increase 1.2 fold in high intensity training group when compared with control group. α-MyHC was also evaluated by real-time PCR showing a clear expression correlation with protein synthesis data increase in 8.48 fold in high intensity training group. Other myofibrillar protein, troponin , appear only in high intensity group, corroborating the cellular injury data. High molecular masses proteins such as MRS2 and NADH dehydrogenase, involved in metabolic pathways also demonstrate increase expression, respectily 1.5 and 1.3 fold, in response to high intensity exercise.
High intensity exercise demonstrated an increase expression in some high molecular masses myofibrilar proteins, α-MyHC and troponin. Furthermore this intensity also lead a significant increase of other high molecular masses proteins such as MRS2 and NADH dehydrogenase in comparison to low and moderate intensities. However, high intensity exercise also represented a significant degree of cellular injury, when compared with the individuals submitted to low and moderate intensities.
PMCID: PMC3508799  PMID: 22950628
Heart tissue; High molecular mass proteomic; Muscle; Myofibrillar proteins; Swimming training
6.  Identification of uterine ion transporters for mineralisation precursors of the avian eggshell 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:10.
In Gallus gallus, eggshell formation takes place daily in the hen uterus and requires large amounts of the ionic precursors for calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Both elements (Ca2+, HCO3-) are supplied by the blood via trans-epithelial transport. Our aims were to identify genes coding for ion transporters that are upregulated in the uterine portion of the oviduct during eggshell calcification, compared to other tissues and other physiological states, and incorporate these proteins into a general model for mineral transfer across the tubular gland cells during eggshell formation.
A total of 37 candidate ion transport genes were selected from our database of overexpressed uterine genes associated with eggshell calcification, and by analogy with mammalian transporters. Their uterine expression was compared by qRTPCR in the presence and absence of eggshell formation, and with relative expression levels in magnum (low Ca2+/HCO3- movement) and duodenum (high rates of Ca2+/HCO3- trans-epithelial transfer). We identified overexpression of eleven genes related to calcium movement: the TRPV6 Ca2+ channel (basolateral uptake of Ca2+), 28 kDa calbindin (intracellular Ca2+ buffering), the endoplasmic reticulum type 2 and 3 Ca2+ pumps (ER uptake), and the inositol trisphosphate receptors type 1, 2 and 3 (ER release). Ca2+ movement across the apical membrane likely involves membrane Ca2+ pumps and Ca2+/Na+ exchangers. Our data suggests that Na+ transport involved the SCNN1 channel and the Na+/Ca2+ exchangers SLC8A1, 3 for cell uptake, the Na+/K+ ATPase for cell output. K+ uptake resulted from the Na+/K+ ATPase, and its output from the K+ channels (KCNJ2, 15, 16 and KCNMA1).
We propose that the HCO3- is mainly produced from CO2 by the carbonic anhydrase 2 (CA2) and that HCO3- is secreted through the HCO3-/Cl- exchanger SLC26A9. HCO3- synthesis and precipitation with Ca2+ produce two H+. Protons are absorbed via the membrane’s Ca2+ pumps ATP2B1, 2 in the apical membrane and the vacuolar (H+)-atpases at the basolateral level. Our model incorporate Cl- ions which are absorbed by the HCO3-/Cl- exchanger SLC26A9 and by Cl- channels (CLCN2, CFTR) and might be extruded by Cl-/H+ exchanger (CLCN5), but also by Na+ K+ 2 Cl- and K+ Cl- cotransporters.
Our Gallus gallus uterine model proposes a large list of ion transfer proteins supplying Ca2+ and HCO3- and maintaining cellular ionic homeostasis. This avian model should contribute towards understanding the mechanisms and regulation for ionic precursors of CaCO3, and provide insight in other species where epithelia transport large amount of calcium or bicarbonate.
