Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by the accumulation of excess liver triacylglycerol (TAG), inflammation, and liver damage. The goal of the present study was to directly quantify the biological sources of hepatic and plasma lipoprotein TAG in NAFLD. Patients (5 male and 4 female; 44 ± 10 years of age) scheduled for a medically indicated liver biopsy were infused with and orally fed stable isotopes for 4 days to label and track serum nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs), dietary fatty acids, and those derived from the de novo lipogenesis (DNL) pathway, present in liver tissue and lipoprotein TAG. Hepatic and lipoprotein TAG fatty acids were analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. NAFLD patients were obese, with fasting hypertriglyceridemia and hyperinsulinemia. Of the TAG accounted for in liver, 59.0% ± 9.9% of TAG arose from NEFAs; 26.1% ± 6.7%, from DNL; and 14.9% ± 7.0%, from the diet. The pattern of labeling in VLDL was similar to that in liver, and throughout the 4 days of labeling, the liver demonstrated reciprocal use of adipose and dietary fatty acids. DNL was elevated in the fasting state and demonstrated no diurnal variation. These quantitative metabolic data document that both elevated peripheral fatty acids and DNL contribute to the accumulation of hepatic and lipoprotein fat in NAFLD.
Kerry L. Donnelly, Coleman I. Smith, Sarah J. Schwarzenberg, Jose Jessurun, Mark D. Boldt, Elizabeth J. Parks
MS is a chronic inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the CNS with as yet unknown etiology. A hallmark of this disease is the occurrence of oligoclonal IgG antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). To assess the specificity of these antibodies, we screened protein expression arrays containing 37,000 tagged proteins. The 2 most frequent MS-specific reactivities were further mapped to identify the underlying high-affinity epitopes. In both cases, we identified peptide sequences derived from EBV proteins expressed in latently infected cells. Immunoreactivities to these EBV proteins, BRRF2 and EBNA-1, were significantly higher in the serum and CSF of MS patients than in those of control donors. Oligoclonal CSF IgG from MS patients specifically bound both EBV proteins. Also, CD8+ T cell responses to latent EBV proteins were higher in MS patients than in controls. In summary, these findings demonstrate an increased immune response to EBV in MS patients, which suggests that the virus plays an important role in the pathogenesis of disease.
Sabine Cepok, Dun Zhou, Rajneesh Srivastava, Stefan Nessler, Susanne Stei, Konrad Büssow, Norbert Sommer, Bernhard Hemmer
CD4+CD25+ Tregs are important in the maintenance of immunological self tolerance and in the prevention of autoimmune diseases. As the CD4+CD25+ T cell population in patients with human T cell lymphotropic virus type I–associated (HTLV-I–associated) myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) has been shown to be a major reservoir for this virus, it was of interest to determine whether the frequency and function of CD4+CD25+ Tregs in HAM/TSP patients might be affected. In these cells, both mRNA and protein expression of the forkhead transcription factor Foxp3, a specific marker of Tregs, were lower than those in CD4+CD25+ T cells from healthy individuals. The virus-encoded transactivating HTLV-I tax gene was demonstrated to have a direct inhibitory effect on Foxp3 expression and function of CD4+CD25+ T cells. This is the first report to our knowledge demonstrating the role of a specific viral gene product (HTLV-I Tax) on the expression of genes associated with Tregs (in particular, foxp3) resulting in inhibition of Treg function. These results suggest that direct human retroviral infection of CD4+CD25+ T cells may be associated with the pathogenesis of HTLV-I–associated neurologic disease.
Yoshihisa Yamano, Norihiro Takenouchi, Hong-Chuan Li, Utano Tomaru, Karen Yao, Christian W. Grant, Dragan A. Maric, Steven Jacobson
Little is known about the role of CD1d-restricted T cells in antiviral immune responses. Here we show that the lytic replication cycle of the Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) promotes downregulation of cell-surface CD1d. This is caused by expression of the 2 modulator of immune recognition (MIR) proteins of the virus, each of which promotes the loss of surface CD1d expression following transfection into uninfected cells. Inhibition of CD1d surface expression is due to ubiquitination of the CD1d α-chain on a unique lysine residue in its cytoplasmic tail, which triggers endocytosis. Unlike MIR-mediated MHC class I downregulation, however, CD1d downregulation does not appear to include accelerated lysosomal degradation. MIR2-induced downregulation of CD1d results in reduced activation of CD1d-restricted T cells in vitro. KSHV modulation of CD1d expression represents a strategy for viral evasion of innate host immune responses and implicates CD1d-restricted T cells as regulators of this viral infection.
