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In regions of the circulation where vessels are straight and unbranched, blood flow is laminar and unidirectional. In contrast, at sites of curvature, branch points, and regions distal to stenoses, blood flow becomes disturbed. Atherosclerosis preferentially develops in these regions of disturbed blood flow. Current therapies for atherosclerosis are systemic and may not sufficiently target these atheroprone regions. In this study, we sought to leverage the alterations on the luminal surface of endothelial cells caused by this atheroprone flow for nanocarrier targeting. In vivo phage display was used to discover unique peptides that selectively bind to atheroprone regions in the mouse partial carotid artery ligation model. The peptide GSPREYTSYMPH (PREY) was found to bind 4.5-fold more avidly to the region of disturbed flow and was used to form targeted liposomes. When administered intravenously, PREY-targeted liposomes preferentially accumulated in endothelial cells in the partially occluded carotid artery and other areas of disturbed flow. Proteomic analysis and immunoblotting indicated that fibronectin and Filamin-A were preferentially bound by PREY nanocarriers in vessels with disturbed flow. In additional experiments, PREY nanocarriers were used therapeutically to deliver the nitric oxide synthase cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), which we have previously shown to be deficient in regions of disturbed flow. This intervention increased vascular BH4 and reduced vascular superoxide in the partially ligated artery in wild-type mice and reduced plaque burden in the partially ligated left carotid artery of fat fed atheroprone mice (ApoE(-/-)). Targeting atheroprone sites of the circulation with functionalized nanocarriers provides a promising approach for prevention of early atherosclerotic lesion formation.
OBJECTIVES - Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) is a critical activator of inflammatory processes and MTX is one of the most commonly prescribed DMARDs for treatment of RA. We sought to determine whether MTX inhibited NF-κB activity in RA and in lymphocytes and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and to define underlying mechanisms of action.
METHODS - An NF-κB luciferase reporter plasmid was used to measure NF-κB activation across experimental stimuli. Flow cytometry was used to quantify changes in intracellular protein levels, measure levels of reactive oxygen species and determine apoptosis. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to identify changes in MTX target genes.
RESULTS - In T cell lines, MTX (0.1 μM) inhibited activation of NF-κB via depletion of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) and increased Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK)-dependent p53 activity. Inhibitors of BH4 activity or synthesis also inhibited NF-κB activation and, similar to MTX, increased JNK, p53, p21 and JUN activity. Patients with RA expressed increased levels of phosphorylated or active RelA (p65) compared with controls. Levels of phosphorylated RelA were reduced in patients receiving low-dose MTX therapy. In contrast, inhibition of NF-κB activation by MTX was not mediated via BH4 depletion and JNK activation in FLSs, but rather was completely prevented by adenosine receptor antagonists.
CONCLUSION - Our findings support a model whereby distinct pathways are activated by MTX in T cells and FLSs to inhibit NF-κB activation.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
OBJECTIVE - Low-dose methotrexate (MTX) is an effective therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), yet its mechanism of action is incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to explore the induction of apoptosis by MTX.
METHODS - Flow cytometry was performed to assess changes in the levels of intracellular proteins, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and apoptosis. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to assess changes in the transcript levels of select target genes in response to MTX.
RESULTS - MTX did not directly induce apoptosis but rather "primed" cells for markedly increased sensitivity to apoptosis via either mitochondrial or death receptor pathways, by a JNK-dependent mechanism. Increased sensitivity to apoptosis was mediated, at least in part, by MTX-dependent production of ROS, JNK activation, and JNK-dependent induction of genes whose protein products promote apoptosis. Supplementation with tetrahydrobiopterin blocked these MTX-induced effects. Patients with RA who were receiving low-dose MTX therapy expressed elevated levels of the JNK target gene, jun.
CONCLUSION - Our results support a model whereby MTX inhibits reduction of dihydrobiopterin to tetrahydrobiopterin, resulting in increased production of ROS, increased JNK activity, and increased sensitivity to apoptosis. The finding of increased jun levels in patients with RA receiving low-dose MTX supports the notion that this pathway is activated by MTX in vivo and may contribute to the efficacy of MTX in inflammatory disease.
Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Rheumatology.
