Erik R Walp

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (16)53.06 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Enteroendocrine cells secrete over a dozen different hormones responsible for coordinating digestion, absorption, metabolism, and gut motility. Loss of enteroendocrine cells is a known cause of severe congenital diarrhea. Further, enteroendocrine cells regulate glucose metabolism, with the incretin hormones, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), playing critical roles in stimulating insulin release by pancreatic β-cells. Islet1 (Isl1) is a LIM-homeodomain transcription factor expressed specifically in an array of intestinal endocrine cells, including incretin-expressing cells. To examine the impact of intestinal Isl1 on glycemic control, we set out to explore the role of intestinal Isl1 in hormone cell specification and organismal physiology. Mice with intestinal epithelial-specific ablation of Isl1 were obtained by crossing Villin-Cre transgenic animals with mice harboring a Isl1(loxP) allele (Isl1(int) model). Gene ablation of Isl1 in the intestine results in loss of GLP-1, GIP, CCK, and somatostatin-expressing cells and an increase in 5-HT (serotonin) producing cells, while the chromogranin A population was unchanged. This dramatic change in hormonal milieu results in animals with lipid malabsorption and females smaller than their littermate controls. Interestingly, when challenged with oral, not intraperitoneal glucose, the Isl-1 intestinal deficient animals (Isl1(int)) display impaired glucose tolerance, indicating loss of the incretin effect. Thus, the Isl1(int) model confirms that intestinal biology is essential for organism physiology in glycemic control and susceptibility to diabetes.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 09/2014; DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00390.2013 · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Severe congenital diarrhea occurs in about half of patients with ARX null mutations. The cause of this diarrhea is unknown. In a mouse model of intestinal Arx deficiency, the prevalence of a subset of enteroendocrine cells is altered, leading to diarrhea. Since polyalanine expansions within the ARX protein are the most common mutations found in ARX-related disorders, we sought to characterize the enteroendocrine population in human tissue of an ARX mutation and in a mouse model of the corresponding polyalanine expansion (Arx).
    Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 08/2014; DOI:10.1097/MPG.0000000000000542 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pendrin is a Cl-/HCO3- exchanger expressed in the apical regions of renal intercalated cells. Following pendrin gene ablation, blood pressure falls, in part, from reduced renal NaCl absorption. We asked if pendrin is expressed in vascular tissue and if the lower blood pressure observed in pendrin null mice is accompanied by reduced vascular reactivity. Thus, the contractile responses to KCl and phenylephrine (PE) were examined in isometrically mounted thoracic aortas from wild-type and pendrin null mice. Although pendrin expression was not detected in the aorta, pendrin gene ablation changed contractile protein abundance and increased the maximal contractile response to PE when normalized to cross sectional area (CSA). However, the contractile sensitivity to this agent was unchanged. The increase in contractile force/cross sectional area observed in pendrin null mice was due to reduced cross sectional area of the aorta and not from increased contractile force per vessel. The pendrin-dependent increase in maximal contractile response was endothelium- and nitric oxide-independent and did not occur from changes in Ca2+ sensitivity or chronic changes in catecholamine production. However, application of 100 nM angiotensin II increased force/CSA more in aortas from pendrin null than from wild type mice. Moreover, angiotensin type 1 receptor inhibitor (candesartan) treatment in vivo eliminated the pendrin-dependent changes contractile protein abundance and changes in the contractile force/cross sectional area in response to PE. In conclusion, pendrin gene ablation increases aorta contractile force per cross sectional area in response to angiotensin II and PE due to stimulation of angiotensin type 1 receptor-dependent signaling. The angiotensin type 1 receptor-dependent increase in vascular reactivity may mitigate the fall in blood pressure observed with pendrin gene ablation.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105101. