Sean Alber

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

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Publications (58)329.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The multikinase inhibitor sunitinib malate (SUT) has been reported to reduce levels of myeloid suppressor cells and Treg cells in cancer patients, hypothetically diminishing intrinsic impediments for active immunization against tumor-associated antigens in such individuals. The goal of this study was to identify longitudinal immune molecular and cellular changes associated with tumor regression and disease-free status after the treatment of established day 7 s.c. MO5 (B16.OVA) melanomas with SUT alone (1 mg/day via oral gavage for 7 days), vaccination using ovalbumin (OVA) peptide-pulsed dendritic cell [vaccine (VAC)] alone, or the combination of SUT and VAC (SUT/VAC). We observed superior anti-tumor efficacy for SUT/VAC combination approaches, particularly when SUT was applied at the time of the initial vaccination or the VAC boost. Treatment effectiveness was associated with the acute loss of (and/or failure to recruit) cells bearing myeloid-derived suppressor cells or Treg phenotypes within the tumor microenvironment (TME) and the corollary, prolonged enhancement of Type-1 anti-OVA CD8+ T cell responses in the tumor-draining lymph node and the TME. Enhanced Type-1 T cell infiltration of tumors was associated with treatment-induced expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and CXCR3 ligand chemokines in vascular/peri-vascular cells within the TME, with SUT/VAC therapy benefits conditionally negated upon adminsitration of CXCR3 or VCAM-1 blocking antibodies. These data support the ability of a short 7 day course of SUT to (re)condition the TME to become more receptive to the recruitment and prolonged therapeutic action of (VAC-induced) anti-tumor Tc1 cells.
    International Journal of Cancer 05/2011; 129(9):2158 - 2170. · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Female rabbit hearts are more susceptible to torsade de pointes (TdP) in acquired long QT type 2 than males, in-part due to higher L-type Ca2+ current (ICa,L) at the base of the heart. In principle, higher Ca2+ influx via ICa,L should be balanced by higher efflux, perhaps mediated by parallel sex differences of sodium-calcium exchange (NCX) current (INCX). We now show that NCX1, like Cav1.2α, is greater at the base of female than male left ventricular epicardium and greater at the base than at the apex in both sexes. In voltage-clamp studies, inward (0, +20 mV, P < 0.04) and outward (-80, -60, -40, -20 mV, P < 0.01) INCX densities were significantly higher (1.5-2 fold) in female base compared to apex and male (base and apex) myocytes. Myocytes were incubated ±17β-oestradiol (E2 = 1 nm) and INCX was measured on days 0, 1, 2 and 3. Inward and outward INCX decreased over 2 days in female base myocytes becoming similar to INCX at the apex. E2 incubation (24 h) increased NCX1 (50%) and INCX (∼3-fold at 60 mV) in female base but not endocardium, apex or in male base myocytes. INCX upregulation by E2 was blunted by an oestrogen receptor (ER) antagonist (fulvestrant, 1 μm), and inhibition of transcription (actinomycin D, 5 μg ml-1) or translation (cycloheximide, 20 μg ml-1). Dofetilide (an IKr blocker) induced early afterdepolarizations (EADs) in female base myocytes cultured for 1 day if incubated with E2, but not without E2 or with E2+KB-R4973 (an INCX inhibitor), E2+fulvestrant or E2 with apex myocytes. Thus, E2 upregulates NCX1 by a genomic mechanism mediated by ERs, and de novo mRNA and protein biosynthesis, in a sex- and region-dependent manner which contributes to the enhanced propensity to EADs and TdP in female hearts.
    The Journal of Physiology 01/2011; 589(Pt 5):1061-80. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is a common and debilitating disorder that results in reduced flexibility of the spine, pain, and reduced mobility. Risk factors for IDD include age, genetic predisposition, injury, and other environmental factors such as smoking. Loss of proteoglycans (PGs) contributes to IDD with advancing age. Currently there is a lack of a model for rapid investigation of disc aging and evaluation of therapeutic interventions. Here we examined progression of disc aging in a murine model of a human progeroid syndrome caused by deficiency of the DNA repair endonuclease, ERCC1-XPF (Ercc1(-/Δ) mice). The ERCC1-deficient mice showed loss of disc height and degenerative structural changes in their vertebral bodies similar to those reported for old rodents. Compared to their wild-type littermates, Ercc1(-/Δ) mice also exhibit other age-related IDD characteristics, including premature loss of disc PG, reduced matrix PG synthesis, and enhanced apoptosis and cell senescence. Finally, the onset of age-associated disc pathologies was further accelerated in Ercc1(-/Δ) mice following chronic treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent mechlorethamine. These results demonstrate that Ercc1(-/Δ) mice represent an accurate and rapid model of disc aging and provide novel evidence that DNA damage negatively impacts PG synthesis.
