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Fetal exposure to chorioamnionitis can impact the outcomes of the developing fetus both at the time of birth and in the subsequent neonatal period. Infants exposed to chorioamnionitis have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) pathology, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC); however, the mechanism remains undefined. To simulate the fetal exposure to maternal inflammation (FEMI) induced by chorioamnionitis, pregnant mice (C57BL/6J, , or ) were injected intraperitoneally on embryonic day (E)15.5 with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 µg/kg body weight). Pups were delivered at term, and reared to postnatal day (P)0, P7, P14, P28 or P56. Serum and intestinal tissue samples were collected to quantify growth, inflammatory markers, histological intestinal injury, and goblet and Paneth cells. To determine whether FEMI increased subsequent susceptibility to intestinal injury, a secondary dose of LPS (100 µg/kg body weight) was given on P5, prior to tissue harvesting on P7. FEMI had no effect on growth of the offspring or their small intestine. FEMI significantly decreased both goblet and Paneth cell numbers while simultaneously increasing serum levels of IL-1β, IL-10, KC/GRO (CXCL1 and CXCL2), TNF and IL-6. These alterations were IL-6 dependent and, importantly, increased susceptibility to LPS-induced intestinal injury later in life. Our data show that FEMI impairs normal intestinal development by decreasing components of innate immunity and simultaneously increasing markers of inflammation. These changes increase susceptibility to intestinal injury later in life and provide novel mechanistic data to potentially explain why preterm infants exposed to chorioamnionitis prior to birth have a higher incidence of NEC and other GI disorders.
© 2019. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Immunity genes have repeatedly experienced natural selection during mammalian evolution. Galectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that regulate diverse immune responses, including maternal-fetal immune tolerance in placental pregnancy. Seven human galectins, four conserved across vertebrates and three specific to primates, are involved in placental development. To comprehensively study the molecular evolution of these galectins, both across mammals and within humans, we conducted a series of between- and within-species evolutionary analyses. By examining patterns of sequence evolution between species, we found that primate-specific galectins showed uniformly high substitution rates, whereas two of the four other galectins experienced accelerated evolution in primates. By examining human population genomic variation, we found that galectin genes and variants, including variants previously linked to immune diseases, showed signatures of recent positive selection in specific human populations. By examining one nonsynonymous variant in Galectin-8 previously associated with autoimmune diseases, we further discovered that it is tightly linked to three other nonsynonymous variants; surprisingly, the global frequency of this four-variant haplotype is ∼50%. To begin understanding the impact of this major haplotype on Galectin-8 protein structure, we modeled its 3D protein structure and found that it differed substantially from the reference protein structure. These results suggest that placentally expressed galectins experienced both ancient and more recent selection in a lineage- and population-specific manner. Furthermore, our discovery that the major Galectin-8 haplotype is structurally distinct from and more commonly found than the reference haplotype illustrates the significance of understanding the evolutionary processes that sculpted variants associated with human genetic disease.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Novel regulatory elements that enabled expression of pre-existing immune genes in reproductive tissues and novel immune genes with pregnancy-specific roles in eutherians have shaped the evolution of mammalian pregnancy by facilitating the emergence of novel mechanisms for immune regulation over its course. Trade-offs arising from conflicting fitness effects on reproduction and host defenses have further influenced the patterns of genetic variation of these genes. These three mechanisms (novel regulatory elements, novel immune genes, and trade-offs) played a pivotal role in refining the regulation of maternal immune systems during pregnancy in eutherians, likely facilitating the establishment of prolonged direct maternal-fetal contact in eutherians without causing immunological rejection of the genetically distinct fetus.
