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Effects of dietary intervention and n-3 PUFA supplementation on markers of gut-related inflammation and their association with cardiovascular events in a high-risk population

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Background & aims: Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota is associated with increased levels of circulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and subsequent activation of systemic inflammation. Diet is an important modulator of the gut microbiome. We aimed to investigate whether circulating markers of gut-related inflammation, LPS binding protein (LBP) and soluble CD14 (sCD14) can be modulated by n-3 PUFA supplementation and/or diet counselling, and whether these markers are related to cardiovascular (CV) outcome. Methods: 484 men aged 65-75 years, at high CV-risk, were included and randomized in a 2 × 2 factorial design to 36-month intervention with dietary counselling, n-3 PUFA supplementation, or both. N-3 PUFA supplementation was placebo-controlled. ELISAs were used for determination of the biomarkers measured at baseline and study-end. A composite endpoint was defined as new CV-events and CV-mortality after 36 months. Results: There were no significant differences in changes of either LBP or sCD14 in the intervention groups compared to their respective controls (n-3 PUFA vs. placebo: p = 0.58, p = 0.15, diet vs. no-diet: p = 0.53, p = 0.59, respectively). The group with LBP levels above median had about 2-fold unadjusted risk of suffering an endpoint compared to the group below (HR 2.22, 95% CI 1.25-3.96; p = 0.01). A similar tendency was seen for sCD14 (HR 1.72, 95% CI 0.97-3.03; p = 0.06). After adjusting for covariates, LBP remained significantly associated with a two-fold CV-risk, whereas sCD14 gained statistical significance, however, lost when hsCRP was added to the model. Conclusions: In our population, markers of gut-related inflammation associated with 36-month CV outcome. However, neither n-3 PUFA nor diet intervention had an effect on these markers.

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The colon is inhabited by a dense population of microorganisms, the so-called “gut microbiota,” able to ferment carbohydrates and proteins that escape absorption in the small intestine during digestion. This microbiota produces a wide range of metabolites, including short chain fatty acids (SCFA). These compounds are absorbed in the large bowel and are defined as 1-6 carbon volatile fatty acids which can present straight or branched-chain conformation. Their production is influenced by the pattern of food intake and diet-mediated changes in the gut microbiota. SCFA have distinct physiological effects: they contribute to shaping the gut environment, influence the physiology of the colon, they can be used as energy sources by host cells and the intestinal microbiota and they also participate in different host-signaling mechanisms. We summarize the current knowledge about the production of SCFA, including bacterial cross-feedings interactions, and the biological properties of these metabolites with impact on the human health.
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The inflammatory nature of atherosclerosis is well established but the agent(s) that incite inflammation in the artery wall remain largely unknown. Germ-free animals are susceptible to atherosclerosis, suggesting that endogenous substances initiate the inflammation. Mature atherosclerotic lesions contain macroscopic deposits of cholesterol crystals in the necrotic core, but their appearance late in atherogenesis had been thought to disqualify them as primary inflammatory stimuli. However, using a new microscopic technique, we revealed that minute cholesterol crystals are present in early diet-induced atherosclerotic lesions and that their appearance in mice coincides with the first appearance of inflammatory cells. Other crystalline substances can induce inflammation by stimulating the caspase-1-activating NLRP3 (NALP3 or cryopyrin) inflammasome, which results in cleavage and secretion of interleukin (IL)-1 family cytokines. Here we show that cholesterol crystals activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in phagocytes in vitro in a process that involves phagolysosomal damage. Similarly, when injected intraperitoneally, cholesterol crystals induce acute inflammation, which is impaired in mice deficient in components of the NLRP3 inflammasome, cathepsin B, cathepsin L or IL-1 molecules. Moreover, when mice deficient in low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) were bone-marrow transplanted with NLRP3-deficient, ASC (also known as PYCARD)-deficient or IL-1alpha/beta-deficient bone marrow and fed on a high-cholesterol diet, they had markedly decreased early atherosclerosis and inflammasome-dependent IL-18 levels. Minimally modified LDL can lead to cholesterol crystallization concomitant with NLRP3 inflammasome priming and activation in macrophages. Although there is the possibility that oxidized LDL activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in vivo, our results demonstrate that crystalline cholesterol acts as an endogenous danger signal and its deposition in arteries or elsewhere is an early cause rather than a late consequence of inflammation. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and indicate new potential molecular targets for the therapy of this disease.