    Journal of Orthopaedic Research 12/2010; 28(12):1600-7. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy.
    Heart rhythm: the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society 12/2010; · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HLA-A2 transgenic mice bearing established HLA-A2(neg) B16 melanomas were effectively treated by intratumoral (i.t.) injection of syngeneic dendritic cells (DCs) transduced to express high levels of interleukin (IL)-12, resulting in CD8(+) T cell-dependent antitumor protection. In this model, HLA-A2-restricted CD8(+) T cells do not directly recognize tumor cells and therapeutic benefit was associated with the crosspriming of HLA-A2-restricted type-1 CD8(+) T cells reactive against antigens expressed by stromal cells [i.e., pericytes and vascular endothelial cells (VEC)]. IL-12 gene therapy-induced CD8(+) T cells directly recognized HLA-A2(+) pericytes and VEC flow-sorted from B16 tumor lesions based on interferon (IFN)-γ secretion and translocation of the lytic granule-associated molecule CD107 to the T cell surface after coculture with these target cells. In contrast, these CD8(+) T effector cells failed to recognize pericytes/VEC isolated from the kidneys of tumor-bearing HHD mice. The tumor-associated stromal antigen (TASA)-derived peptides studied are evolutionarily conserved and could be recognized by CD8(+) T cells harvested from the blood of HLA-A2(+) normal donors or melanoma patients after in vitro stimulation. These TASA and their derivative peptides may prove useful in vaccine formulations against solid cancers, as well as, in the immune monitoring of HLA-A2(+) cancer patients receiving therapeutic interventions, such as IL-12 gene therapy.
    Molecular Therapy 12/2010; 19(4):805-14. · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little preclinical modeling currently exists to support the use of OX40 agonists as therapeutic agents in the setting of advanced cancers, as well as the mechanisms through which therapeutic efficacy is achieved. We show that treatment of mice bearing well-established day 17 sarcomas with a novel OX40 ligand-Fc fusion protein (OX40L-Fc) resulted in tumor regression or dormancy in the majority of treated animals. Unexpectedly, dendritic cells (DC) in the progressive tumor microenvironment (TME) acquire OX40 expression and bind fluorescently labeled OX40L-Fc. Furthermore, longitudinal analyses revealed that DCs become enriched in the tumor-draining lymph node (TDLN) of both wild-type and Rag-/- mice within 3 days after OX40L-Fc treatment. By day 7 after treatment, a significant expansion of CXCR3+ T effector cells was noted in the TDLN, and by day 10 after treatment, type 1 polarized T cells exhibiting a reactivated memory phenotype had accumulated in the tumors. High levels of CXCL9 (a CXCR3 ligand) and enhanced expression of VCAM-1 by vascular endothelial cells (VEC) were observed in the TME early after treatment with OX40L-Fc. Notably, these vascular alterations were maintained in Rag-/- mice, indicating that the OX40L-Fc-mediated activation of both DC and VEC occurs in a T-cell-independent manner. Collectively, these findings support a paradigm in which the stimulation of DC, T cells, and the tumor vasculature by an OX40 agonist dynamically orchestrates the activation, expansion, and recruitment of therapeutic T cells into established tumors.
    Cancer Research 11/2010; 70(22):9041-52. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recombinant adenovirus-engineered dendritic cells (Ad.DCs) are potent immunologic adjuvants of antiviral and anticancer vaccines. The effectiveness of Ad.DC-based vaccines may depend on the ability of Ad.DCs to crosstalk with natural killer (NK) cells and to activate, polarize, and bridge innate and adaptive immunity. We investigated, for the first time, whether and how human Ad.DCs activate NK cells, and compared the Ad.DC function with that of immature DCs and matured DCs (mDCs). We found that adenovirus transduction and lipopolysaccharide/interferon-gamma-induced maturation increased expression of transmembrane tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and trans-presented (trans) interleukin-15 (IL-15) on DCs, leading to enhanced NK cell activation without enhancing DC susceptibility to NK cell-mediated killing. This crosstalk enhanced NK cell CD69 expression, interferon-gamma secretion, proliferation, and antitumor activities, with Ad.DCs being significantly more effective than immature DCs, but less effective than mDCs. The Ad.DC and mDC crosstalk with NK cells was largely prevented by physical separation of DCs and NK cells, and neutralization of total TNF and IL-15, but not by selective sequestration of soluble TNF. These findings demonstrate that both Ad.DCs and mDCs can efficiently promote innate immune functions by activation of NK cells through the cooperative activities of tmTNF and trans-IL-15 mediated by cell-to-cell contact.
