Majd Zayzafoon

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States

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Publications (53)291.27 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HIV infection causes bone loss. We previously reported that immunosuppression-mediated B-cell production of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) coupled with decline in osteoprotegerin correlate with decreased bone mineral density (BMD) in untreated HIV infection. Paradoxically, antiretroviral therapy (ART) worsens bone loss although existing data suggest that such loss is largely independent of specific antiretroviral regimen. This led us to hypothesize that skeletal deterioration following HIV disease reversal with ART may be related to T-cell repopulation and/or immune reconstitution. Here we transplant T cells into immunocompromised mice to mimic ART-induced T-cell expansion. T-cell reconstitution elicits RANKL and TNFα production by B cells and/or T cells, accompanied by enhanced bone resorption and BMD loss. Reconstitution of TNFα- or RANKL-null T-cells and pharmacological TNFα antagonist all protect cortical, but not trabecular bone, revealing complex effects of T-cell reconstitution on bone turnover. These findings suggest T-cell repopulation and/or immune reconstitution as putative mechanisms for bone loss following ART initiation.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Nature Communications
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    Paul G. Daft · Yang Yang · Dobrawa Napierala · Majd Zayzafoon
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma (OS) is a hyperproliferative malignant tumor that requires a high vascular density to maintain its large volume. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role in angiogenesis and acts as a paracrine and autocrine agent affecting both endothelial and tumor cells. The alpha-Ca2+/Calmodulin kinase two (α-CaMKII) protein is an important regulator of OS growth. Here, we investigate the role of α-CaMKII-induced VEGF in the growth and tumorigenicity of OS. We show that the pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of α-CaMKII results in decreases in VEGF gene expression (50%) and protein secretion (55%), while α- CaMKII overexpression increases VEGF gene expression (250%) and protein secretion (1,200%). We show that aggressive OS cells (143B) express high levels of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and respond to exogenous VEGF (100nm) by increasing intracellular calcium (30%). This response is ameliorated by the VEGFR inhibitor CBO-P11, suggesting that secreted VEGF results in autocrine stimulated α-CaMKII activation. Furthermore, we show that VEGF and α-CaMKII inhibition decreases the transactivation of the HIF-1α and AP-1 reporter constructs. Additionally, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay shows significantly decreased binding of HIF-1α and AP-1 to their responsive elements in the VEGF promoter. These data suggest that α-CaMKII regulates VEGF transcription by controlling HIF-1α and AP-1 transcriptional activities. Finally, CBO-P11, KN-93 (CaMKII inhibitor) and combination therapy significantly reduced tumor burden in vivo. Our results suggest that VEGF-induced OS tumor growth is controlled by CaMKII and dual therapy by CaMKII and VEGF inhibitors could be a promising therapy against this devastating adolescent disease.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
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    ABSTRACT: Snail transcription factor is up-regulated in several cancers and associated with increased tumor migration and invasion via induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). MAPK (ERK1/2) signaling regulates cellular processes including cell motility, adhesion, and invasion. We investigated the regulation of ERK1/2 by Snail in breast cancer cells. ERK1/2 activity (p-ERK) was higher in breast cancer patient tissue as compared to normal tissue. Snail and p-ERK were increased in several breast cancer cell lines as compared to normal mammary epithelial cells. Snail knockdown in MDA-MB-231 and T47-D breast cancer cells decreased or re-localized p-ERK from the nuclear compartment to the cytoplasm. Snail overexpression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells induced EMT, increased cell migration, decreased cell adhesion and also increased tumorigenicity. Snail induced nuclear translocation of p-ERK, and the activation of its subcellular downstream effector, Elk-1. Inhibiting MAPK activity with UO126 or knockdown of ERK2 isoform with siRNA in MCF-7 Snail cells reverted EMT induced by Snail as shown by decreased Snail and vimentin expression, decreased cell migration and increased cell adhesion. Overall, our data suggest that ERK2 isoform activation by Snail in aggressive breast cancer cells leads to EMT associated with increased cell migration and decreased cell adhesion. This regulation is enhanced by positive feedback regulation of Snail by ERK2. Therefore, therapeutic targeting of ERK2 isoform may be beneficial for breast cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease characterized by severe joint erosion and systemic osteoporosis. Chronic T cell activation is a hallmark of RA, and agents that target the CD28 receptor on T cells, which is required for T cell activation, are being increasingly used as therapies for RA and other inflammatory diseases. Lymphocytes play complex roles in the regulation of the skeleton, and although activated T cells and B cells secrete cytokines that promote skeletal decline, under physiologic conditions lymphocytes also have key protective roles in the stabilization of skeletal mass. Consequently, disruption of T cell costimulation may have unforeseen consequences for physiologic bone turnover. This study was undertaken to investigate the impact of pharmacologic CD28 T cell costimulation blockade on physiologic bone turnover and structure.MethodsC57BL6 mice were treated with CTLA-4Ig, a pharmacologic CD28 antagonist or with irrelevant control antibody (Ig), and serum biochemical markers of bone turnover were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Bone mineral density and indices of bone structure were further measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry and micro–computed tomography, respectively, and static and dynamic indices of bone formation were quantified using bone histomorphometry.ResultsPharmacologic disruption of CD28 T cell costimulation in mice significantly increased bone mass and enhanced indices of bone structure, a consequence of enhanced bone formation, concurrent with enhanced secretion of the bone anabolic factor Wnt-10b by T cells.Conclusion Inhibition of CD28 costimulation by CTLA-4Ig promotes T cell Wnt-10b production and bone formation and may represent a novel anabolic strategy for increasing bone mass in osteoporotic conditions.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Arthritis and Rheumatology
  • Paul Daft · Majd Zayzafoon · Joan Cadillac

