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BACKGROUND - Cardiac amyloidosis is an infiltrative cardiomyopathy that is challenging to diagnose. We hypothesized that the novel biomarkers hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), galectin-3 (GAL-3), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) would be elevated in cardiac amyloidosis and may be able to discriminate from non-cardiac systemic amyloidosis or other cardiomyopathies with similar clinical or morphologic characteristics.
METHODS - Patients were selected from the Vanderbilt Main Heart Registry according to the following groups: (1) amyloid light-chain (AL) cardiac amyloidosis (n = 26); (2) transthyretin (ATTR) cardiac amyloidosis (n = 7); (3) left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) (n = 45); (4) systolic heart failure (n = 42); and (5) non-cardiac systemic amyloidosis (n = 7). Biomarkers were measured in stored plasma samples. Biomarkers' discrimination performance in predicting AL cardiac amyloidosis (i.e., Concordance index) was reported. A survival analysis was used to explore the relationship between HGF levels and mortality among AL cardiac amyloidosis patients.
RESULTS - HGF levels were markedly elevated in patients with AL cardiac amyloidosis (median = 622, interquartile range (IQR): 299-1228 pg/mL) compared with the other groups, including those with non-cardiac systemic amyloidosis (median = 134, IQR: 94-163 pg/mL, p < 0.001). HGF was not a specific marker for ATTR amyloidosis. Gal-3 was elevated in all groups with amyloidosis but could not differentiate between those with and without cardiac involvement. There was no difference in IL-6 or VEGF between those with AL cardiac amyloidosis compared to other groups (p = 0.13 and 0.057, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS - HGF may be a specific marker that distinguishes AL cardiac amyloidosis from other cardiomyopathies with similar clinical or morphologic characteristics. Further studies are necessary to determine whether HGF levels predict the likelihood of survival.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) play key roles in regulating the response to renal injury but are thought to mediate divergent effects on cell behavior. However, how TGF-β signaling alters the response to HGF in epithelia, the key site of HGF signaling in the injured kidney, is not well studied. Contrary to our expectation, we showed that deletion of the TGF-β type II receptor in conditionally immortalized proximal tubule (PT) cells impaired HGF-dependent signaling. This reduced signaling was due to decreased transcription of c-Met, the HGF receptor, and the TGF-β-dependent c-Met transcription and increased response to HGF in PT cells were mediated by the Notch pathway. The interactions of TGF-β, HGF, and Notch pathways had biologically significant effects on branching morphogenesis, cell morphology, migration, and proliferation. In conclusion, epithelial TGF-β signaling promotes HGF signaling in a Notch-dependent pathway. These findings suggest that TGF-β modulates PT responses not only by direct effects, but also by affecting other growth factor signaling pathways.
The mTOR and Hippo pathways have recently emerged as the major signaling transduction cascades regulating organ size and cellular homeostasis. However, direct crosstalk between two pathways is yet to be determined. Here, we demonstrate that mTORC2 is a direct negative regulator of the MST1 kinase, a key component of the Hippo pathway. mTORC2 phosphorylates MST1 at serine 438 in the SARAH domain, thereby reducing its homodimerization and activity. We found that Rictor/mTORC2 preserves cardiac structure and function by restraining the activity of MST1 kinase. Cardiac-specific mTORC2 disruption through Rictor deletion leads to a marked activation of MST1 that, in turn, promotes cardiac dysfunction and dilation, impairing cardiac growth and adaptation in response to pressure overload. In conclusion, our study demonstrates the existence of a direct crosstalk between mTORC2 and MST1 that is critical for cardiac cell survival and growth.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Stimulation of endogenous β-cell expansion could facilitate regeneration in patients with diabetes. In mice, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is expressed in embryonic β-cells and in adult β-cells during periods of expansion. We discovered that in embryos CTGF is necessary for β-cell proliferation, and increased CTGF in β-cells promotes proliferation of immature (MafA(-)) insulin-positive cells. CTGF overexpression, under nonstimulatory conditions, does not increase adult β-cell proliferation. In this study, we tested the ability of CTGF to promote β-cell proliferation and regeneration after partial β-cell destruction. β-Cell mass reaches 50% recovery after 4 weeks of CTGF treatment, primarily via increased β-cell proliferation, which is enhanced as early as 2 days of treatment. CTGF treatment increases the number of immature β-cells but promotes proliferation of both mature and immature β-cells. A shortened β-cell replication refractory period is also observed. CTGF treatment upregulates positive cell-cycle regulators and factors involved in β-cell proliferation, including hepatocyte growth factor, serotonin synthesis, and integrin β1. Ex vivo treatment of whole islets with recombinant human CTGF induces β-cell replication and gene expression changes consistent with those observed in vivo, demonstrating that CTGF acts directly on islets to promote β-cell replication. Thus, CTGF can induce replication of adult mouse β-cells given a permissive microenvironment.