    Blood 07/2010; 116(4):575-83. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) vectors have shown promise in the treatment of patients with recurrent brain tumors although few complete responses have accrued. Impediments to effective therapy include limited vector distribution on delivery, a consequence of injected virion particle trapping in the tumor extracellular matrix (ECM). To enhance virus delivery and spread, we investigated the use of the matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) as a means to degrade collagen type IV, a major component of the ECM and basement membranes of gliomas that is absent in normal brain tissue. SK-N-AS neuroblastoma cells were transduced for constitutive, elevated expression of MMP-9, which did not enhance tumor cell migration in vitro or tumor progression in a murine xenograft brain tumor model. MMP-9 expression improved the distribution and infection of oHSV vectors in spheroid model in vitro. Furthermore, MMP9 induced a vector infection over larger areas of brain tumors in vivo. These results suggest that vector delivery and distribution in vivo can be improved by compromising the ECM, potentially enhancing oncolytic efficacy.
    Gene therapy 05/2010; 17(10):1200-5. · 4.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is a marker gene product which is readily detectable using the techniques of fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, or macroscopic imaging. Previous studies have demonstrated the immunogenicity of EGFP in Balb/c mice, identifying an immunodominant H2-Kd restricted CTL epitope. To model immunological tolerance and vaccine efficiency against self-antigens, we generated a stable transgenic BALB/c mouse expressing EGFP (Balb/c EGFP) through back-crossing C57Bl/6-TG(ACTbEGFP)10sb more than ten times with Balb/c wildtype (wt) mice. High level EGFP expression was detected in the skin and heart, whereas low level expression was observed in the kidney, liver, gut, lung, and spleen. To characterize the immune reactivity to self-antigen, we immunized Balb/c EGFP and Balb/c wt mice with recombinant adenoviral-based vectors encoding EGFP (Ad-EGFP) or β-galactosidase (Ad-βgal) as a control. Immunization utilizing the Ad-βgal vector expressing ‘foreign’ antigen induced robust humoral and cellular transgene-specific immunity, whereas Balb/c EGFP mice presented no reactivity following Ad-EGFP immunization against the ‘self-antigen’ EGFP. These findings describe the creation of a transgenic mouse line tolerant against the common protein marker EGFP, providing a novel system for the evaluation of methods of tolerance disruption and vaccine efficacy.
    Molecular Immunology 12/2009; · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a biologically active molecule produced in the body by the stress-inducible enzyme, heme oxygenase. We have previously shown that CO suppresses fibrosis in a murine bleomycin model. To investigate the mechanisms by which CO opposes fibrogenesis, we performed gene expression profiling of fibroblasts treated with transforming growth factor-beta(1) and CO. The most highly differentially expressed categories of genes included those related to muscular system development and the small proline-rich family of proteins. We confirmed in vitro, and in an in vivo bleomycin model of lung fibrosis, that CO suppresses alpha-smooth muscle actin expression and enhances small proline-rich protein-1a expression. We further show that these effects of CO depend upon signaling via the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway. Our results demonstrate novel transcriptional targets for CO and further elucidate the mechanism by which CO suppresses fibrosis.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 01/2009; 41(1):85-92. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DC) play a pivotal role in transmission and dissemination of HIV-1. Earlier studies reported that DC present at the site of infection trap virus particles via DC-SIGN and transfer the virus to the interacting naïve T cells. This prompted us to ask the question whether DC could acquire virus from infected T cells during DC-T cell interaction. To address this, we investigated the likely transfer of virus from HIV-1 infected T cells to DC and the underlying mechanisms involved. Results indicate that DC acquire virus from infected T cells via antigen uptake mechanism and this results in infection of DC with expression of proteins directed by viral DNA. Further studies with HIV-1 lacking the Env protein also resulted in infection of DC. The use of antibodies against DC-SIGN and DC-SIGN-R ruled out a role for receptor in the infection of DC. Additional data show that DC infection is directly correlated with the ability of DC to take up antigen from infected T cells. Overall, these studies provide evidence to suggest that HIV-1, besides infecting immune cells, also utilizes immunological mechanism(s) to acquire and disseminate virus.
    PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(10):e7470. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone marrow-derived dendritic cells engineered using recombinant adenovirus to secrete high levels of IL-12p70 dramatically inhibited the growth of established CMS4 sarcomas in BALB/c mice after intratumoral administration. An analysis of splenic CD8(+) T cells in regressor mice revealed a strong, complex reactivity pattern against high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-resolved peptides isolated by acid elution from single-cell suspensions of surgically resected CMS4 lesions. Mass spectrometry analyses defined two major overlapping peptide species that derive from the murine hemoglobin-beta (HBB) protein within the most stimulatory HPLC fractions. Although cultured CMS4 tumor cells failed to express HBB mRNA based on reverse transcription-PCR analyses, prophylactic vaccination of BALB/c mice with vaccines containing HBB peptides promoted specific CD8(+) T-cell responses that protected mice against a subsequent challenge with CMS4 or unrelated syngeneic (HBB(neg)) tumors of divergent histology (sarcoma, carcinomas of the breast or colon). In situ imaging suggested that vaccines limit or destabilize tumor-associated vascular structures, potentially by promoting immunity against HBB+ vascular pericytes. Importantly, there were no untoward effects of vaccination with the HBB peptide on peripheral RBC numbers, RBC hemoglobin content, or vascular structures in the brain or eye.
    Cancer Research 11/2008; 68(19):8076-84. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of activated fibroblasts or myofibroblasts represents a hallmark of progressive lung fibrosis. Because the transcriptional response of fibroblasts to transforming growth factor-beta(1) (TGF-beta(1)) is a determinant of disease progression, we investigated the role of the transcriptional regulator inhibitor of differentiation-1 (Id1) in the setting of lung fibrosis. Mice lacking the gene for Id1 had increased susceptibility to bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, and fibroblasts lacking Id1 exhibited enhanced responses to TGF-beta(1). Because the effect of Id1 on fibrosis could not be explained by known mechanisms, we performed protein interaction screening and identified a novel binding partner for Id1, known as dead ringer-like-1 (Dril1). Dril1 shares structural similarities with Id1 and was recently implicated in TGF-beta(1) signaling during embryogenesis. To date, little is known about the function of Dril1 in humans. Although it has not been previously implicated in fibrotic disease, we found that Dril1 was highly expressed in lungs from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was regulated by TGF-beta(1) in human fibroblasts. Dril1 enhanced activation of TGF-beta(1) target genes, whereas Id1 decreased expression of these same molecules. Id1 inhibited DNA binding by Dril1, and the two proteins co-localized in vitro and in vivo, providing a potential mechanism for suppression of fibrosis by Id1 through inhibition of the profibrotic function of Dril1.
    American Journal Of Pathology 07/2008; 173(2):337-46. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) leads to an unacceptably high mortality. In this regard, the antiinflammatory properties of inhaled carbon monoxide (CO) may provide a therapeutic option. This study explores the mechanisms of CO-dependent protection in a mouse model of VILI. Mice were ventilated (12 ml/kg, 1-8 h) with air in the absence or presence of CO (250 ppm). Airway pressures, blood pressure, and blood gases were monitored. Lung tissue was analyzed for inflammation, injury, and gene expression. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was analyzed for protein, cell and neutrophil counts, and cytokines. Mechanical ventilation caused significant lung injury reflected by increases in protein concentration, total cell and neutrophil counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, as well as the induction of heme oxygenase-1 and heat shock protein-70 in lung tissue. In contrast, CO application prevented lung injury during ventilation, inhibited stress-gene up-regulation, and decreased lung neutrophil infiltration. These effects were preceded by the inhibition of ventilation-induced cytokine and chemokine production. Furthermore, CO prevented the early ventilation-dependent up-regulation of early growth response-1 (Egr-1). Egr-1-deficient mice did not sustain lung injury after ventilation, relative to wild-type mice, suggesting that Egr-1 acts as a key proinflammatory regulator in VILI. Moreover, inhibition of peroxysome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma, an antiinflammatory nuclear regulator, by GW9662 abolished the protective effects of CO. Mechanical ventilation causes profound lung injury and inflammatory responses. CO treatment conferred protection in this model dependent on PPAR-gamma and inhibition of Egr-1.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 07/2008; 177(11):1223-32. · 11.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy is a homeostatic process for recycling of proteins and organelles, that increases during times of nutrient deprivation and is regulated by reactive oxygen species. We reported that autophagy can also be induced after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice.1 Specifically, autophagosomes and multilamellar bodies were frequently observed in cell processes and axons in injured brain regions by electron microscopy, and lipidated microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3-II), was increased after TBI vs. controls. To determine if antioxidants could reduce autophagy, separate mice were treated with the antioxidant ?-glutamylcysteinyl ethyl ester (GCEE). Treatment with GCEE preserved total antioxidant reserves, reduced LC3-II in injured brains, and improved both behavioral and histological outcome after TBI. Here we report that LC3-II and autophagosomes were detectable in brain tissue from humans after TBI. Taken together, we show that autophagy occurs after both experimental and clinical TBI, and that oxidative stress contributes to overall neuropathology after TBI in mice, at least in part by initiating or influencing autophagy.