    No preview · Conference Paper · Feb 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PCa) metastasis to bone is lethal and there is no adequate animal model to study the mechanisms underlying the metastatic process. Here we report that receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed by PCa cells consistently induced colonization or metastasis to bone in animal models. RANK-mediated signaling established a premetastatic niche through a feed forward loop, involving the induction of RANKL and c-Met, but repression of androgen receptor (AR) expression and AR signaling pathways. Site-directed mutagenesis and transcription factor deletion/interference assays identified common transcription factor complexes (TFs), c-Myc/Max and AP4, as critical regulatory nodes. RANKL-RANK signaling activated a number of master regulator TFs that control the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) (Twist1, Slug, Zeb1, Zeb2), stem cell properties (Sox2, Myc, Oct3/4 and Nanog), neuroendocrine differentiation (Sox 9, HIF-1α and FoxA2) and osteomimicry (c-Myc/Max, Sox2, Sox9, HIF1α and Runx2). Abrogating RANK or its downstream c-Myc/Max or c-Met signaling network, minimized or abolished skeletal metastasis in mice. RANKL-expressing LNCaP cells recruited and induced neighboring non-tumorigenic LNCaP cells to express RANKL, c-Met/activated c-Met, while downregulating AR expression. These initially non-tumorigenic cells, once retrieved from the tumors, acquired the potential to colonize and grow in bone. These findings identify a novel mechanism of tumor growth in bone that involves tumor cell reprogramming via RANK-RANKL signaling, as well as a form of signal amplification that mediates recruitment and stable transformation of non-metastatic cells.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Endocrine Related Cancer
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    Cheryl L Sesler · Majd Zayzafoon
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoblasts support hematopoietic cell development, including B lymphopoiesis. We have previously shown that the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) negatively regulates osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Interestingly, in smooth muscle, NFAT has been shown to regulate the expression of vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), a mediator of cell adhesion and signaling during leukocyte development. To examine whether NFAT signaling in osteoblasts regulates hematopoietic development in vivo, we generated a mouse model expressing dominant-negative NFAT driven by the 2.3 kb fragment of the collagen-αI promoter to disrupt NFAT activity in osteoblasts (dnNFAT(OB)). Bone histomorphometry showed that dnNFAT(OB) mice have significant increases in bone volume (44%) and mineral apposition rate (131%) and decreased trabecular thickness (18%). In the bone microenvironment, dnNFAT(OB) mice displayed a significant increase (87%) in Lineage(-)cKit(+)Sca-1(+) (LSK) cells and significant decreases in B220(+)CD19(-)IgM(-) pre-pro-B cells (41%) and B220(+)CD19(+)IgM(+) immature B cells (40%). Concurrent with these findings, LSK cell differentiation into B220(+) cells was inhibited when cocultured on differentiated primary osteoblasts harvested from dnNFAT(OB) mice. Gene expression and protein levels of VCAM-1 in osteoblasts decreased in dnNFAT(OB) mice compared to controls. These data suggest that osteoblast-specific NFAT activity mediates early B lymphopoiesis, possibly by regulating VCAM-1 expression on osteoblasts.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Clinical and Developmental Immunology

