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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.
Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
The objective of this study was to isolate the impact of hydrodynamics on selectin-mediated cell rolling in branched microvessels. Significant advancements have been made in furthering the understanding of complex interactions between biochemical and physical factors in the inflammatory cascade in simplified planar geometries. However, few studies have sought to quantify the effects of branched configurations and to isolate the effects of associated fluid forces. Experimental techniques were developed to perform in vitro adhesion experiments in Y-shaped micro-slides. The micro-slides were coated with P-selectin and microspheres coated with Sialyl-Lewis were observed as they rolled in the chambers at different wall shear stresses. Study results revealed that microsphere rolling velocities and rolling flux were lowest in regions closest to the apex of a junctional region and were dependent on both branch angle and wall shear stress. The regions closest to the junctional region were shown to have low bulk flow velocities and shear stresses using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. Collectively, the study demonstrates that despite the presence of a uniform coating of P-selectin, hydrodynamic factors associated with the chamber geometry yield non-uniform effects on particle behavior. These findings could explain why cells have been observed to preferentially adhere or transmigrate near junctional regions. Future characterization of inflammatory processes in microvascular network configurations is therefore crucial for furthering our fundamental understanding of inflammation.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - Deletion of mPGES-1 (microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1)-an anti-inflammatory target alternative to COX (cyclooxygenase)-2-attenuates injury-induced neointima formation in mice. This is attributable to the augmented levels of PGI (prostacyclin)-a known restraint of the vascular response to injury, acting via IP (I prostanoid receptor). To examine the role of mPGES-1-derived PGE (prostaglandin E) in vascular remodeling without the IP.
APPROACH AND RESULTS - Mice deficient in both IP and mPGES-1 (DKO [double knockout] and littermate controls [IP KO (knockout)]) were subjected to angioplasty wire injury. Compared with the deletion of IP alone, coincident deletion of IP and mPGES-1 increased neointima formation, without affecting media area. Early pathological changes include impaired reendothelialization and increased leukocyte invasion in neointima. Endothelial cells (ECs), but not vascular smooth muscle cells, isolated from DKOs exhibited impaired cell proliferation. Activation of EP (E prostanoid receptor) 4 (and EP2, to a lesser extent), but not of EP1 or EP3, promoted EC proliferation. EP4 antagonism inhibited proliferation of mPGES-1-competent ECs, but not of mPGES-1-deficient ECs, which showed suppressed PGE production. EP4 activation inhibited leukocyte adhesion to ECs in vitro, promoted reendothelialization, and limited neointima formation post-injury in the mouse. Endothelium-restricted deletion of EP4 in mice suppressed reendothelialization, increased neointimal leukocytes, and exacerbated neointimal formation.
CONCLUSIONS - Removal of the IP receptors unmasks a protective role of mPGES-1-derived PGE in limiting injury-induced vascular hyperplasia. EP4, in the endothelial compartment, is essential to promote reendothelialization and restrain neointimal formation after injury. Activating EP4 bears therapeutic potential to prevent restenosis after percutaneous coronary intervention.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
In 2013, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) transmission was documented in the Western Hemisphere, and the virus has since spread throughout the Americas with more than 1.8 million people infected in more than 40 countries. CHIKV targets the joints, resulting in symmetric polyarthritis that clinically mimics rheumatoid arthritis and can endure for months to years. At present, no approved treatment is effective in preventing or controlling CHIKV infection or disease. We treated mice with eight different disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and identified CLTA4-Ig (abatacept) and tofacitinib as candidate therapies based on their ability to decrease acute joint swelling. CTLA4-Ig reduced T cell accumulation in the joints of infected animals without affecting viral infection. Whereas monotherapy with CTLA4-Ig or a neutralizing anti-CHIKV human monoclonal antibody provided partial clinical improvement, therapy with both abolished swelling and markedly reduced levels of chemokines, proinflammatory cytokines, and infiltrating leukocytes. Thus, combination CTLA4-Ig and antiviral antibody therapy controls acute CHIKV infection and arthritis and may be a candidate for testing in humans.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
BACKGROUND - The role of the chemokine CCL2 in breast cancer is controversial. While CCL2 recruits and activates pro-tumor macrophages, it is also reported to enhance neutrophil-mediated anti-tumor activity. Moreover, loss of CCL2 in early development enhances breast cancer progression.
