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Background & Aims - Chronic inflammation is a predisposing condition for colorectal cancer. Many studies to date have focused on proinflammatory signaling pathways in the colon. Understanding the mechanisms that suppress inflammation, particularly in epithelial cells, is critical for developing therapeutic interventions. Here, we explored the roles of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) family signaling through SMAD4 in colonic epithelial cells.
Methods - The gene was deleted specifically in adult murine intestinal epithelium. Colitis was induced by 3 rounds of dextran sodium sulfate in drinking water, after which mice were observed for up to 3 months. Nontransformed mouse colonocyte cell lines and colonoid cultures and human colorectal cancer cell lines were analyzed for responses to TGFβ1 and bone morphogenetic protein 2.
Results - Dextran sodium sulfate treatment was sufficient to drive carcinogenesis in mice lacking colonic expression, with resulting tumors bearing striking resemblance to human colitis-associated carcinoma. Loss of SMAD4 protein was observed in 48% of human colitis-associated carcinoma samples as compared with 19% of sporadic colorectal carcinomas. Loss of increased the expression of inflammatory mediators within nontransformed mouse colon epithelial cells in vivo. In vitro analysis of mouse and human colonic epithelial cell lines and organoids indicated that much of this regulation was cell autonomous. Furthermore, TGFβ signaling inhibited the epithelial inflammatory response to proinflammatory cytokines.
Conclusions - TGFβ suppresses the expression of proinflammatory genes in the colon epithelium, and loss of its downstream mediator, SMAD4, is sufficient to initiate inflammation-driven colon cancer. Transcript profiling: GSE100082.
BACKGROUND - The challenging biological and mechanical environment of posterolateral fusion (PLF) requires a carrier that spans the transverse processes and resists the compressive forces of the posterior musculature. The less traumatic posterolateral approach enabled by minimally invasive surgical techniques has prompted investigations into alternative rhBMP-2 carriers that are injectable, settable, and compression-resistant. In this pilot study, we investigated injectable low-viscosity (LV) polymer/composite bone grafts as compression-resistant carriers for rhBMP-2 in a single-level rabbit PLF model.
METHODS - LV grafts were augmented with ceramic microparticles: (1) hydrolytically degradable bioactive glass (BG), or (2) cell-degradable 85% β-tricalcium phosphate/15% hydroxyapatite (CM). Material properties, such as pore size, viscosity, working time, and bulk modulus upon curing, were measured for each LV polymer/ceramic material. An in vivo model of posterolateral fusion in a rabbit was used to assess the grafts' capability to encourage spinal fusion.
RESULTS - These materials maintained a working time between 9.6 and 10.3 min, with a final bulk modulus between 1.2 and 3.1 MPa. The LV polymer/composite bone grafts released 55% of their rhBMP-2 over a 14-day period. As assessed by manual palpation in vivo, fusion was achieved in all (n = 3) animals treated with LV/BG or LV/CM carriers incorporating 430 μg rhBMP-2/ml. Images of μCT and histological sections revealed evidence of bone fusion near the transverse processes.
CONCLUSION - This study highlights the potential of LV grafts as injectable and compression-resistant rhBMP-2 carriers for posterolateral spinal fusion.
RATIONALE - We have recently shown that the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist Gremlin 2 (Grem2) is required for early cardiac development and cardiomyocyte differentiation. Our initial studies discovered that Grem2 is strongly induced in the adult heart after experimental myocardial infarction (MI). However, the function of Grem2 and BMP-signaling inhibitors after cardiac injury is currently unknown.
OBJECTIVE - To investigate the role of Grem2 during cardiac repair and assess its potential to improve ventricular function after injury.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Our data show that Grem2 is transiently induced after MI in peri-infarct area cardiomyocytes during the inflammatory phase of cardiac tissue repair. By engineering loss- (Grem2(-/-)) and gain- (TG(Grem2)) of-Grem2-function mice, we discovered that Grem2 controls the magnitude of the inflammatory response and limits infiltration of inflammatory cells in peri-infarct ventricular tissue, improving cardiac function. Excessive inflammation in Grem2(-/-) mice after MI was because of overactivation of canonical BMP signaling, as proven by the rescue of the inflammatory phenotype through administration of the canonical BMP inhibitor, DMH1. Furthermore, intraperitoneal administration of Grem2 protein in wild-type mice was sufficient to reduce inflammation after MI. Cellular analyses showed that BMP2 acts with TNFα to induce expression of proinflammatory proteins in endothelial cells and promote adhesion of leukocytes, whereas Grem2 specifically inhibits the BMP2 effect.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results indicate that Grem2 provides a molecular barrier that controls the magnitude and extent of inflammatory cell infiltration by suppressing canonical BMP signaling, thereby providing a novel mechanism for limiting the adverse effects of excessive inflammation after MI.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
Fracture nonunion is a major complication of bone fracture regeneration and repair. The molecular mechanisms that result in fracture nonunion appearance are not fully determined. We hypothesized that fracture nonunion results from the failure of hypoxia and hematoma, the primary signals in response to bone injury, to trigger Bmp2 expression by mesenchymal progenitor cells (MSCs). Using a model of nonstabilized fracture healing in transgenic 5'Bmp2BAC mice we determined that Bmp2 expression appears in close association with hypoxic tissue and hematoma during the early phases of fracture healing. In addition, BMP2 expression is induced when human periosteum explants are exposed to hypoxia ex vivo. Transient interference of hypoxia signaling in vivo with PX-12, a thioredoxin inhibitor, results in reduced Bmp2 expression, impaired fracture callus formation and atrophic-like nonunion by a HIF-1α independent mechanism. In isolated human periosteum-derived MSCs, BMP2 expression could be induced with the addition of platelets concentrate lysate but not with hypoxia treatment, confirming HIF-1α-independent BMP2 expression. Interestingly, in isolated human periosteum-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells, inhibition of BMP2 expression by PX-12 is accomplished only under hypoxic conditions seemingly through dis-regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. In conclusion, we provide evidence of a molecular mechanism of hypoxia-dependent BMP2 expression in MSCs where interference with ROS homeostasis specifies fracture nonunion-like appearance in vivo through inhibition of Bmp2 expression. Stem Cells 2016;34:2342-2353.
