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Individuals with chronic kidney disease have elevated levels of oxidative stress and are at a significantly higher risk of skeletal fracture. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which accumulate in bone and compromise mechanical properties, are known to be driven in part by oxidative stress. The goal of this study was to study effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on reducing oxidative stress and improving various bone parameters, most specifically mechanical properties, in an animal model of progressive CKD. Male Cy/+ (CKD) rats and unaffected littermates were untreated (controls) or treated with NAC (80 mg/kg, IP) from 30 to 35 weeks of age. Endpoint measures included serum biochemistries, assessments of systemic oxidative stress, bone morphology, and mechanical properties, and AGE levels in the bone. CKD rats had the expected phenotype that included low kidney function, elevated parathyroid hormone, higher cortical porosity, and compromised mechanical properties. NAC treatment had mixed effects on oxidative stress markers, significantly reducing TBARS (a measure of lipid peroxidation) while not affecting 8-OHdG (a marker of DNA oxidation) levels. AGE levels in the bone were elevated in CKD animals and were reduced with NAC although this did not translate to a benefit in bone mechanical properties. In conclusion, NAC failed to significantly improve bone architecture/geometry/mechanical properties in our rat model of progressive CKD.
Increased endothelial permeability is central to the pathogenesis of sepsis and leads to organ dysfunction and death but the endogenous mechanisms that drive increased endothelial permeability are not completely understood. We previously reported that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH), elevated in 80% of patients with sepsis, increases lung microvascular permeability in an ex vivo human lung model and cultured endothelial cells. In this study, we augmented a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis with elevated circulating CFH to test the hypothesis that CFH increases microvascular endothelial permeability by inducing endothelial apoptosis. Mice were treated with an intraperitoneal injection of cecal slurry with or without a single intravenous injection of CFH. Severity of illness, mortality, systemic and lung inflammation, endothelial injury and dysfunction and lung apoptosis were measured at selected time points. We found that CFH added to CS increased sepsis mortality, plasma inflammatory cytokines as well as lung apoptosis, edema and inflammation without affecting large vessel reactivity or vascular injury marker concentrations. These results suggest that CFH is an endogenous mediator of increased endothelial permeability and apoptosis in sepsis and may be a promising therapeutic target.
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100839.].
The single photon response (SPR) in vertebrate photoreceptors is inherently variable due to several stochastic events in the phototransduction cascade, the main one being the shutoff of photoactivated rhodopsin. Deactivation is driven by a random number of steps, each of random duration with final quenching occurring after a random delay. Nevertheless, variability of the SPR is relatively low, making the signal highly reliable. Several biophysical and mathematical mechanisms contributing to variability suppression have been examined by the authors. Here we investigate the contribution of local depletion of cGMP by PDE*, the non linear dependence of the photocurrent on cGMP, Ca2+ feedback by making use of a fully space resolved (FSR) mathematical model, applied to two species (mouse and salamander), by varying the cGMP diffusion rate severalfold and rod outer segment diameter by an order of magnitude, and by introducing new, more refined, and time dependent variability functionals. Globally well stirred (GWS) models, and to a lesser extent transversally well stirred models (TWS), underestimate the role of nonlinearities and local cGMP depletion in quenching the variability of the circulating current with respect to fully space resolved models (FSR). These distortions minimize the true extent to which SPR is stabilized by locality in cGMP depletion, nonlinear effects linking cGMP to current, and Ca2+ feedback arising from the physical separation of E* from the ion channels located on the outer shell, and the diffusion of these second messengers in the cytoplasm.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES - Impacts of mindfulness-based programs on blood pressure remain equivocal, possibly because the programs are not adapted to engage with determinants of hypertension, or due to floor effects. Primary objectives were to create a customized Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP) program, and to evaluate acceptability, feasibility, and effects on hypothesized proximal self-regulation mechanisms. Secondary outcomes included modifiable determinants of blood pressure (BP), and clinic-assessed systolic blood pressure (SBP).
METHODS - This was a Stage 1 single-arm trial with one year follow-up. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were performed to evaluate acceptability and feasibility. Self-regulation outcomes, and determinants of BP, were assessed using validated questionnaires or objective assessments. The MB-BP curriculum was adapted from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to direct participants' mindfulness skills towards modifiable determinants of blood pressure.