Emerging research suggests that antioxidant gene expression has the potential to suppress the development of gastroparesis. However, direct genetic evidence that definitively supports this concept is lacking. We used mice carrying a targeted disruption of Nfe2l2, the gene that encodes the transcription factor NRF2 and directs antioxidant Phase II gene expression, as well as mice with a targeted disruption of Gclm, the modifier subunit for glutamate-cysteine ligase, to test the hypothesis that defective antioxidant gene expression contributes to development of gastroparesis. Although expression of heme oxygenase-1 remained unchanged, expression of GCLC, GCLM, SOD1, and CAT was down-regulated in gastric tissue from Nrf2(-/-) mice compared to wild-type animals. Tetrahydrobiopterin oxidation was significantly elevated and nitrergic relaxation was impaired in Nrf2(-/-) mouse gastric tissue. In vitro studies showed a significant decrease in NO release in Nrf2(-/-) mouse gastric tissue. Nrf2(-/-) mice displayed delayed gastric emptying. The use of Gclm(-/-) mice demonstrated that the loss of glutamate-cysteine ligase function enhanced tetrahydrobiopterin oxidation while impairing nitrergic relaxation. These results provide genetic evidence that loss of antioxidant gene expression can contribute to the development of gastroparesis and suggest that NRF2 represents a potential therapeutic target.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)) is an essential co-factor for the nitric-oxide (NO) synthases, and in its absence these enzymes produce superoxide (O(2)(·-)) rather than NO. The rate-limiting enzyme for BH(4) production is guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1 (GTPCH-1). Because endogenously produced NO affects T cell function, we sought to determine whether antigen stimulation affected T cell GTPCH-1 expression and ultimately BH(4) levels. Resting T cells had minimal expression of inducible NOS (NOS2), endothelial NOS (NOS3), and GTPCH-1 protein and nearly undetectable levels of BH(4). Anti-CD3 stimulation of T cells robustly stimulated the coordinated expression of NOS2, NOS3, and GTPCH-1 and markedly increased both GTPCH-1 activity and T cell BH(4) levels. The newly expressed GTPCH-1 was phosphorylated on serine 72 and pharmacological inhibition of casein kinase II reduced GTPCH-1 phosphorylation and blunted the increase in T cell BH(4). Inhibition of GTPCH-1 with diaminohydroxypyrimidine (1 mmol/liter) prevented T cell BH(4) accumulation, reduced NO production, and increased T cell O(2)(·-) production, due to both NOS2 and NOS3 uncoupling. GTPCH-1 inhibition also promoted TH(2) polarization in memory CD4 cells. Ovalbumin immunization of mice transgenic for an ovalbumin receptor (OT-II mice) confirmed a marked increase in T cell BH(4) in vivo. These studies identify a previously unidentified consequence of T cell activation, promoting BH(4) levels, NO production, and modulating T cell cytokine production.
Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)) is a critical cofactor for the nitric oxide synthases. In the absence of BH(4), these enzymes become uncoupled, fail to produce nitric oxide, and begin to produce superoxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS). BH(4) levels are modulated by a complex biosynthetic pathway, salvage enzymes, and by oxidative degradation. The enzyme GTP cyclohydrolase-1 catalyzes the first step in the de novo synthesis of BH(4) and new evidence shows that this enzyme is regulated by phosphorylation, which reduces its interaction with its feedback regulatory protein (GFRP). In the setting of a variety of common diseases, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and diabetes, reactive oxygen species promote oxidation of BH(4) and inhibit expression of the salvage enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), promoting accumulation of BH(2) and NOS uncoupling. There is substantial interest in therapeutic approaches to increasing tissue levels of BH(4), largely by oral administration of this agent. BH(4) treatment has proved effective in decreasing atherosclerosis, reducing blood pressure, and preventing complications of diabetes in experimental animals. While these basic studies have been very promising, there are only a few studies showing any effect of BH(4) therapy in humans in treatment of these common problems. Whether BH(4) or related agents will be useful in treatment of human diseases needs additional study.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The authors investigated the safety of oral tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), a cofactor for nitric oxide synthesis, as a novel treatment for pulmonary hypertension (PH). Eighteen patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension or inoperable chronic thromboembolic PH received sapropterin dihydrochloride (6R-BH4), the optically active form of BH4, in addition to treatment with sildenafil and/or endothelin receptor antagonists in an open-label, dose-escalation study. 6R-BH4 was administered starting at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg and increasing to 20 mg/kg over 8 weeks. Changes in markers of nitric oxide synthesis, inflammation and oxidant stress, as well as exercise capacity and cardiac function were measured. 6R-BH4 was well tolerated at all doses without systemic hypotension, even when given in combination with sildenafil. There was a small but significant reduction in plasma monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 levels on 5 mg/kg. No significant changes in measures of nitric oxide synthesis or oxidant stress were observed. There was improvement in 6-minute walk distance, most significant at a dose of 5 mg/kg, from 379 ± 61 to 413 ± 57 m 414 ± 57 m (P = .002). Oral 6R-BH4 can be administered safely in doses up to 20 mg/kg daily to patients with PH. Further studies are needed to explore its therapeutic potential.
