Excess nutrients and proinflammatory cytokines impart stresses on pancreatic islet β-cells that, if unchecked, can lead to cellular dysfunction and/or death. Among these stress-induced effects is loss of key β-cell transcriptional regulator mRNA and protein levels required for β-cell function. Previously, our lab and others reported that LIM-domain complexes comprised the LDB1 transcriptional co-regulator and Islet-1 (ISL1) transcription factor are required for islet β-cell development, maturation, and function. The LDB1:ISL1 complex directly occupies and regulates key β-cell genes, including MafA, Pdx1, and Slc2a2, to maintain β-cell identity and function. Given the importance of LDB1:ISL1 complexes, we hypothesized that LDB1 and/or ISL1 levels, like other transcriptional regulators, are sensitive to β-cell nutrient and cytokine stresses, likely contributing to β-cell (dys)function under various stimuli. We tested this by treating β-cell lines or primary mouse islets with elevating glucose concentrations, palmitate, or a cytokine cocktail of IL-1β, TNFα, and IFNγ. We indeed observed that LDB1 mRNA and/or protein levels were reduced upon palmitate and cytokine (cocktail or singly) incubation. Conversely, acute high glucose treatment of β-cells did not impair LDB1 or ISL1 levels, but increased LDB1:ISL1 interactions. These observations suggest that LDB1:ISL1 complex formation is sensitive to β-cell stresses and that targeting and/or stabilizing this complex may rescue lost β-cell gene expression to preserve cellular function.
Introduction A few studies have identified childhood animal exposure as associated with adiposity, but results are inconsistent and differ in timing. Methods We conducted an observational cohort study of children ages 4–8 in the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes [ECHO] study. The main exposure was having a dog in the home and/or regular contact with farm animals during the first year of life. Outcomes of interest were child BMI percentile (adjusted for gender and age) categorized as normal/underweight (<85th percentile), overweight (85th to <95th), and obese (≥95th), and percent fat mass (continuous). Associations were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression and multivariable linear regression, respectively, with and without multiple imputation. Results First-year animal exposure occurred in 245 of 770 (31.8%) children. Children with early animal exposure had 0.53 (95% CI: 0.28, 0.997) times the odds of being in the obese BMI category compared to those exposed to animals after controlling for covariates: maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, race/ethnicity, reported child activity level, receiving food assistance, age child began daycare (<1 year vs 1+), exclusively breastfed x6 months, and NICU admission (n = 721). Children with early animal exposure had, on average, 1.5% (95% CI: −3.0, −0.1) less fat mass than exposed children after adjustment for maternal BMI, race/ethnicity, activity, food assistance, breastfeeding, and maternal education (n = 548). Multiple imputation did not alter either result. Conclusion These results provide evidence that exposure to dogs or farm animals in the first year of life is associated with lower odds of obesity and lower percent fat mass in childhood.
The immune system in the large intestine is separated from commensal microbes and comparatively rare enteric pathogens by a monolayer of diverse epithelial cells overlaid with a compact and adherent inner mucus layer and a looser outer mucus layer. Microorganisms, collectively referred to as the mucus-associated (MA) microbiota, physically inhabit this mucus barrier, resulting in a dynamic and incessant dialog to maintain both spatial segregation and immune tolerance. Recent major findings reveal novel features of the crosstalk between the immune system and mucus-associated bacteria in health and disease, as well as disease-related peripheral immune signatures indicative of host responses to these organisms. In this brief review, we integrate these novel observations into our overall understanding of host-microbiota mutualism at the colonic mucosal border and speculate on the significance of this emerging knowledge for our understanding of the prevention, development, and progression of chronic intestinal inflammation.
Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by decreased expression of frataxin (FXN) protein. Previous studies have shown that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and single-stranded silencing RNAs can be used to increase expression of frataxin in cultured patient-derived cells. In this study, we investigate the potential for oligonucleotides to increase frataxin expression in a mouse model for FA. After confirming successful in vivo delivery of oligonucleotides using a benchmark gapmer targeting the nuclear noncoding RNA Malat1, we tested anti-FXN oligonucleotides designed to function by various mechanisms. None of these strategies yielded enhanced expression of FXN in the model mice. Our inability to translate activation of FXN expression from cell culture to mice may be due to inadequate potency of our compounds or differences in the molecular mechanisms governing FXN gene repression and activation in FA model mice.