© 2016 AlphaMed Press.
Treatment of mandibular osseous defects is a significant clinical challenge. Maintenance of the height and width of the mandibular ridge is essential for placement of dental implants and restoration of normal dentition. While guided bone regeneration using protective membranes is an effective strategy for maintaining the anatomic contour of the ridge and promoting new bone formation, complications have been reported, including wound failure, seroma, and graft exposure leading to infection. In this study, we investigated injectable low-viscosity (LV) polyurethane/ceramic composites augmented with 100 μg/mL (low) or 400 μg/mL (high) recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) as space-maintaining bone grafts in a canine mandibular ridge saddle defect model. LV grafts were injected as a reactive paste that set in 5-10 min to form a solid porous composite with bulk modulus exceeding 1 MPa. We hypothesized that compression-resistant LV grafts would enhance new bone formation and maintain the anatomic contour of the mandibular ridge without the use of protective membranes. At the rhBMP-2 dose recommended for the absorbable collagen sponge carrier in dogs (400 μg/mL), LV grafts maintained the width and height of the host mandibular ridge and supported new bone formation, while at suboptimal (100 μg/mL) doses, the anatomic contour of the ridge was not maintained. These findings indicate that compression-resistant bone grafts with bulk moduli exceeding 1 MPa and rhBMP-2 doses comparable to that recommended for the collagen sponge carrier support new bone formation and maintain ridge height and width in mandibular ridge defects without protective membranes.
The ubiquitin/proteasome system plays an important role in regulating the activity of osteoblast precursor cells. Proteasome inhibitors (PSIs) have been shown to stimulate the differentiation of osteoblast precursor cells and to promote bone formation. This raises the possibility that PSIs might be useful for enhancing fracture healing. In this study, we examined the effect of the local administration of PSI on fracture repair in rats. The effects of treatment on the healing of a fractured femur were assessed based on radiographs, micro-computed tomography (μCT) analysis, biomechanical testing, and histological analysis. PSI enhanced osteogenic differentiation in bone marrow- and periosteum-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells in vitro. Moreover, the local administration of PSI in vivo promoted fracture healing in rats, as demonstrated by an increased fracture callus volume in radiographs at 2 weeks post-fracture, and improved radiographic scores. By week 4, PSI treatment had enhanced biomechanical strength and mineral density in the callus as assessed using bending tests, and μCT, respectively. Histological sections demonstrated that PSI treatment accelerated endochondral ossification during the early stages of fracture repair. Although further investigations are necessary to assess its clinical use, the local administration of PSIs might be a novel, and effective therapeutic approach for fracture repair.