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105101 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Isl-1 is essential for the survival and ensuing differentiation of pancreatic endocrine progenitors. Isl-1 remains expressed in all adult pancreatic endocrine lineages; however, its specific function in the postnatal pancreas is unclear. Here we determine whether Isl-1 plays a distinct role in the postnatal β-cell by performing physiological and morphometric analyses of a tamoxifen-inducible, β-cell-specific Isl-1 loss of function mouse: Isl-1(L/L); Pdx1-CreER(Tm). Ablating Isl-1 in postnatal β-cells reduced glucose tolerance without significantly reducing β-cell mass or increasing β-cell apoptosis. Rather, islets from Isl-1(L/L); Pdx1-CreER(Tm) mice showed impaired insulin secretion. To identify direct targets of Isl-1, we integrated high-throughput gene expression and Isl-1 chromatin occupancy using islets from Isl-1(L/L); Pdx1-CreER(Tm) mice and βTC3 insulinoma cells, respectively. Ablating Isl-1 significantly affected the β-cell transcriptome, including known targets Insulin and MafA as well as novel targets Pdx1 and Slc2a2. Using ChIP-Seq and luciferase reporter assays we found that Isl-1 directly occupies functional regulatory elements of Pdx1 and Slc2a2. Thus, Isl-1 is essential for postnatal β-cell function, directly regulates Pdx1 and Slc2a2, and has a mature β-cell cistrome distinct from that of pancreatic endocrine progenitors.
    Diabetes 07/2014; 63(12). DOI:10.2337/db14-0096 · 8.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The specification and differentiation of pancreatic endocrine cell populations (α-, β-, δ, PP- and ε-cells) is orchestrated by a combination of transcriptional regulators. In the pancreas, Aristaless-related homeobox gene (Arx) is expressed first in the endocrine progenitors and then restricted to glucagon-producing α-cells. While the functional requirement of Arx in early α-cell specification has been investigated, its role in maintaining α-cell identity has yet to be explored. To study this later role of Arx, we have generated mice in which the Arx gene has been ablated specifically in glucagon-producing α-cells. Lineage-tracing studies and immunostaining analysis for endocrine hormones demonstrate that ablation of Arx in neonatal α-cells results in an α-to-β-like conversion through an intermediate bihormonal state. Furthermore, these Arx-deficient converted cells express β-cell markers including Pdx1, MafA, and Glut2. Surprisingly, short-term ablation of Arx in adult mice does not result in a similar α-to-β-like conversion. Taken together, these findings reveal a potential temporal requirement for Arx in maintaining α-cell identity.
    PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e66214. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0066214 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease characterized by increased pulmonary arterial resistance and vessel remodeling. Patients living with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) have an increased susceptibility to develop severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) irrespective of their CD4+ lymphocyte counts. While the underlying cause of HIV-PAH remains unknown, the interaction of HIV-1 proteins with the vascular endothelium may play a critical role in HIV-PAH development. Hypoxia promotes PH in experimental models and in humans, but the impact of HIV-1 proteins on hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular dysfunction and PAH has not been examined. Therefore, we hypothesize that the presence of HIV-1 proteins and hypoxia synergistically augment the development of pulmonary vascular dysfunction and PH. We examined the effect of HIV-1 proteins on pulmonary vascular resistance by measuring pressure-volume relationships in isolated lungs from wild-type (WT) and HIV-1 Transgenic (Tg) rats. WT and HIV-1 Tg rats were exposed to 10% O2 for four weeks to induce experimental pulmonary hypertension to assess whether HIV-1 protein expression would impact the development of hypoxia-induced PH. Our results demonstrate that HIV-1 protein expression significantly increased pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). HIV-1 Tg mice demonstrated exaggerated pulmonary vascular responses to hypoxia as evidenced by greater increases in right ventricular systolic pressures, right ventricular hypertrophy and vessel muscularization when compared to wild-type controls. This enhanced PH was associated with enhanced expression of HIF-1α and PCNA. In addition, in vitro studies reveal that medium from HIV-infected monocyte derived macrophages (MDM) potentiates hypoxia-induced pulmonary artery endothelial proliferation. These results indicate that the presence of HIV-1 proteins likely impact pulmonary vascular resistance and exacerbate hypoxia-induced PH.