RESULTS - Acceptability and feasibility findings showed that of 53 eligible participants, 48 enrolled (91%). Of these, 43 (90%) attended at least 7 of the 10 MB-BP classes; 43 were followed to one year (90%). Focus groups (n = 19) and semi-structured interviews (n = 10) showed all participants viewed the delivery modality favorably, and identified logistic considerations concerning program access as barriers. A priori selected primary self-regulation outcomes showed improvements at one-year follow-up vs. baseline, including attention control (Sustained Attention to Response Task correct no-go score, p<0.001), emotion regulation (Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Score, p = 0.02), and self-awareness (Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness, p<0.001). Several determinants of hypertension were improved in participants not adhering to American Heart Association guidelines at baseline, including physical activity (p = 0.02), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-consistent diet (p<0.001), and alcohol consumption (p<0.001). Findings demonstrated mean 6.1 mmHg reduction in SBP (p = 0.008) at one year follow-up; effects were most pronounced in Stage 2 uncontrolled hypertensives (SBP≥140 mmHg), showing 15.1 mmHg reduction (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION - MB-BP has good acceptability and feasibility, and may engage with self-regulation and behavioral determinants of hypertension.
The presynaptic dopamine transporter mediates rapid reuptake of synaptic dopamine. Although cell surface DAT trafficking recently emerged as an important component of DAT regulation, it has not been systematically investigated. Here, we apply our single quantum dot (Qdot) tracking approach to monitor DAT plasma membrane dynamics in several heterologous expression cell hosts with nanometer localization accuracy. We demonstrate that Qdot-tagged DAT proteins exhibited highly heterogeneous membrane diffusivity dependent on the local membrane topography. We also show that Qdot-tagged DATs were localized away from the flat membrane regions and were dynamically retained in the membrane protrusions and cell edges for the duration of imaging. Single quantum dot tracking of wildtype DAT and its conformation-defective coding variants (R60A and W63A) revealed a significantly accelerated rate of dysfunctional DAT membrane diffusion. We believe our results warrant an in-depth investigation as to whether compromised membrane dynamics is a common feature of brain disorder-derived DAT mutants.
The voltage-gated potassium channel KCNQ1 (KV7.1) assembles with the KCNE1 accessory protein to generate the slow delayed rectifier current, IKS, which is critical for membrane repolarization as part of the cardiac action potential. Loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in KCNQ1 are the most common cause of congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS), type 1 LQTS, an inherited genetic predisposition to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. A detailed structural understanding of KCNQ1 is needed to elucidate the molecular basis for KCNQ1 LOF in disease and to enable structure-guided design of new anti-arrhythmic drugs. In this work, advanced structural models of human KCNQ1 in the resting/closed and activated/open states were developed by Rosetta homology modeling guided by newly available experimentally-based templates: X. leavis KCNQ1 and various resting voltage sensor structures. Using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, the capacity of the models to describe experimentally established channel properties including state-dependent voltage sensor gating charge interactions and pore conformations, PIP2 binding sites, and voltage sensor-pore domain interactions were validated. Rosetta energy calculations were applied to assess the utility of each model in interpreting mutation-evoked KCNQ1 dysfunction by predicting the change in protein thermodynamic stability for 50 experimentally characterized KCNQ1 variants with mutations located in the voltage-sensing domain. Energetic destabilization was successfully predicted for folding-defective KCNQ1 LOF mutants whereas wild type-like mutants exhibited no significant energetic frustrations, which supports growing evidence that mutation-induced protein destabilization is an especially common cause of KCNQ1 dysfunction. The new KCNQ1 Rosetta models provide helpful tools in the study of the structural basis for KCNQ1 function and can be used to generate hypotheses to explain KCNQ1 dysfunction.