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Background: Statin therapy reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular events, but whether the addition of ezetimibe, a nonstatin drug that reduces intestinal cholesterol absorption, can reduce the rate of cardiovascular events further is not known. Methods: We conducted a double-blind, randomized trial involving 18,144 patients who had been hospitalized for an acute coronary syndrome within the preceding 10 days and had LDL cholesterol levels of 50 to 100 mg per deciliter (1.3 to 2.6 mmol per liter) if they were receiving lipid-lowering therapy or 50 to 125 mg per deciliter (1.3 to 3.2 mmol per liter) if they were not receiving lipid-lowering therapy. The combination of simvastatin (40 mg) and ezetimibe (10 mg) (simvastatin-ezetimibe) was compared with simvastatin (40 mg) and placebo (simvastatin monotherapy). The primary end point was a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, unstable angina requiring rehospitalization, coronary revascularization (≥30 days after randomization), or nonfatal stroke. The median follow-up was 6 years. Results: The median time-weighted average LDL cholesterol level during the study was 53.7 mg per deciliter (1.4 mmol per liter) in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group, as compared with 69.5 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) in the simvastatin-monotherapy group (P<0.001). The Kaplan-Meier event rate for the primary end point at 7 years was 32.7% in the simvastatin-ezetimibe group, as compared with 34.7% in the simvastatin-monotherapy group (absolute risk difference, 2.0 percentage points; hazard ratio, 0.936; 95% confidence interval, 0.89 to 0.99; P=0.016). Rates of prespecified muscle, gallbladder, and hepatic adverse effects and cancer were similar in the two groups. Conclusions: When added to statin therapy, ezetimibe resulted in incremental lowering of LDL cholesterol levels and improved cardiovascular outcomes. Moreover, lowering LDL cholesterol to levels below previous targets provided additional benefit. (Funded by Merck; IMPROVE-IT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00202878.).
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Systemic exposures to intestinal bacteria may play a role in the etiology of the chronic, low-grade inflammation that is associated with western diets. Production of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) is one biomarker of increased exposures to intestinal bacteria. This study evaluated whether changes in diet quality could affect serum LBP. This was a randomized, controlled trial of Mediterranean and Healthy Eating diets over 6 months in 120 healthy subjects at increased risk of colon cancer. Blood samples obtained before and after intervention were analyzed for LBP, branched-chain fatty acids characteristic of intestinal bacteria, micronutrients and cytokines. Data were analyzed for changes in LBP over time and for predictors of LBP. Serum concentrations of branched-chain bacterial fatty acids declined significantly in both diet groups. However, there was no significant change in mean serum LBP concentrations with either diet intervention. In serum, LBP was positively associated with CRP and negatively associated with carotenoids both before and after intervention. After intervention, LBP was predicted positively by both CRP and bacterial fatty acid concentrations in serum, and negatively by serum carotenoids and the ω3/ω6 fatty acid ratio. This model accounted for 30 % of the inter-individual variation in serum LBP after intervention. These results indicate that dietary intervention over 6 months was insufficient to alter serum LBP. The relationships with inflammation-related markers, however, indicate that anti-inflammatory strategies other than changes in diet quality, such as weight loss or improved fitness, may have more potential for reducing systemic markers of LPS exposures in well-nourished populations.
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The human gut harbours diverse and abundant microbes, forming a complex ecological system that interacts with host and environmental factors. In this article, we summarise recent advances in microbiome studies across both Western and non-Western populations, either in cross-sectional or longitudinal surveys, and over various age groups, revealing a considerable diversity and variability in the human gut microbiome. Of all the exogenous factors affecting gut microbiome, a long-term diet appears to have the largest effect to date. Recent research on the effects of dietary interventions has shown that the gut microbiome can change dramatically with diet; however, the gut microbiome is generally resilient, and short-term dietary intervention is not typically successful in treating obesity and malnutrition. Understanding the dynamics of the gut microbiome under different conditions will help us diagnose and treat many diseases that are now known to be associated with microbial communities.
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Recent findings have implicated the gut microbiota as a contributor of metabolic diseases through the modulation of host metabolism and inflammation. Atherosclerosis is associated with lipid accumulation and inflammation in the arterial wall, and bacteria have been suggested as a causative agent of this disease. Here we use shotgun sequencing of the gut metagenome to demonstrate that the genus Collinsella was enriched in patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis, defined as stenotic atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid artery leading to cerebrovascular events, whereas Roseburia and Eubacterium were enriched in healthy controls. Further characterization of the functional capacity of the metagenomes revealed that patient gut metagenomes were enriched in genes encoding peptidoglycan synthesis and depleted in phytoene dehydrogenase; patients also had reduced serum levels of β-carotene. Our findings suggest that the gut metagenome is associated with the inflammatory status of the host and patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis harbor characteristic changes in the gut metagenome.
