Elevated levels of acute phase proteins (APP) are often found in patients with cardiovascular diseases. In a previous study, we demonstrated the importance of the IL-6-gp130 axis -as a key regulator of inflammatory acute phase signaling in hepatocytes-for the development of atherosclerosis.
Hypertension and its complications represent leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Although the cause of hypertension is unknown in most patients, genetic factors are recognized as contributing significantly to an individuals lifetime risk of developing the condition. Here, we investigated the role of the G protein regulator phosducin (Pdc) in hypertension. Mice with a targeted deletion of the gene encoding Pdc (Pdc-/- mice) had increased blood pressure despite normal cardiac function and vascular reactivity, and displayed elevated catecholamine turnover in the peripheral sympathetic system. Isolated postganglionic sympathetic neurons from Pdc-/- mice showed prolonged action potential firing after stimulation with acetylcholine and increased firing frequencies during membrane depolarization. Furthermore, Pdc-/- mice displayed exaggerated increases in blood pressure in response to post-operative stress. Candidate gene-based association studies in 2 different human populations revealed several SNPs in the PDC gene to be associated with stress-dependent blood pressure phenotypes. Individuals homozygous for the G allele of an intronic PDC SNP (rs12402521) had 12-15 mmHg higher blood pressure than those carrying the A allele. These findings demonstrate that PDC is an important modulator of sympathetic activity and blood pressure and may thus represent a promising target for treatment of stress-dependent hypertension.
Macrophages are an important part of the cellular immune system and play a key role during immune responses. Thus, macrophages are interesting targets in basic and clinical research. Primary monocytes or monocyte-derived macrophages do not proliferate on a suitable scale so that their use for functional studies in vitro is limited. Immortal proliferating cell lines, such as the human THP-1 monocytic leukemia cell line, are therefore often used instead of primary cells. Transfection is a useful tool to study the function of gene products, but transfection of THP-1 monocytes and pre-differentiated THP-1 macrophages with subsequent differentiation into mature THP-1 macrophages using phorbol esters is usually accompanied by a progressive loss of cell viability. In this study, we describe a simple and rapid approach for efficient transfection of THP-1 monocytes and pre-differentiated THP-1 macrophages using a modified Nucleofection-based approach. The protocol maintains cell viability and functionality, thus allowing efficient transfection of THP-1 cells combined with subsequent differentiation of transfected THP-1 cells into mature macrophages.
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