J.G.P. Ferraz

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (49)316.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: During a course of colitis, production of the gaseous mediator hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is markedly up-regulated at sites of mucosal damage and contributes significantly to healing and resolution of inflammation. The signaling mechanisms through which H2S promotes resolution of colitis are unknown. We hypothesized that the beneficial effects of H2S in experimental colitis are mediated via stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α. The hapten dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid was used to induce colitis in rats and mice. This resulted in an elevated expression of the H2S-producing enzyme, cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), and HIF-1α at sites of mucosal ulceration, and the expression of these 2 enzymes followed a similar pattern throughout the course of colitis. This represented a functionally important relationship because the loss of CSE-derived H2S production led to decreased HIF-1α stabilization and exacerbation of colitis. Furthermore, application of an H2S-releasing molecule, diallyl disulfide (DADS), stabilized colonic HIF-1α expression, up-regulated hypoxia-responsive genes, and reduced the severity of disease during peak inflammation. Importantly, the ability of DADS to promote the resolution of colitis was abolished when coadministered with an inhibitor of HIF-1α in vivo (PX-478). DADS was also able to maintain HIF-1α expression at a later point in colitis, when HIF-1α levels would have normally returned to control levels, and to enhance resolution. Finally, we found that HIF-1α stabilization inhibited colonic H2S production and may represent a negative feedback mechanism to prevent prolonged HIF-1α stabilization. Our findings demonstrate an important link between H2S and HIF-1α in the resolution of inflammation and injury during colitis and provide mechanistic insights into the therapeutic value of H2S donors.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · The FASEB Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin B deficiencies, which can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia (Hhcy), are commonly reported in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and may be a causative underlying factor. However, the mechanism for this effect is not known. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gaseous mediator that promotes tissue repair and resolution of inflammation. In experimental colitis, a marked increase in colonic H2S synthesis drives ulcer healing and resolution of inflammation. Because H2S synthesis is in part dependent upon enzymes that require vitamin B-6 as a cofactor, we tested the hypothesis that Hhcy in rodent models would increase the susceptibility to colitis. In all three models tested, diet-induced Hhcy significantly exacerbated colitis. The usual elevation of colonic H2S synthesis after induction of colitis was absent in all three models of colitis. Administration of an H2S donor to Hhcy rats significantly decreased the severity of colitis. Compared with wild-type mice, interleukin (IL) 10-deficient mice on a normal diet had decreased levels of colonic H2S synthesis, a 40% increase in serum homocysteine, and a phenotype similar to wild-type mice with Hhcy. IL-10-deficient mice fed the vitamin B-deficient diet exhibited more severe colonic inflammation, but the normal elevation of colonic H2S synthesis was absent. Administration of IL-10 to the IL-10-deficient mice restored colonic H2S synthesis and significantly decreased serum homocysteine levels. These results suggest that the exacerbation of colitis in Hhcy is due in part to impaired colonic H2S synthesis. Moreover, IL-10 plays a novel role in promoting H2S production and homocysteine metabolism, which may have therapeutic value in conditions characterized by Hhcy.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. intestinalis, G. lamblia) infections are a leading cause of waterborne diarrheal disease that can also result in the development of postinfectious functional gastrointestinal disorders via mechanisms that remain unclear. Parasite numbers exceed 106 trophozoites per centimeter of gut at the height of an infection. Yet the intestinal mucosa of G. duodenalis-infected individuals is devoid of signs of overt inflammation. G. duodenalis infections can also occur concurrently with infections with other proinflammatory gastrointestinal pathogens. Little is known of whether and how this parasite can attenuate host inflammatory responses induced by other proinflammatory stimuli, such as a gastrointestinal pathogen. Identifying hitherto-unrecognized parasitic immunomodulatory pathways, the present studies demonstrated that G. duodenalis trophozoites attenuate secretion of the potent neutrophil chemoattractant interleukin-8 (CXCL8); these effects were observed in human small intestinal mucosal tissues and from intestinal epithelial monolayers, activated through administration of proinflammatory interleukin-1β or Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. This attenuation is caused by the secretion of G. duodenalis cathepsin B cysteine proteases that degrade CXCL8 posttranscriptionally. Furthermore, the degradation of CXCL8 via G. duodenalis cathepsin B cysteine proteases attenuates CXCL8-induced chemotaxis of human neutrophils. Taken together, these data demonstrate for the first time that G. duodenalis trophozoite cathepsins are capable of attenuating a component of their host's proinflammatory response induced by a separate proinflammatory stimulus.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Infection and immunity

