Growth hormone (GH) resistance has been associated with liver cirrhosis in humans but its contribution to the disease remains controversial. In order to elucidate whether GH resistance plays a causal role in the establishment and development of liver fibrosis, or rather represents a major consequence thereof, we challenged mice lacking the Growth hormone receptor gene (Ghr(-/-) , a model for GH resistance) by crossing them with Mdr2 knockout mice (Mdr2(-/-) ), a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis and liver fibrosis. Ghr(-/-) ;Mdr2(-/-) mice showed elevated serum markers associated with liver damage and cholestasis, extensive bile duct proliferation and increased collagen deposition relative to Mdr2 (-/-) mice, thus suggesting a more severe liver fibrosis phenotype. Additionally, Ghr(-/-) ;Mdr2(-/-) mice had a pronounced down-regulation of hepato-protective genes Hnf6, Egfr and Igf-1, and significantly increased levels of ROS and apoptosis in hepatocytes, compared to control mice. Moreover, single knockout mice (Ghr(-/-) ) fed with a diet containing 1% cholic acid displayed an increase in hepatocyte ROS production, hepatocyte apoptosis and bile infarcts compared to their wildtype littermates, indicating that loss of Ghr renders hepatocytes more susceptible to toxic bile acid accumulation. Surprisingly, and despite their severe fibrotic phenotype, Ghr(-/-) ;Mdr2(-/-) mice displayed a significant decrease in tumour incidence compared to Mdr2(-/-) mice, indicating that loss of Ghr signaling may slow the progression from fibrosis/cirrhosis to cancer in the liver. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that GH resistance dramatically exacerbates liver fibrosis in a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis, therefore suggesting that GH resistance plays a causal role in the disease and provides a novel target for the development of liver fibrosis treatments. (Hepatology 2014;).
The latest investigations of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have revealed their important role in human cancers. LncRNAs are larger than 200 nucleotides in length and fulfill their cellular purpose without being translated into proteins. Though the molecular functions of some lncRNAs have been elucidated, there is still a high number of lncRNAs with unknown or controversial functions. In this review, we provide an overview of different lncRNAs and their role in human cancers. In particular, we emphasize their importance in tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer worldwide.
The eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) 3a, the largest subunit of the eIF3 complex, is a key functional entity in ribosome establishment and translation initiation. In the past, aberrant eIF3a expression has been linked to the pathology of various cancer types but, so far, its expression has not been investigated in transitional cell carcinomas. Here, we investigated the impact of eIF3 expression on urinary bladder cancer (UBC) cell characteristics and UBC patient survival.
A high percentage of the mammalian genome consists of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Among ncRNAs two main subgroups have been identified: long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs). ncRNAs have been demonstrated to play a role in a vast variety of diseases, since they regulate gene transcription and are involved in post-transcriptional regulation. They have the potential to function as molecular signals or as guides for transcription factors and to regulate epigenetic modifiers. In this literature review we have summarized data on miRNAs and lncRNAs and their involvement in dyslipidaemia, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and adipogenesis. Outlining certain ncRNAs as disease biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets, and testing them in vivo, will be the next steps in future research.
Endometrial stromal sarcoma (ESS) is a rare gynecological mesenchymal malignancy with only few therapeutic options. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA) combined with inhibitors of the phosphoinositid-3-Kinase (PI3K) pathway in ESS therapy.
The dramatic cardiovascular mortality of patients with chronic kidney disease is attributable in a significant proportion to endothelial dysfunction. Cyanate, a reactive species in equilibrium with urea, is formed in excess in chronic kidney disease. Cyanate is thought to have a causal role in promoting cardiovascular disease, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Immunohistochemical analysis performed in the present study revealed that carbamylated epitopes associate mainly with endothelial cells in human atherosclerotic lesions. Cyanate treatment of human coronary artery endothelial cells reduced expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and increased tissue factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expression. In mice, administration of cyanate, promoting protein carbamylation at levels observed in uremic patients, attenuated arterial vasorelaxation of aortic rings in response to acetylcholine without affecting the sodium nitroprusside-induced relaxation. Total endothelial nitric oxide synthase and nitric oxide production were significantly reduced in aortic tissue of cyanate-treated mice. This coincided with a marked increase of tissue factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 protein levels in aortas of cyanate-treated mice. Thus, cyanate compromises endothelial functionality in vitro and in vivo. This may contribute to the dramatic cardiovascular risk of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.
Liver-specific overexpression of the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) mRNA binding protein p62/IGF2BP2-2 induces a fatty liver, which highly expresses IGF2. Because IGF2 expression is elevated in patients with steatohepatitis, the aim of our study was to elucidate the role and interconnection of p62 and IGF2 in lipid metabolism. Expression of p62 and IGF2 highly correlated in human liver disease. p62 induced an elevated ratio of C18:C16 and increased fatty acid elongase 6 (ELOVL6) protein, the enzyme catalyzing the elongation of C16 to C18 fatty acids and promoting nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in mice and humans. The p62 overexpression induced the activation of the ELOVL6 transcriptional activator sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1 (SREBF1). Recombinant IGF2 induced the nuclear translocation of SREBF1 and a neutralizing IGF2 antibody reduced ELOVL6 and mature SREBF1 protein levels. Concordantly, p62 and IGF2 correlated with ELOVL6 in human livers. Decreased palmitoyl-CoA levels, as found in p62 transgenic livers, can explain the lipogenic action of ELOVL6. Accordingly, p62 represents an inducer of hepatic C18 fatty acid production via a SREBF1-dependent induction of ELOVL6. These findings underline the detrimental role of p62 in liver disease.
