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Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a leading complication of preterm birth that affects infants born in the saccular stage of lung development at <32 weeks of gestation. Although the mechanisms driving BPD remain uncertain, exposure to hyperoxia is thought to contribute to disease pathogenesis. To determine the effects of hyperoxia on epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and to define the mediators of activated Wnt/β-catenin signaling after hyperoxia injury. Three hyperoxia models were used: A three-dimensional organotypic coculture using primary human lung cells, precision-cut lung slices (PCLS), and a murine hyperoxia model. Comparisons of normoxia- and hyperoxia-exposed samples were made by real-time quantitative PCR, RNA hybridization, quantitative confocal microscopy, and lung morphometry. Examination of an array of Wnt ligands in the three-dimensional organotypic coculture revealed increased mesenchymal expression of . Inhibition of Wnt5A abrogated the BPD transcriptomic phenotype induced by hyperoxia. In the PCLS model, Wnt5A inhibition improved alveolarization following hyperoxia exposure, and treatment with recombinant Wnt5a reproduced features of the BPD phenotype in PCLS cultured in normoxic conditions. Chemical inhibition of NF-κB with BAY11-7082 reduced expression in the PCLS hyperoxia model and mouse hyperoxia model, with improved alveolarization in the PCLS model. Increased mesenchymal Wnt5A during saccular-stage hyperoxia injury contributes to the impaired alveolarization and septal thickening observed in BPD. Precise targeting of Wnt5A may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of BPD.
The mechanisms regulating endothelial cell response to hemodynamic forces required for heart valve development, especially valve remodeling, remain elusive. Tie1, an endothelial specific receptor tyrosine kinase, is up-regulated by oscillating shear stress and is required for lymphatic valve development. In this study, we demonstrate that valvular endothelial Tie1 is differentially expressed in a dynamic pattern predicted by disturbed flow during valve remodeling. Following valvular endocardial specific deletion of Tie1 in mice, we observed enlarged aortic valve leaflets, decreased valve stiffness and valvular insufficiency. Valve abnormalities were only detected in late gestation and early postnatal mutant animals and worsened with age. The mutant mice developed perturbed extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and remodeling characterized by increased glycosaminoglycan and decreased collagen content, as well as increased valve interstitial cell expression of Sox9, a transcription factor essential for normal ECM maturation during heart valve development. This study provides the first evidence that Tie1 is involved in modulation of late valve remodeling and suggests that an important Tie1-Sox9 signaling axis exists through which disturbed flows are converted by endocardial cells to paracrine Sox9 signals to modulate normal matrix remodeling of the aortic valve.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Major depression is a common and severe psychiatric disorder with a highly polygenic genetic architecture. Genome-wide association studies have successfully identified multiple independent genetic loci that harbour variants associated with major depression, but the exact causal genes and biological mechanisms are largely unknown. Tissue-specific network approaches may identify molecular mechanisms underlying major depression and provide a biological substrate for integrative analyses. We provide a framework for the identification of individual risk genes and gene co-expression networks using genome-wide association summary statistics and gene expression information across multiple human brain tissues and whole blood. We developed a novel gene-based method called eMAGMA that leverages tissue-specific eQTL information to identify 99 biologically plausible risk genes associated with major depression, of which 58 are novel. Among these novel associations is Complement Factor 4A (C4A), recently implicated in schizophrenia through its role in synaptic pruning during postnatal development. Major depression risk genes were enriched in gene co-expression modules in multiple brain tissues and the implicated gene modules contained genes involved in synaptic signalling, neuronal development, and cell transport pathways. Modules enriched with major depression signals were strongly preserved across brain tissues, but were weakly preserved in whole blood, highlighting the importance of using disease-relevant tissues in genetic studies of psychiatric traits. We identified tissue-specific genes and gene co-expression networks associated with major depression. Our novel analytical framework can be used to gain fundamental insights into the functioning of the nervous system in major depression and other brain-related traits.
The genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders is characterized by a large number of small-effect variants located primarily in non-coding regions, suggesting that the underlying causal effects may influence disease risk by modulating gene expression. We provide comprehensive analyses using transcriptome data from an unprecedented collection of tissues to gain pathophysiological insights into the role of the brain, neuroendocrine factors (adrenal gland) and gastrointestinal systems (colon) in psychiatric disorders. In each tissue, we perform PrediXcan analysis and identify trait-associated genes for schizophrenia (n associations = 499; n unique genes = 275), bipolar disorder (n associations = 17; n unique genes = 13), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n associations = 19; n unique genes = 12) and broad depression (n associations = 41; n unique genes = 31). Importantly, both PrediXcan and summary-data-based Mendelian randomization/heterogeneity in dependent instruments analyses suggest potentially causal genes in non-brain tissues, showing the utility of these tissues for mapping psychiatric disease genetic predisposition. Our analyses further highlight the importance of joint tissue approaches as 76% of the genes were detected only in difficult-to-acquire tissues.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) results in a significant public health burden due to the morbidity caused by the disease and many of the available remedies. As much as 70% of men over 70 will develop BPH. Few studies have been conducted to discover the genetic determinants of BPH risk. Understanding the biological basis for this condition may provide necessary insight for development of novel pharmaceutical therapies or risk prediction. We have evaluated SNP-based heritability of BPH in two cohorts and conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BPH risk using 2,656 cases and 7,763 controls identified from the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network. SNP-based heritability estimates suggest that roughly 60% of the phenotypic variation in BPH is accounted for by genetic factors. We used logistic regression to model BPH risk as a function of principal components of ancestry, age, and imputed genotype data, with meta-analysis performed using METAL. The top result was on chromosome 22 in SYN3 at rs2710383 (p-value = 4.6 × 10; Odds Ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval = 0.55-0.83). Other suggestive signals were near genes GLGC, UNCA13, SORCS1 and between BTBD3 and SPTLC3. We also evaluated genetically-predicted gene expression in prostate tissue. The most significant result was with increasing predicted expression of ETV4 (chr17; p-value = 0.0015). Overexpression of this gene has been associated with poor prognosis in prostate cancer. In conclusion, although there were no genome-wide significant variants identified for BPH susceptibility, we present evidence supporting the heritability of this phenotype, have identified suggestive signals, and evaluated the association between BPH and genetically-predicted gene expression in prostate.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 170 breast cancer susceptibility loci. Here we hypothesize that some risk-associated variants might act in non-breast tissues, specifically adipose tissue and immune cells from blood and spleen. Using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) reported in these tissues, we identify 26 previously unreported, likely target genes of overall breast cancer risk variants, and 17 for estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer, several with a known immune function. We determine the directional effect of gene expression on disease risk measured based on single and multiple eQTL. In addition, using a gene-based test of association that considers eQTL from multiple tissues, we identify seven (and four) regions with variants associated with overall (and ER-negative) breast cancer risk, which were not reported in previous GWAS. Further investigation of the function of the implicated genes in breast and immune cells may provide insights into the etiology of breast cancer.