© 2019 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
Subversion of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function is a feature shared by multiple intracellular bacteria and viruses, and in many cases this disruption of cellular function activates pathways of the unfolded protein response (UPR). In the case of infection with , the etiologic agent of brucellosis, the unfolded protein response in the infected placenta contributes to placentitis and abortion, leading to pathogen transmission. Here we show that infection of pregnant mice led to death of infected placental trophoblasts in a manner that depended on the VirB type IV secretion system (T4SS) and its effector VceC. The trophoblast death program required the ER stress-induced transcription factor CHOP. While NOD1/NOD2 expression in macrophages contributed to ER stress-induced inflammation, these receptors did not play a role in trophoblast death. Both placentitis and abortion were independent of apoptosis-associated Speck-like protein containing a caspase activation and recruitment domain (ASC). These studies show that uses its T4SS to induce cell-type-specific responses to ER stress in trophoblasts that trigger placental inflammation and abortion. Our results suggest further that in the T4SS and its effectors are under selection as bacterial transmission factors. infects the placenta of pregnant cows, where it replicates to high levels and triggers abortion of the calf. The aborted material is highly infectious and transmits infection to both cows and humans, but very little is known about how causes abortion. By studying this infection in pregnant mice, we discovered that kills trophoblasts, which are important cells for maintaining pregnancy. This killing required an injected bacterial protein (VceC) that triggered an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response in the trophoblast. By inhibiting ER stress or infecting mice that lack CHOP, a protein induced by ER stress, we could prevent death of trophoblasts, reduce inflammation, and increase the viability of the pups. Our results suggest that injects VceC into placental trophoblasts to promote its transmission by abortion.
Copyright © 2019 Byndloss et al.
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.
STUDY OBJECTIVE - The potential for maternal antidepressant use to influence the risk of spontaneous abortion, one of the most important adverse pregnancy outcomes, is not clear. We aimed to assess whether first trimester antidepressant exposure was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
DESIGN - Community-based prospective cohort study (Right from the Start).
SETTING - Eight metropolitan areas in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
PARTICIPANTS - A total of 5451 women (18 years of age or older) who were planning to conceive or were pregnant (before 12 weeks of completed gestation) and were enrolled in the study between 2000 and 2012; of those women, 223 used antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] only , SSRIs and non-SSRIs , and non-SSRIs only ) during their first trimester, and 5228 did not (never users). Measurements and Main Results First trimester antidepressant use was determined during a first trimester telephone interview. Spontaneous abortion was self-reported and verified by medical records. The association of first trimester antidepressant use and spontaneous abortion was assessed by using Cox proportional hazard regression. Among the 5451 women enrolled, 223 (4%) reported first trimester antidepressant use, and 659 (12%) experienced a spontaneous abortion. SSRIs were the most common class of antidepressants used (179 [80%]). Compared with women who never used antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy, women who reported antidepressant use were 34% (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.97-1.85) more likely to experience a spontaneous abortion after adjusting for covariates. Women who reported ever using SSRIs were 45% (aHR 1.45, 95% CI 1.02-2.06) more likely to experience a spontaneous abortion compared with never users. When time of loss relative to the time of interview was taken into consideration, the association between first trimester SSRI use and spontaneous abortion was significant only among those with losses before the interview (aHR 1.49, 95% CI 1.04-2.13) but was not significant among those with losses after the interview (aHR 0.43, 95% CI 0.06-3.15).
CONCLUSION - The association between use of first trimester antidepressants, particularly SSRI use, and spontaneous abortion was significant only among women whose exposure status was assessed after loss. In this instance, reporting bias may create a spurious association. Future studies should take the timing of data collection relative to the timing of loss into consideration.
© 2019 Pharmacotherapy Publications, Inc.
