Michael Lietz

Philip Morris International, Genève, Geneva, Switzerland

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Publications (14)19.45 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The adhesion of monocytic cells to the "dysfunctional" endothelium constitutes a critical step in the initiation of atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoke (CS) has been shown to contribute to this process, the complex mechanism of which still needs to be unraveled. We developed an in vitro adhesion assay to investigate the CS-induced adhesion of monocytic MM6 cells to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) following exposure to an aqueous CS extract (smoke-bubbled phosphate buffered saline: sbPBS), reasoning that in vivo monocytes and endothelial cells are exposed primarily to soluble constituents from inhaled CS absorbed through the lung alveolar wall. MM6 cell adhesion was increased exclusively by the conditioned medium from sbPBS-exposed MM6 cells, not by direct sbPBS exposure of the HUVECs within a range of sbPBS doses. Using a transcriptomics approach followed by confirmation experiments, we identified different exposure effects on both cell types and a key mechanism by which sbPBS promoted the adhesion of MM6 cells to HUVECs. While sbPBS provoked a strong oxidative stress response in both cell types, the expression of E-selectin, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1, responsible for the adhesion of MM6 cells to HUVECs, was induced in the latter through a proinflammatory paracrine effect. We confirmed that this effect was driven mainly by TNFα produced by MM6 cells exposed to sbPBS. In conclusion, we have elucidated an indirect mechanism by which sbPBS increases the adhesion of monocytic cells to endothelial cells in this in vitro assay that was designed for tobacco product risk assessment while mimicking the in vivo exposure conditions as closely as possible.
    Toxicology in Vitro 04/2014; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The adhesion of monocytic cells to the “dysfunctional” endothelium constitutes a critical step in the initiation of atherosclerosis. Cigarette smoke (CS) has been shown to contribute to this process, the complex mechanism of which still needs to be unraveled. We developed an in vitro adhesion assay to investigate the CS-induced adhesion of monocytic MM6 cells to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) following exposure to an aqueous CS extract (smoke-bubbled phosphate buffered saline: sbPBS), reasoning that in vivo monocytes and endothelial cells are exposed primarily to soluble constituents from inhaled CS absorbed through the lung alveolar wall. MM6 cell adhesion was increased exclusively by the conditioned medium from sbPBS-exposed MM6 cells, not by direct sbPBS exposure of the HUVECs within a range of sbPBS doses. Using a transcriptomics approach followed by confirmation experiments, we identified different exposure effects on both cell types and a key mechanism by which sbPBS promoted the adhesion of MM6 cells to HUVECs. While sbPBS provoked a strong oxidative stress response in both cell types, the expression of E-selectin, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1, responsible for the adhesion of MM6 cells to HUVECs, was induced in the latter through a proinflammatory paracrine effect. We confirmed that this effect was driven mainly by TNFα produced by MM6 cells exposed to sbPBS. In conclusion, we have elucidated an indirect mechanism by which sbPBS increases the adhesion of monocytic cells to endothelial cells in this in vitro assay that was designed for tobacco product risk assessment while mimicking the in vivo exposure conditions as closely as possible.
    Toxicology in Vitro. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco smoke exerts perturbations on lipid metabolism and arterial cell function that accelerate atherosclerosis. Lipidomics has emerged as a key technology in helping to elucidate the lipid-related mechanisms of atherosclerosis. In this study, we investigated the effects of smoking cessation on plaque development and aortic arch content of various lipid molecular classes and species. Apolipoprotein E-deficient mice were exposed to fresh air (sham) or to mainstream cigarette smoke (CS) for 6 months, or to CS for 3 months followed by sham for 3 months (cessation group). Lipids from plasma and aortic arches, plasma lipoprotein profiles and plaque morphometry measurements were analyzed. We already showed that CS exposure accelerated plaque size and total cholesterol content of the aortic arch at 3 and 6 months. Marked increases were seen in the relative enrichment of cholesteryl esters, phospholipids, sphingomyelins, and glycosphingolipids. Smoking cessation slowed plaque progression and resulted in lower levels of many lipid species in plasma and aortic arch. While CS exposure promoted rapid lipid accumulation in mouse aorta, smoking cessation translated into a slow removal of lipids from the vessel wall. Despite the smoking cessation-dependent metabolic changes leading to increased animal body weight, accumulation of proatherogenic lipids in the vessel was halted after exposure cessation, indicating that the clinical benefits of smoking cessation translate directly to the vessel wall and its lipid makeup.
