Irving M Shapiro

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (227)913.74 Total impact

  • The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) plays an important role in intervertebral disc degeneration, a ubiquitous condition closely linked to low back pain and disability. Elevated expression of syndecan 4, a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan, actively controls disc matrix catabolism. However, the relationship between MMP-3 expression and syndecan 4 in the context of inflammatory disc disease has not been clearly defined. We investigated the mechanisms by which cytokines control MMP-3 expression in rat and human nucleus pulposus cells. Cytokine treatment increased MMP-3 expression and promoter activity. Stable silencing of syndecan 4 blocked cytokine-mediated MMP-3 expression; more important, syndecan 4 did not mediate its effects through NF-κB or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. However, treatment with MAPK and NF-κB inhibitors resulted in partial blocking of the inductive effect of cytokines on MMP-3 expression. Loss-of-function studies confirmed that NF-κB, p38α/β2/γ/δ, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 2, but not ERK1, contributed to cytokine-dependent induction of MMP3 promoter activity. Similarly, inhibitor treatments, lentiviral short hairpin-p65, and short hairpin-I κ B kinase β significantly decreased cytokine-dependent up-regulation in MMP-3 expression. Finally, we show that transforming growth factor-β can block the up-regulation of MMP-3 induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α by counteracting the NF-κB pathway and syndecan 4 expression. Taken together, our results suggest that cooperative signaling through syndecan 4 and the TNF receptor 1-MAPK-NF-κB axis is required for TNF-α-dependent expression of MMP-3 in nucleus pulposus cells. Controlling these pathways may slow the progression of intervertebral disc degeneration and matrix catabolism.
    The American journal of pathology. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the role of FIH-1 in regulating HIF-1 activity in the nucleus pulposus (NP) cells, and the control of this regulation by binding and sequestration of FIH-1 by Mint3. FIH-1 and Mint3 were both expressed in the NP, and were shown to strongly co-localize within the cell nucleus. While both mRNA and protein expression of FIH-1 decreased in hypoxia, only Mint3 protein levels were hypoxia sensitive. Overexpression of FIH-1 was able to reduce HIF-1 function as seen by changes in activities of HRE-luciferase reporter and HIF-1α-CTAD and HIF-2α-TAD. Moreover, co-transfection of either full-length Mint3 or the N-terminus of Mint3 abrogated FIH-1-dependent reduction in HIF-1 activity under both normoxia and hypoxia. Nuclear levels of FIH-1 and Mint3 decreased in hypoxia, and use of specific nuclear import and export inhibitors clearly showed that cellular compartmentalization of overexpressed FIH-1 was critical for its regulation of HIF-1 activity in NP cells. Interestingly, microarray results after stable silencing of FIH-1 showed no significant changes in transcripts of classical HIF-1 target genes. However, expression of several other transcripts, including those of Notch pathway changed in FIH-1 silenced cells. Moreover, co-transfection of Notch-ICD could restore suppression of HIF1-TAD activity by exogenous FIH-1. Taken together, these results suggest that possibly due to low endogenous levels and/or preferential association with substrates such as Notch, FIH-1 activity does not represent a major mechanism by which NP cells control HIF-1-dependent transcription, a testament to their adaptation to a unique hypoxic niche.
    The Journal of biological chemistry. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Intervertebral disc degeneration is the leading cause of chronic back pain. Recent studies show that raised level of SDC4, a cell-surface heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan, plays a role in pathogenesis of disc degeneration. However, in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells of the healthy intervertebral disc, the mechanisms that control expression of SDC4 and its physiological function are unknown. Hypoxia induced SDC4 mRNA and protein expression by ∼2.4- and 4.4-fold (P<0.05), respectively, in NP cells. While the activity of the SDC4 promoter containing hypoxia response element (HRE) was induced 2-fold (P<0.05), the HRE mutation decreased the activity by 40% in hypoxia. Transfections with plasmids coding prolyl-4-hydroxylase domain protein 2 (PHD2) and ShPHD2 show that hypoxic expression of SDC4 mRNA and protein is regulated by PHD2 through controlling hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) levels. Although overexpression of HIF-1α significantly increased SDC4 protein levels, stable suppression of HIF-1α and HIF-1β decreased SDC4 expression by 50% in human NP cells. Finally, suppression of SDC4 expression, as well as HS function, resulted in an ∼2-fold increase in sex-determining region Y (SRY)-box 9 (Sox9) mRNA, and protein (P<0.05) and simultaneous increase in Sox9 transcriptional activity and target gene expression. Taken together, our findings suggest that in healthy discs, SDC4, through its HS side chains, contributes to maintenance of the hypoxic tissue niche by controlling baseline expression of Sox9.-Fujita, N., Hirose, Y., Tran, C. M., Chiba, K., Miyamoto, T., Toyama, Y., Shapiro, I. M., Risbud, M. V. HIF-1-PHD2 axis controls expression of syndecan 4 in nucleus pulposus cells.