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BACKGROUND #ENTITYSTARTX00026; While it is widely accepted that obesity is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation, the molecular origin of the inflammation remains unknown. Here, we investigated the effect of endotoxin-induced inflammation via TLR4 signaling pathway at both systemic and intestinal levels in response to a high-fat diet. C57BL/6J and TLR4-deficient C57BL/10ScNJ mice were maintained on a low-fat (10 kcal % fat) diet (LFD) or a high-fat (60 kcal % fat) diet (HFD) for 8 weeks. HFD induced macrophage infiltration and inflammation in the adipose tissue, as well as an increase in the circulating proinflammatory cytokines. HFD increased both plasma and fecal endotoxin levels and resulted in dysregulation of the gut microbiota by increasing the Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes ratio. HFD induced the growth of Enterobecteriaceae and the production of endotoxin in vitro. Furthermore, HFD induced colonic inflammation, including the increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines, the induction of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), iNOS, COX-2, and the activation of NF-κB in the colon. HFD reduced the expression of tight junction-associated proteins claudin-1 and occludin in the colon. HFD mice demonstrated higher levels of Akt and FOXO3 phosphorylation in the colon compared to the LFD mice. While the body weight of HFD-fed mice was significantly increased in both TLR4-deficient and wild type mice, the epididymal fat weight and plasma endotoxin level of HFD-fed TLR4-deficient mice were 69% and 18% of HFD-fed wild type mice, respectively. Furthermore, HFD did not increase the proinflammatory cytokine levels in TLR4-deficient mice. HFD induces inflammation by increasing endotoxin levels in the intestinal lumen as well as in the plasma by altering the gut microbiota composition and increasing its intestinal permeability through the induction of TLR4, thereby accelerating obesity.
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Membrane CD14 is involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced monocyte activation; it binds LPS, and antibodies against CD14 block the effects of low-dose LPS. It is unknown how LPS regulates its own receptor CD14 in vitro. Therefore, we investigated the effects of LPS on CD14 mRNA and membrane and soluble CD14 (mCD14 and sCD14, respectively) in human monocytes and macrophages. No changes were observed during the first 3 h of LPS stimulation. After 6 to 15 h, LPS weakly reduced CD14 mRNA and mCD14 and transiently enhanced sCD14 release. A 2-day incubation with LPS caused increases in the levels of CD14 mRNA (2-fold), mCD14 (2-fold), sCD14 (1.5-fold), and LPS-fluorescein isothiocyanate binding (1.5-fold); a 5-h incubation with LPS was sufficient to induce the late effects on mCD14 and sCD14. The maximal effect on mCD14 and sCD14 was reached with > or = 1 ng of LPS per ml; the proportional distribution of the two sCD14 isoforms was not modified by LPS. Besides rough and smooth LPS, lipid A, heat-killed Escherichia coli, lipoteichoic acid, and Staphylococcus aureus cell wall extract (10 micrograms/ml) caused similar increases of mCD14. The LPS effect was blocked by polymyxin B but not by anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha, anti-interleukin-6, anti-gamma interferon, and anti-LPS-binding protein. LPS-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha production was abolished after a second 4-h challenge. In contrast, the LPS-induced increases CD14 mRNA, mCD14, and sCD14 were stronger and appeared earlier after a second LPS challenge. In conclusion, CD14 is transcriptionally upregulated by LPS and other bacterial cell wall constituents.
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Acute-phase reactants (APRs) are proteins synthesized in the liver following induction by interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, and glucocorticoids, involving transcriptional gene activation. Lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) is a recently identified hepatic secretory protein potentially involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis, capable of binding the bacterial cell wall product endotoxin and directing it to its cellular receptor, CD14. In order to examine the transcriptional induction mechanisms by which the LBP gene is activated, we have investigated the regulation of expression of its mRNA in vitro and in vivo as well as the organization of 5' upstream regulatory DNA sequences. We show that induction of LBP expression is transcriptionally regulated and is dependent on stimulation with IL-1beta, IL-6, and dexamethasone. By definition, LBP thus has to be viewed as a class 1 acute-phase protein and represents the first APR identified which is capable of detecting pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, cloning of the LBP promoter revealed the presence of regulatory elements, including the common APR promoter motif APRE/STAT-3 (acute-phase response element/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3). Luciferase reporter gene assays utilizing LBP promoter truncation and point mutation variants indicated that transcriptional activation of the LBP gene required a functional APRE/STAT-3 binding site downstream of the transcription start site, as well as an AP-1 and a C/EBP (CCAAT enhancer-binding protein) binding site. Gel retardation and supershift assays confirmed that upon cytokine stimulation APRF/STAT-3 binds to its recognition site, leading to strong activation of the LBP gene. Unraveling of the mechanism of transcriptional activation of the LBP gene, involving three known transcription factors, may contribute to our understanding of the acute-phase response and the pathophysiology of sepsis and septic shock.
