[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MAGUK Inverted 2 (MAGI-2) is a PTEN-interacting scaffold protein implicated in cancer on the basis of rare, recurrent genomic translocations and deletions in various tumors. In the renal glomerulus, MAGI-2 is exclusively expressed in podocytes, specialized cells forming part of the glomerular filter, where it interacts with the slit diaphragm protein nephrin. To further explore MAGI-2 function, we generated Magi-2-KO mice through homologous recombination by targeting an exon common to all three alternative splice variants. Magi-2 null mice presented with progressive proteinuria as early as 2 wk postnatally, which coincided with loss of nephrin expression in the glomeruli. Magi-2-null kidneys revealed diffuse podocyte foot process effacement and focal podocyte hypertrophy by 3 wk of age, as well as progressive podocyte loss. By 5.5 wk, coinciding with a near-complete loss of podocytes, Magi-2-null mice developed diffuse glomerular extracapillary epithelial cell proliferations, and died of renal failure by 3 mo of age. As confirmed by immunohistochemical analysis, the proliferative cell populations in glomerular lesions were exclusively composed of activated parietal epithelial cells (PECs). Our results reveal that MAGI-2 is required for the integrity of the kidney filter and podocyte survival. Moreover, we demonstrate that PECs can be activated to form glomerular lesions resembling a noninflammatory glomerulopathy with extensive extracapillary proliferation, sometimes resembling crescents, following rapid and severe podocyte loss.
Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of atherosclerosis (ATH) is higher in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and occurs at an earlier age. The lupus-related factors that account for this increased risk are likely numerous and related to the factors described in this article. Identifying of at-risk subjects and increasing the understanding of pathogenesis of ATH in SLE is critical for improving the quality of care and improving mortality in this vulnerable population.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lupus nephritis depends on autoantibody deposition and activation of multiple immune cell types that promote kidney inflammation, including lymphocytes and monocyte/macrophages. Laquinimod, currently in clinical trials for multiple sclerosis and lupus nephritis, reduces infiltration of inflammatory cells into the spinal cord in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Activated monocyte/macrophages infiltrate the kidneys during nephritis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We undertook this study to determine whether using laquinimod to reduce monocyte/macrophage-driven tissue damage as well as to alter lymphocytes in SLE nephritis could have greater therapeutic benefit than current treatments that primarily affect lymphocytes, such as mycophenolate mofetil (MMF).
To test laquinimod efficacy, we used the (NZB × NZW)F1 mouse model of SLE, in which disease manifests as nephritis. Preventive and therapeutic studies were performed to determine whether laquinimod could prevent or delay nephritis, as measured by proteinuria, serum creatinine, survival, and renal pathology. Spleen and kidney leukocyte populations and suppression assays were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Laquinimod prevented or delayed lupus manifestations at levels equal to or better than MMF. Laquinimod treatment was associated with reduced numbers of monocyte/macrophages, dendritic cells, and lymphocytes, as well as with induction of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in spleens and kidneys. Laquinimod suppressed macrophage-secreted tumor necrosis factor α and induced production of interleukin-10 (IL-10). In addition, laquinimod suppressed interferon-γ and IL-17 production by lymphocytes and down-regulated expression of activation/costimulatory markers on antigen-presenting cells.
The effects of laquinimod on myeloid and lymphoid cells may contribute to improvements in (NZB × NZW)F1 mouse survival, proteinuria, and glomerulonephritis. Future development of laquinimod as a therapeutic agent for lupus nephritis is promising.
No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Arthritis and Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increased frequency of atherosclerosis (ATH) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is well-documented but not fully explained by the presence of traditional cardiac risk factors. Several nontraditional biomarkers, including proinflammatory high-density lipoprotein (piHDL) and leptin, have been individually associated with subclinical ATH in SLE. The aim of this study was to examine whether these and other biomarkers can be combined into a risk profile, the Predictors of Risk for Elevated Flares, Damage Progression, and Increased Cardiovascular Disease in Patients with SLE (PREDICTS), that could be used to better predict future progression of ATH.
In total, 210 patients with SLE and 100 age-matched healthy control subjects (all women) participated in this prospective cohort study. The longitudinal presence of carotid plaque and intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured at baseline and followup (mean ± SD 29.6 ± 9.7 months).