PMCID: PMC3582589  PMID: 22943410
Ion; Mineral; Calcium; Transporter; Uterus; Eggshell; Chicken
7.  Contribution of transient and sustained calcium influx, and sensitization to depolarization-induced contractions of the intact mouse aorta 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:9.
Electrophysiological studies of L-type Ca2+ channels in isolated vascular smooth muscle cells revealed that depolarization of these cells evoked a transient and a time-independent Ca2+ current. The sustained, non-inactivating current occurred at voltages where voltage-dependent activation and inactivation overlapped (voltage window) and its contribution to basal tone or active tension in larger multicellular blood vessel preparations is unknown at present. This study investigated whether window Ca2+ influx affects isometric contraction of multicellular C57Bl6 mouse aortic segments.
Intracellular Ca2+ (Cai2+, Fura-2), membrane potential and isometric force were measured in aortic segments, which were clamped at fixed membrane potentials by increasing extracellular K+ concentrations. K+ above 20 mM evoked biphasic contractions, which were not affected by inhibition of IP3- or Ca2+ induced Ca2+ release with 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate or ryanodine, respectively, ruling out the contribution of intracellular Ca2+ release. The fast force component paralleled Cai2+ increase, but the slow contraction coincided with Cai2+ decrease. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, basal tension and Cai2+ declined, and depolarization failed to evoke Cai2+ signals or contraction. Subsequent re-introduction of external Ca2+ elicited only slow contractions, which were now matched by Cai2+ increase. After Cai2+ attained steady-state, isometric force kept increasing due to Ca2+- sensitization of the contractile elements. The slow force responses displayed a bell-shaped voltage-dependence, were suppressed by hyperpolarization with levcromakalim, and enhanced by an agonist of L-type Ca2+ channels (BAY K8644).
The isometric response of mouse aortic segments to depolarization consists of a fast, transient contraction paralleled by a transient Ca2+ influx via Ca2+ channels which completely inactivate. Ca2+ channels, which did not completely inactivate during the depolarization, initiated a second, sustained phase of contraction, which was matched by a sustained non-inactivating window Ca2+ influx. Together with sensitization, this window L-type Ca2+ influx is a major determinant of basal and active tension of mouse aortic smooth muscle.
PMCID: PMC3499395  PMID: 22943445
Vascular smooth muscle; L-type Ca2+ channel; Vasoconstriction; Intracellular Ca2+; Depolarization; Window Ca2+ influx
8.  Contractile properties and movement behaviour in neonatal rats with axotomy, treated with the NMDA antagonist DAP5 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:5.
It is well known that axotomy in the neonatal period causes massive loss of motoneurons, which is reflected in the reduction of the number of motor units and the alteration in muscle properties. This type of neuronal death is attributed to the excessive activation of the ionotropic glutamate receptors (glutamate excitotoxicity). In the present study we investigated the effect of the NMDA antagonist DAP5 [D-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid] in systemic administration, on muscle properties and on behavioural aspects following peripheral nerve injury.
Wistar rats were subjected to sciatic nerve crush on the second postnatal day. Four experimental groups were included in this study: a) controls (injection of 0.9% NaCl solution) b) crush c) DAP5 treated and d) crush and DAP5 treated. Animals were examined with isometric tension recordings of the fast extensor digitorum longus and the slow soleus muscles, as well as with locomotor tests at four time points, at P14, P21, P28 and adulthood (2 months).
1. Administration of DAP5 alone provoked no apparent adverse effects. 2. In all age groups, animals with crush developed significantly less tension than the controls in both muscles and had a worse performance in locomotor tests (p < 0.01). Crush animals injected with DAP5 were definitely improved as their tension recordings and their locomotor behaviour were significantly improved compared to axotomized ones (p < 0.01). 3. The time course of soleus contraction was not altered by axotomy and the muscle remained slow-contracting in all developmental stages in all experimental groups. EDL, on the other hand, became slower after the crush (p < 0.05). DAP5 administration restored the contraction velocity, even up to the level of control animals 4. Following crush, EDL becomes fatigue resistant after P21 (p < 0.01). Soleus, on the other hand, becomes less fatigue resistant. DAP5 restored the profile in both muscles.