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Dietary factors and very-long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) may influence the atherothrombotic process. Elevated concentrations of circulating cell adhesion molecules, thrombomodulin (TM), von Willebrand factor (vWF), and tissue-type plasminogen activator antigen (tPAag) are related to atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease. The randomized Diet and Omega-3 Intervention Trial (DOIT) targeted a comparison of the effect of 3-y dietary counseling, n-3 PUFA supplementation (2.4 g/d), or both on circulating markers of endothelial activation. The study included 563 elderly men with long-standing hyperlipidemia. The men were randomly assigned by factorial design into 4 groups: control (no dietary counseling and placebo capsules), dietary counseling (and placebo capsules), n-3 PUFA supplementation (no dietary counseling), and dietary counseling and n-3 PUFA supplementation. Serum concentrations of fatty acids reflected good compliance. Dietary counseling was followed by significantly reduced concentrations of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1; P < 0.001), sTM (P = 0.004), and tPAag (P < 0.001) than in subjects without dietary counseling. After n-3 PUFA supplementation, significantly reduced concentrations of sICAM-1 (P < 0.001) and sTM (P = 0.006) were observed when compared with subjects receiving placebo capsules. An increase in tPAag was not significantly different from that observed in subjects receiving placebo capsules. For sICAM-1, a significant effect was observed for both interventions combined. Each intervention (dietary counseling or n-3 PUFA supplements) reduced sTM and sICAM-1 concentrations, indicating decreased endothelial activation. The tPAag increase in the groups not receiving dietary counseling (pooled), which indicates progression of atherosclerosis, was significantly counteracted by dietary counseling.
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Rationale: Several studies have suggested a role for the gut microbiota in inflammation and atherogenesis. A causal relation relationship between gut microbiota, inflammation, and atherosclerosis has not been explored previously. Objective: Here, we investigated whether a proinflammatory microbiota from Caspase1-/- ( Casp1-/-) mice accelerates atherogenesis in Ldlr-/- mice. Method and results: We treated female Ldlr-/- mice with antibiotics and subsequently transplanted them with fecal microbiota from Casp1-/- mice based on a cohousing approach. Autologous transplantation of fecal microbiota of Ldlr-/- mice served as control. Mice were cohoused for 8 or 13 weeks and fed chow or high-fat cholesterol-rich diet. Fecal samples were collected, and factors related to inflammation, metabolism, intestinal health, and atherosclerotic phenotypes were measured. Unweighted Unifrac distances of 16S rDNA (ribosomal DNA) sequences confirmed the introduction of the Casp1-/- and Ldlr-/- microbiota into Ldlr-/- mice (referred to as Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) or Ldlr-/-( Ldlr-/-) mice). Analysis of atherosclerotic lesion size in the aortic root demonstrated a significant 29% increase in plaque size in 13-week high-fat cholesterol-fed Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) mice compared with Ldlr-/-( Ldlr-/-) mice. We found increased numbers of circulating monocytes and neutrophils and elevated proinflammatory cytokine levels in plasma in high-fat cholesterol-fed Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) compared with Ldlr-/-( Ldlr-/-) mice. Neutrophil accumulation in the aortic root of Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) mice was enhanced compared with Ldlr-/-( Ldlr-/-) mice. 16S-rDNA-encoding sequence analysis in feces identified a significant reduction in the short-chain fatty acid-producing taxonomies Akkermansia, Christensenellaceae, Clostridium, and Odoribacter in Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) mice. Consistent with these findings, cumulative concentrations of the anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids propionate, acetate and butyrate in the cecum were significantly reduced in 13-week high-fat cholesterol-fed Ldlr-/-( Casp1-/-) compared with Ldlr-/-( Ldlr-/-) mice. Conclusions: Introduction of the proinflammatory Casp1-/- microbiota into Ldlr-/- mice enhances systemic inflammation and accelerates atherogenesis.