To systematically review and critically evaluate studies reporting alcohol exposure during pregnancy and miscarriage. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and ProQuest Theses for publications from January 1970 to January 2019. We identified studies about alcohol exposure during pregnancy and miscarriage. Information about study population, alcohol exposure assessment, outcome definition, covariates, and measures of association was collected. We assessed study quality using an adapted Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Data were abstracted by 2 investigators independently. We conducted a random-effects meta-analysis to calculate the association between alcohol exposure and miscarriage risk and performed subgroup analyses to determine robustness of results to study differences. For studies reporting dose-specific effects, a pooled dose-response association was estimated using generalized least squares regression with and without restricted cubic spline terms for number of drinks consumed per week. Of 2,164 articles identified, 24 were eligible for inclusion. Meta-analysis of data from 231,808 pregnant women finds those exposed to alcohol during pregnancy have a greater risk of miscarriage compared to those who abstained (odds ratio [OR] 1.19, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.12, 1.28). Estimates did not vary by study design, study country, or method of alcohol ascertainment. For alcohol use of 5 or fewer drinks per week, each additional drink per week was associated with a 6% increase in miscarriage risk (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01, 1.10). Common study limitations reflect challenges inherent to this research, including difficulty recruiting participants early enough in pregnancy to observe miscarriage and collecting and quantifying information about alcohol consumption during pregnancy that accurately reflects use. This review provides evidence that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with a dose-mediated increase in miscarriage risk. Future studies evaluating change in alcohol use in pregnancy are needed to provide insight into how alcohol consumption prior to pregnancy recognition impacts risk.
© 2019 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.
Novel therapeutic regulators of uterine contractility are needed to manage preterm labor, induce labor and control postpartum hemorrhage. Therefore, we previously developed a high-throughput assay for large-scale screening of small molecular compounds to regulate calcium-mobilization in primary mouse uterine myometrial cells. The goal of this study was to select the optimal myometrial cells for our high-throughput drug discovery assay, as well as determine the similarity or differences of myometrial cells to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs)-the most common off-target of current myometrial therapeutics. Molecular and pharmacological assays were used to compare myometrial cells from four sources: primary cells isolated from term pregnant human and murine myometrium, immortalized pregnant human myometrial (PHM-1) cells and immortalized non-pregnant human myometrial (hTERT-HM) cells. In addition, myometrial cells were compared to vascular SMCs. We found that the transcriptome profiles of hTERT-HM and PHM1 cells were most similar (r = 0.93 and 0.90, respectively) to human primary myometrial cells. Comparative transcriptome profiling of primary human myometrial transcriptome and VSMCs revealed 498 upregulated (p ≤ 0.01, log2FC≥1) genes, of which 142 can serve as uterine-selective druggable targets. In the high-throughput Ca-assay, PHM1 cells had the most similar response to primary human myometrial cells in OT-induced Ca-release (E = 195% and 143%, EC = 30 nM and 120 nM, respectively), while all sources of myometrial cells showed excellent and similar robustness and reproducibility (Z' = 0.52 to 0.77). After testing a panel of 61 compounds, we found that the stimulatory and inhibitory responses of hTERT-HM cells were highly-correlated (r = 0.94 and 0.95, respectively) to human primary cells. Moreover, ten compounds were identified that displayed uterine-selectivity (≥5-fold E or EC compared to VSMCs). Collectively, this study found that hTERT-HM cells exhibited the most similarity to primary human myometrial cells and, therefore, is an optimal substitute for large-scale screening to identify novel therapeutic regulators of myometrial contractility. Moreover, VSMCs can serve as an important counter-screening tool to assess uterine-selectivity of targets and drugs given the similarity observed in the transcriptome and response to compounds.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The bacterial pathogen Shigella flexneri causes 270 million cases of bacillary dysentery (blood in stool) worldwide every year, resulting in more than 200,000 deaths. A major challenge in combating bacillary dysentery is the lack of a small-animal model that recapitulates the symptoms observed in infected individuals, including bloody diarrhea. Here, we show that similar to humans, infant rabbits infected with S. flexneri experience severe inflammation, massive ulceration of the colonic mucosa, and bloody diarrhea. T3SS-dependent invasion of epithelial cells is necessary and sufficient for mediating immune cell infiltration and vascular lesions. However, massive ulceration of the colonic mucosa, bloody diarrhea, and dramatic weight loss are strictly contingent on the ability of the bacteria to spread from cell to cell. The infant rabbit model features bacterial dissemination as a critical determinant of S. flexneri pathogenesis and provides a unique small-animal model for research and development of therapeutic interventions.