Background Performance benchmarks for the management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have not been established. We used data from the IPF-PRO Registry, an observational registry of patients with IPF managed at sites across the US, to examine associations between the characteristics of the enrolling sites and patient outcomes. Methods An online survey was used to collect information on the resources, operations, and self-assessment practices of IPF-PRO Registry sites that enrolled ≥ 10 patients. Site variability in 1-year event rates of clinically relevant outcomes, including death, death or lung transplant, and hospitalization, was assessed. Models were adjusted for differences in patient case mix by adjusting for known predictors of each outcome. We assessed whether site-level heterogeneity existed for each patient-level outcome, and if so, we investigated potential drivers of the heterogeneity. Results All 27 sites that enrolled ≥ 10 patients returned the questionnaire. Most sites were actively following > 100 patients with IPF (70.4%), had a lung transplant program (66.7%), and had a dedicated ILD nurse leader (77.8%). Substantial heterogeneity was observed in the event rates of clinically relevant outcomes across the sites. After controlling for patient case mix, there were no outcomes for which the site variance component was significantly different from 0, but the p-value for hospitalization was 0.052. Starting/completing an ILD-related quality improvement project in the previous 2 years was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization (HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.44, 0.82]; p = 0.001). Conclusions Analyses of data from patients with IPF managed at sites across the US found no site-specific characteristics or practices that were significantly associated with clinically relevant outcomes after adjusting for patient case mix. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01915511. Registered 5 August 2013, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01915511
Background Leucine rich repeat kinase 2 ( LRRK2 ) and SNCA are genetically linked to late-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Aggregated α-synuclein pathologically defines PD. Recent studies identified elevated LRRK2 expression in pro-inflammatory CD16+ monocytes in idiopathic PD, as well as increased phosphorylation of the LRRK2 kinase substrate Rab10 in monocytes in some LRRK2 mutation carriers. Brain-engrafting pro-inflammatory monocytes have been implicated in dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD models. Here we examine how α-synuclein and LRRK2 interact in monocytes and subsequent neuroinflammatory responses. Methods Human and mouse monocytes were differentiated to distinct transcriptional states resembling macrophages, dendritic cells, or microglia, and exposed to well-characterized human or mouse α-synuclein fibrils. LRRK2 expression and LRRK2-dependent Rab10 phosphorylation were measured with monoclonal antibodies, and myeloid cell responses to α-synuclein fibrils in R1441C-Lrrk2 knock-in mice or G2019S-Lrrk2 BAC mice were evaluated by flow cytometry. Chemotaxis assays were performed with monocyte-derived macrophages stimulated with α-synuclein fibrils and microglia in Boyden chambers. Results α-synuclein fibrils robustly stimulate LRRK2 and Rab10 phosphorylation in human and mouse macrophages and dendritic-like cells. In these cells, α-synuclein fibrils stimulate LRRK2 through JAK-STAT activation and intrinsic LRRK2 kinase activity in a feed-forward pathway that upregulates phosphorylated Rab10. In contrast, LRRK2 expression and Rab10 phosphorylation are both suppressed in microglia-like cells that are otherwise highly responsive to α-synuclein fibrils. Corroborating these results, LRRK2 expression in the brain parenchyma occurs in pro-inflammatory monocytes infiltrating from the periphery, distinct from brain-resident microglia. Mice expressing pathogenic LRRK2 mutations G2019S or R1441C have increased numbers of infiltrating pro-inflammatory monocytes in acute response to α-synuclein fibrils. In primary cultured macrophages, LRRK2 kinase inhibition dampens α-synuclein fibril and microglia-stimulated chemotaxis. Conclusions Pathologic α-synuclein activates LRRK2 expression and kinase activity in monocytes and induces their recruitment to the brain. These results predict that LRRK2 kinase inhibition may attenuate damaging pro-inflammatory monocyte responses in the brain.