    The FASEB Journal 02/2014; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the study was to examine the regulation of CCN2 by inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and TNF-α and to determine if CCN2 modulates IL-1β-dependent catabolic gene expression in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. IL-1β and TNF-α suppress CCN2 mRNA and protein expression in an NF-κB dependent but MAPK independent manner. The conserved κB sites located at -93/-86 and -546/-537 bp in the CCN2 promoter mediated this suppression. On the other hand, treatment of NP cells with IL-1β in combination with CCN2 suppressed the inductive effect of IL-1β on catabolic genes, including MMP-3, ADAMTS-5, syndecan 4 (SDC4) and prolyl hydroxylase 3 (PHD3). Likewise, silencing of CCN2 in human NP cells resulted in elevated basal expression of several catabolic genes and inflammatory cytokines like IL-6, IL-4 and IL-12 as measured by gene expression and cytokine protein array respectively. Interestingly, the suppressive effect of CCN2 on IL-1β was independent of modulation of NF-κB signaling. Using disintegrins, echistatin (ECH) and VLO4, peptide inhibitors to αvβ3 and α5β1 integrins, we showed that CCN2 binding to both integrins was required for the inhibition of IL-1β-induced catabolic gene expression. Noteworthy, analysis of human tissues showed a trend of altered expression of these integrins during degeneration. Taken together, these results suggest that CCN2 and inflammatory cytokines form a functional negative feedback loop in NP cells that may be important in the pathogenesis of disc disease.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is characterized by changes in proteoglycan status, loss of bound water molecules, decreased tissue osmotic pressure and a resulting mechanical failure of the disc. A similar spectrum of changes is evident in osteoarthritic articular cartilage. When healthy, resident cells in these skeletal tissues respond to applied mechanical loads by regulating their own osmotic state and the hydration of the extracellular matrix. The transcription factor Tonicity-Responsive Enhancer Binding Protein (TonEBP or NFAT5) is known to mediate the osmoadaptive response in these and other tissues. While the molecular basis of how osmotic loading controls matrix homeostasis is not completely understood, TonEBP regulates the expression of aggrecan and β1,3-glucoronosyltransferase in nucleus pulposus cells, in addition to targets that allow for survival under hypertonic stress. Moreover, in chondrocytes, TonEBP controls expression of several collagen subtypes and Sox9, a master regulator of aggrecan and collagen II expression. Thus, TonEBP-mediated regulation of the matrix composition allows disc cells and chondrocytes to modify the extracellular osmotic state itself. On the other hand, TonEBP in immune cells induces expression of TNF-α, ΙL-6 and MCP-1, pro-inflammatory molecules closely linked to matrix catabolism and pathogenesis of both disc degeneration and osteoarthritis, warranting investigations of this aspect of TonEBP function in skeletal cells. In summary, the TonEBP system, through its effects on extracellular matrix and osmoregulatory genes can be viewed primarily as a protective or homeostatic response to physiological loading.
    Matrix Biology. 01/2014;
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    The Journal of arthroplasty 12/2013; · 1.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: From an evolutionary perspective, the major function of bone is to provide stable sites for muscle attachment and affording protection of vital organs, especially the heart and lungs (ribs) and spinal cord (vertebrae and intervertebral discs). However, bone has a considerable number of other functions: serving as a store for mineral ions, providing a site for blood cell synthesis and participating in a complex system-wide endocrine system. Not surprisingly, bone and cartilage cell homeostasis is tightly controlled, as is the maintenance of tissue structure and mass. While a great deal of new information is accruing concerning skeletal cell homeostasis, one relatively new observation is that the cells of bone (osteoclasts osteoblasts and osteocytes) and cartilage (chondrocytes) exhibit autophagy. The focus of this review is to examine the significance of this process in terms of the functional demands of the skeleton in health and during growth and to provide evidence that dysregulation of the autophagic response is involved in the pathogenesis of diseases of bone (Paget disease of bone) and cartilage (osteoarthritis and the mucopolysaccharidoses). Delineation of molecular changes in the autophagic process is uncovering new approaches for the treatment of diseases that affect the axial and appendicular skeleton.