David Jesse Sanchez, Jenny E. Gumperz, Don Ganem
With-no-lysine (WNK) kinases are highly expressed along the mammalian distal nephron. Mutations in either WNK1 or WNK4 cause familial hyperkalemic hypertension (FHHt), suggesting that the protein products converge on a final common pathway. We showed previously that WNK4 downregulates thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) activity, an effect suppressed by WNK1. Here we investigated the mechanisms by which WNK1 and WNK4 interact to regulate ion transport. We report that WNK1 suppresses the WNK4 effect on NCC activity and associates with WNK4 in a protein complex involving the kinase domains. Although a kinase-dead WNK1 also associates with WNK4, it fails to suppress WNK4-mediated NCC inhibition; the WNK1 kinase domain alone, however, is not sufficient to block the WNK4 effect. The carboxyterminal 222 amino acids of WNK4 are sufficient to inhibit NCC, but this fragment is not blocked by WNK1. Instead, WNK1 inhibition requires an intact WNK4 kinase domain, the region that binds to WNK1. In summary, these data show that: (a) the WNK4 carboxyl terminus mediates NCC suppression, (b) the WNK1 kinase domain interacts with the WNK4 kinase domain, and (c) WNK1 inhibition of WNK4 is dependent on WNK1 catalytic activity and an intact WNK1 protein. These findings provide insight into the complex interrelationships between WNK1 and WNK4 and provide a molecular basis for FHHt.
Chao-Ling Yang, Xiaoman Zhu, Zhaohong Wang, Arohan R. Subramanya, David H. Ellison
Mutations in the gene encoding hepatocyte nuclear factor-4α (HNF-4α) result in maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). To determine the contribution of HNF-4α to the maintenance of glucose homeostasis by the β cell in vivo, we derived a conditional knockout of HNF-4α using the Cre-loxP system. Surprisingly, deletion of HNF-4α in β cells resulted in hyperinsulinemia in fasted and fed mice but paradoxically also in impaired glucose tolerance. Islet perifusion and calcium-imaging studies showed abnormal responses of the mutant β cells to stimulation by glucose and sulfonylureas. These phenotypes can be explained in part by a 60% reduction in expression of the potassium channel subunit Kir6.2. We demonstrate using cotransfection assays that the Kir6.2 gene is a transcriptional target of HNF-4α. Our data provide genetic evidence that HNF-4α is required in the pancreatic β cell for regulation of the pathway of insulin secretion dependent on the ATP-dependent potassium channel.
Rana K. Gupta, Marko Z. Vatamaniuk, Catherine S. Lee, Reed C. Flaschen, James T. Fulmer, Franz M. Matschinsky, Stephen A. Duncan, Klaus H. Kaestner
Mutations in MEF2A have been implicated in an autosomal dominant form of coronary artery disease (adCAD1). In this study we sought to determine whether severe mutations in MEF2A might also explain sporadic cases of coronary artery disease (CAD). To do this, we resequenced the coding sequence and splice sites of MEF2A in approximately 300 patients with premature CAD and failed to find causative mutations in the CAD cohort. However, we did identify the 21-bp MEF2A coding sequence deletion originally implicated in adCAD1 in 1 of 300 elderly control subjects without CAD. Further screening of approximately 1,500 additional individuals without CAD revealed 2 more subjects with the MEF2A 21-bp deletion. Genotyping of 19 family members of the 3 probands with the 21-bp deletion in MEF2A revealed that the mutation did not cosegregate with early CAD. These studies support that MEF2A mutations are not a common cause of CAD in white people and argue strongly against a role for the MEF2A 21-bp deletion in autosomal dominant CAD.
