Alcoholic liver disease is associated with inflammation and cell death. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a stress-inducible enzyme with anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Here we tested the hypothesis that induction of HO-1 or treatment with a carbon monoxide releasing molecule (CORM) during chronic ethanol exposure protects and/or reverses ethanol-induced liver injury.
C5a and its cognate receptor, C5a receptor (C5aR), key elements of complement, are critical modulators of liver immunity and fibrosis. However, the molecular mechanism for the cross talk between complement and liver fibrosis is not well understood. C5a is a potent chemokine regulating migration of cells in the innate immune system. Since activation and migration of hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are hallmarks of liver fibrosis, we hypothesized that C5a contributes to fibrosis by regulating HSC activation and/or migration.
The spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the deer and elk population has caused serious public health concerns due to its potential to infect farm animals and humans. Like other prion disorders such a sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob-disease of humans and Mad Cow Disease of cattle, CWD is caused by PrP-scrapie (PrPSc), a beta-sheet rich isoform of a normal cell surface glycoprotein, the prion protein (PrPC). Since PrPSc is sufficient to cause infection and neurotoxicity if ingested by a susceptible host, it is important to understand the mechanism by which it crosses the stringent epithelial cell barrier of the small intestine. Possible mechanisms include co-transport with ferritin in ingested food and uptake by dendritic cells. Since ferritin is ubiquitously expressed and shares considerable homology among species, co-transport of PrPSc with ferritin can result in cross-species spread with deleterious consequences. We have used a combination of in vitro and in vivo models of intestinal epithelial cell barrier to understand the role of ferritin in mediating PrPSc uptake and transport. In this report, we demonstrate that PrPSc and ferritin from CWD affected deer and elk brains and scrapie from sheep resist degradation by digestive enzymes, and are transcytosed across a tight monolayer of human epithelial cells with significant efficiency. Likewise, ferritin from hamster brains is taken up by mouse intestinal epithelial cells in vivo, indicating that uptake of ferritin is not limited by species differences as described for prions. More importantly, the iron content of ferritin determines its efficiency of uptake and transport by Caco-2 cells and mouse models, providing insight into the mechanism(s) of ferritin and PrPSc uptake by intestinal epithelial cells.
Imbalance of iron homeostasis has been reported in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob-disease (sCJD) affected human and scrapie infected animal brains, but the contribution of this phenotype to disease associated neurotoxicity is unclear.
Glutathione (GSH) depletion is often detected in chronic pathological conditions like hepatitis C infection, alcohol consumption or xenobiotic assault with simultaneous reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and hepatic iron overload. However, relation between GSH depletion and regulators of iron homeostasis is not clear so far. To determine that hepatic HepG2 cells were treated with GSH synthesis inhibitor butathione sulfoximine (BSO) and a dual regulation of ceruloplasmin (Cp) that involves in hepatic iron release was detected unlike other iron homeostasis regulators. BSO treatment that caused marginal GSH deficiency increased Cp synthesis due to increased transcription mediated by activator protein (AP)-1-binding site. In higher GSH deficiency (> 40 %) with increased ROS generation, Cp expression was decreased due to promotion of Cp mRNA decay mediated by 3untranslated region (3UTR) as found by transfecting chimera of chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene with Cp 3UTR. RNA gel shift assay showed significant reduction in 3UTR binding protein complex in similar condition. Decreased CAT expression and RNA-protein complex binding are reversed by pretreatment with antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine suggesting 3UTR binding protein complex is redox-sensitive. This unique and opposite regulation of Cp provides a mechanism of hepatic iron-deposition during glutathione deficiency detected in chronic pathological conditions.
Metal induced free radicals are important mediators of neurotoxicity in several neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and Huntingtons disease. Similar evidence is now emerging for prion diseases, a group of neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals. The main pathogenic agent in all prion disorders is PrP-scrapie (PrP(Sc)), a beta-sheet rich isoform of a normal cell surface glycoprotein known as the prion protein (PrP(C)). Deposits of PrP(Sc) in the brain parenchyma are believed to induce neurotoxicity through poorly understood mechanisms. Recent reports suggest that imbalance of brain metal homeostasis is a significant cause of PrP(Sc)-associated neurotoxicity, though the underlying mechanisms are difficult to explain based on existing information. Proposed hypotheses include a functional role for PrP(C) in metal metabolism, and loss of this function due to aggregation to the disease associated PrP(Sc) form as the cause of brain metal imbalance. Other views suggest gain of toxic function by PrP(Sc) due to sequestration of PrP(C)-associated metals within the aggregates, resulting in the generation of redox-active PrP(Sc) complexes. The physiological implications of some PrP(C)-metal interactions are known, while others are still unclear. The pathological implications of PrP(C)-metal interaction include metal-induced oxidative damage, and in some instances conversion of PrP(C) to a PrP(Sc)-like form. Despite its significance, only limited information is available on PrP-metal interaction and its implications on prion disease pathogenesis. In this review, we summarize the physiological significance and pathological implications of PrP-metal interaction on prion disease pathogenesis.
Ceruloplasmin (Cp), a copper-containing protein, plays a significant role in body iron homeostasis as aceruloplasminemia patients and Cp knock-out mice exhibit iron overload in several tissues including liver and brain. Several other functions as oxidant, as antioxidant, and in nitric oxide metabolism are also attributed to Cp. Despite its role in iron oxidation and other biological oxidation reactions the regulation of Cp by reactive oxygen species (ROS) remains unexplored. Cp is synthesized in liver as a secretory protein and predominantly as a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored membrane-bound form in astroglia. In this study we demonstrated that Cp expression is decreased by an mRNA decay mechanism in response to extracellular (H2O2) or intracellular oxidative stress (by mitochondrial chain blockers rotenone or antimycin A) in both hepatic and astroglial cells. The promotion of Cp mRNA decay is conferred by its 3-untranslated region (UTR). When chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene was transfected as a chimera with Cp 3-UTR in hepatic or astroglial cells, in response to either H2O2, rotenone, or antimycin A, the expression of CAT transcript was decreased, whereas expression of a 3-UTR-less CAT transcript remained unaffected. RNA gel shift assay showed significant reduction in 3-UTR-binding protein complex by ROS in both cell types that was reversed by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine suggesting that ROS affects RNA-protein complex formation to promote Cp mRNA decay. Our finding is not only the first demonstration of regulation of Cp by ROS by a novel post-transcriptional mechanism but also provides a mechanism of iron deposition in neurodegenerative diseases.
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