© 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Bone fractures remain a serious health burden and prevention and enhanced healing of fractures have been obtained by augmenting either BMP or Wnt signaling. However, whether BMP and Wnt signaling are both required or are self-sufficient for anabolic and fracture healing activities has never been fully elucidated. Mice haploinsufficient for Dkk1 (Dkk1(+/-)) exhibit a high bone mass phenotype due to an up-regulation of canonical Wnt signaling while mice lacking Bmp2 expression in the limbs (Bmp2(c/c);Prx1::cre) succumb to spontaneous fracture and are unable to initiate fracture healing; combined, these mice offer an opportunity to examine the requirement for activated BMP signaling on the anabolic and fracture healing activity of Wnts. When Dkk1(+/-) mice were crossed with Bmp2(c/c);Prx1::cre mice, the offspring bearing both genetic alterations were unable to increase bone mass and heal fractures, indicating that increased canonical Wnt signaling is unable to exploit its activity in absence of Bmp2. Thus, our data suggest that BMP signaling is required for Wnt-mediated anabolic activity and that therapies aimed at preventing fractures and fostering fracture repair may need to target both pathways for maximal efficacy.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hereditary pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH) is a rare, fatal disease of the pulmonary vasculature. The majority of HPAH patients inherit mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein type 2 receptor gene (BMPR2), but how these promote pulmonary vascular disease is unclear. HPAH patients have features of pulmonary endothelial cell (PEC) dysfunction including increased vascular permeability and perivascular inflammation associated with decreased PEC barrier function. Recently, frameshift mutations in the caveolar structural protein gene Caveolin-1 (CAV-1) were identified in two patients with non-BMPR2-associated HPAH. Because caveolae regulate endothelial function and vascular permeability, we hypothesized that defects in caveolar function might be a common mechanism by which BMPR2 mutations promote pulmonary vascular disease. To explore this, we isolated PECs from mice carrying heterozygous null Bmpr2 mutations (Bmpr2(+/-)) similar to those found in the majority of HPAH patients. We show that Bmpr2(+/-) PECs have increased numbers and intracellular localization of caveolae and caveolar structural proteins CAV-1 and Cavin-1 and that these defects are reversed after blocking endocytosis with dynasore. SRC kinase is also constitutively activated in Bmpr2(+/-) PECs, and localization of CAV-1 to the plasma membrane is restored after treating Bmpr2(+/-) PECs with the SRC kinase inhibitor 3-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidin-4-amine (PP2). Late outgrowth endothelial progenitor cells isolated from HPAH patients show similar increased activation of SRC kinase. Moreover, Bmpr2(+/-) PECs have impaired endothelial barrier function, and barrier function is restored after treatment with PP2. These data suggest that heterozygous null BMPR2 mutations promote SRC-dependent caveolar trafficking defects in PECs and that this may contribute to pulmonary endothelial barrier dysfunction in HPAH patients.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disease with an incidence of 1/3000, caused by mutations in the NF1 gene, which encodes the RAS/GTPase-activating protein neurofibromin. Non-bone union after fracture (pseudarthrosis) in children with NF1 remains a challenging orthopedic condition to treat. Recent progress in understanding the biology of neurofibromin suggested that NF1 pseudarthrosis stems primarily from defects in the bone mesenchymal lineage and hypersensitivity of hematopoietic cells to TGFβ. However, clinically relevant pharmacological approaches to augment bone union in these patients remain limited. In this study, we report the generation of a novel conditional mutant mouse line used to model NF1 pseudoarthrosis, in which Nf1 can be ablated in an inducible fashion in osteoprogenitors of postnatal mice, thus circumventing the dwarfism associated with previous mouse models where Nf1 is ablated in embryonic mesenchymal cell lineages. An ex vivo-based cell culture approach based on the use of Nf1(flox/flox) bone marrow stromal cells showed that loss of Nf1 impairs osteoprogenitor cell differentiation in a cell-autonomous manner, independent of developmental growth plate-derived or paracrine/hormonal influences. In addition, in vitro gene expression and differentiation assays indicated that chronic ERK activation in Nf1-deficient osteoprogenitors blunts the pro-osteogenic property of BMP2, based on the observation that only combination treatment with BMP2 and MEK inhibition promoted the differentiation of Nf1-deficient osteoprogenitors. The in vivo preclinical relevance of these findings was confirmed by the improved bone healing and callus strength observed in Nf1osx (-/-) mice receiving Trametinib (a MEK inhibitor) and BMP2 released locally at the fracture site via a novel nanoparticle and polyglycidol-based delivery method. Collectively, these results provide novel evidence for a cell-autonomous role of neurofibromin in osteoprogenitor cells and insights about a novel targeted approach for the treatment of NF1 pseudoarthrosis.
© 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Transcription of BMPs and their antagonists in precise spatiotemporal patterns is essential for proper skeletal development, maturation, maintenance, and repair. Nevertheless, transcriptional activity of these molecules in skeletal tissues beyond embryogenesis has not been well characterized. In this study, we used several transgenic reporter mouse lines to define the transcriptional activity of two potent BMP ligands, Bmp2 and Bmp4, and their antagonist, Noggin, in the postnatal skeleton. At 3 to 4 weeks of age, Bmp4 and Noggin reporter activity was readily apparent in most cells of the osteogenic or chondrogenic lineages, respectively, whereas Bmp2 reporter activity was strongest in terminally differentiated cells of both lineages. By 5 to 6 months, activity of the reporters had generally abated; however, the Noggin and Bmp2 reporters remained remarkably active in articular chondrocytes and persisted there indefinitely. We further found that endogenous Bmp2, Bmp4, and Noggin transcript levels in postnatal bone and cartilage mirrored the activity of their respective reporters in these tissues. Finally, we found that the activity of the Bmp2, Bmp4, and Noggin reporters in bone and cartilage at 3 to 4 weeks could be recapitulated in both osteogenic and chondrogenic culture models. These results reveal that Bmp2, Bmp4, and Noggin transcription persists to varying degrees in skeletal tissues postnatally, with each gene exhibiting its own cell type-specific pattern of activity. Illuminating these patterns and their dynamics will guide future studies aimed at elucidating both the causes and consequences of aberrant BMP signaling in the postnatal skeleton.
© 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.