Nicole M Pohl

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (13)79.37 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) is an important physiological response that optimizes the ventilation/perfusion ratio. Chronic hypoxia causes vascular remodeling, which is central to the pathogenesis of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension (HPH). We have previously shown that Notch3 is upregulated in HPH, and activation of Notch signaling enhances store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE), an important mechanism that contributes to pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation and contraction. Objective: Here, we investigate the role of Notch signaling in HPV and hypoxia-induced enhancement of SOCE. Methods: We examined SOCE in human PASMC exposed to hypoxia and pulmonary arterial pressure in mice using the isolated perfused/ventilated lung method. Wildtype and TRPC6(-/-) mice were exposed to chronic hypoxia to induce HPH. Measurements and Results: Inhibition of Notch signaling with a γ-secretase inhibitor attenuates hypoxia-enhanced SOCE in PASMC and hypoxia-induced increase in pulmonary arterial pressure. Our results demonstrate that hypoxia activates Notch signaling and upregulates TRPC6 channels. Additionally, treatment with a Notch ligand can mimic hypoxic responses. Finally, inhibition of TRPC6, either pharmacologically or genetically, attenuates HPV, hypoxia-enhanced SOCE, and the development of HPH. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that hypoxia-induced activation of Notch signaling mediates HPV and the development of HPH via functional activation and upregulation of TRPC6 channels. Understanding the molecular mechanisms which regulate cytosolic free Ca(2+) concentration and PASMC proliferation is critical to elucidation of the pathogenesis of HPH. Targeting Notch regulation of TRPC6 will be beneficial in the development of novel therapies for pulmonary hypertension associated with hypoxia.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 01/2015; DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2014-0235OC · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Notch signaling plays a critical role in controlling proliferation and differentiation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC). Upregulated Notch ligands and Notch3 receptors in PASMC have been reported to promote the development of pulmonary vascular remodeling in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and in animals with experimental pulmonary hypertension. Activation of Notch receptors by their ligands leads to the cleavage of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD) to the cytosol by γ-secretase; NICD then translocates into the nucleus to regulate gene transcription. In this study, we examined whether short-term activation of Notch functionally regulates store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) in human PASMC. Treatment of PASMC with the active fragment of human Jagged-1 protein (Jag-1) for 15-60 min significantly increased the amplitude of SOCE induced by passive deletion of Ca(2+) from the intracellular stores, the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). The Jag-1-induced enhancement of SOCE was time-dependent: the amplitude was maximized at 30 min of treatment with Jag-1, which was closely correlated with the time course of Jag-1-mediated increase in NICD protein level. The scrambled peptide of Jag-1 active fragment had no effect on SOCE. Inhibition of γ-secretase by N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl-L-alanyl)]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT) significantly attenuated the Jag-1-induced augmentation of SOCE. In addition to the short-term effect, prolonged treatment of PASMC with Jag-1 for 48 hrs also markedly enhanced the amplitude of SOCE. These data demonstrate that short-term activation of Notch signaling enhances SOCE in PASMC; the NICD-mediated functional interaction with store-operated Ca(2+) channels (SOC) may be involved in the Jag-1-mediated enhancement of SOCE in human PASMC.