Our results confirm that contractile properties and locomotor behaviour of animals are severely affected by axotomy, with a differential impact on fast contracting muscles. Administration of DAP5 reverses these devastating effects, without any observable side-effects. This agent could possibly show a therapeutic potential in other models of excitotoxic injury as well.
PMCID: PMC3395568  PMID: 22551202
9.  Interleukin-1 beta: a potential link between stress and the development of visceral obesity 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:8.
A disproportionate amount of body fat within the abdominal cavity, otherwise known as visceral obesity, best predicts the negative health outcomes associated with high levels body fat. Growing evidence suggests that repeated activation of the stress response can favor visceral fat deposition and that visceral obesity may induce low-grade, systemic inflammation which is etiologically linked to the pathogenesis of obesity related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. While the obesity epidemic has fueled considerable interest in these obesity-related inflammatory diseases, surprisingly little research is currently focused on understanding the functions of inflammatory proteins in healthy, non-obese white adipose tissue (WAT) and their possible role in modulating stress-induced shifts in body fat distribution.
The current review presents evidence in support the novel hypothesis that stress-evoked interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) signaling within subcutaneous adipose tissue, when repeatedly induced, contributes toward the development of visceral obesity. It is suggested that because acute stressor exposure differentially increases IL-1β levels within subcutaneous adipose relative to visceral adipose tissue in otherwise healthy, non-obese rats, repeated induction of this response may impair the ability of subcutaneous adipose tissue to uptake energy substrates, synthesize and retain triglycerides, and/or adapt to positive energy balance via hyperplasia. Consequently, circulating energy substrates may be disproportionately shunted to visceral adipose tissue for storage, thus driving the development of visceral obesity.
This review establishes the following key points: 1) body fat distribution outweighs the importance of total body fat when predicting obesity-related disease risk; 2) repeated exposure to stress can drive the development of visceral obesity independent of changes in body weight; 3) because of the heterogeneity of WAT composition and function, an accurate understanding of WAT responses requires sampling multiple WAT depots; 4) acute, non-pathogenic stressor exposure increases WAT IL-1β concentrations in a depot specific manner suggesting an adaptive, metabolic role for this cytokine; however, when repeated, stress-induced IL-1β in non-visceral WAT may result in functional impairments that drive the development of stress-induced visceral obesity.
PMCID: PMC3404929  PMID: 22738239
10.  Cell proliferation along vascular islands during microvascular network growth 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:7.
Observations in our laboratory provide evidence of vascular islands, defined as disconnected endothelial cell segments, in the adult microcirculation. The objective of this study was to determine if vascular islands are involved in angiogenesis during microvascular network growth.
Mesenteric tissues, which allow visualization of entire microvascular networks at a single cell level, were harvested from unstimulated adult male Wistar rats and Wistar rats 3 and 10 days post angiogenesis stimulation by mast cell degranulation with compound 48/80. Tissues were immunolabeled for PECAM and BRDU. Identification of vessel lumens via injection of FITC-dextran confirmed that endothelial cell segments were disconnected from nearby patent networks. Stimulated networks displayed increases in vascular area, length density, and capillary sprouting. On day 3, the percentage of islands with at least one BRDU-positive cell increased compared to the unstimulated level and was equal to the percentage of capillary sprouts with at least one BRDU-positive cell. At day 10, the number of vascular islands per vascular area dramatically decreased compared to unstimulated and day 3 levels.
These results show that vascular islands have the ability to proliferate and suggest that they are able to incorporate into the microcirculation during the initial stages of microvascular network growth.
PMCID: PMC3493275  PMID: 22720777
Angiogenesis; Microcirculation; Mesentery; Proliferation; Endothelial cell
11.  Mechanisms of pressure-diuresis and pressure-natriuresis in Dahl salt-resistant and Dahl salt-sensitive rats 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:6.