Li Weng, Nihan Kavaslar, Anna Ustaszewska, Heather Doelle, Wendy Schackwitz, Sybil Hébert, Jonathan C. Cohen, Ruth McPherson, Len A. Pennacchio
Ikaros transcription factors are essential regulators of lymphopoiesis and the development of the immune system. We now show that Ikaros is expressed in hormone-producing pituitary corticomelanotroph cells, where it binds the proopiomelanocortin promoter and regulates endogenous gene expression. Loss of Ikaros in vivo results in contraction of the pituitary corticomelanotroph population, reduced circulating adrenocorticotrophic hormone levels, and adrenal glucocorticoid insufficiency. While hemopoietic reconstitution failed to correct this hormonal deficit, the phenotype of reduced body weight and diminished survival was rescued by systemic glucocorticoid-hormone administration. Given the established immunomodulatory properties of glucocorticoid hormones, these findings reveal a novel role for Ikaros in orchestrating immune-endocrine development and function.
Shereen Ezzat, Rene Mader, ShunJiang Yu, Terry Ning, Philippe Poussier, Sylvia L. Asa
Effective therapies for the treatment of obesity, a key element of metabolic syndrome, are urgently needed but currently lacking. Stearoyl-CoA desaturase–1 (SCD1) is the rate-limiting enzyme catalyzing the conversion of saturated long-chain fatty acids into monounsaturated fatty acids, which are major components of triglycerides. In the current study, we tested the efficacy of pharmacological inhibition of SCD1 in controlling lipogenesis and body weight in mice. SCD1-specific antisense oligonucleotide inhibitors (ASOs) reduced SCD1 expression, reduced fatty acid synthesis and secretion, and increased fatty acid oxidization in primary mouse hepatocytes. Treatment of mice with SCD1 ASOs resulted in prevention of diet-induced obesity with concomitant reductions in SCD1 expression and the ratio of oleate to stearoyl-CoA in tissues and plasma. These changes correlated with reduced body adiposity, hepatomegaly and steatosis, and postprandial plasma insulin and glucose levels. Furthermore, SCD1 ASOs reduced de novo fatty acid synthesis, decreased expression of lipogenic genes, and increased expression of genes promoting energy expenditure in liver and adipose tissues. Thus, SCD1 inhibition represents a new target for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders.
Guoqiang Jiang, Zhihua Li, Franklin Liu, Kenneth Ellsworth, Qing Dallas-Yang, Margaret Wu, John Ronan, Christine Esau, Cain Murphy, Deborah Szalkowski, Raynald Bergeron, Thomas Doebber, Bei B. Zhang
Hyperoxic acute lung injury (HALI) is characterized by a cell death response with features of apoptosis and necrosis that is inhibited by IL-11 and other interventions. We hypothesized that Bfl-1/A1, an antiapoptotic Bcl-2 protein, is a critical regulator of HALI and a mediator of IL-11–induced cytoprotection. To test this, we characterized the expression of A1 and the oxygen susceptibility of WT and IL-11 Tg(+) mice with normal and null A1 loci. In WT mice, 100% O2 caused TUNEL+ cell death, induction and activation of intrinsic and mitochondrial-death pathways, and alveolar protein leak. Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl were also induced as an apparent protective response. A1 was induced in hyperoxia, and in A1-null mice, the toxic effects of hyperoxia were exaggerated, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl were not induced, and premature death was seen. In contrast, IL-11 stimulated A1, diminished the toxic effects of hyperoxia, stimulated Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl, and enhanced murine survival in 100% O2. In A1-null mice, IL-11–induced protection, survival advantage, and Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl induction were significantly decreased. VEGF also conferred protection via an A1-dependent mechanism. In vitro hyperoxia also stimulated A1, and A1 overexpression inhibited oxidant-induced epithelial cell apoptosis and necrosis. A1 is an important regulator of oxidant-induced lung injury, apoptosis, necrosis, and Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl gene expression and a critical mediator of IL-11– and VEGF-induced cytoprotection.
Chuan Hua He, Aaron B. Waxman, Chun Geun Lee, Holger Link, Morgan E. Rabach, Bing Ma, Qingsheng Chen, Zhou Zhu, Mei Zhong, Keiko Nakayama, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Robert Homer, Jack A. Elias
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