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Apr 2014
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    Kyle L Flannigan · Jose G P Ferraz · Rui Wang · John L Wallace
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is produced throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and it contributes to maintenance of mucosal integrity, resolution of inflammation, and repair of damaged tissue. H2S synthesis is elevated in inflamed and damaged colonic tissue, but the enzymatic sources of that synthesis are not completely understood. In the present study, the contributions of three enzymatic pathways to colonic H2S synthesis were determined, with tissues taken from healthy rats and rats with colitis. The ability of the colonic tissue to inactivate H2S was also determined. Colonic tissue from rats with hapten-induced colitis produced significantly more H2S than tissue from healthy controls. The largest source of the H2S synthesis was the pathway involving cysteine amino transferase and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (an α-ketoglutarate-dependent pathway). Elevated H2S synthesis occurred specifically at sites of mucosal ulceration, and was not related to the extent of granulocyte infiltration into the tissue. Inactivation of H2S by colonic tissue occurred rapidly, and was significantly reduced at sites of mucosal ulceration. This correlated with a marked decrease in the expression of sulfide quinone reductase in these regions. Together, the increased production and decreased inactivation of H2S at sites of mucosal ulceration would result in higher H2S levels at these sites, which promotes of resolution of inflammation and repair of damaged tissue.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    J L Wallace · K L Flannigan · W McKnight · L Wang · J G P Ferraz · D Tuitt
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    ABSTRACT: Cannabis is widely used for treating a number of gastrointestinal ailments, but its use is associated with several adverse effects, particularly when the route of administration is via smoking. In the present study, we tested the effects (in rats) of a simple extract of medicinal cannabis (called "MFF") for its ability to promote resolution of colitis, to prevent gastric damage induced by naproxen, and to reduce gastric distention-induced visceral pain. Intracolonic, but not oral administration of MFF dose-dependently reduced the severity of hapten-induced colitis, an effect not reduced by pretreatment with antagonists of CB1 or CB2 receptors. Significant improvement of symptoms (diarrhea, weight loss) and healing of ulcerated tissue was evident with MFF treatment at doses that did not produce detectable urinary levels of 9-Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). MFF increased colonic hydrogen sulfide synthesis in healthy rats, but not in rats with colitis, and had no effect on colonic prostaglandin E2 synthesis. Orally, but not systemically administered MFF dose-dependently reduced the severity of naproxen-induced gastric damage, and a CB1 antagonist reversed this effect. MFF prevented gastric distention-induced visceral pain via a CB2-dependent mechanism. These results demonstrate that a simple extract of medicinal cannabis can significantly enhance resolution of inflammation and injury, as well as prevent injury, in the gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, different cannabinoid receptors were involved in some of the effects. MFF may serve as the basis for a simple preparation of cannabis that would produce beneficial effects in the GI tract with reduced systemic toxicity.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of physiology and pharmacology: an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society
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    W Elsheikh · K L Flannigan · W McKnight · J G P Ferraz · J L Wallace
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    ABSTRACT: Dextran sulfate sodium is widely used to induce colitis in rodents. Though given orally in drinking water, this agent is widely believed to produce injury through direct toxic effects on the epithelium, and it has been assumed to produce damage and inflammation only in the colon. Given the apparent toxic effects of dextran sodium sulfate on epithelial cells, its administration orally, and the anticoagulant properties of this agent, we hypothesized that significant damage and inflammation would be produced in regions of the digestive tract proximal to the colon. Groups of rats or mice received DSS (5%) in the drinking water for up to 7 days. Tissues were harvested at various time-points for blind evaluation of damage, and measurement of several markers