    Autophagy 11/2013; 10(1). · 12.04 Impact Factor
  • Makarand V Risbud, Irving M Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Degeneration of the intervertebral discs (IVDs) is a major contributor to back, neck and radicular pain. IVD degeneration is characterized by increases in levels of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-17 secreted by the IVD cells; these cytokines promote extracellular matrix degradation, chemokine production and changes in IVD cell phenotype. The resulting imbalance in catabolic and anabolic responses leads to the degeneration of IVD tissues, as well as disc herniation and radicular pain. The release of chemokines from degenerating discs promotes the infiltration and activation of immune cells, further amplifying the inflammatory cascade. Leukocyte migration into the IVD is accompanied by the appearance of microvasculature tissue and nerve fibres. Furthermore, neurogenic factors, generated by both disc and immune cells, induce expression of pain-associated cation channels in the dorsal root ganglion. Depolarization of these ion channels is likely to promote discogenic and radicular pain, and reinforce the cytokine-mediated degenerative cascade. Taken together, an enhanced understanding of the contribution of cytokines and immune cells to these catabolic, angiogenic and nociceptive processes could provide new targets for the treatment of symptomatic disc disease. In this Review, the role of key inflammatory cytokines during each of the individual phases of degenerative disc disease, as well as the outcomes of major clinical studies aimed at blocking cytokine function, are discussed.
    Nature Reviews Rheumatology 10/2013; · 9.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite many advances in our understanding of the molecular basis of disc degeneration, there remains a paucity of preclinical models which can be used to study the biochemical and molecular events that drive disc degeneration, and the effects of potential therapeutic interventions. The goal of this study is to characterize global gene expression changes in a disc organ culture system that mimics early nontraumatic disc degeneration. To mimic a degenerative insult, rat intervertebral discs were cultured in the presence of TNF-a, IL-1ß and serum-limiting conditions. Gene expression analysis was performed using a microarray to identify differential gene expression between experimental and control groups. Differential pattern of gene expression was confirmed using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) or Western blot. Treatment resulted in significant changes in expression of more than 1,000 genes affecting many aspects of cell function including cellular movement, the cell cycle, cellular development, and cell death and proliferation. Many of the most highly upregulated and downregulated genes have known functions in disc degeneration and extracellular matrix hemostasis. Construction of gene networks based on known cellular pathways and expression data from our analysis demonstrated that the network associated with cell death, cell cycle regulation and DNA replication and repair was most heavily affected in this model of disc degeneration. This rat organ culture model uses cytokine exposure to induce wide gene expression changes with the most affected genes having known reported functions in disc degeneration. We propose that this model is a valuable tool to study the etiology of disc degeneration and evaluate potential therapeutic treatments.
    Arthritis research & therapy 09/2013; 15(5):R121. · 4.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated TNF-α and IL-1β regulation of ADAMTS-4 expression in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells and its role in aggrecan degradation. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR, Western blotting, and transient transfections with rat NP cells and lentiviral silencing with human NP cells were performed to determine the roles of MAPK and NF-κB in cytokine-mediated ADAMTS-4 expression and function. ADAMTS4 expression and promoter activity increased in NP cells after TNF-α and IL-1β treatment. Treatment of cells with MAPK and NF-κB inhibitors abolished the inductive effect of the cytokines on ADAMTS4 mRNA and protein expression. Although ERK1, p38α, p38β2, and p38γ were involved in induction, ERK2 and p38δ played no role in TNF-α-dependent promoter activity. The inductive effect of p65 on ADAMTS4 promoter was confirmed through gain and loss-of-function studies. Cotransfection of p50 completely blocked p65-mediated induction. Lentiviral transduction with shRNA plasmids shp65, shp52, shIKK-α, and shIKK-β significantly decreased TNF-α-dependent increase in ADAMTS-4 and -5 levels and aggrecan degradation. Silencing of either ADAMTS-4 or -5 resulted in reduction in TNF-α-dependent aggrecan degradation in NP cells. By controlling activation of MAPK and NF-κB signaling, TNF-α and IL-1β modulate expression of ADAMTS-4 in NP cells. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show nonredundant contribution of both ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 to aggrecan degradation in human NP cells in vitro.