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Bone metastasis is the most lethal form of several cancers. The β2-microglobulin (β2-M)/hemochromatosis (HFE) complex plays an important role in cancer development and bone metastasis. We demonstrated previously that overexpression of β2-M in prostate, breast, lung and renal cancer leads to increased bone metastasis in mouse models. Therefore, we hypothesized that β2-M is a rational target to treat prostate cancer bone metastasis. In this study, we demonstrate the role of β2-M and its binding partner, HFE, in modulating radiation sensitivity and chemo-sensitivity of prostate cancer. By genetic deletion of β2-M or HFE or using an anti-β2-M antibody (Ab), we demonstrate that prostate cancer cells are sensitive to radiation in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of β2-M or HFE sensitized prostate cancer cells to radiation by increasing iron and reactive oxygen species and decreasing DNA repair and stress response proteins. Using xenograft mouse model, we demonstrate that anti-β2-M Ab sensitizes prostate cancer cells to radiation treatment. Additionally, anti-β2-M Ab was able to prevent tumor growth in an immunocompetent spontaneous prostate cancer mouse model. Since bone metastasis is lethal, we used a bone xenograft model to test the ability of anti-β2-M Ab and radiation to block tumor growth in the bone. Combination treatment significantly prevented tumor growth in the bone xenograft model by inhibiting β2-M and inducing iron overload. In addition to radiation sensitive effects, inhibition of β2-M sensitized prostate cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents. Since prostate cancer bone metastatic patients have high β2-M in the tumor tissue and in the secreted form, targeting β2-M with anti-β2-M Ab is a promising therapeutic agent. Additionally, inhibition of β2-M sensitizes cancer cells to clinically used therapies such as radiation by inducing iron overload and decreasing DNA repair enzymes.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To investigate the risk of bone fracture sustained by obese children exposed to falls. The bone fracture risk of obese children would be greater than that of their nonobese counterparts was hypothesized. Design and Methods Finite element-based computational models for children that reflected various levels of obesity by varying body mass and the thickness of the subcutaneous adipose tissue layer was developed. The models took account of both the momentum effect of variation of body mass and the cushion effect of variation of soft tissue thickness and examined these two contradictory effects on pelvic bone fracture risk through a set of sideways fall simulations with a range of impact speeds. ResultsThe critical impact speed that yielded pelvic bone fracture decreased as the levels of obesity increased, which meant that the momentum effect of a greater body mass took precedence over the cushion effect of the soft tissue layer. Conclusions The result suggests that obese children have a greater risk of pelvic bone fracture than do their nonobese counterparts in sideways falls. A further implication is that current child safety devices, systems, and regulations will need to be revisited as the prevalence of child obesity increases.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Obesity

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · The Journal of Urology
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    ABSTRACT: Osteosarcoma is among the most frequently occurring primary bone tumors, primarily affecting adolescents and young adults. Despite improvements in osteosarcoma treatment, more specific molecular targets are needed as potential therapeutic options. One target of interest is alpha-Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (α-CaMKII), a ubiquitous mediator of Ca2+-linked signaling, which has been shown to regulate tumor cell proliferation and differentiation. Here, we investigate the role of α-CaMKII in the growth and tumorigenicity of human osteosarcoma. We show that α-CaMKII is highly expressed in primary osteosarcoma tissue derived from 114 patients and is expressed in varying levels in different human osteosarcoma cell lines (HOS, MG-63, MNNG/HOS and 143B). To examine whether α-CaMKII regulates osteosarcoma tumorigenic properties, we genetically inhibited α-CaMKII in two osteosarcoma cell lines using two different α-CaMKII shRNAs delivered by lentiviral vectors and overexpressed α-CaMKII by retrovirus. The genetic deletion of α-CaMKII by shRNA in MG-63 and 143B cells resulted in decreased proliferation (50 and 41%), migration (22 and 25%) and invasion (95 and 90%), respectively. The overexpression of α-CaMKII in HOS cells resulted in increased proliferation (240%), migration (640%) and invasion (10,000%). Furthermore, α-CaMKII deletion in MG-63 cells significantly reduced tumor burden in vivo (65%), while α-CaMKII overexpression resulted in tumor formation in a previously non-tumor forming osteosarcoma cell line (HOS). Our results suggest that α-CaMKII plays a critical role in determining the aggressive phenotype of osteosarcoma, and its inhibition could be an attractive therapeutic target to combat this devastating adolescent disease.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Molecular Cancer Research
  • C Camerino · M Zayzafoon · M Rymaszewski · J Heiny · M Rios · P V Hauschka
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    ABSTRACT: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays important roles in neuronal differentiation/survival, the regulation of food intake, and the pathobiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. BDNF and its receptor are expressed in osteoblasts and chondrocyte. BDNF in vitro has a positive effect on bone; whether central BDNF affects bone mass in vivo is not known. We therefore examined bone mass and energy use in brain-targeted BDNF conditional knockout mice (Bdnf(2lox/2lox)/93). The deletion of BDNF in the brain led to a metabolic phenotype characterized by hyperphagia, obesity, and increased abdominal white adipose tissue. Central BDNF deletion produces a marked skeletal phenotype characterized by increased femur length, elevated whole bone mineral density, and bone mineral content. The skeletal changes are developmentally regulated and appear concurrently with the metabolic phenotype, suggesting that the metabolic and skeletal actions of BDNF are linked. The increased bone development is evident in both the cortical and trabecular regions. Compared with control, Bdnf(2lox/2lox)/93 mice show greater trabecular bone volume (+50% for distal femur, P < 0.001; +35% for vertebral body, P < 0.001) and midfemoral cortical thickness (+11 to 17%, P < 0.05), measured at 3 and 6 months of age. The skeletal and metabolic phenotypes were gender dependent, with female being more affected than male mice. However, uncoupling protein-1 expression in brown fat, a marker of sympathetic tone, was not different between genotypes. We show that deletion of central BDNF expression in mice results in increased bone mass and white adipose tissue, with no significant changes in sympathetic signaling or peripheral serotonin, associated with hyperphagia, obesity, and leptin resistance.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Endocrinology