of inflammation. In both rats and mice given DSS, significant damage and inflammation was produced in the stomach, small intestine and colon. Significant granulocyte infiltration was apparent in all tissues by day 3 of DSS ingestion. Bleeding was evident throughout the small intestine and colon. These studies clearly demonstrate that DSS, when administered orally in drinking water, produces a pan-gastroenteritis, rather than the damage and inflammation being limited to the colon. The damage and inflammation in the stomach and small intestine could contribute to changes in body weight, stool consistency and bleeding, all of which are commonly used as indices of severity of colitis. Beneficial or detrimental effects of therapeutic interventions could be attributable, at least in part, to modulation of injury and inflammation proximal to the colon.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of physiology and pharmacology: an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the relationship between primary afferent neurons, endothelin (ET) and the role of its receptors on ethanol-induced gastric damage in cirrhotic rats. Cirrhosis and portal hypertension were induced in rats by bile duct ligation (BDL) while controls had a sham operation. The association between ET and afferent neurons on the gastric mucosa was evaluated by capsaicin treatment in newborn rats, the use of ET agonists or antagonists, gastric ET-1 and -3 mRNA and synthetic capacity. Ethanol-induced damage was assessed using ex vivo gastric chamber experiments. Gastric blood flow was measured by laser-Doppler flowmetry. ET-3 and an ET(B) receptor antagonist significantly reduced the extent of ethanol-induced gastric damage in BDL rats. Gastric ET-1 and -3 levels were 30% higher in BDL rats compared to control rats. Capsaicin treatment restored the gastric resistance and blood flow responses to topical application of ethanol in BDL rats and ET-1 and -3 production to levels observed in controls. Our results suggest that the reduced resistance of the gastric mucosa of cirrhotic rats to ethanol-induced injury is a phenomenon modulated by ET through the ET(B) receptor and by sensory afferent neurons.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2012
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    ABSTRACT: One of the characteristics of an active episode of ulcerative colitis (UC) is the intense mucosal infiltration of leukocytes. The pro-resolution mediators Annexin-A1 (AnxA1) and lipoxin A(4) (LXA(4)) exert counter-regulatory effects on leukocyte recruitment, however to date, the dual/cumulative effects of these formyl peptide receptor-2 (FPR2/ALX) agonists in the context of human intestinal diseases are unclear. To define the contribution of these mediators, we measured their expression in biopsies from individuals with UC. Colonic mucosal biopsies were collected from two broad patient groups: healthy volunteers without ('Ctrl' n  = 20) or with a prior history of UC ('hx of UC' n = 5); individuals with UC experiencing active disease ('active' n = 8), or in medically-induced remission ('remission' n = 16). We assessed the mucosal expression of LXA(4), AnxA1, and the FPR2/ALX receptor in each patient group using a combination of fluorescence microscopy, biochemical and molecular analyses. Mucosal expression of LXA(4) was elevated exclusively in biopsies from individuals in remission (3-fold, P<0.05 vs. Ctrl). Moreover, in this same group we observed an upregulation of AnxA1 protein expression (2.5-fold increase vs. Ctrl, P<.01), concurrent with an increased level of macrophage infiltration, and an elevation in FPR2/ALX mRNA (7-fold increase vs. Ctrl, P<.05). Importantly, AnxA1 expression was not limited to cells infiltrating the lamina propria but was also detected in epithelial cells lining the intestinal crypts. Our results demonstrate a specific up-regulation of this pro-resolution circuit in individuals in remission from UC, and suggest a significant role for LXA(4) and AnxA1 in promoting mucosal homeostasis.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · May 2012 · Gastroenterology
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    John L Wallace · Jose G.P. Ferraz · Marcelo N Muscara
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulfide is emerging as an important mediator of many aspects of inflammation, and perhaps most importantly as a factor promoting the resolution of inflammation and repair of injury. RECENT ADVANCES: In the gastrointestinal tract, H(2)S has been shown to promote healing of ulcers and the resolution of mucosal inflammation. On the other hand, suppression of endogenous H(2)S synthesis impairs mucosal defense and leads to increased granulocyte infiltration. H(2)S has been exploited in the design of more effective and safe anti-inflammatory drugs. Enteric bacteria can be a significant source of H(2)S, which could affect mucosal integrity; indeed, luminal H(2)S can serve as an alternative to oxygen as a metabolic substrate for mitochondrial respiration in epithelial cells. Enterocytes and colonocytes thereby represent a "metabolic barrier" to the diffusion of bacteria-derived H(2)S into the subepithelial space. A compromise of this barrier could result in modulation of mucosal function and integrity by bacterial H(2)S. Improvements in methods for measurement of H(2)S and development of more selective inhibitors are crucial for gaining a better understanding of the pathophysiological importance of this mediator. Results from animal studies suggest that H(2)S-releasing agents are promising therapeutic agents for many indications, but these compounds need to be assessed in a clinical setting.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Antioxidants & Redox Signaling