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The commensal gut microbiota is an environmental factor that was implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. The development of atherosclerotic lesions is largely influenced by the microbial-associated molecular patterns of the gut microbiota, but also by the metaorganismal trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) pathway. Recent studies have described a role for the gut microbiota in platelet activation and arterial thrombosis. This review article summarizes the results from gnotobiotic mouse models and clinical data that linked microbiota-induced pattern recognition receptor signaling with atherogenesis. Based on recent insights, we here provide an overview on how the gut microbiota could affect endothelial cell function and platelet activation, thus promoting arterial thrombosis.
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Importance Current guidelines advocate the use of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease and major vascular events in people with prior coronary heart disease, but large trials of omega-3 fatty acids have produced conflicting results. Objective To conduct a meta-analysis of all large trials assessing the associations of omega-3 fatty acid supplements with the risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease and major vascular events in the full study population and prespecified subgroups. Data Sources and Study Selection This meta-analysis included randomized trials that involved at least 500 participants and a treatment duration of at least 1 year and that assessed associations of omega-3 fatty acids with the risk of vascular events. Data Extraction and Synthesis Aggregated study-level data were obtained from 10 large randomized clinical trials. Rate ratios for each trial were synthesized using observed minus expected statistics and variances. Summary rate ratios were estimated by a fixed-effects meta-analysis using 95% confidence intervals for major diseases and 99% confidence intervals for all subgroups. Main Outcomes and Measures The main outcomes included fatal coronary heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, stroke, major vascular events, and all-cause mortality, as well as major vascular events in study population subgroups. Results Of the 77 917 high-risk individuals participating in the 10 trials, 47 803 (61.4%) were men, and the mean age at entry was 64.0 years; the trials lasted a mean of 4.4 years. The associations of treatment with outcomes were assessed on 6273 coronary heart disease events (2695 coronary heart disease deaths and 2276 nonfatal myocardial infarctions) and 12 001 major vascular events. Randomization to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (eicosapentaenoic acid dose range, 226-1800 mg/d) had no significant associations with coronary heart disease death (rate ratio [RR], 0.93; 99% CI, 0.83-1.03; P = .05), nonfatal myocardial infarction (RR, 0.97; 99% CI, 0.87-1.08; P = .43) or any coronary heart disease events (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.90-1.01; P = .12). Neither did randomization to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation have any significant associations with major vascular events (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.93-1.01; P = .10), overall or in any subgroups, including subgroups composed of persons with prior coronary heart disease, diabetes, lipid levels greater than a given cutoff level, or statin use. Conclusions and Relevance This meta-analysis demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids had no significant association with fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events. It provides no support for current recommendations for the use of such supplements in people with a history of coronary heart disease.
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The symbiotic gut microbiota play pivotal roles in host physiology and the development of cardiovascular diseases, but the microbiota-triggered pattern recognition signaling mechanisms that impact thrombosis are poorly defined. In this article, we show that germ-free (GF) and Toll-like receptor-2 (Tlr2)-deficient mice have reduced thrombus growth after carotid artery injury relative to conventionally raised controls. GF Tlr2 -/- and wild-type (WT) mice were indistinguishable, but colonization with microbiota restored a significant difference in thrombus growth between the genotypes. We identify reduced plasma levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) and reduced VWF synthesis, specifically in hepatic endothelial cells, as a critical factor that is regulated by gut microbiota and determines thrombus growth in Tlr2 -/- mice. Static platelet aggregate formation on extracellular matrix was similarly reduced in GF WT, Tlr2 -/- , and heterozygous Vwf +/- mice that are all characterized by a modest reduction in plasma VWF levels. Defective platelet matrix interaction can be restored by exposure to WT plasma or to purified VWF depending on the VWF integrin binding site. Moreover, administration of VWF rescues defective thrombus growth in Tlr2 -/- mice in vivo. These experiments delineate an unexpected pathway in which microbiota-triggered TLR2 signaling alters the synthesis of proadhesive VWF by the liver endothelium and favors platelet integrin-dependent thrombus growth.
