- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmune activation and deregulated apoptosis of T lymphocytes are involved in multiple sclerosis (MS). c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) plays a role in T-cell survival and apoptosis. The aim of this work was to investigate the role of the JNK-dependent apoptosis pathway in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). The immunomodulatory effect of AS602801, a JNK inhibitor, was firstly evaluated on activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy volunteers (HVs) and secondly in unstimulated purified CD4+, CD8+ and CD11b+ cells from RRMS patients and HVs. Moreover JNK/inflammation/apoptosis related genes were investigated in RRMS and HV samples. In activated PBMCs from HVs, we showed that AS602801 blocked T-lymphocyte proliferation and induced apoptosis. In RRMS CD4+ and CD8+ cells, AS602801 induced apoptosis genes and expression of surface markers, while in RRMS CD11b+ cells it induced expression of innate immunity receptors and co-stimulatory molecules. Untreated cells from RRMS active-phase patients significantly released interleukin-23 (IL-23) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and expressed less apoptosis markers compared to the cells of HVs. Moreover, gene expression was significantly different in cells from RRMS active-phase patients vs. HVs. By comparing RRMS PBMCs in the active and stable phases, a specific genomic signature for RRMS was indentified. Additionally, CASP8AP2, CD36, ITGAL, NUMB, OLR1, PIAS-1, RNASEL, RTN4RL2 and THBS1 were identified for the first time as being associated to the active phase of RRMS. The analysis of the JNK-dependent apoptosis pathway can provide biomarkers for activated lymphocytes in the active phase of RRMS and a gene expression signature for disease status. The reported results might be useful to stratify patients, thereby supporting the development of novel therapies.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe novel, cell-permeable, and bioavailable salicylic acid derivatives that are potent and selective inhibitors of GLEPP1/protein-tyrosine phosphatase ϕ. Two previously described GLEPP1 substrates, paxillin and Syk, are both required for cytoskeletal rearrangement and cellular motility of leukocytes in chemotaxis. We show here that GLEPP1 inhibitors prevent dephosphorylation of Syk1 and paxillin in resting cells and block primary human monocyte and mouse bone marrow-derived macrophage chemotaxis in a gradient of monocyte chemotactic protein-1. In mice, the GLEPP1 inhibitors also reduce thioglycolate-induced peritoneal chemotaxis of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages. In murine disease models, the GLEPP1 inhibitors significantly reduce severity of contact hypersensitivity, a model for allergic dermatitis, and dextran sulfate sodium-induced ulcerative colitis, a model for inflammatory bowel disease. Taken together, our data provide confirmation that GLEPP1 plays an important role in controlling chemotaxis of multiple types of leukocytes and that pharmacological inhibition of this phosphatase may have therapeutic use.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukocyte trafficking to inflammatory sites is a gradual process, which is dominated in its early phases by chemokine- and cytokine-mediated neutrophil recruitment. The chemokine regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) has been shown to be highly expressed in the joints of patient with rheumatoid arthritis and to promote leukocyte trafficking into the synovial tissue. In this study, we investigated the effect of RANTES in a murine model of peritoneal chemotaxis, and we found that RANTES dose-dependently induces neutrophil recruitment. Then, through morphological and histological analyses, we observed that activated neutrophils represent the major infiltrating population in response to RANTES chemotactic stimulus. Furthermore, we demonstrated that oral administration of either nonisoform-specific phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 (morpholin-4-yl-8-phenylchromen-4-one) or selective PI3Kgamma inhibitor AS041164 (5-benzo[1,3]dioxol-5-ylmethylene-thiazolidine-2,4-dione) blocks RANTES-induced chemotaxis and reduces the level of AKT phosphorylation. Because the two compounds showed a similar pharmacokinetic profile in terms of bioavailability and half-life after oral route administration, the selective inhibition of the PI3Kgamma-isoform pathway through AS041164 was three times more potent in reducing neutrophil recruitment. Finally, to confirm the blockade of neutrophil infiltration that occurs in the early phase of the inflammatory response, AS041164 was also tested in a model of carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats. Therefore, the PI3Kgamma pathway plays an important role in controlling neutrophil chemotaxis during early steps of inflammation.