    03/2013; 3(1):58-67. DOI:10.4103/2045-8932.109915
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    ABSTRACT: A decrease in the expression of Islet-1 (Isl-1), an islet transcription factor, has been reported in several physiological settings of reduced β-cell function. Here, we investigate whether an increased level of Isl-1 in islet cells can enhance β-cell function and/or mass. We demonstrate that transgenic mice with Isl-1 overexpression display improved glucose tolerance and enhanced insulin secretion without significant changes in β cell mass. From our microarray study, we identify approximately 135 differentially expressed genes in the islets of Isl-1 overexpressing mice that have been implicated to function in numerous biological processes including protein trafficking, metabolism and differentiation. Using real-time PCR we have confirmed upregulation of Caps2, Sec14l4, Slc2a10, P2rx7, Afamin, and Neurogenin 3 that may in part mediate the observed improved insulin secretion in Isl-1 overexpressing mice. These findings show for the first time that Isl-1 is a key factor in regulating adult β cell function in vivo, and suggest that Isl-1 elevation could be beneficial to improve glucose homeostasis.
    Islets 05/2012; 4(3):199-206. DOI:10.4161/isl.19982 · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enteroendocrine cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract play a central role in metabolism, digestion, satiety and lipid absorption, yet their development remains poorly understood. Here we show that Arx, a homeodomain-containing transcription factor, is required for the normal development of mouse and human enteroendocrine cells. Arx expression is detected in a subset of Neurogenin3 (Ngn3)-positive endocrine progenitors and is also found in a subset of hormone-producing cells. In mice, removal of Arx from the developing endoderm results in a decrease of enteroendocrine cell types including gastrin-, glucagon/GLP-1-, CCK-, secretin-producing cell populations and an increase of somatostatin-expressing cells. This phenotype is also observed in mice with endocrine-progenitor-specific Arx ablation suggesting that Arx is required in the progenitor for enteroendocrine cell development. In addition, depletion of human ARX in developing human intestinal tissue results in a profound deficit in expression of the enteroendocrine cell markers CCK, secretin and glucagon while expression of a pan-intestinal epithelial marker, CDX2, and other non-endocrine markers remained unchanged. Taken together, our findings uncover a novel and conserved role of Arx in mammalian endocrine cell development and provide a potential cause for the chronic diarrhea seen in both humans and mice carrying Arx mutations.
    Developmental Biology 02/2012; 365(1):175-88. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.02.024 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diastolic heart failure is a major cause of mortality in the elderly population. It is often preceded by diastolic dysfunction, which is characterized by impaired active relaxation and increased stiffness. We tested the hypothesis that senescence-prone (SAMP8) mice would develop diastolic dysfunction compared with senescence-resistant controls (SAMR1). Pulsed-wave Doppler imaging of the ratio of blood flow velocity through the mitral valve during early (E) vs. late (A) diastole was reduced from 1.3 ± 0.03 in SAMR1 mice to 1.2 ± 0.03 in SAMP8 mice (P < 0.05). Tissue Doppler imaging of the early (E') and late (A') diastolic mitral annulus velocities found E' reduced from 25.7 ± 0.9 mm/s in SAMR1 to 21.1 ± 0.8 mm/s in SAMP8 mice and E'/A' similarly reduced from 1.1 ± 0.02 to 0.8 ± 0.03 in SAMR1 vs. SAMP8 mice, respectively (P < 0.05). Invasive hemodynamics revealed an increased slope of the end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship (0.5 ± 0.05 vs. 0.8 ± 0.14; P < 0.05), indicating increased left ventricular chamber stiffness. There were no differences in systolic function or mean arterial pressure; however, diastolic dysfunction was accompanied by increased fibrosis in the hearts of SAMP8 mice. In SAMR1 vs. SAMP8 mice, interstitial collagen area increased from 0.3 ± 0.04 to 0.8 ± 0.09% and perivascular collagen area increased from 1.0 ± 0.11 to 1.6 ± 0.14%. Transforming growth factor-β and connective tissue growth factor gene expression were increased in the hearts of SAMP8 mice (P < 0.05 for all data). In summary, SAMP8 mice show increased fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction similar to those seen in humans with aging and may represent a suitable model for future mechanistic studies.
    AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 07/2011; 301(3):H824-31. DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.00407.2010 · 4.01 Impact Factor
  • Nitric Oxide 05/2011; 24. DOI:10.1016/j.niox.2011.03.278 · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of medial calcification to vascular dysfunction in renal failure is unknown. Vascular function was measured ex vivo in control, noncalcified uremic, and calcified uremic aortas from rats with adenine-induced renal failure. Plasma urea was 16 ± 4, 93 ± 14, and 110 ± 25 mg/dl, and aortic calcium content was 27 ± 4, 29 ± 2, and 4,946 ± 1,616 nmol/mg dry wt, respectively, in the three groups. Maximal contraction by phenylephrine (PE) or KCl was reduced 53 and 63% in uremic aortas, and sensitivity to KCl but not PE was increased. Maximal relaxation to acetylcholine was impaired in uremic aortas (30 vs. 65%), and sensitivity to nitroprusside was also reduced, indicating some impairment of endothelium-independent relaxation as well. None of these parameters differed between calcified and noncalcified uremic aortas. However, aortic compliance was reduced in calcified aortas, ranging from 17 to 61% depending on the severity of calcification. We conclude that uremic vascular calcification, even when not severe, significantly reduces arterial compliance. Vascular smooth muscle and endothelial function are altered in renal failure but are not affected by medial calcification, even when severe.
    AJP Renal Physiology 04/2011; 301(1):F78-83. DOI:10.1152/ajprenal.00533.2010 · 4.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aristaless related homeodomain protein (Arx) specifies the formation of the pancreatic islet α-cell during development. This cell type produces glucagon, a major counteracting hormone to insulin in regulating glucose homeostasis in adults. However, little is known about the factors that regulate Arx transcription in the pancreas. In this study, we showed that the number of Arx(+) cells was significantly reduced in the pancreata of embryos deficient for the Islet-1 (Isl-1) transcription factor, which was also supported by the reduction in Arx mRNA levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis localized Isl-1 activator binding sites within two highly conserved noncoding regulatory regions (Re) in the Arx locus, termed Re1 (+5.6 to +6.1 kb) and Re2 (+23.6 to +24 kb). Using cell line-based transfection assays, we demonstrated that a Re1- and Re2-driven reporter was selectively activated in islet α-cells, a process mediated by Isl-1 in overexpression, knockdown, and site-directed mutation experiments. Moreover, Arx mRNA levels were up-regulated in islet α-cells upon Isl-1 overexpression in vivo. Isl-1 represents the first known activator of Arx transcription in α-cells, here established to be acting through the conserved Re1 and Re2 control domains.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2011; 286(17):15352-60. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M111.231670 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic hypoxia contributes to pulmonary hypertension through complex mechanisms that include enhanced NADPH oxidase expression and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the lung. Stimulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) reduces the expression and activity of NADPH oxidase. Therefore, we hypothesized that activating PPARgamma with rosiglitazone would attenuate chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, in part, through suppressing NADPH oxidase-derived ROS that stimulate proliferative signaling pathways. Male C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to chronic hypoxia (CH, Fi(O2) 10%) or room air for 3 or 5 weeks. During the last 10 days of exposure, each animal was treated daily by gavage with either the PPARgamma ligand, rosiglitazone (10 mg/kg/d) or with an equal volume of vehicle. CH increased: (1) right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP), (2) right ventricle weight, (3) thickness of the walls of small pulmonary vessels, (4) superoxide production and Nox4 expression in the lung, and (5) platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFRbeta) expression and activity and reduced phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) expression. Treatment with rosiglitazone prevented the development of pulmonary hypertension at 3 weeks; reversed established pulmonary hypertension at 5 weeks; and attenuated CH-stimulated Nox4 expression and superoxide production, PDGFRbeta activation, and reductions in PTEN expression. Rosiglitazone also attenuated hypoxia-induced increases in Nox4 expression in pulmonary endothelial cells in vitro despite hypoxia-induced reductions in PPARgamma expression. Collectively, these findings indicate that PPARgamma ligands attenuated hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and hypertension by suppressing oxidative and proliferative signals providing novel insights for mechanisms underlying therapeutic effects of PPARgamma activation in pulmonary hypertension.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 07/2009; 42(4):482-90. DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2008-0132OC · 4.11 Impact Factor