    American Journal Of Pathology 04/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the study was to investigate how inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and TNF-α control Notch signaling activity in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. An increase in expression of selective Notch receptors (Notch1, 2), ligand (Jagged 2) and target genes (Hes1, Hey1 and Hey2) was observed in NP cells following cytokine treatment. A concomitant increase in Notch signaling as evidenced by induction in activity of target gene Hes1 and Hey1 promoters and reporter 12xCSL was seen. Moreover, treatment increased activity of a 2 kb Notch2 promoter. Treatment of cells with NF-κB and MAPK inhibitors abolished the inductive effect of cytokines on Notch2 promoter and its expression. Gain and loss-of-function studies confirmed the inductive effect of p65 on Notch2 promoter activity. In contrast, p50 blocked the cytokine induction of promoter activity. Supporting the promoter studies, lentiviral delivery of sh-p65, and sh-IKKβ significantly decreased cytokine dependent change in Notch2 expression. Interestingly, MAPK signaling showed an isoform specific control of Notch2 promoter, p38α/β2/δ, ERK1 and ERK2 contributed to cytokine dependent induction while p38γ played no role. Analysis of human NP tissues showed that Notch 1, 2 and Hey2 expression correlated with each other. Moreover, expression of Notch2 and IL-1β as well as the number of cells immunopositive for Notch2 significantly increased in histologically degenerate discs compared to non-degenerate discs. Taken together these results explain the observed dysregulated expression of Notch genes in degenerative disc disease. Thus controlling IL-1β and TNF-αactivities during disc disease may restore Notch signaling and nucleus pulposus cell function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Cassie M Tran, Irving M Shapiro, Makarand V Risbud
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    ABSTRACT: Connective tissue growth factor (CCN2/CTGF) plays an important role in extracellular matrix synthesis, especially in skeletal tissues such as cartilage, bone, and the intervertebral disc. As a result there is a growing interest in examining the function and regulation of this important molecule in the disc. This review discusses the regulation of CCN2 by TGF-β and hypoxia, two critical determinants that characterize the disc microenvironment, and discusses known functions of CCN2 in the disc. The almost ubiquitous regulation of CCN2 by TGF-β, including that seen in the disc, emphasizes the importance of the TGF-β-CCN2 relationship, especially in terms of extracellular matrix synthesis. Likewise, the unique cross-talk between CCN2 and HIF-1 in the disc highlights the tissue and niche specific mode of regulation. Taken together the current literature supports an anabolic role for CCN2 in the disc and its involvement in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis during both health and disease. Further studies of CCN2 in this tissue may reveal valuable targets for the biological therapy of disc degeneration.