    Autophagy 01/2008; 4(1):88-90. · 12.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pathobiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) includes activation of multiple caspases followed by cell death with a spectrum of apoptotic phenotypes. There are initiator (e.g. caspase-2, -8, and -9) and effector (e.g. caspase-3 and -7) caspases. Recently, caspase-2 and -8 have been shown to regulate cell death via provoking cytochrome c release from the mitochondria upstream of caspase-9. Here, we show that an intracerebral injection of the pan-caspase inhibitor boc-Aspartyl(OMe)-fluoromethylketone (BAF; 1 micromol) 1 min after TBI in rats reduces caspase-3-like activity, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and tissue damage, and cytochrome c release in ipsilateral cortex at 24 h versus vehicle. To investigate whether either caspase-2 and/or caspase-8 activation may contribute to cytochrome release, the effect of BAF treatment on caspase-2 and caspase-8 proteolysis was also examined. boc-aspartyl(OMe)-fluoromethylketone treatment inhibited proteolysis of caspase-2 but not caspase-8 24 h after TBI in rats versus vehicle. However, BAF with or without nerve growth factor (12.5 ng/h x 14 days intracerebrally via osmotic pump) did not result in differences in motor function, Morris water maze performance, hippocampal neuron survival, nor contusion volume at 14 days. These data suggest that BAF treatment reduces acute cell death after TBI by inhibiting mitochondrial release of cytochrome c, possibly via a mechanism involving initiator caspases; however, BAF appears to delay cell death, rather than result in permanent protection.
    Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism 03/2007; 27(2):316-26. · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The expression and proteolysis of caspase family proteins are involved in the initiation and execution of apoptosis, which has been reported to occur in human and experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI). Caspase-3, -6, and -7 belong to the group of executioner caspases, which are cleaved and activated at the late, irreversible stage of apoptosis. Our previous studies demonstrated roles for caspase-1, -3, and -8 in humans after severe TBI. Here we report expression of caspase-7 mRNA and protein in humans after TBI (n = 16) and control brain-bank tissue (n = 6). Semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed no differences between caspase-7 mRNA in TBI patients versus controls (73 +/- 24 vs. 85 +/- 56 relative optical density [ROD], respectively). In contrast, Western blot analysis showed increased pro-caspase-7 in TBI patients versus controls (214 +/- 30 vs. 1 +/- 1 ROD, respectively), as well as an increase in the approximately 20 kD proteolytic fragment in TBI patients versus controls (86 +/- 13 vs. 22 +/- 12 ROD, respectively), consistent with activation of caspase-7 after TBI in humans. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that cells expressing caspase-7 included astrocytes and neurons and possibly other glial cell types and infiltrated inflammatory cells. These data show that caspase-7 and its cleavage product are increased in human brain after TBI in many central nervous system, as well as noncentral nervous system, cell types. Thus, caspase-7 may play a role in the glial and inflammatory responses, and possibly neuronal death, after TBI in humans.