    AJP Cell Physiology 02/2014; 306(9). DOI:10.1152/ajpcell.00221.2013 · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Circulation Research 01/2014; 114(1):5-8. DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.302838 · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs2274223: A5780G:His1927Arg) in the phospholipase C epsilon gene (PLCε) was recently identified as a susceptibility locus for esophageal cancer in Chinese subjects. To determine the underlying mechanisms of PLCε and this SNP in esophageal carcinogenesis, we analyzed PLCε genotypes, expression, and their correlation in esophageal cancer cell lines, non-transformed esophageal cells, 58 esophageal squamous cell carcinomas and 10,614 non-cancer subjects from China. We found that the G allele (AG or GG) was associated with increased PLCε mRNA and protein expression in esophageal cancer tissues and in esophageal cancer cell lines. G allele was also associated with higher enzyme activity, which might be associated with increased protein expression. Quantitative analysis of the C2 domain sequences revealed that A:G allelic imbalance was strongly linked to esophageal malignancy. Moreover, the analysis of 10,614 non-cancer subjects demonstrated that the G allele was strongly associated with moderate to severe esophagitis in the subjects from the high-incidence areas of China (OR 6.03, 95% CI 1.59-22.9 in high-incidence area vs. OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.33-1.64 in low-incidence area; P = 0.008). In conclusion, the PLCε gene, particularly the 5780G allele, might play a pivotal role in esophageal carcinogenesis via upregulating PLCε mRNA, protein, and enzyme activity, and augmenting inflammatory process in esophageal epithelium. Thus, 5780G allele may constitute a promising biomarker for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma risk stratification, early detection, and progression prediction. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Molecular Carcinogenesis 11/2013; 52(S1). DOI:10.1002/mc.22016 · 4.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Both selenium and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) sulindac are effective in cancer prevention, but their effects are affected by several factors including epigenetic alterations and gene expression. The current study was designed to determine the effects of the combination of selenium and sulindac on tumor inhibition and the underlying mechanisms. RESULTS: We fed the intestinal tumor model Apc/p21 mice with selenium- and sulindac-supplemented diet for 24 weeks, and found that the combination of selenium and sulindac significantly inhibited intestinal tumorigenesis, in terms of reducing tumor incidence by 52% and tumor multiplicities by 80% (p<0.01). Mechanistic studies revealed that the combination of selenium and sulindac led to the significant induction of the expression of p27 and p53 and JNK1 phosphorylation, and led to the suppression of beta-catenin and its downstream targets. Impressively, the data also showed that demythelation on p21 promoter was associated with tumor inhibition by the combination of selenium and sulindac. CONCLUSIONS: The selenium is synergistic with sulindac to exert maximal effects on tumor inhibition. This finding provides an important chemopreventive strategy using combination of anti-cancer agents, which has a great impact on cancer prevention and has a promising translational potential.
    Journal of Hematology & Oncology 01/2013; 6(1):8. DOI:10.1186/1756-8722-6-8 · 4.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: An increase in cytosolic free Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](cyt)) in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC) is a major trigger for pulmonary vasoconstriction and an important stimulus for PASMC proliferation and pulmonary vascular remodeling. The dihydropyridine Ca(2+) channel blockers, such as nifedipine, have been used for treatment of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). Objective: Our previous study demonstrated that the Ca(2+)-sensing receptor (CaSR) was upregulated and the extracellular Ca(2+)-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt) was enhanced in PASMC from patients with IPAH and animals with experimental pulmonary hypertension. Here, we report that the dihydropyridines (e.g., nifedipine) increase [Ca(2+)](cyt) by activating CaSR in PASMC from IPAH patients (in which CaSR is upregulated), but not in normal PASMC. Methods and Results: The nifedipine-mediated increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt) in IPAH-PASMC was concentration dependent with an EC(50) of 0.20 µM. Knockdown of CaSR with siRNA in IPAH-PASMC significantly inhibited the nifedipine-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt), whereas overexpression of CaSR in normal PASMC conferred the nifedipine-induced rise in [Ca(2+)](cyt). Other dihydropyridines, nicardipine and Bay K8644, had similar augmenting effects on the CaSR-mediated increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt) in IPAH-PASMC; however, the non-dihydropyridine blockers, such as diltiazem and verapamil, had no effect on the CaSR-mediated rise in [Ca(2+)](cyt). Conclusions: The dihydropyridine derivatives increase [Ca(2+)](cyt) by potentiating the activity of CaSR in PASMC independently of their blocking (or activating) effect on Ca(2+) channels; therefore, it is possible that use the dihydropyridine Ca(2+) channel blockers (e.g., nifedipine) to treat IPAH patients with upregulated CaSR in PASMC may exacerbate pulmonary hypertension.
