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We used mice lacking , a key component of the β-cell K-channel, to analyze the effects of a sustained elevation in the intracellular Ca concentration ([Ca]) on β-cell identity and gene expression. Lineage tracing analysis revealed the conversion of β-cells lacking into pancreatic polypeptide cells but not to α- or δ-cells. RNA-sequencing analysis of FACS-purified β-cells confirmed an increase in gene expression and revealed altered expression of more than 4,200 genes, many of which are involved in Ca signaling, the maintenance of β-cell identity, and cell adhesion. The expression of and , two highly upregulated genes, is closely correlated with membrane depolarization, suggesting their use as markers for an increase in [Ca] Moreover, a bioinformatics analysis predicts that many of the dysregulated genes are regulated by common transcription factors, one of which, , was confirmed to be directly controlled by Ca influx in β-cells. Interestingly, among the upregulated genes is , a putative marker of β-cell dedifferentiation, and other genes associated with β-cell failure. Taken together, our results suggest that chronically elevated β-cell [Ca] in islets contributes to the alteration of β-cell identity, islet cell numbers and morphology, and gene expression by disrupting a network of Ca-regulated genes.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.
The adult mammalian heart possesses little regenerative potential following injury. Fibrosis due to activation of cardiac fibroblasts impedes cardiac regeneration and contributes to loss of contractile function, pathological remodelling and susceptibility to arrhythmias. Cardiac fibroblasts account for a majority of cells in the heart and represent a potential cellular source for restoration of cardiac function following injury through phenotypic reprogramming to a myocardial cell fate. Here we show that four transcription factors, GATA4, HAND2, MEF2C and TBX5, can cooperatively reprogram adult mouse tail-tip and cardiac fibroblasts into beating cardiac-like myocytes in vitro. Forced expression of these factors in dividing non-cardiomyocytes in mice reprograms these cells into functional cardiac-like myocytes, improves cardiac function and reduces adverse ventricular remodelling following myocardial infarction. Our results suggest a strategy for cardiac repair through reprogramming fibroblasts resident in the heart with cardiogenic transcription factors or other molecules.
In addition to parenchymal fibrosis, fibrotic remodeling of the distal airways has been reported in interstitial lung diseases. Mechanisms of airway wall remodeling, which occurs in a variety of chronic lung diseases, are not well defined and current animal models are limited. The authors quantified airway remodeling in lung sections from subjects with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and controls. To investigate intratracheal bleomycin as a potential animal model for fibrotic airway remodeling, the authors evaluated lungs from C57BL/6 mice after bleomycin treatment by histologic scoring for fibrosis and peribronchial inflammation, morphometric evaluation of subepithelial connective tissue volume density, TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick-end labeling) assay, and immunohistochemistry for transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1), TGFβ2, and the fibroblast marker S100A4. Lung mechanics were determined at 3 weeks post bleomycin. IPF lungs had small airway remodeling with increased bronchial wall thickness compared to controls. Similarly, bleomycin-treated mice developed dose-dependent airway wall inflammation and fibrosis and greater airflow resistance after high-dose bleomycin. Increased TUNEL(+) bronchial epithelial cells and peribronchial inflammation were noted by 1 week, and expression of TGFβ1 and TGFβ2 and accumulation of S100A4(+) fibroblasts correlated with airway remodeling in a bleomycin dose-dependent fashion. IPF is characterized by small airway remodeling in addition to parenchymal fibrosis, a pattern also seen with intratracheal bleomycin. Bronchial remodeling from intratracheal bleomycin follows a cascade of events including epithelial cell injury, airway inflammation, profibrotic cytokine expression, fibroblast accumulation, and peribronchial fibrosis. Thus, this model can be utilized to investigate mechanisms of airway remodeling.
Bone marrow-derived stem cells may modulate renal injury, but the effects may depend on the age of the stem cells. Here we investigated whether bone marrow from young mice attenuates renal aging in old mice. We radiated female 12-mo-old 129SvJ mice and reconstituted them with bone marrow cells (BMC) from either 8-wk-old (young-to-old) or 12-mo-old (old-to-old) male mice. Transfer of young BMC resulted in markedly decreased deposition of collagen IV in the mesangium and less β-galactosidase staining, an indicator of cell senescence. These changes paralleled reduced expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), PDGF-B (PDGF-B), the transdifferentiation marker fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1), and senescence-associated p16 and p21. Tubulointerstitial and glomerular cells derived from the transplanted BMC did not show β-galactosidase activity, but after 6 mo, there were more FSP-1-expressing bone marrow-derived cells in old-to-old mice compared with young-to-old mice. Young-to-old mice also exhibited higher expression of the anti-aging gene Klotho and less phosphorylation of IGF-1 receptor β. Taken together, these data suggest that young bone marrow-derived cells can alleviate renal aging in old mice. Direct parenchymal reconstitution by stem cells, paracrine effects from adjacent cells, and circulating anti-aging molecules may mediate the aging of the kidney.