© 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - It is widely recognized that in the early stages of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, the hepatocytes accumulate a significant amount of lipids. The functional meaning of this transient steatosis and its effect on hepatocellular proliferation are not well defined. In addition, the basic mechanisms of this lipid accumulation are not well understood although some studies suggest the participation of the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor (Ldlr).
METHODS - To address these questions, we studied the process of liver regeneration in Ldlr null mice and wild type mice following partial hepatectomy.
RESULTS - Ldlr deficiency was associated with a significant decrease in serum albumin concentration, during early stages of liver regeneration, and a delayed hepatic regeneration. Remnant livers of Ldlr(-)(/)(-) showed a time-shifted expression of interleukin-6 (IL6) and a defective activation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) expression in early phases of liver regeneration. Unexpectedly, Ldlr(-)(/)(-) showed no significant differences in the content of lipid droplets after partial hepatectomy compared to wild type mice. However, lipidomic analysis of the regenerating liver from Ldlr(-)(/)(-) revealed a lipid profile compatible with liver quiescence: high content of cholesterol esters and ceramide, and low levels of phosphatidylcholine.
CONCLUSIONS - Ldlr deficiency is associated with significant changes in the hepatic lipidome that affect cytokine-growth factor signaling and impair liver regeneration. These results suggest that the analysis of the hepatic lipidome may help predict the success of liver regeneration in the clinical environment, specifically in the context of pre-existing liver steatosis.
Copyright © 2013 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common cancers worldwide, usually develops in a liver already suffering from chronic damages, often cirrhosis. There has been marked progress in the treatment of HCC. However, effective treatments are limited to patients with less advanced HCC. The detection of HCC at an early stage is still a prerequisite for improved prognosis. To address this problem, a variety of screening modalities are used, including measurement of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and ultrasonography (US) at regular intervals in high-risk populations. Unfortunately, poor sensitivity and specificity of AFP and the operator-dependency of US limit the value of either test to diagnose early-stage lesions. Other tests, including Lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive AFP and des-gamma carboxyprothrombin (DCP), are currently being evaluated and may be superior to current tests. Recent developments in gene-expressing microarrays and proteomics promise even more potential diagnostic options. The strict application of the Early Detection Research Network methodology will aid in the assessment of their diagnostic utility, and provide an objective basis for the assessment of their clinical utility.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mutationally activated kinases define a clinically validated class of targets for cancer drug therapy. However, the efficacy of kinase inhibitors in patients whose tumours harbour such alleles is invariably limited by innate or acquired drug resistance. The identification of resistance mechanisms has revealed a recurrent theme—the engagement of survival signals redundant to those transduced by the targeted kinase. Cancer cells typically express multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that mediate signals that converge on common critical downstream cell-survival effectors—most notably, phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI(3)K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Consequently, an increase in RTK-ligand levels, through autocrine tumour-cell production, paracrine contribution from tumour stroma or systemic production, could confer resistance to inhibitors of an oncogenic kinase with a similar signalling output. Here, using a panel of kinase-'addicted' human cancer cell lines, we found that most cells can be rescued from drug sensitivity by simply exposing them to one or more RTK ligands. Among the findings with clinical implications was the observation that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) confers resistance to the BRAF inhibitor PLX4032 (vemurafenib) in BRAF-mutant melanoma cells. These observations highlight the extensive redundancy of RTK-transduced signalling in cancer cells and the potentially broad role of widely expressed RTK ligands in innate and acquired resistance to drugs targeting oncogenic kinases.