METHODS - To clarify these conflicting findings, we examined the ability of CCL2 to alter naïve and tumor entrained neutrophil production of ROS, release of granzyme-B, and killing of tumor cells in multiple mouse models of breast cancer. CCL2 was delivered intranasally in mice to elevate CCL2 levels in the lung and effects on seeding and growth of breast tumor cells were evaluated. The TCGA data base was queried for relationship between CCL2 expression and relapse free survival of breast cancer patients and compared to subsets of breast cancer patients.
RESULTS - Even though each of the tumor cell lines studied produced approximately equal amounts of CCL2, exogenous delivery of CCL2 to co-cultures of breast tumor cells and neutrophils enhanced the ability of tumor-entrained neutrophils (TEN) to kill the less aggressive 67NR variant of 4T1 breast cancer cells. However, exogenous CCL2 did not enhance naïve or TEN neutrophil killing of more aggressive 4T1 or PyMT breast tumor cells. Moreover, this anti-tumor activity was not observed in vivo. Intranasal delivery of CCL2 to BALB/c mice markedly enhanced seeding and outgrowth of 67NR cells in the lung and increased the recruitment of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ central memory T cells into lungs of tumor bearing mice. There was no significant increase in the recruitment of CD19+ B cells, or F4/80+, Ly6G+ and CD11c + myeloid cells. CCL2 had an equal effect on CD206+ and MHCII+ populations of macrophages, thus balancing the pro- and anti-tumor macrophage cell population. Analysis of the relationship between CCL2 levels and relapse free survival in humans revealed that overall survival is not significantly different between high CCL2 expressing and low CCL2 expressing breast cancer patients grouped together. However, examination of the relationship between high CCL2 expressing basal-like, HER2+ and luminal B breast cancer patients revealed that higher CCL2 expressing tumors in these subgroups have a significantly higher probability of surviving longer than those expressing low CCL2.
CONCLUSIONS - While our in vitro data support a potential anti-tumor role for CCL2 in TEN neutrophil- mediated tumor killing in poorly aggressive tumors, intranasal delivery of CCL2 increased CD4+ T cell recruitment to the pre-metastatic niche of the lung and this correlated with enhanced seeding and growth of tumor cells. These data indicate that effects of CCL2/CCR2 antagonists on the intratumoral leukocyte content should be monitored in ongoing clinical trials using these agents.
Monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA), a less toxic derivative of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is employed as a vaccine adjuvant and is under investigation as a non-specific immunomodulator. However, the differential response of human leukocytes to MPLA and LPS has not been well characterized. The goal of this study was to compare the differential transcriptomic response of human blood to LPS and MPLA. Venous blood from human volunteers was stimulated with LPS, MPLA or vehicle. Gene expression was determined using microarray analysis. Among 21,103 probes profiled, 136 and 130 genes were differentially regulated by LPS or MPLA, respectively. Seventy four genes were up-regulated and 9 were down-regulated by both ligands. The remaining genes were differentially induced by either agent. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis predicted that LPS and MPLA share similar upstream regulators and have comparable effects on canonical pathways and cellular functions. However, some pro-inflammatory cytokine and inflammasome-associated transcripts were more strongly induced by LPS. In contrast, only the macrophage-regulating chemokine CCL7 was preferentially up-regulated by MPLA. In conclusion, LPS and MPLA induce similar transcriptional profiles. However, LPS more potently induces pro-inflammatory cytokine and inflammasome-linked transcripts. Thus, MPLA is a less potent activator of the pro-inflammatory response but retains effective immunomodulatory activity.