Conference Paper: JNK inhibition as potential treatment for multiple sclerosis
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a natural inhibitor of angiogenesis, acts directly on endothelial cells (EC) via CD36 to inhibit their migration and morphogenesis induced by basic fibroblast growth factor. Here we show that CD36 triggered by TSP-1 inhibits in vitro angiogenesis stimulated by vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). To demonstrate that the TSP-1 inhibitory signal was mediated by CD36, we transduced CD36 in CD36-deficient endothelial cells. Both TSP-1 and the agonist anti-CD36 mAb SMO, which mimics TSP-1 activity, reduced the VEGF-A165-induced migration and sprouting of CD36-ECs. To address the mechanisms by which CD36 may exert its angiostatic function, we investigated the functional components of the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail by site-directed mutagenesis. Our results indicate that C464, R467, and K469 of CD36 are required for the inhibitory activity of TSP-1. In contrast, point mutation of C466 did not alter TSP-1 ability to inhibit EC migration and sprouting. Moreover, we show that activation of CD36 by TSP-1 down-modulates the VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and p38 mitogen-associated protein kinase phosphorylation induced by VEGF-A165, and this effect was specifically abolished by point mutation at C464. These results identify specific amino acids of the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of CD36 crucial for the in vitro angiostatic activity of TSP-1 and extend our knowledge of regulation of VEGFR-2-mediated biological activities on ECs.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3K) have long been considered promising drug targets for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders as well as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. But the lack of specificity, isoform selectivity and poor biopharmaceutical profile of PI3K inhibitors have so far hampered rigorous disease-relevant target validation. Here we describe the identification and development of specific, selective and orally active small-molecule inhibitors of PI3Kgamma (encoded by Pik3cg). We show that Pik3cg(-/-) mice are largely protected in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis; this protection correlates with defective neutrophil migration, further validating PI3Kgamma as a therapeutic target. We also describe that oral treatment with a PI3Kgamma inhibitor suppresses the progression of joint inflammation and damage in two distinct mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis, reproducing the protective effects shown by Pik3cg(-/-) mice. Our results identify selective PI3Kgamma inhibitors as potential therapeutic molecules for the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myocardial ischemia/reperfusion is associated with inflammation, apoptosis and necrosis. During this process, c-jun N-terminal kinase is activated in cardiac myocytes resulting in apoptosis. This study investigates the effects of AS601245, a nonpeptide ATP competitive JNK inhibitor, on infarct size caused by myocardial ischemia/reperfusion in anaesthetized rats. The left descending coronary artery of anaesthetized rats was occluded for 30 min and then reperfused for 3 h. AS601245 was administered 5 min before the end of the ischemia period as an i.v. bolus (1.5, 4.5 or 15 mg kg−1 i.v.) followed by continuous i.v. infusion (18, 55 and 183 μg kg−1 min−1, respectively) during reperfusion. Controls received saline only. 3-Aminobenzamide, a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor, was used as reference compound at 10 mg kg−1 i.v. bolus plus 0.17 mg kg−1 min−1 continuous infusion. AS601245 significantly reduced infarct size at 4.5 mg kg−1 (−44%; P<0.001) and 15 mg kg−1 i.v. (−40.3%; P<0.001) similarly to 3-aminobenzamide (−44.2%; P<0.001). This protective effect was obtained without affecting hemodinamics or reducing ST-segment displacement. The beneficial effects on infarct size correlated well with the reduction of c-jun phosphorylation (−85%; P<0.001 versus control) and of TUNEL-positive cells (−82.1%; P<0.001) in post-ischemic cardiomyocytes. No change in the phosphorylation state of p38 MAPK and ERK in post-ischemic heart was observed in the presence of AS601245 in comparison to the vehicle-treated group. These results demonstrate that blocking the JNK pathway may represent a novel therapeutic approach for treating myocardial ischemia/reperfusion-induced cardiomyocyte death. British Journal of Pharmacology (2004) 142, 953–960. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0705873