Background Unlike autosomal tumor suppressors, X-linked tumor suppressors can be inactivated by a single hit due to X-chromosome inactivation (XCI). Here, we argue that targeted reactivation of the non-mutated allele from XCI offers a potential therapy for female breast cancers. Methods Towards this goal, we developed a dual CRISPR interference and activation (CRISPRi/a) approach for simultaneously silencing and reactivating multiple X-linked genes using two orthogonal, nuclease-deficient CRISPR/Cas9 (dCas9) proteins. Results Using Streptococcus pyogenes dCas9-KRAB for silencing XIST and Staphylococcus aureus dCas9-VPR for activating FOXP3 , we achieved CRISPR activation of FOXP3 in various cell lines of human female breast cancers. In human breast cancer HCC202 cells, which express a synonymous heterozygous mutation in the coding region of FOXP3 , simultaneous silencing of XIST from XCI led to enhanced and prolonged FOXP3 activation. Also, reactivation of endogenous FOXP3 in breast cancer cells by CRISPRi/a inhibited tumor growth in vitro and in vivo . We further optimized CRISPRa by fusing dCas9 to the demethylase TET1 and observed enhanced FOXP3 activation. Analysis of the conserved CpG-rich region of FOXP3 intron 1 confirmed that CRISPRi/a-mediated simultaneous FOXP3 activation and XIST silencing were accompanied by elevated H4 acetylation, including H4K5ac, H4K8ac, and H4K16ac, and H3K4me3 and lower DNA methylation. This indicates that CRISPRi/a targeting to XIST and FOXP3 loci alters their transcription and their nearby epigenetic modifications. Conclusions The simultaneous activation and repression of the X-linked, endogenous FOXP3 and XIST from XCI offers a useful research tool and a potential therapeutic for female breast cancers.
Background Dialysis access-associated steal syndrome (DASS) is an infrequent complication after hemodialysis access creation. Clinical symptoms depend on the degree of steal. Percutaneous arteriovenous fistula creation offers a minimally invasive alternative to surgical creation, though complications have been reported. The following presents the first described case of DASS after percutaneous endovascular arteriovenous fistula creation, and discusses risk factors and management. Case Presentation Our case is that of a 27-year-old male with end stage renal disease due to congenital renal dysplasia, who underwent left percutaneous arteriovenous fistula creation for initiation of dialysis. Two months after the procedure the patient complained of coldness, pain, tingling, and numbness in the left arm during dialysis, concerning for steal syndrome. The patient subsequently underwent brachial artery angiogram, which showed minimal antegrade flow through the ulnar and interosseous arteries towards the hand, and a focal, severe stenosis in the distal ulnar artery. Angioplasty of the stenosis was performed, though steal symptoms continued. Conclusions DASS, though rare, can be seen with percutaneous arteriovenous fistula creation. Identification of the risk factors prior to creation can help avoid this complication. Management is largely guided by clinical presentation. As long as there is adequate collateral supply to the extremity, single vessel occlusion is not a contraindication to percutaneous arteriovenous fistula creation with the use of WavelinQ technology. Careful patient selection with pre-creation angiogram may reduce the risk of symptomatic steal.
The accumulation of neurotoxic proteins characteristic of age-related neurodegenerative pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases is associated with the perturbation of metabolism, bioenergetics, and mitochondrial quality control. One approach to exploit these interactions therapeutically is to target the pathways that regulate metabolism. In this respect, the nutrient-sensing hexosamine biosynthesis pathway is of particular interest since it introduces a protein post-translational modification known as O-GlcNAcylation, which modifies different proteins in control versus neurodegenerative disease postmortem brains. A potent inhibitor of the O-GlcNAcase enzyme that removes the modification from proteins, Thiamet G (TG), has been proposed to have potential benefits in Alzheimer’s disease. We tested whether key factors in the O-GlcNAcylation are correlated with mitochondrial electron transport and proteins related to the autophagy/lysosomal pathways in the cortex of male and female mice with and without exposure to TG (10 mg/kg i.p.). Mitochondrial complex activities were measured in the protein homogenates, and a panel of metabolic, autophagy/lysosomal proteins and O-GlcNAcylation enzymes were assessed by either enzyme activity assay or by western blot analysis. We found that the networks associated with O-GlcNAcylation enzymes and activities with mitochondrial parameters, autophagy-related proteins as well as neurodegenerative disease-related proteins exhibited sex and TG dependent differences. Taken together, these studies provide a framework of interconnectivity for multiple O-GlcNAc-dependent pathways in mouse brain of relevance to aging and sex/age-dependent neurodegenerative pathogenesis and response to potential therapies.