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a critical regulator of bone development and remodeling. TGF-β must be activated from its latent form in order to signal. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) is a major regulator of latent TGF-β activation and TSP1 control of TGF-β activation is critical for regulation of TGF-β activity in multiple diseases. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have osteogenic potential and they participate in bone remodeling in injury and in response to tumor metastasis. Since both TSP1 and TGF-β inhibit osteoblast differentiation, we asked whether TSP1 blocks osteoblast differentiation of MSCs through its ability to stimulate TGF-β activation. TSP1 added to human bone marrow-derived MSCs under growth conditions increases active TGF-β. Cultured MSCs express TSP1 and both TSP1 expression and TGF-β activity decrease during osteoblast differentiation. TSP1 and active TGF-β block osteoblast differentiation of MSCs grown in osteogenic media as measured by decreased Runx2 and alkaline phosphatase expression. The inhibitory effect of TSP1 on osteoblast differentiation is due to its ability to activate latent TGF-β, since a peptide which blocks TSP1 TGF-β activation reduced TGF-β activity and restored osteoblast differentiation as measured by increased Runx2 and alkaline phosphatase expression. Anti-TGF-β neutralizing antibody also increased alkaline phosphatase expression in the presence of TSP1. These studies show that TSP1 regulated TGF-β activity is a critical determinant of osteoblast differentiation.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
  • D. Aftab · F. Schimoller · M. Zayzafoon · L. Chung · H. Zhau · K. Fagerlund

    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Annals of Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: LIV-1, a zinc transporter, is an effector molecule downstream from soluble growth factors. This protein has been shown to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer cells. Despite the implication of LIV-1 in cancer growth and metastasis, there has been no study to determine the role of LIV-1 in prostate cancer progression. Moreover, there was no clear delineation of the molecular mechanism underlying LIV-1 function in cancer cells. In the present communication, we found increased LIV-1 expression in benign, PIN, primary and bone metastatic human prostate cancer. We characterized the mechanism by which LIV-1 drives human prostate cancer EMT in an androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells (ARCaP) prostate cancer bone metastasis model. LIV-1, when overexpressed in ARCaP(E) (derivative cells of ARCaP with epithelial phenotype) cells, promoted EMT irreversibly. LIV-1 overexpressed ARCaP(E) cells had elevated levels of HB-EGF and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2 and MMP 9 proteolytic enzyme activities, without affecting intracellular zinc concentration. The activation of MMPs resulted in the shedding of heparin binding-epidermal growth factor (HB-EGF) from ARCaP(E) cells that elicited constitutive epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation and its downstream extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) signaling. These results suggest that LIV-1 is involved in prostate cancer progression as an intracellular target of growth factor receptor signaling which promoted EMT and cancer metastasis. LIV-1 could be an attractive therapeutic target for the eradication of pre-existing human prostate cancer and bone and soft tissue metastases.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
  • Xiaojun Wu · Majd Zayzafoon · Xinzhi Zhang · Omar Hameed
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    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to compare the usefulness of fatty acid synthase (FASn) with that of α-methylacyl coenzyme-A racemase (AMACR) in the diagnosis of prostatic adenocarcinoma. The expression of these 2 markers was compared in a tissue microarray containing 62 foci of benign glands and 36 foci of prostatic adenocarcinoma. Similar to AMACR, there was significantly higher FASn expression in adenocarcinoma compared with that in benign glands. The optimal accuracy rate and area under curve (AUC) by receiver operating characteristic analysis for FASn were not significantly different from those for AMACR (accuracy, 80% vs 87%; AUC, 0.942 vs 0.956; P for both, > .05). Moreover, in cases with coexistent malignant and benign glands on the same core, FASn could selectively distinguish a proportion of cases (17/21 [81%]) similar to using AMACR. We conclude that FASn may aid in the diagnosis of prostatic adenocarcinoma, at least to supplement AMACR as another positive marker of carcinoma and potentially increase diagnostic accuracy.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · American Journal of Clinical Pathology

Publication Stats

2k Citations
291.27 Total Impact Points


  • 2005-2015
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham
      • • Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine
      • • Department of Pathology
      Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • 2000
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Physiology
      East Lansing, Michigan, United States