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The effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on platelet aggregation is still controversial. We performed in vitro and ex vivo studies in controls and in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) to assess the effect of LPS on platelet activation (PA). LPS (15–100 pg/ml) significantly increased PA only if combined with sub-threshold concentrations (STC) of collagen or ADP; this effect was associated with increased platelet H2O2 production, Nox2 activation, PLA2 phosphorylation, thromboxane (Tx)A2 and 8-iso-PGF2α-III, and was inhibited by aspirin, TxA2 receptor antagonist or by Toll-like receptor 4 blocking peptide (TLR4bp). Analysis of up-stream signalling potentially responsible for Nox2 and PLA2 activation demonstrated that LPS-mediated PA was associated with phosphorylation of AKT, p38 and p47phox translocation. In 10 consecutive CAP patients serum endotoxins were significantly higher compared to 10 controls (145 [115–187] vs 18 [6–21] pg/ml; p<0.01). Ex vivo study showed that agonist-stimulated platelets were associated with enhanced PA (p<0.01), Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) expression (p<0.05), TxA2 (p<0.01) and 8-iso-PGF2α-III (p<0.01) production in CAP patients compared to controls. The study provides evidence that LPS amplifies the platelet response to common agonists via TLR4-mediated eicosanoid production and suggests LPS as a potential trigger for PA in CAP. Supplementary Material to this article is available online at www.thrombosis-online.com
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Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, binds Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-MD2 complex and activates innate immune responses. LPS transfer to TLR4-MD2 is catalyzed by both LPS binding protein (LBP) and CD14. To define the sequential molecular interactions underlying this transfer, we reconstituted in vitro the entire LPS transfer process from LPS micelles to TLR4-MD2. Using electron microscopy and single-molecule approaches, we characterized the dynamic intermediate complexes for LPS transfer: LBP-LPS micelles, CD14-LBP-LPS micelle, and CD14-LPS-TLR4-MD2 complex. A single LBP molecule bound longitudinally to LPS micelles catalyzed multi-rounds of LPS transfer to CD14s that rapidly dissociated from LPB-LPS complex upon LPS transfer via electrostatic interactions. Subsequently, the single LPS molecule bound to CD14 was transferred to TLR4-MD2 in a TLR4-dependent manner. The definition of the structural determinants of the LPS transfer cascade to TLR4 may enable the development of targeted therapeutics for intervention in LPS-induced sepsis.
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Atherosclerosis is a maladaptive, nonresolving chronic inflammatory disease that occurs at sites of blood flow disturbance. The disease usually remains silent until a breakdown of integrity at the arterial surface triggers the formation of a thrombus. By occluding the lumen, the thrombus or emboli detaching from it elicits ischaemic symptoms that may be life-threatening. Two types of surface damage can cause atherothrombosis: plaque rupture and endothelial erosion. Plaque rupture is thought to be caused by loss of mechanical stability, often due to reduced tensile strength of the collagen cap surrounding the plaque. Therefore, plaques with reduced collagen content are thought to be more vulnerable than those with a thick collagen cap. Endothelial erosion, on the other hand, may occur after injurious insults to the endothelium instigated by metabolic disturbance or immune insults. This review discusses the molecular mechanisms involved in plaque vulnerability and the development of atherothrombosis. © 2015 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Article
This review will examine the recent scientific literature surrounding high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced alterations in gut microbiota and subsequent development of obesity and chronic disease risk. Excessive consumption of HFDs has undoubtedly contributed to the obesity epidemic. The mechanisms responsible for this relationship are, however, likely to be more complex than the simple concept of energy balance. In fact, emerging literature has implicated HFD-induced alterations in gut microbiota in the obesity epidemic. HFD consumption generally leads to a decrease in Bacteroidetes and an increase in Firmicutes, alterations that have been associated with obesity and subsequent development of chronic diseases. Potential mechanisms for this effect include an improved capacity for energy harvest and storage, and enhanced gut permeability and inflammation. We highlight the most important recent advances linking HFD-induced dysbiosis to obesity, explore the possible mechanisms for this effect, examine the implications for disease development, and evaluate the possibility of therapeutic targeting of the gut microbiome to reduce obesity. A better understanding of the mechanisms linking HFD to alterations in gut microbiota is necessary to allow for the regulation of dysbiosis and ensuing promotion of antiobesity effects.