    Matrix biology: journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology 04/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the study was to investigate if HIF-1α and CCN2 form a regulatory network in hypoxic nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. A decrease in CCN2 expression and proximal promoter activity was observed in NP cells after hypoxic culture. Analysis of both human and mouse CCN2 promoters using the JASPAR core database revealed the presence of putative hypoxia response elements (HREs). Transfection experiments showed that both promoter activities and CCN2 expression decreases in hypoxia in a HIF-1α-dependent fashion. Interestingly, deletion analysis and mutation of the HREs individually or in combination resulted in no change in promoter activity in response to hypoxia or in response to HIF-1α, suggesting an indirect mode of regulation. Notably, silencing of endogenous CCN2 increased HIF-1α levels and its target gene expression, suggesting a role for CCN2 in controlling basal HIF-1α levels. On the other hand, treatment of cells with rCCN2 resulted in a decrease in the ability of HIF-1α transactivating domain to recruit co-activators and diminished target gene expression. Lastly, knockdown of CCN2 in NP cells results in a significant decrease in GAG synthesis and expression of aggrecan and collagen II. Immunohistochemical staining of intervertebral discs of CCN2 null embryos shows a decrease in aggrecan. These findings reveal a negative feedback loop between CCN2 and HIF-1α in NP cells and demonstrate a role for CCN2 in maintaining matrix homeostasis in this tissue.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To investigate tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) regulation of CCL3 expression in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells and in macrophage migration. Methods Quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry were used to measure CCL3 expression in NP cells. Transfections were used to determine the role of NF-κB, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBPβ), and MAPK on cytokine-mediated CCL3 promoter activity. The effect of NP-conditioned medium on macrophage migration was measured using a Transwell system. ResultsAn increase in CCL3 expression and promoter activity was observed in NP cells after TNFα or IL-1β treatment. Treatment of cells with NF-κB and MAPK inhibitors abolished the effect of the cytokines on CCL3 expression. The inductive effect of p65 and C/EBPβ on the CCL3 promoter was confirmed through gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies. Notably, cotransfection with p50 completely blocked cytokine- and p65-dependent induction. In contrast, c-Rel and RelB had little effect on promoter activity. Lentiviral transduction with short hairpin RNA for p65 (shp65) and shIKKβ significantly decreased the TNFα-dependent increase in CCL3 expression. Analysis of degenerated human NP tissue samples showed that CCL3, but not CCL4, expression correlated positively with the grade of tissue degeneration. Importantly, treatment of macrophages with conditioned medium of NP cells treated with TNFα or IL-1β promoted their migration. Pretreatment of macrophages with an antagonist of CCR1, the primary receptor for CCL3 and CCL4, blocked cytokine-mediated migration. Conclusion Our findings indicate that TNFα and IL-1β modulate the expression of CCL3 in NP cells by controlling the activation of MAPK, NF-κB, and C/EBPβ signaling. The CCL3–CCR1 axis may play an important role in promoting macrophage infiltration in degenerated, herniated discs.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 03/2013; 65(3). · 7.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluates the durability of a novel tissue engineered blood vessel (TEBV) created by seeding a natural vascular tissue scaffold (decellularized human saphenous vein allograft) with autologous adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) differentiated into endothelial-like cells. Previous work with this model revealed the graft to be thrombogenic, likely due to inadequate endothelial differentiation as evidenced by minimal production of nitric oxide (NO). To evaluate the importance of NO expression by the seeded cells, we created TEBV using autologous ASC transfected with the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) gene to produce NO. We found that transfected ASC produced NO at levels similar to endothelial cell (EC) controls in vitro which was capable of causing vasorelaxation of aortic specimens ex vivo. TEBV (n = 5) created with NO-producing ASC and implanted as interposition grafts within the aorta of rabbits remained patent for two months and demonstrated a non-thrombogenic surface compared to unseeded controls (n = 5). Despite the xenograft nature of the scaffold, the TEBV structure remained well preserved in seeded grafts. In sum, this study demonstrates that upregulation of NO expression within adult stem cells differentiated towards an endothelial-like lineage imparts a non-thrombogenic phenotype and highlights the importance of NO production by cells to be used as endothelial cell substitutes in vascular tissue engineering applications. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 01/2013; · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest a differential role of PHD isoforms in controlling hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-α degradation and activity in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. However, the regulation and function of PHDs under inflammatory conditions that characterize disc disease is not yet known. Here, we show that in NP cells, TNF-α and IL-1β induce PHD3 expression through NF-κB. Lentiviral delivery of Sh-P65 and Sh-IKKβ confirms that cytokine-mediated PHD3 expression is NF-κB dependent. Noteworthy, although both cytokines induce HIF activity, use of Sh-HIF-1α and PHD3 promoter/enhancer constructs harboring well characterized hypoxia response element (HRE) show lack of HIF involvement in cytokine mediated PHD3 expression. Loss of function studies clearly indicate that PHD3 serves as a co-activator of NF-κB signaling activity in NP cells; PHD3 interacts with, and co-localizes with, p65. We observed that when PHD3 is silenced there is a significant decrease in TNF-α-induced expression of catabolic markers that include ADAMTS5, syndecan4, MMP13 and COX2, at the same time there is restoration of aggrecan and collagen type II expression. Noteworthy, hydroxylase function of PHDs is not required for mediating cytokine-dependent gene expression. These findings show that by enhancing the activity of inflammatory cytokines PHD3 may serve a critical role in degenerative disc disease.