    Circulation Research 01/2013; 112(4). DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.300897 · 11.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A rise in cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](cyt)) in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC) is an important stimulus for pulmonary vasoconstriction and vascular remodeling. Increased resting [Ca(2+)](cyt) and enhanced Ca(2+) influx have been implicated in PASMC from patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). We examined whether the extracellular Ca(2+)-sensing receptor (CaSR) is involved in the enhanced Ca(2+) influx and proliferation in IPAH-PASMC and whether blockade of CaSR inhibits experimental pulmonary hypertension. In normal PASMC superfused with Ca(2+)-free solution, addition of 2.2 mmol/L Ca(2+) to the perfusate had little effect on [Ca(2+)](cyt). In IPAH-PASMC, however, restoration of extracellular Ca(2+) induced a significant increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt). Extracellular application of spermine also markedly raised [Ca(2+)](cyt) in IPAH-PASMC but not in normal PASMC. The calcimimetic R568 enhanced, whereas the calcilytic NPS 2143 attenuated, the extracellular Ca(2+)-induced [Ca(2+)](cyt) rise in IPAH-PASMC. Furthermore, the protein expression level of CaSR in IPAH-PASMC was greater than in normal PASMC; knockdown of CaSR in IPAH-PASMC with siRNA attenuated the extracellular Ca(2+)-mediated [Ca(2+)](cyt) increase and inhibited IPAH-PASMC proliferation. Using animal models of pulmonary hypertension, our data showed that CaSR expression and function were both enhanced in PASMC, whereas intraperitoneal injection of the calcilytic NPS 2143 prevented the development of pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy in rats injected with monocrotaline and mice exposed to hypoxia. The extracellular Ca(2+)-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](cyt) due to upregulated CaSR is a novel pathogenic mechanism contributing to the augmented Ca(2+) influx and excessive PASMC proliferation in patients and animals with pulmonary arterial hypertension.
    Circulation Research 06/2012; 111(4):469-81. DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.112.266361 · 11.09 Impact Factor
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that decorin expression is significantly reduced in colorectal cancer tissues and cancer cells, and genetic deletion of the decorin gene is sufficient to cause intestinal tumor formation in mice, resulting from a downregulation of p21, p27(kip1) and E-cadherin and an upregulation of β-catenin signaling [Bi,X. et al. (2008) Genetic deficiency of decorin causes intestinal tumor formation through disruption of intestinal cell maturation. Carcinogenesis, 29, 1435-1440]. However, the regulation of E-cadherin by decorin and its implication in cancer formation and metastasis is largely unknown. Using a decorin knockout mouse model (Dcn(-/-) mice) and manipulated expression of decorin in human colorectal cancer cells, we found that E-cadherin, a protein that regulates cell-cell adhesion, epithelial-mesenchymal transition and metastasis, was almost completely lost in Dcn(-/-) mouse intestine, and loss of decorin and E-cadherin accelerated colon cancer cell growth and invasion in Dcn(-/-) mice. However, increasing decorin expression in colorectal cancer cells attenuated cancer cell malignancy, including inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, promotion of apoptosis and importantly, attenuation of cancer cell migration. All these changes were linked to the regulation of E-cadherin by decorin. Moreover, overexpression of decorin upregulated E-cadherin through increasing of E-cadherin protein stability as E-cadherin messenger RNA and promoter activity were not affected. Co-immunoprecipitation assay showed a physical binding between decorin and E-cadherin proteins. Taken together, our results provide direct evidence that decorin-mediated inhibition of colorectal cancer growth and migration are through the interaction with and stabilization of E-cadherin.