Subsets of cancer survivors who have been subjected to thoracic irradiation face the prospect of developing pulmonary injury. Radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis is an insidious injury that presents 6 to 24 months after irradiation and continues to progress over a period of years. TGF-β and reactive oxygen species contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of this injury. The transcription factor NRF2 controls antioxidant gene expression and therefore regulates the cellular oxidant burden. This work demonstrates an additional paradigm for NRF2: suppression of TGF-β-mediated signaling, assessed by measuring expression of a surrogate TGF-β1 target gene (PAI-1) in lung fibroblasts. Thoracic irradiation of Nfe2l2(-/-) mice resulted in rapid expression of PAI-1 and FSP-1 compared to irradiated wild-type mice. Examination of lung tissue 16 weeks after thoracic irradiation of Nfe2l2(-/-) mice revealed the presence of distended alveoli and decreased numbers of alveoli compared to wild-type mice. Suppression of NRF2 expression shortened life span in mice administered 16 Gy to the thorax. Nfe2l2(+/-) and Nfe2l2(-/-) mice exhibited a mean life span of 176 days compared to wild-type mice, which lived an average of 212 days. These novel results identify NRF2 as a susceptibility factor for the development of late tissue injury.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - Chronic injury changes the fate of certain cellular populations, inducing epithelial cells to generate fibroblasts by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and mesenchymal cells to generate epithelial cells by mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). Although contribution of EMT/MET to embryogenesis, renal fibrosis, and lung fibrosis is well documented, role of EMT/MET in liver fibrosis is unclear. We determined whether cytokeratin-19 positive (K19(+)) cholangiocytes give rise to myofibroblasts (EMT) and/or whether glial fibrillary acidic protein positive (GFAP(+)) hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) can express epithelial markers (MET) in response to experimental liver injury.
METHODS - EMT was studied with Cre-loxP system to map cell fate of K19(+) cholangiocytes in K19(YFP) or fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1)(YFP) mice, generated by crossing tamoxifen-inducible K19(CreERT) mice or FSP-1(Cre) mice with Rosa26(f/f-YFP) mice. MET of GFAP(+) HSCs was studied in GFAP(GFP) mice. Mice were subjected to bile duct ligation or CCl(4)-liver injury, and livers were analyzed for expression of mesodermal and epithelial markers.
RESULTS - On Cre-loxP recombination, >40% of genetically labeled K19(+) cholangiocytes expressed yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). All mice developed liver fibrosis. However, specific immunostaining of K19(YFP) cholangiocytes showed no expression of EMT markers alpha-smooth muscle actin, desmin, or FSP-1. Moreover, cells genetically labeled by FSP-1(YFP) expression did not coexpress cholangiocyte markers K19 or E-cadherin. Genetically labeled GFAP(GFP) HSCs did not express epithelial or liver progenitor markers in response to liver injury.
CONCLUSION - EMT of cholangiocytes identified by genetic labeling does not contribute to hepatic fibrosis in mice. Likewise, GFAP(Cre)-labeled HSCs showed no coexpression of epithelial markers, providing no evidence for MET in HSCs in response to fibrogenic liver injury.
Copyright © 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a poorly understood human disease affecting the exocrine pancreas. The goal of the present study was to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying pancreatic autoimmunity in a murine disease model.
METHODS - A transgenic mouse with an S100A4/fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP1) Cre-mediated conditional knockout of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) type II receptor, termed Tgfbr2(fspKO), was used to determine the direct role of TGFbeta in S100A4(+) cells. Immunohistochemical studies suggested that Tgfbr2(fspKO) mice develop mouse AIP (mAIP) characterised by interlobular ductal inflammatory infiltrates and pancreatic autoantibody production. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-isolated dendritic cells (DCs) from diseased pancreata were verified to have S100A4-Cre-mediated DNA recombination.