Ovarian cancer (OC) is the eighth most lethal gynecological malignancy and the main cause of gynecological cancer death in industrialized countries. Malignant ascites is often found in OC, with about 10% of patients suffering from recurrent OC. Tumor cells in OC-associated malignant ascites promote disease recurrence and patient mortality is mainly associated with widespread metastasis to serosal surfaces and accompanying peritoneal effusions. Targeted therapies have recently been developed as novel therapeutic options for malignant ascites. The tri-functional anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule and anti-cluster of differentiation 3 monoclonal antibody catumaxumab has been assessed in the therapy of malignant ascites, and proven to significantly reduce the ascitic flow rate when applied into the peritoneal cavity. The anti-angiogenic targeted agent bevacizumab has also shown good effects in the symptomatic treatment of malignant ascites, significantly prolonging the time until the next paracentesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) Trap, or aflibercept, is a fusion protein that inhibits VEGF-receptor binding. Aflibercept has proven to be effective in reduction of ascites, diminishing clinical symptoms of ascites and prolonging the time to next paracentesis. All three agents we review in the present article are effective in symptomatic control of ascites, leading to a rapid reduction of effusion and prolonging the time interval between paracenteses. However, no improvement in overall survival was observed in any of the clinical trials reported. We, thus, conclude that further investigations on larger patient series are needed to clarify whether the reduction of ascites by these targeted agents leads to a prolongation in tumor-related survival or not.
Ovarian cancer (OC) is ranked as the eighth most common gynecological malignancy and is the leading cause of gynecological cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. The response to platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapy is very often poor, and targeted-therapeutics are currently being tested in patients with OC. Sorafenib is a non-selective multiple kinase inhibitor with proven antiproliferative effects in thyroid, renal and hepatocellular carcinoma. Sorafenib acts on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and on platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) related pathways. It also influences the rat sarcoma proto-oncogene/rat fibrosarcoma protein kinase/mitogen activated protein kinase (RAS/RAF/MAPK) pathway and blocks tumor growth factor beta-1 (TGF-?-1)-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Sorafenib also acts at the epigenetic level altering the histone acetylation pattern. There have been phase I, II and III studies investigation sorafenib in OC. We review several trials in which sorafenib has been administered as single-agent or combined with other chemotherapeutics. Unfortunately, the effect of sorafenib was usually modest and complete response was rarely observed. Adverse effects occurred frequently, including rash, diarrhea, edema and weight gain. Sorafenib evidently blocks EMT in vitro. However, in the conducted trials, sorafenib was administered to patients with highly advanced tumors. We posit that blocking EMT may be more effective in early-stage disease. We also presume that sorafenib would work particularly well in the treatment of clear cell OC, since this type of OC has different molecular characteristics from usual OC and is less sensitive to standard chemotherapy. Furthermore, the combination of sorafenib with other multiple-kinase inhibiting agents, e.g. ABT-869, a targeted-agent mainly acting in the VEGF and PDGF pathways, should be investigated in further detail. It is probable that synergistic effects can be achieved.
Hepcidin is the central regulator of iron homeostasis and altered hepcidin signalling results in both hereditary and acquired iron overload. While the association between iron overload and development of end-stage liver disease is well established, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. To improve that, we analysed hepcidin knockout (KO) mice as a model of iron overload-associated liver disease.
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) represents a risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and is characterized by quantitative and qualitative changes in hepatic lipids. Since elongation of fatty acids from C16 to C18 has recently been reported to promote both hepatic lipid accumulation and inflammation we aimed to investigate whether a frequently used mouse NASH model reflects this clinically relevant feature and whether C16 to C18 elongation can be observed in HCC development. Feeding mice a methionine and choline deficient diet to model NASH not only increased total hepatic fatty acids and cholesterol, but also distinctly elevated the C18/C16 ratio, which was not changed in a model of simple steatosis (ob/ob mice). Depletion of Kupffer cells abrogated both quantitative and qualitative methionine-and-choline deficient (MCD)-induced alterations in hepatic lipids. Interestingly, mimicking inflammatory events in early hepatocarcinogenesis by diethylnitrosamine-induced carcinogenesis (48 h) increased hepatic lipids and the C18/C16 ratio. Analyses of human liver samples from patients with NASH or NASH-related HCC showed an elevated expression of the elongase ELOVL6, which is responsible for the elongation of C16 fatty acids. Taken together, our findings suggest a detrimental role of an altered fatty acid pattern in the progression of NASH-related liver disease.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which includes steatosis and steatohepatitis, in particular non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is a rising health problem world-wide and should be separated from alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH). NAFLD is regarded as hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome (MetSy), being tightly linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Development of steatosis, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis often progresses towards hepatocellular carcinogenesis and frequently results in the indication for liver transplantation, underlining the clinical significance of this disease complex. Work on different murine models and several human patients studies led to the identification of different molecular key players as well as epigenetic factors like miRNAs and SNPs, which have a promoting or protecting function in AFLD/ASH or NAFLD/NASH. To which extent they might be translated into human biology and pathogenesis is still questionable and needs further investigation regarding diagnostic parameters, drug development and a better understanding of the genetic impact. In this review we give an overview about the currently available knowledge and recent findings regarding the development and progression of this disease.
The assessment of iron content in brain white matter (WM) is of high importance for studying neurodegenerative diseases. While R2 * mapping and quantitative susceptibility mapping is suitable for iron mapping in gray matter, iron mapping in WM still remains an unsolved problem. We propose a new approach for iron mapping, independent of diamagnetic contributions of myelin by assessing the temperature dependency of the paramagnetic susceptibility.
Ependymomas are glial neoplasms that arise at or close to the inner ependymal surface of the ventricular system. They are most frequently located intraventricularly, but they may also occur in the spinal cord or, very seldom, at extraneural sites. Here we report a case of an ectopic ependymoma, arising in the pelvic cavity.
Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) are protein aggregates consisting of ubiquitinated keratins 8/18 (K8/K18). MDBs are characteristic of alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and discriminate between the relatively benign simple steatosis and the more aggressive NASH. Given the emerging evidence for a genetic predisposition to MDB formation and NASH development in general, we studied whether high-fat (HF) diet triggers MDB formation and liver injury in susceptible animals. Mice were fed a high-fat (HF) or low-fat (LF) diet plus a cofactor for MDB development, 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC). Additionally, we fed nontransgenic and K8 overexpressing mice (K8tg) with the HF diet. The presence of MDB and extent of liver injury was evaluated using biochemical markers, histological staining, and immunofluorescence microscopy. In DDC-fed animals, an HF diet resulted in greater liver injury and up-regulation of inflammation-related genes. As a potential mechanism, K8/K18 accumulation and increased ecto-5'-nucleotidase (CD73) levels were noted. In the genetically susceptible K8tg mice, HF diet triggered hepatocellular injury, ballooning, apoptosis, inflammation, and MDB development by way of 1) decreased expression of the major stress-inducible chaperone Hsp72 with appearance of misfolded keratins; 2) elevated levels of the transglutaminase 2 (TG2); 3) increased K8 phosphorylation at S74 with subsequent TG2-mediated crosslinking of phosphorylated K8; and 4) higher production of the MDB-modifier gene CD73.
Epiplakin, a member of the plakin protein family, is exclusively expressed in epithelial tissues and was shown to bind to keratins. Epiplakin-deficient (EPPK-/-) mice showed no obvious spontaneous phenotype, however, EPPK-/- keratinocytes displayed faster keratin network breakdown in response to stress. The role of epiplakin in pancreas, a tissue with abundant keratin expression, was not yet known. We analyzed epiplakin's expression in healthy and inflamed pancreatic tissue and compared wild-type and EPPK-/- mice during caerulein-induced acute pancreatitis. We found that epiplakin was expressed primarily in ductal cells of the pancreas and colocalized with apicolateral keratin bundles in murine pancreatic acinar cells. Epiplakin's diffuse subcellular localization in keratin filament-free acini of K8-deficient mice indicated that its filament-associated localization in acinar cells completely depends on its binding partner keratin. During acute pancreatitis, epiplakin was upregulated in acinar cells and its redistribution closely paralleled keratin reorganization. EPPK-/- mice suffered from aggravated pancreatitis but showed no obvious regeneration phenotype. At the most severe stage of the disease, EPPK-/- acinar cells displayed more keratin aggregates than those of wild-type mice. Our data propose epiplakin to be a protective protein during acute pancreatitis, and that its loss causes impaired disease-associated keratin reorganization.
In targeted therapy, patient tumors are analyzed for aberrant activations of core cancer pathways, monitored based on biomarker expression, to ensure efficient treatment. Thus, diagnosis and therapeutic decisions are often based on the status of biomarkers determined by immunohistochemistry in combination with other clinical parameters. Standard evaluation of cancer specimen by immunohistochemistry is frequently impeded by its dependence on subjective interpretation, showing considerable intra- and inter-observer variability. To make treatment decisions more reliable, automated image analysis is an attractive possibility to reproducibly quantify biomarker expression in patient tissue samples. We tested whether image analysis could detect subtle differences in protein expression levels. Gene dosage effects generate well-graded expression patterns for most gene-products, which vary by a factor of two between wildtype and haploinsufficient cells lacking one allele. We used conditional mouse models with deletion of the transcription factors Stat5ab in the liver as well Junb deletion in a T-cell lymphoma model. We quantified the expression of total or activated STAT5AB or JUNB protein in normal (Stat5ab+/+ or JunB+/+), hemizygous (Stat5ab+/? or JunB+/?) or knockout (Stat5ab?/? or JunB?/?) settings. Image analysis was able to accurately detect hemizygosity at the protein level. Moreover, nuclear signals were distinguished from cytoplasmic expression and translocation of the transcription factors from the cytoplasm to the nucleus was reliably detected and quantified using image analysis. We demonstrate that image analysis supported pathologists to score nuclear STAT5AB expression levels in immunohistologically stained human hepatocellular patient samples and decreased inter-observer variability.
The in situ proximity ligation assay (isPLA) is an increasingly used technology for in situ detection of protein interactions, post-translational modifications, and spatial relationships of antigens in cells and tissues, in general. In order to test its performance we compared isPLA with immunofluorescence microscopy by analyzing protein interactions in cytoplasmic protein aggregates, so-called Mallory Denk bodies (MDBs). These structures represent protein inclusions in hepatocytes typically found in human steatohepatitis and they can be generated in mice by feeding of 3,5-diethoxy-carbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC). We investigated the colocalization of all three key MDB components, namely keratin 8 (K8), keratin 18 (K18), and p62 (sequestosome 1) by isPLA and immunofluorescence microscopy. Sensitivity and specificity of isPLA was assessed by using Krt8-/- and Krt18-/- mice as biological controls, along with a series of technical controls. isPLA signal visualization is a robust technology with excellent sensitivity and specificity. The biological relevance of signals generated critically depends on the performance of antibodies used, which requires careful testing of antibodies like in immunofluorescence microscopy. There is a clear advantage of isPLA in visualizing protein co-localization, particularly when antigens are present at markedly different concentrations. Furthermore, isPLA is superior to confocal microscopy with respect to spatial resolution of colocalizing antigens. Disadvantages compared to immunofluorescence are increased costs and longer duration of the laboratory protocol.
