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Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder which is caused by a mutation of the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Although the pathogenesis of HD has been associated with inflammatory responses, if and how the immune system contributes to the onset of HD is largely unknown. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a group of innate-like regulatory T lymphocytes that can rapidly produce various cytokines such as IFN and IL4 upon stimulation with the glycolipid -galactosylceramide (-GalCer). By employing both R6/2 Tg mice (murine HD model) and J18 KO mice (deficient in iNKT cells), we investigated whether alterations of iNKT cells affect the development of HD in R6/2 Tg mice. We found that J18 KO R6/2 Tg mice showed disease progression comparable to R6/2 Tg mice, indicating that the absence of iNKT cells did not have any significant effects on HD development. However, repeated activation of iNKT cells with -GalCer facilitated HD progression in R6/2 Tg mice, and this was associated with increased infiltration of iNKT cells in the brain. Taken together, our results demonstrate that repeated -GalCer treatment of R6/2 Tg mice accelerates HD progression, suggesting that immune activation can affect the severity of HD pathogenesis.
The present study investigated the immunoenhancing property of our newly designed nanovaccine, that is, its ability to induce antigen-specific immunity. This study also evaluated the synergistic effect of a novel compound PBS-44, an α-galactosylceramide analog, in boosting the immune response induced by our nanovaccine. The nanovaccine was prepared by encapsulating ovalbumin (ova) and an adjuvant within the poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles. Quantitative analysis of our study data showed that the encapsulated vaccine was physically and biologically stable; the core content of our nanovaccine was found to be released steadily and slowly, and nearly 90% of the core content was slowly released over the course of 25 days. The in vivo immunization studies exhibited that the nanovaccine induced stronger and longer immune responses compared to its soluble counterpart. Similarly, intranasal inhalation of the nanovaccine induced more robust antigen-specific CD8 T cell response than intraperitoneal injection of nanovaccine.
Ceramide (CER)-based biological membranes are used both experimentally and in simulations as simplified model systems of the skin barrier. Molecular dynamics studies have generally focused on simulating preassembled structures using atomistically detailed models of CERs, which limit the system sizes and time scales that can practically be probed, rendering them ineffective for studying particular phenomena, including self-assembly into bilayer and lamellar superstructures. Here, we report on the development of a coarse-grained (CG) model for CER NS, the most abundant CER in human stratum corneum. Multistate iterative Boltzmann inversion is used to derive the intermolecular pair potentials, resulting in a force field that is applicable over a range of state points and suitable for studying ceramide self-assembly. The chosen CG mapping, which includes explicit interaction sites for hydroxyl groups, captures the directional nature of hydrogen bonding and allows for accurate predictions of several key structural properties of CER NS bilayers. Simulated wetting experiments allow the hydrophobicity of CG beads to be accurately tuned to match atomistic wetting behavior, which affects the whole system, since inaccurate hydrophobic character is found to unphysically alter the lipid packing in hydrated lamellar states. We find that CER NS can self-assemble into multilamellar structures, enabling the study of lipid systems more representative of the multilamellar lipid structures present in the skin barrier. The coarse-grained force field derived herein represents an important step in using molecular dynamics to study the human skin barrier, which gives a resolution not available through experiment alone.
It has been shown that CD1d expression and glycolipid-reactive, CD1d-restricted NKT cells exacerbate the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mice. However, the relevant CD1d-expressing cells that influence the effects of NKT cells on the progression of obesity remain incompletely defined. In this study, we have demonstrated that 3T3-L1 adipocytes can present endogenous ligands to NKT cells, leading to IFN-γ production, which in turn, stimulated 3T3-L1 adipocytes to enhance expression of CD1d and CCL2, and decrease expression of adiponectin. Furthermore, adipocyte-specific CD1d deletion decreased the size of the visceral adipose tissue mass and enhanced insulin sensitivity in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). Accordingly, NKT cells were less activated, IFN-γ production was significantly reduced, and levels of adiponectin were increased in these animals as compared with control mice on HFD. Importantly, macrophage recruitment into the adipose tissue of adipocyte-specific CD1d-deficient mice was significantly blunted. These findings indicate that interactions between NKT cells and CD1d-expressing adipocytes producing endogenous NKT cell ligands play a critical role in the induction of inflammation and functional modulation of adipose tissue that leads to obesity.