Background Anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery (ALCAPA) is a rare congenital anomaly that typically presents within the first year of life but can also sporadically present in adults. ALCAPA, if left untreated, can lead to coronary ischemia and sudden death. Case presentation We present the case of a 32-year-old male with ALCAPA with ischemic cardiomyopathy and the anomalous left main coronary originating from the non-facing sinus of the pulmonary artery (PA). A posterior reimplantation of the anomalous coronary artery was accomplished with a modified Cabrol technique using synthetic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) graft. Conclusions A posterior re-implantation technique using a modified Cabrol graft, in cases where length of the native button is challenging, has excellent outcomes for this rather rare and challenging clinical entity.
Background The pathoanatomic cause of chronic low back pain (cLBP) cannot be identified for up to 90% of individuals. However, dysfunctional processing of endogenous nociceptive input, measured as conditioned pain modulation (CPM), has been associated with cLBP and may involve changes in neuronal gene expression. Epigenetic-induced changes such as DNA methylation (DNAm) have been associated with cLBP. Methods In the present study, the relationship between CPM and DNAm changes in a sample of community-dwelling adults with nonspecific cLBP ( n = 48) and pain-free controls (PFC; n = 50) was examined using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing. Gene ontology (GO) term enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis were applied to identify key pathways involved in efficient versus deficient CPM. Results Based on CPM efficiency, we identified 6006 and 18,305 differentially methylated CpG sites (DMCs) with q values < 0.01 among individuals with cLBP and PFCs, respectively. Most of the DMCs were hypomethylated and annotated to genes of relevance to pain, including OPRM1 , ADRB2 , CACNA2D3 , GNA12 , LPL , NAXD , and ASPHD1 . In both cLBP and PFC groups, the DMCs annotated genes enriched many GO terms relevant to pain processing, including transcription regulation by RNA polymerase II, nervous system development, generation of neurons, neuron differentiation, and neurogenesis. Both groups also enriched the pathways involved in Rap1-signaling, cancer, and dopaminergic neurogenesis. However, MAPK-Ras signaling pathways were enriched in the cLBP, not the PFC group. Conclusions This is the first study to investigate the genome-scale DNA methylation profiles of CPM phenotype in adults with cLBP and PFCs. Based on CPM efficiency, fewer DMC enrichment pathways were unique to the cLBP than the PFCs group. Our results suggest that epigenetically induced modification of neuronal development/differentiation pathways may affect CPM efficiency, suggesting novel potential therapeutic targets for central sensitization. However, CPM efficiency and the experience of nonspecific cLBP may be independent. Further mechanistic studies are required to confirm the relationship between CPM, central sensitization, and nonspecific cLBP.
Background Symptoms in patients with advanced cancer are often inadequately captured during encounters with the healthcare team. Emerging evidence demonstrates that weekly electronic home-based patient-reported symptom monitoring with automated alerts to clinicians reduces healthcare utilization, improves health-related quality of life, and lengthens survival. However, oncology practices have lagged in adopting remote symptom monitoring into routine practice, where specific patient populations may have unique barriers. One approach to overcoming barriers is utilizing resources from value-based payment models, such as patient navigators who are ideally positioned to assume a leadership role in remote symptom monitoring implementation. This implementation approach has not been tested in standard of care, and thus optimal implementation strategies are needed for large-scale roll-out. Methods This hybrid type 2 study design evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of remote symptom monitoring for all patients and for diverse populations in two Southern academic medical centers from 2021 to 2026. This study will utilize a pragmatic approach, evaluating real-world data collected during routine care for quantitative implementation and patient outcomes. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) will be used to conduct a qualitative evaluation at key time points to assess barriers and facilitators, implementation strategies, fidelity to implementation strategies, and perceived utility of these strategies. We will use a mixed-methods approach for data interpretation to finalize a formal implementation blueprint. Discussion This pragmatic evaluation of real-world implementation of remote symptom monitoring will generate a blueprint for future efforts to scale interventions across health systems with diverse patient populations within value-based healthcare models. Trial registration NCT04809740 ; date of registration 3/22/2021.