  • American Thoracic Society 2009 International Conference, May 15-20, 2009 • San Diego, California; 04/2009
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), such as zidovudine (AZT) and stavudine (d4T), cause toxicities to numerous tissues, including the liver and vasculature. While much is known about hepatic NRTI toxicity, the mechanism of toxicity in endothelial cells is incompletely understood. Human aortic endothelial and HepG2 liver cells were exposed to 1 muM AZT or d4T for up to 5 weeks. Markers of oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, NRTI phosphorylation, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) levels, and cytotoxicity were monitored over time. In endothelial cells, AZT significantly oxidized glutathione redox potential, increased total cellular and mitochondrial-specific superoxide, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, increased lactate release, and caused cell death from weeks 3 through 5. Toxicity occurred in the absence of di- and tri-phosphorylated AZT and mtDNA depletion. These data show that oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in endothelial cells occur with a physiologically relevant concentration of AZT, and require long-term exposure to develop. In contrast, d4T did not induce endothelial oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, or cytotoxicity despite the presence of d4T-triphosphate. Both drugs depleted mtDNA in HepG2 cells without causing cell death. Endothelial cells are more susceptible to AZT-induced toxicity than HepG2 cells, and AZT caused greater endothelial dysfunction than d4T because of its pro-oxidative effects.
    Cardiovascular toxicology 01/2009; 9(1):1-12. DOI:10.1007/s12012-008-9029-8 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic alcohol consumption perturbs cellular function in a variety of organ systems. Previous studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption reduces vascular disease, whereas heavier alcohol consumption may worsen it. The mechanisms for these vascular effects of chronic alcohol ingestion continue to be defined and constitute the focus of this study. Male Sprague Dawley rats were fed an isocaloric, Lieber-Decarli liquid diet containing either ethanol (36% calories) or Maltose-Dextrin (substituted for ethanol) for 6 weeks. Telemetric blood pressure measurements were taken before and after ethanol feeding. After the rats were killed, the aortas were analyzed for endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase expression and NO production. Chronic ethanol ingestion decreased mean arterial pressure and increased aortic NO production as demonstrated by direct ex vivo measurements using iron diethyldithio-carbamic acid as well as analysis of nitrosyl-hemoglobin (NO-Hb) levels. Consistent with these assays of vascular NO production, endothelium-dependent relaxation responses to acetycholine (Ach) were enhanced in ethanol-fed animals. Aortic endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression was also increased by chronic ethanol ingestion. These findings demonstrate that a regimen of chronic alcohol ingestion in the rat produced generally salutary effects in the systemic vasculature following a 6-week treatment regimen. These findings extend previous in vitro studies to demonstrate that alcohol has potent effects on vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression, NO production, and vascular function. Consistent with previous reports, these findings confirm that alcohol-induced alterations in the production of reactive nitrogen species play an important role in the pathogenesis of alcohol-mediated tissue effects.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 02/2008; 32(1):148-54. DOI:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00550.x · 3.31 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

183 Citations
53.06 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2008–2014
    • Emory University
      • • School of Medicine
      • • Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center
      • • Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States