Sphingolipids serve important structural and functional roles in cellular membranes and myelin sheaths. Plasma sphingolipids have been shown to predict cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. However, the association between plasma sphingolipid levels and brain white matter (WM) microstructure has not been examined. We investigated whether plasma sphingolipids (ceramides and sphingomyelins) were associated with magnetic resonance imaging-based diffusion measures, fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean diffusivity, 10.5 years later in 17 WM regions of 150 cognitively normal adults (mean age 67.2). Elevated ceramide species (C20:0, C22:0, C22:1, and C24:1) were associated with lower FA in multiple WM regions, including total cerebral WM, anterior corona radiata, and the cingulum of the cingulate gyrus. Higher sphingomyelins (C18:1 and C20:1) were associated with lower FA in regions such as the anterior corona radiata and body of the corpus callosum. Furthermore, lower sphingomyelin to ceramide ratios (C22:0, C24:0, and C24:1) were associated with lower FA or higher mean diffusivity in regions including the superior and posterior corona radiata. However, although these associations were significant at the a priori p < 0.05, only associations with some regional diffusion measures for ceramide C22:0 and sphingomyelin C18:1 survived correction for multiple comparisons. These findings suggest plasma sphingolipids are associated with variation in WM microstructure in cognitively normal aging.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The mechanisms of right ventricular (RV) failure in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are poorly understood. Abnormalities in fatty acid (FA) metabolism have been described in experimental models of PAH, but systemic and myocardial FA metabolism has not been studied in human PAH.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We used human blood, RV tissue, and noninvasive imaging to characterize multiple steps in the FA metabolic pathway in PAH subjects and controls. Circulating free FAs and long-chain acylcarnitines were elevated in PAH patients versus controls. Human RV long-chain FAs were increased and long-chain acylcarnitines were markedly reduced in PAH versus controls. With the use of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, in vivo myocardial triglyceride content was elevated in human PAH versus controls (1.4±1.3% triglyceride versus 0.22±0.11% triglyceride, P=0.02). Ceramide, a mediator of lipotoxicity, was increased in PAH RVs versus controls. Using an animal model of heritable PAH, we demonstrated reduced FA oxidation via failure of palmitoylcarnitine to stimulate oxygen consumption in the PAH RV.
CONCLUSIONS - Abnormalities in FA metabolism can be detected in the blood and myocardium in human PAH and are associated with in vivo cardiac steatosis and lipotoxicity. Murine data suggest that lipotoxicity may arise from reduction in FA oxidation.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes demyelination of neurons in the central nervous system. Traditional therapies for MS have involved anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs with significant side effects that often only provide short-term relief. A more desirable outcome of immunotherapy would be to protect against disease before its clinical manifestation or to halt disease after its initiation. One attractive approach to accomplish this goal would be to restore tolerance by targeting immunoregulatory cell networks. Although much of the work in this area has focused on CD4(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells, other studies have investigated natural killer T (NKT) cells, a subset of T cells that recognizes glycolipid antigens in the context of the CD1d glycoprotein. Studies with human MS patients have revealed alterations in the numbers and functions of NKT cells, which have been partially supported by studies with the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of MS. Additional studies have shown that activation of NKT cells with synthetic lipid antigens can, at least under certain experimental conditions, protect mice against the development of MS-like disease. Although mechanisms of this protection remain to be fully investigated, current evidence suggests that it involves interactions with other immunoregulatory cell types such as regulatory T cells and immunosuppressive myeloid cells. These studies have provided a strong foundation for the rational design of NKT-cell-based immunotherapies for MS that induce tolerance while sparing overall immune function. Nevertheless, additional pre-clinical and clinical studies will be required to bring this goal to fruition.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
RATIONALE - Shorter survival in heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH), often due to BMPR2 mutation, has been described in association with impaired right ventricle (RV) compensation. HPAH animal models are insulin resistant, and cells with BMPR2 mutation have impaired fatty acid oxidation, but whether these findings affect the RV in HPAH is unknown.