RESULTS - The Tgfbr2(fspKO) mice spontaneously developed mAIP by 6 weeks of age. DCs were confirmed to express S100A4, a previously reported protein expressed by fibroblasts. Adoptive transfer of bone marrow-derived DCs from Tgfbr2(fspKO) mice into 2-week-old syngenic wild-type C57BL/6 mice resulted in reproduction of pancreatitis within 6 weeks. Similar adoptive transfer of wild-type DCs had no effect on pancreas pathology of the host mice. The inability to induce pancreatitis by adoptive transfer of Tgfbr2(fspKO) DCs in adult mice suggested a developmental event in mAIP pathogenesis. Tgfbr2(fspKO) DCs undergo elevated maturation in response to antigen and increased activation of naïve CD4-positive T cells.
CONCLUSION - The development of mAIP in the Tgfbr2(fspKO) mouse model illustrates the role of TGFbeta in maintaining myeloid DC immune tolerance. The loss of immune tolerance in myeloid S100A4(+) DCs can mediate mAIP and may explain some aspects of AIP disease pathogenesis.
Hypoxia has been proposed as an important microenvironmental factor in the development of tissue fibrosis; however, the underlying mechanisms are not well defined. To examine the role of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), a key mediator of cellular adaptation to hypoxia, in the development of fibrosis in mice, we inactivated Hif-1alpha in primary renal epithelial cells and in proximal tubules of kidneys subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) using Cre-loxP-mediated gene targeting. We found that Hif-1alpha enhanced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro and induced epithelial cell migration through upregulation of lysyl oxidase genes. Genetic ablation of epithelial Hif-1alpha inhibited the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis in UUO kidneys, which was associated with decreased interstitial collagen deposition, decreased inflammatory cell infiltration, and a reduction in the number of fibroblast-specific protein-1-expressing (FSP-1-expressing) interstitial cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that increased renal HIF-1alpha expression is associated with tubulointerstitial injury in patients with chronic kidney disease. Thus, we provide clinical and genetic evidence that activation of HIF-1 signaling in renal epithelial cells is associated with the development of chronic renal disease and may promote fibrogenesis by increasing expression of extracellular matrix-modifying factors and lysyl oxidase genes and by facilitating EMT.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important mechanism for phenotypic conversion in normal development and disease states such as tissue fibrosis and metastasis. While this conversion of epithelia is under tight transcriptional control, few of the key transcriptional proteins are known. Fibroblasts produced by EMT express a gene encoding fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP1), which is regulated by a proximal cis-acting promoter element called fibroblast transcription site-1 (FTS-1). In mass spectrometry, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and siRNA studies, we used FTS-1 as a unique probe for mediators of EMT and identified a complex of 2 proteins, CArG box-binding factor-A (CBF-A) and KRAB-associated protein 1 (KAP-1), that bind this site. Epithelial cells engineered to conditionally express recombinant CBF-A (rCBF-A) activate the transcription of FSP1 and undergo EMT. The FTS-1 response element also exists in the promoters modulating a broader EMT transcriptome, including Twist, and Snail, as well as E-cadherin, beta-catenin, ZO 1, vimentin, alpha1(I) collagen, and alpha-smooth muscle actin, and the induction of rCBF-A appropriately alters their expression as well. We believe formation of the CBF-A/KAP-1/FTS-1 complex is sufficient for the induction of FSP1 and a novel proximal activator of EMT.
In this study, we investigated the mRNA and protein expression of S100A2 and S100A4 in adenocarcinomas of the stomach and esophagus. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase reaction analysis on 72 tumors revealed frequent overexpression of S100A2 and S100A4 in Barrett's adenocarcinomas (BAs) (P < .01). Immunohistochemical analysis on tumor tissue microarrays that contained 187 tumors showed absent to weak staining for S100A2 in all normal gastric mucosa samples, whereas normal esophageal mucosa samples demonstrated moderate to strong nuclear staining. Contrary to the nuclear expression of S100A2 in normal esophageal mucosa, two thirds of Barrett's dysplasia and BAs that overexpressed S100A2 demonstrated stronger cytosolic staining than nuclear staining (P < .001). Overexpression of S100A2 protein was more frequently seen in well-differentiated tumors than in others (P = .02). Moderate to strong staining of S100A4 was detected in two thirds of tumors and was frequently observed in the presence of Barrett's esophagus (P = .02). Similar to S100A2, the expression of S100A4 was predominantly cytosolic in two thirds of the tumors (P = .001). There was a significant correlation between S100A4 overexpression and lymph node metastasis (N(2)-N(4)) (P = .027). These results demonstrate frequent cytosolic overexpression of S100A2 and S100A4 in BAs. Further studies are ongoing to understand the biological significance of these S100A proteins in Barrett's tumorigenesis.