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    James Cotton · Jose G. Ferraz · Paul L. Beck · Andre G. Buret

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Gastroenterology
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    John L Wallace · Jose G P Ferraz
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    ABSTRACT: Many gastrointestinal diseases remain poorly responsive to therapies, and even in the cases of conditions for which there are many effective drugs, there is still considerable room for improvement. This article is focused on drugs for digestive disorders that have entered the marketplace recently, or are expected to reach the marketplace within the next 1 to 2 years. Although advances have been made in understanding gastrointestinal motility, visceral pain, mucosal inflammation, and tissue repair, the major gastrointestinal diseases remain as significant therapeutic challenges.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Gastroenterology clinics of North America
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    Paula Rs Câmara · Gisele P Moi · José Geraldo P Ferraz · José Murilo R Zeitune
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the effect of sodium pentobarbitone (SP) or ketamine/xylazine (KX) anesthetics on acute gastric injury. Portal hypertension was induced by bile duct ligation (BDL) or portal vein stenosis (PVS). Ethanol (EtOH)-induced gastric damage was assessed using ex vivo gastric chamber experiments. Gastric blood flow (GBF) was also measured by laser doppler flowmetry. EtOH-induced gastric damage was reduced in BDL rats under KX anesthesia in comparison to those under SP anesthesia. GBF dysfunction in fasted BDL rats was partially restored under KX anesthesia. In contrast, in fasted PVS rats, EtOH-induced gastric damage was increased under KX anesthesia while GBF was reduced. The use of KX anesthesia in experimental procedures involving cirrhotic rats (but not those with pure portal hypertension) is preferable to SP anesthesia.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) experience unpredictable bouts of active inflammation and ulceration. Relatively little attention has been paid to the role of antiinflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of UC, although rodent studies suggest an important role of prostaglandin (PG) D(2) in the resolution of tissue injury and inflammation. The present study was performed to determine if colonic PGD(2) synthesis was altered in patients in remission from UC and if expression of the key enzymes and receptors related to PGD(2) was altered. During routine colon-cancer screening, colonic biopsies were obtained from healthy individuals, some of whom had been in remission from UC, without treatment, for >4 y. UC patients with active disease or in medically induced remission were also biopsied. Only patients with active UC exhibited elevated expression of several proinflammatory cytokines (TNFalpha and IFNgamma) and colonic PGE(2) synthesis. In contrast, colonic PGD(2) synthesis was only elevated ( approximately 3-fold) in the healthy individuals with a prior history of UC. This group also exhibited significantly elevated expression of DP1, the key receptor mediating the antiinflammatory actions of PGD(2). Expression of the synthetic enzymes cyclooxygenase-1, cyclooxygenase-2, and hematopoietic PGD synthase was not altered in the healthy individuals with a prior history of UC. These results show a marked up-regulation of synthesis of an antiinflammatory prostanoid and expression of its receptor, specifically in individuals in long-term remission from UC. This is consistent with animal studies showing the importance of PGD(2) in the induction and maintenance of remission from colitis.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) exerts several anti-inflammatory effects, accelerates the healing of experimental gastric ulcers, and can stimulate intestinal secretion. Little is known about H2S synthesis in the gastrointestinal tract. The aim of this study was to characterize H2S synthesis throughout the gastrointestinal tract. H2S synthesis in various gastrointestinal tissues of rats and mice was determined. The effects and selectivity of inhibitors of two key enzymes for H2S synthesis, cystathionine-gamma-lyase and cystathionine-beta-synthase, were examined. Cystathionine-gamma-lyase and cystathionine-beta-synthase expression was evaluated by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Cystathionine-gamma-lyase and cystathionine-beta-synthase expression in biopsies of human colon was also examined. H2S synthesis was variable throughout the gastrointestinal tract in parallel with variations in cystathionine-gamma-lyase and cystathionine-beta-synthase expression. The efficacy of cystathionine-beta-synthase and cystathionine-gamma-lyase inhibitors to reduce H2S synthesis in these tissues was also variable. Cystathionine-beta-synthase is the predominant source of H2S synthesis in the colon of rodents. Cystathionine-gamma-lyase and cystathionine-beta-synthase were also expressed in healthy human colon biopsies. The capacity for H2S synthesis varies throughout the rodent gastrointestinal tract, as does the distribution and contribution of the two key enzymes. Investigation of additional enzymatic sources of H2S and the development of more selective inhibitors are suggested.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Digestive and Liver Disease