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected RBC (IRBC) to postcapillary venular endothelium is an important determinant of the pathogenesis of severe malaria complications. Cytoadherence of IRBC to endothelial cells involves specific receptor/ligand interactions. The glycoprotein CD36 expressed on endothelial cells is the major receptor involved in this interaction. Treatment of CD36-expressing cells with reducing agents, such as DTT and N-acetylcysteine, was followed by CD36 conformational change monitorable by the appearance of the Mo91 mAb epitope. Only a fraction of the surface expressed CD36 molecules became Mo91 positive, suggesting the presence of two subpopulations of molecules with different sensitivities to reduction. The Mo91 epitope has been localized on a peptide (residues 260-279) of the C-terminal, cysteine-rich region of CD36. Treatment with reducing agents inhibited the CD36-dependent cytoadherence of IRBC to CD36-expressing cells and dissolved pre-existent CD36-mediated IRBC/CD36-expressing cell aggregates. CD36 reduction did not impair the functionality of CD36, since the reactivity of other anti-CD36 mAbs as well as the binding of oxidized low density lipoprotein, a CD36 ligand, were maintained. The modifications induced by reduction were reversible. After 14 h CD36 was reoxidized, the cells did not express the Mo91 epitope, and cytoadherence to IRBC was restored. The results indicate that IRBCs bind only to a redox-modulated fraction of CD36 molecules expressed on the cell surface. The present data indicate the therapeutic potential of reducing agents, such as the nontoxic drug N-acetylcysteine, to prevent or treat malaria complications due to IRBC cytoadhesion.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 Tat protein released by infected cells is a chemotactic molecule for leukocytes and induces a proinflammatory program in endothelial cells (EC) by activating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors expressed on both cell types. Its potential role in causing vascular permeability and leukocyte recruitment was studied in vivo following its s.c. injection in mice. Tat caused a dose-dependent early (15 min) and late (6 h) wave of permeability that were inhibited by a neutralizing Ab anti-VEGF receptor type 2. Tissue infiltration of lymphomononuclear cells, mainly monocytes (76%), was evident at 6 h and persisted up to 24 h. WEB2170, a platelet activating factor (PAF) receptor antagonist, reduced the early leakage by 70-80%, but only slightly inhibited the late wave and cell recruitment. In vitro, Tat induced a dose-dependent flux of albumin through the EC monolayer that was inhibited by Ab anti-vascular VEGF receptor type 2 and WEB2170, and PAF synthesis in EC that was blocked by the Ab anti-VEGF receptor type 2. Lastly, an anti-monocyte chemotactic peptide-1 (MCP-1) Ab significantly reduced the lymphomononuclear infiltration elicited by Tat. In vitro, Tat induced a dose-dependent production of MCP-1 by EC after a 24-h stimulation. These results highlighted the role of PAF and MCP-1 as secondary mediators in the onset of lymphomononuclear cell recruitment in tissues triggered by Tat.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The middle T oncogene of murine polyomavirus (PymT) rapidly transforms and immortalizes murine embryonic endothelial cells (EC), leading to the formation of vascular tumors in newborn mice, by recruitment of host, non-transformed EC. These tumors are reminiscent of human vascular tumors like cavernous hemangioma, Kaposi's sarcoma or those characterizing Kasabach-Merrit syndrome. Here we investigate the in vitro and in vivo behavior of human primary umbilical cord vein EC expressing PymT. While PymT has been unable to transform human fibroblasts in earlier experiments or controls done here, mT expressing EC (PymT-EC) derived by infection with pLX-PymT retrovirus induce hemangiomas in nu/nu mice. These tumors contain not only human cells but also recruited mouse EC as shown by the presence of human and murine CD31 positive EC. In vitro analysis shows that PymT-EC retain endothelial specific markers like CD31, Von Willebrand factor, and VE-cadherin, and reach the confluence without signs of overgrowth. They are also responsive to vascular endothelial growth factor-A. However, their proliferation rate is increased. The balance between urokinase-type plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is modified; RNA and catalytic activity for the former are elevated while PAI-1 RNA is reduced. In contrast with murine model, where the PymT EC cells become immortal, the effects induced by PymT in human EC are transient. After 12-15 passages, human PymT EC stop proliferating, assume a senescent phenotype, and lose the ability to induce hemangiomas. At the same time both the amount of middle T protein and the level of activation of pp60c-src lower.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Platelet-activating factor (PAF), a mediator of homotypic and heterotypic cell-to-cell communication, activates inflammatory cells and lymphocytes through a seven-spanning transmembrane domain receptor [1, 2]. Following appropriate stimulation, it is produced and released by monocytes, neutrophils, endothelial cells and T lymphocytes [3–8]. It is also produced by neurons and glial cells stimulated by neurotransmitters and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, respectively [9, 10]. Vascular endothelium is a key target for PAF. It modifies the barrier function of a monolayer of endothelial cells in vitro [11, 12], is a powerful vasopermeabilizing molecule in vivo [13, 14], and promotes leukocyte adhesion and transmigration [15–17]. High PAF concentrations are toxic for endothelial cells, causing vacuolization and marked formation of blebs [12, 18].