At followup, carotid plaque was present in 29% of SLE patients. Factors significantly associated with plaque, determined using Salford Predictive Modeling and multivariate analysis, included age ≥48 years (odds ratio [OR] 4.1, P = 0.002), high piHDL function (OR 9.1, P < 0.001), leptin levels ≥34 ng/dl (OR 7.3, P = 0.001), plasma soluble TWEAK levels ≥373 pg/ml (OR 28.8, P = 0.004), and history of diabetes (OR 61.8, P < 0.001). Homocysteine levels ≥12 μmoles/liter were also a predictor. However, no single variable demonstrated an ideal combination of good negative predictive values (NPVs), positive predictive values (PPVs), sensitivity, and specificity. A high-risk PREDICTS profile was defined as ≥3 positive biomarkers or ≥1 positive biomarker plus a history of diabetes; for high-risk SLE patients, the PPV was 64%, NPV was 94%, sensitivity was 89%, and specificity was 79%. In multivariate analysis, SLE patients with the high-risk profile had 28-fold increased odds for the longitudinal presence of plaque (P < 0.001) and increased progression of IMT (P < 0.001).
A high-risk PREDICTS score confers 28-fold increased odds of the presence of any current, progressive, or acquired carotid plaque, both in patients with SLE and in control subjects, and is significantly associated with higher rates of IMT progression.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Arthritis and Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapid-onset cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major concern for many patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Cardiovascular events occur more frequently and with earlier onset in patients with SLE compared with healthy individuals. Traditional risk factors, such as altered lipid levels, aging and smoking, do not fully explain this increased risk of CVD, strongly suggesting that autoimmunity contributes to accelerated atherosclerosis. Altered immune system function is recognized as the primary contributor to both the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Multiple manifestations of autoimmunity, including changes in cytokine levels and innate immune responses, autoantibodies, adipokines, dysfunctional lipids, and oxidative stress, could heighten atherosclerotic risk. In addition, multiple SLE therapeutics seem to affect the development and progression of atherosclerosis both positively and negatively. SLE-specific cardiovascular risk factors are beginning to be discovered by several groups, and development of a comprehensive, clinically feasible biomarker panel could be invaluable for identification and treatment of patients at risk of developing accelerated atherosclerosis. Here, we discuss the epidemiology of CVD in SLE and the implications of immune system dysfunction on the development and progression, monitoring and treatment of atherosclerosis in individuals with this disease.
Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Nature Reviews Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is the first human malignancy to be successfully treated with a small molecule inhibitor, imatinib, targeting a mutant oncoprotein (BCR-ABL). Despite its successes, acquired resistance to imatinib leads to reduced drug efficacy and frequent progression of disease. Understanding the characteristics of pre-existing resistant cells is important for evaluating the benefits of first-line combination therapy with second generation inhibitors. However, due to limitations of assay sensitivity, determining the existence and characteristics of resistant cell clones at the start of therapy is difficult. Here we combined a mathematical modeling approach using branching processes with experimental data on the fitness changes (i.e., changes in net reproductive rate) conferred by BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations to investigate the likelihood, composition, and diversity of pre-existing resistance. Furthermore, we studied the impact of these factors on the response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Our approach predicts that in most patients, there is at most one resistant clone present at the time of diagnosis of their disease. Interestingly, patients are no more likely to harbor the most aggressive, pan-resistant T315I mutation than any other resistance mutation; however, T315I cells on average establish larger-sized clones at the time of diagnosis. We established that for patients diagnosed late, the relative benefit of combination therapy over monotherapy with imatinib is significant, while this benefit is modest for patients with a typically early diagnosis time. These findings, after pre-clinical validation, will have implications for the clinical management of CML: we recommend that patients with advanced-phase disease be treated with combination therapy with at least two tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In subtypes and late stages of leukemias driven by the tyrosine kinase fusion protein Bcr-Abl, signaling by the Src family kinases (SFKs) critically contributes to the leukemic phenotype. We performed global tyrosine phosphoprofiling by quantitative mass spectrometry of Bcr-Abl-transformed cells in which the activities of the SFKs were perturbed to build a detailed context-dependent network of cancer