  • No preview · Article · May 2009 · Gastroenterology

  • No preview · Article · May 2009 · Gastroenterology
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    Rafael F Perini · Paula R S Camara · Jose G P Ferraz
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    ABSTRACT: Portal hypertensive gastropathy (PHG) is often seen in patients with portal hypertension, and can lead to transfusion-dependent anemia as well as acute, life-threatening bleeding episodes. This Review focuses on the mechanisms that underlie the pathogenesis of PHG that provide reasonable grounds for the treatment of this condition, and ultimately enable translation of basic research into clinical practice. Increased portal pressure associated with cirrhosis and liver dysfunction is critical for the development of clinically significant PHG, and leads to impaired gastric mucosal defense mechanisms that render the stomach susceptible to mucosal injury. The use of pharmacological agents such as beta-blockers reduces the frequency of bleeding episodes in PHG. As a last resort, surgical decompression of the portal system, transjugular intrahepatic stent placement and liver transplantation can resolve this condition. Elimination of known risk factors for gastric injury such as alcohol, aspirin and traditional NSAIDs is critical. The role of Helicobacter pylori colonization of the gastric mucosa in PHG is not clear. Careful and critical interpretation of human and experimental data can be helpful to establish a rationale for the medical management of this important condition.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2009 · Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology &#38 Hepatology
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    ABSTRACT: Primary sensory afferent neurons modulate the hyperdynamic circulation in cirrhotic rats with portal hypertension. The stomach of cirrhotic rats is prone to damage induced by ethanol, a phenomenon associated with reduced gastric hyperemic response to acid-back diffusion. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of ablation of capsaicin-sensitive neurons and the tachykinin NK(1) receptor antagonist A5330 on the susceptibility of the portal hypertensive gastric mucosa to ethanol-induced injury and its effects on gastric cyclooxygenase (COX) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) mRNA expression. Capsaicin was administered to neonatal, male, Wistar rats and the animals were allowed to grow. Cirrhosis was then induced by bile duct ligation in adult rats while controls had sham operation. Ethanol-induced gastric damage was assessed using ex vivo gastric chamber experiments. Gastric blood flow was measured as well as COX/NOS mRNA expression. Topical application of ethanol produced significant gastric damage in cirrhotic rats compared to controls, which was reversed in capsaicin- and A5330-treated animals. Mean arterial and portal pressure was normalized in capsaicin-treated cirrhotic rats. Capsaicin and A5330 administration restored gastric blood flow responses to topical application of ethanol followed by acid in cirrhotic rats. Differential COX and NOS mRNA expression was noted in bile duct ligated rats relative to controls. Capsaicin treatment significantly modified gastric eNOS/iNOS/COX-2 mRNA expression in cirrhotic rats. Capsaicin-sensitive neurons modulate the susceptibility of the portal hypertensive gastric mucosa to injury induced by ethanol via tachykinin NK(1) receptors and signalling of prostaglandin and NO production/release.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · European Journal of Pharmacology

Publication Stats

1k Citations
316.15 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • McMaster University
      • Department of Medicine
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 1994-2014
    • The University of Calgary
      • • Section of Gastroenterology
      • • Gastrointestinal Research Group
      • • Faculty of Medicine
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 1998-2008
    • University of Campinas
      • • Faculty of Medical Sciences
      • • Departamento de Clínica Médica
      Conceição de Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
    • Queen Mary, University of London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • University of São Paulo
      San Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 2001
    • Clinical pharmacology of Miami
      Miami, Florida, United States