PURPOSE - The third-generation EGFR inhibitor, osimertinib, is the first mutant-selective inhibitor that has received regulatory approval for the treatment of patients with -mutant lung cancer. Despite the development of highly selective third-generation inhibitors, acquired resistance remains a significant clinical challenge. Recently, we and others have identified a novel osimertinib resistance mutation, G724S, which was not predicted in screens. Here, we investigate how G724S confers resistance to osimertinib. We combine structure-based predictive modeling of G724S in combination with the 2 most common EGFR-activating mutations, exon 19 deletion (Ex19Del) and L858R, with drug-response models and patient genomic profiling.
RESULTS - Our simulations suggest that the G724S mutation selectively reduces osimertinib-binding affinity in the context of Ex19Del. Consistent with our simulations, cell lines transduced with Ex19Del/G724S demonstrate resistance to osimertinib, whereas cells transduced with L858R/G724S are sensitive to osimertinib. Subsequent clinical genomic profiling data further suggest G724S occurs with Ex19Del but not L858R. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Ex19Del/G724S retains sensitivity to afatinib, but not to erlotinib, suggesting a possible therapy for patients at the time of disease relapse.
CONCLUSIONS - Altogether, these data suggest that G724S is an allele-specific resistance mutation emerging in the context of Ex19Del but not L858R. Our results fundamentally reframe the problem of targeted therapy resistance from one focused on the "drug-resistance mutation" pair to one focused on the "activating mutation-drug-resistance mutation" trio. This has broad implications across clinical oncology.
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.
Uveal melanoma (UM) is an uncommon melanoma subtype with poor prognosis. Agents that have transformed the management of cutaneous melanoma have made minimal inroads in UM. We conducted a single-arm phase II study of pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic UM and performed bioinformatics analyses of publicly available datasets to characterize the activity of anti-PD-1 in this setting and to understand the mutational and immunologic profile of this disease. A total of 5 patients received pembrolizumab in this study. Median overall survival was not reached, and median progression-free survival was 11.0 months. One patient experienced a complete response after one dose and 2 others experienced prolonged stable disease (20% response rate, 60% clinical benefit rate); 2 additional patients had rapidly progressing disease. Notably, the patients who benefited had either no liver metastases or small-volume disease, whereas patients with rapidly progressing disease had bulky liver involvement. We performed a bioinformatics analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas for UM and confirmed a low mutation burden and low rates of T-cell inflammation. Note that the lack of T-cell inflammation strongly correlated with pathway overexpression. Anti-PD-1-based therapy may cause clinical benefit in metastatic UM, seemingly more often in patients without bulky liver metastases. Lack of mutation burden and T-cell infiltration and overexpression may be factors limiting therapeutic responses. NCT02359851.
Copyright © 2019 by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Bile acids are involved in the emulsification and absorption of dietary fats, as well as acting as signaling molecules. Recently, bile acid signaling through farnesoid X receptor and G protein-coupled bile acid receptor (TGR5) has been reported to elicit changes in not only bile acid synthesis but also metabolic processes, including the alteration of gluconeogenic gene expression and energy expenditure. A role for bile acids in glucose metabolism is also supported by a correlation between changes in the metabolic state of patients (i.e., obesity or postbariatric surgery) and altered serum bile acid levels. However, despite evidence for a role for bile acids during metabolically challenging settings, the direct effect of elevated bile acids on insulin action in the absence of metabolic disease has yet to be investigated. The present study examines the impact of acutely elevated plasma bile acid levels on insulin sensitivity using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. In wild-type mice, elevated bile acids impair hepatic insulin sensitivity by blunting the insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. The impaired hepatic insulin sensitivity could not be attributed to TGR5 signaling, as TGR5 knockout mice exhibited a similar inhibition of insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. Canonical insulin signaling pathways, such as hepatic PKB (or Akt) activation, were not perturbed in these animals. Interestingly, bile acid infusion directly into the portal vein did not result in an impairment in hepatic insulin sensitivity. Overall, the data indicate that acute increases in circulating bile acids in lean mice impair hepatic insulin sensitivity via an indirect mechanism.