BACKGROUND - Visceral adiposity is associated with metabolic risk. Given that angiogenesis is a key feature of adipogenesis, variation in the association of levels of circulating vascular growth factors (and their soluble receptors) with distinct body fat compartments may explain differences in the systemic pathogenicity of regional fat depots.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Four body fat compartments [visceral adipose tissue (VAT), sc adipose tissue (SAT), thoracic periaortic fat, and pericardial fat] derived from computed tomography were related to serum concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), the soluble VEGF receptor (fms-like tyrosine kinase-1), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and angiopoietin-2 and its soluble receptor (soluble tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin-like and EGF-like domains 2 sTie-2) in 1806 Framingham Heart Study participants (mean age 44.9 yr, 44.5% women). In multivariable models, we observed positive associations between several fat compartments and VEGF and HGF levels. The magnitude of the associations were similar for VAT, SAT, and periaortic fat. We observed effect modification by sex. A stronger association was observed between VAT and HGF levels in women; higher VAT and periaortic fat were jointly associated with higher HGF concentrations (P=0.02 and P=0.051, respectively). In women within the highest tertile of VAT, HGF levels significantly increased with higher periaortic fat (P=0.0005).
CONCLUSIONS - In our large community-based sample, greater adiposity was associated with higher circulating growth factor levels in general. Additional studies are warranted to confirm the stronger association of VAT and periaortic fat with HGF in women and to examine its potential contribution to the sex-related differences in cardiometabolic risk.
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS - Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) demonstrates beneficial properties in the treatment of aged vocal folds. However, the optimal concentration of HGF remains unknown. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of HGF concentration on treatment of the aged rat vocal fold.
STUDY DESIGN - Prospective animal study.
METHODS - Seventy-five rats were studied. The rats were divided into five groups and received serial injections of HGF in 10 μL of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at the following concentrations: 10 ng/10 μL, 50 ng/10 μL, 100 ng/10 μL, 200 ng/10 μL, or control (PBS only). Alcian blue staining was performed to investigate hyaluronan (HA), and immunohistochemistry was performed to investigate collagen type I and III. Gene expression of hyaluronic acid synthase (HAS)-1, -2, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2, -9, and procollagen I and III were also investigated using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS - Histologic analyses revealed increased HA and decreased collagen type I in rats receiving injections of HGF at 100 ng/10 μL. Results were supported by RT-PCR revealing upregulated expression of HAS-2, decreased expression of procollagen I, and a significant increase of MMP-9 mRNA in rats receiving HGF at 100 ng/10 μL.
CONCLUSIONS - We report the first in vivo concentration study of HGF for treatment of the aged vocal fold. Results revealed desirable biochemical effects of HGF at 100 ng/10 μL. These data will be used to provide immediate direction to programmatic efforts aimed at examining future applications of HGF for treatment of the aged vocal fold.
Copyright © 2011 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.
OBJECTIVES - The overarching goal of this line of research is to translate basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) treatment for vocal fold scarring into practical clinical use. In a previous canine investigation, we demonstrated that bFGF improves phonation threshold pressure, mucosal wave amplitude, and histologic measures in vocal folds treated after injury. In the present study, we studied the effects of bFGF on gene expression of the extracellular matrix and growth factors in rat vocal fold fibroblasts.
METHODS - Fibroblasts harvested from the vocal folds of 5 rats were treated with 3 concentrations of bFGF (0, 10, and 100 ng/mL). The fibroblasts were collected at 24 hours and 72 hours after bFGF administration. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was then used to investigate the gene expression of the investigated growth factors and extracellular matrices.
RESULTS - The results revealed significantly down-regulated expression of procollagen I and significantly up-regulated expression of hyaluronic acid synthase (HAS) 2 and fibronectin in fibroblasts treated with bFGF. The administration of bFGF also resulted in the up-regulation of bFGF and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). No changes in the expression of HAS-1, tropoelastin, or procollagen III were observed between the treatment and control conditions.
CONCLUSIONS - Treatment with bFGF induces the down-regulation of procollagen I and the up-regulation of HAS-2 in vocal fold fibroblast cell cultures. These gene expression alterations to key mediators of the wound healing process may translate into potential benefits in the remediation of vocal fold injury. The up-regulation of HGF, an antifibrotic effector molecule, may demonstrate additional benefits by optimizing the wound healing environment and by accelerating the wound repair cascade. These findings may provide fuel for additional discoveries into the development of growth factor therapy for the treatment of vocal fold scar.