Background Due to the redundancy of molecular pathways simultaneously involved in glioblastoma growth and angiogenesis, therapeutic approaches intervening at multiple levels seem particularly appealing. Methods This prospective, multicenter, single-arm phase II trial was designed to evaluate the antitumor activity of sunitinib, an oral small-molecule inhibitor of several receptor tyrosine kinases, in patients with first recurrence of primary glioblastoma using a continuous once-daily dosing regimen. Patients received a starting dose of sunitinib 37.5 mg, followed by a maintenance dose between 12.5 mg and 50 mg depending on drug tolerability. The primary endpoint was a 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate. Secondary endpoints included median PFS, overall survival (OS), safety/toxicity, quality of life, and translational studies on the expression of sunitinib target molecules. Results Forty participants were included in this study, and no objective responses were detected. PFS6 was 12.5%, median PFS 2.2 months, and median OS 9.2 months. Five participants (12.5%) showed prolonged stable disease ?6 months with a median PFS of 16.0 months (range, 6.4-41.4 mo) and a median OS of 46.9 months (range, 21.2-49.2 mo) for this subgroup. c-KIT expression in vascular endothelial cells (n = 14 participants) was associated with improved PFS. The most common toxicities were fatigue/asthenia, mucositis/dermatitis, dysesthesias, gastrointestinal symptoms, cognitive impairment, leukoctopenia, and thrombocytopenia. Two participants (5%) terminated treatment due to toxicity. Conclusion Continuous daily sunitinib showed minimal antiglioblastoma activity and substantial toxicity when given at higher doses. High endothelial c-KIT expression may define a subgroup of patients who will benefit from sunitinib treatment by achieving prolonged PFS. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00535379.
Single circulating tumor cells (CTCs) or circulating tumor microemboli (CTMs) are potential biomarkers of renal cell cancer (RCC), however studies of CTCs/CTMs in RCC are limited. In this pilot study we aimed to evaluate a novel blood filtration technique suited for cytomorphological classification, immunocytochemical and molecular characterization of filtered, so called circulating non-hematologic cells (CNHCs) - putative CTCs/CTMs - in patients with RCC.
Eukaryotic gene expression is a complicated process primarily regulated at the levels of gene transcription and mRNA translation. The latter involves four main steps: initiation, elongation, termination and recycling. Translation regulation is primarily achieved during initiation which is orchestrated by 12 currently known eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs). Here, we review the current state of eIF research and present a concise summary of the various eIF subunits. As eIFs turned out to be critically implicated in different oncogenic processes the various eIF members and their contribution to onset and progression of cancer are featured.
Elevated levels of advanced oxidation protein products have been described in several chronic inflammatory diseases, like chronic renal insufficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, and atherosclerosis. Recent findings revealed that advanced oxidation protein products are inhibitors of the major high-density lipoprotein receptor, scavenger receptor class B, type 1 (SR-BI). Here, we investigated which oxidation-induced structural alterations convert plasma albumin into a high-density lipoprotein-receptor inhibitor.
Ovarian carcinoma (OC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy. Response to platinum-based chemotherapy is poor in some patients and, thus, current research is focusing on new therapy options. The various histological types of OC are characterized by distinctive molecular genetic alterations that are relevant for ovarian tumorigenesis. The understanding of these molecular pathways is essential for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Purpose: We want to give an overview on the molecular genetic changes of the histopathological types of OC and their role as putative therapeutic targets. In Depth Review of Existing Data: In 2012, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, bevacizumab, was approved for OC treatment. Bevacizumab has shown promising results as single agent and in combination with conventional chemotherapy, but its target is not distinctive when analyzed before treatment. At present, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors, poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors and components of the EGFR pathway are in the focus of clinical research. Interestingly, some phytochemical substances show good synergistic effects when used in combination with chemotherapy. Conclusion: Ongoing studies of targeted agents in conjunction with chemotherapy will show whether there are alternative options to bevacizumab available for OC patients. Novel targets which can be assessed before therapy to predict efficacy are needed. The assessment of therapeutic targets is continuously improved by molecular pathological analyses on tumor tissue. A careful selection of patients for personalized treatment will help to reduce putative side effects and toxicity.
Chordomas are rare malignancies of the axial skeleton. Therapy is mainly restricted to surgery. This study investigates histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors as potential therapeutics for chordomas. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed using the HDAC 1-6 antibodies on 50 chordoma samples (34 primary tumors, 16 recurrences) from 44 patients (27 male, 17 female). Pan-HDAC-inhibitors Vorinostat (SAHA), Panobinostat (LBH-589), and Belinostat (PXD101) were tested for their efficacy in the chordoma cell line MUG-Chor1 via Western blot, cell cycle analysis, caspase 3/7 activity (MUG-Chor1, UCh-1), cleaved caspase-3, and PARP cleavage. p-Values below 0.05 were considered significant. IHC was negative for HDAC1, positive for HDAC2 in most (n = 36; 72%), and for HDACs 3-6 in all specimens available (n = 43; 86%). HDAC6 expression was strongest. SAHA and LBH-589, but not PXD101 caused a significant increase of G2/M phase cells and of cleaved caspase-3 (p = 0.0003, and p = 0.0014 after 72 h, respectively), and a peak of caspase 3/7 activity. PARP cleavage confirmed apoptosis. The presented chordoma series expressed HDACs 2-6 with strongest expression of HDAC6. SAHA and LBH-589 significantly increased apoptosis and changed cell cycle distribution in vitro. HDAC-inhibitors should be further evaluated as therapeutic options for chordoma.
Despite advances in surgical and chemotherapeutic treatment options, less than 50% of patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer survive five years after initial diagnosis. In this regard, novel treatment approaches are warranted utilizing molecularly targeted therapies directed against particular components of specific signaling pathways which are required for tumor development and progression. One molecular pathway of interest is the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. Activation of the Hh pathway has been observed in several cancer types, including ovarian cancer. This review highlights the crucial role of Hh signaling in the development and progression of ovarian cancer and might lead to a better understanding of the Hh signaling in ovarian tumorigenesis, thus encouraging the investigation of novel targeted therapies.
In recent years, enormous progress has been made in identifying microRNAs (miRNAs) as important regulators of gene expression and their association with or control of various liver diseases such as fibrosis, hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Indeed, many genes encoding miRNAs as well as their targets have been described and their direct or indirect link to the respective liver diseases has been investigated in various experimental systems as well as in human tissue. Here we discuss current knowledge of miRNAs and their involvement in liver diseases, elaborating in particular on the contribution of miRNAs to hepatitis, fibrosis and HCC formation. We also debate possible prognostic, predictive and therapeutic values of respective miRNAs in liver diseases. The discovery of liver disease related miRNAs has constituted a major breakthrough in liver research and will most likely be of high relevance for future therapeutic strategies, especially when dealing with hepatitis, fibrosis and HCC.
SUMOylation is a post-translational modification characterized by covalent and reversible binding of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) to a target protein. In mammals, four different isoforms, termed SUMO-1, -2, -3 and -4 have been identified so far. SUMO proteins are critically involved in the modulation of nuclear organization and cell viability. Their expression is significantly increased in processes associated with carcinogenesis such as cell growth, differentiation, senescence, oxidative stress and apoptosis. Little is known about the role of SUMOylation in cancer development. Therefore the present review focuses on possible implications of SUMOylation in carcinogenesis highlighting its impact as an important regulatory cell cycle protein. Moreover, novel opportunities for therapeutic approaches are discussed. The differential expression levels, the target protein preferences and the function of the SUMO pathway in different cancer subtypes raises unexpected issues questioning our understanding of the implication of SUMO in carcinogenesis.
Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) are cytoplasmic protein aggregates in hepatocytes in steatohepatitis and other liver diseases. We investigated the molecular structure of keratin 8 (K8) and 18 (K18), sequestosome 1/p62, and ubiquitin, which are the major constituents of MDBs, to investigate their formation and role in disease pathogenesis.
The nuclear factor ?-light-chain enhancer of activated B-cells (NF-?B) signaling pathway is regarded as an important factor in inflammation and carcinogenesis. Recently, a role in hepatocarcinogenesis has been attributed to the NF-?B regulatory subunit IKK? (NEMO) using knockout mice. However, a detailed investigation of NEMO expression in human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) has not yet been reported. We selected 85 HCC patients who had undergone curative liver resection and analyzed NEMO expression of the respective tumors by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and real-time PCR. NEMO expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters, and the impact on 5-year disease-free survival and 5-year overall survival was calculated using multivariate Cox proportional models. In our study, complete loss of NEMO immunoreactivity was found in 34 (40%) of 85 HCCs compared with their adjacent nonneoplastic tissue (P < .05). NEMO messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was detected in all HCC cases; however, no correlation between NEMO immunoreactivity and mRNA level was found. Five-year overall survival rates for patients with low and high NEMO expression were 22% and 50%, respectively (P = .049). However, high tumor stage, but not level of NEMO expression, was confirmed as an independent poor prognostic factor for 5-year disease-free survival (hazards ratio [HR] = 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3-3.6, P = .009) and 5-year overall survival (HR = 2.5, CI = 1.4-4.4, P = .002). In conclusion, a loss of NEMO immunoreactivity occurs in a substantial proportion of human HCCs. Although low NEMO expression is correlated with a poor 5-year overall survival in patients with HCC, NEMO cannot be regarded as an independent prognostic marker for predicting the clinical outcome of patients suffering from HCC.
Chronic diseases of the biliary system are common and may cause fibrosis and eventually progression to liver cirrhosis. The aim was to define a new mouse model of a cholangiopathy leading to liver fibrosis in fra-1tg mice. Liver pathology of fra-1tg mice was analyzed in detail by histology and flow cytometry. Transcript levels of fibrosis-related genes and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activities were quantified and immunohistochemical analysis additionally applied. The role of the immune system in this model was analyzed by crossing fra-1tg mice with rag2(-/-) mice. Furthermore, expression of Fra-1 in corresponding human liver diseases was investigated on transcription level and histologically. Fra-1tg mice spontaneously develop biliary fibrosis preceded by ductular proliferation and infiltration of inflammatory cells. Fra-1 protein is present in cholangiocytes and inflammatory cells within the liver. These findings were replicated in human biopsies of patients with advanced liver fibrosis. The inflammatory infiltrate showed a strong increase in activated T cells and decreased natural killer (NK), natural killer T cells (NKT), and B cells in fra-1tg mice as compared to wildtype mice. Moreover, fra-1tg mice develop biliary fibrosis with a time-dependent increase in hepatic collagen content and increase in relative messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of profibrotic genes. Attenuation but not complete prevention of collagen accumulation in liver was observed in the fra-1tg × rag2(-/-) mice. However, transplantation of fra-1tg bone marrow cells into wildtype mice could not induce disease.
The hepatocellular cytoskeleton consists of three filamentous systems: microfilaments, microtubules and keratins (Ks). While the alterations in microfilaments and microtubules during nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are largely unexplored, K8/K18 reorganization into Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) represents a NASH hallmark, and serological K18 fragments constitute an established tool to monitor NASH severity. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first description of MDBs, this article summarizes the composition and function of the hepatocellular cytoskeleton, as well as the importance of cytoskeletal alterations in NASH. The significance of MDBs in clinical routine is illustrated, as are the findings from MDB mouse models, which shape our current view of MDB pathogenesis. Even after 100 years, the cytoskeleton represents a fascinating but greatly understudied area of NASH biology.
Neuronal cell death after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a complex interplay of pathological mechanisms including excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, extensive neuroinflammation, and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Pancreatitis-associated protein I (PAP I/reg2) was reported to be a survival factor for peripheral neurons, particularly sensory and motor neurons. In rat brains, by experimental TBI as well as by kainic acid induced brain seizure, PAP I and PAP III were found to be up-regulated in central neurons. In this study, we performed immunohistochemical staining in postmortem human brain from patients who died after severe TBI to demonstrate PAP expression on protein level in cerebellar Purkinje cells, pyramidal and granular neurons in cerebral cortex, and cortical neurons in the fore- and mid-brain. In primary cultures of rat brain cortical, hippocampal, and cerebellar neurons, we found neuroprotective effects for PAP I on H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress. Moreover, serum K(+)-deprivation induces apoptotic cell death in 55% of cerebellar granule neurons (CGN), whereas upon treatment with PAP I only 32% of CGN are apoptotic. Using Western blot analyses, we compared protein phosphorylation in neuronal signaling pathways activated by PAP I versus Interleukin-6 (IL-6). We found a rapid activation of Akt-kinase phosphorylation by PAP I with a peak at 15 min, whereas IL-6 induces Akt-phosphorylation lasting longer than 30 min. Phosphorylation of MAP-42/44 kinases is stimulated in a comparable fashion. Both, IL-6 and PAP I increase phosphorylation of NF?B for activation of gene transcription, whereas only IL-6 recruits STAT3 phosphorylation, indicating that STAT3 is not a target of PAP I transcription activation in brain neurons. Application of the Akt-inhibitor Wortmanin reveals only a partial inhibition of PAP I-dependent protection of CGN from H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress. Based on our findings, we suggest that PAP I is a long lasting neurotrophic signal for central neurons. The neuroprotective effects parallel those that have been described for effects of PAP I in ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)-mediated survival of sensory and motor neurons. PAP I may act in autocrine and/or paracrine fashion and thus may contribute to endogenous protective mechanisms relevant under harmful conditions like oxidative stress, brain injury, or neurodegeneration.
White matter changes occur endemically in routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of elderly persons. MRI appearance and histopathological correlates of white matter changes are heterogeneous. Smooth periventricular hyperintensities, including caps around the ventricular horns, periventricular lining and halos are likely to be of non-vascular origin. They relate to a disruption of the ependymal lining with subependymal widening of the extracellular space and have to be differentiated from subcortical and deep white matter abnormalities. For the latter a distinction needs to be made between punctate, early confluent and confluent types. Although punctate white matter lesions often represent widened perivascular spaces without substantial ischemic tissue damage, early confluent and confluent lesions correspond to incomplete ischemic destruction. Punctate abnormalities on MRI show a low tendency for progression, while early confluent and confluent changes progress rapidly. The causative and modifying pathways involved in the occurrence of sporadic age-related white matter changes are still incompletely understood, but recent microarray and genome-wide association approaches increased the notion of pathways that might be considered as targets for therapeutic intervention. The majority of differentially regulated transcripts in white matter lesions encode genes associated with immune function, cell cycle, proteolysis, and ion transport. Genome-wide association studies identified six SNPs mapping to a locus on chromosome 17q25 to be related to white matter lesion load in the general population. We also report first and preliminary data that demonstrate apolipoprotein E (ApoE) immunoreactivity in white matter lesions and support epidemiological findings indicating that ApoE is another factor possibly related to white matter lesion occurrence. Further insights come from modern MRI techniques, such as diffusion tensor and magnetization transfer imaging, as they provide tools for the characterization of normal-appearing brain tissue beyond what can be expected from standard MRI scans. There is a need for additional pre- and postmortem studies in humans, including these new imaging techniques.
Prions, the agents causing transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, colonize the brain of hosts after oral, parenteral, intralingual, or even transdermal uptake. However, prions are not generally considered to be airborne. Here we report that inbred and crossbred wild-type mice, as well as tga20 transgenic mice overexpressing PrP(C), efficiently develop scrapie upon exposure to aerosolized prions. NSE-PrP transgenic mice, which express PrP(C) selectively in neurons, were also susceptible to airborne prions. Aerogenic infection occurred also in mice lacking B- and T-lymphocytes, NK-cells, follicular dendritic cells or complement components. Brains of diseased mice contained PrP(Sc) and transmitted scrapie when inoculated into further mice. We conclude that aerogenic exposure to prions is very efficacious and can lead to direct invasion of neural pathways without an obligatory replicative phase in lymphoid organs. This previously unappreciated risk for airborne prion transmission may warrant re-thinking on prion biosafety guidelines in research and diagnostic laboratories.
The MAP3-kinase TGF-beta-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) critically modulates innate and adaptive immune responses and connects cytokine stimulation with activation of inflammatory signaling pathways. Here, we report that conditional ablation of TAK1 in liver parenchymal cells (hepatocytes and cholangiocytes) causes hepatocyte dysplasia and early-onset hepatocarcinogenesis, coinciding with biliary ductopenia and cholestasis. TAK1-mediated cancer suppression is exerted through activating NF-kappaB in response to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and through preventing Caspase-3-dependent hepatocyte and cholangiocyte apoptosis. Moreover, TAK1 suppresses a procarcinogenic and pronecrotic pathway, which depends on NF-kappaB-independent functions of the I kappaB-kinase (IKK)-subunit NF-kappaB essential modulator (NEMO). Therefore, TAK1 serves as a gatekeeper for a protumorigenic, NF-kappaB-independent function of NEMO in parenchymal liver cells.
Medulloblastomas (MB) are the most common malignant brain tumors in childhood. Alkylator-based drugs are effective agents in the treatment of patients with MB. In several tumors, including malignant glioma, elevated O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) expression levels or lack of MGMT promoter methylation have been found to be associated with resistance to alkylating chemotherapeutic agents such as temozolomide (TMZ). In this study, we examined the MGMT status of MB and central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) cells and two large sets of primary MB. In seven MB/PNET cell lines investigated, MGMT promoter methylation was detected only in D425 human MB cells as assayed by the qualitative methylation-specific PCR and the more quantitative pyrosequencing assay. In D425 human MB cells, MGMT mRNA and protein expression was clearly lower when compared with the MGMT expression in the other MB/PNET cell lines. In MB/PNET cells, sensitivity towards TMZ and 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea (CCNU) correlated with MGMT methylation and MGMT mRNA expression. Pyrosequencing in 67 primary MB samples revealed a mean percentage of MGMT methylation of 3.7-92% (mean: 13.25%, median: 10.67%). Percentage of MGMT methylation and MGMT mRNA expression as determined by quantitative RT-PCR correlated inversely (n = 46; Pearson correlation r (2) = 0.14, P = 0.01). We then analyzed MGMT mRNA expression in a second set of 47 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded primary MB samples from clinically well-documented patients treated within the prospective randomized multicenter trial HIT91. No association was found between MGMT mRNA expression and progression-free or overall survival. Therefore, it is not currently recommended to use MGMT mRNA expression analysis to determine who should receive alkylating agents and who should not.
Regulation of hepatocellular apoptosis is crucial for liver homeostasis. Increased sensitivity of hepatocytes toward apoptosis results in chronic liver injury, whereas apoptosis resistance is linked to hepatocarcinogenesis and nonresponsiveness to therapy-induced cell death. Recently, we have demonstrated an essential role of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in hepatocyte survival. In mice lacking Mcl-1 specifically in hepatocytes (Mcl-1(Deltahep)), spontaneous apoptosis caused severe liver damage. Here, we demonstrate that chronically increased apoptosis of hepatocytes coincides with strong hepatocyte proliferation resulting in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Liver cell tumor formation was observed in >50% of Mcl-1(Deltahep) mice already by the age of 8 months, whereas 12-month-old wild-type (wt) and heterozygous Mcl-1(flox/wt) mice lacked tumors. Tumors revealed a heterogenous spectrum ranging from small dysplastic nodules to HCC. The neoplastic nature of the tumors was confirmed by histology, expression of the HCC marker glutamine synthetase and chromosomal aberrations. Liver carcinogenesis in Mcl-1(Deltahep) mice was paralleled by markedly increased levels of Survivin, an important regulator of mitosis which is selectively overexpressed in common human cancers. Conclusion: This study provides in vivo evidence that increased apoptosis of hepatocytes not only impairs liver homeostasis but is also accompanied by hepatocyte proliferation and hepatocarcinogenesis. Our findings might have implications for understanding apoptosis-related human liver diseases.
Chronic, daytime sleepiness is a major, disabling symptom for many patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), but thus far, its etiology is not well understood. Extensive loss of the hypothalamic neurons that produce the wake-promoting neuropeptide hypocretin (orexin) causes the severe sleepiness of narcolepsy, and partial loss of these cells may contribute to the sleepiness of Parkinson disease and other disorders. We have found that the number of hypocretin neurons is significantly reduced in patients with severe TBI. This observation highlights the often overlooked hypothalamic injury in TBI and provides new insights into the causes of chronic sleepiness in patients with TBI.
The susceptibility of humans and animals to prion infections is determined by the virulence of the infectious agent, by genetic modifiers, and by hitherto unknown host and environmental risk factors. While little is known about the latter two, the activation state of the immune system was surmised to influence prion susceptibility. Here we administered prions to mice that were repeatedly immunized by two initial injections of CpG oligodeoxynucleotides followed by repeated injections of bovine serum albumin/alum. Immunization greatly reduced the required dosage of peripherally administered prion inoculum necessary to induce scrapie in 50% of mice. No difference in susceptibility was observed following intracerebral prion challenge. Due to its profound impact onto scrapie susceptibility, the host immune status may determine disease penetrance after low-dose prion exposure, including those that may give rise to iatrogenic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
We report a case of rapidly progressive pneumonia and meningoencephalitis in a 2-month-old breastfed infant. Culture of cerebrospinal fluid was positive for Pasteurella multocida. No bite or scratch injury as site of entrance could be detected clinically or at autopsy, therefore aerogenic transmission in droplets from a household pet must be considered. Infections with P. multocida have been frequently reported in infants and elderly people; however, rapidly progressive and lethal infections in infants have been described only rarely. These infections must be regarded as preventable through adequate measures of hygiene.
Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) cause chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by poorly understood mechanisms. We show that cytokines lymphotoxin (LT) alpha and beta and their receptor (LTbetaR) are upregulated in HBV- or HCV-induced hepatitis and HCC. Liver-specific LTalphabeta expression in mice induces liver inflammation and HCC, causally linking hepatic LT overexpression to hepatitis and HCC. Development of HCC, composed in part of A6(+) oval cells, depends on lymphocytes and IKappa B kinase beta expressed by hepatocytes but is independent of TNFR1. In vivo LTbetaR stimulation implicates hepatocytes as the major LT-responsive liver cells, and LTbetaR inhibition in LTalphabeta-transgenic mice with hepatitis suppresses HCC formation. Thus, sustained LT signaling represents a pathway involved in hepatitis-induced HCC.
Several risk factors play the role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from which chronic hepatitis B and C infections are the most important ones. DNA integration of hepatitis viruses alters the function of critical genes promoting malignant transformation of virus-infected liver cells.
Medullomyoblastoma (MMB) is a very rare medulloblastoma (MB) variant consisting of primitive neuroectodermal cells intermixed with cells featuring myogenic differentiation. MMBs are a subtype of primitive neuroectodermal neoplasm (PNET) predominantly occurring in children.
Cannabinoids have antiinflammatory and antitumorigenic properties. Some cannabinoids, such as O-1602, have no or only little affinity to classical cannabinoid receptors but exert cannabinoid-like antiinflammatory effects during experimental colitis. Here, we investigated whether O-1602 shows antitumorigenic effects in colon cancer cells and whether it could reduce tumorigenesis in the colon in vivo. The colon cancer cell lines HT-29 and SW480 were used to study the effect of O-1602 on viability and apoptosis. The effect of O-1602 on tumor growth in vivo was studied in a colitis-associated colon cancer mouse model. O-1602 decreased viability and induced apoptosis in colon cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner (0.1-10 ?M). In the mouse model, treatment with O-1602 (3 mg/kg, i.p., 12×) reduced tumor area by 50 % and tumor incidence by 30 %. Histological scoring revealed a significant decrease in tumor load. In tumor tissue, O-1602 decreased levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), activation of oncogenic transcription factors STAT3 and NF?B p65, and expression of TNF-? while levels for proapoptotic markers, such as p53 and BAX, increased. The in vivo effects of O-1602 on PCNA, BAX, and p53 were also observed in colon cancer cells. The data provide a novel insight into antitumorigenic mechanisms of atypical cannabinoids. O-1602 exerts antitumorigenic effects by targeting colon cancer cells as well as proinflammatory pathways known to promote colitis-associated tumorigenesis. Due to its lack of central sedation, O-1602 could be an interesting compound for the treatment of colon and possibly other cancers.
Malignant gliomas are the most aggressive forms of brain tumors, associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Recurrence and tumorigenesis are attributed to a subpopulation of tumor-initiating glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are intrinsically resistant to therapy. Initiation and progression of gliomas have been linked to alterations in microRNA expression. Here, we report the identification of microRNA-138 (miR-138) as a molecular signature of GSCs and demonstrate a vital role for miR-138 in promoting growth and survival of bona fide tumor-initiating cells with self-renewal potential. Sequence-specific functional inhibition of miR-138 prevents tumorsphere formation in vitro and impedes tumorigenesis in vivo. We delineate the components of the miR-138 regulatory network by loss-of-function analysis to identify specific regulators of apoptosis. Finally, the higher expression of miR-138 in GSCs compared to non-neoplastic tissue and association with tumor recurrence and survival highlights the clinical significance of miR-138 as a prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target for treatment of malignant gliomas.
Little is known about the pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP), an increasingly recognized, immune-mediated form of chronic pancreatitis. Current treatment options are limited and disease relapse is frequent. We investigated factors that contribute to the development of AIP and new therapeutic strategies.
The eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF3a is one of the core subunits of the translation initiation complex eIF3, responsible for ribosomal subunit joining and mRNA recruitment to the ribosome. It is known to play an important role in general translation initiation as well as in the specific translational regulation of various gene products, among which many influence tumour development, progression, and the therapeutically important pathways of DNA damage repair. Therefore, beyond its role in protein synthesis, eIF3a is emerging as regulator in tumour pathogenesis and therapy response and, therefore, a potential tumor marker. By means of a tissue microarray (TMA) for histopathological and statistical assessment, we here show eIF3a expression in 103 cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity (OSCC), representing tissues from 103 independent patients. A subset of the study cohort was treated with platinum based therapy. Our results show that the 170?kDa protein is upregulated in OSCC and correlates with good overall survival. Overexpressing tumors respond better to platinum-based chemotherapy, suggesting eIF3a as a putative predictive as well as prognostic tumor marker in OSCC.
Keratin 8 (K8) and keratin 18 (K18) form the major hepatocyte cytoskeleton. We investigated the impact of genetic loss of either K8 or K18 on liver homeostasis under toxic stress with the hypothesis that K8 and K18 exert different functions. krt8?/? and krt18?/? mice crossed into the same 129-ola genetic background were treated by acute and chronic administration of 3,5-diethoxy-carbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC). In acutely DDC-intoxicated mice, macrovesicular steatosis was more pronounced in krt8?/? and krt18?/? compared with wild-type (wt) animals. Mallory-Denk bodies (MDBs) appeared in krt18?/? mice already at an early stage of intoxication in contrast to krt8?/? mice that did not display MDB formation when fed with DDC. Keratin-deficient mice displayed significantly lower numbers of apoptotic hepatocytes than wt animals. krt8?/?, krt18?/? and control mice displayed comparable cell proliferation rates. Chronically DDC-intoxicated krt18?/? and wt mice showed a similarly increased degree of steatohepatitis with hepatocyte ballooning and MDB formation. In krt8?/? mice, steatosis was less, ballooning, and MDBs were absent. krt18?/? mice developed MDBs whereas krt8?/? mice on the same genetic background did not, highlighting the significance of different structural properties of keratins. They are independent of the genetic background as an intrinsic factor. By contrast, toxicity effects may depend on the genetic background. krt8?/? and krt18?/? mice on the same genetic background show similar sensitivity to DDC intoxication and almost resemble wt animals regarding survival, degree of porphyria, liver-to-body weight ratio, serum bilirubin and liver enzyme levels. This stands in contrast to previous work where krt8?/? and krt18?/? mice on different genetic backgrounds were investigated.
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