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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.
BACKGROUND - Vaccine development for influenza A/H5N1 is an important public health priority, but H5N1 vaccines are less immunogenic than seasonal influenza vaccines. Adjuvant System 03 (AS03) markedly enhances immune responses to H5N1 vaccine antigens, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood.
OBJECTIVE AND METHODS - We compared the safety (primary endpoint), immunogenicity (secondary), gene expression (tertiary) and cytokine responses (exploratory) between AS03-adjuvanted and unadjuvanted inactivated split-virus H5N1 influenza vaccines. In a double-blinded clinical trial, we randomized twenty adults aged 18-49 to receive two doses of either AS03-adjuvanted (n = 10) or unadjuvanted (n = 10) H5N1 vaccine 28 days apart. We used a systems biology approach to characterize and correlate changes in serum cytokines, antibody titers, and gene expression levels in six immune cell types at 1, 3, 7, and 28 days after the first vaccination.
RESULTS - Both vaccines were well-tolerated. Nine of 10 subjects in the adjuvanted group and 0/10 in the unadjuvanted group exhibited seroprotection (hemagglutination inhibition antibody titer > 1:40) at day 56. Within 24 hours of AS03-adjuvanted vaccination, increased serum levels of IL-6 and IP-10 were noted. Interferon signaling and antigen processing and presentation-related gene responses were induced in dendritic cells, monocytes, and neutrophils. Upregulation of MHC class II antigen presentation-related genes was seen in neutrophils. Three days after AS03-adjuvanted vaccine, upregulation of genes involved in cell cycle and division was detected in NK cells and correlated with serum levels of IP-10. Early upregulation of interferon signaling-related genes was also found to predict seroprotection 56 days after first vaccination.
CONCLUSIONS - Using this cell-based systems approach, novel mechanisms of action for AS03-adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccination were observed.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01573312.
The objective of this study was to determine the role of individual NFAT isoforms in TNFα-induced retinal leukostasis. To this end, human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMEC) transfected with siRNA targeting individual NFAT isoforms were treated with TNFα, and qRT-PCR was used to examine the contribution of each isoform to the TNFα-induced upregulation of leukocyte adhesion proteins. This showed that NFATc1 siRNA increased ICAM1 expression, NFATc2 siRNA reduced CX3CL1, VCAM1, SELE, and ICAM1 expression, NFATc3 siRNA increased CX3CL1 and SELE expression, and NFATc4 siRNA reduced SELE expression. Transfected HRMEC monolayers were also treated with TNFα and assayed using a parallel plate flow chamber, and both NFATc2 and NFATc4 knockdown reduced TNFα-induced cell adhesion. The effect of isoform-specific knockdown on TNFα-induced cytokine production was also measured using protein ELISAs and conditioned cell culture medium, and showed that NFATc4 siRNA reduced CXCL10, CXCL11, and MCP-1 protein levels. Lastly, the CN/NFAT-signaling inhibitor INCA-6 was shown to reduce TNFα-induced retinal leukostasis in vivo. Together, these studies show a clear role for NFAT-signaling in TNFα-induced retinal leukostasis, and identify NFATc2 and NFATc4 as potentially valuable therapeutic targets for treating retinopathies in which TNFα plays a pathogenic role.
Monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) is a TLR4 agonist that is used as an immunomodulator in human vaccines; additionally, it has been shown to be protective in models of sepsis. As endothelial cells regulate inflammation, we hypothesized that MPLA would decrease activation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to LPS. We studied HUVECs challenged with LPS (100 ng/ml), MPLA (0.001-100 µg/ml) or a combination. Secretion of IL-6, RANTES (CCL5) and IP-10 (CXCL10) were assessed by ELISA. Activation of MAPK phosphorylation and cytokine transcription were assessed by Western blot analysis and PCR, respectively. MPLA alone was a weak stimulator of myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88-dependent IL-6 and did not induce TIR-domain-containing adapter-inducing IFN-β (TRIF)-dependent chemokine responses. MPLA significantly reduced LPS-mediated IL-6 production. This inhibitory effect was also conferred for the TRIF-dependent chemokines RANTES and IP-10. Inhibition of LPS-mediated activation by MPLA was associated with reduced p38 phosphorylation and mRNAs encoding inflammatory cytokines. MPLA inhibition of LPS signaling appeared to be at the level of the TLR4 receptor, acting as a receptor antagonist with weak agonistic properties. This study provides evidence of a novel mechanism for the inhibitory effect of MPLA on LPS-induced endothelial activation.
© The Author(s) 2014.
INTRODUCTION - The chemokine CXCL10 is produced during infection and inflammation to activate the chemokine receptor CXCR3, an important regulator of lymphocyte trafficking and activation. The goal of this study was to assess the contributions of CXCL10 to the pathogenesis of experimental septic shock in mice.
METHODS - Septic shock was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) in mice resuscitated with lactated Ringer's solution and, in some cases, the broad spectrum antibiotic Primaxin. Studies were performed in CXCL10 knockout mice and mice treated with anti-CXCL10 immunoglobulin G (IgG). Endpoints included leukocyte trafficking and activation, core body temperature, plasma cytokine concentrations, bacterial clearance and survival.
RESULTS - CXCL10 was present at high concentrations in plasma and peritoneal cavity during CLP-induced septic shock. Survival was significantly improved in CXCL10 knockout (CXCL10KO) mice and mice treated with anti-CXCL10 IgG compared to controls. CXCL10KO mice and mice treated with anti-CXCL10 IgG showed attenuated hypothermia, lower concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and macrophage inhibitory protein-2 (MIP-2) in plasma and lessened natural killer (NK) cell activation compared to control mice. Compared to control mice, bacterial burden in blood and lungs was lower in CXCL10-deficient mice but not in mice treated with anti-CXCL10 IgG. Treatment of mice with anti-CXCL10 IgG plus fluids and Primaxin at 2 or 6 hours after CLP significantly improved survival compared to mice treated with non-specific IgG under the same conditions.
CONCLUSIONS - CXCL10 plays a role in the pathogenesis of CLP-induced septic shock and could serve as a therapeutic target during the acute phase of septic shock.
RATIONALE - Lymphocytes have been shown to facilitate systemic inflammation and physiologic dysfunction in experimental models of severe sepsis. Our previous studies show that natural killer (NK) cells migrate into the peritoneal cavity during intraabdominal sepsis, but the trafficking of NKT and T lymphocytes has not been determined. The factors that regulate lymphocyte trafficking during sepsis are currently unknown.
OBJECTIVES - To ascertain the importance of CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) as a regulator of lymphocyte trafficking during sepsis and determine the contribution of CXCR3-mediated lymphocyte trafficking to the pathogenesis of septic shock.
METHODS - Lymphocyte trafficking was evaluated in control and CXCR3-deficient mice using flow cytometry during sepsis caused by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Survival, core temperature, cytokine production, and bacterial clearance were measured as pathobiological endpoints.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS - This study shows that concentrations of the CXCR3 ligands CXCL9 (monokine induced by interferon γ, MIG) and CXCL10 (interferon γ-induced protein 10, IP-10) increase in plasma and the peritoneal cavity after CLP, peak at 8 hours after infection, and are higher in the peritoneal cavity than in plasma. The numbers of CXCR3(+) NK cells progressively decreased in spleen after CLP with a concomitant increase within the peritoneal cavity, a pattern that was ablated in CXCR3-deficient mice. CXCR3-dependent recruitment of T cells was also evident at 16 hours after CLP. Treatment of mice with anti-CXCR3 significantly attenuated CLP-induced hypothermia, decreased systemic cytokine production, and improved survival.
CONCLUSIONS - CXCR3 regulates NK- and T-cell trafficking during sepsis and blockade of CXCR3 attenuates the pathogenesis of septic shock.
Unmethylated CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG) are synthetic toll-like receptor 9 agonists that activate innate immune cells and which have been tested as an immune therapy in a number of cancer clinical trials. Although some antitumor immune responses have been reported, so far the majority of studies have failed to show significant clinical responses to CpG. Here we showed that the route of administration is critical to the antitumor activity of CpG. Although intravenous (i.v.) injection of CpG was capable of inducing the activation and expansion of tumor antigen-specific T cells, most of these activated T cells failed to migrate to tumor sites. By contrast, intratumoral (i.t.) injection of CpG led to extensive tumor infiltration of antigen-specific T cells and subsequent tumor suppression. We further showed that very high levels of inflammatory chemokines [regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed, and secreted (RANTES), interferon-inducible protein-10 (IP-10), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP5), macrophage inflammatory proteins (MIP1α, and MIP1β)] were induced in the tumor microenvironment after i.t. CpG injection, compared with administration by the i.v. route. It is interesting to note that, in vivo depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells greatly reduced the levels of chemokines induced; also, T-cell accumulation and antitumor effect were impaired. We also showed that i.t. but not i.v. CpG injection induced a broad antigen-specific T-cell response against tumor-derived antigens. Collectively, our data provides evidence that the route of CpG administration is a critical factor in mediating antitumor activity. By inducing localized inflammatory signals at tumor sites, i.t. CpG effectively promotes the migration, activation and function of immune cells, ultimately leading to improved tumor control.
Scavenger receptors play a central role in atherosclerosis by processing oxidized lipoproteins and mediating their cellular effects. Recent studies suggested that the atherogenic state correlates with progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD); therefore, scavenger receptors are candidate mediators of renal fibrogenesis. Here, we investigated the role of CD36, a class B scavenger receptor, in a hypercholesterolemic model of CKD. We placed CD36-deficient mice and wild-type male mice on a high-fat Western diet for 7 to 8 wk and then performed either sham or unilateral ureteral obstruction surgery. CD36-deficient mice developed significantly less fibrosis compared with wild-type mice at days 3, 7, and 14 after obstruction. Compared with wild-type mice, CD36-deficient mice had significantly more interstitial macrophages at 7 d but not at 14 d. CD36-deficient mice exhibited reduced levels of activated NF-kappaB and oxidative stress (assessed by measuring fatty acid-derived hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid and protein carbonyl content) and decreased accumulation of interstitial myofibroblasts compared with wild-type mice. These data suggest that CD36 is a key modulator of proinflammatory and oxidative pathways that promote fibrogenesis in CKD.
Pulmonary fibrosis is an enigmatic and devastating disease with few treatment options, now thought to result from abnormal wound healing in the lung in response to injury. We have previously noted a role for the chemokine interferon gamma-inducible protein of 10 kD (IP-10)/CXC chemokine ligand 10 in the regulation of cutaneous wound healing, and consequently investigated whether IP-10 regulates pulmonary fibrosis. We found that IP-10 is highly expressed in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin. IP-10-deficient mice exhibited increased pulmonary fibrosis after administration of bleomycin, suggesting that IP-10 limits the development of fibrosis in this model. Substantial fibroblast chemoattractant and proliferative activities were generated in the lung after bleomycin exposure. IP-10 significantly inhibited fibroblast responses to the chemotactic, but not the proliferative activity generated, suggesting that IP-10 may attenuate fibroblast accumulation in bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis by limiting fibroblast migration. Consistent with this inhibitory activity of IP-10 on fibroblast migration, fibroblast accumulation in the lung after bleomycin exposure was dramatically increased in IP-10-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. Conversely, transgenic mice overexpressing IP-10 were protected from mortality after bleomycin exposure, and demonstrated decreased fibroblast accumulation in the lung after challenge compared with wild-type mice. Our findings suggest that interruption of fibroblast recruitment may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for pulmonary fibrosis, which could have applicability to a wide range of fibrotic illnesses.
Human interferon-inducible protein 10 (IP-10; HGMW-approved gene symbol CXCL10) is an ELR(-) CXC chemokine that contains binding domains for both the chemokine receptor CXCR3 and glycosaminoglycans. IP-10 has been recently demonstrated to be a potent angiostatic protein in vivo. Whether IP-10 exerts its angiostatic function through binding to CXCR3, glycosaminoglycans, or both, is not clear. To clarify this issue, we created expression constructs for mutants of IP-10 that exhibit partial (IP-10C) or total (IP-10C22) loss of binding to CXCR3 or loss of binding to glycosaminoglycans (IP-10H and IP-10C22H). The A375 human melanoma cell line was transfected with these expression vectors, and stable clones were selected and inoculated subcutaneously into nude mice. As expected, tumor cells secreting wild-type IP-10 showed remarkable reduction in tumor growth compared to control vector-transfected tumor cells. Surprisingly, mutation of IP-10 resulting in partial loss of receptor binding (IP-10C), or loss of GAG binding (IP-10H), did not significantly alter the ability to inhibit tumor growth. This tumor growth inhibition was associated with a reduction in microvessel density, leading to the observed increase in both tumor cell apoptosis and necrosis. In contrast, expression of the IP-10C22 mutant failed to inhibit melanoma tumor growth. These data suggest that CXCR3 receptor binding, but not glycosaminoglycan binding, is essential for the tumor angiostatic activity of IP-10. We conclude that the arginine 22 amino acid residue of IP-10 is essential for both CXCR3 binding and angiostasis.