signaling. Perturbation of the SFKs Lyn and Hck with genetics or inhibitors revealed Bcr-Abl downstream phosphorylation events either mediated by or independent of SFKs. We identified multiple negative feedback mechanisms within the network of signaling events affected by Bcr-Abl and SFKs and found that Bcr-Abl attenuated these inhibitory mechanisms. The C-terminal Src kinase (Csk)-binding protein Pag1 (also known as Cbp) and the tyrosine phosphatase Ptpn18 both mediated negative feedback to SFKs. We observed Bcr-Abl-mediated phosphorylation of the phosphatase Shp2 (Ptpn11), and this may contribute to the suppression of these negative feedback mechanisms to promote Bcr-Abl-activated SFK signaling. Csk and a kinase-deficient Csk mutant both produced similar globally repressive signaling consequences, suggesting a critical role for the adaptor protein function of Csk in its inhibition of Bcr-Abl and SFK signaling. The identified Bcr-Abl-activated SFK regulatory mechanisms are candidates for dysregulation during leukemia progression and acquisition of SFK-mediated drug resistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at increased risk of atherosclerosis, even after accounting for traditional risk factors. High levels of leptin and low levels of adiponectin are associated with both atherosclerosis and immunomodulatory functions in the general population.
To examine the association between these adipokines and subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE, and also with other known inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis.
Carotid ultrasonography was performed in 250 women with SLE and 122 controls. Plasma leptin and adiponectin levels were measured. Lipoprotein a (Lp(a)), oxidised phospholipids on apoB100 (OxPL/apoB100), paraoxonase, apoA-1 and inflammatory high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function were also assessed.
Leptin levels were significantly higher in patients with SLE than in controls (23.7±28.0 vs 13.3±12.9 ng/ml, p<0.001). Leptin was also higher in the 43 patients with SLE with plaque than without plaque (36.4±32.3 vs 20.9±26.4 ng/ml, p=0.002). After multivariate analysis, the only significant factors associated with plaque in SLE were leptin levels in the highest quartile (≥29.5 ng/ml) (OR=2.8, p=0.03), proinflammatory HDL (piHDL) (OR=12.8, p<0.001), age (OR=1.1, p<0.001), tobacco use (OR=7.7, p=0.03) and hypertension (OR=3.0, p=0.01). Adiponectin levels were not significantly associated with plaque in our cohort. A significant correlation between leptin and piHDL function (p<0.001), Lp(a) (p=0.01) and OxPL/apoB100 (p=0.02) was also present.
High leptin levels greatly increase the risk of subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE, and are also associated with an increase in inflammatory biomarkers of atherosclerosis such as piHDL, Lp(a) and OxPL/apoB100. High leptin levels may help to identify patients with SLE at risk of atherosclerosis.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Annals of the rheumatic diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Therapeutic agents currently in use to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are predominantly immunosuppressive agents with limited specificities. Multiple groups, including ours, have illustrated that inducing tolerance in SLE animal models ameliorates disease symptoms and increases survival. We examined if oral administration of a tolerogenic peptide could affect SLE disease progression. The pConsensus (pCons) peptide, based on protein sequences of anti-double stranded (anti-ds)DNA antibodies, induces tolerance through upregulation of regulatory T cells when administered intravenously. Six different forms of pCons, including multiple antigenic peptides (MAP) and cyclic peptides made up of L- and D-amino acids, at three different concentrations, were fed to BWF1 SLE-susceptible mice for 30 weeks. Mice fed 100 µg of L-MAP or D-MAP had less cumulative proteinuria and serum anti-dsDNA antibody levels than controls. In addition, animals in these groups also survived significantly longer than controls with a corresponding increase in serum transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ, implying a protective role for pCons-induced regulatory T cells. Oral administration of a tolerogenic peptide is a safe, effective method for ameliorating SLE disease manifestations and prolonging survival in SLE-prone mice. Induction of oral tolerance using modified pCons peptides could lead to a novel targeted therapy for human SLE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus have a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular events due to atherosclerosis. Traditional cardiac risk factors cannot fully explain this increased risk. Recent evidence strongly suggests that atherosclerotic plaque is largely driven by inflammation and an active immunological response, in contrast to the long-held belief that plaque is a passive accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall. Current approaches to the prevention of atherosclerosis in systemic lupus erythematosus involve targeting modifiable cardiac risk factors. Future preventive strategies may include therapies that counteract the immunologic responses that lead to plaque formation.