    Carcinogenesis 12/2011; 33(2):326-30. DOI:10.1093/carcin/bgr293 · 5.27 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 07/2011; 71(8 Supplement):1448-1448. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2011-1448 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    Xiuli Bi, Nicole M Pohl, Zhinan Yin, Wancai Yang
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    ABSTRACT: A recent study has shown that c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNKs) 2 interacts with and inhibits β-catenin signaling in vitro. To determine the role of genetic interaction between JNK2 and β-catenin in vivo and to elucidate JNK2-mediated intestinal carcinogenesis, we crossed the JNK2-/- mice with Apc1638+/- mice that carry inactivated Apc allele and develop intestinal tumor due to β-catenin activation. We found that the introduction of mutant JNK2 into Apc1638+/- mice did not increase intestinal tumorigenesis when the mice were fed a defined AIN-76A control diet. However, loss of JNK2 significantly increased animal body weight in the Apc/JNK2+/- and Apc/JNK2-/- mice. Surprisingly, JNK2 loss was synergistic with a Western-style high-risk diet (high fat and phosphate and low calcium and vitamin D) to accelerate intestinal tumorigenesis. Tumor number increased to 3.56 from 1.89 (on AIN-76A diet) in the Apc/JNK2+/- mice (P<0.01) and increased to 4.14 from 1.92 (on AIN-76A diet) in the Apc/JNK2-/- mice (P<0.01) although there was a slight increase of tumor formation in Apc/JNK2+/+ mice. Intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc/JNK2 double-mutant mice with high-risk diet modulation was associated with β-catenin signaling, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and inflammation pathway. Collectively, we concluded that JNK2 may function in controlling fat metabolism and loss of JNK2 increases the risk of obesity, the latter synergizes with high-fat diet to increase intestinal tumor susceptibility. This data strongly suggests the importance of JNK2 in intestinal carcinogenesis and the importance of dietary manipulation for cancer prevention in the population whose JNK2 is inactivated.
    Carcinogenesis 12/2010; 32(4):584-8. DOI:10.1093/carcin/bgq275 · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Selenium-binding protein (SBP) 1 is present in reduced levels in several cancer types as compared with normal tissues, and lower levels are associated with poor clinical prognosis. Another selenium-containing protein, glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1), has been associated with cancer risk and development. The interaction between these representatives of different classes of selenoproteins was investigated. Increasing SBP1 levels in either human colorectal or breast cancer cells by transfection of an expression construct resulted in the reduction of GPX1 enzyme activity. Increased expression of GPX1 in the same cell types resulted in the transcriptional and translational repression of SBP1, as evidenced by the reduction of SBP1 messenger RNA and protein and the inhibition of transcription measured using an SBP1 reporter construct. The opposing effects of SBP1 and GPX1 on each other were also observed when GPX1 was increased by supplementing the media of these tissue culture cells with selenium, and the effect of selenium on SBP1 was shown to be GPX1 dependent. Decreasing or increasing GPX1 levels in colonic epithelial cells of mice fed a selenium-deficient, -adequate or -supplemented diet resulted in the opposing effect on SBP1 levels. These data are explained in part by the demonstration that SBP1 and GPX1 form a physical association, as determined by coimmunoprecipitation and fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay. The results presented establish an interaction between two distinct selenium-containing proteins that may enhance the understanding of the mechanisms by which selenium and selenoproteins affect carcinogenesis in humans.
    Carcinogenesis 08/2010; 31(8):1360-6. DOI:10.1093/carcin/bgq114 · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been shown that selenium-binding protein 1 (SBP1) is significantly downregulated in different human cancers. Its regulation and function have not yet been established. We show that the SBP1 promoter is hypermethylated in colon cancer tissues and human colon cancer cells. Treatment with 5'-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine leads to demethylation of the SBP1 promoter and to an increase of SBP1 promoter activity, rescues SBP1 mRNA and protein expression in human colon cancer cells. Additionally, overexpression of SBP1 sensitizes colon cancer cells to H2O2-induced apoptosis, inhibits cancer cell migration in vitro and inhibits tumor growth in nude mice. These data demonstrate that SBP1 has tumor suppressor functions that are inhibited in colorectal cancer through epigenetic silencing.
    PLoS ONE 11/2009; 4(11):e7774. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0007774 · 3.53 Impact Factor