    Atherosclerosis 04/2013; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Although relationships between smoking and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and between CVD and lipids are established, the direct impact of smoking on lipidomes is not well understood. We investigated the effect of mainstream cigarette smoke (CS) exposure on plasma, liver, and aorta molecular lipid profiles, and liver transcriptome in the ApoE(-/-) mouse, a well-established mouse model for human atherogenesis. METHODS: Plasma, liver, and aorta samples from ApoE(-/-) mice exposed to CS or fresh air (sham) for six months were extracted for lipids using robotic-assisted method and analyzed by mass spectrometry. Gene expression in the liver was obtained on microarrays. Development of atherosclerosis in the aorta was further assessed by plaque size in the aortic arch and lipoprotein concentration in plasma and plaque. RESULTS: CS increased most lipid classes and molecular lipid species. In plasma, free cholesterol, ceramides, cerebrosides, and most phospholipids were increased in CS-exposed mice. In the liver, several lipid species including free and esterified cholesterol, triacylglycerols, phospholipids, sphingomyelins, and ceramides were elevated. In the aorta, more than 2-fold higher cholesteryl ester (CE), lysophosphatidylcholine, and glucosyl/galactosylceramide levels were seen. Moreover, CS exposure induced a significant decrease in several plasma CE and phosphatidylcholine species that contained polyunsaturated fatty acids. Genes involved in amino acid and lipid metabolism showed perturbed transcription profiles in the liver. CONCLUSION: We have quantified some of the molecular changes that accompany the increase of plaque size that is accelerated by CS exposure in the aortae of ApoE(-/-) mice. These results suggest that specific changes in the lipidome and transcriptome, for example in ceramide and polyunsaturated fatty acid species, may be associated with atherosclerosis.
    Atherosclerosis 10/2012; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    BMC proceedings 10/2012; 6(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Motivation:Atherosclerosis is a complex multi-pathway inflammatory disease where accumulation of oxidatively modified lipids and leukocytes in the arterial intima leads to plaque formation over time. Translating Apoe-/- mouse results to the clinical setting is complicated by uncertainty around (a) mechanisms underlying disease etiology, (b) relative importance of these mechanisms as drivers of progression, and (c) how these roles change in response to perturbation by therapeutic intervention or lifestyle changes. Results: We describe a large-scale mechanistic, mathematical model of atherosclerosis in the Apoe-/- mouse and its validation with in vivo Apoe -/- data. Major physiological components include cholesterol/macrophage trafficking, inflammation, endothelial function, oxidative stress, and thrombosis. Heterogeneity in disease progression, observed despite genetic uniformity and experimentally controlled conditions, was captured through “virtual mice”. This model may be used to optimize in vivo experiments and paves the way for a similar modeling approach for human disease. Availability: The model is available by remote desktop client at Apoe.entelos.com.
    BioDiscovery. 09/2012; 3(2).
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    ABSTRACT: The ubiquitous free radical nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in many biological processes, including the regulation of both vascular tone and inflammatory response; however, its role in the effects of cigarette smoke exposure on atherosclerosis remains unclear. Our aim was to study the mechanisms of NO regulation in endothelial cells in response to cigarette smoke exposure in vitro. Using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), we have demonstrated that combining non-toxic concentrations of cigarette smoke bubbled through PBS (smoke-bubbled PBS [sbPBS]) with native LDL (nLDL) significantly reduces the amount of bioavailable NO. The effect is comparable to that seen with oxidized LDL (oxLDL), but has not been seen with sbPBS or nLDL alone. Mechanistic investigations showed that the combination of sbPBS+nLDL did not reduce the amount of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), but did inhibit its enzymatic activity. Concomitantly, both sbPBS+nLDL and oxLDL significantly increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the form of superoxide anions ((·)O(2)(-)) and peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) in HUVEC. Selective inhibition of NADPH oxidase prevented this response. Incubation of sbPBS+nLDL revealed the formation of 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC) and 7-hydroxycholesterol, which are indicators for oxidative modification of LDL. This could explain the reported increase in circulatory levels of oxLDL in smokers. Our results suggest that reduction of functional NO in response to a combination of sbPBS+nLDL is secondary to both reduction of eNOS activity and stimulation of NADPH oxidase activity. Because sbPBS alone showed no effect on eNOS activity or ROS formation, nLDL should be included in cigarette-smoke-related mechanistic in vitro experiments on endothelial cells to be more reflective of the clinical situation.