OBJECTIVES - To test the hypothesis that BMPR2 mutation impairs RV hypertrophic responses in association with lipid deposition.
METHODS - RV hypertrophy was assessed in two models of mutant Bmpr2 expression, smooth muscle-specific (Sm22(R899X)) and universal expression (Rosa26(R899X)). Littermate control mice underwent the same stress using pulmonary artery banding (Low-PAB). Lipid content was assessed in rodent and human HPAH RVs and in Rosa26(R899X) mice after metformin administration. RV microarrays were performed using human HPAH and control subjects.
RESULTS - RV/(left ventricle + septum) did not rise directly in proportion to RV systolic pressure in Rosa26(R899X) but did in Sm22(R899X) (P < 0.05). Rosa26(R899X) RVs demonstrated intracardiomyocyte triglyceride deposition not present in Low-PAB (P < 0.05). RV lipid deposition was identified in human HPAH RVs but not in controls. Microarray analysis demonstrated defects in fatty acid oxidation in human HPAH RVs. Metformin in Rosa26(R899X) mice resulted in reduced RV lipid deposition.
CONCLUSIONS - These data demonstrate that Bmpr2 mutation affects RV stress responses in a transgenic rodent model. Impaired RV hypertrophy and triglyceride and ceramide deposition are present as a function of RV mutant Bmpr2 in mice; fatty acid oxidation impairment in human HPAH RVs may underlie this finding. Further study of how BMPR2 mediates RV lipotoxicity is warranted.
This review covers the background to discovery of the two key lipoxygenases (LOX) involved in epidermal barrier function, 12R-LOX and eLOX3, and our current views on their functioning. In the outer epidermis, their consecutive actions oxidize linoleic acid esterified in ω-hydroxy-ceramide to a hepoxilin-related derivative. The relevant background to hepoxilin and trioxilin biochemistry is briefly reviewed. We outline the evidence that linoleate in the ceramide is the natural substrate of the two LOX enzymes and our proposal for its importance in construction of the epidermal water barrier. Our hypothesis is that the oxidation promotes hydrolysis of the oxidized linoleate moiety from the ceramide. The resulting free ω-hydroxyl of the ω-hydroxyceramide is covalently bound to proteins on the surface of the corneocytes to form the corneocyte lipid envelope, a key barrier component. Understanding the role of the LOX enzymes and their hepoxilin products should provide rational approaches to ameliorative therapy for a number of the congenital ichthyoses involving compromised barrier function. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled The Important Role of Lipids in the Epidermis and their Role in the Formation and Maintenance of the Cutaneous Barrier. Guest Editors: Kenneth R. Feingold and Peter Elias.
Invariant NKT (iNKT) cells are a subset of T lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid Ags presented by the MHC class I-related protein CD1d. Activation of iNKT cells with glycolipid Ags, such as the marine sponge-derived reagent α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer), results in the rapid production of a variety of cytokines and activation of many other immune cell types. These immunomodulatory properties of iNKT cells have been exploited for the development of immunotherapies against a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but mechanisms by which activated iNKT cells confer disease protection have remained incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrate that glycolipid-activated iNKT cells cooperate with myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in protecting mice against the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, an animal model for multiple sclerosis. We show that α-GalCer induced the expansion and immunosuppressive activities of MDSCs in the spleen of mice induced for development of EAE. Disease protection in these animals also correlated with recruitment of MDSCs to the CNS. Depletion of MDSCs abrogated the protective effects of α-GalCer against EAE and, conversely, adoptive transfer of MDSCs from α-GalCer-treated mice ameliorated passive EAE induced in recipient animals. The cytokines GM-CSF, IL-4, and IFN-γ, produced by activated iNKT cells, and inducible NO synthase, arginase-1, and IL-10 produced by MDSCs, contributed to these effects. Our findings have revealed cooperative immunosuppressive interactions between iNKT cells and MDSCs that might be exploited for the development of improved immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.