BACKGROUND - Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is 1 consequence of hypertension and is caused by impaired cardiac diastolic relaxation. Nitric oxide (NO) is a known modulator of cardiac relaxation. Hypertension can lead to a reduction in vascular NO, in part because NO synthase (NOS) becomes uncoupled when oxidative depletion of its cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)) occurs. Similar events may occur in the heart that lead to uncoupled NOS and diastolic dysfunction.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In a hypertensive mouse model, diastolic dysfunction was accompanied by cardiac oxidation, a reduction in cardiac BH(4), and uncoupled NOS. Compared with sham-operated animals, male mice with unilateral nephrectomy, with subcutaneous implantation of a controlled-release deoxycorticosterone acetate pellet, and given 1% saline to drink were mildly hypertensive and had diastolic dysfunction in the absence of systolic dysfunction or cardiac hypertrophy. The hypertensive mouse hearts showed increased oxidized biopterins, NOS-dependent superoxide production, reduced NO production, and dephosphorylated phospholamban. Feeding hypertensive mice BH(4) (5 mg/d), but not treating with hydralazine or tetrahydroneopterin, improved cardiac BH(4) stores, phosphorylated phospholamban levels, and diastolic dysfunction. Isolated cardiomyocyte experiments revealed impaired relaxation that was normalized with short-term BH(4) treatment. Targeted cardiac overexpression of angiotensin-converting enzyme also resulted in cardiac oxidation, NOS uncoupling, and diastolic dysfunction in the absence of hypertension.
CONCLUSIONS - Cardiac oxidation, independently of vascular changes, can lead to uncoupled cardiac NOS and diastolic dysfunction. BH(4) may represent a possible treatment for diastolic dysfunction.
RATIONALE - GTP cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH-1) is the rate-limiting enzyme involved in de novo biosynthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)), an essential cofactor for NO synthases and aromatic amino acid hydroxylases. GTPCH-1 undergoes negative feedback regulation by its end-product BH(4) via interaction with the GTP cyclohydrolase feedback regulatory protein (GFRP). Such a negative feedback mechanism should maintain cellular BH(4) levels within a very narrow range; however, we recently identified a phosphorylation site (S81) on human GTPCH-1 that markedly increases BH(4) production in response to laminar shear.
OBJECTIVE - We sought to define how S81 phosphorylation alters GTPCH-1 enzyme activity and how this is modulated by GFRP.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Using prokaryotically expressed proteins, we found that the GTPCH-1 phospho-mimetic mutant (S81D) has increased enzyme activity, reduced binding to GFRP and resistance to inhibition by GFRP compared to wild-type GTPCH-1. Using small interfering RNA or overexpressing plasmids, GFRP was shown to modulate phosphorylation of GTPCH-1, BH(4) levels, and NO production in human endothelial cells. Laminar, but not oscillatory shear stress, caused dissociation of GTPCH-1 and GFRP, promoting GTPCH-1 phosphorylation. We also found that both GTPCH-1 phosphorylation and GFRP downregulation prevents endothelial NO synthase uncoupling in response to oscillatory shear. Finally oscillatory shear was associated with impaired GTPCH-1 phosphorylation and reduced BH(4) levels in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies provide a new mechanism for regulation of endothelial GTPCH-1 by its phosphorylation and interplay with GFRP. This mechanism allows for escape from GFRP negative feedback and permits large amounts of BH(4) to be produced in response to laminar shear stress.
Oxidative stress underlies diverse vascular diseases, but its management remains elusive, in part because of our inability to selectively detoxify reactive oxygen species (ROS) in pathological sites and our limited understanding which species need to be eliminated. The antioxidant enzymes (AOEs) superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (which decompose and H(2)O(2), respectively), conjugated with an antibody to platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), bind to endothelial cells and alleviate oxidative stress in cell culture models. Here, we studied the effects of these antioxidant conjugates in mouse models of vascular oxidative stress. Anti-PECAM/catalase and anti-PECAM/SOD conjugates, in contrast to control IgG/AOE conjugates, accumulated in the lungs and vascularized organs after intravenous injection in wild-type, but not PECAM KO mice. Anti-PECAM/catalase, but not anti-PECAM/SOD, protected mice from lung injury induced by H(2)O(2) produced by glucose oxidase deposited in the pulmonary vasculature. Anti-PECAM/catalase also reduced alveolar edema and attenuated decline in arterial oxygen in mice that underwent unilateral lung ischemia/reperfusion, whereas anti-PECAM/SOD was not effective, implying the key role of H(2)O(2) in tissue damage in this pathology. In contrast, anti-PECAM/SOD, but not anti-PECAM/catalase prevented oxidation of tetrahydrobiopterin and normalized vasoreactivity in the vessels of mice rendered hypertensive by pretreatment with angiotensin-II. This outcome agrees with reports implicating superoxide and peroxynitrite in altered endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in hypertension. Therefore, the use of endothelial cell-targeted antioxidants identifies the key specific species of ROS involved in various forms of vascular disease and holds promise for the mechanistically tailored treatment of these pathologies.