No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Expert Review of Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accelerated atherosclerosis is a major co-morbid condition in autoimmune diseases. Monocytes are the main immune cell involved in atherosclerosis initiation. We hypothesized that dysfunctional, pro-inflammatory HDL (piHDL), which occurs in approximately half of SLE patients, might directly influence monocyte gene expression and function. SLE subjects were stratified into three groups: 1) carotid artery plaque+piHDL+,2) plaque-piHDL+,and 3) plaque-piHDL- (n=18/group). PDGFRβ was upregulated in primary monocytes from plaque+piHDL+patients and in THP-1 cells acutely treated in vitro with piHDL compared to normal HDL. THP-1 chemotaxis was enhanced after treatment with piHDL versus normal HDL. Abnormal migration was restored to normal levels by treatment with imatinib or an apoJ mimetic peptide. Increased piHDL-mediated TNFα protein levels were reduced with both inhibitors. Dysfunctional piHDL directly influences expression of a small number of transcripts and proteins, and piHDL inhibition through reducing piHDL oxidation or blocking PDGFRβ kinase activity restored normal monocyte chemotaxis.
Preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is accelerated in people with systemic lupus erythematosus, and the presence of dysfunctional, pro-inflammatory high-density lipoproteins is a marker of increased risk. We developed a mouse model of multigenic lupus exposed to environmental factors known to accelerate atherosclerosis in humans - high-fat diet with or without injections of the adipokine leptin. BWF1 mice were the lupus-prone model; BALB/c were non-autoimmune controls. High-fat diet increased total serum cholesterol in both strains. In BALB/c mice, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels increased; they did not develop atherosclerosis. In contrast, BWF1 mice on high-fat diets developed increased quantities of high-density lipoproteins as well as elevated high-density lipoprotein scores, indicating pro-inflammatory high-density lipoproteins; they also developed atherosclerosis. In the lupus-prone strain, addition of leptin increased pro-inflammatory high-density lipoprotein scores and atherosclerosis, and accelerated proteinuria. These data suggest that environmental factors associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome can accelerate atherosclerosis and disease in a lupus-prone background.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While CD4(+)CD25(high) regulatory T cells (Tregs) have garnered much attention for their role in the maintenance of immune homeostasis, recent findings have shown that subsets of CD8(+) T cells (CD8(+) Tregs) display immunoregulatory functions as well. Both CD4(+) Tregs and CD8(+) Tregs appear impaired in number and/or function in several autoimmune diseases and in experimental animal models of autoimmunity, suggesting the possibility of immunotherapeutic targeting of these cells for improved management of autoimmune conditions. Our group has developed a strategy to induce CD8(+) Tregs in autoimmune mice through the use of a tolerogenic self-peptide, and new information has been gained on the phenotype, function and role of induced CD8(+) Tregs in autoimmunity. Here we present an overview of the role and mechanisms of action of CD8(+) Tregs in autoimmunity, with a special focus on lupus. We also discuss the potential role of CD8(+) Tregs in other diseases, including chronic infection and cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Point mutations in the phosphorylation domain of the Bcr-Abl fusion oncogene give rise to drug resistance in chronic myelogenous leukemia patients. These mutations alter kinase-mediated signaling function and phenotypic outcome. An information theoretic analysis of the correlation of phosphoproteomic profiling and transformation potency of the oncogene in different mutants is presented. The theory seeks to predict the leukemic transformation potency from the observed signaling by constructing a distribution of maximal entropy of site-specific phosphorylation events. The theory is developed with special reference to systems biology where high throughput measurements are typical. We seek sets of phosphorylation events most contributory to predicting the phenotype by determining the constraints on the signaling system. The relevance of a constraint is measured by how much it reduces the value of the entropy from its global maximum, where all events are equally likely. Application to experimental phospho-proteomics data for kinase inhibitor-resistant mutants shows that there is one dominant constraint and that other constraints are not relevant to a similar extent. This single constraint accounts for much of the correlation of phosphorylation events with the oncogenic potency and thereby usefully predicts the trends in the phenotypic output. An additional constraint possibly accounts for biological fine structure.
Preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the association between physical activity, functional activity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and subclinical cardiovascular disease in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
A total of 242 SLE patients (all women) participated in this cross-sectional study from February 2004 to February 2008. Carotid plaque and intima-media thickness (IMT), antioxidant function of HDL, and traditional cardiac risk factors were measured. Physical activity was assessed from self-reports by calculating the metabolic equivalents (METS) per week and by the physical function domain of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36). Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate regression analyses.
Number of METS per week spent performing strenuous exercise was negatively correlated with IMT (r = -0.4, P = 0.002) and number of plaques (r = -0.30, P = 0.0001). Physical function as assessed by the SF-36 was also negatively correlated with IMT (r = -0.14, P = 0.03) and number of plaques (r = -0.14, P = 0.04). In multivariate analyses, number of strenuous exercise METS was significantly associated with IMT (t = -2.2, P = 0.028) and number of plaques (t = -2.5, P = 0.014) when controlling for markers of SLE disease activity and damage, but not after controlling for traditional cardiac risk factors. Low physical activity, defined as <225 total METS per week, was associated with the presence of proinflammatory HDL (P = 0.03).
Low physical activity is associated with increased subclinical atherosclerosis and proinflammatory HDL in patients with SLE. Increased strenuous exercise may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis in SLE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Identification of at-risk patients and the etiology underlying atherosclerosis in SLE remain elusive. The antioxidant capacity of normal high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) is lost during inflammation, and these dysfunctional HDLs might predispose individuals to atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether dysfunctional proinflammatory HDL (piHDL) is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE.
Carotid artery ultrasound was performed in 276 women with SLE to identify carotid plaques and measure intima-media thickness (IMT). The antioxidant function of HDL was measured as the change in oxidation of low-density lipoprotein after the addition of HDL cholesterol. Two antiinflammatory HDL components, paraoxonase 1 and apolipoprotein A-I, were also measured.
Among the SLE patients, 48.2% were determined to have piHDL on carotid ultrasound, while 86.7% of patients with plaque had piHDL compared with 40.7% of those without plaque (P<0.001). Patients with piHDL also had a higher IMT (P<0.001). After multivariate analysis, the only factors found to be significantly associated with plaque were the presence of piHDL (odds ratio [OR] 16.1, P<0.001), older age (OR 1.2, P<0.001), hypertension (OR 3.0, P=0.04), dyslipidemia (OR 3.4, P=0.04), and mixed racial background (OR 8.3, P=0.04). Factors associated with IMT measurements in the highest quartile were the presence of piHDL (OR 2.5, P=0.02), older age (OR 1.1, P<0.001), a higher body mass index (OR 1.07, P=0.04), a cumulative lifetime prednisone dose>or=20 gm (OR 2.9, P=0.04), and African American race (OR 8.3, P=0.001).
Dysfunctional piHDL greatly increases the risk of developing subclinical atherosclerosis in SLE. The presence of piHDL was associated with an increased prevalence of carotid plaque and with a higher IMT. Therefore, determination of piHDL may help identify patients at risk for atherosclerosis.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Arthritis & Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple CD8(+) suppressive T cell (Ts) subtypes are now recognized as essential regulators of the immune system that prevent autoimmunity through secretion of multiple cytokines and the subsequent inhibition of effector lymphocyte function. CD8(+) Ts are an exciting area of study because of the possible therapeutic implications of inducing suppressive cells that are able to subdue or anergize autoimmune manifestations. Current research in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a disease in which most effective therapies are widely immunosuppressive, is often focused on novel and highly targeted ways in which to treat this multiorgan disease. CD8(+) Ts have been impaired in human and murine SLE. Our group and others have utilized tolerogenic peptides to induce and study CD8(+) Ts to understand their function, as well as investigate a possible new SLE therapy. This review will discuss the similarities and differences in CD8(+) Ts subsets, the concept of tolerance as a therapy, and the current understanding of CD8(+) Ts in mouse SLE models.