Data on blood flow regulation, renal filtration, and urine output in salt-sensitive Dahl S rats fed on high-salt (hypertensive) and low-salt (prehypertensive) diets and salt-resistant Dahl R rats fed on high-salt diets were analyzed using a mathematical model of renal blood flow regulation, glomerular filtration, and solute transport in a nephron.
The mechanism of pressure-diuresis and pressure-natriuresis that emerges from simulation of the integrated systems is that relatively small increases in glomerular filtration that follow from increases in renal arterial pressure cause relatively large increases in urine and sodium output. Furthermore, analysis reveals the minimal differences between the experimental cases necessary to explain the observed data. It is determined that differences in renal afferent and efferent arterial resistances are able to explain all of the qualitative differences in observed flows, filtration rates, and glomerular pressure as well as the differences in the pressure-natriuresis and pressure-diuresis relationships in the three groups. The model is able to satisfactorily explain data from all three groups without varying parameters associated with glomerular filtration or solute transport in the nephron component of the model.
Thus the differences between the experimental groups are explained solely in terms of difference in blood flow regulation. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that, if a shift in the pressure-natriuresis relationship is the primary cause of elevated arterial pressure in the Dahl S rat, then alternation in how renal afferent and efferent arterial resistances are regulated represents the primary cause of chronic hypertension in the Dahl S rat.
PMCID: PMC3536597  PMID: 22583378
12.  Obesity-associated insulin resistance is correlated to adipose tissue vascular endothelial growth factors and metalloproteinase levels 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:4.
The expansion of adipose tissue is linked to the development of its vasculature, which appears to have the potential to regulate the onset of obesity. However, at present, there are no studies highlighting the relationship between human adipose tissue angiogenesis and obesity-associated insulin resistance (IR).
Our aim was to analyze and compare angiogenic factor expression levels in both subcutaneous (SC) and omentum (OM) adipose tissues from morbidly obese patients (n = 26) with low (OB/L-IR) (healthy obese) and high (OB/H-IR) degrees of IR, and lean controls (n = 17). Another objective was to examine angiogenic factor correlations with obesity and IR.
Here we found that VEGF-A was the isoform with higher expression in both OM and SC adipose tissues, and was up-regulated 3-fold, together with MMP9 in OB/L-IR as compared to leans. This up-regulation decreased by 23% in OB/-H-IR compared to OB/L-IR. On the contrary, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D, together with MMP15 was down-regulated in both OB/H-IR and OB/L-IR compared to lean patients. Moreover, MMP9 correlated positively and VEGF-C, VEGF-D and MMP15 correlated negatively with HOMA-IR, in both SC and OM.
We hereby propose that the alteration in MMP15, VEGF-B, VEGF-C and VEGF-D gene expression may be caused by one of the relevant adipose tissue processes related to the development of IR, and the up-regulation of VEGF-A in adipose tissue could have a relationship with the prevention of this pathology.
PMCID: PMC3382430  PMID: 22471305
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Metalloproteinase; Obesity; Insulin Resistance; Omentum Adipose Tissue; Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue
13.  Small molecule screening platform for assessment of cardiovascular toxicity on adult zebrafish heart 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:3.
Cardiovascular toxicity is a major limiting factor in drug development and requires multiple cost-effective models to perform toxicological evaluation. Zebrafish is an excellent model for many developmental, toxicological and regenerative studies. Using approaches like morpholino knockdown and electrocardiogram, researchers have demonstrated physiological and functional similarities between zebrafish heart and human heart. The close resemblance of the genetic cascade governing heart development in zebrafish to that of humans has propelled the zebrafish system as a cost-effective model to conduct various genetic and pharmacological screens on developing embryos and larvae. The current report describes a methodology for rapid isolation of adult zebrafish heart, maintenance ex vivo, and a setup to perform quick small molecule throughput screening, including an in-house implemented analysis script.