Monkeypox (MPXV) and cowpox (CPXV) are emerging agents that cause severe human infections on an intermittent basis, and variola virus (VARV) has potential for use as an agent of bioterror. Vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) has been used therapeutically to treat severe orthopoxvirus infections but is in short supply. We generated a large panel of orthopoxvirus-specific human monoclonal antibodies (Abs) from immune subjects to investigate the molecular basis of broadly neutralizing antibody responses for diverse orthopoxviruses. Detailed analysis revealed the principal neutralizing antibody specificities that are cross-reactive for VACV, CPXV, MPXV, and VARV and that are determinants of protection in murine challenge models. Optimal protection following respiratory or systemic infection required a mixture of Abs that targeted several membrane proteins, including proteins on enveloped and mature virion forms of virus. This work reveals orthopoxvirus targets for human Abs that mediate cross-protective immunity and identifies new candidate Ab therapeutic mixtures to replace VIG.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
White blood cells play diverse roles in innate and adaptive immunity. Genetic association analyses of phenotypic variation in circulating white blood cell (WBC) counts from large samples of otherwise healthy individuals can provide insights into genes and biologic pathways involved in production, differentiation, or clearance of particular WBC lineages (myeloid, lymphoid) and also potentially inform the genetic basis of autoimmune, allergic, and blood diseases. We performed an exome array-based meta-analysis of total WBC and subtype counts (neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, basophils, and eosinophils) in a multi-ancestry discovery and replication sample of ∼157,622 individuals from 25 studies. We identified 16 common variants (8 of which were coding variants) associated with one or more WBC traits, the majority of which are pleiotropically associated with autoimmune diseases. Based on functional annotation, these loci included genes encoding surface markers of myeloid, lymphoid, or hematopoietic stem cell differentiation (CD69, CD33, CD87), transcription factors regulating lineage specification during hematopoiesis (ASXL1, IRF8, IKZF1, JMJD1C, ETS2-PSMG1), and molecules involved in neutrophil clearance/apoptosis (C10orf54, LTA), adhesion (TNXB), or centrosome and microtubule structure/function (KIF9, TUBD1). Together with recent reports of somatic ASXL1 mutations among individuals with idiopathic cytopenias or clonal hematopoiesis of undetermined significance, the identification of a common regulatory 3' UTR variant of ASXL1 suggests that both germline and somatic ASXL1 mutations contribute to lower blood counts in otherwise asymptomatic individuals. These association results shed light on genetic mechanisms that regulate circulating WBC counts and suggest a prominent shared genetic architecture with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Copyright © 2016 American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.
Although numerous studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with a wide range of favorable health outcomes, it is unclear whether this general pattern extends to cellular aging. In this paper, we tested whether leukocyte telomere length varies according to several dimensions of religious involvement. We used cross-sectional data from the Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011-2014), a large probability sample of 1252 black and white adults aged 22 to 69 living in Davidson County, TN, USA. Leukocyte telomere length was measured using the monochrome multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction method with albumin as the single-copy reference sequence. Dimensions of religious involvement included religiosity, religious support, and religious coping. Our multivariate analyses showed that religiosity (an index of religious attendance, prayer frequency, and religious identity) was positively associated with leukocyte telomere length, even with adjustments for religious support, religious coping, age, gender, race, education, employment status, income, financial strain, stressful life events, marital status, family support, friend support, depressive symptoms, smoking, heavy drinking, and allostatic load. Unlike religiosity, religious support and religious coping were unrelated to leukocyte telomere length across models. Depressive symptoms, smoking, heavy drinking, and allostatic load failed to explain any of the association between religiosity and telomere length. To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to link religious involvement and cellular aging. Although our data suggest that adults who frequently attend religious services, pray with regularity, and consider themselves to be religious tend to exhibit longer telomeres than those who attend and pray less frequently and do not consider themselves to be religious, additional research is needed to establish the mechanisms underlying this association.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.