Background Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder most often related to a pathogenic variant in the X-linked MECP2 gene. Internalizing behaviors appear to be common, but standard methods of diagnosing anxiety are not readily applied in this population which typically has cognitive impairment and limited expressive language. This study aims to describe the frequency of anxiety-like behavior and anxiolytic treatments along with associated clinical features in individuals with RTT. Methods Parental reports and medication logs provided data from 1380 females with RTT participating in two iterations of the multicenter U.S. RTT Natural History Study (RNHS) from 2006 to 2019. Results Most participants with RTT (77.5%) had at least occasional anxious or nervous behavior. Anxiety was reported to be the most troublesome concern for 2.6%, and within the top 3 concerns for 10.0%, of participants in the second iteration. Parents directly reported treatment for anxious or nervous behavior in 16.6% of participants in the second iteration with most reporting good control of the behavior (71.6%). In the medication logs of both RNHS iterations, the indication of anxiety was listed for a similar number of participants (15% and 14.5%, respectively). Increased use of anxiolytics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was related to more frequent anxiety-like behaviors (P < 0.001), older age (P < 0.001), and mild MECP2 variants (P = 0.002). Conclusion Anxiety-like behavior is frequent at all ages and is a significant parental concern in RTT. Older individuals and those with mild MECP2 variants are more likely to be treated with medications. Better diagnosis and treatment of anxiety in RTT should be a goal of both future studies and clinical care. Trial registration NCT00299312 and NCT02738281
Background Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with a severe decline in kidney function caused by abnormalities within the podocytes' glomerular matrix. Recently, AKI has been linked to alterations in glycolysis and the activity of glycolytic enzymes, including pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2). However, the contribution of this enzyme to AKI remains largely unexplored. Methods Cre-loxP technology was used to examine the effects of PKM2 specific deletion in podocytes on the activation status of key signaling pathways involved in the pathophysiology of AKI by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In addition, we used lentiviral shRNA to generate murine podocytes deficient in PKM2 and investigated the molecular mechanisms mediating PKM2 actions in vitro. Results Specific PKM2 deletion in podocytes ameliorated LPS-induced protein excretion and alleviated LPS-induced alterations in blood urea nitrogen and serum albumin levels. In addition, PKM2 deletion in podocytes alleviated LPS-induced structural and morphological alterations to the tubules and to the brush borders. At the molecular level, PKM2 deficiency in podocytes suppressed LPS-induced inflammation and apoptosis. In vitro, PKM2 knockdown in murine podocytes diminished LPS-induced apoptosis. These effects were concomitant with a reduction in LPS-induced activation of β-catenin and the loss of Wilms’ Tumor 1 (WT1) and nephrin. Notably, the overexpression of a constitutively active mutant of β-catenin abolished the protective effect of PKM2 knockdown. Conversely, PKM2 knockdown cells reconstituted with the phosphotyrosine binding–deficient PKM2 mutant (K433E) recapitulated the effect of PKM2 depletion on LPS-induced apoptosis, β-catenin activation, and reduction in WT1 expression. Conclusions Taken together, our data demonstrates that PKM2 plays a key role in podocyte injury and suggests that targetting PKM2 in podocytes could serve as a promising therapeutic strategy for AKI. Trial registration Not applicable.