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Implant-associated infections contribute to patient morbidity and health care costs. We hypothesized that surface modification of titanium fracture hardware with vancomycin would support bone-healing and prevent bacterial colonization of the implant in a large-animal model. A unilateral transverse mid-diaphyseal tibial osteotomy was performed and repaired with a titanium locking compression plate in nine sheep. Four control animals were treated with an unmodified plate and five experimental animals were treated with a vancomycin-modified plate. The osteotomy was inoculated with 2.5 × 106 colony-forming units of Staphylococcus aureus. The animals were killed at three months postoperatively, and implants were retrieved aseptically. Microbiologic and histologic analyses, scanning electron and confocal microscopy, and microcomputed tomography were performed. All animals completed the study. Compared with the treatment cohort, control animals exhibited protracted lameness in the operatively treated leg. Gross findings during necropsy were consistent with an infected osteotomy accompanied by a florid and lytic callus. Microcomputed tomography and histologic analysis of the tibiae further supported the presence of septic osteomyelitis in the control cohort. Thick biofilms were also evident, and bacterial cultures were positive for Staphylococcus aureus in three of four control animals. In contrast, animals treated with vancomycin-treated plates exhibited a healed osteotomy site with homogenous remodeling, there was no evidence of biofilm formation on the retrieved plate, and bacterial cultures from only one of five animals were positive for Staphylococcus aureus. Vancomycin-derivatized plate surfaces inhibited implant colonization with Staphylococcus aureus and supported bone-healing in an infected large-animal model.
    The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 08/2012; 94(15):1406-15. · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the regulation of expression of β-1,3-glucuronosyltransferase 1 (GlcAT-1), an important regulator of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) synthesis, by Smad3 in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. GlcAT-1 expression was examined in rat NP and anulus fibrosus (AF) cells treated with transforming growth factor β (TGFβ). The effects of Smad signaling and Smad suppression on GlcAT-1 were examined in rat NP cells. GlcAT-1 expression was analyzed in the discs of Smad3-null mice and in degenerated human NP tissue. TGFβ increased the expression of GlcAT-1 in rat NP but not rat AF cells. Suppression of GlcAT-1 promoter activity was evident with dominant-negative ALK-5 (DN-ALK-5). Cotransfection with Smad3 strongly induced promoter activity independent of TGFβ. Bioinformatics analysis indicated the presence of several Smad binding sites in the promoter; deletion analysis showed that the region between -274 and -123 bp was required for Smad3 response. DN-Smad3, Smad 3 small interfering RNA, and Smad7 strongly suppressed basal as well as TGFβ-induced promoter activity. Induction of promoter activity by Smad3 was significantly blocked by DN-Smad3; Smad7 had a very small effect. Lentiviral transduction of NP cells with short hairpin RNA Smad3 resulted in a decrease in GlcAT-1 expression and accumulation of GAG. Compared to wild-type mice, significantly lower expression of GlcAT-1 was seen in the discs of Smad3-null mice. Analysis of degenerated human NP tissue specimens showed no positive correlation between GlcAT-1 and TGFβ expression. Moreover, isolated cells from degenerated human tissue showed a lack of induction of GlcAT-1 expression following TGFβ treatment, suggesting an altered response. Our findings demonstrate that in healthy NP cells, the TGFβ-Smad3 axis serves as a regulator of GlcAT-1 expression. However, an altered responsiveness to TGFβ during disc degeneration may compromise GAG synthesis.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 06/2012; 64(10):3324-33. · 7.48 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
913.74 Total Impact Points


  • 2002–2014
    • Thomas Jefferson University
      • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Michigan
      • Life Sciences Institute
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2003–2012
    • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2011
    • The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1983–2008
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Orthodontics
      • • Department of Bioengineering
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • School of Dental Medicine
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 2007
    • Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico San Raffaele Pisana
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2003–2005
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1992–2002
    • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
      • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1997
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Biomedical Engineering
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 1994
    • The University of the Arts in Philadelphia
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1986–1991
    • Showa University
      • • Division of General Medicine
      • • School of Dentistry
      Shinagawa, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1988
    • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
      • Department of Oral Surgery
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan