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BACKGROUND - Vascular dysfunction is commonly seen during severe viral infections. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), has been postulated to play an important role in regulating vascular homeostasis as well as propagation of the inflammatory reaction. We hypothesized that the loss of eNOS would negatively impact toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling and worsen vascular function to viral challenge.
METHODS - Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) were exposed to either control or eNOS siRNA and then treated with Poly I:C, a TLR3 agonist and mimicker of dsRNA viruses. Cells were assessed for protein-protein associations, cytokine and chemokine analysis as well as transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) as a surrogate of permeability.
RESULTS - HMVECs that had reduced eNOS expression had a significantly elevated increase in IL-6, IL-8 and IP-10 production after Poly I:C. In addition, the knockdown of eNOS enhanced the change in TEER after Poly I:C stimulation. Western blot analysis showed enhanced phosphorylation of p38 in sieNOS treated cells with Poly I:C compared to siControl cells. Proximity ligation assays further demonstrated direct eNOS-p38 protein-protein interactions. The addition of the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, in eNOS knockdown cells reduced both cytokine production after Poly I:C, and as well as mitigated the reduction in TEER, suggesting a direct link between eNOS and p38 in TLR3 signaling.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that reduction of eNOS increases TLR3-mediated inflammation in human endothelial cells in a p38-dependent manner. This finding has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of severe viral infections and the associated vascular dysfunction.
Previous studies by us and others have indicated that renal epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) are activated in models of diabetic nephropathy (DN) and that inhibition of EGFR activity protects against progressive DN in type 1 diabetes. In this study we examined whether inhibition of EGFR activation would affect the development of DN in a mouse model of accelerated type 2 diabetes (BKS with endothelial nitric oxide knockout [eNOS]). eNOS mice received vehicle or erlotinib, an inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase activity, beginning at 8 weeks of age and were sacrificed at 20 weeks of age. In addition, genetic models inhibiting EGFR activity () and transforming growth factor-α () were studied in this model of DN in type 2 diabetes. Compared with vehicle-treated mice, erlotinib-treated animals had less albuminuria and glomerulosclerosis, less podocyte loss, and smaller amounts of renal profibrotic and fibrotic components. Erlotinib treatment decreased renal oxidative stress, macrophage and T-lymphocyte infiltration, and the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Erlotinib treatment also preserved pancreas function, and these mice had higher blood insulin levels at 20 weeks, decreased basal blood glucose levels, increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, and increased blood levels of adiponectin compared with vehicle-treated mice. Similar to the aforementioned results, both and diabetic mice also had attenuated DN, preserved pancreas function, and decreased basal blood glucose levels. In this mouse model of accelerated DN, inhibition of EGFR signaling led to increased longevity.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.
PURPOSE - Renal fibrosis is a hallmark of progressive renal disease; however, current clinical tests are insufficient for assessing renal fibrosis. Here we evaluated the utility of quantitative magnetization transfer MRI in detecting renal fibrosis in a murine model of progressive diabetic nephropathy (DN).
METHODS - The db/db eNOS-/- mice, a well-recognized model of progressive DN, and normal wild-type mice were imaged at 7T. The quantitative magnetization transfer data were collected in coronal plane using a 2D magnetization transfer prepared spoiled gradient echo sequence with a Gaussian-shaped presaturation pulse. Parameters were derived using a two-pool fitting model. A normal range of cortical pool size ratio (PSR) was defined as Mean±2SD of wild-type kidneys (N = 20). The cortical regions whose PSR values exceeded this threshold (threshold PSR) were assessed. The correlations between the PSR-based and histological (collagen IV or picrosirius red stain) fibrosis measurements were evaluated.
RESULTS - Compared with wild-type mice, moderate increases in mean PSR values and scattered clusters of high PSR region were observed in cortex of DN mouse kidneys. Abnormally high PSR regions (% area) that were detected by the threshold PSR were significantly increased in renal cortexes of DN mice. These regions progressively increased on aging and highly correlated with histological fibrosis measures, while the mean PSR values correlated much less.
CONCLUSION - Renal fibrosis in DN can be assessed by the quantitative magnetization transfer MRI and threshold analysis. This technique may be used as a novel imaging biomarker for DN and other renal diseases.
© 2018 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Albumin degradation in the renal tubules is impaired in diabetic nephropathy such that levels of the resulting albumin fragments increase with the degree of renal injury. However, the mechanism of albumin degradation is unknown. In particular, fragmentation of the endogenous native albumin has not been demonstrated in the kidney and the enzymes that may contribute to fragmentation have not been identified. To explore this we utilized matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry for molecular profiling of specific renal regions without disturbing distinct tissue morphology. Changes in protein expression were measured in kidney sections of eNOSdb/db mice, a model of diabetic nephropathy, by high spatial resolution imaging allowing molecular localizations at the level of single glomeruli and tubules. Significant increases were found in the relative abundances of several albumin fragments in the kidney of the mice with diabetic nephropathy compared with control nondiabetic mice. The relative abundance of fragments detected correlated positively with the degree of nephropathy. Furthermore, specific albumin fragments accumulating in the lumen of diabetic renal tubules were identified and predicted the enzymatic action of cathepsin D based on cleavage specificity and in vitro digestions. Importantly, this was demonstrated directly in the renal tissue with the endogenous nonlabeled murine albumin. Thus, our results provide molecular insights into the mechanism of albumin degradation in diabetic nephropathy.
Copyright © 2018 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by changes in eNOS, is a common finding in chronic inflammatory vascular diseases. These states are associated with increased infectious complications. We hypothesized that alterations in eNOS would enhance the response to LPS-mediated TLR4 inflammation. Human microvascular endothelial cells were treated with sepiapterin or N-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) to alter endogenous NO production, and small interfering RNA to knockdown eNOS. Alterations of endogenous NO by sepiapterin, and L-NAME provided no significant changes to LPS inflammation. In contrast, eNOS knockdown greatly enhanced endothelial IL-6 production and permeability in response to LPS. Knockdown of eNOS enhanced LPS-induced p38. Inhibition of p38 with SB203580 prevented IL-6 production, without altering permeability. Knockdown of p38 impaired NF-κB activation. Physical interaction between p38 and eNOS was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation, suggesting a novel, NO-independent mechanism for eNOS regulation of TLR4. In correlation, biopsy samples in patients with systemic lupus erythematous showed reduced eNOS expression with associated elevations in TLR4 and p38, suggesting an in vivo link. Thus, reduced expression of eNOS, as seen in chronic inflammatory disease, was associated with enhanced TLR4 signaling through p38. This may enhance the response to infection in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions.-Stark, R. J., Koch, S. R., Choi, H., Mace, E. H., Dikalov, S. I., Sherwood, E. R., Lamb, F. S. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase modulates Toll-like receptor 4-mediated IL-6 production and permeability via nitric oxide-independent signaling.
BACKGROUND - Two-dimensional measures of vascular architecture provide incomplete information about vascular structure. This study applied a novel rigorous method for 3D microCT-based analysis of total and cortical renal vasculature combined with a novel method to isolate and quantify the number of perfused glomeruli to assess vascular changes in eNOS-/- mice.
METHODS - Two month old male wildtype and eNOS-/- mice were perfused with heparinized saline followed by radiopaque Microfil. The Microfil-perfused vasculature of excised kidneys was imaged by μCT with an isotropic voxel-size of 5.0 μm. For analysis of renal cortical vasculature, a custom algorithm was created to define the cortical volume of interest (VOI) as the entire volume within 600 μm of the renal surface. Vessel thickness in the whole kidney or renal cortex was analyzed by plotting the distribution of vascular volume at each measured thickness and examining differences between the genotypes at individual thicknesses. A second image processing algorithm was created to isolate, identify, and extract contrast perfused glomeruli from the cortical vessels.
RESULTS - Fractional vascular volume (vascular volume/kidney volume; VV/KV) and Vessel Number/mm (V.N) were significantly lower in eNOS-/- mice vs. WT (p < 0.05). eNOS-/- kidneys had significantly fewer perfusable vessels vs. WT in the range of 20-40 μm in thickness. The cortex of eNOS-/- kidneys had significantly lower VV, VV/cortical volume, and V.N, with an increase in the distance between vessels (all p < 0.05). The total volume of vessels in the range of 20-30 μm was significantly lower in the cortex of eNOS-/- mice compared to WT (p < 0.05). Moreover, the total number of perfused glomeruli was significantly decreased in eNOS-/- mice (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS - The methods presented here demonstrate a new method to analyze contrast enhanced μCT images for vascular phenotyping of the murine kidney. These data also demonstrate that kidneys in eNOS-/- mice have severe defects in vascular perfusion/structure in the renal cortex.
OBJECTIVE - To identify genes affected by advancing gestation and racial/ethnic origin in human ductus arteriosus (DA).
STUDY DESIGN - We collected 3 sets of DA tissue (n = 93, n = 89, n = 91; total = 273 fetuses) from second trimester pregnancies. We examined four genes, with DNA polymorphisms that distribute along racial lines, to identify "Caucasian" and "non-Caucasian" DA. We used real time polymerase chain reaction to measure RNA expression of 48 candidate genes involved in functional closure of the DA, and used multivariable regression analyses to examine the relationships between advancing gestation, "non-Caucasian" race, and gene expression.
RESULTS - Mature gestation and non-Caucasian race are significant predictors for identifying infants who will close their patent DA when treated with indomethacin. Advancing gestation consistently altered gene expression in pathways involved with oxygen-induced constriction (eg, calcium-channels, potassium-channels, and endothelin signaling), contractile protein maturation, tissue remodeling, and prostaglandin and nitric oxide signaling in all 3 tissue sets. None of the pathways involved with oxygen-induced constriction appeared to be altered in "non-Caucasian" DA. Two genes, SLCO2A1 and NOS3, (involved with prostaglandin reuptake/metabolism and nitric oxide production, respectively) were consistently decreased in "non-Caucasian" DA.
CONCLUSIONS - Prostaglandins and nitric oxide are the most important vasodilators opposing DA closure. Indomethacin inhibits prostaglandin production, but not nitric oxide production. Because decreased SLCO2A1 and NOS3 expression can lead to increased prostaglandin and decreased nitric oxide concentrations, we speculate that prostaglandin-mediated vasodilation may play a more dominant role in maintaining the "non-Caucasian" patent DA, making it more likely to close when inhibited by indomethacin.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In diabetes, toxic oxidative pathways are triggered by persistent hyperglycemia and contribute to diabetes complications. A major proposed pathogenic mechanism is the accumulation of protein modifications that are called advanced glycation end products. However, other nonenzymatic post-translational modifications may also contribute to pathogenic protein damage in diabetes. We demonstrate that hypohalous acid-derived modifications of renal tissues and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins are significantly elevated in experimental diabetic nephropathy. Moreover, diabetic renal ECM shows diminished binding of α1β1 integrin consistent with the modification of collagen IV by hypochlorous (HOCl) and hypobromous acids. Noncollagenous (NC1) hexamers, key connection modules of collagen IV networks, are modified via oxidation and chlorination of tryptophan and bromination of tyrosine residues. Chlorotryptophan, a relatively minor modification, has not been previously found in proteins. In the NC1 hexamers isolated from diabetic kidneys, levels of HOCl-derived oxidized and chlorinated tryptophan residues W(28) and W(192) are significantly elevated compared with nondiabetic controls. Molecular dynamics simulations predicted a more relaxed NC1 hexamer tertiary structure and diminished assembly competence in diabetes; this was confirmed using limited proteolysis and denaturation/refolding. Our results suggest that hypohalous acid-derived modifications of renal ECM, and specifically collagen IV networks, contribute to functional protein damage in diabetes.
© 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.
Countering the diabetes pandemic and consequent complications, such as nephropathy, will require better understanding of disease mechanisms and development of new diagnostic methods. Animal models can be versatile tools in studies of diabetic renal disease when model pathology is relevant to human diabetic nephropathy (DN). Diabetic models using endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) knock-out mice develop major renal lesions characteristic of human disease. However, it is unknown whether they can also reproduce changes in urinary metabolites found in human DN. We employed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic mouse models of DN, i.e. STZ-eNOS(-/-) C57BLKS and eNOS(-/-) C57BLKS db/db, with the goal of determining changes in urinary metabolite profile using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Six urinary metabolites with significantly lower levels in diabetic compared to control mice have been identified. Specifically, major changes were found in metabolites from tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and aromatic amino acid catabolism including 3-indoxyl sulfate, cis-aconitate, 2-oxoisocaproate, N-phenyl-acetylglycine, 4-hydroxyphenyl acetate, and hippurate. Levels of 4-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid and hippuric acid showed the strongest reverse correlation to albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR), which is an indicator of renal damage. Importantly, similar changes in urinary hydroxyphenyl acetate and hippurate were previously reported in human renal disease. We demonstrated that STZ-eNOS(-/-) C57BLKS and eNOS(-/-) C57BLKS db/db mouse models can recapitulate changes in urinary metabolome found in human DN and therefore can be useful new tools in metabolomic studies relevant to human pathology.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in many countries. The animal models that recapitulate human DN undoubtedly facilitate our understanding of this disease and promote the development of new diagnostic markers and therapeutic interventions. Based on the clinical evidence showing the association of eNOS dysfunction with advanced DN, we and others have created diabetic mice that lack eNOS expression and shown that eNOS-deficient diabetic mice exhibit advanced nephropathic changes with distinct features of progressive DN, including pronounced albuminuria, nodular glomerulosclerosis, mesangiolysis, and arteriolar hyalinosis. These studies clearly defined a critical role of eNOS in DN and developed a robust animal model of this disease, which enables us to study the pathogenic mechanisms of progressive DN. Further, recent studies with this animal model have explored the novel mechanisms by which eNOS deficiency causes advanced DN and provided many new insights into the pathogenesis of DN. Therefore, here we summarize the findings obtained with this animal model and discuss the roles of eNOS in DN, unresolved issues, and future investigations of this animal model study.