Adult zebrafish were anesthetized and after rapid decapitation the hearts were isolated. The short time required for isolation of hearts allows dissection of multiple fishes, thereby obtaining a large sample size. The simple protocol for ex vivo culture allowed maintaining the beating heart for several days. The in-house developed script and spectral analyses allowed the readouts to be presented either in time domain or in frequency domain. Taken together, the current report offers an efficient platform for performing cardiac drug testing and pharmacological screens.
The new methodology presents a fast, cost-effective, sensitive and reliable method for performing small molecule screening. The variety of readouts that can be obtained along with the in-house developed analyses script offers a powerful setup for performing cardiac toxicity evaluation by researchers from both academics and industry.
PMCID: PMC3334682  PMID: 22449203
Heart; Screening; Zebrafish; Small molecule; Ex vivo; Ca2+ signaling
14.  Matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 increase permeability of sheep pleura in vitro 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:2.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) 2 and 9 are two gelatinase members which have been found elevated in exudative pleural effusions. In endothelial cells these MMPs increase paracellular permeability via the disruption of tight junction (TJ) proteins occludin and claudin. In the present study it was investigated if MMP2 and MMP9 alter permeability properties of the pleura tissue by degradation of TJ proteins in pleural mesothelium.
In the present study the transmesothelial resistance (RTM) of sheep pleura tissue was recorded in Ussing chambers after the addition of MMP2 or MMP9. Both enzymes reduced RTM of the pleura, implying an increase in pleural permeability. The localization and expression of TJ proteins, occludin and claudin-1, were assessed after incubation with MMPs by indirect immunofluorescence and western blot analysis. Our results revealed that incubation with MMPs did not alter neither proteins localization at cell periphery nor their expression.
MMP2 and MMP9 increase the permeability of sheep pleura and this finding suggests a role for MMPs in pleural fluid formation. Tight junction proteins remain intact after incubation with MMPs, contrary to previous studies which have shown TJ degradation by MMPs. Probably MMP2 and MMP9 augment pleural permeability via other mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3337816  PMID: 22424238
15.  Postnatal liver growth and regeneration are independent of c-myc in a mouse model of conditional hepatic c-myc deletion 
BMC Physiology  2012;12:1.
The transcription factor c-myc regulates genes involved in hepatocyte growth, proliferation, metabolism, and differentiation. It has also been assigned roles in liver development and regeneration. In previous studies, we made the unexpected observation that c-Myc protein levels were similar in proliferating fetal liver and quiescent adult liver with c-Myc displaying nucleolar localization in the latter. In order to investigate the functional role of c-Myc in adult liver, we have developed a hepatocyte-specific c-myc knockout mouse, c-mycfl/fl;Alb-Cre.
Liver weight to body weight ratios were similar in control and c-myc deficient mice. Liver architecture was unaffected. Conditional c-myc deletion did not result in compensatory induction of other myc family members or in c-Myc's binding partner Max. Floxed c-myc did have a negative effect on Alb-Cre expression at 4 weeks of age. To explore this relationship further, we used the Rosa26 reporter line to assay Cre activity in the c-myc floxed mice. No significant difference in Alb-Cre activity was found between control and c-mycfl/fl mice. c-myc deficient mice were studied in a nonproliferative model of liver growth, fasting for 48 hr followed by a 24 hr refeeding period. Fasting resulted in a decrease in liver mass and liver protein, both of which recovered upon 24 h of refeeding in the c-mycfl/fl;Alb-Cre animals. There was also no effect of reducing c-myc on recovery of liver mass following 2/3 partial hepatectomy.
c-Myc appears to be dispensable for normal liver growth during the postnatal period, restoration of liver mass following partial hepatectomy and recovery from fasting.
PMCID: PMC3353165  PMID: 22397685

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