Resuscitation with 0.9% Normal Saline (NS), a non-buffered acidic solution, leads to increased morbidity and mortality in the critically ill. The goal of this study was to determine the molecular mechanisms of endothelial injury after exposure to NS. The hypothesis of this investigation is that exposure of endothelium to NS would lead to loss of cell membrane integrity, resulting in release of ATP, activation of the purinergic receptor (P2X7R), and subsequent activation of stress activated signaling pathways and inflammation. Human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) incubated in NS, but not buffered electrolyte solution (Plasma-Lyte, PL), exhibited abnormal morphology and increased release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and decreased transendothelial resistance (TEER), suggesting loss of membrane integrity. Incubation of intact rat aorta (RA) or human saphenous vein in NS but not PL led to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation which was ameliorated by apyrase (hydrolyzes ATP) or SB203580 (p38 MAPK inhibitor). Exposure of HSVEC to NS but not PL led to activation of p38 MAPK and its downstream substrate, MAPKAP kinase 2 (MK2). Treatment of HSVEC with exogenous ATP led to interleukin 1β (IL-1β) release and increased vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) expression. Treatment of RA with IL-1β led to impaired endothelial relaxation. IL-1β treatment of HSVEC led to increases in p38 MAPK and MK2 phosphorylation, and increased levels of arginase II. Incubation of porcine saphenous vein (PSV) in PL with pH adjusted to 6.0 or less also led to impaired endothelial function, suggesting that the acidic nature of NS is what contributes to endothelial dysfunction. Volume overload resuscitation in a porcine model after hemorrhage with NS, but not PL, led to acidosis and impaired endothelial function. These data suggest that endothelial dysfunction caused by exposure to acidic, non-buffered NS is associated with loss of membrane integrity, release of ATP, and is modulated by P2X7R-mediated inflammatory responses.
Mammals have two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. While rods are exceptionally sensitive and mediate vision at very low illumination levels, cones operate in daylight and are responsible for the bulk of visual perception in most diurnal animals, including humans. Yet the mechanisms of phototransduction in cones is understudied, largely due to unavailability of pure cone outer segment (COS) preparations. Here we present a novel mathematical model of cone phototransduction that explicitly takes into account complex cone geometry and its multiple physical scales, faithfully reproduces features of the cone response, and is orders of magnitude more efficient than the standard 3D diffusion model. This is accomplished through the mathematical techniques of homogenization and concentrated capacity. The homogenized model is then computationally implemented by finite element method. This homogenized model permits one to analyze the effects of COS geometry on visual transduction and lends itself to performing large numbers of numerical trials, as required for parameter analysis and the stochasticity of rod and cone signal transduction. Agreement between the nonhomogenized, (i.e., standard 3D), and homogenized diffusion models is reported along with their simulation times and memory costs. Virtual expression of rod biochemistry on cone morphology is also presented for understanding some of the characteristic differences between rods and cones. These simulations evidence that 3D cone morphology and ion channel localization contribute to biphasic flash response, i.e undershoot. The 3D nonhomogenized and homogenized models are contrasted with more traditional and coarser well-stirred and 1D longitudinal diffusion models. The latter are single-scale and do not explicitly account for the multi-scale geometry of the COS, unlike the 3D homogenized model. We show that simpler models exaggerate the magnitude of the current suppression, yield accelerated time to peak, and do not predict the local concentration of cGMP at the ionic channels.
p63 is a transcriptional regulator of ectodermal development that is required for basal cell proliferation and stem cell maintenance. p73 is a closely related p53 family member that is expressed in select p63-positive basal cells and can heterodimerize with p63. p73-/- mice lack multiciliated cells and have reduced numbers of basal epithelial cells in select tissues; however, the role of p73 in basal epithelial cells is unknown. Herein, we show that p73-deficient mice exhibit delayed wound healing despite morphologically normal-appearing skin. The delay in wound healing is accompanied by decreased proliferation and increased levels of biomarkers of the DNA damage response in basal keratinocytes at the epidermal wound edge. In wild-type mice, this same cell population exhibited increased p73 expression after wounding. Analyzing single-cell transcriptomic data, we found that p73 was expressed by epidermal and hair follicle stem cells, cell types required for wound healing. Moreover, we discovered that p73 isoforms expressed in the skin (ΔNp73) enhance p63-mediated expression of keratinocyte genes during cellular reprogramming from a mesenchymal to basal keratinocyte-like cell. We identified a set of 44 genes directly or indirectly regulated by ΔNp73 that are involved in skin development, cell junctions, cornification, proliferation, and wound healing. Our results establish a role for p73 in cutaneous wound healing through regulation of basal keratinocyte function.