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CD14 plays a key role in the innate immunity as pattern-recognition receptor of endotoxin. Higher levels of soluble CD14 (sCD14) are associated with overall mortality in hemodialysis patients. The influence of kidney function on plasma sCD14 levels and its relationship with adverse outcomes in patients with CKD not yet on dialysis is unknown. This study examines the associations between plasma levels of sCD14 and endotoxin with adverse outcomes in patients with CKD. We measured plasma levels of sCD14 and endotoxin in 495 Leuven Mild-to-Moderate CKD Study participants. Mild-to-moderate CKD was defined as presence of kidney damage or eGFR<60 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) for ≥3 months, with exclusion of patients on RRT. Study participants were enrolled between November 2005 and September 2006. Plasma sCD14 was negatively associated with eGFR (ρ=-0.34, P<0.001). During a median follow-up of 54 (interquartile range, 23-58) months, 53 patients died. Plasma sCD14 was predictive of mortality, even after adjustment for renal function, Framingham risk factors, markers of mineral bone metabolism, and nutritional and inflammatory parameters (hazard ratio [HR] per SD higher of 1.90; 95% confidence interval [95% CI],1.32 to 2.74; P<0.001). After adjustment for the same risk factors, plasma sCD14 was also a predictor of cardiovascular disease (HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.69; P=0.05). Although plasma sCD14 was associated with progression of CKD, defined as reaching ESRD or doubling of serum creatinine in models adjusted for CKD-specific risk factors (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.52; P=0.04), significance was lost when adjusted for proteinuria (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.48; P=0.11). There was neither correlation between plasma endotoxin and sCD14 (ρ=-0.06, P=0.20) nor was endotoxin independently associated with adverse outcome during follow-up. Plasma sCD14 is elevated in patients with decreased kidney function and associated with mortality and cardiovascular disease in patients with CKD not yet on dialysis. Copyright © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.
Article
Objective: CD14 is a glycosylphosphotidylinositol-anchored membrane glycoprotein expressed on neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages that also circulates as a soluble form (sCD14). Despite the well-recognized role of CD14 in inflammation, relatively little is known about the genetic determinants of sCD14 or the relationship of sCD14 to vascular- and aging-related phenotypes. Methods and results: We measured baseline levels of sCD14 in >5000 European-American and black adults aged 65 years and older from the Cardiovascular Health Study, who were well characterized at baseline for atherosclerotic risk factors and subclinical cardiovascular disease, and who have been followed for clinical cardiovascular disease and mortality outcomes up to 20 years. At baseline, sCD14 generally showed strong positive correlations with traditional cardio-metabolic risk factors and with subclinical measures of vascular disease such as carotid wall thickness and ankle-brachial index (independently of traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors), and was also inversely correlated with body mass index. In genomewide association analyses of sCD14, we (1) confirmed the importance of the CD14 locus on chromosome 5q21 in European-American; (2) identified a novel African ancestry-specific allele of CD14 associated with lower sCD14 in blacks; and (3) identified a putative novel association in European-American of a nonsynonymous variant of PIGC, which encodes an enzyme required for the first step in glycosylphosphotidylinositol anchor biosynthesis. Finally, we show that, like other acute phase inflammatory biomarkers, sCD14 predicts incident cardiovascular disease, and strongly and independently predicts all-cause mortality in older adults. Conclusions: CD14 independently predicts risk mortality in older adults.
Article
Experimental work has elucidated molecular and cellular pathways of inflammation that promote atherosclerosis. Unraveling the roles of cytokines as inflammatory messengers provided a mechanism whereby risk factors for atherosclerosis can alter arterial biology, and produce a systemic milieu that favors atherothrombotic events. The discovery of the immune basis of allograft arteriosclerosis demonstrated that inflammation per se can drive arterial hyperplasia, even in the absence of traditional risk factors. Inflammation regulates aspects of plaque biology that trigger the thrombotic complications of atherosclerosis. Translation of these discoveries to humans has enabled both novel mechanistic insights and practical clinical advances.
Article
Alterations in intestinal microbiota are associated with obesity and insulin resistance. We studied the effects of infusing intestinal microbiota from lean donors to male recipients with metabolic syndrome on the recipients' microbiota composition and glucose metabolism. Subjects were assigned randomly to groups that were given small intestinal infusions of allogenic or autologous microbiota. Six weeks after infusion of microbiota from lean donors, insulin sensitivity of recipients increased (median rate of glucose disappearance changed from 26.2 to 45.3 μmol/kg/min; P < .05) along with levels of butyrate-producing intestinal microbiota. Intestinal microbiota might be developed as therapeutic agents to increase insulin sensitivity in humans; www.trialregister.nl; registered at the Dutch Trial Register (NTR1776).