Background Transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR amyloidosis) is a rare, life-threatening disease caused by the accumulation of variant or wild-type (ATTRwt amyloidosis) transthyretin amyloid fibrils in the heart, peripheral nerves, and other tissues and organs. Methods Established in 2007, the Transthyretin Amyloidosis Outcomes Survey (THAOS) is the largest ongoing, global, longitudinal observational study of patients with ATTR amyloidosis, including both inherited and wild-type disease, and asymptomatic carriers of pathogenic TTR mutations. This descriptive analysis examines baseline characteristics of symptomatic patients and asymptomatic gene carriers enrolled in THAOS since its inception in 2007 (data cutoff: August 1, 2021). Results This analysis included 3779 symptomatic patients and 1830 asymptomatic gene carriers. Symptomatic patients were predominantly male (71.4%) and had a mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of symptom onset of 56.3 (17.8) years. Val30Met was the most common genotype in symptomatic patients in South America (80.9%), Europe (55.4%), and Asia (50.5%), and more patients had early- versus late-onset disease in these regions. The majority of symptomatic patients in North America (58.8%) had ATTRwt amyloidosis. The overall distribution of phenotypes in symptomatic patients was predominantly cardiac (40.7%), predominantly neurologic (40.1%), mixed (16.6%), and no phenotype (2.5%). In asymptomatic gene carriers, mean (SD) age at enrollment was 42.4 (15.7) years, 42.4% were male, and 73.2% carried the Val30Met mutation. Conclusions This 14-year global overview of THAOS in over 5000 patients represents the largest analysis of ATTR amyloidosis to date and highlights the genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity of the disease. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier : NCT00628745.
Objective Long INterspersed Element-1 (L1) is an autonomous transposable element in the genome. L1 transcripts that are not reverse transcribed back into the genome can accumulate in the cytoplasm and activate an inflammatory response via the cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAS)-STING pathway. We examined skeletal muscle L1 markers as well as STING protein levels in 10 older individuals (63 ± 11 y, BMI = 30.2 ± 6.8 kg/m ² ) with end-stage osteoarthritis (OA) undergoing total hip (THA, n = 4) or knee (TKA, n = 6) arthroplasty versus 10 young, healthy comparators (Y, 22 ± 2 y, BMI = 23.2 ± 2.5 kg/m ² ). For OA, muscle was collected from surgical (SX) and contralateral (CTL) sides whereas single vastus lateralis samples were collected from Y. Results L1 mRNA was higher in CTL and SX compared to Y (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively). Protein expression was higher in SX versus Y for ORF1p (p = 0.002) and STING (p = 0.022). While these data are preliminary due to limited n-sizes and the lack of a BMI-matched younger control group, higher L1 mRNA expression, ORF1p and STING protein are evident in older versus younger adults. More research is needed to determine whether cGAS-STING signaling contributes to heightened muscle inflammation during aging and/or OA.
Previous immunohistochemical studies have shown the expression of KCNQ2 channels at nodes of Ranvier (NRs) of myelinated nerves. However, functions of these channels at NRs remain elusive. In the present study, we addressed this issue by directly applying whole-cell patch-clamp recordings at NRs of rat lumbar spinal ventral nerves in ex vivo preparations. We show that depolarizing voltages evoke large non-inactivating outward currents at NRs, which are partially inhibited by KCNQ channel blocker linopirdine and potentiated by KCNQ channel activator retigabine. Furthermore, linopirdine significantly alters intrinsic electrophysiological properties of NRs to depolarize resting membrane potential, increase input resistance, prolong AP width, reduce AP threshold, and decrease AP amplitude. On the other hand, retigabine significantly decreases input resistance and increases AP rheobase at NRs. Moreover, linopirdine increases excitability at NRs by converting single AP firing into multiple AP firing at many NRs. Saltatory conduction velocity is significantly reduced by retigabine, and AP success rate at high stimulation frequency is significantly increased by linopirdine. Collectively, KCNQ2 channels play a significant role in regulating intrinsic electrophysiological properties and saltatory conduction at NRs of motor nerve fibers of rats. These findings may provide insights into how the loss-of-function mutation in KCNQ2 channels can lead to neuromuscular disorders in human patients.
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