    Nitric Oxide 07/2012; 27(3):176-84. · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Humans and other organisms are equipped with a set of responses that can prevent damage from exposure to a multitude of endogenous and environmental stressors. If these stress responses are overwhelmed, this can result in pathogenesis of diseases, which is reflected by an increased development of, e.g., pulmonary and cardiac diseases in humans exposed to chronic levels of environmental stress, including inhaled cigarette smoke (CS). Systems biology data sets (e.g., transcriptomics, phosphoproteomics, metabolomics) could enable comprehensive investigation of the biological impact of these stressors. However, detailed mechanistic networks are needed to determine which specific pathways are activated in response to different stressors and to drive the qualitative and eventually quantitative assessment of these data. A current limiting step in this process is the availability of detailed mechanistic networks that can be used as an analytical substrate. We have built a detailed network model that captures the biology underlying the physiological cellular response to endogenous and exogenous stressors in non-diseased mammalian pulmonary and cardiovascular cells. The contents of the network model reflect several diverse areas of signaling, including oxidative stress, hypoxia, shear stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and xenobiotic stress, that are elicited in response to common pulmonary and cardiovascular stressors. We then tested the ability of the network model to identify the mechanisms that are activated in response to CS, a broad inducer of cellular stress. Using transcriptomic data from the lungs of mice exposed to CS, the network model identified a robust increase in the oxidative stress response, largely mediated by the anti-oxidant NRF2 pathways, consistent with previous reports on the impact of CS exposure in the mammalian lung. The results presented here describe the construction of a cellular stress network model and its application towards the analysis of environmental stress using transcriptomic data. The proof-of-principle analysis described here, coupled with the future development of additional network models covering distinct areas of biology, will help to further clarify the integrated biological responses elicited by complex environmental stressors such as CS, in pulmonary and cardiovascular cells.
    BMC Systems Biology 01/2011; 5:168. · 2.98 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2011; 12(1):74-74.
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2011; 12(1):72-72.
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2011; 12(1):72-72.
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    ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoke, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension with the risk of development and progression of atherosclerosis and associated pathologies such as abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) are correlated. We examined the interaction of cigarette mainstream smoke (MS) and angiotensin-II (Ang II)-induced hypertension in the atherosclerotic process using hyperlipidemic apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE(-/-)) mice. ApoE(-/-) mice were treated with Ang II for 4 weeks and then further exposed to MS or to fresh air for 4 weeks. AAA formation was observed in all mice treated with Ang II, regardless of smoke exposure; however, smoke exposure increased the incidence of AAA in these mice. Ang II treatment resulted in higher gene expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2, -3, -8, -9, and -12 in the abdominal aortas, which was further increased by MS exposure. The proteolytic activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 was also enhanced in Ang II-treated mice exposed to MS, but only minor changes were seen with either smoke exposure or Ang II treatment alone. This study shows for the first time that both formation and severity of AAA in hypertensive ApoE(-/-) mice are accelerated by exposure to MS and that the proteolytic activity of MMPs is enhanced by the combination of Ang II and MS.
    Toxicology Letters 10/2010; 199(3):403-9. · 3.15 Impact Factor
  • Atherosclerosis Supplements - ATHEROSCLER SUPPL. 01/2010; 11(2):97-98.
  • Toxicology Letters - TOXICOL LETT. 01/2008; 180.