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Atherosclerosis of coronary arteries is hallmarked by non-specific local inflammatory processes accompanied by a systemic response. Lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP) has been suggested to be associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) in a previous study without follow-up. LBP plasma levels were measured in 2959 participants of the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health (LURIC) cohort study referred to coronary angiography at baseline between 1997 and 2000. Median follow-up time was 8.0 years. Primary and secondary end points were cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, respectively. Multivariable adjusted logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate the role of LBP. Serum LBP concentration was significantly increased in 2298 patients with angiographically confirmed CAD compared to 661 individuals without coronary atherosclerosis (6.78 μg/mL (5.46-8.84) vs. 6.13 μg/mL (5.05-7.74), respectively; p<0.001). Moreover in multivariable logistic regression analyses, adjusted for established cardiovascular risk factors and markers of systemic inflammation, LBP was a significant and independent predictor of total and cardiovascular mortality (hazard ratio (HR) for all cause mortality: 1.43, 95% CI: 1.06-1.94, p=0.024; HR for cardiovascular mortality in the 4th quartile of LBP: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.06-2.27, p=0.025). The present results add information on LBP in CAD. The data underscore the potential importance of innate immune mechanisms for atherosclerosis. Further studies are needed to clarify the pathways between innate immune system activation and atherosclerosis.
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In atherosclerosis, the accumulation of apolipoprotein B-lipoproteins in the matrix beneath the endothelial cell layer of blood vessels leads to the recruitment of monocytes, the cells of the immune system that give rise to macrophages and dendritic cells. Macrophages derived from these recruited monocytes participate in a maladaptive, nonresolving inflammatory response that expands the subendothelial layer due to the accumulation of cells, lipid, and matrix. Some lesions subsequently form a necrotic core, triggering acute thrombotic vascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. This Review discusses the central roles of macrophages in each of these stages of disease pathogenesis.
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Leukocytes respond to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at nanogram per milliliter concentrations with secretion of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Excess secretion of TNF-alpha causes endotoxic shock, an often fatal complication of infection. LPS in the bloodstream rapidly binds to the serum protein, lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), and cellular responses to physiological levels of LPS are dependent on LBP. CD14, a differentiation antigen of monocytes, was found to bind complexes of LPS and LBP, and blockade of CD14 with monoclonal antibodies prevented synthesis of TNF-alpha by whole blood incubated with LPS. Thus, LPS may induce responses by interacting with a soluble binding protein in serum that then binds the cell surface protein CD14.
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Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays a central role in inflammation and tissue injury. However, epidemiological data evaluating the role of IL-6 in atherogenesis are sparse. In a prospective study involving 14 916 apparently healthy men, we measured baseline plasma concentration of IL-6 in 202 participants who subsequently developed myocardial infarction (MI) and in 202 study participants matched for age and smoking status who did not report vascular disease during a 6-year follow-up. Median concentrations of IL-6 at baseline were higher among men who subsequently had an MI than among those who did not (1.81 versus 1. 46 pg/mL; P=0.002). The risk of future MI increased with increasing quartiles of baseline IL-6 concentration (P for trend <0.001) such that men in the highest quartile at entry had a relative risk 2.3 times higher than those in the lowest quartile (95% CI 1.3 to 4.3, P=0.005); for each quartile increase in IL-6, there was a 38% increase in risk (P=0.001).This relationship remained significant after adjustment for other cardiovascular risk factors, was stable over long periods of follow-up, and was present in all low-risk subgroups, including nonsmokers. Although the strongest correlate of IL-6 in these data was C-reactive protein (r=0.43, P<0.001), the relationship of IL-6 with subsequent risk remained after control for this factor (P<0.001). In apparently healthy men, elevated levels of IL-6 are associated with increased risk of future MI. These data thus support a role for cytokine-mediated inflammation in the early stages of atherogenesis.
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Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. Its lesions are filled with immune cells that can orchestrate and effect inflammatory responses. In fact, the first lesions of atherosclerosis consist of macrophages and T cells. Unstable plaques are particularly rich in activated immune cells, suggesting that they may initiate plaque activation. We have seen a rapid increase in the understanding of the mechanisms that govern the recruitment, differentiation, and activation of immune cells in atherosclerosis. Experimental research has identified several candidate antigens, and there are encouraging data suggesting that immune modulation as well as immunization can reduce the progression of the disease. This review provides an overview of our current understanding of the role of immune mechanisms in atherosclerosis.
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The stimulation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces the release of critical proinflammatory cytokines that are necessary to activate potent immune responses. LPS/TLR4 signaling has been intensively studied in the past few years. Here we review molecules involved in TLR4-mediated signaling, including players that are involved in the negative regulation of this important pathway.
The role of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein in modulating the innate immune response.
  • Zweigner J.
  • Schumann R.R.
  • Weber J.R.
The role of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein in modulating the innate immune response
  • Zweigner