    Journal of Neurotrauma 12/2006; 23(11):1583-90. · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells play significant roles in the development and maintenance of antitumor immune responses. Therapeutic recruitment of dendritic cells into the tumor microenvironment has the potential to result in enhanced antitumor T-cell cross-priming against a broad array of naturally processed and presented tumor-associated antigens. We have observed that the treatment of BALB/c mice bearing syngeneic CMS4 sarcomas with the combination of recombinant Flt3 ligand and recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) for five sequential days is sufficient to optimize the number of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells (TIDC). However, despite the significant increase in the number of TIDCs, the therapeutic benefit of Flt3 ligand and GM-CSF treatment is minimal. Therapy-associated TIDCs do not exhibit a "suppressed" or "suppressor" phenotype in vitro, and their enhanced numbers in cytokine-treated mice were associated with increased levels of peripheral antitumor CD8(+) T effector cells and with an augmented population of CD8(+) tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). These data suggest that Flt3 ligand + GM-CSF therapy of murine tumors fails at a mechanistic point that is downstream of specific T-cell priming by therapy-induced TIDCs and the recruitment of these T cells into the tumor microenvironment. Based on the enhanced infiltration of tumors by CD4(+)CD25(+) TIL in Flt3 ligand + GM-CSF-treated mice, this could reflect the dominant influence of regulatory T cells in situ.
    Cancer Research 06/2006; 66(9):4895-903. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily that is highly expressed in liver, kidney, adrenals, and intestine. FXR may play an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases via regulating the metabolism and transport of cholesterol. In this study, we report that FXR is also expressed in rat pulmonary artery endothelial cells (EC), a "nonclassical" bile acid target tissue. FXR is functional in EC, as demonstrated by induction of its target genes such as small heterodimer partner (SHP) after treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid, a FXR agonist. Interestingly, activation of FXR in EC led to downregulation of endothelin (ET)-1 expression. Reporter assays showed that activation of FXR inhibited transcriptional activation of the human ET-1 gene promoter and also repressed the activity of a heterologous promoter driven by activator protein (AP)-1 response elements. Electrophoretic mobility-shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays indicated that FXR reduced the binding activity of AP-1 transcriptional factors, suggesting that FXR may suppress ET-1 expression via negatively interfering with AP-1 signaling. These studies suggest that FXR may play a role in endothelial homeostasis and may serve as a novel molecular target for manipulating ET-1 expression in vascular EC.
    Circulation Research 03/2006; 98(2):192-9. · 11.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surgical repair of the superficial fascial system (SFS) has been claimed to both increase wound strength and enhance surgical outcome through anchoring of deeper tissues. The authors assessed the biomechanical properties of the SFS to determine whether repair of the SFS layer improved early and long-term postoperative wound strength. Four complementary studies were conducted to study the dermis and SFS junctional architecture and connective tissue content: gross dissection using a dehydrating agent (Pen-Fix; Richard-Allan Scientific, Kalamazoo, MI), a histologic study with hemotoxylin and eosin staining, soft tissue radiography, and immunofluorescence staining. Freshly excised human abdominal and lower back/buttock tissues underwent a midline incision, followed by repair using dermal sutures only (DRM), dermal sutures plus SFS sutures (DRM/SFS) or repair of the SFS only (SFS). Fresh swine abdominal tissues were similarly excised and repaired. Biomechanical tests were undertaken to compare the ex vivo human and swine tissues. Three types of closure-dermal sutures only (DRM), dermal sutures plus permanent 0-braided nylon suture in the SFS (DRM/SFS/N), and dermal sutures plus absorbable 0-vicryl suture in the SFS (DRM/SFS/V) were also tested in an in vivo swine model. Immunofluorescence studies showed collagen and elastin content and ratios to be comparable in the dermis and SFS. In ex vivo studies of human abdominal and back tissues, cyclic creep did not vary significantly among the different types of repair. DRM/SFS repair had a significantly higher failure load than dermal repair alone in both human abdominal and back tissues. In the in vivo swine study, normal tissue had a significantly higher failure load than all repair groups. The wounds where SFS had been repaired in addition to dermis exhibited an increased tensile strength and, among these, the wounds closed with SFS repair with a nonabsorbable suture exhibited greater tensile strength compared to absorbable suture repair. However, no statistically significant difference was noted, due to the small sample size. We have determined, using an ex vivo model, that repair of the SFS layer in addition to dermis repair significantly increases the initial biomechanical strength of wound repair. This has the potential to decrease early wound dehiscence. In our in vivo model, the use of a nonabsorbable suture to approximate the SFS demonstrated a trend toward increased long-term wound strength. We believe our studies provide scientific data documenting that SFS is a key contributory strength layer in the early postoperative period, and is likely to be a strength layer even in the later stages of wound healing.
    Aesthetic surgery journal / the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery 01/2006; 26(4):395-403.

Publication Stats

2k Citations
329.60 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2009
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Critical Care Medicine
      • • Department of Surgery
      • • School of Pharmacy
      Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 1998
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      • Department of Surgery
      Philadelphia, PA, United States